Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A letter to Kerstin

     The mere thought of this post bought tears to my eyes.  It is about the inevitable, that one thing that no man can escape.  No matter the exercise routines, the meds and vitamins we take daily; they may aid in prolonging and making this life a little better and healthier.  They just cannot keep us here forever.  Death is that thing we will face and we can't get around that. 

     I must admit that I have selfish thoughts when it comes to death.  Since Kerstin came into my life 13 years, 1 month and 11 days ago and my entire outlook on life has changed forever.  I cannot imagine my life without Kerstin and I can't even comprehend her living a life without me!  One of those may happen, sadly.  Back to my selfish thoughts, I have prayed at times, that when that time comes, that it be in a manner that we could leave this earthly home together.  I can't imagine the heartache it may cause my family but, it can't possibly compare to that of Kerstin or myself to have to live without each other. 

With Kerstin in Selma at the Edmund Pettus Bridge

     So, I thought about writing a letter to my sweet daughter. 

My sweetest Kerstin,

     I have loved you more than my own life.  You have meant the world and more to me.  Words can't fully express the love that I have for you, my sweet girl!  This journey we have been on together has been one of many ups and downs, some pains but great joys.   When I was pregnant with you, I imagined a life much  different than the one we have lived.  

     I hope that I have shown you a smidget of the love that I have for you.  I have loved the cold winter days when you didn't got to school and we sat watching whatever animated, you not wanting to share your blankets.  I have loved taking you to the movies and you ignoring me completely once the lights went down.  I love the way you stare at me until I looked at you only to poke your tongue at me.  Your laugh, I just love hearing you laugh so hard that you begin to shake.  

     Kerstin, you made me look at life differently!  Before you, I never thought about things like accessible parking, hand rails in bathrooms, ramps, inclusion and so much more.  I never knew that I would be required to do and learn so much in order to take care of you.  I would not change any of the things we have endured together.  The many surgeries and hospital stays only made us stronger!  You have been a true example of strength and courage sweet girl. 

     I love you darling!  No one can say that I didn't do what I could to be a voice for you.  You have been my life!  We are forever together!  

Loving you always and forever,

Your Mommy!

     So, I can only hope that, if I should leave this place before or without my daughter, someone would read this letter to her and continuously remind her that her mommy loved her to no end!  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

     May this New Year be filled with many blessings for you and all those you love!  From our family to yours, 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sharing a discount this cold and flu season!

     Enjoy $1.50 off Kleenex Lotion or Anti-Viral Tissues.  

Remember, if you're sick, stay home!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Parenting a Child With a Disability Through the Holidays Stress Free"

     The Alabama Parent Education Center (APEC) has some tips on avoiding additional stress during the holidays.

While most children live for the holiday season, it can be an extremely stressful time of year for children with disabilities and their families. The disruption to their routine, unfamiliar sights and smells, the house full of noise and people - it can all prove to be too much. Holidays are all about the family, but it can be hard keeping everyone happy.  While the words "stress-free" and the "holidays" don't often go together, at the Alabama Parent Education Center we want all children to enjoy this special time of year.

Tips To Prepare
To help you prepare for surviving the holiday season, we have compiled the following tips to help you, your family, and your child with a disability have a much happier, reduced stress holiday.  Good preparation is the key so here are a few tips to help you prepare yourself, your child, and your family.

Reduce The Stress.  Try to find ways to reduce the stress - both on your child and you. Schedule in quiet times and create chill-out zones in your home. Remember, your child will pick up on your stress levels, so try not to over-stretch yourself.

Ask For Help.  Friends and family may not know how they can help unless you tell them. Give them a list of things they can do to support you - from looking after your child while you spend quality time with your other children - to helping you finish the holiday meal.

Wrap Up Familiar Toys.  If your child is not keen on opening presents because they're new and unfamiliar, try wrapping up some favorite toys. Sometimes unwrapping something familiar is very reassuring.

Give Your Child A Job And A Schedule.  Always give your child a job to do at family gatherings.  Giving them something to do reduces their stress of having people in the house. I also give them an itinerary so they understand, for example, that people stand around and chat a lot, and that is part of the occasion.

Manage New Smells.  Add cinnamon to your child's play-dough to gradually introduce new smells. One thing that people with autism complain about during the holidays is the many different perfume smells coming from visiting adults. Ask your family and friends to hold off on the perfume.

Work On Gift Giving.  Help and encourage the person you are caring for to give gifts. This provides an excellent opportunity to work on social skills, like thinking of other people's needs and interests, and being kind and helpful. Support your child in making gifts for their family and friends and assisting them in giving out the presents as well.

Reserve Some Special Time For Your Child.  It's easy to get overloaded with festive preparations at this time of year, so plan daily activities to make some special time for your kids - ie. 5 to 10 mins of undivided attention. Let your child take the lead, tune into their world and see it through their eyes.

Create A Weekly Calendar.  Print off a week-to-view calendar page from your PC or the internet and add a picture of your planned activities during the holidays (divide into morning, lunch afternoon etc) and this will help put your child at ease about the week ahead.

Prepare Your Family.  Talk to family members ahead of time. Discuss your child's specific needs, and gently but firmly tell them what your plans are. Be sure to let them know that this will make the whole experience better for everyone. Ask for their support.
Prepare A Bag Of Activities.  When you are visiting friends or relatives, fill a backpack with things your child finds comforting or enjoys playing with - toy cars, a stuffed animal, a CD and CD player, ipads, or a few books. If your child gets over stimulated, find a quiet corner or a back room and pull out the backpack.

Easy To Open Presents.  If your child has trouble with fine motor skills doctor their cards and presents to allow them to open easily. Makes for a much happier time for all and gives your child a sense of satisfaction that they can complete tasks.

Have a Code Word.  Have a code word your child can use if he or she feels overwhelmed and needs a break. Assure your child if he or she uses the code word, you will respond right away. Again, giving children some control during activities that may be over stimulating for them will reduce anxiety.

Prepare Before an Event.  Before you leave for holiday parties, parades, or other fun events, have a quick family meeting so your whole family knows how long you plan to stay and how you expect them to behave. This will benefit neuro-typical children as well, since any child can get overwhelmed with the excitement of the holidays. Continue to make your child's sleep schedule a priority, even in the midst of so many special events.

Prepare for Food Allergies.  If your children have food sensitivities or allergies that prevent them from eating holiday treats, plan ahead to offer alternatives like all-natural candy or a gluten-free treat from home. Children with neuro-behavioral disorders like ADHD or Autism often already feel different, so be sure to include them in as many holiday festivities as possible.
 Limit Holiday Decorations.  If your child is easily over-stimulated, limit holiday decorations in your home. Too many twinkling lights combined with smells from the kitchen and other holiday distractions, while enjoyable to most, can be too much for children with autism, ADHD, or sensory disorders. Let special needs children help you decorate for the holidays so they are involved in the changes that take place in their comforting environment.

APEC is here to help
APEC provides free training, information, and consultation to families.  Visit our training calendar for more information about learning opportunities at  or call our center.

The contents of this publication were developed in part under a grant from the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention.   To help support the ADCANP mission  Parenting  V.2

To view our updated list of all training events visit our online calendar at:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December 17, 2001

     Kerstin was on her way to change my life in more ways than I could ever imagine. I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said about my love for this little girl that has done amazing things in her now, 13 years of life!  Kerstin has and continues to touch so many hearts with that big, bright smile of hers.  I've told my family on several occasions that Kerstin has this ability to make people love and want to be around her,

     Last year, I wrote the post "We Met!" I was excited to meet this person that was growing and moving inside me.  I was  happy to see the person that I would be "mom' to.  December 17 is a day that this momma cannot forget.  I couldn't believe that I was to be someone's mom and now, I cannot believe that she is a teenager!!! 

     Kerstin knows that she is loved and cared for by so many people.  She has a big day coming up!  Glad she is feeling better, we are skipping school and going out, then she has to go to her cousins school for their Christmas program.  Friday, she is going to see "Annie" on it's opening day.  Saturday; a big day is awareness party, celebrating KERSTIN!   Pictures will come later. 

   So, to Miss Kerstin, just an ever so gentle reminder, using the words of Bruno Mars:  "When I see your face, there's not a thing that I would change, cause you're amazing just the way you are..."
You are amazing girl...this is your day.  Happy Birthday, I love you so much my princess. 
Happy Birthday Kerstin!