2012 & 2013 – Looking Back and Looking Forward

This is more of a personal post than a baking post, one of my “behind the blog” type of posts.  And a long one!  2012 has been an extremely busy year here in the Love From The Oven house.  In addition to baking up sweets and treats and sharing recipes, tips, my favorite links and more, life behind the blog has been busy, chaotic and sometimes a little crazy.

While I’m not one who is big on “resolutions”, I always feel like the new year is a great time to take stock.  To look back.  To look forward.  To clear out the clutter – both physically and mentally.   As I look back, it’s been a very full year.    I have been so blessed to have so many wonderful readers visit my website and I’ve been so fortunate to work with many amazing brands, both creating recipes and sponsoring giveaways for my readers.  The site has grown and I absolutely love it.  It’s my third child.  I am thankful that every single day that I get to share my love of baking, develop recipes, work with brands and basically focus on some of the sweetest things in life.   The fact that I am able to do that, and earn a bit of a living in the process, is a dream come true.  Not only do I get to do what I love, but I get to work it around the needs of my girls.

And when it comes to the needs of our girls, they have changed a bit this past year.   This year has been spent with many doctors, many specialists, many hours in therapy and having our youngest daughter undergo many tests, from inpatient monitoring in the hospital to an MRI of her brain to genetic testing.  After ruling out many things that could be much worse, our youngest daughter was diagnosed with severe apraxia of speech.

Apraxia is a condition that is sometimes seen in a similar way in stroke victims (that is the form that some are familiar with – acquired apraxia, versus developmental apraxia, which G has).  The words are in their heads.  Their mouths are capable of creating those words.  But the message can’t quite make it from the head to the mouth.   Apraxia involves problems with motor planning.  You plan your words, your actions, almost anything you do.   G’s limbs are also affected by it, so controlling her hands are just as hard as controlling her mouth, and therefore sign language is no easier than speaking for her.   Also, with apraxia, the more you want to say or do something, the harder it is.  So something you might be able to do spontaneously one day while playing might not be seen again for some time and can’t be reproduced on demand. She also has a variety of sensory issues (something I will admit that I truly didn’t even think were even real, just one of those trendy diagnoses of the day.  I now find myself realizing I was wrong – and probably uniformed and judgmental as well).

I need to put a disclaimer here, we are SO blessed to have two very healthy and happy girls.  Things could absolutely be much worse.  I count my blessings every time I put my head on my pillow.   But, Grace’s diagnosis does mean a different life, letting go of some of the dreams and plans we had, creating new ones and figuring out an unknown future.   It’s a different path, and we are learning and adjusting every day.   Apraxia is not something you hear about often, and it’s not always easy to know what is best for her, and it’s taking a lot of time and dedication to figure those things out.    But she’s worth every moment of it, she’s the light of our lives, keeps us laughing all the time and is the most incredible gift we’ve ever been given.   I just wish I knew what was in her mind.  I wish she had more than “more” and “all done” to communicate her every thought and feeling.  More what?  All done what?  I ask myself those all day, every day, while trying to play charades and figure it out.

I also should add that I’ve heard from more than a few people that they think maybe G has autism, and we are just in denial about that.  All I can say is that we have been to many specialists.  Spent extensive time with therapists (we spend more time with her therapists than probably anyone outside our family).  None of them who have spent considerable time with her feel that she has autism.  On paper, she certainly shares shares characteristics of both autism and cognitive disability.  Honestly, if she had autism, I’d have so many more options for support and resources.   We want to do everything we can to get her all of the help that we can, and if we thought for a second that autism was one of her issues, we’d be getting her every resource we could.   She does not fit the diagnosis for autism, but she is a textbook example of severe apraxia.  I never say never, that could always change, but for now we agree that apraxia is probably the main issue, along with other neurological issues.

We’ve been blessed with incredible occupational and speech therapists.   We are at therapy five times a week.   Every morning is devoted to therapy.   Even with an intensive therapy schedule, supplemented at home, the best therapists and our family being completely dedicated to doing whatever it takes, our very experienced (and adored!) speech therapist does not expect that G will ever use speech as her primary means of communication.   At almost three, with almost 18 months of therapy behind us, she only has a handful of words and one sign language sign.   She is however great at using the iPad to help communicate her wants, and through the iPad we have discovered she is so much smarter than we ever realized.  She is taking everything in.  She hears it all, and knows so much.   It’s bittersweet to know that she is a smart cookie, but for all intense purposes, can not show that to anyone.  She is warm, loving, ridiculously funny, interactive and so badly wants to communicate.   We will never give up hope and never stop working to help her find her voice.

This apraxia awareness video sums up what my heart feels when it comes to my sweet littlest girl…


Transitioning into the world of special needs parenting is an interesting one.  At first for me there was not so much a denial as there was the mindset of that we will just work really hard, give this 120% effort and fix it.  That’s worked with almost everything else in my life.   Well, about a year into this, I’m realizing that is not how this works.   This is not a sacrifice everything else in your life to put every resource you have in it, fix it, and then put it behind you.   I’m waking up to the realization that this is a game changer.  This is a life changer.   There is no quick fix.  There is no easy fix.  Frankly, there really is no fix.  We are just doing everything we can to make the best of the situation and rise to meet the challenges that are sent our way.   My life long way of giving 120% doesn’t solve this problem.  Instead I am finding it burns you out.  It wears you down.  It exhausts you.

2012 has also seen me continuing the role as a care taker (though not live in) to my mother, who suffers from many chronic medical conditions as well as severe mental illness.    I’ve played that role for many years, but the last two years have seen the challenges involved rise considerably, with only my brother to assist me, and living out of town, most falls on my shoulders.   It’s a hard situation to day in and day out try and help someone who can’t or won’t help themselves.   I’m working and learning that much like my daughter’s condition, I can’t “fix” this issue either, though it is hard when you watch someone make choices that will only make their life harder, and then you are expected to come in to clean up the fallout.

My older daughter is one heck of a busy girl.   I struggle to keep up with her schedule, her activities and all that she does.  She is a child who is happiest when she is very busy, she thrives that way, but I’ve certainly dropped a few balls this year when it comes to all that she does.   Between being in a highly accelerated program at school (holy homework batman), she dances, swims, sings in chorus, is in band, student government and just wrapped up a season with First Lego League.   Some may think it’s too much, and for some kids, and I  absolutely agree.  But for her it works.  Though for me, I admit, it’s a challenge.

Add in my hubby, our home, the pets and a painful shoulder injury this year (that I’m putting off fixing until our youngest is just a bit older), and my hands are so full that most days, I drop a few balls.  Okay, a lot of balls.   I look at how our life is different now from even a year ago.  There is very little, if any, leisure time.  If I’m not caring for the girls, I’m working.  If my husband is not working, he is helping care for the girls or working around the house.   We haven’t been out for even a dinner, without our kids, in over a year.  Yep, over a year since my husband and I have left our house, together, without kids.   I think I’ve gone out to eat with a friend, without kids, maybe twice.  Aside from a few months when I had a weekly 7am physical therapy session for my shoulder injury, there is no me time.  I’ve found myself arriving at a place where I feel guilty or lazy for doing anything that I don’t consider “productive”, be it caring for the girls, running the blog, helping extended family, caring for the house…  Work, work, work.  Go, go, go.  Fall asleep, wake up, start over.   I know it’s not a healthy place to be.

This special needs parenting thing is an interesting beast.  You take no time for yourself, but you probably need it more than anything.   Your friends start to disappear (and understandably so, I mean you can barely comb your hair most days, forget being a good friend to people you care about – I can never ever fault anyone for fading away.  This year has not been one where I would claim that I’ve been a good, or even fun, friend to anyone), yet you need support in a way you never have.   Though on the other side of the coin, sometimes amazing people come into your life and show support that just blows you away.   Overall, my world has become very small this year.  My house, my car, taking one daughter to school and dance, one to therapy, and hitting the grocery store in between.   I am thankful for the world wide web and Love From The Oven – they keep me connected to the outside world!

From Kiki & Company

And that is where I end 2012 at.    Tired and needing to make changes.  And that is what 2013 will be about.  2013 is also when I say goodbye to my 30’s and hello to my 40’s (ouch!).  Everything about 2013 says it’s time for some new ways, some changes and some fresh starts.    We are more understanding and accepting of the challenges we face with our daughter, and know that we need to take care of ourselves.  We need to redefine our normal.  I know I need to lower my expectations – my house isn’t spotless and too many meals come from the pizza parlor.   It is what it is, and I would probably be better off accepting it than feeling guilty about it.   I need to make time for myself and my husband and not know that it’s not selfish to take a break, but instead will benefit those around me.

These are the type of issues I’ve talked about on my other blog, Away From The Oven.   With the hectic life I live, I find keeping two blogs going is a challenge and have decided that in the spirit of trying to make life easier in 2013, I will consolidate them, which means Love From The Oven will include some other topics including home, family, parenting, apraxia, crafts (um hello, glitter!) and random bits of life.   It will still, above all, be a baking blog focusing on sweets, treats and eats.

But it will include more content, more things that are a huge part of me and my life.   I’m fortunate to have readers come and visit this blog every day, and if I can do a little bit to bring more awareness to apraxia, then I feel like I should.   I am an adoptive parent, and I know that adoption can be a hard road, and I am always willing to share my experience and discuss it with others.

From the first time I fired up the internet back in 96, I have always looked online for other people sharing their experiences and stories.  No matter if I was buying new shoes or looking into a medical diagnosis, I’ve always wanted to find those first hand experiences.  I feel that if I can give back to that sharing community and contribute myself, I should.  I’ve always found writing therapeutic and a great way to process information, thoughts and emotions, so having a place to do that, and maybe even connect with others going through similar situations, is a wonderful thing to me.  I think it also makes us more accountable when we put things in writing, and when working to create change, accountability is a helpful thing.

Now the good news is that if all you want to read are recipes, you can do just that.   :)   I will use Facebook and Twitter to share when new recipes are posted (like I do now) as well as pin all new recipe posts on Pinterest.   I won’t be promoting the Away From The Oven posts in those spots where you go for sweets and treats.   But if you want to read about other topics, like the little glimpses of life I share on Instagram, they will be here, just come by and check them out.  I will also share those posts on the Away From The Oven Facebook Page.

I am excited to expand what I share with you.  I love to craft and have a lot of fun and affordable DIY projects I’m planning around the house, and I’m excited to use this blog to share some of those.   I’m organizationally challenged (putting it very mildly), and I’m hoping to work on that this year, and would love to share that with others who share that problem/goal.   I love to whip up printables and share them, so look for more of those.  We are in the process of closing in a covered patio and turning it into a playroom addition, ourselves (when I say ourselves, I of course mean I come up with grand plans than hand over to my hubby to carry out!).  We are doing a mini makeover on our kitchen, and will be sharing that in January.   I’m excited to do some of the things I love, like crafting, creating, organizing and decorating, and sharing them here on the site with you.

So 2013 will see a lot more recipes and decadent desserts, hopefully a few more savory recipes and more of what happens away from the oven.   I thank all of you who share the love of sprinkles, cake pops and salted caramel with me, it makes me so happy to know that other people find joy in baking.   And I look forward to sharing more with those of you who are interested in that side of life.   I wish each and every one of you an absolutely amazing 2013, and lots of yummy sweetness in the year ahead.

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi, Christi.

    I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that I really enjoyed reading this blog post about your daughter’s apraxia. I did not remember what apraxia was until you explained it, but then the memories of assisting my grandmother following her stroke flooded back to mind. As difficult as this condition will be for you and your family and your daughter, I am reminded of Amy Roloff’s description of her life in the opening sequence to “Little People Big World” when she says (I’m paraphrasing I think), “We do everything you can do, but just in a different way.” You are blessed and lucky to have a daughter who has demonstrated that intellectually and intelligently, she is all systems go. There is just that one disconnect that will have to be overcome much like a blind or deaf kid learns to communicate in their own way because that’s the only way they know how. I very much look forward to learning about your daughter’s progress as she gets older and all of you learn to deal with this minor challenge. Thank you for taking the time to share your lives with us. I enjoy learning from others, and one day I will sit down and start my own blog so that I too can share.

    2013 looks like it will be a very busy one for me and my partner Peter. From a social media standpoint, you can pretty much see what I’m passionate and excited about by viewing my Facebook pages:
    http://www.facebook.com/themissionlasvegas
    http://www.facebook.com/bronzelasvegas
    http://www.facebook.com/bronzecafelv
    http://www.facebook.com/chefpeterbastien

    Happy holidays, and have a very happy new year, and thanks again.

    David

  2. Brenda says

    Best of luck in 2013. I have a niece that was a special Ed. teacher and she loved working with the children. She did that for like 12 years and now she is a April McLaughlin
    Middle/High School Assistant Principal. I wish you lived close to us and she could help you with your daughter. I know she would do that. I’m sure if you contacted her on facebook and you needed someone to talk to about anything or help, she would do that. If you need help or have some questions, maybe she could help. Just let me know and I will be more than happy to give you any information that you need to get in touch with her. Please send me a message on Facebook or send me a e-mail at beachgirl612000@yahoo.com.

    Brenda

    • says

      Brenda, thank you so much. I love that your niece is now an assistant principal, I bet that not many bring her experience with special education to that role, and I bet it makes her amazing at what she does. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  3. Vicki says

    Thank you so much for sharing all of that with us. I believe you have surely helped someone just in writing this post. All I can think is how lucky your family is to have you. You are so right in that you do need to focus on you as much as you do everyone else. It is so important.
    I wish you all the best in 2013. And I look forward to continuing to follow you and your amazing work.

    • says

      Vicki, thank you for your kind words. I’m not always one to openly talk about my problems in person, but have always taken to the internet in hopes of finding others who I can identify with, so if I can give back to that in any way, I hope to. Wishing you the best for the coming year!

  4. Liz says

    Hi – I read your blog pretty often. Not sure why as cooking isn’t something I do well, but I like to pretend I am going to make all these yummy things one day.

    My daughter will be 3 in February and has pretty much no recognizable speech. She has Down syndrome, so a delay is expected, but I am 99% sure she also has Apraxia. We have had her tested and evaluated a million times but where I live (Phoenix area) they tell me they won’t make an actual diagnosis till her 3rd birthday, but have said she will most likely be diagnosed with Severe Apraxia. A lot of my “Facebook” friends have older kids and lived with Apraxia a lot longer than me so I get a lot of advice and encouragement from them. I spend almost my whole day trying to deal with a frustrated toddler who can’t get out the words she wants to tell me so she screams, grunts, points, drags me around to show me, etc. We are working with her on using the iPAD for help too.

    I don’t have any words of wisdom as I am new to all of this. I just wnted to say I am on the same road as you. :)

    • says

      Liz, I’m in Phoenix! What part of town are you in? We are in North Phoenix. Do you seen a SLP? I have found that doctors don’t really want to touch the apraxia diagnosis, and really they should not, an SLP is who is supposed to make it. Ah, the dragging you around – that goes on all day here – they try SO hard to express themselves and it certainly makes for long and frustrating days for all of us.

  5. Liz says

    We live in the East Valley – Gilbert. Her primary care Dr. won’t even really touch the Apraxia questions when I bring them up. We went to a developmental Pediatrician and that was also a waste of time, but she mentioned the Apraxia to us so it got me thinking.

    We have had a few SLT’s but good ones are hard to come by out here. They were all very young and kept telling me “don’t worry, she’ll talk when she’s ready”. I didn’t believe that as it wasn’t like she doesn’t understand us, it was like she literally thinks the word, can’t get it out and then screams in frustration. We ended up taking her to Foundations Development House in Chandler and they said they wouldn’t diagnose her until 3, but they are sure it is Apraxia. They have an iPAD app to help teach speech in kids with Apraxia and it has been the only thing that has gotten through to her so far. She is delayed developmentally as well, so the app will probably be better in a couple more months when she can sit still for longer times.

    Ella also has sensory issues. She is able to sign, but doesn’t really as she seems to get to frustrated. She has eat and drink and that’s about it.

    Apraxia and Down syndrome are often related so I have found so many wonderful people on line who have made me feel like one day Ella will do something more than scream and drag us around. A lot of people use the PROMPT technique, but we are really new to all of this so I am just reading everything I can and saving it for when we start preschool.

    Will your daughter go to Preschool at 3? We just had our meeting for that and most of it involved speech and I left in tears. It was very hard and I wasn’t prepared for it.

    • says

      Liz, we are lucky that we found a great SLP just a few miles away. Are you happy with Foundations House? Isn’t that Lynn Caroly (spell)? I think it’s pretty standard to hold off that dx until three, I believe the criteria actually states that. I know for our daughter it took our SLP months from saying “looks like” to yes, she’s clearly apraxic. We had our very first school district meeting a few weeks ago, and I have our first meeting where I bring G with us in about two weeks to start their screening (or to decide that the EI screening is good enough and they will go with it). Don’t really know what to expect, aside from not much as far as services at school. We have a friend who has a daughter who is four and has apraxia, and sees G’s same therapists and goes to the preschool she will go to. They get 20 min of speech a week, so darn near nothing. Thankfully after three “NO” answers, we were just approved for ALTCS, so she will at least continue her therapy services after age three. Is yours on ALTCS? We were just approved a few weeks ago, so trying to figure it all out.

  6. Erica says

    Christi, thank you for sharing your experiences. When I first started following your blog, I did not relate to your pain when you saw children G’s age. I wondered why you didn’t just enjoy her for herself, and I also wondered if your reaction was normal and how I would feel in your shoes. As I continued to read your blog, I realized that your anxiety was not because of G’s developmental issues, but because the retardation label did not fit – the not knowing what was wrong and how best to treat it. The suspicion that there was a trapped intelligence in your daughter that you did not know how to reach. Congratulations on finding the diagnosis that fit. I have great admiration for you in how you continued to search for the answer that was right for your daughter.

    • says

      Erica, thank you for your thoughtful comment. There has been a lot of “unknown” for us on our journey, and for me, someone who likes to be in control, that is hard. If I know what I’m dealing with, then I can plan and move forward, giving 110%. But not knowing, living with questions and what if’s, that is what drives me craziest. I’m not certain we have all the answers, but for now what we know is what we are okay with. You can only look and test so much, and then you have to get back to living. SO that’s what 2013 will be about. This is where we are at, and this is how we move forward in a positive way. :)

  7. Lisa says

    Well written, my dear! I’m glad you realize you need time for yourself and R. The role of caregiver drains you, and you need to recharge once and a while, be ‘selfish’, in order to be any good to those you are caring for (your mom & G). <3 Hang in there, you are doing great. You are just what B and G need. :)

  8. says

    Wow! Sometimes I find life to be overwhelming and wonder how in the world I can take on more (as my husband and I are trying to have kids) and then I read this and am put back in my place. :) What an amazing mom, daughter and wife you must be to be taking on all that. It can be amazing how life doesn’t always turn out as expected, but we adjust and can find that it’s even better. We just need to appreciate all we have. You story is inspiring. I wasn’t previously aware of your other blog, but am excited to read more about your experiences this year! Thanks!

    • says

      Lindsay, life can be so overwhelming, for all of us, no matter what our challenges may be. Don’t minimize yours – because no matter what anyone else is going through, we all have our mountains to climb, and we all do the best we can. Some days we are strong and some days we just need a cupcake and a pity party and then back at it. :) I hope that 2013 brings great things for you!

  9. says

    You are a strong woman! :) Thank you for sharing about your daughter and apraxia… and like another baking friend of mine told me when I shared my story of the loss of my child… it’s great to hear when people talk about the dark stuff, the hard stuff… the stuff that sometimes we want to pretend isn’t there. It’s in those times that us readers find it easier to relate and understand and a lot of times get comfort knowing that we aren’t alone in our feelings. So THANK YOU for sharing your life and I am looking forward to reading more about it in 2013…. and of course all your baking adventures!

    On a side note… as a blogger, I have found great inspiration in your blog. When I first began blogging, CakeSpy was who I turned to for inspiration and guidance on how I wanted my blog to be like… but now, it’s YOU and LOVE FROM THE OVEN! I come to you weekly, daily to find design inspiration, recipe inspiration and overall blogger inspiration. You push me to be a better blogger…. and I thank you for that!

    Much love to you and your family!!! I look forward to getting to know you better in 2013!

    <3 Betsy
    JavaCupcake.com

    • says

      Betsy, you are beyond kind. I can’t imagine what you have gone through these past few months, and I so admire you for sharing and clearly working so hard to carry on and care for the beautiful kids you have, when I know it has to be so hard. I think of you often. I agree, one one hand I think well people just want to dip cake pops, so focus on that, but I also think that if we can find a way to relate to others, and a way to not feel like we are all alone in our experiences, that there is such great value in that. While it’s so hard to know that anyone is going through struggles, it helps to know that all around the world, we are all trying to do the best we can with what we can, and we are not alone in that journey.

      YOU my dear are an incredible blogger and baker. I love everything you do, but have a soft spot for your incredible cupcakes! Let’s just say that I *might* dream about your dark chocolate peanut butter cookie cupcakes – they are just pure craziness, in the BEST way possible!!! Can’t wait to see what you create in 2013!

  10. Liz says

    Christi,

    Ella has been denied ALTCS twice. We are waiting till her 3rd birthday to apply again as the criteria should then change to be in her favor – hopefully – . We are 100% family cost participation pay for her EI services and it sucks. I scaled back on her PT and OT and just focused on Speech because the cost was getting to be to much for us.

    I won’t lie though, I have totally taken a break since July with most of her therapies. I work full time and have two other kids and I was losing my mind. I literally started cleaning my house relentlessly and became OCD about it as some weird control or therapy or something. I had to just step back and reclaim my life and my sanity. I know it isn’t good for Ella to have a break, but I seriously would spend time contemplating just getting in my car, driving to California and never coming back (Of course I would never do that, but I would day dream about it…) so I took a break and feel better about things. We are starting fresh in January at FDH (yes, it is that Lynn person’s place) and will get her IEP and everything ready for her to start in February.

    I can tell you that in her first preschool meeting, they pushed a “talker” and I just wasn’t ready for it. They evaluated Ella as well and it was tough. I already knew her issues going in, but every time she is evaluated it is hard to see her missing all these milestones everyone else takes for granted with their kids. I have to typical kids and sometimes it makes it harder as I know what she should be doing by now based on my past experiences.

    Ella was diagnosed at Birth with Down syndrome and I grieved for a long time about the life I had lost. I also grieved about the life she has lost as well, but I was selfish in the beginning and was really sad about what my future would look like. I try to stay positive now as it could always be worse, but honestly, sometimes I feel that line is BS. Of course it could be worse, anything could be worse, but sometimes my situation seems like the worst because it is for us right now. I have 2 other kids that I feel are ignored at times due to my daughter. I work to pay her therapy bills (I love to work, but now feel guilty because it takes time away from everything) I have to be my daughters advocate, I have to be her protector. I worry about school, about bullies, about her growing up, I worry about my relationship with my husband and everything else I could worry about including things that I don’t need to worry about for 15 years.

    Taking these last few months to myself has helped. I have a clearer head and spent a lot of good time with Ella just hanging out and not worrying about her therapies, labels, etc. It has been frustrating as tantrums, screaming are the norm, but I think her and I bonded over just chilling for a while. Who knows though, come January we are back in the swing of things.

    This is a long post. Sorry. :)

    • says

      Liz, that sounds like us. After her third denial, I requested a copy of the report, only to see that ALTCS had changed many of my answers. If they can go through their records and find ONE incident of them doing something, then any “yes” answer changes to “no” and your points to qualify go down. I got mad and then got informed and figured fine, that’s your game, let’s play. I worked with her therapists to make sure that nothing in their reports contradicted my answers. Just because my child can babble the sound mama, does not mean she uses it in context, things like that. Our cost pay for EI was like that, it’s incredibly stressful. Don’t give up on ALTCS. It’s just a mountain to climb, but you can and will concur it. I share so many of your feelings. We can drive to Cali together!!! Trust me, I SO get it. And yes, each evaluation I try and hold it together and than sob in the car after. It’s so hard. I don’t try and ignore problems, but I try to not compare her, so when you are confronted with what is “normal” at this age, it’s heartbreaking, no matter how many times you go through it. Here is a link to the ALTCS screening tool. This is where my OCD came in. I knew this thing inside and out by the time we had our fourth interview. I had gone over every record she had in the system, and if necessary had them corrected (random things were incorrect, like could she jump on two feet? No, she couldn’t but one OT we met once for 20 min had down yes)… http://azautism.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Arizona-Autism-Coalition-Meeting-April-2011.pdf

      I don’t think taking time off is bad. Trust me, I feel like therapy is all we will look back and see for childhood someday and that scares me. I feel like we are missing so many things by focusing on it like we do. But, given that we have a great team and now ALTCS, I just keep at it, but I still have doubts that I’m making the right choices each day.

      We need to meet up – the girls are just months apart. Play date time. :)

  11. says

    Hi, Christi: I really just wanted to say how incredibly brave and amazing it is of you to post this up. I know as someone who suffers from several mental illness, it really is lovely when someone talks about either living with it or caretaking – particularly someone from outside the activist world, like you. Thanks for being so inspirational and I hope people who have had similar challenges with apraxia have the same experience.

  12. says

    Hi Christi, I really hope that 2013 is an easier year on you and your family than 2012 was and reading this post it really stands out that no matter what you are going through that you are thankful for what you do have. You have an inspirational attitude towards life. Thank you for all the work you put into this blog I’ve only been reading the recipe side of things (I didn’t realise you had another) but I love hearing about peoples life experiences and behind the blog posts.

  13. paraluman says

    Hi Christie!

    what a beautiful heart you have:-) being a mom myself i can truly understand where you’re coming from.. one can really wonder how you handle all these things…but the heart has space for everything (its infinite:-))…hats off to your courageous and strong spirit…thank you:-)

  14. Karen Santico says

    Hello Christi, my name is Karen. I am an avid follower of your Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts and would check for blogs on your site everyday. After I read your blogs about your little girl G and older sister B, I instantly felt a connection and sense of inclusion. I must admit that there has never been a dry eye for me each time I read your blogs. I am also a mother with a special needs child. I have an 11 year-old daughter who is typical developing and a 3 year-old girl who has Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, a rare genetic disorder resulting to global developmental delays. I see myself in your everyday ordeal with the schedule, appointments with doctors and therapists, and countless responsibilities, not to mention, your aches and longing to find a quick fix for your little G, knowing at the back of your mind that there will never be. Special needs parenting is a road less travelled and it may be lonely and isolating at times, but I absolutely agree with you that it is also a portal to meeting amazing people who will touch your life and that of your daughter’s. I was greatly inspired by your Away From the Oven blogs, which led to creating my own blog. I am always at awe with your exceptional writing skills, which I really don’t acquire, but was compelled to at least try journaling my experiences as a special needs mom because just like you, writing is cathartic for me.

    Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your life as a mother. Thank you for touching my life and making me feel I am not alone in this world of special needs parenting. Thank you for your blogs, each experience you write offers solace to me. You are truly blessed with two beautiful daughters. More power to you!

    Karen

  15. says

    Thanks for sharing your story. My mom was a special ed teacher and now I find myself in the same situation as you, the simultaneous frustrating and enlightening journey of caring for an elderly parent. My whole life I’ve watched my mom reach into special needs kids and make contact with their intelligence, their humor and their emotions when others failed or had written them off. I admire your bravery and commitment to your family. It’s a tough road but there are many wonderful discoveries along the way as well. Your daughters are beautiful, All the best to you in 2013. Here’s to taking better care of yourself as well.

  16. Mila says

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. I was just looking for a Greek yogurt brownie recipe, and had no idea I was about to read about a child very similar to my own…He is 39 months and just started to speak, but it is an incredible difficult task for him. He is not autistic (grandma is a child psychiatrist and has ruled it out), but he has become very anti-social because, evidently, other kids are not always kind to him. I just wish I could tell everybody who stares at him when he speaks gibberish how wonderful he is. This is petty, I know, but I even resent some friends who brag about the things their kids say…Sometimes I don’t even think about my son’s issues, but other times it hits me so hard. Is he ever going to catch up to his peers? I just don’t want him to feel less than.
    Anyway, thank you for your honest post. It helps to know that there are other parents out there whose kids are also struggling with this.
    And I’m definitely going to try your brownie recipe.
    Happy 2013!

  17. Melanie says

    I think it’s great that you are pulling both blogs into one – it will probably be much easier for you and a good change for us (your readers).

  18. Leigh says

    I just wanted to say that you are truly an inspiration. The fact that you can run such a beautiful blog and raise two children is amazing to me. I hope your daughter gets the therapy/support she needs and you find some time for yourself (and your husband!) in 2013.

  19. says

    Christi,thankyou for sharing this. I have been reading both your blogs for a while now and am thrilled to find you linking up with Ellen/max . I am eight years into this journey and I hope you find more and more ways for your daughter to communicate effectively xx

  20. Charla Booth says

    As a special needs mom who is writing a help/ tips manual for temporary caregivers of ASD children I am constantly reading and researching other mom’s posts and blogs for inspiration and information I must be sure to include in my book. Your posts and stories have touched my heart in a special place and a special way. Like Karen I feel connected. I too am now a follower and a fan. Please accept my prayers for your family and my support for your strength. I feel as i read your words that I am in the presence of angels. Best wishes and blessings in the days to come.

  21. says

    I share your need to fix. To dig in and power through and come out the other side. And with Cooper’s delays I feel so lost. I can’t do any of that. I too have lost myself in all of this. I have started to grieve the child I wanted and love the child I have. I know that sounds odd and a lot of people don’t understand what I mean. It simply means, we all have dreams for our babies and cooper may not achieve those dreams. But I can’t focus on that. I need to love him for who he is and celebrate it. Good luck mama. Your girls are so beautiful!

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  1. […] what’s been going on around here.   One of the biggest things going on around here is that I announced that I will now be sharing more of my “Away From The Oven” type of stuff her….  The main focus will still be baking, sweets, treats and recipes, but I will also be sharing some […]

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