Thursday, April 29, 2010

You haven't eaten out, until you've 'eaten out' in the South

"Now, this here is a nice place. I just wanted to take y'all out to a really nice restaurant, and this here place is that, a really nice restaurant. Let's have us a good dinner at this nice place, on me."

The above is a quote from a man in the restaurant that my old high school friend and myself ate at last week. That man was wearing a pair of purple Docker shorts, a ringer tee with a purple collar, and a ball cap. I suspect that the shorts and the shirt were originally a Navy color before they met with disaster in the laundry. Only a good old boy, could possibly describe the place we were patronizing as a "really nice restaurant."

The setting for this particular place is lovely. It is right on the water, it has both water and street access. You can watch the kittens play under the dock, feed the fish, or not adhere to the strict "Do Not Feed the Gators" signs, while you wait for your table. It is a place from my teen years, ripe with memories of eating there, first with my family, and then with my friends as I got older. It seemed a perfect spot to get together with my friend C, whom I hadn't seen since our junior year of high school.

What I didn't remember about the place, was that it boasts one of the largest private collections of taxidermy in the country. It, without a doubt, has the record for the dustiest collection of taxidermy in the country. I am relatively certain that the recorded sounds of the long dead beasts that play on a loop, is new. That, I doubt I could have forgotten.

I had also forgotten that it is upscale red-neck dining at its finest. It is on par with a nice steak house in price, and in sync with a Long John Silver's in clientele. Very unusual. In my day, it boasted some of the best seafood in our area. I suspect that they are suffering from the current economic times, just the same as the rest of us. I also suspect that I can't be the only person to be grossed out by the 'drinking water' labelled pipes that run the length of the stalls in the women's restroom, to the bar.

Among the decor, there is a lion frozen in time, with what seems to be an antelope spending an eternity in his last leap, just under the lion's jaws. After a few drinks, it resembles an experiment in cross breeding, more so than the circle of life. There are also gators, giraffes, opossums, bobcats, more lions, wild boars, a flamingo, a tiger, and a small collection of companion kitties from over the years.

Their menu is as eclectic as their motif. They serve gator, python, llama, antelope, kangaroo, emu, ostrich, turtle, and a few more 'wild' game selections. I love their sausage, all of it. As a kid, I would get 'gator dogs' there. It was always yummy. This time they were out of most of my tried and trues, so (after having drinks first) we decided to branch out and try Gator Toes, which can be eaten like a chicken wing, and are the knuckle to claw area of the gator. I wasn't impressed. We also tried the chargrilled python. The snake was good. For dinner, I had gator tail, which was yummy, and, it always is. I would have rather had the gator ribs, but the kitchen turned me off the ribs by serving the Gator Toes still half frozen. For those of you who are skeptical that any of the above is actually food, you are clearly not from the South.

I am very sorry that I didn't take a camera with me. Soon, very soon indeed, I will return to take pictures of this dining experience...just so that I can share them with you, my bloggy pals. I promise to feature at least one picture of the lion bumping and grinding with his prey, and if sufficiently inebriated, one of me showing my tattoo to the tiger there...which I exercised restraint and didn't do this past trip. Anyone in my area interested in getting in on this informal dining review? Let me know.

The very best part of the evening was seeing my old friend. There is something unique about being reunited with an old friend, because no matter how far apart you have drifted, only the kind of friends you bonded with in youth, before we put up all the walls that adults always do, can make you feel so happy and carefree...even if only for a couple of hours.

Of course, I don't know if that rings true if you take kids along, so don't chance it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gratitude With Attitude Tuesday

Think Tank Momma
Dearest Douche Bags at Starbucks Today,

I totally 'get' the need for coffee.

HOWEVER, if, in your haste to get your caffeine on, you plow into another person or vehicle in the parking lot, don't you think that is going to slow you down way worse than having another person in front of you in line?

Also, you Fucktard Bitch in the beat all to hell white Dodge Grand Caravan? You deserve to be 'coffee boarded' which is much like water boarding, except with that effing Latte you just *had* to have *right this second.* I know that doesn't sound very legal, but, just like Dick Cheney, I feel you warrant an exception to the rules. When you made an illegal turn across four lanes of traffic after I chose not to let you hit me, for the second time, even though it would have been your fault? I regretted my restraint.

This is supposed to be a thank you letter, so what can I possibly thank you for? Hmmmm...I thank you for waking me up, anger is a much more powerful stimulant than caffeine. Maybe that's why Starbucks has done nothing about the serious danger their parking lot represents.


Next time I see you, I'll be the one climbing out of my car...and I don't bitch slap.


Dear Waiter,

Thank you for saving me some mega bucks. I usually tip well. When I am taking up your table because I wish to have a leisurely dinner with an old friend, I usually tip *very* well. However, your eye rolling and hefty sighs gave me all the encouragement I needed to stick to a 25% rule.

The gator toes that you suggested were still half frozen when you served them to us. While I wasn't looking for a freebie, it would have been really nice if you had served us a fresh order, instead of nuking the cold ones. If you didn't believe me, you could have touched one...honest.

The python was excellent, as was the gator tail. I was disappointed that you were out of all sorts of good stuff, like kangaroo sausage and antelope. Next time, I'll call make sure that YOU aren't there and that your menu items are.

A suggestion for your future? Nasty servers never make great tips, that is why they call it the 'service industry.'


If I had wanted shrimp, I would have eaten somewhere else


Dear Self,

Bitch, you are CRAZY! How did you let the woman at the pet store talk you into adopting both of their crazy hamsters? That is just what you needed. Two more living, breathing, shitting things to take care of. Better yet, two more living, breathing, shitting things that require massive amounts of time and energy to be rehabilitated.

Please be advised to stop this self destructive behavior before your children are old enough to have you 'Baker Act-ed.'

Thank you for proving that your heart hasn't gone the way of your soul...vacuumed out to make room for the ever increasing levels of sarcasm. Now, go clean out those cages, and let those hamster chomps serve as reminders of why you are another stoo-pid human.


The few brain cells that six pregnancies didn't kill


Dear Big Boy,

Each and every gray hair on my head was put there by YOU! I suppose I should have asked first, if you would mind my undoing all of your hard work...but, it is MY hair!

Thank you for proving that I am raising a young man who will actually notice details about women. However, you tuned out before we got to a critical portion of the lesson..."I really hope that washes out!" is not the way to make a woman happy. Please be advised, you heard it here first, even if it takes your future wife and a frying pan to drive the point home.


Your publishing this for posterity Mama


Okay guys, prove there is at least one of you reading, and go see Think Tank Momma to link up and play along!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Let's show a little gratitude...GWA

Think Tank Momma
Gratitude With Attitude, courtesy of Think Tank Momma. Go to her site and link up, this is such great therapy!


Dear Hamsters,

Thank you for making my children happy. They love you already. I do not.

I have to admit, that my son's hamster seems mild mannered and even tempered, and has yet tried to bite me. My daughter's hamster is a blood thirsty bitch though. Cute, adorable even...and mean.

Please let me serve you with this warning, the first time you draw blood, in absence of stitches you will be forgiven. The second time? I will lock you in the bathroom with my cats. Who is laughing now, huh?


Rodents aren't really my thing


Dear A's Parents,

Thank you for convincing my kids that we are normal. And by 'we' I mean 'me' not you. You all are clearly crazy.

My daughter came home from your house with a renewed appreciation for my housekeeping skills (or lack thereof) and I am grateful for it.

At first, I was all, "What do you mean their house is a wreck? They only have one kid, and her mother stays home?" Then my daughter told me about the chicken coop you have in your living room. And about your fish, pet rat things, and birds. I suppose it must be hard to clean around a CHICKEN COOP IN YOUR LIVING ROOM, so I understand now. I am thoroughly disgusted, but, I understand.

Oh, and no thank you, we would *not* like one of your chicks, unless you kill it, clean it, and pluck it first.

Many thanks,



Dear Hubby,

I want to thank you for saving me all those calories. The beer that you opened, tasted, and then poured out would have added inches to my waist for sure.

Of course, they would also have made me happy. The fact that you don't care for 'real' beer saddens me, but, not as much as finding a bottle of craft brewed Hefeweizen, an IPA, a 'true' lager, and a bottle of Newcastle sitting in waiting to go out to the recycle bin.

It is established that we don't have the same taste in beer, so the next time you surprise me with a visit...stop and buy some Coors on your way in. You are no longer permitted to open anything that has a pry off cap that is under my roof.

Thanks for understanding,

Your wife, the beer snob

Winner's privilege and Monday Minute

Another blogger's answers to The Daily Dose of Reality's Monday Minute, made me want to play along, so here we go.

Monday Minute

1 - Ever take a shit in the woods?
Er, no.

2 - If you won $1,000, what's the first thing you would do with it besides give me a cut?
That would leave me with $9,990, enough to take my kids to Disney for a long weekend.*

3 - What's your favorite phrase?
I'm just plum fucking peachy.

4 - Fill in the blank - the world would be a better place if ______ left the planet.
insects and reptiles...and yes, I saw the bee I would settle with them leaving my neighborhood.

5 - How do you take your coffee or tea?
Tea, eeeuuw. I take my coffee with French Vanilla coconut creamer and agave nectar.

Over at My Mercurial Nature, she posted that winners can post twice today. And, I am a winner. I won Modern Mom's Perricone giveaway. Whoot! So, I am claiming my winner's multiple post privilege. Not that I needed a reason, but, it feels better to have one.

*Dude! I am in a sorry, sorry state. Maybe it was just the power of wishful thinking, but, I added nine grand to that prize money. It was more likely a combination of over medicating for my allergies and sleep deprivation. So...I guess with $990 I would take the family down to Universal for the opening of Hogwarts there. I suppose it might leave me enough change for a few fire whiskeys at The Three Broomsticks. Gah!!! I can't believe I did that. Thanks to Think Tank Momma for calling me out so I don't go down in history as the world's dumbest blogger.

You are what you eat

Can a person die from allergies, like a severe allergic reaction to be allergic? No? I didn't figure, but, the way I feel right now, I started to wonder. One of my adorable children asked if I ate Snow White's dwarves...or at least Grumpy and Sneezy. Kids...they're so cute, don't you think?

Looking like I ate a few dwarves, especially the 'you are what you eat' variety has me thinking that it is time for me to start climbing back on the wagon. It has been a rough year, Baby Girl's birth, my subsequent hospital stay, my husband's job insecurity, the step children induced drama, having three kids three and under while trying to stay on top of my three school aged children...has left me a shell of the person I once was. I need to start making myself a priority again.

Baby Girl will be one next month. My baby won't be a baby any more. I hate it. I see little tiny babies in a restaurant or a store and I want to sob. I don't want to not have babies around me. I also know on a different level, that my body couldn't handle another child. Nor perhaps could I. This year has been the most difficult of my life. I suffer from exhaustion like I never have before. I'm sure bringing up babies with Daddy so far away, is a contributing factor. The Little Lady will be two in July, and so I have been raising my family, and bringing up babies single handed for the last 20 months.

The sheer work involved in getting through my day is the largest contributing factor in letting myself go. I know it is so. Still, I need to change all that. I am going for a trim and to have my hair highlighted at the end of the week. I am also going to get a much needed mani/pedi. I have been shopping online for some new clothes, me being me, that means a few new snarky tee shirts. I have been watching what I eat a bit better than I had been. I am not exercising per se, my ankle isn't quite there yet, as a matter of fact, it protests loudly, but, I would like to start. It is time now that my baby is almost one, for me to start losing that 'new mom' pallor. Of course, if those babies would sleep through the night, it would help mightily with that.

Wish me luck guys. I have a feeling that I'm going to need it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Parenting fails

Not very often do I speak out about other parents, this time I am bending that rule.

My son came home from school and told me that he loaned $20 to his friend. This 'friend' lives a couple of doors down from us. I wasn't happy on several different levels. I like the boy to whom he loaned the money but at their age $20 is quite a bit of money. Loaning money to a friend, especially money that took a couple of months to save, can be trying for any friendship. I also found out that the loan was supposed to be a secret. Red flag! Why a secret?

I insisted that we tell his parents. I walked down to their door, and his grandmother pulled up just as I was about to knock. I told his grandmother that I just needed them to know that 'friend' had borrowed the money, because even though I am pretty relaxed as a parent (though they are not) I couldn't in good conscience allow secrets to be kept from the parents.

His mother knocked on my door, she was almost confrontational about it. She was adamant that her son wouldn't borrow money, and that they would be aware immediately if he had $20 because he is never out of their sight. I just calmly suggested that she night wish to ask her son about it.

She came back a few moments later to say that her boy admitted to owing mine the money when she told him that my son had knocked on their door to collect it. She further stated that her son would have to repay the debt on his own. They came back a little bit later with a $15 gift card to a store we don't usually shop at and $5. Granted, she asked my son if it was okay, while stating that the alternative was for him to wait until 'friend' earned enough allowance to pay the rest. My son agreed, mostly because he didn't want his buddy to be in trouble, but, he is bummed about it.

So...a few parenting fails here.

  • Lying to your child to catch him/her in a lie...FAIL!
  • She might have 'purchased' the gift card from her son, as they do shop there, instead of giving it to my son...FAIL!
  • Being rude to another parent who is trying to do the right thing? FAIL.
The buddy used the money his parents had given him to pay for his elective class fees, to buy tickets to an in-school sports event instead. He used the money from my son to pay for his elective. The reason that I wanted his parents to know, was because I had all sorts of crazy stuff going through my head. I worried about the child being bullied, or about him using the money to experiment with drugs, and even about him being afraid to tell his parents that he lost money. I would have wanted to know, so that is why I told the parents. I even made it a point to tell their son that if he needed money for school, I would be happy to loan it to him, or even give to him, just as long as his parents know. I understand being strapped for cash, I've been there. If he ever needs money for a field trip, etc., I will be happy to help if I can. I just don't want secrets.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

G.W.A. the Father Time edition

Dear Father Time,

You are being cruel to me as of late. You and fate have conspired for me to meet up with a couple of people I used to know, who are about a decade older than I am. I am shocked to see how 'old' they look. Now I am panicked that I have about ten good years left. Frightening. (It would have been nice to arrange for me to have been wearing make-up and *not* wearing my cleaning sweats.)

Then yesterday, as I looked at pictures of my 18 year old nephew, you sucker punched me. All I can see is the little boy who used to sit in my lap and talk to me. How did that happen Father Time? How did it happen that fast?

The true test of my mettle was to have my oldest comment, "Cousin S turned 18? Cool. I didn't know he was only 5 years older than me!" My oldest son can't be leaving me in 5 short years. I an not ready for this. I am not ready at all. When he was small, these years were so far from being anything but a hazy dream in my mind, I hate the sharpening clarity of my vision of the future. I hate it Father Time, and I'm not too crazy about you either.

I owe you a grudging thanks, for reminding me in a most unpleasant way, that the time to make memories is now.

So, thank you Father Time, you arrogant bastard.


Comparing my reflection, to those of my images taped to the mirror, trying to figure out how much deeper and longer my laugh lines are now.

Think Tank Momma is hosting her Gratitude With Attitude today. She needs some inspiration as you will see, even if you aren't wanting to join in and link up...leave a comment and help her get her mojo back.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Entry to petting

So...because I am batshit crazy, I got my 7 year old son a parakeet yesterday as an early (and only) birthday gift. He is mucho in love with the bird, so he is a happy camper, the little dude even offered to trade his planned birthday trip to Disney, in for the parakeet. I will admit that the bird is cute. My cats are eyeing his cage (hung from a hook on the ceiling for his own safety) with soulful abandon. My dogs seem inclined to just be jealous.

I also had to set up a new aquarium this weekend. One of the friggin carnival fish went belly up, and I didn't panic until one of my little guys started swimming funny, and now I am worried about dropsy. The fish that passed first, had a hard white mass on the side, which I thought to be a tumor, but, with my little guy acting poorly I decided to quarantine him and the other carnival fish. I moved my older healthier fish to a new tank. Pain in my osh gosh b'gosh. I am now $50 into the death of a free fish. Grrrr!!!

My daughter and oldest son are saving their money for new hamsters. They have been looking at a teddy bear and black bear hamster. My daughter has even found a castle cage for hers. Ugh! Just what I needed, a few more things whose shit I have to clean. (Then why the bird? I know, I know.)

I was miserable having to send my babies back to school today. I want it to be Summer already...gosh darn it!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

When was the last time you wore a toga?

It is pretty much official, I am in a funk. Just about everything overwhelms me right now. I am feeling terrible, a good portion of the 'terrible' has to do with the crazy pollen in the air here and my allergies. Then there is the roof which is still leaking, the faucet which is still dripping, the circuit breaker which trips every five seconds, the dryer which won't work properly because of the electrical problem, and the oven which is still broken. H's sprained finger, my broken nose, my sprained ankle, the Pink Eye, the fevers my small teething one has, and a whole bunch of other things. Losing so much food when the fridge went, made me terribly depressed. Hubby's job issues have me frightened again. The whole sleep deprivation and resulting exhaustion have turned me into a non functioning blob.

Right now, my eyes are threatening to close. I had a nap this morning, but, it did very little to help. I am so spent, that an hour or two of shut eye can't bring me back from this seeming point of no return. I am trying to gather enough strength to do the dishes and clean up. Hard to muster when your body betrays you by letting you fall asleep sitting up.


A friend sent me an invitation to a Toga birthday party tomorrow. It is the only thing that I have found laugh out loud funny in days. Do people my age still do that crap? How do people my age still do that crap? My reaction was, "You've got to be [bleeping] kidding me!" and should I be depressed that I wasn't even tempted to go?

4:30 a.m.

What do most people do at 4:30 in the morning?

Today is the first day this week that my Baby Girl has been asleep at this witching hour, or bitching hour, as the case might be. a special treat...vomit all over my bed courtesy of my three year old.

I sit here now, puked on, holding The Little Lady who has been fussing on and off and for the last couple of hours, after stripping my bed and turning my mattress in the dark.

My tummy is churning. Bad food? Or perhaps that icky barfed on feeling that only a shower and time can erase. Only time will tell.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A small step for Mom, a giant step for green cleaners everywhere

A new cleaning product that might just change my life.

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Spray. They have teamed up with Cleanwell to offer this product which is 100% as effective as any bleach based or other conventional antibacterial product. I am so happy! :)

They sure aren't paying me, so this isn't an endorsement of any sort, I'm just naturally this happy about germs killed...well...naturally.

My Target sells it for under $3.

I am such a happy Mommy. Think of an addict who gets a fix...that is me right now. Spraying down my kitchen and feeling that deep sense of contentment that only my relationship with 409 used to provide.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My blog name should be, "I Can Only Do Random."

I just ordered my new phone online. I have been holding out for a time when my children stop using my phone as a chew toy. I just can't hold out any longer. I ordered a blackberry. My oldest child has declared that he hates me and that more people like him, than like me, so he deserves a blackberry more than I do. While I am certain that he is correct, the chances of me shelling out the money for a 12 year old to carry a blackberry is slim to completely nonexistent. "Life is soooo unfair!"

I am also shopping, in a slow, planned, and orderly fashion for new living room and children's bedroom furniture. I have decided to replace the children's mish mosh of mismatched furniture with twin over twin bunks with trundles. Two beds will accommodate all six of my children. While I have high hopes that they won't necessarily 'need to' in the future, it is necessary for right now. Several Ikea organizers will be included in their remodels.

This Spring Break, I am trying to get my children on a much firmer, more reliable schedule. Last night the Baby Girl went to bed at 9:30 p.m., which I considered a small, but, mighty victory. I wasn't feeling so victorious at 3:00 this morning, nor at 7:00 when I handed her off to my first big child, out of bed. If I can manage to get them on a decent schedule, I will not be looking forward to Hubby visiting, because it is him encouraging them to stay up wayyyyy past their little bed times, which throws everything to hell to begin with.

Twelve year old sons are demon spawn. This morning I wrote a (somewhat) loving comment to a friend of a friend about her tween. Glad she caught me early, right now my advice would be, "Do you know any Gypsies? Pay them to take him." Twelve year old boys have pregnant women beat in the crazy hormone race. Ugh! Now I understand boarding school.

Okay...I am off to clean my floor, wash some clothes, and make lists (shocker) for my shopping day tomorrow! Y'all have fun.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Think Tank Momma

Dear Loving Family,

Thank you, it was wonderful that you talked to me about what to put in the Easter eggs for Hercules. I even lowered my standards and agreed to let him have conventional stuff as long as it was free of red dye, HFCS, and gluten. Sweetarts, Skittles, and Nerds DO NOT meet those criteria.

We talked about gluten free jelly beans, and gummy worms, lollipops and the like. We talked about where to find them, etc. Imagine my surprise when I am being pulled in ten different directions only to find my son chowing down on Nerds.

It isn't about you having to meeting H's needs, I don't expect that, it is about *telling me* you had changed the game plan. The next four hours that he spent as the 'child from hell?' Remember how impatient and pissy his behavior made you? Uh, it was your fucking fault. The fact that my day was ruined by it, lingering long into the night? That really sucked. It sucks even more that you blame him.

Next year when I tell you that we can't come, I hope you'll understand.




Dear The Little Lady,

You are going to be two in July. Sleep through the night already!!! Being up all night, every night is kicking my ass. You wake up your sister, who takes over when you finally sleep, and the combination is totally draining me. This two hours of sleep a night that isn't even consecutive, is rendering me useless.

I can't function like this. Prisoners of war have been broken by less intense sleep deprivation. Give me a break. I'm not sure how much longer I can go on like this.


Mommy, Momma, Mommia, MOMMMMMMYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Come play along. Swing by Think Tank Momma's site, grab the code, write your post, link it in her comments sections, and show her some comment love, to let her know you've done so. It's that easy!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lusting after major appliances and Easter

We've had an awesome few days. We have a new fridge. The old one has been relocated to the Florida room to be fixed at our expense and used as an extra...which we need...desperately. My new fridge fucking rocks my world, which should give you a glimmer as to how far I've fallen.

Is it just me, or is Pandora awesome for about an hour and then they cease to play anything you even vaguely like?

Friday I got brave with the ankle and took the kids to the Spring Festival at Whole Foods. I'm glad I did. So many of my kids won the cupcake eating contest that we turned a profit, they won $40 in gift cards combined. Fortunately, we only won two more goldfish at the penny toss. It was another amazing family time. I took scads of pictures. The kids all had a wonderful time. We had dinner and dessert. I even chanced a beer. It was a total cost of $15 for the seven of us.

Saturday the fridge came, and I had to resist the urge to sing, "I touch myself," when I saw the three awesome shelves on the door and the way it barely cleared the cabinet above it. I'm not the only one who remembers The Divinyls, am I?

Sunday we had Easter dinner at my grandparents' house. The children had a blast hunting Easter eggs, and dinner was great. It was nice to be able to sit and relax while other people were pulled in a million different directions by my offspring.

Today has been a funky day. I've felt 'off' all day. I think it might have been staying up all night before Easter to do 'Bunny Duty' and bake the gluten free 'buttermilk' loaf to make pineapple stuffing with. Lingering exhaustion seems to be a big theme around here as of late.

Tomorrow is 'Gratitude With Attitude' Tuesday with Think Tank Momma. I'm getting my letters ready. Can't wait!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Light It Up Blue

"A Proud Mom To Many" is going blue for autism awareness. Over the past few years, autism has flirted with my own life. A diagnosis of autism has been bandied about, casually rejected at times, stringently scrutinized at others, as an attempt to 'explain' my son. While doctors continue to argue about the 'right' label for my child, one thing that I know for certain is this...there are many families affected by autism. Those families deserve anything and everything that we can do to show our support for them. Stacey of Willowjak Boys, has some amazing suggestions for what we can do in support of Autism Awareness Month.

I will be honest with you. My thoughts that will follow, aren't going to be censored by my desire to not offend, or for any modicum of political correctness. If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea click away. If you aren't clicking away, please consider my intent, which isn't to hurt anyone, but to tell my story.

When I first heard "autistic" as a description for what might be wrong with H, I walked out of the doctor's office. I was certain that the doctor was crazy. Autism to me, meant Rain Man, and my son was definitely not anything like Rain Man. That was before I heard the word 'spectrum' in conjunction with autism.

I searched for a different doctor. I wanted one that was less prone to medicate and offer a glib diagnosis. It took quite some time. During that time, I learned quite a bit. I learned about autism, conventional medicine, homeopathic medicine, and lots of other things that the tiny streams and small tributaries of those large rivers led me to.

I met people with autistic children. I met the children themselves. I saw that I was ignorant about so many things. I was ignorant to everything that a mainstream doctor with a cookie cutter practice didn't tell me about. I was compelled by the parents I met along the way. I was able to identify with them, and their children, better than anyone else.

It is without a doubt that I can tell you that Hercules exhibits many of the same traits that autistic children have. Does that mean he is autistic? No, it doesn't. He might have ADHD, he might just be a 'high maintenance' child, or he might be something else. I can tell you that the things we have done to improve the quality of his life, and as a by product, our own...have all been suggested and then implemented after talking to our doctor, by friends who deal with autism daily. Controlling my son's yeast levels (or trying to) made a huge difference in his behavior. Going GFCF, practically gave me a different child. Certain supplements made dietary infractions less severe. Others helped him to sleep better. Yet more, helped to calm him down and allay some of his anxiety.

Parents of children with autism have become some of my favorite people, most trusted confidants, and my mentors. They are my friends. They are my family. They are a brilliant support system. They cared not, that we didn't 'know' what was wrong with our son, they cared that they could help. Whether is was to send me a recipe, tell me about their day, or recommend a book...the parents of autistic children have done something that the rest of us lay folks can't seem to do. They embrace their differences, offer unconditional love and support, and withhold judgement.

I am humbled by them. I am even more humbled by their children. The brilliance of their smiles that convey what their words might not. The intelligence that burns behind their eyes, solving puzzles, completing tasks, sometimes without offering any insight to the observer as to what is fueling their fires. The anguish that they wear, at times untouched by even their parents' compassion. The triumphs that they celebrate and strive for each day.

Don't be like I was, don't let Dustin Hoffman's role define what you know, ignorance is not bliss. I can't promise that you won't be sad. I can't promise that there is a happy ending for everyone. I can promise that you won't regret taking the time to better educate yourselves. I can promise that after doing so you will be compelled to contribute, even in a small way, as I am doing, to Autism Awareness Month.

Finally, I am going to give you some links to bloggers who have autistic children, where better to start than from the horse's mouth? Pick one or two and read their stories.

Have a drink with me, it's 5:00 somewhere...and then do me a favor

I hate to sound like a broken record, but, my ankle is killing me. It throbs constantly and I have O-N-E pain pill left. It is 3:00 p.m. on the first day of Spring Break, and I am going to open my last coveted bottle of Scrumpy's Cider. Maybe if I drink, I won't care so much about my ankle. To make myself clear, I am *not* driven to drink by my children. I am so happy, relieved (to tell the truth) to get them to myself for a little while. I wish I had been a SAHM when they started school, I think that I would have really loved to home school them. Maybe I'll home school the little ones. We'll see.

My aunt took pity on me and took me shopping today for Easter supplies for my babies. I got them small Whole Foods shopping bags in lieu of the Easter baskets that I always end up throwing away. I also found organic gummy bear packs, organic lollipops, gluten free Easter paper wrapped chocolates, all natural M & M knock offs, and gummy worms for their baskets. The children are also getting a 'special' item, H is getting a butterfly net, JB a notebook, etc. It will be a small thing this year because they'll end up with tons of stuff from my grandparents' house too. We are going over there for an Easter egg hunt and Easter dinner. I can't drive, so my aunt and uncle are coming so my aunt can drive us over in my truck. We can't simply ride with them because they have a standard size vehicle.

Tonight I need to make something other than Cheerios for dinner. Especially because my really awesome grandmother (she is, honest) heard that I was letting the children eat Cheerios, so she brought them wholesale size boxes of Honey Nut and Chocolate Cheerios. Not exactly what I was embracing with the addition of conventional cereal to their diets. The children however, are *loving* it.


Now, I want to send all of you over to Duct Tape and Bubble Wrap. My friend Alicia is freaking brilliant. She is so much like me, if I were smarter, kinder, and funnier. She has started Duct Tape and Bubble Wrap, and I would *really* like it if you all would go and say hello to her, maybe follow her, because she is an awesome Mommy. She has twin preschool aged girls and a newborn who was born a preemie, but, is making up ground fast.

You guys know that I don't usually point you in other directions, but, when I do, it's worth it. Right? Right.