Saturday, February 27, 2010

And the winner is............ ME!

Woah Nellie! I got props from Jen at Noting Grace. She gave me a Kreativ Blogger Award!!! I think she may have given it to me because I'm so mad at her for moving to Vegas but, alas, I'll take it anyway!!!!

I was having a few weeks of blog dundrums..... you know...anyone who blogs must get in this funk, right? What to blog about? Time to actually blog? So this came at the right time for me. Gave me the "feel good" that I needed to push forward!

Here's the rulez....

1.Post the award.

2.Thank and mention the person who gave you the award.

3.Pass the award on to seven bloggers whom you think embody the spirit of the Kreativ Blogger Award.

4.Name seven things about yourself that others don't know.

5.Don’t forget to notify your seven Kreativ Bloggers about their AWARD and post links to their blogs.

My Kreativ Blogger Seven are: (in no particular order, of course!)

1. Right back at ya Jen. I don't know if that's "legal" to give it back to the person who gave it to you, but I am BLOWN AWAY by her creations. Check 'em out at Noting Grace. She hasn't even been at this blogging thing for that long and I'm totally addicted to everything she posts and everything she says and every project she does. And, I personally know she's good peeps and even though I might NEVER forgive her for moving away.........I'll always love her and look up to her and strive to be as clean and as organized as she is. (for the record, I will NEVER get there!)

2. Myra McEntire at Writing Finally. She's a great friend and pushes me to blog even when I don't want to. In fact, it's sorta her fault I started to blog in the first place. Even though most of her blog posts are over my head now (about being a "real" writer) I will always love her style and her voice and find something to laugh about. And that's important.

3. Evan Farmer. He's got his toes in a lot of blogs right now so I think the best place to find him is here at his official site. He used to be the host of TLC's While You Were Out. Now he's the host of CMT's Top 20 Countdown. Evan has dedicated his life to many philanthropic causes. Autism being one of them. We (myself hosting events or Autism Speaks) ask Evan to jump, and he truly says, "how high?" He gives and gives and gives and gives of himself. I am so proud and honored to call him a friend. You don't meet too many people like Evan in your lifetime. He is truly a special person.

4. Heather at The Life of Heather Leigh cracks me up with every single post. And that's an important quality in a blog. The thing is, Heather and I went to high school together. We haven't communicated in YEARS and found each other again via facebook. We were both sort of english/writing nerds back then. She for the newspaper, I for the yearbook. Reading her blog is like a nostalgic journey for me. Even after all these years, Heather's writing still has the same raw, honest quality it did back in high school when we didn't know any better than to write what we were REALLY thinking!

5. Southern Savers is my best friend EVER. For real. If you live in the south, make this your BFF too. She shows you how to use coupons to the MAX and get tons of stuff for pennies or even FREE. I don't know how she does it but I love to take advanage of her work! Thank you, Jenny!!!!

6. Diary of a Mom ~ Jess is an autism mama like me. I just read her blog.... in awe. I love her writing. I love her soul. I love her passion. She's a kindred spirit although I've never met her. I don't need to. I know she is.

7. And............ Kari at Ucreate is the SHIZ-BOT! That blog is OFF THE CHAIN.... there are so many amazing, creative, inspiring ideas that when I'm on the phone with my BFF in Michigan and we're on this blog at the same time, we think our heads are going to explode! We are both screaming at the same time, "LOOK AT THIS!!!" "CHECK THIS OUT" "HOLY PAJAMAS!" We can't get to the projects fast enough!

Yikes, seven things about me that you might not already know. Hmmmmmmmmmmm since I'm such an open book this might be a challenge.

1. I love Justin Timberlake in a bad way. I find him ridiculously sexy. Yeah, he's a good singer, (falsetto to rapper and a whole lot in between!) sure he's pretty cute, yep he's got the dancing thing down PAT, but the funny. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh the funny. I just love that he can laugh at himself and put himself out there and be SO okay with it. THAT is what makes him so ***SMOKIN HOT*** to me. (And? I'm 12)

2. Freshly pedicured toes and flip flops make me frighteningly happy.

3. I lived in California for one year and that's all it took for me to become a "California Girl." I am in awe standing near the ocean. Somehow, some way I will get back there again. Even if it's to retire to a cardboard box or giant seashell on the beach, I'll be there.

4. I love to read chic lit. Sometimes bordering on trashy romance. Yep. There, I said it. I'm actually a bit addicted to it. Sure, I read "smart" books about parenting and autism, and self help and all of that.........but at the end of the day, I LOVE to get lost in a good story that can take me away from my own life for a little bit. Emily Giffin is one of my favorite authors.

5. I'm an only child. I'm wayyyyyyyyyyyy jealous of those who have siblings and really really really wish I had some. It makes me nuts when siblings fight (as adults) because y'all don't even know how lucky you are to have each other. My boys are best friends, they really, really are and that is something that makes my heart burst with joy and pride.

6. I cannot, absolutely CANNOT go to sleep without a sleeping mask on. I have worn one since I was about 14 years old. Now it's as if my eyes don't know how to stay shut unless I'm wearing one. In a pinch I've been known to use a bandana.

7. My goal is to make at least one person laugh each day. If I exceed that goal, I'm doing REALLY well!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Life is....

sometimes... just life.

And you do your best to get through it. Sometimes we say, "one day at a time." And sometimes we say,

"one hour at a time."

Because that's all you've got. And you know what?

That's ok.

So right now, at this time of year when we're all in the winter funk and we're wishing and hoping for more sunshine and more hours in the day........I say..... it's ok to just do your best to get by. You don't have to be super parent or superwoman or superman every single day.

Just get through.

The sun also rises. The sun'll come out tomorrow... and all that jazz.

And also? The laundry will still be there tomorrow, so will the dishes, so will the dust, so will the bills, it will all still be there. So just get through today doing the best you can.

And be ok with it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I've mentioned before that Luke is an awesome eater. He's got about 6 total things on his list that he will eat. At all. Period. I know most of you autism parents out there feel me on this one.

One of the things that Luke will eat is waffles. For awhile we had him eating homemade, organic, loaded with sneaky stuff waffles. That was good. And then somehow, someway, we switched to Eggo ONLY waffles. And for about the last year and a half we've been regularly eating, "Waffles with syrups in a bowl." He like us to cut up the waffles and then he dips the pieces in a little bowl of syrup. So "waffles with syrups in a bowl" has become part of the vernacular at the Schmidt house.

The other day I was re-organizing the pantry in all of my spare time and the good old waffle iron was sitting on the island. Luke spots it and says, "I want square waffles please." (Waffle iron = square waffles. Eggos = round.) I say, "Luke you'll have to ask daddy if he'll make you square waffles." (In our house, Jeff is the MASTER of waffles, it's a Schmidt family tradition super secret recipe and they are crazy good, but I digress). So Luke wanders over and asks Jeff if he'll make square waffles. "Maybe later."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha autism parents out there, can I get a LOL for how well "Maybe later," works with our kids?

Jeff turns to me and says, "I just cleaned the kitchen I am NOT making waffles, he can eat Eggos!!!"

I chuckle to myself and head upstairs. Let's see Daddy handle this one.

As I'm upstairs shuffling laundry back and forth......... I can hear it.

"Square waffles please."
"Maybe later"
"I want square waffles please"
"Not right now"
"Dad, can I have square waffles please?"
"In a little bit"
"Dad, square waffles, in the shiny one?" (shiny silver waffle iron)

So I'm just folding laundry in my bedroom when that familiar smell starts to creep up the stairs.


And I don't mean Eggos either.

A few minutes later I come downstairs to Luke blissfully eating his square waffles. I say...
"Wow Luke, you are soooooooooooooo lucky! What did Daddy make you?"

He's quiet.

(We're working on Luke being able to answer questions so I decided to push a bit)

"Luke, what did Daddy make you?"

Another beat of silence.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Speaking of a movie review

I just stumbled upon this fabulous blog. My friend Tammy is a photographer and member of a camera club here in TN. A few weeks ago, a new book was featured.... about autism. (Really?) So she told me about it. And I googled it and not only found the book, which can be found here but also the author/creator/brainchild of the book here. Her name is Leisa Hammett and she's an autism mom like me, but I'm guessing she's a little higher on the autism food chain because a) her book is published and b) she got a "press copy" of the Temple Grandin movie! Below is an excerpt from Leisa's blog, but I strongly invite you to go visit it for yourself.

Leisa's Review of the Temple Grandin movie

Whenever autism is portrayed in the popular media, seasoned parent advocates become leery, skeptical. After 13 years on the journey, I've learned repeatedly that in the end, It's All Good. No matter how inaccurate, offensive or off-the-mark the coverage, it means one more person (times many) hears about autism. That's when those of us who go about living with the disorder, advocating for people on the spectrum, trying to make the world a better place for our differently abled, carry on as we always do. Aiming to live and tell our story authentically with as much grace as we can muster (and sometimes we can't and don't,) meanwhile "creating awareness, education, working toward positive change."*

It took "a parent"--Emily Gerson Saines--to justly create HBO's special on the most famous person with autism. Temple Grandin, the movie, premieres this Sat., February 6. Nine-years in the making, Saines did it right. Sensitively. Creatively. Temple was portrayed as Temple. A certifiably gifted woman with high functioning autism who is undoubtedly odd, but not the freak so many during her childhood and young adulthood thought. And in doing Grandin justice, Saines gave just exposure to the rest of us and our truth: autism is odd, enigmatic, awkward. In most every way. But also a gift in it's different-ness. If we are open to seeing beyond the barriers and obstacles--as we neurologically typical people, or "typies," might define them--there lies a gift of their being in our world.

A few in Grandin's life recognized that gift. One, her boarding school science teacher--played by David Strathairn--who remained her mentor throughout her college, graduate, postgraduate and early career years, as she became an expert in animal husbandry and began to design what would amount to half of the humane cattle handling facilities in North America. The others included her aunt, on whose Arizona cattle ranch Grandin first built her famous squeeze-calming machine. And then, her aristocratic, fiercely determined mother. Both are depicted beautifully by veteran actresses, Catherine O'Hara and Julia Ormond, respectively. Grandin is expertly portrayed by Claire Danes, who mastered the autist's strange gait and other awkward body language; plus her loud, odd speech cadence, complete with the long "i's," which betray Grandin's northeastern roots.

Some of the approximate two-hour movie's plot was fictionalized. The drama was based on Grandin's first two books about her life: Emergence and Thinking in Pictures, both which I read more than a decade ago. Some details I could not remember from the books I've read by, and from the lectures I've heard from, and personal conversations I've had with Grandin over the years at conferences and autism-related events. I do not recall the depth of cruelty she suffered at every turn. From the psychiatrist who told her mother Grandin was autistic and then added the popular interpretation of the time, the 50s: infantile schizophrenia, and further insult, blamed the mother's coldness as the cause and deemed institutionalization as the only treatment. (Grandin's mother, Eustace Cutler, who refused institutionalization, writes about these personal horrors in her book.) Grandin ended up in a boarding school for high school because constant taunts prompted her to slug a student. The bullying, ostracizing and catcalls would continue throughout boarding school, college and on the cattle lots where her brilliance was mocked by her sexist peers and the majority of her supervisors. Even while the press began to cover her work.

The film's well-penned slogan: "Autism Gave Her a Vision. She Gave It a Voice." More than a decade after Grandin spoke up and re-engineered cattle handling equipment (for vaccinations and eventual slaughter) for more humane treatment, she began to give voice to autism. And while her work with animals is extremely significant, perhaps her even greater contribution was helping others understand her and the now more than 750,000 people in the United States, alone, living with autism.

Anyone who has seen and heard Grandin speak more than once is amazed to witness what the movie gives testament to: her ability to learn and adapt to a neurotypical world. From year to year, her voice softens, her engagement with individuals and audience deepens, her sense of self and humor broadens.

"Temple Grandin," the movie, is an enthralling look at an amazing woman who has overcome great odds in her life. The eccentricity of a different thinking mind gave a brutish industry a better way to conduct itself. Her autism could see how to engineer the cattle handling equipment and also how the animals with hyper-sensitivities kin to her own autistic ones reacted with the facilities. While Grandin may only represent a small portion of the autism population, with advances, others are joining her ranks to live successful and productive lives within society. And for those who don't master those ranks that society deems most valuable, with her own life, through her books and lectures, Grandin gives us the gift of a road map to understand, guide and help our children become their personal best.

*"creating awareness, education, working toward positive change"--my personal autism-advocacy life motto.

ME TOO! I LOVE THAT!!!!!!!!!