Gretchen Schock shares her love of recipes, crafts and frugal living. She also speaks very opening about the challenges and triumphs of parenting a neurotypical child and a child on the Autism Spectrum. After a breast cancer scare in 2012, she decided to say goodbye to her nightly glasses of Chardonnay. It was time to get sober and live life with eyes wide open! The CocktailMom name remains, however with a new focus on healthy and authentic living.

4/29/2010

my new toy...meet sabine


I've really enjoyed reconnecting with bike riding in the past year but the bike I was riding, Juicy, well let's just say she's vintage. She has issues. She's not completely reliable. And when you like to ride 40 miles an hour down a hill,reliable brakes is exactly what you need!
So it was bound to happen.
I bought a new bike.
Meet Sabine.
I bought her at my local favorite bike shop, Arrow Bicycle. They were having a big bike sale and I just could not resist. I love supporting local shops, especially shops that give back to the community. The 2 owners, both named Chris, team up with the Special Olympics and also run clinics where they teach kids on the spectrum how to ride bikes. Now you know I want to support people who do that!!
In June I am biking 200 miles in 2 days from Toronto to Niagara Falls and then back again. I know Sabine and I are going to have some great rides this season.
Stay tuned...

4/28/2010

Today I am making the choice.


Today I am making the choice.

I am choosing to not allow the 4 year old's meltdown outside of the car to affect my entire day.

I am choosing to not allow the gray haired lady who yelled unkind words at me outside the window of her car to take over my morning.

I am cultivating kindness.

Today I am making the choice.

4/14/2010

FREE ABA Flash cards for your iphone


In honor of Autism Awareness Month, all of the ABA apps from Kindergarten.com will be FREE for the entire month of April.
From their website: At Kindergarten.com our flash cards are specifically created to stimulate learning and provide tools and strategies for creative, effective language building. Flash cards can be a great tool for fostering the mastery of new words, building vocabulary and conveying new concepts.
Here's the deal, ABA therapy is great for kids on the Autism spectrum but neurotypical kids can also benefit from this as well. Especially the Receptive Identification apps. Give it a whirl!

4/12/2010

Top 9 of 2009

I celebrated my birthday this past weekend and every year I like to take a moment and reflect on the year and celebrate, if you will, the things I have accomplished. So this year I made a Top 9 of 2009... because I adore making lists.
1. I biked 100 miles in one day, 9 hours actually.

2. decided that my happiness was important.
3. got a tattoo that I look at everyday and remind myself of it's meaning.

4. got certified to teach yoga, opening a whole new world within me.
5. competed in my third triathlon.
6. became a better mother.
7. I started "tweeting" and have been doing it for a full year now.
8. made quilts to adorn all of our beds.
9. reconnected with friends, becoming mindful of spending my moments with people I love and who bring me joy.

4/07/2010

Responsibility

Let me start by saying, change is never good for a kid on the spectrum. Logan has never dealt with change well. Normally it takes months to prepare him for something. Lots of conversations about whatever it is that is changing in his life. We've bought the same bed twice because when we moved it was easier to buy another than deal with the breakdown that Logan would have about sleeping in a different bed. And when I say breakdown...I mean total breakdown...the kind where no one is sleeping for days!!
That being said....this past weekend we moved.
HUGE change!
Lots of new things!
I am continually surprised by the amount of change Logan can endure now that he's older. He's able to tolerate so much more than he use to, I'm sure public school has been a huge help in this area. :)
I still have to prepare him weeks in advance, we still have to have a lot of conversations about whatever it is that is changing. The biggest difference now is that he has the language to ask questions and the ability to process your answers and then ask more questions.
Last night I could tell a bit of anxiety was washing over him. His voice sounds like he's about to start crying at any second. His eyes never remain fixed on any one thing. His body seems jittery.
I stop what I'm doing and ask him, "what is bothering you, Logan?"
There is a pause.
As there often is with Autism.
He replies, "I don't know how to get out of here."
His little 6 year old voice cracking a bit as he then bites his lower lip and I get a flash in my head of my future... of teenagers and cracking male voices.
"What do you mean sweetie?"
No reply.
I follow his gaze.
He's looking at the front door.
"Do you mean the lock?"
He nods his head fiercely so that his long, blonde hair swings in his face. The lock on the front door is very different from the lock on our other house.
"If something happens, I'll have to help Zane. He depends on me to do that." His big brown eyes beginning to pool with tears.
"Ok. Let's go over and practice it", I say wiping the tears that are forming in my eyes as well.
We spend a good 15 minutes locking and unlocking the door. Logan regains his confidence. His body becomes more relaxed. When he has done it by himself without any coaching he decides that he's done.
I remain standing at the door watching the two of them play together and my heart is full. So full because a kid who at one time barely noticed when someone entered the room, he was so withdrawn into himself, now understands and believes that other people are dependent on him.
He has a responsibility to himself, to his brother, to our family.
And in the world of Autism....that's huge.

4/06/2010

Spring has sprung


the bubbles are out.
long walks past bedtime.
discovery happening everywhere.
spring has sprung at our house.
How about yours?

4/05/2010

yeah he's mine


So often people see my sons and say they are spitting images of their father. Keep in mind my boys look completely different from each other, one blonde and brown eyed and the other brunette with blue eyes. I think this gender identification is pretty typical of people to say, if I had a girl I'm sure people would say she looked like me and Jon would be feeling the way I do. Do I find it annoying? A tad. I mean I was a part of their creation too. Don't I get dibs on something?

And then it happens...you see a part of you, a part that maybe you never noticed before. The boys recently had a "photo shoot" with their very talented Uncle Ryan and he got a lot of great candid shots of them being just simply them. And this is the shot...the one that I never noticed before...Logan has my stand out pinky! My sister and I both have pinky fingers that stand out naturally away from the rest of our fingers. Now I wonder if her daughters have our pinky's too.

4/01/2010

April is Autism Awareness Month



Too often I believe parents are scared of the diagnosis. When Logan was diagnosed it was because I was determined to have someone help me learn how to parent my child. The diagnosis gave me the ability to understand autism and it opened a window into my child's mind.

I have learned so much about the human spirit by being Logan's mom. I believe that my heart has gotten bigger and my level of kindness and tolerance has doubled. It's hard not to. Logan isn't equipped with filters. He is honest about everything, the concept of lying or telling "little white lies" is lost on him. He says what he thinks. I am learning authenticity from him. When he hugs you or tells you that he loves you it isn't because it's out of habit or because he knows it will make you feel better. It's genuine. It's honest. It's his truth.

If you've ever talked to a child on the spectrum about something that interests them, it's as if they know everything about it. And they do. When Logan finds a new interest he dives head first into it and seems to not come up for air for quite a while. We live and breathe that topic for weeks, sometimes months. He's had quite a few phases, butterflies, superheros (and still is) but I believe it started with trains. This was one of my first "ah-ha" moments of realizing that Logan was different from his peers. While the other little boys were just as fascinated with Thomas the Train, Logan's fascination reached a deeper level. He only wanted to read books about trains, he had every Thomas episode memorized word for word and would reenact them on his train table with his actual trains. Now if you give Logan the information in a way that his brain can understand he digests the knowledge at rapid speed. My mom bought him a plastic human body,a toy that you can dissect, possibly the coolest Christmas gift to date and Logan is completely engrossed in learning about the human body. We talk at length about bones and how food travels through our bodies. How brains work and here is the big one...how HIS brain works. He's becoming more and more aware of his differences as he gets older. And it's quite remarkable the adjustments he is making in order to live in this non-autistic world. Noise is a huge issue for him and for a while he would wear earmuffs, even in July at 100 degrees, if the noise was more than he could tolerate. Now instead of earmuffs he has decided that having long hair filters out the noise. It's amazing to me that he can tell the difference in his hearing from short hair to long hair. Think about that for a second. As a woman who's had long hair I honestly can't tell you that I noticed the difference in sound on days I wore a ponytail and on days when I didn't. The long hair I think is here to stay for awhile, he's using it to help him navigate his day to day. We were going through pictures and came across one of a horse and carriage in NYC and Logan was fascinated with the gear the horse was wearing. I explained to him why the horse has blinders on and he almost immediately made the connection of his hair in his face and how that is like blinders for him. Remarkable huh?

I'm not going to lie...I believe it's harder at times to parent a child on the spectrum than a nuero-typical child, I have both so I feel free to say that. But having a child on the spectrum in your life opens your eyes to all that you have been missing, or never took the time to notice. Logan has helped me grow as a person and I am so forever thankful to be his mommy.

Different can be pretty remarkable if you just take the time to understand it.

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