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…Here comes Friday for the win on a long, drawn out week. But wait, not so fast, said the weather.  From listening to the weather that morning, I knew that there was a line of storms coming in the afternoon.  I thought all the witches left Halloween night, so why a tornado….?!?

Jenny was off from school on Friday, so after taking Emma and Vivian to school, and running to Target, I headed home with my little coughing man to spend some time with my best teenager.  We hung out as the Baby Shawn napped and then headed out for a quick lunch at the best place – Panera Bread, of course.  I had some gorgeous lunch dates!

After lunch, we noticed the skies were getting darker and while picking Emma up from school, it started to rain.  Once we got home, it started to rain a little more, then I got a message from my step mom asking if we were OK.  So I turned on the news to find that there was a Torcartoon-1296854_1280.pngnado Warning in the area, so I told Jenny if I called for her to get in the bathroom, quick!  I covered all the windows but the kitchen window so I could see a little of what was going on outside.

It got pretty rough looking out and then there was a a strange calm.  This was just after the meteorologist explaining this certain occurrence he saw on the radar where a strong line a thunderstorms will come through then a calm, and it start a spin in the atmosphere, and poof, a tornado begins.

Shawn got stuck in some horrendous traffic trying to pick up Vivian from school.  The wonderful staff at Vivian’s school took care of our girl until he got there.  The roads were horrible with downed lines and accidents.  But Shawn and Vivi made it home, nearly two and half hours late, but safe, thank the good Lord above.

 

 

 

 

Halloween at Our House This Year

We have a tradition at our house of coming home that on Halloween, we get everyone home from school, get pizzas, then go trick or treating!  However, this year ended up ittle different than year’s past…

45288717_1163301887161933_8676536963936813056_oWe had a funky cough going through the house, but it was never a full cold or sickness for anyone, just a funky cough…. well, until Shawn seeemed to get sick.  Emma and Vivi already had it for  days, so they were no longer contagious. But poor Shawn got sick and got ssiicckk.  So Wednesday morning I took him to the pediatrician, and it was confirmed, yep…RSV and an ear infection.  He spent the majority of the night in bed with me with a fever and a ratchety cough.  And I was to be prepared for it to get worse, I was told?  Aww, I felt so bad for my poor little man.

So, since I had to take my sick little dude to the pediatrician, Shawn took off work and took Emma and Vivian to school.  I was a bit bummed because I was going to try to see Vivi in her Good Character Parade at school.  But as I was told, Vivi refused to let her teacher put her costume on her anyway.  Ah, my strong willed children, at it again.  We had no problem getting that costume on her at home though, so…?

After getting my Baby Shawn home from the pediatrician, I had a few minutes, and since Shawn was home to pick up Emma and Vivi from school, I desperately wanted to finish my little project for Vivi.  I wanted to make little cards for her to give in exchange for treats, since she is unable to speak.  The benefit to the cards, hopefully, is bifold – it reforces the use of cards in exchange for a preferred item (in this case, candy) and it will hopefully spread the public awareness about autism.  The card reads “Happy Halloween, I have Autism which can make it hard to speak.  Please accept this card as a Thank You for the Treat!” If you are interested in using these cards for your little one, please contact me and I can send you the template!

Since Baby Shawn was sick, he stayed home with me and Jenny, who decided to dress up a little herself in cosplay as Undertale Sans.  Dad took Emma, who dressed up as a very cute bee and Vivi the good fairy to a Trunk of Treat.  Good thing I had backup to help me answer the door at home, I don’t know what I would have done if I was by byself, the whopping two times the door bell rang.

We had pizza that night, but not order out, I got some from the grocery store and baked them in oven.  I actually prefer that over the delivery, as its not nearly as greasy, and you can add a few toppings if you want, and the best reason, its cheaper!

Happy Halloween!

 

Halloween Party at the Y!

We love our love our Hernando YMCA.  Of course it’s a great place to go if you want to workout or join a group exercise class, but really the YMCA is so much more.  Our local Y has a great Kid Zone that our little ones enjoy playing in, and that actually gives us a little bit of respite if needed, if we’re not in the mood to workout or hang by the pool that day.  But the Y also has a TON of other stuff too — a variety of classes from arts and crafts to nutrition classes to special events for teens on Friday Nights.

But this was a special Halloween Party for the kiddos, with lots of activities, a haunted house, and fun, fun, fun.  Even though I wasn’t able to attend with my littles, the report I heard back from Dad and the children was that it was a fun, fun time and definently worth the experience!  Here’s the “best” pic before they left for their Hallowen at Y adventure! (yes, that was the best one..)

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I can’t believe it…my sweet baby boy turned two years old last week! You know, it seems like just yesterday I was carrying him in my belly, and I could feel him kick me when I  stopped moving.  He loved movement, and let me tell you, it was a good prediction on my part, that he would be love movement outside the womb, too.  As an infant, he loved to be rocked, danced with, walked, and put in  the swing at times.  And now, he loves to move, run, climb stairs, crawl, and try to do everything his big sisters can do.

I am very proud of the little man Baby Shawn is becoming – he’s super smart, inquisitive, interested in exploring the world, already learning and he already knows some of his ABC’s and 123’s, is polite and says ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ is social, and super loving (especially to his mama).  We are very attached to mama.

With Grandma and Grandpa in town until just before his birthday, Baby Shawn basically had two days worth of birthdays and birthday cakes.  And of course he enjoyed every moment of it!  We still didn’t quite catch on the to blowing the candle out thing (and part of that may have been my fault, I put a little star sparkler on his cake too, it was neat and I had never seen those before). But we certainly knew what that casfor when we picked it up from Publix, and full-on meltdown when it went into the refirgerator and not our mouth because it was the middle of the day and quite time to celebrate with the “car cake.”  So I was blessed with hearing “I wananana car cake car cake wannanana car cake” for about 20 minutes straight until he wore himself enough to take a nap, poor birthday boy.

For the exquisite birthday dinner, we had leftovers from Grandma and Grandpa visiting and the family eating out much more often than usual. Which, to be honest, for kids, both the eating out, and the leftovers from eating out are both a treat from the usual “homemade boring food.”  They’ll learn one day that the homemade food that is made with love and car is much, much better.  But anywho, after dinner, we sang, as Baby Shawn calls it “Happy Day,” ate cake and opened all the fun presents. Lots of cars, airplanes, trains, and a pretend grill!

Here’s some of our silliness post cake and presents!

Happy Birthday my sweet, Shawn Michael II! I love youso very much!

That’s write…errr….right!  As if I needed more things to do, I decided to do something for myself and that I enjoy doing and become a contributing writer for a local Moms Blog!

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The Tampa Bay Moms Blog is a parenting website/blog written by Tampa Bay area moms (like me!) and is focused on keeping Mommas and Daddys in the know on activities around town, provide sound parenting adivce and give encouragement to one another.  It’s nice because the contributing writers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, live in different neighborhoods throughout the Tampa Bay area, yet we all ahev the same goal – to come together and provide a great blog!

My first blog post for TBMB, How a New Florida Momma Navigates Free VPK, It’s Quicks and Easy, can be found following the link.

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I hop you will take a few minutes to read my blog and peruse the Tampa Bay Moms Blog website as it has lot of cool infomation and other blog posts that are most definently worth reading!

Oh, and let me know what you think of my my very TBMB blog post!  I would love to know your thoughts!  Thanks!

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[…Part I…That Moment {I Found Out an Old Friend/Colleague Completed Suicide}]

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…as I mentioned, suicide is a very personal subject for me, and has touched, entered and affected my life in more ways than I can or care to count. So this subjected post had to become a two-parter.

When I read my friend’s message that Ru had taken his life, I was a stunned – I was surprised to see a message at all from her really, we aren’t that close, especially since I moved to Florida. And for the news to be about him. And for it to be that kind of news.

Let’s take roll the tape back twenty or so years.  And start my story where it really begins.  It was 1998, in the late summer after I graduated high school, that my own mother died by taking her own life.  That whole time period surrounding her death is a blur, I remember few specific details – I’m positive that’s my brain protecting itself from the trauma of it all.  I have a specific memory of standing in the outer hallway of the funeral home, next to the sign in book, but all the other memories of the funeral are vague and slight.  I specifically remember riding up to the burial site, behind the car my Grandmother was in, watching her golden hair swing as the car turned through the curvy back roads. And seemingly most painful of the reality bites moments at the time, I remember my two high school best friends, sitting on my bed, telling me, quite emotionlessly that they were sorry but there was nothing they could do for me because they were about to leave for college [in state, within 30 miles away, mind you], and goodbye.

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Obviously my mother’s suicide is a trauma in my life that has changed the way I am and who I am.  I always say goodbye.  I always say I love you. I’m sensitive, shy, keep many things and emotions to myself.  Everything we experience in life changes us in some way, minuscule or gigantic.

Shortly thereafter my mother’s suicide, in the winter of 1999, a best friend and someone who I also dated, Marc, jumped off the Bay Bridge.  We volunteered at the Maryland City firehouse together in Anne Arundel County.  That same jurisdiction had men searching the cold Chesapeake Bay waters for his body for days and never found him.  This time too, seems to be a blur, but I do remember walking into the Memorial Services, in this huge church, and it was packed with firemen, dressed in their blues, it was hundreds of people.13178978_10206358509498481_8081055669920174784_nI was heartbroken, I lost another best friend. Different terms, but again, how could I not see? I was a mere 19 this time, still naive as could be, especially because between my mother’s death and Marc’s death, I pretended like everything was ok, that nothing bothered me, that life was good.  Maybe this was part of being naive, maybe this was a strange part of grieving.  But I definitely still didn’t understand how complex suicidal behavior and mental health issues were.  I had always thought Marc was depressed, but looking back now and understanding so much more, I think he had a personality disorder, probably one of the Cluster B disorders.

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And lastly, because of many traumas, struggles, and my own depression, I too have attempted suicide.  So I personally understand the hopelessness my lost loved ones felt in those last moments.  In a way that makes a little easier, but in reality, it makes losing so many to suicide so much worse and more painful.

I share my story because I want others to know that if you feel depressed, if you’re struggling, you’re not alone. And it’s ok to reach out for help. PLEASE reach out for help. Call a friend. Call a family member. If you can’t any of them, call 911, they will help you.  I have also listed some resources below that are helpful if you are in need.  But please, don’t give up.  It’s always darkest just before sunrise.

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National Suicidal Prevention Hotline – The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of 161 crisis centers that provides a 24/7, toll-free hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

 

afspAmerican Foundation for Suicide Prevention – The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a voluntary health organization established in 1987. It funds research, runs educational programs, advocates for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention, and supports survivors of suicide loss.

 

Welcome to the blog land of All the Pieces of My Heart…redesigned!

I think I may have gone through about ten blog designs, I mean the entire design process on WordPress, and published them too, then didn’t like finished product.  Finally, I found a theme that worked well for me, and I took my sweet time designing a blog the exhibits my and my children’s personality.  I even explored Fiverr, and got myself and cool little logo – I designed on paper and sent it to a graphic designer – I’m rather pleased with the results!

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So, anyway, if you’re new here, let me first break down the meaning of my blog’s name – All the Pieces of My Heart is meant to represent my family.  The ‘pieces’ are my family members.  I decided to choose pieces, like puzzle pieces because three of my four children are autisic and the most widely known image to represent autism is the puzzle piece.  And then my a heart to represent my family because they are everything to me — I wake get out of bed for my children.  My family and my children make my heart beat strong for life and for a cause every moment of the day.  They’ve saved me.

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All the Pieces of My Heart is basically a personal blog written my me, a stay at home all over the place, busy like crazy taking care of it momma, of what happens when you put a working military Dad, busy Mom, teenage autistic daughter, autistic eight and six year old girls, and one very-busy discovering the world two year old little boy under one roof.  Usually not one minute of life is dull. Or quiet. Or sometimes even believable.

I also like to write about more of the mundane bloggy things that other moms or humans like to write about too, like recipes, giveaways, crafts, reviews, being cheap (becuase I find it fun as a hobby).

Anyhoo, welcome again.  Enjoy the show!

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Scattered Pieces

Faith, Hope, Love, and a long incarceration. This is our story.

*UNBREAKABLE QUEEN'S LIFE LESSONS DIARY*

Breaking Free From The Past, In Hope For A Bigger & Brighter Future

All The Pieces of My Heart

Chronicals of My Blended & Utterly Unique Family: 3 Daughters on the Spectrum & One Rambunctious Son