Thursday, February 24, 2011


Say hello to the newest member of my random cookware collection: The SafePan. I seriously hope this feller is as safe as it claims and that it stands up to my abuse the test of time - it cooks like a non-stick dreamboat.

My first subject? Buckwheat pancakes a la Funky Food--Feeding Kids Allergic to Food.

Buckwheat Pancakes

1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tarter
1 1/2 cups milk of choice or water
3 T oil of choice

Preheat nonstick skillet. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend until combined. Pour spoonfuls onto the griddle and cook until the tops are bubbly and edges are brown. Turn and cook until lightly brown.

I used vanilla hemp milk and ended up adding just a scoatch more to thin the batter. These were light and fluffy - the closest you'll get to the real thing without gluten, eggs, dairy, corn, or soy.

Whisk, sizzle, flip - piece of (pan)cake.

Dinner is served.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Song in My Head

You were a song in my head,
The warmth of the sheets in my bed.
A story forever told, but never old,
A warm arrival never left so cold.

Really, what is with the scripting? I mean, I know what the experts (insert maniacal laughter) have to say about it. But what do the real experts you parents make of it? How about those of you who have only heard the word - how do you translate it?

Jack's scripting has evolved, it's "fading" on it's own. It started so young, and at a time when I was desperate for some WORDS, that I never tried to dissuade him from doing it. Despite what I've read, I don't notice it being a self soother or stim for him. I perceive it as more of a release of whatever is rolling around in that brain of his. You see, I do it ALL the time. I have a non-stop reel of music flying through my mind and, when the mood strikes, I belt it out, hum along, whistle... Is THAT scripting?? I think so. It's just wrapped in a socially acceptable bow.

The hubs tells me his mind is silent. Hubs is very logical and very intelligent and finds it unbelievable that I come with my own never ending soundtrack. I had to facebook poll the topic once just to prove to him that I wasn't abnormal. Which is really my point, I believe scripting is NORMAL. There, I said it. In comes in different shapes and forms, some repeat a word right when they hear it, others prefer to talk about certain topics (uh - don't we all, especially us *ahem* bloggers), but it's communication nonetheless.

The only stumbling block to this belief of mine, is the ever present general public (gah!). Don't get me wrong, when Jack announces, "You can't count on ANYONE. Especially your heroes!", I don't expect someone to know what to say. But at least give the kid a pass... What if he had come up and sang "Down came the rain and washed the spider out."? He'd probably achieve a smile, maybe even applause. But bust out a lyric from his current favorite movie (The Incredibles btw) and he's likely to get a blank stare......even more likely? I'll get a look that says What's up with that?!

Don't blink, don't close your eyes,
But most of all don't apologize.
It's me who's got the demons to wrestle now.

This isn't always the case, of course. We do have some Incredibles of our own in this life. People who have conversed with and listened intently to Jack even when his entire language was jargon. Sometimes, it's really hard for me to experience anything other than that type of love and acceptance. There have been days when we haven't left the house just because I wasn't particularly in the mood to either a) educate people (bleh!) or b) smile and nod while feeling misunderstood. I get that it's different............but it isn't unacceptable. Even if you don't personally know an individual with autism, special needs, delays. You will. The statistic is 1 in 110 children who are diagnosed with autism now, 1 in 70 boys. And then there are the many children, like Jack, that don't qualify for a diagnosis but don't fit the "normal" mold in your mind. Embrace and accept these individuals as a valuable piece of your community. If it were your loved one, you would hope for the same.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Progress Report

A year ago, progress looked like this. Answering questions, spontaneous speech in any form, those were big milestones! You'll see that his biggest struggle with language is those PESKY prepositions. He interchanges them, so sometimes he gets it right but often times it's of in place of with, etc.

You'll notice he still needs work on using a "helper hand" when he tries to hang the hand towel up. This is one of those milestones that we're working on, it coincides with "crossing the midline". He tends to use one hand at a time, whichever hand is closest to the task. This skill is an important neurological exercise as well.

But HEY, this is conversation folks! And for the record, Harvey is fine.

Also on the progress front, the ability to futz around with his brother!!! (this is progress for the both of them!) They are entertaining themselves, to the point where I feel the need to go see exactly what they're up to. I've been regularly catching them in this play - a search for chocolate. What I didn't catch on spy cam was Jack playing fetch with Harvey.....and yes, he will totally fetch for faux chocolate. Oh, and we lay in those hammocks alllll the time. Not.

Theyz lookin' for you, bunny.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mouths of my babes

Me: (putting clean sheets on bed) Being a mama is hard work!
Jack: So, um, tomorrow you are going to look like a man?

Buh dum chh!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My face, My fears

Prior to mamahood, I worked in skin care. An esthetician, if you're feeling fancy. Once I got knocked up I stopped putting all that toxic shtuff on my face. Sleep deprivation and screaming children eventually nudged me to use an eye cream and a few other things from this line which I love. BUT, no amount of pumpkin enzyme or apple pectin is going to wipe out sun damage, pregnancy pigmentation, and deez lines. Now that I'm done with the baby making and the breastfeeding (woot) I'm starting a hefty line called Obagi. It ain't organic.

So, if in the next few weeks, you see something like this stroll by:


It's probably me.

Not surprisingly, irrational fears have already run the gamut. What if my face touches Jack's? What if he sleeps on my pillow? Will he get retin a and hydroquinone poisoning? If I wash my hands really well after I apply it it'll be okay. Right?? Maybe this will give me the kick in the ass I need to walk Jack back to his bed in the middle of the night... ETC. It's a sickness.

My plan is to just wear the products during the day. Whatever eases the insanity, right? Right???

He's not tired.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What's in a name??

Jennifer Juniper lives upon the hill,
Jennifer Juniper, sitting very still.
Is she sleeping ? I don't think so.
Is she breathing ? Yes, very low.
Whatcha doing, Jennifer, my love?

Are you often asked "Is that your real name?" or better yet, "Is that your stripper name or something?".....No? Just me? It's okay, I've embraced it. Grade schoolers loved my name: "Juniper?? Like the planet?". You real life friends o' mine know the history (I think) but all blogospherians, this post's for you.

My dad and my mom were a coupla young hippie types when they discovered I was on the way. Seeing as they were raw foodies who hadn't conformed to society (at all) and planned on a natural birth, they traveled from Southern Cali to Summertown, TN. Their destination? The Farm (do explore their site -it's totally far out). They made their trek in a VW bus, with their cat. VW's are cool.....and cold, I've been told the cat's water froze along the way. Once at the farm they settled in, contributed, and prolly smoked their weight in weed while they waited for my birth.

This just oozes my youth...

Gerrie-Sue was the midwife who delivered me, hence my middle name. Photographs are my evidence of a time I can't recall. Tiny baldling being spoon fed carrot juice, wearing hand washed and line dried purple tie-dyed cloth diapers, baby back-packing through the woods. And lots of nekkid, which, if you've spent much time around here, you'd agree must be genetic. Soon after that, my dad became a single parent. Most of my memories kick in around then - adopting a stray kitty, a hiking trail smothered in ladybugs, Dr. Bronner's, Mr. Rogers, carob, granola, and Bungalow Bill in our big green V-dub.

That's a pretty special guy right there.

Later, that big green bus acquired an "I Jesus" sticker and my dad met and married his dream lady when I was almost eight (cue Brady Bunch theme music). I got two insta-siblings out of that deal and they had my two little brothers not long after. That's how we went from a twosome to a big weird happy in our own right kind of family.

So where did the name Juniper come from? I haven't exactly gotten a clear answer. Classic right?!


How you doin'?

Here's how we're doin' with supplements. From left to right:

Digest Right Digestive Enzymes - Jack gets one in watered down juice with each meal/snack.

Perma Clear by THORNE - Three per day, morning, afternoon, and night. These are gut healing supplements due to their amino acid and probiotic content. Plus, they include quercetin which is a natural antihistamine. I'm able to mix these in with his beverages too.

Vitamin D3 - I give each of the boys one of these in the morning.

Children's DHA (cod liver oil) by Nordic Naturals - Along with the vitamin D the boys each get four. They love them!

Kirkman Spectrum Complete Powder - A great, well rounded, multivitamin. I give Jack half a dose in the morning and half a dose in the early afternoon. Dissolves really well and tastes okay enough for Jack to drink. (yeah, by day's end - he's HYDRATED)

Kirkman Nu-thera EveryDay Companion Powder - This gives Jack the added calcium, magnesium, MolyB, etc that is lacking in his diet and isn't fully provided in his multi. I split this into three or four mini doses throughout the day. Calcium prefers to be absorbed in smaller but more frequent amounts.

Homeopathic Remedies - These are dosed to both boys in the morning and evening. One nearly tasteless drop in the mouth, easy.

I had slacked off on some of these around the holidays and then had a little "aha moment" where I realized (HELLOOO) that Jack is in no way getting enough calcium, that's when I got more rigid with the companion powder and I FOR SURE noticed that he was feeling better. Of course I'd prefer that he get his vitamins from food sources but his allergies make that impossible. Good quality supplements are another aspect of having allergies/intolerances. It has taken a lot of experimenting to strike a balance in this department - I think we finally made it!

What's your favorite supplement? And why??

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's Miasm Time

Jack is on his third miasm, tuberculosis. I try to give the remedies, and then when I start to see what I think may be symptoms, I look up the miasm to see if the symptoms correlate. This is my way of avoiding a horoscope affect, looking for what I've read. Day two of taking the remedy, Jack began tossing and turning in his sleep which is uncharacteristic. He has also had some funky poops (and you know that messes with my head). So, I looked it up:

Tuberculosis – the essence of this disease state is restlessness, the
desire to escape from the encroaching limits of the psoric state. There is no
sense of peace in the present, but a continual need to move, preferably to
higher ground (> mountains), but where they then feel the constriction in
their heart, forcing them to move to descend. They feel caught between
opposing forces and seem condemned to wander the earth without repose.
There is an increasing sense of lack of connection with life as manifested
in the lung symptoms. The paleness and weakness also speaks to the
increasing lack of vitality.

I "bolded" the aspects that I feel pertain to Jack. The restlessness is what we're seeing heightened right now (especially night 9, seems to be mellowing out now) but the others are just Jack in general! He has ALWAYS had a need to climb and descend (jump). Even at his first birthday party he spent the entire "opening presents time" standing on top of the biggest gift. And I just posted about his wandering (runner that he was). All very interesting. Even the lack of connection and weakness speak of Jack. He has a very light and gentle touch that can make some tasks more challenging.

You could say that verbiage like that can be "read into" but I think this miasm remedy was just especially needed/appropriate for Jack. Even from Morrison's Desktop Guide which is used in classical homeopathy, the Tuberculosis miasm is used to treat allergies and autism, among other things. All that said, he has been doing so GREAT! These boys have been growing obviously closer with one another which warms my soul and gives me a new found freedom! I'm having to orchestrate very little when it comes to activities - they are entertaining themselves. I walked in on them playing doctor (literally) yesterday and Jack has been doing a lot of the "I'm the blank and you're the blank and we're blanking because....." etc. Love. that.

As for me? I'm feeling pretty great. I'm feeling like aspects of my life that once seemed overwhelming are feeling manageable and, dare I say, enjoyable. Now that may just be because life has actually become a wee bit easier..........but I'm not counting out the possibility that my remedies are contributing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's the Difference?

I was once told,
"Jack is different", by someone very dear to me. The words stung. A lot. And I had to chew on them for days before I could really wrap my head around my emotion-clouded thoughts. What was it about the word "different" that my tattooed, free-thinking, uniquely named self, fought with? My internal dialogue went something like this: Different - adjective
not alike in character or quality.
2. not identical; separate or distinct.
3. various; several.
4. not ordinary; unusual.

Ding ding!

It's that last word - isn't it?
Unusual...? I hiccuped on "separate" but was mostly nodding in acceptance up until "unusual". Hear me out. When your child is unusual, you have some explaining to do. And I have. I have explained and explained til I'm blue in the face. Before Jack's delays were even apparent I was explaining....and the memory of that evoked some old wounded feelings. He was what's known as a "runner", only I didn't know back then that there was a term for it. I was always so amazed by those who could get their child out of the car and then reach for their purse or lock the doors while their little one stood by their side. Or the family who could safely play in their front yard. I unloaded my kid last from the car and held onto him with both hands, tightly. In the front yard or at a park, I played soccer goalie - Jack was the ball, and if the other "team" scored a point - Jack could be dead.

I envied the parents who could chillax while their toddler tooted around at a beach party, wedding rehearsal dinner, or neighborhood parade. I was following, appeasing, leaving early. I felt misunderstood and judged, probably even when I wasn't being judged. But let's be honest, we've all done it - silently judged the pants off some parent that isn't doing things the way you, yourself would. Well, let me tell you, I wasn't doing things the way I
would either. Life doesn't always (ever?) hand you exactly what you're expecting.

I knew Jack wasn't the same, was different. But at that time, I didn't know what was behind those differences. I didn't know that he wandered because he was dysregulated or that he cried because he was anxious. I just felt helpless. Educating ourselves and learning how to help Jack both physically and emotionally (along with the gift of time) has changed everything. Fortunately, he is no longer a "runner" and does have a sense of danger and a need to be near us/know where we are. We have gained so much insight into Jack's needs and have all learned how to reduce his anxiety. We don't feel so different anymore.

THAT is why the words stung. Because I don't feel so different anymore. Sure, Jack still has special needs. He needs help with motor skills and still has some difficulties with language. He's scripty and sometimes moody. We're past the stage of acceptance with those, so I don't view them as unacceptable. I have also met so many other parents of special needs children, I don't feel alone or misunderstood anymore either. I recently had to explain to a friend what OT (occupational therapy) was, and as I did, I was reminded that it wasn't long ago that I learned about it myself. It doesn't feel different to be taking Jack to OT, because I know how common it is and because I've accepted the need for it.

There was my true answer. When I accept something/someone, I no longer associate it as
different, it just is. There is no need to separate when you educate, learn, and accept. There is no need for everyone to be identical or the same when ALL are accepted. My desire is that we, as a family/community/society, learn to accept and embrace those who are deemed as different, because it's only then that our potential can be fully realized. If we were to focus on our strengths and similarities we would be far less distracted by the divisive nature of "differences". I hope to shed even a small amount of light on what having special needs can mean for an individual and how that relates to each of us. We all have special needs of some kind or another, so really, what's the difference?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Stupid Bowl Sunday

So, we didn't take Jack to The Zoo yesterday, but we did venture out to the Wild Animal Park (or whatever the frick they're re-naming it, the sign still says WAP!) before the foosball festivities began.

Our FAV activity at the WAP is feeding the lorikeets. Pretty sure I've posted about it before. You buy these little cups of "nectar" and carry them into an aviary filled with cute, chatty, rainbow outfitted birdies. Well, yesterday we went early. And they were (apparently) HUNGRY. Fifteen seconds inside I was all "SON OF A B----" one of them bit the shiz out of my hand. I suppose you could say it was my fault since I was covering my nectar so as to reserve the fun for the boys. I quickly gave the starving little focker bird my goods. That's what you do when you're held up at gun point. Then a while later, one bit Justin. Thank goodness they're being nice to the boys, thinks I. Will I ever learn?

Best activity ever, so totally adorable!

Can't get enough, time of our lives!

Holy crap, they're eating the boys !!!

Seriously, get us OUT of here!
(Note the mass of flesh between that bird's beak)

Yes, their screams attracted some stares. Whatever. Jack rode the carousel and Harvey climbed things/laid on the ground/flirted with passerbyers, and we all left happy. We told Jack on the way home that we were having a superbowl party with our friends, that I was making treats, and did lots of oohing and aahing over how fun it would be. And it was! I watched about 4.7 seconds of the game and focused on the food. Kelly brought homemade chili and bean dip (insert fart noises here) and lots of other allergen friendly fare (they share our plight). We made my rice crispy treats and dipped them in melted enjoy life dairy free chocolate chips. The kids were great, very little parental intervention necessary. Though Justin told me afterward that Jack asked him several times when the party was starting. What?!? We blew up balloons. I'm starting to think the words party and bouncy house are a little too closely associated for that boy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

FOODIE Friday: Soup Edition

Rosemary Lemon Roasted Chicken

Look, I don't particularly enjoy bird handling (washing, drying, rubbing, stuffing)
, but my hard to feed boy eats it with gusto. And I'm a big time soup fanatic so there's something in it for all of us. You can find roasted chicken recipes by googling said words, I simply stuff it with lemon and rosemary, rub it with salt and pepper, and roast it at 450 degrees for 30 minutes and then 350 degrees for another 45 minutes or so, depending on size. Let it stand for about fifteen minutes to let the juices do their thing and then dig in.

Submerge the bird...

If I'm going to do a gut healing bone broth I'll remove the rest of the meat and then start my batch that night. When I get lazy, which is a lot, I just save the whole thing and make a regular broth the following afternoon. I let it simmer for a couple of hours and then strain out the carcass (a word I should really use more often) and add the usual suspects; carrots, celery, etc. Mix things up, make it your own. I added poultry seasoning and a couple palm fulls of wild rice.

I am so going to self medicate with this tonight.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mouths of my babes

Jack: This is NOT a good idea.

Me: Harvey, how old are you?
Harvey: I free!
Me: No, you're old are you?
Harvey: Free!
Me: Jack, how old are you?
Jack: (holding that thing) I'm one. See the pointer? It says, I'm one.

Harvey: Why it so told? It really freezers in here!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Psycho Helicopter Mom

It's true. I totally hover. And I'm a bit psycho right now. I don't even have much material for a post so I'm borrowing from this past weekend. Anxious sleep sucks hairy monkey balls. But this date day sure didn't!

Since Justin's so tall, he got to sit up front (with our hot blonde of a pilot)

Those little specks on the beach are our city's famous seals


Before you assume I'm some kind of badass, I assure you I am a total pansy. I expected to be forcing a smile while silently burping with nausea and white knuckling my way through the thing. But being in the air like that, with the quiet of the headset and our voices, viewing our city that way, was completely serene. And there was no pressure of a final rose at the end - I've already got that in the bag.