Message from An Autism Mom: Never Give Up | Christa Dowdy Law | LifeStyle Blogger | Lexington, Kentucky

I never know what will inspire a blog post. This was inspired by a Facebook Memory. 6 years ago I posted a video of me and Cade, sometime in the wee hours of the night, only showing the light from the living room window coming from a street light, and all you could hear was his little voice. My 4 year old autistic sweet boy singing “if you’re happy and you know it” but there were no words. Only the “sounds” of the words. Sure I could understand him. He was my son. When I played it for my co-worker she gave me a blank grin until I told her what the song was and then, yes! Of course she recognized the tune! And 6 years later he can sing every word to every Johnny Cash song, in pitch.

How far we have come. It’s reminders like these that fill my heart with pride and contentment. That maybe everything is coming together. That all of the work and effort and sleepless nights and worry and baby steps were all worth it. And every one saying “he will get there, don’t worry, everyone is different… they were right. Now he’s in fifth grade.  Now he has friends and peers that understand him and want to help him and play with him and be WITH him.

I’ve grown too though, as a mom. As a person. I’ve had to. When handed the diagnosis, I had no idea what I’d be dealing with. Meltdowns and frustration in the beginning. A lot of behavior issues. Therapy and questions. So many questions. But I have learned so much and so many people have helped me. Guided me. Let me cry on their shoulders. LITERALLY.

The biggest things with my son I’ve learned: To talk to him. His output might be jumbled sometimes. He might not be able to always express himself appropriately but he has always seemed to be able to understand if I could get his undivided attention. And I know that not all kids are the same but all kids with autism are in there. There is some way to connect. And whether you know they are listening to you or not, talk to them. For Cade, I always talked to him like he was an adult. Like he was my best friend. And he always was. He was my side kick. My little buddy. Once I realized that “transitions” were difficult for him, I recognized that he simply needed to understand what was going to happen. He needed an explanation. Sometimes it had to be said several times. Sometimes in different ways. But that was key!

Something else I really grasped onto early and tried to remember daily is the emotional side of my kiddo and just how MY emotions affect him. When I’m sad or upset, he picks up on that so quickly. And being a single mom, those emotions come. It’s just part of life. So I had to start to focus on myself, to make myself better so that I could make HIM better. Because as I developed my own happiness, I saw his happiness bloom. Now I focus on positivity and it has transformed not only my life, but our home, Cade’s interaction with me and hopefully his happiness.

I would be lying if I told you I’ve never gone to bed crying, with worry that this day would never come, that I could never see him at THIS point. And I would be lying if I told you that I don’t still worry about his future and if his progress will continue or how his future will play out. All I can tell you is that I don’t give up and neither should you! Because our kiddos are special and every day is a new day and every day could hold a miracle! Never give up on what you are doing. Never give up on the strength of your child and the strength of your own.

Keto Cauliflower Soup | Christa Dowdy Law | LifeStyle Blogger | Keto Momma| Lexington Ky

I never expected to be a food blogger but I do love cooking and I’ve started this Keto journey so I am excited to share the recipes that I am trying, and enjoying! This weekend I was craving some comfort food. As you can imagine, a nice bowl of potato soup is no longer an option for me, however I can substitute foods I can have for foods I can’t and cauliflower makes an excellent substitution for starchy foods I crave

It turned out AMAZING… I made this in my InstaPot but I’m sure you can put this on the stovetop just as easily!INGREDIENTS:

  1. onion, chopped
  2. 2 T butter or olive oil
  3. 1 large head of cauliflower, leaves and stem removed and the rest coarsely chopped (About 7-8 cups chopped cauliflower. You can use the core.)
  4. 3 cups chicken stock or water
  5. 1 tsp. garlic powder
  6. 1 tsp. Sea salt
  7. 4 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
  8. 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
  9. 1/2 cup half and half or whipping cream

TOPPING INGREDIENT OPTIONS:

  • extra grated cheddar
  • sour cream
  • 8-10 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • thinly sliced green onions
  • Shrimp

DIRECTIONS:

Peel the onion and chop into pieces. Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and chop into pieces (you can use the core)

Add the chicken stock (or water), onion, chopped cauliflower, garlic and salt to the InstaPot. Lock the lid, use the MANUAL setting and cook on for 10 minutes. Quick release the pressure when it’s finished cooking.

While the InstaPot is cooking, prepare the cream cheese and grate the cheddar. Also cook the bacon (I cook mine in coconut oil for added fat until crisp) or use pre-cooked bacon if you’re in a hurry.

Use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the soup. I personally used an immersion blender to puree the soup in the InstaPot cooker. If the soup is too thick, add more stock. If it seems too thin, let it simmer (leave the cooker on warm) until the liquid reduces.

Add grated cheese and cream cheese cubes and stir until melted. Add half and half, heat through. Season to taste.

Serve hot with your choice of toppings!

Here’s the Keto Nutritional values for those of you tracking your macros!

I hope you will give it a try and leave me a comment!! Let me know what you think!!

Summer Wrap-up | Christa Dowdy Law | LifeStyle Blogger | Lexington KY

The End of summer is here. It’s August and I feel like this is the month that signals things like back-to-school, fall weather and the acceptance of all things pumpkin. (Accept it friends, it’s coming) I don’t know about Cade but I doubt that this summer will go down in history as my best summer ever. For me it started out painfully. June seemed to last 3 months and then July was difficult in it’s own way. For Cade, I hope that he somewhat enjoyed his summer. Days at grandparents. Hours in the pool. Mornings at summer school with his favorite teacher (even though she might not think so).

For me the summer started with a little accident that earned me a nice, 2 or 3 inch scar down my wrist, a metal plate and 6 screws, all of which cost more than anything I currently own. Falling backwards for no real reason isn’t exactly embarrassing, but it is something that you just have to own. Do I wish that I had a more exciting story to tell? Yes. Maybe that I fell while trying to save Cade from a rabid squirrel? (That just came to mind) Anything would be better than – I lost my balance when I was backing up trying to get a wider angle taking pictures. Someone give me a cookie.

Did I mention this happened on my mom’s birthday? Yeah. Happy Birthday mom. But the good news is, we got to spend some really great quality time together that night and for the next 4 weeks. I kind of miss her now that she’s gone home.

But that day could not have been more beautiful. The sky and the drive “home” was gorgeous. I even snapped a photo of my favorite spot on the interstate looking towards the hills of Eastern Kentucky as I approached. It was going to be a long day.

I had no idea that in 12 hours I’d be laying in a hospital bed with my hand swelled triple. It’s amazing what morphine does for you though. And just look at that makeup! Really held up 🙂

Fell around 7:00 p.m. To the ER in Lexington around 9:00 p.m. And home by 6:00 a.m. What a whirlwind. And the next week wouldn’t be any better. Waiting for surgery was an eternity. I missed my little boy. He spent a lot of time with his papaw and would come visit me. It was so hard for him to see me just sitting there unable to really do anything. I was so heavily medicated because of the pain and nauseous and weak, he didn’t understand. I was part of his routine. I WAS his routine. And suddenly everything was different.

Our entire summer was turned upside down after that. I had surgery a few days later. Cade never knew where he was staying, who was taking him to summer school. My mom stayed with us for almost a month (which me and Cade both loved) and I didn’t drive at all. When I did start driving I could only use one hand and that made things difficult. It took me weeks to realize that not everyone was out to hit me. I was so paranoid of getting hit or falling or getting hurt again.

I am just so thankful for all of the support that we had through it all. I have never felt so much pain. At one point after the surgery, when my pain block began to wear off, I literally wanted to cut my own arm off. My dad was with me and I think he honestly couldn’t stand to see me in that much pain. I know he couldn’t. He left the room. And I don’t blame him. I wanted to die. Cade was afraid of me with my arm in a cast. I know he worried about why mommy had a giant bandage on her arm. The kid worries himself to death when he has a bandaid on his own arm. He thinks we use scissors to take them off.

After surgery I spent a lot of time back “home” and a lot of time sleeping.

It was relaxing to be there where I could just relax and Cade could be outside and with papaw and still see me in a semi-normal environment. It was the best part of the summer for me, even in the cast, even without any privacy, not being able to dress myself or take a shower without putting a garbage bag over half of my body. It was time spent with my parents and my son that I hadn’t had and it was time spent in thought and meditation and prayer and thankfulness.

Cade was able to attend summer school this summer. We called it “summer camp” just to make it sound more fun. Whether that worked or not is anybody’s guess. But he did get to meet a pig, Waffles, who Cade called sausage, and he got to spend a majority of the summer with his favorite teacher.

He swam in the pool at the YMCA. He played with his caretaker, Tori and her twins. Went to all of his favorite places. I think he had a pretty good summer. Once momma was able to get back to routine, things started looking brighter for him. He realized that the dark clouds weren’t forever, things would go back to normal again.

I realized that too. It’s a tough lesson to learn sometimes. I will be in physical therapy for the foreseeable future. My wrist is super stiff. We are hoping to get my full mobility back in 6 months. Right now it’s very painful but so much better then it was in June! But this too shall pass. And soon it will be pumpkin spice time.

Except for me.

I’m doing Keto.