Dude, where are my preconceived notions? No, seriously, dude…

autism home rescue 0526201201Okay, it’s my first official love post.  Gag all you want, I’m writing it anyway.  I am so blown away by what an amazing relationship the universe has given me that I just feel the need to gush about it sometimes.  Mostly that happens behind the scenes, but today it’s front and center, home page news.  Read on if you wanna discover a few of the many reasons I fell in love with my girl.  Or if you’re feeling more serious today, flip back through the blog archives and read about autism diagnoses or divorce or residential treatment.  Personally, I’d stay here to catch some gossip.  But it’s really your call.

Still with me?  Wow, cool.  Okay then.  I present to you the…


10.  She can use the word “dude” in context & appropriately in a clinical setting in her job as a physician.  As in:  Young & healthy but nervous patient:  “Doc, you gotta help me, I think I’m having a heart attack!”  Aubrey:  “Dude, you are not having a heart attack.”

9.  She can get Hannie out of a snit faster than anyone I’ve ever known.  She never backs down from the Taurus bull horns until my baby bull daughter is smiling.  I don’t know exactly how that works, but I love it.

8.  She lets me take her picture (get your mind out of the gutter, this is a family show) even though she hates being photographed.  How much does she love me?  She bought me a camera for Christmas.

7.  She can be tough as nails when she has to be, but when it comes to her chihuahuas she’s as sappy as the most sentimental mama.  Her high pitched “doggie voice” is so sweet that even the geckos gaze lovingly when she talks to them.

6.  She says she’s shy, but I’ve never noticed.  … Okay, I’ll wait for that one to sink in– read it again… and…. did you get the word-behind-the-words?  … There you go.

5.  She lives deliberately, makes choices thoughtfully and solves problems ethically, for the good of the people she cares for.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for her.

4.  She is impossible to place “in a box.”  To know Aubrey is to abandon your preconceived notions, because she’ll just blow right through them anyway.  An ex-military flight surgeon who’s afraid of mice?  A tattooed chick with a motorcycle who drives her fancy SUV with her tiny dogs perched on her lap like Paris Hilton?  A critical care doc who can run codes in the ICU, but who cried at the preview of “Chimpanzee?” *  Trying to capture her with a limited world view is like trying to measure the movement of an electron– the more you try, the more she’ll open your mind in the process (google “Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle“).

3.  She is committed to learning & growing, she is willing to try again.  And she’ll never give up on the people she loves.  Ever.

2.  Alex and Hannah both love her.  Not because she’s in a relationship with their mother.  But because she’s taken the time, had the patience and made the effort to get to know them, to find out the individual, beautiful people they are, and to build a connection with them on their terms.  If you’ve read *anything else* on this blog about Alex especially, you’ll know what kind of person that makes Aubrey.

and the number one reason I love my girl:

1.  Her love and acceptance have brought a secure, peaceful feeling to my life that I’ve never known before, and when I think about our future together I just feel so darn HAPPY!

autism home rescue 052620123

*  Click here to find out how to help chimpanzees in honor of my girl


wary of little sisterOkay, you all know my daughter Hannah can throw out the funniest one-liners.  She’s got the language, the attitude and the comic timing of a pro.  But she’s not the only kid in the family whose sophisticated sense of humor keeps me in stitches.  Alex’s humor is a bit harder to blog about– since most of the stuff that cracks him up is visual or slapstick (email me for the link to his YouTube channel if you like!)– but over the years there have been several memorable moments of perfectly-Alex funny which will always stick with me.

alex pumpkin2Alex loves to mix up words or find alternate meanings for words and phrases.  His receptive language, reading comprehension, spelling and writing abilities are right up there with super-smart typical kids.  Only difference is the challenge he has with expressive language and getting the words out.  For your reading pleasure, some of my favorite “Alex-isms” :


alex grinMe (talking out loud writing a grocery list):  “… tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, kidney beans… ground meat, chicken… Alex, would you help me write the rest of this?  Write down what you want at the store.” 

Alex (taking pen & paper):  “ketchup, mustard… butter… mutter… Mommy!”  with a big winky grin.  Hands paper back with the rest of list printed and a smiley face drawn and labeled “mommy.”


At bedtime, Alex breaks into spontaneous giggles during cuddle time:  “Mommy, go to SHeep!” 

Me:  “Go to SHeep?  Silly boy, you mean go to—” 

Alex:  “Baaaaaaaah!”


charming alexAlex (huge charming grin, playing his version of Scrabble):  “Word!” 

Me (laughing):  “Dude, truck-azonkquilapsafo is *not* a word!”


alex's bowl and plate artAlex (age 3 in doctor’s office, singing to himself while Mom & Dad consult with the nurse):  “Bah-munty.  Da funty munty. .. Bah-munty munty…” 

Dad:  “Wait a minute, our son is singing ‘Brass Monkey’ by the Beastie Boys!” 

(and indeed he was– in perfect rhythm!)


alex goodbye pleaseMe (walking Alex to the door to let in a home program teacher he didn’t particularly like):  “Let’s open the door for our friends.” 

Alex’s welcome message:  “Goodbye, please.”


alex laundry chuteWhen Alex was a baby, I made up some ridiculous nicknames for him (as all new mommies do when they babble with their newborns).  One of my favorites was “Bunny Luv Pickle Pop” and I used to sing it to the tune of “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” by the Temptations.  One of Alex’s first home program teachers finished a session of discrete trial training with him, spontaneously turned to Alex and in an animated voice said “Bunny Luv!!” to which 4 year old Alex responded without hesitation, “Pickle Pop!!”

*x*o*x*o*happy kiddos

The word behind the words: MOTORCYCLE

Me:  “Yo, dude.  What do you want to do today?”

Alex:  “Motorcycle.”  (tilts chair back, sits in relaxed too-cool-kid pose, looks at me with mock serious slightly emo expression)

Me:  “Motorcycle?  You wanna ride a motorcycle?”

Alex:  “Yes.”  (slight smile forming, but still staring me down trying to get across the seriousness of his request, seeing if I’ll take the bait.)

Me:  “Dude *you* have to have a driver’s license first to drive a motorcycle.”

Alex:  (smiling, walks up to me, clears his expression & gets serious again– looking me right in the eye, almost nose to nose)  “Mom.”

Me:  “Yes?”

Alex:  “Bring motorcycle.”

Me:  “Dude, I don’t have a motorcycle.”  (thinks a minute)  “But Aubrey actually has one…”

Alex:  “Mom.  Bring Aubrey’s motorcycle to drive for Alex.”

The WORD behind the words:

Me:  “Yo, dude.  What do you want to do today?”

Alex:  “Motorcycle.” 

translation:  “I wanna go out, I wanna *move* and go fast.  I know Mom would be with me on this one, I just have to get her attention.”

Me:  “Motorcycle?  You wanna ride a motorcycle?”

Alex:  “Yes.” 

translation:  “You know I’m really gonna try for this, don’t you?  I know it sounds extreme, but trust me, Mom, this is gonna rock!”

Me:  “Dude *you* have to have a driver’s license first to drive a motorcycle.”

Alex:  “Mom.”

translation:  “Do you see how serious I am?”

Me:  “Yes?”

Alex:  “Bring motorcycle.”

translation:  “Mom, seriously.  I know you can get us transportation.  I’m counting on you.”

Me:  “Dude, I don’t have a motorcycle… But Aubrey actually has one…”

Alex:  “Mom.  Bring Aubrey’s motorcycle to drive for Alex.”

translation:  “Aha!  Now we’re talking!  Bring it over, let’s make a break for it.  I am so down with that.”


Do you have the “WORD behind the words” for a kid you love? 

Please do comment & share!

:~) Quote for the Moment (~:


I have a dragon here and I’m not afraid to use it!  I’m a donkey on the edge!! 

~Donkey in “Shrek”

Lessons from my Hannie Bananie: Tell it like it is!

Funny things. Please.

I often write when I feel sentimental.  I write tributes to people who have touched my life, I write gratitude lists.  Sometimes I write funny things, silly things, cute things that make people go “awwwww…” with a little head tilt.  Rarely do I write when I am supremely pissed off.  But today is one of those days.  Lucky you.  Read on.

gecko huhI love to laugh.  When I am laughing so hard my cheekbones feel stuck in a smile, my stomach hurts and I’m having trouble breathing, well that is just *the* BEST.  People put funny “posters” on facebook, they share cartoons & crazy out-of-context quotes.  There are tons of funny things out there.  And if you do an image search (try goodsearch before those other search engines– money gets raised for good causes) you can surely find enough pictures to crack you up for a good hour or two.

Today I did an image search for “autism funny” and you know what?  It made me angry.  Apparently, the people who think they have a sense of humor when it comes to autism like to post pictures of kids who look like mine with terms like “a$$hole” in the caption.  Or “joke” quotes degrading or humiliating people with autism and their families.

Or maybe it’s the search engines who just don’t freaking get it.  When I type “autism funny” I want Big Daddy’s cartoons or Autism Army Mom’s photos.  I want stuff that is fun, that we all can laugh at, that’s not insensitive, intolerant junk.  Is that too much to ask??

Sheesh :S  … and Grrrrrr…. and all that.

Soooooo…. Here’s what I’m asking for today:

Send me something that is “autism funny” to you.  Find me things that celebrate kids like mine, that will make me smile or belly laugh, that are *specifically* under the category “autism funny.”  Because let’s face it… if we can’t laugh through this strange world we’re all navigating… then what’s it really about?

Okay, enough reading my rant.  Go search, find & report back.  Post in comments or email please (autismhomerescue@gmail.com).

gecko huh

… What are you still doing here?  Go find stuff– go now!

Oh yeah… and wishing you all a Happy New Year with plenty of things to smile about!

Hannah-isms, Part 2

Hannie fish dressShe’s still at it folks!  Through good times and bad, my little Hannie keeps me laughing and I am so grateful.  If you missed the original Hannah-isms, read about my beautiful daughter and her amazing sense of humor here.

Disclaimer:  Anything goes when it comes to Hannah’s views on the world.  I suggest you put down your beverages now, before you end up laughing so hard you inhale them.

And now for your reading pleasure:

dog sitting‎6 year-old on pets & family dynamics:  “Ok Mom pretend you have a pet monkey.  Like I’m a monkey.  And Alex is not a monkey, he’s just a regular brother who has autism.  And he doesn’t like dogs & I don’t either cuz dogs are scary for monkeys…  oh!  & I can sing and do exercises in the bathtub…” 

halloween 2011 hannie & momSix year-old on really important things:  Hannah:  “Mommy, I am sooo sad.  Do you see how sad I am?  (makes pouty face)  I am just. so. sad. because…  (insert dramatic hand gesture here)  .. I wish the smurfs were real.  I mean, I am soo into smurfs now.  I like them more than Ariel.  And I wish they were real, and they could come into our house, and I could play with them, and…”  (Mommy’s eyes glaze over… my god, what have we done?…)

hannie riding her bikeSix year-old on biking:  (Hannah, big grin in store)  “I want the cool Barbie bike!!”  (5 mins later)  “This helmet is awesome, look at me!”  (20 mins later)  “When can I ride it??”  (30 mins later)  “Hurry up, get it out of the car, I want to go biking!”  (5 mins later)  “I am NOT riding that thing!”  (2 mins later)  “I didn’t say I wanted to RIDE it, but you CAN’T take it back!!”  (10 mins & several deep breaths by mom later)  “I know how to get on by myself!”  (10 seconds later)  “DON’T let go of me!”  (30 seconds later)  “I don’t care if it has training wheels, keep holding ON!”  (10 mins later)  “Look at me Mom! I’ll race ya!”  (20 mins later, back to the big grin)  “Can you BELIEVE I rode the whole way myself??”

hannie carouselSix year-old on expressions of love: 

(Hannah, spontaneously from the backseat of the car)  “Mom, I smurfin’ LOVE you!”  (Me, eyeing my kid in the rearview mirror, pausing to consider her inflection)  “I, uh, smurfin’ love you too baby.” 

(Hannah, 5 minutes later)  “Mom, I f*#&in’ LOVE you!”

Hannie made in the USASix year-old on mainstream fashion

(Hannah walks in wearing a pink Eagles baseball cap with a purple pen clipped to the brim)  “Ok Mom, when Aubrey comes over I wanna ask her about this.  Am I off?  Am I like way off?  Am I super off?  Did I hit the bullseye?  Am I on?  Did I get it right?  Am I totally on?  Or am I SUPER on?”

dinner by hannieDinner by Hannah:  ♥  Salad greens with multi-seed rice cracker crumbs & raisins;  Gluten-free mac & cheese with a smattering of ketchup mixed in, served cold;  Hand-prepared green beans;  Finely shredded Mexican cheese in a circle;  Water service;  Mint Hershey kiss  ♥  “Mom, I read all the boxes, everything said gluten-free!”  ♥  “I snapped all the beans myself!”  ♥  “You get dessert right on the plate!”  ♥  (and my personal fav)  “Wanna know how I got those glasses down from the highest shelf??”

Hannie leopard hat(Late for the first-grade breakfast)  Hannah:  “Mommy, do you know what a truant officer is?”  Me:  “Um, I think so.  Don’t they catch people when they’re late to school?”  Hannah:  “No.  A truant officer finds all the kids who are out having fun & puts them back in school where they belong.”  (long silence)  Me:  “So Hannah, who’s the one who catches the late people?  Cuz that’s who we gotta watch out for.”  Hannah:  “That would be an *adult* truant officer.”  (knuckle bump)

han with coconut and argoblasterSix year-old on importance of sleep:  “If we sleep slow, we get more rest.  If we get more rest, we have more energy.  If we have more energy, we do more work.  If we do more work, we get more money.  If we get more money, we can buy more things.”


Hannie pink basketballHannah:  (one hand on hip, the other raised palm forward) 

“Ok *enough* with the tiny hiney jokes.  That’s it Mom.  Enough.”


Six year-old re-enactments:  Apparently we had a “situation” with the smurfs last night.  Fortunately Barbie, Ken & their trusty companion were on the case with a butterfly net.

barbie ken and smurfs

:~) Quote for the Moment (~:

autismhomerescue11241101“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”

~ Dr. Suess

Click here for classic Hannah-isms!

(and stay tuned for even more!)


Baskesoccaling   [bas-keh-sok-a-ling]


1.   A game played by two players (Mom and Alex) on a rectangular court having a raised basket or goal at each end, points being scored by tossing the ball through the opponent’s basket. 

2.  The ball may also be kicked, thrown out of bounds, or wrestled from the hands of the opponent.  All of these maneuvers score points, although only one player (Alex) knows for certain who is winning. 

3.  A game which involves (but is not limited to) the following:  Tickling, loud joyful screams, occasional bursts of laughter and random, sophisticated wrestling moves designed to take the opponent down.

4.  A game for which only one player (Alex) is certain of the rules, hence a game which one player (Alex) always wins.

5.  The most fun the other player (Mom) has had with her son in the gym.  Ever.


Han and momIt has come to my attention that lately I’ve been making a lot of people cry.  While gathering throngs of people around my blog who are weeping and passing tissues can be kinda fun (in a sadistic helping-professional way of course  **insert head tilt, supportive smile & sugary sweet nod here**  hehe), I thought perhaps I should lighten things up a bit.

Which brings me to the question, “What’s so funny anyway?”  What makes me laugh the most these days?  My daughter’s witty comments and funny insights on the world.  To understand what makes some of the following Hannah-isms so absolutely hysterical, you have to understand a bit about my little girl.

hannienme2First off, Hannah is mini-me.  I don’t say that to be conceited– I actually think it’s more that I’m a giant version of her than she is a mini-version of me.  But we do look alike, we have the same facial expressions, the same goofy sense of humor and propensity toward being dramatic.  We both laugh at fart jokes, unlike the more modest males in the family.

hannahWhat differentiates us is that I’m a petite full-grown brunette, and she’s a little blondie who’s about a head shorter than most of her kindergarten peers.  Oh yeah, that and the fact that *technically* I’m still the adult and she’s the child, although I swear she teaches me more about the world than most adults I know.  And sometimes my goofy antics make people think I’m younger than I actually am anyway.

Hannie and I both can be alternately sweet and charming or stubborn and angry as all get-out.  Especially when we want something.  Maybe it’s the Taurus bull zodiac sign we share.  Who knows?  When we were getting ready for our day this morning and I giggled at something that Hannah did not think was funny, she growled at me.

I smiled and said, “That’s the little bull.”

Hannah replied, “Mommy.  That is *not* funny.  And I.  am not.  a bull.”

I tried to stifle my grin and get serious, but couldn’t resist muttering, “But your mommy is a bull.”

At which point she growled again and said, “You.  are *alone* in that.”

fancy bunTwo minutes later, she finished brushing her teeth, hopped down off her bathroom stool, hugged my leg really tight and said sweetly, “Mom, I wasn’t serious.  You are not alone.  I love you” with a big smile.  Then she danced off to put on her shoes.

Yup, that’s my little girl.  Content and patient, happily determined, a strong-willed little entity who only takes out those bull horns and charges when someone waves something red in front of her.  The rest of the time, she’s sitting with her mommy bull in a field of clover, actively enjoying the world and appreciating the sunshine.

hannie in sunglassesHannah began speaking early.  My mother says I was “born talking” but I didn’t quite get what she meant until I had Hannah.  When Hannie was one year old, I held out two hair ribbons and asked which one she wanted.  She looked them over, reached out her tiny hand, pointed and said, “I want da green bow.”  Five words, twelve months.  Not too shabby, eh?

Today for your reading pleasure and amusement, here are some of my favorite “Hannah-isms” from the past year. 

on arachnology & the internet:    “Spiders have automatic things like cobs & webs & connectors.  Connectors are things inside spiders that connect with the world wide web.  They are inside the spiders’ toes.”

on Christmas Eve traditions:    (looking thoughtful & concerned)  “Mommy, do you remember last Christmas Eve when we put the carrots on the plate?  (Yes.)  Those were for the reindeer.  But I don’t know why people let reindeer in the house– they make a lot of poop!”

on playing up personal attributes:    “Mommy, you know what’s great about me?”  (flashes charming smile, tosses hair over shoulder like a model)  “I can cough and sneeze and fart– all at the same time!”

Five year old *girl* on reactions to fear:    “Oh my gosh, Mommy, if I get scared on Halloween, I’m just going to scream like a little *boy*!!”

on dieting and accurate measurements:    (Hannie walks up behind me, ruler in hand)  “Mom, I just measured your butt and it’s 40%”  Shakes head disapprovingly and walks out of the room.

on breakfast variety:    “Hannah, do you want the usual ‘eggs made with love’ for breakfast?”  (thinks a minute)  “No, Mom.  Today I want eggs made with sweet love… and salt.”

strong HannieMe:  So Hannah, I’m doing this blog, and I’m writing about funny stuff.  Like when you sing funny words to songs.  And when you make butt jokes.  I love that.  He he.

Hannah:  Yeah.  Okay, that was weird, Mom.  Whatever.

Today’s Gratitude List


Gratitude girl

 Today I am grateful for:

  • Mocha cappuccinos from the Passero’s coffee shop at work
  • The fact that the Passero’s folks “get me” & they serve me anyway (even though I told them this morning that sooner or later I would have to get healthy & break off this relationship– despite the fact that they *did* leave their mug at my house…)
  • Hannah’s stuffed webkins shark (“Sharkey”) who now resides with me on my desk at work.  A sweet reminder of the healing power of soft, furry animals to relieve stress.  Also doubles as a makeshift football to throw across the aisle at my new cubemate when things get slow.  Which brings me to my last item for the morning…
  • New work colleagues– who also “get me” and are witty conversationalists and active listeners.  Obviously the “getting me” part is big in my book.  But I’m also just grateful for the fun interactions & shared jokes.  It reminds me that even though I am a (semi) grown-up, my day can still include fun. 

 What are you grateful for?  Write it down & message me!