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Author Archives: Andrea Frazer

New To Tics? Do THIS: Tic Tuesday #3

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Because I’m lazy, I still have to make dinner, and I’m ready to call it quits for the night, I’m re-working a response to an email I received a few days back. This mama is new to Tourettes and wanted to know if she should consider getting a mouthpiece for her son. My honest response was “No.” I think there’s other things you can try first.

Mouthpiece that Cures Tourettes?

See my article from a few years back on this.

Before investing time and energy into an appliance, I would start with basics first. (Ex: Flying across the country spending thousands of dollars for a dentist is like getting a $500 Vitamix Juicer when you’ve never tried eating apples. Start small!)

How to Proceed with Mild Moderate Tics

Here’s what I suggest – and I’m open to yours!

1. MTHFR:  Get your child tested for the MTHFR gene. See blog last week.

2. Fancy Vitamins: Once you have results – and assuming your child has the wonky MTHFR gene (which means they are not processing vitamins like non-wonky processing MTHFR folk) plunk down cash for good methylating vitamins.

3. Non-Fancy Vitamins: If no wonky gene exists, then just do regular vitamins and supplements.

4. What supplements? I’ll be interviewing a doc soon on this and let you know via blog to share the love (and don’t want to give you wrong info). If you want to start something right away, I’d go with Magnesium to calm the nerves. Many kids who tic are low in magnesium. You can look into Taurine as well, but again, I’d wait until you’ve seen a naturopath.

5. Food Tests: Get your child tested for food allergies via 23 and Me saliva test or blood test. Have results read through a naturopath or holistic doctor who can then tell you what he or she is allergic to.

6. Keeping It Simple: Don’t want to deal with the food allergy test? Start with going gluten-free. Then add in dairy free if the tics aren’t better. Then, if tics still persist, add supplements. If the tics subside, put dairy back in and see what happens.

The Goose Chase! Help!

The thing about tics is that it is a bit of a goose chase. Just when one tic goes away, another comes back. It’s confusing. My book talks a lot about this. It can be hard to tell what really helped. Was it going gluten free? Going dairy free? The unicorn dust from the magical kingdom of WTF? The truth is, it’s a cheeky disorder. How much do you want to play Columbo? How much do you want to let go? It’s up to you. I always land on the “Is my kid happy and if so, time to let it go” bit. (Note: I used to land there without major kicking, screaming and more cursing than what I feared my four year old’s fate would be. I worried for nada. He’s great!)

“My Kid is Ticking – I Can’t Calm Down!”

Been there, done that. But if you don’t take it one step at a time, you won’t know what is working and what is not.

Get a Naturopath or a Guide

If you’re like me when I was new to this, it would be helpful to have a calm and rational person help you plan out your path so you don’t feel so alone. If you can afford it, do this for yourself! If not, get yourself into a Facebook group and find some rational mom who can be your walking partner through this crazy disorder.

It’s Going to Be Okay

It is. I promise. Very few kids have horribly severe tics. (Some do, but many don’t.) You don’t have to live in fear. You can take this one step at a time.

Hope this helps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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Are you enjoying these Tic Tuesdays? Is it detailed enough? I’m not a doc, so my goal is to get you moving but not give you absolutes. Please let me know so I can improve! Email works if you don’t want to comment out of privacy.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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On The Couch: Mystery Monday #3

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Today was a day from hell.

It started with one of my kids’ continued refusal of chores which shall hereto be known as “The 24-hour/Sit on the Couch/ My Mother is a Horrible Human Being/Laundry Boycott/Summer 2017 Manifesto.”

Other than informing said child they had until 5 p.m. to either get necessary work done or I would be throwing out their clothes myself… and if they still did not do them by tomorrow I would be disassembling their bed so I could have a room to myself (oh and I might also be giving the dog away in a week since I can’t handle undone dog poo on top of undone laundry) I  remained very very VERY calm.

Minus the screaming match with my spouse in the kitchen.

Which turned into me driving to Hollywood to meet a friend… alone.

Note: Child’s sibling didn’t want to go with me to Hollywood because they needed “More than a day’s notice” which was just as fine with me. (Rabbit trail: Finding out I was pregnant with them unexpectedly thanks to a leftover 99 Cent Store pee stick didn’t exactly give me very much notice one surprising summer…. but I digress.)

Guilt about leaving my children with nothing to do on a Monday faded into the Malibu sunset when I reasoned they could find lunch within the couch cushions that my one child remain prostate on. (Lord knows there was plenty of carbs, half eaten granola bars and crackers left with the chores not done.)

After a long ride to Hollywood where I ruminated on everything from my ineffective parenting, 17 years of marriage and the fact that L.A. drivers maneuver the roads like drunks on doobage, my friend never ended up being able to meet me because the parking was so bad.

Which resulted in me driving through traffic back towards home.

Except I didn’t want to go home what with the boycotting and the overall hating of me.

So I drove to my old stomping grounds for tacos instead.

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(It’s pretty impossible to be in a bad mood with surfers, homeless people, Hollywood writers and happy lights.)

A full and very happy belly later I walked across the street to the beach.

This move worked out smashingly if I do so myself, for when I sat in the sand, I looked up to my left and there I saw an incredible rainbow in the sky. (Look closely at photo on top of page!)

Odd or God?

I’m sure it was just that time of day….the way the sun hit the clouds at just the right moment… but the closest I’d seen to a rainbow in these here parts was the West Hollywood Halloween Parade. I’m just going to assume that my higher power put it there to remind me that there is hope.

That I am never alone.

That end even in times of darkness where I don’t know what to do there’s color, beauty, joy and radiance that transcends my understanding. For that, I’m so grateful.

The Takeaway (Besides leftover fish tacos?)

Sometimes the only thing to do is nothing. It is there, with that beautiful empty space, that I can move out of the way and let God make His magic.

PS: Big thanks to Tuscany who afforded a generous ear to the play-by-play drama which is my life with teenagers.

Thanks also to Valerie Coulman, a generous writer and friend who I met at the Southern California Christian Women’s Conference. While I stuffed my face with extra fries we laughed and prayed together and realize just how strong we are – especially when we don’t take ourselves so seriously.

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Let me know about anything cool that happened to you this Monday. Let’s connect!

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Fun Friday #2 – Sing to Your Kids

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Happy Fun Friday!

This is my official “Day Off” to hang with the kids, so keeping it short. But meanwhile, I give you this video I created for you a few days back. It’s goofy and silly, but that’s sort of the point. Let me know you think!

Until next time,

Andrea

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Writing Wednesday – #2 – 30 Minutes/Day Is All You Need

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If you’re like me, you have a LOT of things going on.

  • Day job
  • Maybe some freelance jobs
  • Kids/Friends/Spouse
  • The Windows… They are so smudgy…Is that grime in the shape of unicorn riding a squirrel?—FOCUS!

It can be hard to find time to do the writing you really want to do – the heart project that makes you sing. The one you know can actually get you OUT of your day job down the road.

Undisciplined? Hey, I Resemble That Remark!

I hemmed and hawed over “no time” and “too much going on with the kids” for years, and it finally became crystal clear to me that the guilt and frustration in my soul of not doing it far outweighed the inconvenience of actually doing it.

And so, now, I’m doing it.

And the kids still love me.

In fact, they are seeing a far happier mother.

And it that feels amazing.

And you can do it, too. Kids or no kids, spouse or no spouse, dirty windows full of mystical riding rodents or not.

Here’s how.

10 Tips For Writing 5 Days/Week – No Matter What

  1. Put it on the Calendar: Every day, put that one heart project on the calendar. My motto is “I build my busy time around my writing and not the other way around.” NOTE: Mothering is not busy time. Attending to my children’s needs is not busy time. Organizing their closets while screaming at them to not make “Street Urchin” a career because I’m procrastinating about what I really need to be doing? That’s busy time.
  2. Keep it Short: 30 minutes from start to finish is all you need. If you are like me and need some wind up, schedule in a bit more time, but know that 30 is all you need to really write.
  3. Let your Family Know: Let your unending pit of needs from everyone in the universe sweet family and friends ones know when you are going to write and be clear about it. (Tip: This might take a few weeks to get running. Expect that. You might be like me – used to being there at the drop of a hat. That has to change. The kids won’t die if you aren’t there to solve the mystery of where the last juice box went and whose it really belongs to. In fact, if they can’t solve it on their own – peacefully – they don’t need it.)
  4. Dedicate Space: For me, it’s my Clowfice (Closet/Office)

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Or the Shirage. (Combo of She Shed and Garage)

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It’s not fancy but my ego is not my amigo. Until I get my swanky studio, I’ll make due with what I can. Some of you lucky ducks actually have a real office. If you happen to live locally to me, don’t be shocked to see a six foot wacky writer at your door. Confused? Refer to #5:

5. Have an Alternate Space: Can’t work at home? Join the club. Find a friend’s house, a coffee shop, the library or even the car. Any place that you can work outside your home if being in your home will turn you into a crazy person.

6. Have a Mentor: For me, this is a fellow writing friend who is kicking my butt. She stays at home full-time and makes as much writing as I do working at a school. (Maybe more? None of my business. In fact, she’s not even my official mentor, but I study her business model and find her counsel wise. Plus she talks to me without wanting to throw up, so that’s a plus. ) I value her because this saint is not hiring me to work for her, nor is she living with me. Her only concern is my heart, what I want to do, and making sure I’m not more lazy than Stink and my dog whose whose current summer schedule includes sleeping until 12PM which, frankly, works for me. More time to write!

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7. Task vs. Time: This one is HUGE for me. My A-Type personality used to freeeeeeaky freak out that I didn’t make allotted calendar time. My mentor gently reminded me to calm the blexxx! down and instead focus on getting what I need to accomplish that day. (She doesn’t say bleexx! She’s a good Christian devotional writer. I think nasty comments for her.) My point: apparently I can get my task done at a different time than anticipated. Who knew!? (Note: This means planning out my writing so I know what my task is! I know… organized! It’s crazy! And guess what! I still don’t do that! Work in progress!)

8. Get Inspired: Put something on the wall that speaks to your soul. For me it’s this handmade 8 x 10 canvas created by Lily (name changed) – a sweet friend from my private Tourettes support group, Twitch and Bitch.

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She created it for me about 3 years ago. It came at a time when I didn’t know what my purpose was. It reminds me that I am not the center of the universe and that writing is awesome, but only if it’s done to serve others. I am God’s kid, first. My talents are from Him. (Again, my ego is not my amigo and throws a tantrum about this daily. It’s fun watching the duel when I remember not to take myself too seriously.)

9. Turn Off Devices: Facebook? Cell phone? Twitter? Buh Bye. Enough said.

10. Turn Off Your Brain: This is often the hardest. For me, it’s saying a prayer before I start. It’s kind self-talk. “Andrea, you are worth this time to work on you.”

What Kind of Writing to Spend 30 Minutes On?

For me, this writing is not my freelance jobs or my blogging. This is my heart work.

  • My pilot
  • My musical outline
  • My new book idea.

Those 3 items above? They will easily take me a year at the rate I’m going. I’m sorry, but my kids are a priority. I work a day job. It’s the reality of my life.

The Schedule’s Affect on My Psyche

Sweet relief!

Why?

My dreams are not being forgotten.

My soul can come out and play again.

And so can yours.

So, what do you think of the list? Any suggestions?

Until next time,

Andrea

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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MTHFR Gene Post #2 – Got Tics? READ THIS!

Happy Tic Tuesday!

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As you can see, my pit bull lab mix is terribly excited about this topic. And you will be, too! And so, my friends, I give you….

More on the MTHFR Gene!

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No, it’s not translated as the Mother Fxxer Gene (though if your child has a defect in this gene, it may cause tics, Tourettes or a variety of other issues, which could cause you to curse in frustration. But there’s hope! Just read along.)

MTHFR stands for Methyl-Tetrahydrofolate Reductase, an enzyme which is in charge of the process of methylation in every each and every cell in your body. Methylation is a fancy way of saying “absorption.” If your body isn’t absorbing the nutrients, your body can’t function at an optimal level.

A Faulty MTHFR Gene – 2 Types

There are usually 2 types of MTHFR variations that can cause issues:

  • Homozygous
  • Heterozygous

Oh no! On top of being a mother fxxr we’re also dealing with gay vs. straight genes? Peace, people! It’s less confusing than it seems.

2 Genes Broken Down

If your child is Heterozygous (AKA: A1298) this means that he or she has one affected gene from the parent and one normal gene. It means their enzyme function will run at approximately 60% compared to a child that has no mutated MTHFR gene.

If your child is Homozygous (AKA C677T) it means they have 2 mutated copies of the gene, and their enzyme effience/absorption abilities plummet to 20 or 10%.

Vitamins With Optimal Absorption Are Key

Here’s where hope comes in. Once you know if your child has a gene mutation that is not processing his or her vitamins, then you can treat it through methylating vitamins. They are often much more expensive than regular vitamins, but the idea is that your child’s body will function at a much higher level than before as it’s they will finally be absorbing the fuel they need to run. Farmer Stacey uses these for her son. Again, you’ll want to wait until your child is tested and talk to a doctor about the correct dosage!

 

How to Test? How to Proceed?

You can test your child with a saliva test through 23 and Me 

Apparently the results are really hard to read, so you need to run it through another source. It can best be explained at Dr. Lynch’es website here. It’s worth checking out his site as there are also blood draws that you can do and run through labs. Here is a cut and paste of what he says to spell it out for you. Again, see link above to get more info!

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So What’s Next?

I am obviously no doctor – I’m just a concerned mama who is going to get her teenage boy tested. I advise that once you get the test results from a lab of your choice (blood or saliva – see Dr. Lynch’s site for better details), talk to an integrative doctor or check back with me in a few months and I’ll tell you what vitamins I am using.

Dr. Jill Carnahan on MTHFR

Dr. Jill Carnahan (image from her site) is another great source on the subject. She breaks it down with a good dose of science and layman’s terms.

Update on Stink’s Tics

And on that note, I’m off to watch an episode of Gravity Falls with my son. For those that have followed me from the beginning, Stink is doing amazing. He’s no longer dairy free and on no vitamins. Some shakes and tremors, but happy to be a ticker. I don’t push him toward any treatment, but if he does have the MTHFR gene I will be insisting he take a folating vitamin every day for his health. I will do so not as a controlling “I’m going to fix your tics” teenage mom. I honestly don’t believe it’s my business to do that anymore. I will insist due to his health. After all, he’s his own person. My only job is to keep him safe and love him like a MTHFR.

And I do.

Until next time,

Andrea

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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There’s Nothing Outside of Yourself You Need to Be Happy (Except Maybe Headphones)

 

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I live in house with a husband, 2 kids, a pit bull and a room mate. Given that we have 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, this does not give us a lot of space. (I admit it. I’ve peed in the backyard at times. No one knows this but a few close friends. And, well, now everyone who reads this blog. Don’t judge.)

I’m completely aware that people in other countries live 8 to a room (heck, the kids I assist at a Title 1 grammar school one city away live 8 to an apartment) so I try not to complain. Each day I write gratitude lists.

“Thank you God for the giant oak tree that shades the cramped dining room poor excuse for a bedroom  sacred space I share with Rex.”

“Thank you God for our fridge full of vegan hot dogs and gelitin-free food for my entitled/have no idea how much it costs big-hearted teenagers whose sweet souls are always thinking of animals.”

And, speaking of teenagers, “Thank you God for my beautiful daughter who today is 13. Today.”

Today, folks.

My round faced china doll girl of yore has morphed into long legs and curvy hips. Her Betty Page throw back hair style has been replaced with long brown locks. She has zits near those gorgeous dimples. And, as much as I grieve the few stains on her lovely face, I pray sometimes that, to borrow a similar statement from Farmer Stacey, ‘May God keep her pimply and humble.’ I’m not ready for what comes with the other.

Today I picked up my son from the train station. He had just returned from five days of visiting his best friend who lives 4 hours away. I swear, he stepped off that train and I didn’t recognize him.

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Stink: (Low Man Voice) “Hey, Pipsqueak.”

Pip: “Hi, Stink!”

Miss L: “Give us your bag!”

And so he did. My girl, her bestie and him. They walked side by side to the car, talking the pros and cons of the Hogswart Express vs. Amtrak. (Yes, there’s delicious food. Unfortunately no chocolate frogs or magical playing cards. Darnit.)

I often wear headphones, like the ones below, to get some space from the constant noise and chaos that surrounds this busy home.

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But when I stay in gratitude, I am so often overwhelmed with how it’s also a happy home with all its clanking, banging and raucous laughter. And I will miss these days when they are gone.

Quiet is good to calm the mind, but when push comes to shove, I don’t know if I’d have it any other way.

As my sponsor often tells me, “You don’t need anything outside of yourself to be happy.” And while I often want to punch her in the face cringe when she says that, she’s right. I am learning, slowly, that there is a lesson in everything.

And today, the lesson was clear yet again: head phones can give me a little breathing room to find myself amongst the dog barking, the door bell ringing, the Jehovah Witnesses preaching, but always remember I am my best self when I am surrounded by people I love.

And so, I will be taking off these suckers in a moment. I will be saying prayers with my kids upstairs. I will crawl into bed next to Rex, and I will once again say thank you to a God who I don’t always understand, but I know gives me everything I need. And I don’t need to find him outside of myself.

And neither do you.

Until next time,

Andrea

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Fun Friday – Sombreros for Taco Tuesday

I just got back from a beautiful trip to Lake Shasta. The trees were so green. The water was so blue. I kayaked without killing myself. #Itwasasuccess.

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While the views were outstanding, there was something even more incredible that took place in that beautiful country. It was something that, if I’m not careful – especially in my parenting- I can overlook. It’s called “Fun.”

From a spirited conversation on the plane ride over, to dinner out, lunch out and some amazing home cooked meals by Farmer Stacey, I didn’t have much to do other than to relate my stories, listen to hers and laugh.

While vacations can’t truly compare to real life (especially when I was blessed enough to not pay for the trip myself) it did remind me that life doesn’t have to be such a bore all the time. I can get so caught up in what “has” to get done (cooking, cleaning, shopping, working) that I forget what I “get” to do (talk with my kids, chuckle at a show with my husband, call up my  mom and dish over the time my father’s pants fell off in a Costco parking lot while talking to my sister about a great deal on Diet Coke.)

One of the things we do every Tuesday is eat tacos. But not just any tacos. Boring healthy kid-approved vegetarian tacos. (The teens aren’t vegan yet. I don’t have to mortgage the house for Whole Foods “Looks Like Queso Tastes Like Crappo” cheddar. Our veggie tacos are a simple fix of tortillas, beans, rice, lettuce, salsa and cheese.)

And sombreros!

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A few years ago I scored 8 cheesy sombreros for $4 at a Salvation Army discount day. Do they go with my retro tan and cream checkered floors? No. But is it hilarious to watch an unsuspecting guest put one on before saying the blessing over our food? Si, senoritas!

Until we get lice, we’ll be wearing those ridiculous over sized, Mexican noggin’ covers. On the inside, my kids are secretly dying at the absurdity of their six-one mother rocking out to mariachi music while wearing a cone shaped hat over her messy bun. But on the inside, secretly, I think they want some shakers to go with it.

Because it’s goofy.

And ridiculous.

And it’s fun.

And sometimes, you just have to go for it, mis amigos.

“Our egos are not our amigos!” I say, “Let’s drop the perfect routine and act like dorks because we can!”

PS: I don’t really think lice would stop my tradition. If you ever plan on visiting, you might consider making it a Wacky Wednesday instead. On those days, we just talk about camels and shout, Hump Daaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy at each other. Equally as enlightening!

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What about you? What do you do just for fun? I’d love to know!

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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