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That Time I Got Fired from the PTA…

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Okay, I wasn’t really fired a few months back. I was just told, by text, that perhaps I might be a better fit in a big picture role. “One that doesn’t require you losing important files and actually being able to make planning meetings with the rest of the moms who, well, actually not only remember to post things before they are due but don’t take home 3-ring binders full of volunteer sign-ups and only return it when reminded about it two weeks later.”

In truth, the person who texted me did not say that last part. She was more than gracious. Her words, in essence, said, “I’m thinking we should find a better role for your talents before your challenges become a problem.”

My ego: “Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Who needs you!”

The reality… the really hard, “Crap I hate to admit it” truth: “Thank you. You saved me… and everyone else… a ton of headache long term.” She even sent me a Brene Brown book with a very sweet note attached. It was touching and only reinforced more that sometimes pride must be put down. Friends don’t let friends make butts of themselves. As J.K. Rowling says in the first Harry Potter, ““It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.” – Albus Dumbledore.

Magical vs. Miraculous Thinking

Similar to a lot of things in life, I like the idea of stuff a lot more than I like the reality of it. Ex – Magical Thinking: My after-work life is going to include hob-nobbing with  vegan moms in pencil skirts wearing amazing yoga pants and washing down GMO free delights with organic wheat grass smoothies!

Ex: Miraculous Thinking: AKA Reality: My after-work life will include powering through post-school meetings (if I even show up at all… my kid is in eighth grade… we’re both over it) to show up early for 12-step meetings where I can huddle over really bad dark coffee with other moms like me, laughing about our fantasy thinking (the more screwed up the better!) and feeling like I’ve arrived – finally – at the right watering hole.

Lest it comes off like I’m some nut job who can’t get my act together, let me be the first to say that it’s far that. Instead, I’m finally starting to see who I am: I’m not better than anyone else or worse than anyone else. I’m right in the middle where the grace lives. Where I can wade and sometimes splash in the beautiful, messy and ridiculous waves of, “Well, that was a disaster but at least I tried!” It’s so much better than sitting on the shore watching everyone else surf (or drown.) And If I’m lucky, I might even score a free beach ball.

God is great – because He lets you practice your thinking over and over… and (in my case) over again!

Today, as I drove home from downtown Los Angeles, I had an opportunity to choose magical vs. miraculous thinking. Once again, a job I thought I had in the bag – one that would be really good for my family – didn’t work out. I was offered the opportunity to do something else – one that would require I go back to school at night.

At first I was honored and my brain started to spin with the oh-so-familiar, “What if this is the life-line I need? What if this is God telling me to put down the writing for a bit and go for the safe route? I could decorate my classroom like the Magic School Bus? I could learn how to play the guitar and buy cute shoes with school books on them. And I could face my fear of angry parents during I.E.P. meetings!”

But, to quote one of my favorite lines from Moonstruck, “Playing it safe is one of the worst things a girl like you can do.”

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What if my whole life I haven’t actually been hitting road blocks from trying? What if it’s been from trying too hard to play it safe? What if, like so many dreamers out there, God might just have me exactly where I am? Finishing up that book proposal… working on that movie idea next… coming back to this blog… going to my 12-step groups… going to church… and remembering that who I am, exactly at this moment, is exactly where I’m meant to be?

And with the right Good Will find, a 1960’s pencil skirt might be in my future yet.

What’s up with you all!?

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(Brene Brown talks a lot about having the courage to fail. Quote idea from one of her Ted Talks.)

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

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Ode to Finding My Blessings (And Yours!)

It’s busy as a working mom

My sanity… it’s sometimes gone

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There’s always last minute dirty dishes

Laundry, shopping and teenage wishes

What? My husband? He wants sex?

The dog is barking? Oh, no , what’s next?

Halloween… Thanksgiving… Christmas, too?

Plus in my family, we’ve also got Jews

That means Hannukah and 8 days of light

An 8 day cruise? Now THAT sounds right

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Maybe instead of all this shopping

This tired mom could go island hopping

How many hours could I lose?

Chillin’ on an Alaska cruise…

Maybe Hawaii, Alaska or even France?

A captains lunch… a dinner dance…

And yet… as nice as this all may sound

As day dream thoughts in my head go round

I think of the world… and all that’s insane

The far right marches… the hurricanes…

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North Korea missles… and refugees

Guess who’s lucky? Yup, that’s me.

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So I don’t have a maid…

I don’t have a cook

Compared to most

I’m like a crook

I’ve made off with the health

I’ve made off with sweet kiddos

Safe home and a job?

Ditto and ditto

And so while there’s always some things I would swap for another

I’m one lucky wife. I’m a damn lucky mother.

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So with that this small poem

Is almost complete

I’ve got a bath to be taken

And a pit bull at my feet

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I hope that you readers

Can find blessings, too

In all who you love

And in all that you do.

Got any gratitude? Leave it in the comment below.

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

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Refocusing the Blog: AGAIN

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Okay, I had this big thing going this summer where I was writing about:

* Tic Tuesdays
* Fun Fridays (Parenting)
* Writing Wednesdays
* Mystery Mondays!

Here’s the deal. As a writer, who is working on the side at a day job, I started putting what I wanted to do (a new book on fun parenting) into a site that mostly gets traffic for tics.

It wasn’t working for me.

As I look at the stats for this site, it’s clear that most of you come here for help with tics and special needs – so that’s where I’m staying.

If I’ve confused you, I’m sorry. Like our kids with tics and special needs, focus can get the best of us. I’m no exception. The key is to find my way home again, and that’s to you special needs mamas.

If you want specific tic topics, please leave a comment.

I’ll Be Here, 2 Days/Week!

I’m going to keep writing 2 days/week on tics and keep it simple. When my new book comes out, you better buy that one, too, though. Because the ultimate goal for me is to quit the day job and do what I do best – stay in my pjs, laugh and drink too much coffee.

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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Teenagers. Detaching with Love. And Tacos.

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You might notice less cute pictures these days on my blog. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. My kids aren’t that cute anymore. They are teenagers.
  2. These teenagers don’t want to be photographed and put online anymore. They are certain some predator will track them down and kidnap them.  I try to tell them that no one but me would take the time to put up with their half done chores or pull vegetarian recipes out of my butt for dinner because they’re more worried about saving chickens and cows than their library book reminders, but I digress.
  3. I’m too tired from waking up at midnight thanks to them stomping around upstairs, to bother with a camera.

I’d like to say that I’m my cheerful self, despite the challenges of raising two kids, one of who is 6’3, 14, and eats more food than a baby cow. I’d like to say that balancing a day job, a little book marketing, some freelance gigs and the occasional conference doesn’t throw me for a loop. But nope. This about sums it up.

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And yet…

Here’s the deal.

When I get cranky, like I did in my last post, it reminds me that I’m not Super Woman. It reminds me that I need to pull my drooling head off my chest and remember that it’s not what my kids do but who they are that’s most important. This means me – their imperfect, sucks at cooking, over commits, running late mother gets to breathe life into them. Not just on Christmas or birthdays – but every day. I can be boring and angry (and sometimes I am) or I can choose to be playful and encouraging (which is what I strive for.. but not yesterday. Yesterday? #epic fail.)

Bottom line: Fun is everything. If I can’t have fun with the little things – like dancing in the kitchen to Maroon 5’s “Sugar” while neighbor kids stare at my wooden spoon microphone and wonder if I’m adding doobage to the cilantro – then I won’t have fun with the big things.

My kids are growing up… fast. I better enjoy it while I can… because the hard stuff… the “Oh My GOD you’re keeping me awake AGAIN” stuff is the stuff I’ll miss in … gulp… four years… when they are out of the house.

Or, let’s face it, still in the house. (My kids are not like other L.A. kids. They don’t take music and language classes. They aren’t winning sports trophies or modeling for The GAP. They  specialize at cracking jokes, begging for snacks and getting a degree in Sarcasm 101.)

I’d say I feel like a bad mom. And sometimes I do. But most days – even when I’m wondering what the hell I’m doing – I have to admit…

I adore ’em.

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The top note from my daughter reads: “Doing chores is doing something, relaxing is doing something, therefore relaxing is doing chores.”

The bottom note from my son reads: “Insert clever comeback here!”

Until next time,

And eat tacos. They always help.

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

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Special Needs, Shame and Growing Up

By the title, I’d love to tell you that this post is all about my son. That I’m this awesome mom of a kid who tics and, despite his twitches and occasional shakes, I’m helping him work past his shame. You see, he’s growing up. In Stink’s case, literally. (He’s 6 foot 1. I’m in heels. He’s estimated to be SIX FOOT NINE. Um… I’m so okay with this no big deal sheesh dying on the inside a little bit each day.)

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You see, a well balanced mother… one with a full time job and freelance side job and a walk with Jesus and recently turned 37 47-year-old mother should be happy that her son is healthy.

Oh yes, he still tics. He does this head jerking up down/up down/arm thrust/arm thrust shaky shake every minute or so. He warbles a bit when he talks. But most people don’t notice it. And, more importantly, he doesn’t care.

I am quite certain many of you moms of tickers want to slap me. I know that many of your kids suffer from worry about their symptoms. I can say two things about the Tourette Syndrome diagnosis over the past 10 years:

  1. I can’t take credit for his confidence. I’ve sometimes been a real jerk.
  2. Sometimes I wish he were bugged a bit. It means I could offer him some supplements… some CBD oil… some new diet or medication or meditation or unicorn sperm to just calm. it. down.

But that’s not the real rub (not the unicorn sperm). The real rub is that when I can’t focus on changing tics, my husband, my daughter, my mother, my neighbors or my entitled pit bull, I can only focus on myself.

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This takes on a lot of different forms.

  • Manic busyness
  • Too much concentration on work (work I have, work I want, work I’m behind on)
  • Picking fights over stupid things (“The way you chew that food. Is it necessary?”)
  • Obsessive thinking (Most people have 4000 thoughts 4 times/day. When I’m anxious, I get 4 thoughts 4000 times/day. I’m lucky that way.)
  • Mood swings (8am – My job is awesome! 8:03 – Oh everyone can suck it and die!)
  • High highs and low lows

Lest you think I’m possibly bi-polar, one of my other amazing qualities is being neurotic. I’ve been down this road before, and anyone who knows me, or read my book, knows that I saw a shrink for anxiety. I’m definitely not bi-polar. I’m just a fairly intelligent writer who thinks to much, feels too much and is a bit on the shock controlling side. (I have lots of great qualities, too, but rather than see the prior list as “bad” and my generosity, humor and love of people as “good,” I’m attempting to see both sides as simply part of me. It’s the way I’m wired. God made me this way, so it must be good enough.)

Sorry, Mom

I write all this not to have my mother sit in her home office and shake her head with sighs of “Dear, Jesus, how did a calm Bostonion like me give birth to such a transparent wacka-do?” I say this because I’m pretty sure the only difference between someone like me, and others who don’t say it like it is, is that I’m attempting to be brave enough to admit I don’t always have it all together.

  • I worry about money.
  • I worry about not spending enough time with extended family.
  • I worry about my kids growing up too fast.
  • I worry about what other people think about me.
  • I worry about my husband’s job.
  • I worry that I shouldn’t worry about any of the things above this bullet point and I still do which means all these years of therapy and AA must mean I’m really more screwed up than I realize OH MY FRIGGIN A THIS SUCKS.

Oh, Wait, There’s Good News!

Yes, there is Good News on a biblical level. (My faith walk is so helpful. But this is not a Jesus post. Especially with a half naked woman in a cone bra right below the good Lord’s name. Though I’m sure Jesus would find her cute. He was a man after all! And don’t give me the “He’s gay he hung out with 12 men” speech because I call about 20 women/day and that doesn’t make me a dyke on a bike but, thanks to my obsessive mind, now I have something new to concentrate on. Hooray!)

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The good news is, like a random blue sock in a pile of white laundered gold toed stallions, I see the source of what ails me and drives my need to focus on others instead of myself.

The bad news? That sock is nothing but good old fashioned shame. Shame that reminds me that there’s this wee wee piece left of “you’re not good enough” left from some random experiences I had who knows when back in my childhood.

The good news is that, knowing I have old tapes in my head, there is healing. The good news is that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I’m not the only one. My friends admit their shame. My close family members share it with me. Heck, random people in Costco tell me about it while we’re in line for five dollar rotisserie chicken. “I’m sorry I got so cranky just there,” one woman told me. “I have terrible anxiety about being late for dinner as a kid on the farm and it manifests itself in hormone injected poultry.” (I can’t make this crap up.)

Not Admitting It Doesn’t Make It Not Real

I don’t want to admit I have shame anymore than that blue sock feels comfortable in a pile of crisp white matching show off socks. (I hate them! Their perfect pairs! Their no hole perfection! Damn them all!) But knowledge is the first step toward freedom.

Tourettes – My Ticket to Freedom

Maybe like me you have a child with Tourettes and you’re scared. Maybe your child has a different disability. Maybe you have no children with disabilities but you think that maybe you might relate to my big “I have issues” proclamation.

If so, you’re welcome here. April is Shame Month on Happily Ticked Off! And that’s no April Fools joke! Lets talk about it. Lets support each other. And let’s have a few laughs.

If my ticking, estimated to be 6’9, goof ball son can deal with a disability shame free, then we can, too!

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(I hope Luna, the dog my son pets over the fence every day on the way to school, doesn’t have a “No Media” policy.)

Lets use our “special needs” as a ticket to stop focusing on what isn’t the issue (the disability) and get to the root of what is.

Until then,

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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

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Know What You’re Doing? Neither Do I!

As I type this, our wacka doo pit bull mix is running through our office wagging its tail faster than Twitter blowing up over Trump’s golden shower incident.

By “office” I mean a small box of a room we carved out of our living room so my husband could jump start his I.T. business at home while I Ebayed, wrote and looked for full-time work.

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The good news is that my husband’s business is slowly gaining momentum, and I landed some work as special need’s aide at a public middle school while my own book starts to generate a bit of income/ freelance work trickles in.

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(Don’t scoff at the total. It’s only $59 for October, but it’s $59 from total strangers’ pockets based on someone searching frantically through the internet for “My kid’s tics are driving me batty Dear Lord HELP ME” and… based on my book… they’ve been mildly satisfied. See below!)

Shameless plugging? Perhaps. But truly, this book was my heart and soul. It was written before the pressures of having to go back to work for pay. I’m grateful beyond belief I had the ability to write it… to help other parents not feel so scared and alone at what might seem a daunting diagnosis. But truthfully,  life has seemed a hell of  a lot more stressful since.

Much of this has to do with the physical space of our house. As in… I have no space to myself anymore.

As I mentioned a while ago, my bedroom is actually a dining room now that my daughter has taken over our room. In theory it sounded amazing. Kids in puberty… their own space… we’ll simpify!

In reality, it’s meant my husband shoving his things into the front hall closet. I’ve used an old armoir for storage in the living room. We put our essentials under the bed in plastic buckets and our extras in shelves along the long wall of our makeshift bedroom. (Oh, wait… we don’t have those shelves yet! But it’s going to be amazing when it happens!)

Sometimes I’m irritated about sharing space with a renter, a husband, a dog, two kids and more neighborhood kids than a line at a Hamilton discount ticket drawing.

The other side of it, however, is that it’s only as frustrating as my acceptance level. Less physical space has its benefits when it comes to good old fashioned soul work. Cramped quarters in my home has translated into larger mental space. I’ve had to add new footage to my old ideas about what I needed to be happy. I’ve had to come to grips with what success really means. Is it a paycheck? Well, yes, in someways. I’d like to do more for my kids. But in the end, it’s how I answer the following questions that’s truly money in the bank:

  • Am I happy that my kids have such lovely folk to hang with? Yes.
  • Do I like my job with these special needs kids? No. I love it.
  • Have I learned more tolerance and patience? Yes.
  • Am I sometimes still a jerk? Of course! But I’m getting better.

In the end, these “things” I used to want so badly have become less important to me. They are, in the end, not hallmarks of a happy life. They are lovely toppings, instead, on a sundae that must always begin with a woman who is content and grounded based in the things that matter most:

  • Time with my children
  • A good book
  • Forgiveness of the past
  • Hope for the future
  • Better communication with my spouse
  • A life not based on what makes me happy but what makes me purposeful
  • A faith that God hasn’t brought me this far to drop me on my butt

If my 26-year-old self had heard my 46-year-old self describe my life this way, I’d have a quick translation for her: Loser.

But in reality, what more is there?

What About Goals? Do They Matter?

You betcha. A road with no map will certainly lead me somewhere – and that somewhere can be the difference between a suite in a New York plaza or an Idaho truck stop. (I’ll take the hotel, thanks!)

But this year is about being a little less controlling about the drive, the destination and even the passengers. I’m letting God steer a bit more. Who does He want me to be? What purpose do I need to fulfill? Who will be part of the road trip? Will I be earning my money through writing? A degree in special needs? Sharing my Doterra Oils or my book? (Ooooh… let’s not the pilot that I’m not half done with.)

Complicated Mama – Simple Life

I’d love to say I have it all figured out, but I’ve learned trying to manage, manipulate and control my future is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic.

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Maybe it’s okay, just for now, to take this job I have one step at a time, come home to my family, cook a dinner, watch Once Upon a Time as a family, and see where everything else pans out.

(And maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll have an extra box of Trader Joe’s gluten free Joe Joe’s and Ghost Pepper chips on hand. OMG – so amazing!)

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What About You?

What about you? Do you know 100% what you’re doing? I’d love to hear from you. And you’ll hear from me, too.

Next Time – Tic Update – Stink is Doing So Much Better!

Andrea

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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

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