Light it up blue for World Autism Awareness Day!

We try to teach our children all about life, but really our children teach us what life is all about.

Have you heard of Light It Up Blue? Light It Up Blue, in its third year, is a global initiative to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern that is autism. Iconic landmarks around the world will Light It Up Blue to show their support.Check out the Autism Speaks website for Light It Up Blue and check out the pictures – they are so amazing! My personal favorite is Niagra Falls.My son Cole and I will be wearing blue today and our hearts will be with all of the children and families that have been affected by autism.

Being a parent is a challenge, but when your child is diagnosed with autism that challenge becomes even greater. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates autism to be prevalent in 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls) in the U.S. Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. There is no proven medical detection or cure for autism. I have a personal hunch that it has to do with both environmental toxins and genetic vulnerabilities.

The good news? A new study finds that 10% of autistic children can “bloom” and outgrow most of their disabilities by the time they reach adolescence. What can you and I do to help increase that percentage, as well as reduce the number of autistic children?

This Fall I am participating in the 2012 Greater Boston Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Team Mikey is named after my cousin’s son. He is a handsome, bright, fun little boy and was recently diagnosed with autism. Please help me raise funds to support this important cause. Although I’m not walking for several more months there is no better time to act than now, because April marks the beginning of Autism Awareness month. And today (April 2nd) is Autism Awareness Day! So help get my fundraising efforts off to an amazing start.

Every dollar counts! Here is the link to my Donation Page.

Lentil soup with sweet potatoes and spinach

I’m always looking for quick, easy, and healthy meals for my family.  Now that Cole is eating more solid foods I’ve been making meals that he can enjoy with us. Soups are easy because I can make them ahead of time in the crock pot, and they can be made with a variety of vegetable and bean combinations. I came across a recipe for lentil soup on one of my favorite food blogs, Two Peas & Their Pod, tweaked it just a bit and it came out delicious.  It’s never crossed my mind to put sweet potato into a soup – what a brilliant idea! I hope you enjoy this hearty soup on a brisk winter day.

Ingredients
1 cup of lentils
1 large sweet potato
2 medium size carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carton of vegetable broth (32 oz)
2 big handfuls fresh spinach, chopped
1 bay leaf
Oregano
Salt
Pepper

Recipe
Place all the ingredients, except the spinach, into the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 – 7 hours. Five minutes before serving remove the bay leaf and add the fresh spinach. Add more seasoning to taste. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Little hands

I love my baby and his little hands. I outline each finger, admiring how meticulously manicured his nails look. I draw circles in his palm, and he reacts by closing his fists. I observe that he mostly keeps his hands shut tightly, as if he isn’t ready to receive all of the gifts that life has to offer. Time passes and those hands start to open up. They open enough to grasp my pinky finger. Even more time passes and he touches textures while we play, and he caresses my skin while we nurse. His little hands are growing and becoming more curious. And then one day he is no longer just curious about the feeling of carpet, toys, and skin. He furrows his brow and examines his right hand as if to say, “I see you, hand. Now let’s see what you can do.” His hands are wide open in the days that follow. He thrusts his arms and grabs the bright colored animals that hang from his chair. He swats the air and smacks the ground. Pulls (my) hair and scratches (his) skin. Pushes up on all fours, pulls himself up to stand. He does all of these things with those little hands. I watch as he picks up a piece of kiwi with his thumb and forefinger. He pinches it carefully. Purposefully brings the food to his mouth and chomps down. I think these little hands are starting to impress him.

He knows what these little hands can do on their own, but today he brought his little hands together. He claps for the first time. Such a small gesture, but such an exciting one! Tonight he fell asleep with hands clasped together in front of him, as if in prayer. Hands are used for acheiving things, but when brought together, they can also be used to help quiet the mind. My 9 month old teaches me a lot of lessons.

I can make people…what’s your superpower?

I saw a tee-shirt a couple of weeks ago that made me chuckle:

It started as just a joke, but after this morning, I really am starting to feel like a Super Hero!  I’ve experienced (as a lot of women do) a heightened sense of smell since I’ve been pregnant.  During my first trimester it led me to the nearest toilet bowl, but now I’ve learned to embrace my Spidey sense!

Around 6:00 this morning I woke up to the putrid smell of gas filling the room.  I turned over to Greg and asked if he could smell it.  He couldn’t.

“Greg – you can’t smell that? I’m telling you, it’s gas.”

“Lin, I really don’t smell it.  Maybe, there is a little nail polish remover smell.  They are renovating the second floor so maybe it’s polyurethane or something.”

“No, Greg. It’s gas. Like at a gas station.”

So while I took a shower, my caring husband went to investigate.  About 15 minutes later, he returned with a smile and said:

“Well pregnant lady – you were right!”

An old lawn mower in the basement was leaking gas.  And yours truly smelled it from upstairs!

My father-in-law (retired fire fighter) will be proud :)

 

Bump is the New Black

Being a pregnant fashionista is tough!  As the belly grows, the wardrobe goes.  The last time I felt comfortable in my tight fitting clothes was on my anniversary.  Greg and I had an amazing evening planned: dinner at Abe & Louie’s followed by a showing of Wicked at the Oprah house.  So I put on a sexy shirt, black pants, and a leather jacket.  As I glided up to my full-length mirror and turned to my side, gazing lovingly at my barely visible baby bump, I thought to myself with satisfaction, “Bump is the new black!”  I felt like the cutest little pregnant lady, fitting into my normal clothes, bump and all!  I even made Greg take a picture, although it took him a while to find an angle that showcased the belly:

Looking at this picture now, I can understand why Greg had to take so many trial shots!  If I could go back in time and talk to anniversary night Lindsay I would say, “Girl…just you wait!  The bump is coming!”

And it did.  Between week 19 and week 20, I popped.

This Monday after work I put on a fashion show of dresses for Greg.  My goal was to pick out an outfit for a wedding this weekend.  I honestly believed that at least one of my dresses would fit!  Well, I was wrong.  Very, very wrong.

Pregg’s Fashion Fowl #1: My baby belly is pulling the back of the dress!

Pregg’s Fashion Fowl #2: They were big before, but these ladies can’t be tamed!

Pregg’s Fashion Fowl #3: I swear this used to zip up all the way!

The whole photo session was quite comical – I’m sure the baby was laughing along with us in utero.  I looked over at Greg with grin on my face and said, “You know what this means, right? I get to go SHOPPING tomorrow!”  What can I say?  I am just a girl who loves pretty things :)

The following day at one of my favorite stores, Free People I found the perfect dress. I’m emphasizing the belly bump here, but I love the bright color, the silky material, and how the dress flows.

I love my baby bump.  You don’t need to be a fashionista when your pregnant.  After all, bump is the new black as far as I’m concerned.  And you don’t argue with a pregnant lady.

It’s a….

My mom came with me to my 16-week ultra-sound.  Over her “Oh Wow’s” and “Oh Lindsay’s” I was able to ask the doctor a few important questions!  Her first comment as she rubbed the ultra-sound instrument around my belly was that I had a very active baby.  He was kicking around and doing a very impressive head stand.  I asked about the heart rate, which was 149 bpm (very healthy).  And then I asked whether she could decipher the sex.  She looked over at me and questioned whether I was sure I wanted to know whether I was having a boy or a girl so early to which I replied:

Yes, Doctor.  I’m a first-born, a pieces, and a planner.  I need to know.

It’s a boy!

Greg and I would have been happy regardless of the sex.  All we want is a healthy baby!  However, Greg is the last of the boy Benson’s in his family who can pass on his name, so for that reason, it is exciting that we are having a boy.  We love the name Cole Benson and are leaning towards that as being our baby’s name!  But who knows…still plenty of time to decide!

Okay – this feels really real now!!!! :)

“He has my lips!”

The next few weeks are filled with naps, visits to the toilet, and hormonal rantings and ravings.  I can honestly say that my husband is the most patient man on the planet and I fall in love with him more and more every day.  This pregnancy has taken my craziness to a whole new level! I was driving home from work, 12 weeks pregnant, totally exhausted, but otherwise feeling pretty normal.  Then out of nowhere I started crying my eyes out!  I called Greg and he calmly explained:

“Lin – the reason you are crying is because you have hormones rushing through your body. You are very pregnant. Just get home safely, lie down for a bit, and you’ll feel much better…”

Seriously – I’m so lucky to have him.  He didn’t try to fix me and tell me to stop being upset.  He made me feel normal for feeling how I felt!  Does that sentence make sense?? :)

The high point of week 12 was when we got to see Baby Benson again.  During the ultra sound, the doctor asked whether we wanted to know the gender to which we replied in unison – YES!  He said that he can sometimes be wrong this early, but he was pretty sure that the baby is a boy.  Here is our conversation after the doctor leaves the room:

Greg: I knew it was a boy as soon as I saw him.

Me: How?!

Greg: Because he looks like me…and has my lips.

Me: He doesn’t look like anyone yet…he looks like an alien at this point!

Greg: *Shrug* & *Grin* I can see it…

What do you all think?

We can’t wait to find out for sure whether we are having a boy or a girl!  We will be thrilled either way…all we want is a healthy, happy baby.