Tuesday, August 12, 2008

citizen of the month interview, meet T!

I signed up to do the citizen of the month interview, I was interviewed by sheilamia, you can see that here http://sheilamia.wordpress.com/2008/08/06/a-very-worthwhile-experiment/

I was paired up to interview T of Send Chocolate. You can visit her blog here http://casadecruz.blogspot.com/. Withing minutes of poking around her blog, I new I loved this woman and added her to my feed reader. This is a smart, funny woman who does what she needs to do for her family. My kind of woman. So here is the interview!

Hi T, I have been assigned the intimidating task of interviewing you. I first want to say that I have spent some time reading on your blog, and I immediately added you to my feed reader. I cannot begin to tell you how taken I am with your honesty in blogging, especially about what must be a sensitive topic-your children. Secondly happy birthday! Apparently we share it, I'm a July 10th girl too!

Hi Alison! I am sincerely flattered! Thanks for doing this! Happy belated bday! Also, feel free to edit my words!!
so here are the questions:

1) How was camp rock?

Camp Rock was a lot of fun. It was actually Spirit West Coast, in Monterey. It's a three day Christian music festival. Think Woodstock or Lilith Faire without the booze and nakedness. Our church took 55 high school students and we had a blast. I was telling a friend where I was going and she facetiously said, 'So you are going to Camp Rock, huh?" I said, "No! I am going to summer camp, at SWC... music and teenagers and ...summer camp? Wait, guess I am going to Camp Rock!"

2) Would you describe yourself as a "hang it all out there" blogger or do you keep certain things private?

Wow that's a really good question! I think that I do hang a lot out there. I say my life is an open book. I figure if my experience helps anyone, then it wasn't in vain. So I share a lot. I don't share a ton about my husband, because the blog is about my life and yes, he is a part of that life, but I respect his boundaries, the old poop. He is a lot more private than I am. And with my 14 yr old daughter, I always run things by her before I post about her, because she is, well, 14. It is a fine line, I guess.

3) I have a good idea of what your blog is about, but I would like to give you the chance to answer that in your own words. What you would like to accomplish with your writing?

I write for two reasons: to help those who deal with autism in their families know they are not alone and two: to maintain my own sanity. I would call myself a lifeblogger. Yes, I am a momma and a homeschooler and I have kids with autism. But I write about whatever I feel like writing about. I don't live in a box. I never have.

4) Do you have any hobbies, you know besides being crazy busy with a blog, a house, three kids, and homeschooling them too?

This is the part where I lie and tell you that I hike and do yoga (I actually used to, and still have a membership to the health club) and climb mountains and all of the things I wish I did, right? I used to read, but don't do a lot of that anymore. I guess my hobby is buying books at the bookstore that I don't end up reading! I am really active in my church youth group, because I am cool like that, and really, wouldn't you want meas a role model for your kids? I do all sorts of writing, so I guess that would be my hobby. And I read stories to my little one, can that count? I love the Pigeon...I don't get why he can't drive the bus.

5) Any dreams?

My dream is to be a published author. A prolific one. I want to freelance and do magazines. I want to further autism activism. I recently started writing for my county newspaper autism blog, so it's a start. I have a book or two in me, and yes, so does everyone who blogs...but I have wanted to do this for a long time, so it will happen!

6) I think I picked up that you are a lactation consultant, this is something I would like to explore as a future career path for myself, how long have you been doing this and what made you start?

I am a volunteer lactation consultant of sorts. I have been doing it for 6 years now. I nursed all three of my children, but once I had my last one, she was a preemie and I had to struggle to nurse her. I fought ignorance from the NICU nurses, and misinformation as well as a baby whose mouth was too small. She wanted to use the bottle, developed a horrid nipple preference, and there was no one to help me. I am stubborn, so I didn't give up. Once she was older, I started attending La Leche League meetings.

7) I read that you chose to homeschool and why, do you think in general there is a lack of good services in schools for autism?

You know, I never in a million years expected to homeschool. I was really involved in our neighborhood public school, doing the room mom thing and the PTA thing. At the same time, I was dealing with getting my son diagnosed with autism, attending IEP meetings and trying to get a program in place for him. The year he was diagnosed, he was in a mainstream classroom. And it just was not working. We all knew it wasn't working. But I think the attitude was, wait and see what happens next year. That really seems to be the mentality, at least through our district. And I was a very hands-on in, involved parent.
The placement they offered for the following year was not the right one for my son. They didn't have a mild to moderate classroom, so he was to be placed in the moderate to severe classroom for summer school. Since the teacher would send his class work home to finish, I was already homeschooling him.... we spent hours on homework each night. And, I have to say, he hated school so much, I literally had to drag him there, kicking and screaming each morning. Something had to give.
A week or so later, I was at a conference, and I attended a session called Homeschool 101, everything you need to know to start. I came home and told my husband I wanted to homeschool. It was truly a case of God going before me, because I had brought it up before and been met with the cold shoulder. This time the answer was, "When do we start?" I have been homeschooling for five years now, and two years ago, brought my oldest daughter home. She has been very happy and can now pursue her academic interests. I also homeschool my 7 yr old, as well.

8) How long do you homeschool each day and what kind of prep goes into that? (I know that's a huge question, just curious what it takes to homeschool. )

We homeschool about 4 hours a day, from about 9-1. After that, the kids do things that are academic, but free time and fun. Prep takes place before the school year starts, I read and review books and curricula, then order what I think I will need. During the schoolyear I would say it probably takes about two hours a week, usually on Sunday night, as I do the lesson plans for the week. Beyond that, it isn't as hard as some might think. We visit the library every three weeks and the kids get books. I could go into the different approaches, but instead, we will just say I am Eclectic and do a little bit of everything. Anyone can homeschool. In fact, if you help your child with homework, and go on family trips, you already are homeschooling!

9) Is there anything you would like to world to know about Autism?

It is cliche, but true: if you 've seen one kid with autism, you've seen ONE kid with autism. All of the kids are different, and it is amazing how different they are. Most kids with Asperger's or high-functioning autism really are social. They want to know you, they want to hang with you..they just aren't sure how to make that happen. The idea that kids with AS or HFA are not social is just patently false.

10) What kind of chocolate should we send?

Oh honey! Want to be my friend for life? I love dark chocolate, especially truffles!

Thank you T for the great interview, you'll be seeing me in comments at Send Chocolate!


TLC said...

Thanks, rnmom for doing the interview. It was a lot of fun

T @ Send Chocolate

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

What a terrific interview, and a wonderful way to get to know other bloggers. Can't wait to check her out too.
Hope life is well with you Ali, I have an email in the works to send you, sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you.
Take care,