#ELMOMMA31 31 Days of Blogging in July

El Momma, July 2015

We did it! This is my final post of my self-given challenge to blog every day for the month of July. We went on a few random thought trails, but for the most part it was a great experience. I enjoyed sharing a part of my life with you every day this month. If you missed a post or two, feel free to look around. Every post was tagged with the hashtag #elmomma31 , so that should help or you can just scroll back through time or start on July 1  and scroll up until you end on July 31.

Welcome to August. I’m sure you will hear from me again soon as we gear up to go BACK TO SCHOOL!

much love,
El Momma (Rebekah)

The beginning

Day 30 of blogging for 31 days in July is my birthday and I’d like to share a story.
My story begins a little something like this:
Once upon a time there was a family of four living in the outskirts of Houston, Texas in the late 70s. Momma, Dad, Michael (age 12) and Melinda (age 7). They were a happy little family of four. Michael played baseball and basketball. Melinda was an active runner, involved in the Glenn Doman method and attending the Institutes with her family as well as she was a poster child for the March of Dimes. Momma stayed home with Melinda and Dad worked two jobs.
It must have been just after Christmas one year when Mom found out she was expecting a baby.
What a surprise. Nearly eight years had gone by since Melinda’s birth. And, although they had hoped and prayed for more children, enough time passed to where they just didn’t think it would happen.
Momma saw many doctors. One story she told me stuck out in particular. This doctor, who did not know Momma well, but knew of her family situation and that she had one child with Down’s Syndrome gave her unsolicited advice. 
First of all, he told her that there was an increased likelihood that the baby she was carrying would have Down’s because she already had a child with Down’s and because she was older. He then proceeded to tell her that it would be too much to handle. 
She didn’t believe that. She believed that if she was given (blessed) with another child with special needs, it would be part of God’s plan for her as a mother. And, if God gave her another special needs child, He would give her the strength to handle it just fine.
The next few months were an exciting time for this soon-to-be-family of five as they anticipated the birth of their little baby boy, Matthew.
Yes, Matthew. A baby boy.  I’m not sure as to why they were so sure that the baby was a boy. But, they were. Matthew had blue clothes and even a beautiful baby blue handmade blanket. Matthew was due to be born on his dad’s birthday. Five days later, Matthew still hadn’t arrived and Michael needed school clothes. So, momma took him school clothes shopping at  Wieners Department Store. He was thirteen at the time and shopping for jeans. Probably not that exciting…until his Mom asked him to time her contractions. She was in labor! I’m not sure if they made a purchase or not. I will have to follow up on that part. But, I know they went to the hospital and baby Matthew was born that evening. Except, Baby Matthew was a girl and they named her “Rebekah Anne.” Surprise! It’s a Rebekah!
Thank the Lord they never thought for a second that I would be too much to handle. I’m sure I was too much to handle at times, but that’s called being a growing human. Happy birthday to me!
Melinda, Michael and Baby Rebekah
Rebekah and Momma

Why I buy myself flowers

When I was a little girl, my momma’s dear friend’s son bought me yellow roses. They were like family. He passed away when I was three years old in a tragic gun accident. For years, his mom sent me yellow roses on my birthday. Eventually, my parents picked up the tradition. And, every birthday since I can remember, I’ve had a dozen yellow roses. This year was no different. My momma even had them delivered a day early so I could enjoy them a day longer.
These particular flowers remind me of childhood, growing up, beauty, dreams, tradition and I am reminded just how much I am loved. 
When I grocery shop and stop to admire a 3 stem bunch of blue hydrangeas and decide to take them home…it’s because I love flowers. I love having fresh flowers nearby. I love a home with fresh flowers. I am reminded of the love in the home, the life in the home, the beauty in the home, tradition in the home and the beauty our creator has given us! Having fresh flowers in my home feels good, so I buy them. 


I’ve realized my favorite part of summer.
Yes, there are vacations.
Yes, there is time off.
Yes, there is time to recharge (hopefully!)
But, my very favorite part is F A M I L Y time!
The last two summers we’ve vacationed with my brother, sister in law and their four kids. Last summer, my parents and sister joined us.

This summer we celebrated Moustapha ‘s dad’s 70th birthday with a family vacation to the hill country. All of his sisters, their spouses, kids and his parents. I know people often say they need a vacation from their vacation.
But, I love the relaxed vacations with our extended family. 
It’s a real, blessed treat. 
My hope is for a long lifetime of family time!

When You’re Happy…

I picked him up from day-camp early on Friday because he wasn’t feeling well.
He buckled in and looked up and asked me to please take him to the doctor.
I called on the way and we went straight to the pediatrician’s office.
Not much happened.
He had a fever of 102.
We were told he probably just had a stomach bug and to be prepared.
So, we got through the weekend.
Not feeling well and fighting off a fever. By Monday, it was still going strong, but he was fighting.
Here we are trying to enjoy a pool day. He’s laying in my arms.
How do we feel better?
We make matching silly faces and sick faces.

When you’re happy. 
I’m happy.
When you’re sad. 
I’m sad.
When you feel sick.
I worry until I’m sick too.
When you’re unsettled.
I am unsettled.
You are my little dream.
My love bug.
My silly boy.
I love you so and hope you feel better soon.
Until then, I will hold you until you smile! 
El Momma and Leebug 

Beautiful Sunday

It’s the last Sunday of July.

The last Sunday of my self-imposed “31 days of blogging in July” challenge. 
Five more posts and then it’s “so long, July! hello, August!”
August means:
Back to school.
Back to a more normal work schedule because the Els are back to school.
Football season.
Dance classes.
Hot. Very Hot days.
And Time?
More time?
Maybe not. 
But, I can hope for more time.
More time to write.
More time to play. 
More time to read.
More time to pray. 
More time to listen.
More time with family.
More time with friends. 
More time to love. 
More time to give.
It’s a new season for us: four kids at one school! 
Can I get an Amen!? Woohoo! I have high hopes for all the amazing things I’m going to make time for now. Because, let’s be honest. We already have time for what we make time for. We prioritize and I’m going to prioritize that big MORE list I made up there. 
Oh, happy Sunday and near end of summer 2015!
El Momma 


This guy is turning another year older today.

Thank you, Lord!
It has been a tough few months, but today we celebrate Jimmie (my dad) ‘s birthday.
Thankful that he gets to celebrate at home. And, so thankful for my mom, caring for him so well these last few months.
Happy 76th birthday, Grandfather! We love you so!

July birthday boys!
First #selfie Father’s Day 2015

Just a summ summ summer day

What a day!

About five months ago I co-chaired the Gala fundraiser for our school. #horngala15 It was a huge success, a ton of work, but also incredibly rewarding. More about the top picture later…

So, at our school Gala, we auctioned off socials. Socials have a limited number of spots available at a set price. We have socials with teachers: bowling and pizza and we have socials that are just for parents: dinner and quiz night. And, we have socials that are organized by parents for kids. This was one of those. 104KRBE gave us an exclusive all access pass to their morning show for up to 10 kids. So, we arrived early this morning and were given a tour of the studio, a ton of juice and donuts and these kiddos got to say “hello” on the radio. It was super fun!

Trin was in dance camp all week. Today she had a recital. She had a blast!
All four of the kids were enrolled in at least one week of Power camp this summer. Today was the last day of power camp and it ended with a balloon release with messages of hope tied to them. 
And this guy not feeling well. Unexplained fever and sadness. So, we picked him up from power camp a little early and headed to the doctor for a quick check before the weekend. 
Finally, we ended the night with an amazing dinner with friends old and new. This was a celebration of the Gala we did in May to support our Little League. I definitely felt appreciated and loved. What a treat!

Delicious Cheese plate.

So, what’s the first pic about? That’s my friend, Tricia. She’s awesome. Seriously, she loves to photobomb pictures I’m in or pictures I am taking. This time she photobombed the cheese and I just had to share.

Love these summ summ summer days!

El Momma

Oh Happy Day! Our biggest chalkpaint project yet! Princess bed!

Two weeks ago, I picked up my childhood bed from my parents home and brought it to my house. 
I began working on it that day
Here’s Just a little bit about the process I used to refinish the bed:
First, I cleaned the bedframe, headboard and footboard with soap and water scrubbing lightly with a sponge. 
I made sure the bed was dry and then I painted a first coat of old white chalk paint. 
The next day I painted a second coat of old white chalk paint. With each additional application I would lightly spray small spritzes of water before painting the second coat. 
It helps the chalk paint to last longer and go further. 
Once the old white was dry and I was happy with the number of coats, I painted the pink details in Antoinnette chalk paint. For some reason I found the pink to be a lot thinner than the white, but when I would leave the cans sitting out for a little while it would thicken up. Painting the pink details took several days with a couple of coats (spritzing water in between.)
Once it was all dry, it was time to sand. I just rub sandpaper everywhere I want to have a little distressed look. 
Then,I took a soft brush vacuum and vacuumed the entire frame before waxing. 
I waxed with a clear wax first. To wax, you apply a thick amount of wax with a brush and rub it in/off with cheese cloth or an old Tshirt material. I personally work faster and prefer the Tshirt.  I waxed the entire bed in clear wax before using any of the dark wax. 
I mixed the clear wax with a touch of the dark wax and it worked really well. I would blot it on and wipe as much away as I wanted. I love how it darkened the pink just enough. It’s perfect. 

El Momma is so happy! And, Trinity is too. For now, the mattress is sitting directly on slats, but we are going to get a box spring mattress to raise it up.
So, what do you think? Have you tried Annie Sloan Chalkpaint? I’m in love.
El Momma 

Vacations and The A word

It can be difficult to talk about.

Difficult to think about.
Difficult to plan for.
We love going on vacation. 
All of us love being on vacation.
We love the fun.
We love the excitement.
We love everything except how Autism affects vacations.

Being cool with daddy on vacation 2014

I think there was a while that we went into vacations somewhat blindly.
Not to say that we are hopeful now, but it’s different.
It’s more of a planned hope.
A very intentional hope with a plan.
We have left the amusement parks late at night after being overstimulated all day, screaming and crying and just not being able to stop.
Those are not the memories we want our children to hold onto and take with them.
And, honestly and thankfully they don’t seem to be the ones that stick.
But, if we can avoid that from happening at all, then we want to.
So, how do we attempt to do that?

Our answer: Don’t go it alone.
Never feel as though you are the only one who is in this or trying to make it better. If you don’t feel like you have a partner or a team, hopefully you have resources. Professionals, social workers, psychologists, friends and family that can help your child and you to have the tools you need to succeed. For us this is been really helpful and helped us to set out on a plan before we go on vacation. For our next trip away, we have a list of expected behaviors and responses. We have also talked a lot about small reactions going with small problems. One of our biggest issues is big reactions to small problems or something that doesn’t seem to really be a problem at all. Transitions are also really tough and vacations are typically full of them. We also have a “family plan” so we can think about and talk about all of our roles before we start something. For example, if we are going to a Hotel for the first time, we can talk about what we will each need to do in order to get checked in and settled in our room. It’s actually a pretty fun game and all of the other kids get into it too.

Next: Don’t sweat the small stuff.
You know when it’s too much for your child. You know your child. You know when they are overstimulated and need a break. You know when you need to address something right then or when you should just let it go, because it’s really not a big deal. You know. So, trust your instincts and don’t worry about what other people think. If that is what is driving you during a meltdown, then it will never end well. We have to learn to separate our child’s behavior or misbehavior from our own self worth and frankly, that can be really challenging in a public place.

Finally: Choose activities you are confident your child will succeed at doing and do those activities.
It’s his vacation too. And, him being filled with joy riding his favorite ride brings him joy and that brings joy to the whole family. You don’t have to plan your entire family vacation around one person, but it’s nice to think of things that each family member will love to do and to try to make that happen on a big trip. It makes each of us feel special to know that we are valued and that are interests are taken in to account when our parents make plans for the family. I certainly choose activities that I want to do. It’s my vacation too. 🙂

Don’t give up. If you do encounter a meltdown of epic proportions during a vacation, ride the storm and pray it passes quickly. They usually do and with my guy, he seems to block that stuff out and really focuses on all the wonders and excitement of the day. We are blessed.

brothers on vacation, summer 2014