Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Respite House

TEEHidden in a small community, a red brick house on a pretty big piece of land surrounded by green grass is the respite house.  When you walk in, it is immediately welcoming.  The walls are a very light green, a very earthy color, and white.  To the right of the entry way is a very large room with a blocked off fire place and two very large chairs and a big, comfortable couch for sitting and reading.  It is a quiet type of room.  There is a large window with a view of the flowers planted outside.

Past that room is the room where they eat.  There is a very large table in the center of the room, and a painting on one wall, another window on the other.

The bedrooms are large, with large beds.  Two have bathrooms in the room, three share.  The rooms are immaculate, as are the bathrooms, with nice, new furniture.  I would want to stay there.

There is also a dining area with a bowl of fruit, the kitchen, and a large living/TV room.   Again, very welcoming.

The house has a calming effect almost immediately when you go in.  It feels much like a home.  It is so welcoming.  From the colors they use for the walls, to the paintings and decorations on the wall, everything is calming.  Nothing is loud.

I have absolutely no anxiety about leaving my children in this house.  The people I have met that run it are amazing.  Thee place itself is amazing.  I do believe my children will enjoy their stay.

It basically feels like dropping your kids off at a resort and knowing they will be taken care of at the same time.  It is a wonderful feeling.

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake Review

I cannot tell you how much I love this cake.  It is the simplest and easiest recipe I have found to make a delicious, moist, rich, chocolate cake.

There are just so many good things about this cake.  From the smell to the fact that it brings all my kids into the kitchen because of the easy to make frosting to the quickness of it, it is just a really good recipe.

Here is a link.



The icing

Cake 1

I couldn’t get to the cake quickly enough before it was cut.

Tee Shirt

Respite Part 3 Navarro County

The respite services were quick to respond to our needs, as far as having a time crunch, and we are set to go Monday through Friday of next week.

I called MHMR last week because I wanted to make sure we had our services ready in time for my trip Monday.  We all met at MHMR yesterday and it went very well.  We were informed of the services we are able to use, and how we can use them.

The boys told the ladies what they like to do and eat, they will be doing activities the extent of their stay.  A nurse will check them out upon arrival and through that stay.  Everything seems pretty much perfect.

A side note that is pretty important is that they do now offer behavioral therapy.  This was something we desperately were in need of and seeking in Navarro County about 4 years back.

Things are moving along.  Our little Autism community is coming a long way.

Tee Shirt!!

I know this seems a little rushed, and there is a lot more to say about our journey to diagnosis.  I will be posting as often as possible to finish our stories.

Thank you for your support.

Steph and Sam’s Voice.

Sam’s Voice Link

Our Journey With Respite Services In Navarro Co., Texas part 2

The down side to blogging an experience is that you kind of have to put the bad and good in the blog.

This is the bad.

I have a trip next Monday.  I fly out MONDAY.  My children are supposed to be in the care of the people at that respite house MONDAY.

I have not received a phone call or a text.   The lady said she only does meetings on Tuesdays.  That is tomorrow.

So, I call MHMR, and I love my people at MHMR.  A supervisor was contacted and I am suppose to not panic.  I am trying.

We will see how that ends, I hope it ends well.

Part 2 of Our Journey to Autism Support and Help

28516_398451587429_5997116_n (1)

When you are watching your child not really getting any better, and no one is really helping, a part of you feels like it is dying.  You are kind of watching your hopes and dreams disappear.  It is a hard thing to come to terms with.


I remember telling the doctor what was happening and him saying, “And you get Autism from this?  Doubtful.”  My children were growing up.  When we went in grocery stores, their shoes and socks flew across the stores.  We now know this is a sensory issue and it is not uncommon.  They were still not potty training.  They did not get it.  They would rock back and forth and laugh to each other, and not even respond to me.  They still do this, by the way.  I would have to take them, screaming, out of stores.  The funny thing is, it was never over something they could not have.  It was always random.  Yes, sensory issues.


They were becoming the age where they needed to be enrolled in school, and they were still not using a toilet.  I knew I had to get something done, fast.  I took them to a new doctor who made the astute observation that milestones had been missed.  This was his diagnosis.  I was astounded as my son had another accident in his pants during our visit.


I remember the doctor wanting blood work from one of my boys and I took him to get it done.  He hid under my chair, which is actually called “denning” and a complete stranger says to him, “If you are not good and do not sit in your chair, mama’s not going to get you any McDonalds.”  This woman had never met me.  My child was not misbehaving, and frankly, it was none of her business.  McDonald’s?


KNOWING that we had missed our milestones, and KNOWING we needed to be enrolled in a public school with 2 children still unable to control themselves as far as bathroom issues go, I took my kids to the school to talk.  What I was basically told was they needed a diagnosis to help the kids.  I do not believe this to be true, but this is where the first time I decided to homeschool came in.  I saw absolutely no reason to humiliate my children because they still did not get the bathroom thing.


Now, I am not even going to pretend that I did not make mistakes along the way.  I made a ton of mistakes.  I own that.  I was trying, though.




I decided on yet another doctor.  She was kind of an odd woman.  I cannot say I trusted this woman, but I took a chance.  She looked at Matt and said, “This child can’t sit still.”  I replied that we had waited 45 minutes.  She said something about him not talking much.  Then, this woman, a health professional, stated my child had ADHD and needed medicine for it and he would be talking in 6 weeks.  I got our stuff, said thank you, and left.


Maybe I should have tried harder.  Maybe I should have found more people willing to help.  At this time, though, my decision was to homeschool and to pretty much try to fix the problems on our own.  The community had failed me, the medical and educational parts of it, at least, and I was really just ready to give up.



And I did give up.


That is when CPS came in and our lives changed for the better.


In the archives is the story of how CPS came in and why.


Nosey neighbors and their hatefulness actually finally gave us hope.


The story does not end here.  So far, we are 5 or 6 years in.  It gets better.


Here is where you can find us.
Grab a promotional Tee

And keep in touch.
Much Love,





Part 1 of our Journey to Autism Diagnosis and Help


Matt and Sam never were like most other children.  Every sign was there.  They were inconsolable as infants.  They rocked back and forth.  They echoed sounds instead of forming words.  They walked on their toes, lined up toys, played only with parts and not a whole anything.  Things spun.  Kids cried.  Nothing about it was particularly normal, though.


I will never forget the moment I knew.  Matt and Sam had bouncy seats and a water mat they loved.  The mat was a small fish shaped mat that had objects floating in water inside of it.  If you push the water, the object moves.  Matthew loved this toy.  He played with it every time I laid him on that mat.  Then one day, he didn’t.


My child was leaving me.  I can honestly say that first time he did not play on that mat, I felt it, and somehow I knew.


With Sam, it was slower.  With both, it became inconsolable screaming, no one wanted to be held.  They would stretch out and push away from me when I would pick them up out of a bouncy seat or a swing, they would cry all the time.  I remember giving them chamomile tea and honey, which pediatricians frown upon, but these people failed me anyway, and getting a slightly calmer reaction.


That moment is always in my mind as the point where part of me said, immediately, “Autism,” and the beginning of a very long, very unnecessary battle for someone, anyone, to listen.  I knew.  I said it, I asked about it, and all along, I got missing milestones.  I got, hmmm. I got a lot of people who made me feel stupid, and a lot of unconcerned road blocks.  10398433_102553557429_2374433_n

I remember Matthew was usually pretty unattainable.  He would rock for hours.  Back and forth, he rocked.  he had this keyboard that played music, and he would push a button and rock.  Sam would get on his hands and knees and rock back and forth.  He was not as far inside himself as Matt.  I would get in front of Matthew, and later on I was told this was the wrong thing to do, which I disagree with, and I would say his name until he would look at me and I would smile.  Usually he did not respond.  When he did, it was magical.


Like all parents of children with Autism, I have a very long and extensive list of broken and destroyed household items.  I have a long list of places and times when rude and ignorant strangers have come up and given me advice that was neither well meaning, nor was it helpful.  I have long lists of places and times I was hurt by people with good intentions, as well.  The truth is, this is a nightmare at best when you are in the middle of it and you do not know where to turn.


We are not alone.  It is now what, 1 in 68 according to the Autism Science Foundation.

How Common is Autism?

We have resources because of the internet we never had before.   I know that does not diminish the frustration of not getting a diagnosis, but there is so much help and hope.


This was just the beginning of our journey.  It did get better.  Every day it gets better.


With every bit of progress early on, comes that regression we dread.  The meltdowns.  The ugly side.  Every step forward seems to lead to one step backwards.


And we all hear you.


And that means you are never alone.


Happy Mother’s Day,

Steph’s Life And Sam’s Voice.



Grab a Tee Shirt while you are here

Thanks 🙂






Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there just like me, pretending to know what they are doing. 


My kids.   


Have a great day.

Resources for Parents of Special Needs Kids Navarro County

Here is a list of agencies I have used on our journey through the Autism maze.

Easter Seals North Texas – South Dallas
CenterAddress: 4201 Brook Spring Dr, Dallas, TX 75224
Phone:(214) 372-3300

Lakes Regional MHMR Center
Social Services Organization

Address: 800 N Main St, Corsicana, TX 75110
Phone:(903) 872-2491

Medical Associates of Navarro
Address: 400 Hospital Dr # 208, Corsicana, TX 75110
 Westminster Presbyterian Church
Address: 312 N 13th St, Corsicana, TX 75110
Lakes Regional now offers counseling services for adults going through depression and the counseled me for codependency.  There are a lot of resources out there and I will add to this page as I remember them.


Promotional Tees


I have created tee shirts and designed them to promote Sam’s Voice and the blog.  I have to sell 3 more to get them printed.  I think they turned out cool.  The tee is American Apparel and I did the placement of the designs and words myself.  The art is available for public use.   Here is the link:

Thank you for your support, and for reading.

We do get somewhere around $2.00/shirt, if we meet our goal.