Hope your Halloween is happy and safe!

I thought I would share photos of our pumpkins today.
The kids painted their pumpkins and I carved the bats.


The Canepa-Dranttel Wedding

I attended this beautiful wedding in Bellingham, Washington this past August. Will is one of my dear friends from high school and it was an absolute pleasure to join he and Jen for their big day!

The groomsmen are also some of my all-time favorite people
and it was great seeing them, too!

Oh, Adam! You really are an amazing man!

I took all of these group photos from afar with my highest zoom setting.

I was standing across the pond with these lovely people...
well not the groomsmen, but with Courtney.
Jen did a fabulous job with the decorations.
The reception was so colorful and quaint and beautiful!
This was my place setting. And we were able to take home the homemade jam and plate.

The setting was so idyllic and provided for beautiful photos
like these two of our friends, Katie and Kacie.


Backyard Photoshoot

My little Bean and I were treated to some much needed mother/son time the other day and we spent part of it playing in the backyard and having a little photoshoot.

He turns two next week and I've been meaning to get some 2 year photos done, so check that one off the list! I'm really happy with these.


Bluebird on my Shoulder

I was so pleased to see this North American Bluebird in my backyard. I found a great site to help me establish a yard they will want to spend more time in.


1 in 91 U.S. Children Have Autism

I know I don't usually post much commentary here, but this was too mind blowing for me not to share. As some of you already know, my daughter is high-functioning Autistic. Basically that means she speaks and socializes, but is Autistic nontheless. You can read more about Abby at The Gentle Giant. But enough about us... check this out.

National Children's Health Survey Report Finds Autism Prevalence Now 1 in 91

Autism Society Calls for Answers to Crisis Now

A national report released today in the journal Pediatrics reveals that 1 percent of U.S. children ages 3-17 have an autism spectrum disorder, an estimated prevalence of one in every 91 children. This is a dramatic increase from the one in 150 prevalence rates currently reported.

“This national study charts a dramatic rise in the prevalence of autism in the United States and we applaud this administration’s recognition that autism is an urgent public health priority,” said Autism Society President and CEO Lee Grossman. “But families today are asking: how high must these prevalence rates rise before the nation responds? Significant resources must be directed toward screening and diagnosis, affordable interventions that treat the whole person and comprehensive education plans to foster lifelong skill development so that people with autism will have the ability to work and live independently.”

The report, entitled “Prevalence of Parent-Reported Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children in the US,” published in today’s issue of Pediatrics, was conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services National Survey of Children’s Health, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report was conducted via a telephone survey of over 78,000 parents, and determined a point prevalence of 110 per 10,000 respondents, roughly 1 percent of the population of children in the United States.

On a constituent call to discuss the report, the CDC reported that its initial analysis of the Autism and Developmental Delay Monitoring project data, due out later this fall, confirm the 1 percent figure. This report will also contain more data on age of diagnosis, groups affected, and access to interventions.

The increasing numbers have long-term economic costs to the country, as autism is a chronic medical condition affecting people across the lifespan. “Lifespan services, particularly for adults, are typically inadequate and inappropriate,” Grossman stated. “This new data should be a call to action to the government to improve and increase services and supports first.”

The Autism Society has been working with Congress on several key bills, which have stalled. “The information in this new report highlights the pressing need for additional services, support and treatments for families affected by autism spectrum disorders,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). “My bill, the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act, will help children and adults with autism gain better access to coordinated services, improve training for professionals treating these disorders, and will relieve the financial burden on the millions of families struggling with this disability.”

This bill, if funded, would provide funding for applied research into effective interventions, the first ever demonstration grants on adult services, create an adult prevalence study, and fund family support and information networks.

“Autism affects millions of American families, and the cost of diagnosis, early intervention, and treatment imposes a heavy burden on most of them,” said Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA), co-chair of the Congressional Autism Caucus. “This legislation, the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act of 2009, would improve the dissemination of information between autism researchers and service providers, improve training for professionals treating autism spectrum disorders, and mandate that health insurers cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Enactment of this legislation would do a lot to help millions of American families.”

“The increase in the reported prevalence of autism across the nation testifies to the urgency of executing a comprehensive strategy in response to this public health emergency,” said Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the Congressional Autism Caucus. “For its part, Congress must ensure robust funding to support aggressive programs of research, education, and services. Furthermore, Congress needs to enact additional legislation, such as the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act of 2009, that will establish the infrastructure and mechanisms for delivering appropriate services across the lifespan to individuals with autism and their families. We must look to maximize the reach and impact of our investments and activities by closely coordinating government efforts with those of national advocacy organizations, such as the Autism Society.”


Guardian of the Sidewalk

During a recent day trip to Saugatuck, Michigan, this dog was laying out front of his owner's store. He is so mellow and gentle. I had met him before on a previous trip to Saugatuck and it was so nice to see him again. Isn't he gorgeous!?