It’s Time to Share My Family’s Story.

“Your son was born without fear. Literally, without fear or inhibition”

“What?” I could hear the doctor giving me details but all I heard was the sentence above.

“It’s an extreme form of ADHD. In addition to the hyperactivity and attention deficit, your son seems (according to testing) to be almost incapable of feeling fear or heeding to inhibition the way a normal child would.”

Normal. That’s the only word that stood out at the time. My son wasn’t normal.

And like that, my whole world changed. The doctor proceeded to tell me that the reason it was important for me to understand the extremity of my sons condition was so that I could understand that although it is rare to have to medicate a child at his age (5 years old), we would be medically (legally) required to do so with Sam as he could be a danger himself without intending to be.

This started a roller-coaster ride of a journey that only parents of special needs children would understand. We tried 9 medications before finding one that wouldn’t make him sick. Before finding one that would ‘work’ and even then it took a combination of medicines to finally give my son a sense of normalcy that would never actually be normal.

Born 17 months apart, my youngest son often entertained himself while mom was preoccupied with his older brother’s journey. He never once complained, but then of course he couldn’t complain. He was four years old and still not really speaking. I found out shortly there-after that this would start a second emotional and medical journey for my family – one that would place my son on the Autism Spectrum.

“The good news is that he is on the high functioning side of the spectrum” said his doctor. Good news? Good news? None of it seemed like good news. The unexpected, unprovoked tantrums, the hyper sensitivity to sound, the difficulty explaining his needs or wants – going out to dinner or a movie in my home was almost a dare. We never knew what to expect.

The one thing no doctor tells you when they hand you these unexpected diagnoses for your children is that you’re personal journey as their parent is about to be immediately engulfed in the five stages of grief. You mourn the ‘normal’ children you thought you’d have. You mourn the things you assume your kids will miss out on – slumber parties, church camping trips, team sports, etc. I got stuck in the ‘anger’ and ‘depression’ stage of my grief – over and over….and over…and truthfully, I’m not sure I’m out of it yet. My sons are now 6 & 7 years old and every day is hard. Every day. And every day I feel more inadequate as a mother. Every day I feel more guilt. Did I do something wrong? Was it something I ate while pregnant? Was it my forgetting to take my vitamins? I literally spend at least an hour a day (I wish I was kidding) feeling a guilt that I can’t put into words. I spend that time beating myself up inside asking God what I did wrong. The other 23 hours of the day…well, every day is different. Some days are good. Some days are very, very hard. Some days are as close to perfect as we can hope for. But one thing is for sure – every day is different.

Why tell you this? Because for too long I kept this to myself. For too long, I’ve been sad and lonely and felt that I couldn’t tell anyone why. For too long I have felt ashamed, and I don’t any more. I feel overwhelmed but not ashamed.

Sam has ADHD but with his condition comes the inability to lie, comes a passion for the truth, comes an intensity for the things that interest him and a certainty that once he makes up his mind on a topic, NO ONE will sway him. He has an extremely high IQ and excels in just about everything. He’s a miniature adult who in his brief childhood has had to overcome more things than most adults but he makes overcoming those things seem easy – when I know they must be extremely hard.  He’s strong and mature but every now and then he melts in my arms and reminds me that he’s my little boy – the one that made me a mom.

Andy has High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. He loves routine and excels when rules are clearly stated and will not deviate from them. He has an incredible ability to memorize and learn new things. He inherited my father’s charm and charisma. Everyone that meets Andy loves him instantly. He has a smile that lights up any room he’s in. He loves all things Disney and says he’s going to be John Lasseter (Creative Director of Disney/Pixar) when he grows up. Andy believes in magic and fairy tales, he loves make-believe and believes in wishes. Andy also believes that you should set aside time each day for snuggles with those you love and he’s an expert at being cuddly.  He has the best sense of humor and hearing him laugh is the best part of my day – every day.

My faith reminds me that the Lord never gives us more than we can bear. I trust that. I believe in that. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard – very hard. But in so many ways we are incredibly blessed. I just sometimes need to be reminded of that.


Name Change, New Look, New Outlook

Our blog is going through a re-branding and overall overhaul. Please be patient as there will be some exciting things to come! :)

One of my favorite people to interview….


Actor Sean Astin was my guest this week on my podcast “Erica Presents…” One of my favorite stars to interview, he’s such a great guy! We always have a blast chatting. You can listen here:

Erica Presents…Sean Astin 10/25 by Erica Presents for ENMNetwork | Entertainment Podcasts


Sam’s First Race

Today was terrifying. Sam’s first school race for charity. What was terrifying about it was that parents had to run too and my husband was not available! I psyched myself up, prayed for rain and headed to school!

Luckily for me, none of the other parents wanted to run so once we got there we all decided to be cheerleaders instead (huge sigh of relief!).

I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with Sam. He was fast! He ran 1.5 miles and came in second place in his class (actually in all of kinder). He was awarded a medal.

During the whole morning, Andy made himself at home in the class. He fit right in.

And he also finished the race. He ran all 1.5 miles just like his brother!

I have to admit, it was a wonderful day! It’s a memory I won’t soon forget.

There’s No Rest For Dreamers. Ever.

There. I said it. We are constantly encouraged to dream but the reality is, dreaming is hard work. You see, dreams as we envision them are pristine, ideal, many times unrealistic, they give us something to work towards, something to work for, they fill the empty moments of our lives and give us something to strive for. Dreams are the imaginary finish-line on the treadmill of life.

But what happens when those dreams come true?

Of course, I’m not talking about the dreams we have at night. Thank goodness some of those stay in the sub-conscience of our mind. I’m talking about the dreams we have when we are wide awake, sitting in a cubicle at work telling ourselves that “ONE DAY”…or “WHEN WE GROW UP” or “WHEN WE FINALLY MAKE IT”…..this will happen. We will finally get that. We just might finally do that one thing.

Then what?

Random example (about no one you know): You know that dream we always had about being a celebrity publicist for a drop dead gorgeous actor (you know, THAT dream)? Well, one day it comes true. We lived it. We worked hard. We get the job done. We have pictures to prove it. We did it!! (Everyone clap for 30 seconds) So, now what?

Time to get a new dream.

Ok, new dream time: One day I can start a network of bloggers and we will help one another. No egos, no competition. Just friends striving to be better. Striving to learn more. Wanting to invent/reinvent/revive/reestablish ourselves as writers/professionals. We will learn and grow and live up to our potential by helping one another. We’ll get paid to blog, to post, to help, to promote…but most importantly we will mentor each other, root for one another and entertain and inform our audiences in the process.

(hard work…time…more hard work…help…work…planning…hard work)

Ah ha, done! The initial part of this (hypothetical) dream is done!

(the sound of cricket chirping for about two minutes) Now what?

What? Time for a new dream?! Darn it, aren’t they linear? Isn’t there a finish line here somewhere? There, I made it! WooHoo!! Now, where’s my ribbon?

Nope, that’s not how dreaming works. When you are fortunate enough to get to the finish line, it’s time to start a new race. It’s time to dream again…and you know what makes the work get gradually harder? The second dream is even bigger. You see, it comes with less self-doubt. You’re a champion now. You are the dreaming equivalent of an academy-award winner. From now on your success will follow you around even if those around you don’t know about it. Your greatest fan and your greatest critic (both YOU, by the way) always know! You carry yourself a bit different. You hold your head up higher. You stand up taller. But now its time for a new dream so you have to make this one bigger, bolder.

The dreaming loop is perpetual.  It’s not like a movie with closing credits. Your dreams will alter, they will change, they will be redirected, they will stall, they will at times be put on hold and yes, sometimes they even die….but guess what? Dreams are the babushka dolls of our mind. Where there’s been one, there’s another, and another and then another.

There is no rest for dreamers. Just a lot of hard work. Then when you taste the sweet nectar of success and you have finally lived/reached/accomplished your dream. Guess what? You get a two minute pee break and then its time to dream again!

Stars Making a Difference and Giving This Mama Heart Failure!

I have to admit, when I first heard of this my initial reaction was something like “WHAT??!! Wasn’t there a golf tournament available?!”. However, if he wanted to bring attention to the cause, he definitely got mine!

Actor Josh Henderson (“Dallas”) – give me a moment while I enjoy the picture – is raising $5000 for the Somaly Mam Foundation and is jumping out of a plane at 18,000 feet!

The Somaly Mam Foundation is a nonprofit 501c(3) organization dedicated to the eradication of slavery worldwide, with a special focus on Southeast Asia where the trafficking of women and girls is widespread. SMF supports survivor rescue, shelter, and restoration programs (including medical and psychological treatment), as well as empowerment programs that train survivors of slavery to be a force of change in their community. SMF’s awareness and advocacy campaigns shed light on the crime of human trafficking and involve governments and individuals in the fight against modern-day slavery.
I would offer him money NOT TO JUMP! That’s just the mom in me, I guess.
Josh is only 70% of the way and needs to raise all $5000 by Saturday. Can you help? Visit to donate.
Also, Josh is giving you an extra incentive. If you donate $30 he will send you a thank you tweet (I know for a FACT that he runs his twitter feed personally). For $75 he will send you a personal thank you video and for $125 he will send you an autographed photo. Sounds like a great deal and it’s all for charity!

Disney Junior Announces New Show for 2015!

I was THRILLED to hear about this today:

Production has begun on the animated series “Miles From Tomorrowland,” a space adventure for preschoolers. Slated to debut in 2015 on Disney Junior channels and programming blocks around the world, the series follows the outer space voyages of young adventurer Miles and his family. The announcement was made today by Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide. 

Kanter said, “We hope this series will influence a child’s interest in science and technology by introducing them at an early age to the exciting world of space exploration, how things work and what lies beyond the here and now.”

Set in outer space, the series charts the missions of the Callisto family – 7-year-old Miles, big sister Loretta and their scientist parents Phoebe and Leo, who work for the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Each episode features two 11-minute adventure-filled stories as Miles and his family explore strange new worlds, taking young viewers and their families on a journey that fuels kids’ natural interest in the universe, and at the same time reminding them that what matters most is what lies closer to home – the family bond.

“Miles From Tomorrowland” is a production of Wild Canary in association with Disney Junior. Emmy-nominated Sascha Paladino (“Henry Hugglemonster,” “Ni Hao, Kai-lan”) is creator and executive producer and Emmy-nominated Paul Demeyer (“Duckman,” “Rugrats in Paris”) is director. 

Why Should I Give A Rich Man (Shemar Moore) Money?


Why Should I Donate to “The Bounce Back” Film Indiegogo Campaign?
by: Erica I. Pena-Vest – Blogger, Fan, Film-Lover

Disclaimer: I am only a social media volunteer for the Bounce Back film campaign and am have not been asked to write this. My opinion is entirely my own and not meant to be representative of Shemar Moore, the Bounce Back film or its affiliates. 

We are reaching the home stretch of this journey and I have often, during this process, heard people ask “Why should I give money to the Bounce Back Indiegogo campaign?”. It’s a legitimate question. One I’m going to try to answer and pray that you can better understand the importance of the campaign I am working on.

Movies are made everyday. Money comes from all kinds of places. Studios, investors, companies, sponsors…there are a million ways to raise money, so why go to the fans? Shemar has answered this over and over, but somewhere in the back of our heads we’re worried he’s ‘acting’ or telling us what we want to hear. It’s ok to admit it. I thought the same thing when I first heard about this project. He’s a wealthy man, and this movie is not a charity. The movie will make money as will it’s stars, so why should we get involved? What do we get out of it?

I can’t tell you how many times, as a blogger, I have been disappointed in a movie, especially this summer. My favorite movie as a kid was the original Superman with Christoper Reeve (remember that one?). When it was remade, I hoped (secretly I prayed) that it would be everything I wanted it to be. I wanted the feel of wonder, excitement, virtue and a return to the only truly altruistic character that has ever existed on screen (other than Christ). I was badly disappointed. The Superman I remembered and loved had turned into a Hollywood production of violence, confusion, betrayal and my hero even lacked the virtuous character he was known for. What happened? Have we really become THAT audience that is cynical and no longer believes in virtue and love?

That’s where the Bounce Back came in for me. Here’s a chance to help make a movie, have a voice, be at the screening, meet the star and director, have influence on a movie that is about the most basic and human concept in existence – LOVE. If ‘they’ the producers screw this one up, well, I might not believe in movies any more.

But I’ll be real honest, I know Shemar. I’ve met him, as have some of my friends and we can tell you one thing. That man IS LOVE. Everything about him eludes love, sensuality, sexuality, and sensitivity. I’m not even saying this as a fan. I am a fan, but you only need to spend two minutes with Shemar and you no longer feel that ‘I’m-about-to-faint-because-I’m-so-excited’ kind of feeling. It’s more like you just met the cute guy at the diner or you had a date with the quarterback of the football team. He’s real. He’s approachable. He’s the dream come to life. He’s the PERFECT leading man.

That brings us to the Bounce Back. Sure they could have gone to Hollywood for the money, but by coming to us, we have a voice. We can be part of something that’s going to change the way Hollywood sees us, the consumer. Right now, we are a $9.50 movie ticket to them, but after this, we are Hollywood producers and maybe, just maybe, they will start listening to what we want we think, what we want to see, what we believe in, who we want as a lead actor…and maybe next time, they won’t mess with Superman. Maybe. But we won’t know until we try. They won’t know what we can do, until we show them.

Let’s make this love story happen for Shemar, because it’s our love story. It will always be ‘our’ love story. No one will ever be able to take that from us. This will always be the time when we showed Hollywood that if only they would come to us, listen to us instead of talk down to us, we could truly make magic.

I can’t think of a better person to make magic with and for than Shemar Moore. Who’s with me?

Work Can Be So Much Fun!

As of a couple of weeks ago, I am helping Actor Shemar Moore raise money for his newest project, “The Bounce Back”. You can read all about it here. 
This has been an amazing opportunity that I know is going to lead to great things. Not only has it been an honor to meet his staff and work with an amazing team of bloggers, but those bloggers and I are in the process of making history. We have launched Entertainment New Media Network, a first of its kind group initiative making our services as social media experts/bloggers available to the entertainment industry and celebrities. Shemar Moore is our first ‘client’, if you will, and we are thrilled to see the power of our influence for a film with such great potential. 
I will be bring you the latest updates as we have them!

Very Few Things I Love in Hollywood More Than Vince Vaughn

Touchtone Pictures has planned this extra special world premiere of the theatrical trailer of their upcoming movie, Delivery Man. In the movie, Vince Vaughn plays an underachiever that has recently found out he has 533 children from sperm donation. Now, 533 bloggers like me, are bring you this trailer first!

I love Vince Vaughn. He’s on my top five favorite actors list. I just look at his face and laugh! I’m excited to see this film and hope to bring you the review later this year.

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DELIVERY MAN releases in theaters on November 22nd!