Saturday, August 30, 2014

I'm not normally one to post my woes on social media.  I try keep it lighthearted mainly because I think there are people in way worse situations then me.  But here's the thing:  Autism sucks.  At least today during dinner it did.

Autism is all I know as a parent.  I don't like to go to places that are loud or crowded because it can turn bad quickly.   And by bad, I mean it's over stimulating, littlest starts stimming, running, hitting, head butting, and they both suddenly are completely unable to hear me.

Sounds like every child, I know.  It also sounds like I'm whining.  The thing is that when I try to express what it's like, it sounds petty.  My kids are high functioning.  They learn differently but most days I have every reason to believe that they will be successful, contributing, self sufficient members of society.

The truth is, they can do so much and I want to focus on that, I really do.  But it's the bad stuff that sends me into a tail spin.  The inability to reason, communicate needs, hyper focusing, moaning,head butting,  lack of safety awareness, not letting me comfort them when they are's those things that frustrate me, and make me want to scream "I Hate Autism!!"

I said it tonight.  I said it out loud to B for the first time.  I don't crave normal because I don't know what normal is, but I said it because in want to be able to reach them more.  I want to connect more.   And I'm being selfish because I want it to be on my terms.  

There is something that always sticks with me that I have to remember about Autism.  They are not giving me a hard time, they are having a hard time.  I forget that in the moment sometimes, thinking they are capable of the things I want them to do.  And I believe they are.  I just seem to miss a cue in the environment that makes it difficult for them to do what I'm asking in that moment.  It's me most of the time...not them.  They are just trying to be kids.

Sweet, sweet kids.

Love you both.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Friday, was a most awesome day, as I was able to see The Bigs in their class setting.  I really get a kick out of being there with them and watching them learn. I'm  that Mother that is in the corner with happy tears streaming down her face because her child sat during circle or read a sentence.   Yep, tears.   Every.  Single.  Time. 

My little guys are smart as whips. They also are diagnosed under the ASD umbrella.  

When I tell people that, and I tell a lot of people because it's part of who we are, I usually get the side head tilt, and sad look of apology.  I also get, "I hear people with autism are really smart."  

I really, really don't enjoy those responses. 

My guys are smart, regardless  of autism.  They just have a more difficult time processing.   And also, I wouldn't change  them.  They are what I know and love.  Somedays are difficult, but most days are good because we cope, and we deal and we navigate this world together.  Like we did on Friday...

M had a "Scientist" in the classroom.  I was able to volunteer for a few hours and I knew the change in routine would probably be hard on him.  It was, big time.  Also, me being there probably didn't help either.   Too much noise, too many strange faces, no structure.   His morning went down the tube fast.   One of his classmates recognized that things were not quite right for him and found him his "Sit Fit Cushion".  Awesome.

The "Scientist" who was leading some of the projects, wasn't very sensitive to the different needs of the class.  At one point, she actually snapped at him which made him cower in a corner.  Not awesome.

So we readjusted our sails, took a walk and built a structure, until he was ready to rejoin the class.  His teacher is amazing and we turned on the smart board and did some math with the  entire class.  Guess who was leading it with his special smart board stylus?  My Son.   

My Son with autism, who just wants to be involved and learn like all the other kids. My Son, who was dancing and happy the minute order was restored in a familiar part of his life.  My Son, the rockstar, was leading the class through counting by fives, tens, twenties, backwards and any  other combination you can think of.  My Son!   

So yes, he is brilliant.  No bias here.    

I have a point here, I really do.  

If you see a child having a hard time, in the midst of a wild tantrum,  or doing something they potentially shouldn't  be doing, don't assume the worst of the child or the parent.  There are things you can't see.  If you see tears in my eyes, don't back away and assume  I'm a lunatic for crying because my child can sit for 4 minutes in circle.  That's a big deal for us.     Hug us, congratulate us, and high five us.  You can bet your bottom dollar that I would do the same for you and your guys. 

Nighty night.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

It has been a while.

A long while.

I've been thinking it might be time to come back.

To tell our story.

To tell the story of them.  

To unload my thoughts each day.

Whatcha think?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The very long, I can't believe I have it all done, completed 2013 December Daily album

***Warning!!!  Photo Heavy!!! ***

I can't believe it's not Butter...

I also can't believe it's not even the end of January and I have completed my December Daily album.

Go Me!!

I totally enjoyed this process this year.

I never felt pressured to get it done every day, which is a good thing because I did it in lumps and chunks throughout December.

Having a printer at home made this process super duper easy.

Receiving a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas made finishing up the last few days and adding in extra details, super duper fun!

I had some constants throughout;  I used some of  Ai's and Cathy's digital elements, as well as this journaling template .  Those elements simplified and unified some of my pages.

I primarily used the Studio Calico December Daily kit for the base of my project.  I also pre-made my transparent numbered pages as well as heat embossed the wood veneer pieces from the kit to eliminate any fussiness throughout the process.

I told myself that I was going to focus on one story a day, but that didn't happen.  There is always so much going on in December that I recorded the majority of our days.  Some were more eventful then others.  :)

Here it is:

Day 1
Super simple reminder about what this month is about, 
and of course, advent calenders.  I just love ours.

 Day 2
 Some words on  J and his reactions to the holidays.
Day 3
 M and how he is is feeling about Christmas this year.

 Day 4 
The story story of decorating the Christmas tree.  
It was done late in November like we usually do, but I wanted to share the story.  
This day was a good day to do it.

Day 5
 Momma sick.  M sick.  
I went out to get my favorite seasonal treat regardless.
The back of one of Second Cups gift card holders was a good place to adhere my 
journalling about that day

 Day 6  
Momma and M still sick.  
Very thankful for this woman on this day, and always!
(Also, that reindeer head?  Cut with my silhouette!!)

 Day 7
 I messed up the sewing of my numbered transparent page and the date, so I fixed them with a little scribble and some washi tape.  Also, this day tells the story of our Portable North Pole tradition.  Love it so much!

Day 8
 A little photo op with daddy.  I worked this weekend during the nights 
so it was all about building a gingerbread house with Grandma!

 Day 9
The story of another little tradition we have; an angel tree at the boys school.  
Also, some handy dandy silhouette cutting with a SC  file that came with the DD kit.

 Day 10 
I had two days off in a row this week.  It was time to wrap and bake.  
I also had some extra pictures to include so I started to cut up my SC pocket pages 
to include them, so this day had a bit more content.  I included a text from Grammy
 and the boys opened letters from their Uncle when they got home.

 Day 11: 
Baking with my Mom.  It was such a nice morning to be able
to get the boys off to school and bake the morning away. 
 I looked up at one point and saw their stuffies waiting for them on the couch.  
Made me smile.

 Day 12
Nothing going on here.  In fact I didn't have anything to share.  I came home from work around 11:30pm and snapped a picture of the tree and went to bed.
Day 13
It was a Friday so we were off to speech therapy for J.  We brought his therapist cookies.  :)
It was also my Sisters birthday so we did the usual dinner and cake.

 Day 14
My last weekend off this month.  It was really cold and there was lots of family time.  It was nice to have everyone home for breakfast.  I also included J's letter to Santa that he did in class this year.  :)

 Day 15
a big snow storm overnight.  I took that picture at 5:30am.  It was wild outside!  I didn't journal this day and I am okay with that!

 Day 16
Not my best day.  I had a major meltdown on my boys and I wrote them an apology letter.  
Looking back I still feel poopy about it. 

 Day 17
Last day of 39.  Made some commitments to myself to get through the rest of the holidays 
with the right attitude.  Also...getting excited for the big day!

 Day 18
The best day ever.
At midnight I turned 40 and became engaged to my partner of 16 years.  It was a special moment as we have worked hard at our relationship over the last year.  Two boys under the ASD umbrella, life, and parenthood in general, took a toll on our relationship, but we have tried hard.  Some might say it was a Christmas miracle.  :) I spent the day with the boys at school for their craft day, and the night with my whole family to celebrate my birthday.  40 never felt so good.  :)   
Lots of pictures to include here.

 Day 19
Wonderful cards and notes home from my boys teachers.  
I included them in the album but didn't show them here. I also added pictures from the day before because they really needed to be there but I'm not going to show you them all.  :)
Day 20
Grammy arrives today.  I took the boys to the airport to wait for her flight as there was no school today.  we spent the day with Grammy relaxing.  
 I also went back in after and added some cameo cuts on the second page  :)

 Day 21
Total weather disaster day.  Also, my family surprised me with another birthday party with some longtime friends.  It was wonderful!

 Day 22
Aunty arrives from NS!
I also slept a little later than the boys and walked in to find this in the morning. 
So love it when this happens.

 Day 23
I have a favorite Christmas song that I listen to on repeat every year that really makes me appreciate what I have.    I thought it would be fun to cut the lyrics with my cameo.

 Day 24
I worked until 3:00, then picked up Mom for 4:30 mass and then we headed home.  Our new tradition of pasta for dinner, along with all of the others; milk and cookies, laying the socks, and hanging out Santa's key.  M was so excited he didn't get to sleep until after 11:00pm! Also some fun cuts that I found for my Cameo.

Christmas Day
No journaling, none needed. I am truly blessed.

 My cover is already dinged up from looking at it and working with it often.  Love that!

 I loved looking up today and seeing both last years and this years albums out.  And yes my tree and decorations are still up.  I really love them.

Have a wonderful 2014!  I know we plan to!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

December Daily 2013 | Planning ahead

Ironically, my last blog post was dedicated to the completion of my 2012  December album.  As you can see, I'm on the ball!!!   I was a little indifferent about jumping on board with December Daily again this year, but Studio Calico put out their 2nd DD kit, and I fell in love with the album.  Lets just say it was purchased very quickly, and I'm happy that it was.  You can watch this video from Ali Edwards to see the contents of the kit.  Also, if you are not familiar with the December Daily concept, hop around her blog to enlighten yourself.  It really is a cool concept and tradition. 

I must say I had a little bit of a hard time taking pictures of my prep work.  I'm using all of the transparent 3X4 cards included in the kit, paired with some pre-made, transparent numbered snowflakes that I posted on Instagram a few weeks back.  It didn't come out very pretty in the pictures but I can envision what the end result will be.

I'm trying to take a better approach this year as well.  Last year I thought I could journal every day, take some pictures every day and send them off to be printed, then on my days off, bring it all together.  Not a strong plan coming from the girl that shoots from the hip on most days.  Also, everyone came down with the stomach flu for days at the beginning of December, which didn't make for great stories.  This year, I'm trying to stick with one story per day, use these handy dandy prompts, and journal each day using the Momento App.  I also purchased a bunch of digital stamps and overlays from Designer Digitals from Cathy Zielske and Ali Edwards.  Super excited about them!

So here is my prep work so far.  Excuse the bad photos.  I'm still trying to master that camera of mine.

Cover.  I kept it simple with some light gold paint from Martha Stewart.  The snowflake is a wood ornament from Michaels.

 My cover page:

 Page one.  My gentle reminder not to get caught up in the stress that people feel during this holiday season.  It is so not worth it and I try hard to keep things lighthearted during December.

Some of my interior pages, not in any order because that would have been too simple for blogger to upload them the way I wanted them to be.  And also, I'm technically challenged today as this is my third attempt to post this.  ;)

 Someone I know is turning 40 on this day.  ;)

I stitched around some of the 3X4 cards that came n the kit, as well as a favorite paper that I cut down.  The plan is to use small photos in the stitched frames since I was gifted a nice photo printer last year for Christmas.  (Also making it easier this year to stay on track.)

That is it for now.  I must admit, I'm super excited to get this going.  M and J were up early this morning and the tree was decorated by 830am.  That's how we roll around these parts.  :)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


*please note, I just looked at this on my phone and the photos look very distorted.*