Tag Archive | kids

Birthday With a Side of Autism

Yesterday I turned 35.  The day mostly went by as just another day with just a few tweaks here and there as I attempted to make it something special.  My boys were confused and largely oblivious to what day it was even though they had others who were helping them prepare for it for over a week.  They were also struggling with disconnect and excessive pent up energy from us having been snowed in for the last few days.  I have to admit, the way they finally figured out it was my birthday was because I had a meltdown of my own about their behavior and shouted out “and even on my birthday!”.  Not my proudest moment by any means, but a real one.

In a last ditch effort to salvage what was left of the day, I sent the boys off to play by themselves so I could cool down and started making myself my favorite dinner.  That’s when my mom called.  She helped me vent my frustrations as well as helped me remember to relax and look for the little things.  She then talked to the boys to try and help them calm down a bit and focus.  The day still didn’t end perfectly, but eventually the boys did finally click and they sang me “Happy Birthday” and gave me two precious birthday cards, complete with their signatures and a little message each. ❤  Then, after waiting for them to settle down again from their excitement, we settled in to play some card games and watch some Netflix together.

There was no cake, there weren’t any presents wrapped up in shiny paper and bows, and the birthday song didn’t even happen until after 11 pm…  When I look back at it all though, I see what mattered most did indeed happen.  My boys remembered me and I got to spend some special moments with them.  It was a good birthday. ❤

Kindness of Strangers

img_5321-editedThe snow outside is getting deep and yet it just keeps on falling down.  I haven’t seen the ground underneath it for over a month now.  Definitely not something I am used to dealing with having come from a place that normally is lucky to even get a trace now and then.  Thankfully though, the snow has not been the only thing piling up around here.

As a single mom with two kids (all three of us disabled or with special needs) I have had quite a bit of experience bearing a load that was never really meant to borne by one lone person.  Many are the nights I have prayed quietly, sometimes with tears on my cheeks, for the comfort and help of someone to walk this journey along side me; to share the joys as well as the tears, the triumphs as well as the struggles, to simply cuddle with on a cold winter’s night while watching a movie.  That blessing has not been one I’ve been granted yet, but in it’s place I see encouragement and reminders that God cares and He hears delivered to me through the kindness of strangers that come in and out of our lives.  This winter, the deeper the snow gets, the more the kind strangers seem to show up.

img_5258-taggedOur first blessing came when the boys were struggling to shovel out the sidewalk at least enough to get to the mailbox safely.  The snow was deep, they were struggling with focus (it’s kids in the snow… focus issues are to be expected haha ^_^ ), and their shovels were necessarily small to make them useable for the kids.  Across the street from our home is a small community church.  As the boys were digging their shovels in for another round after a brief snow ball fight, two young teens and their dad pulled up in front of the church with huge shovels.  Long story short, I asked the teens if they would be willing to let me pay them to help shovel us out and they not only refused the money, but they have come back every single morning the snow needed to be removed again and without even knocking to alert me to their presence.   I still don’t know who they are, and they still won’t accept anything in return the few times we’ve managed to catch them in action.

Another blessing was when I found out the doctor team here decided to pick up our family for Christmas.  They bought both boys some really meaningful and fun gifts for under the tree and they gifted me with both necessities like the specialty laundry soap and bath soap I need due to Joshua’s allergies and simply little things to make me smile like new coffee mugs and a replacement of a beloved movie I had lost when moving to Idaho.  A very moving experience to have someone care so much about my family.

img_5312-editedToday, the stranger we encountered was a store clerk where I was attempting to trade in snow boots.  Someone (from the team of doctors) saw my shoes full of holes and decided to gift me with a way to keep my feet warm and dry this winter. ❤  The gift made me cry from the gratefulness that flowed out of my heart for them.  Unfortunately, the boots were not able to fit though so I went to see if they came in a bigger size.  Upon getting to the store it was discovered that the only ones big enough to fit were more than I could afford, even with the trade in.  The worker that was helping me look for a replacement had chatter me and my kids up about the boots so knew about them being a gift.  She also caught sight of my holey shoes as well and couldn’t hide her reaction.  All I could do was shrug and say that they were old.  I didn’t know much else I could say in response.  When she went to help ring up the bigger size and found that the difference in price was too large for me, she pretended to be accessing store coupons to help lower the price only to turn around and hand me a receipt.  She paid in full for the new boots and wouldn’t even take the gift card I received for turning the smaller ones in!  I admit I thanked her, but other than that I was too shocked to think so just stood there stuttering in amazement.

Digital Camera

the intersection we got trapped in

Then on the way home, while turning the corner where my home sits, our car got stuck in the piled up snow.  As I stood there struggling to push it forward while fighting back the anxiety of being stuck in the middle of an intersection, 3 other cars pulled up and got out to help.  Digging out my tires, pushing from the back, helping steer from the front… and all with smiles and words of encouragement the whole time.   It took 3 adults, 3 kids (David included because he just had to be part of the action lol) and a lot of muscle power to get the car moving forward again, but they did it.  They didn’t leave me stranded to figure it out by myself.  A blessing that touched me deep as it was also an answer to the silent prayers I was praying on that normally quiet and lonely street while pushing against a car that refused to budge.

Being a person who values kindness in action to the point that I set up and manage a group to promote it and used to set up special events just to spread it to those who rarely see it, having the kindness come back to me like this has been overwhelming but so beautiful at the same time.  So, all things considered… if the deepening snow brings out the kindest of strangers, let it snow! ❤

 

Mission Idaho

user_photo-554bcebe438e0My family has an announcement to make and also a call for help. The Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome that all three of us now are battling has gotten to the point it can’t and won’t be ignored any longer. The problem with that though is that we don’t have access to the kind of doctors we need who have the kind of knowledge and experience needed to help us.

So, we are moving. We’ve found an area in Idaho with the medical help, services, and support we seriously need and I’ve gotten notice of our acceptance and our new address and everything. I am finishing up the packing and final paperwork as we speak. The move is scheduled for the end of May, but we are still short on our efforts to raise the needed funds to make it possible.

If there is any way you can help, please accept my sincere gratitude and thanks. No amount is too small, and prayers and sharing are truly appreciated as well. Whatever you can do to help me get our family to Idaho would be greatly appreciated. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart.

Click Here
for the official fundraiser page that has been set
up by my uncle.  There is also an on-line garage
sale
of sorts going on.

.

.

Bringing Back the Play

Lately, my struggles with health have seemed to take over my life in many ways.  I’ve struggled with anger, depression, frustration, and more in reaction to the changes I have been forced to make in order to compensate for it all.  Earlier this evening though, after a long day, I got a beautiful reminder of the truth of that old saying, “when God closes a door, He always opens a window“.  One of the biggest things my unstable joints and weakened health has taken from me is the ability to get down on the floor and play with my kids building legos, putting together puzzles, playing with trains, rolling around in tickle fights, playing in forts made of sheets and tables, etc.

Truth be told, I still can’t do those things like I used to, and the few times I have tried to anyway, my body quickly and severely reminded me of why I couldn’t.  I’ve tried replacing the missed fun with things that could be done at chair and table levels, like piano and coloring and watching more movies together, and with things the kids could do with other people, but both my children and I still felt the loss.  Yesterday evening though, I blissfully found myself in a position of playing and enjoying my children to the fullest, being right in the middle of their smiles and laughter and imagination again instead of having to watch from the sidelines.  No, nothing changed in regards to my health or limitations.  I was actually bed bound at the time from a headache, weak leg that kept giving out, a weak shoulder, and a problem with persistent dizziness every time I tried to sit up.

So what was different?  Perspective, and accommodation.  My children needed to clean their toys up after dumping most of their collection all over the floor.  I needed to lay down and rest but wanted to still be near them so I chose the bed in the messy room.  After a short while, the boys decided to climb up to be with me.  At first, it was just some loving cuddles and hugs and some sweet well-meaning actions like pulling the blanket up to my shoulders, brushing my hair away from my eyes like I do for them, etc.  Then David, true to his nature of seeing things in different ways than the majority, leaned in close to my face, briefly looked at my eyes before darting his gaze to my nose (eye contact is hard for him), and smiled at me.

Not just a simple, sweet, ordinary smile either.  One filled with laughter dancing at the edges and mischief hiding in the dimples.  I took his cue and reached out and bopped his nose with my finger setting off a string of giggles which ended in him climbing up to join me on the bed.  I couldn’t move much, and I couldn’t sit up, but that didn’t stop him from finding a way to play with me and we both enjoyed every second of it.  His brother, Joshua, soon joined in too once he saw what we were up to; entertaining himself with climbing up on my side and then giggling when I would roll slightly and cause him to plop back down to the bed.  David’s favorite game was seeing how close he could get before I kissed his nose or tickled his cheeks or neck. lol  When I grew too tired to continue and my headache got worse, they cuddled close to me and listened to music from the radio for while.  David even seemed to know when he needed to calm down again and simply snuggled up close, pulling the blanket over us both, and started playing with my hair.

I never got on the floor with them like old times, I barely moved, and I couldn’t even sit up, but we had a lot of fun anyway and made memories all three of us now treasure.  Last night I was reminded it’s not so much in what we can or can’t do, but in finding a way to make the most of what we can do and putting our heart into it, that make moments turn into bonding time and treasured memories.  So I can’t wrestle around on the floor with them anymore or help them build extensive forts and crawl in after them.  I can’t get down on their level and play in their world of endless trains, blocks, and other toys like I used to. It may even be a long time still before I can take them back on our favorite outings like the zoo or museum.  But thanks to one little mischievous and laughter filled smile, and my kids meeting me half way, all three of us discovered a new way to play together that brought the laughter back to it’s fullest.

The best part of it all?  What David said shortly afterward, when I recovered enough strength to move to the couch while they were watching one of their shows on the Roku…

“Mommy, I like spending time with you.”

I feel the same way about you buddy. ❤
.

Best Birthday Ever!!! :)

Beyond3Yesterday (the 8th) was my 31st birthday and it was indeed the best one I have ever had. 🙂  Between friends both near and far helping to make it special and a day filled with sweet surprises and wonderful memory making moments, I have had a day I hope to never forget.  And one I can guarantee I at least won’t be forgetting any time soon.  And with my memory lately, that’s saying something. 😉 lol

My actual day today included getting a quiet morning to myself for a change (boys didn’t want to wake up), a surprise call from a friend all the way in England, painting time with my boys at a local ceramic shop, and free babysitting (thanks mom!) so I could enjoy a night out with a great friend. 😀

The movie my friend and I went to see was at the Warren near my house so we ate at the little diner they have in there before the show which gave us a chance to just hang out with each other. : )  Then, we got our popcorn (can’t leave that out of the movie experience 😉 lol) and went on in to see the show, Parental Guidance with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler.  No spoilers here I promise, but I do highly recommend you all go see that movie if you enjoy a good-hearted laugh that lasts throughout the movie.  It was great! lol : )

Shaving cream 8And earlier, at the ceramic shop, the kids and I had a good time painting and even learned a new technique.  Did you know you can do decorative painting with shaving cream?!?!?  I sure didn’t, but definitely do now.  And it was pretty fun to do too and even though the kids refused to touch the shaving cream (sensory issues) they were able to do most of the project. 🙂  We had originally gone in with the plan of making a family piece that worked in our handprints, but that took a quick turn when David suddenly decided he didn’t want anything on his hands. lol  Oh well.  Go with the flow right? : )  If you want to learn how to do it, check out my main blog over at An Autism Diary. 🙂

Beyond1Because of this we ended up putting back the family project and I let the boys pick out something on their own while I picked up a cute mermaid box to paint.   David ended up attaching strongly to a princess figurine and was willing to share it with Joshua so that is what they ended up making.   Although, watching these two paint makes me laugh and my inner artist tendencies cringe a bit. lol  They completely covered the princess in hot pink first.  Then they covered her in blue, and then they got out the yellow and started to cover her again!  Completely missing the notion that if they kept going, she was going to mainly look like brown sludge more than anything else once completely done and fired. lol  I couldn’t take it though after the yellow round started so I “strongly advised” them to stop and go rinse out their brushes.  (More like half begged and half bargained with them to stop at that point. lol)  I have to admit I am pretty curious to see how the princess turns out after all that. lol  One thing though that I am sure of is that I will love it.  It was hand painted with love by my two most precious treasures here on earth.  The memory and the love contained in that figurine makes it a guaranteed hit with me for sure. 🙂

David 3Then, as if all this wasn’t more than enough to make this day beyond special and wonderful, I got a surprise when I was told our bill total.  I had come to the shop with a gift card that I was given for Christmas and with our original plans (the family project along with the two shaving cream projects for the boys to make their own) our total had gone over what was on the card.  I figured though I would just cover it though because I don’t get chances to paint and craft with my boys like this very often so it was definitely worth it.  Then, when the plans suddenly changed on us (David was so overwhelmed with the idea of getting anything on his hands for the handprint project he was struggling to hold back meltdowns and was starting to cry and shake in fear a little so I of course dropped the whole idea and focused on calming him down) I asked the lady working there what our new total was now that we had switched out the pieces we were going to work on.  To my surprise, the total now was dead even with my gift card amount.

the Ariel I was working on.  Not finished with her yet though.

the Ariel I was working on. Not finished with her yet though.

What I didn’t know at the moment though was that the two ladies that were there during the first half of our stay (that Joshua seemed to have completely taken a liking too as he was constantly disappearing and showing back up at their table, hovering around them while they were rinsing brushes, or just simply trying to be a part of just about everything they were doing lol) had secretly paid the excess of our total with the cashier when checking out!  I was floored when I found this out and of course by that time they were already long gone.  Such a sweet and generous random act of kindness though.  And it truly blessed my heart. : )  I have their picture too because they agreed to let me get a picture of them with Joshua before they left because Joshua was just so fond of them both.  Now though, every time I look at that picture I not only see the sweet kindness and patience they showed my youngest son (making his complete day in the process 🙂 ), I also see the most thoughtful and kind random act of kindness and a wonderful birthday surprise. : )

All in all, today was truly a very special day and definitely the best birthday ever! 🙂

Relaxing tonight : )

Never could find the paperwork I was needing for today’s appointment, but I was able to get help in contacting the place that originally sent the paperwork and my doctor is working with me and them to get it all filled out as soon as she gets it in her hands. : )  This new doctor I’ve been seeing has been a blessing.  I really appreciate her kindness, thoroughness, efficiency, and knowledge. : )  I have to admit I will be happy when this whole paperwork mess is over though. lol  I don’t like the added stress.

My best friend and biggest influence here on earth.  Grandma Jane : )

My best friend and biggest influence here on earth. Grandma Jane : )

The rest of the day has just been spent relaxing and resting as I am trying to bounce back from the lack of sleep.  Little Joshua has humorously granted my request from the last post now too.  As he has been sleeping for almost the entire evening now. lol  Holding out some hope that maybe this will be sleep through the night number 4?   Well, I can dream at least right? 😉 lol

DogForDavid braceletI am currently working on some projects too.  I love crafts and now that I finally have a lockable room that I could set everything up in, I am getting a lot more chances to work with them again. 😀  My boys tend to put things in their mouths still and are always getting into trouble with my craft supplies if they manage to get their hands on them, so until we moved here to the new place I rarely got to even see my supplies, let alone work with them all again.

The quilt I made with Grandma Jane

The quilt I made with Grandma Jane

My current projects include some fundraiser bracelets that have been ordered, random graphics/designs here and there, and my memory boxes (a personal craft of mine that I started making around 8 to 9 years ago 🙂 ).  I have also made a quilt once with my Grandma Jane that has become extremely special to me as it was the last craft we ever got to do with each other before she passed on.  My next big project I want to start is actually a t-shirt quilt, using some of the skills she taught me and some old favorites from the boys’ baby and toddler clothes. : )  I saw the idea on-line once and thought it was a great way to keep the memories alive and let the boys have their favorites back again. : )  I have made special “mommy blankets” as they came to be called (aka baby blankets that I sewed up for them during my pregnancies) as well for each son when they were born, but David’s tore in an unfortunate incident and in a way I am not yet skilled enough to know how to repair and Joshua’s sadly got lost when we ended up having to move around a lot a few years ago during some hard times in our lives that I tend not to like thinking about…  I still am holding out some hope that Joshua’s will be found again though someday.

Do any of you have a favorite hobby?  I would love to hear about it. : )

~~~Update~~~

As I was trying to find pictures for this post, Mr. Night Owl, aka Joshua, has officially woken up.  Thanks David 😛 lol

So tired…

It’s 5:57 in the morning and one child, David, is now finally asleep and is curled up on top of me on the couch.  My little night owl though is still wide awake and fully functional…  Oh Joshua, when will you learn to sleep???

To make things harder, I have an appointment in the morning with my doctor.  I am so tired and I still have to look for my paperwork that I was supposed to bring in with me.  This appointment is an important one because it’s my anual medical evaluation that I have to get done in order to keep my driving license due to my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS).  Thankfully though, I finally have a doctor that knows about EDS and she is going to try and make it so I never have to do this again.  She agrees that me needing hand controls to drive is not a good enough reason to challenge my driving capabilities so much and on a yearly basis.

First though, I have to find what I’ve done with those forms and then get some sleep so that I can be well rested for the appointment.   Times like this I wish I had some magic trick or something I could use to make the kids go to sleep at decent hours and stay asleep until morning.  It would be nice.