Friday, April 30, 2010

Life lessons- the birthday addition...

Pin It This is the first birthday where Aiden has really taken any interest in his birthday cards. Now that he can read a bit he is starting to see the point of them :).

He was sent two cards in the mail from relatives who live far away- one from his grandparents and another from his great Aunt & Uncle.

Both had these odd pieces of paper stuck in them and Aiden couldn't quite figure out what they were for...

Here is daddy explaining what a "check" is...

So Aiden studied the checks...
and here is the moment when he realized that "check" equals MONEY!


Oh the joy!

A letter to my son...

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My dearest Aiden

Today you turn 8 years old and I can hardly believe it has been that long since I first held you in my arms. You changed my whole world by your very existence!

You have taught me so much in your 8 years.

That first year of your life you were pretty unhappy- you cried and cried and cried. We went to see a lot of different doctors and they all seemed to think it was "just" colic and that you would grow out of it. Some of them thought that it was my fault that you were so unhappy- they thought I wasn't parenting you properly. They gave me a lot of really bad advice... but when I would try to do what they said we both knew it was all wrong.

We know now that you have all sorts of sensory issues and that was probably what was making you so uncomfortable. The lights were too bright, the clothes were too hard, the food didn't taste right, the sounds were too loud, the stuff around you was all too much. But I didn't know that then. I wish I had.

But we figured it out together- you, your dad and I. I learned that you felt most comfortable being held against my chest... and so that is what we did. A lot. I loved it when you snuggled up close to me because you would stop crying and your whole body would relax and you would be ok again. I learned to breath and let the world around me fade away so I could really focus on what was most important- you!

You taught me to trust my mommy-instincts. I had NO idea how to be a mommy before you came along. There were a lot of times that first year when I felt really overwhelmed. I was so sad that you were so unhappy. I KNEW something was wrong but I just didn't know how to fix it. And so we spent a lot of time crying together that year. 

But I promise you that I have been so thankful for you every single day of your life. I am so glad I am your mom!

Over the years you have grown into such an amazing kid. You astound me. You have so very many challenges to overcome- your Autism & ADHD & sensory issues & Asthma is so much more than I think ANY kid should have to endure. I am so proud of you.

Your dad and I have struggled a lot over the past 8 years trying to learn how to parent you in the right way. I read about a thousand books and tried all the conventional parenting strategies... and you taught me that not every kid is the same. What works for one kid might not work for another kid. Even if something works for MOST of the kids it doesn't mean it will work for ALL of the kids.

I've learned not to care as much what other people think. You taught me that sometimes it is more important to just let someone freak out loudly or to hold them softly when they cry- even if the whole world is standing there looking at you like you are a moron.

You taught me that sleeping through the night is not a necessity... but hearing "I love you mommy" is.

You taught me how to play cars and Lego and how to make vehicle sounds. 

You taught me that God always takes care of us- just not necessarily in the way we expect.

You taught me to laugh even in the midst of chaos.

You taught me that a perfectly clean house is highly overrated.

You taught me to be an advocate, to really stand up for someone when they can't do it for themselves. To be persistent and determined to do what you know is right.

You taught me not to be so judgmental. To accept people for who they are- for who GOD MADE THEM to be, not try to make them into something they are not.

You taught me to love more than I ever thought was possible.

Aiden, I wish I could take all of your struggles away. I wish I could make school and friendships easy for you. I wish I could snap my fingers and make your Autism disappear. I hate it that I passed my Asthma on to you and you have to take so many meds just to keep it under control.

But I can't take that stuff away. It breaks my heart to see how tough life can be for you, to see how frustrated and angry and hurt you get. But just know that no matter what I will ALWAYS love you and think you are super cool.

I love your laugh and your sense of humour. I love your grin and the gleam in your eyes. I love your creativity and intelligence. I love your hugs and how sweet you can be. I love your passion for life.

I love YOU Aiden. Happy birthday honey.

Always,
Mom

Thursday, April 29, 2010

You know you're tired when...

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all you can do is put on your mittens and lay down on the floor and go to sleep.

This is how I found Olivia late this afternoon... so cute :) .

Saturday, April 24, 2010

the anatomy of a play-date

Pin It Aiden and Owen had friends over to play today and Aiden's Autism was especially noticeable... and I found that especially tough.
Most of the time Aiden is just Aiden and not "Aiden-the-Autistic-kid" in our family. He is just my son and his "issues" are in the backseat. But today the Autism grabbed hold of my heart and squeezed.

April is Autism awareness month and so I am going to try and explain today a bit more in the interest of education.

Here is how having a friend over to play typically goes for Aiden:

1. The friend arrives and Aiden immediately invades his personal space. He jumps and laughs and goes uncontrollably crazy in his giddiness that a friend has actually arrived at our home to play with him. After all that doesn't happen very often.

Personal space and boundaries are very difficult for Autistic kids to understand.

2. The friend feels overwhelmed and starts to back away. Aiden needs help calming down.

Reading another person's facial expressions  (ex. the facial expression that says "yikes, back away") and understanding the emotions behind them is next to impossible for an Autistic kid.

3.  Aiden realizes he wants to show his friend his room. And yes, this happens with every visit.

Autistic kids tend to be very attached to their "stuff".

4. Owen has joined into the fun (it's his room too) and then Aiden feels compelled to fight for the guest's full attention.

Understanding WHY people are doing things in interpersonal relationships is extremely difficult for an Autistic kid. It is easy for them to misunderstand and get their feelings hurt. 

5. Aiden and his friend play well together until the friend wants to play something else. Then Aiden freaks out. Parent intervention is usually required to help Aiden transition to a new game. Sometimes it works and other times Aiden needs time alone to calm down. The friend will often play with Owen at this point which distresses Aiden even more.

Transitions are incredibly hard and can be very confusing for an Autistic kid.  Understanding another person's point of view is not a skill that comes naturally to them.

6. That cycle repeats as long as the friend is at our home. Aiden doesn't understand why everyone doesn't want to play the same game the same way as he does. He struggles to follow another child's lead. He is easily threatened and is easily upset. He pouts when he doesn't get his own way.  If he does something funny and the friend laughs he continues to do the funny thing over and over again until well after it has ceased to be funny. He generally frustrates the heck out of whoever he is trying to play with.

It can be very hard for an Autistic kid to know the difference between someone laughing WITH you and someone laughing AT you. 

7. Play time is over and it is time for the friend to go home. Aiden bursts into sobbing wailing tears begging the friend not to leave. The friend is generally quite uncomfortable with this bizarre display of affection.

Autistic kids tend to do quite a few things that are not always socially acceptable. They don't always know what is appropriate in social situations. 


So there you have it.  Aiden is emotionally spent by the time the "play date" is over because he has had to work so hard to get along with the other kids.

Some days stuff like this doesn't phase me at all. But some days... like today... watching the way my son interacts with his peers makes me so very sad. I just wish it didn't have to be so hard for him.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dandelions!

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I got my very first dandelion bouquet of the season from Owen! I love dandelion bouquets!!
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Since when has camping been too expensive?

Pin It My beautiful iMac is currently at the Mac-doctor being fixed... I miss it. But on the up side it is being fixed and I will have it back soon! Yay!

In other news my husband and I have been trying to figure out what to do for holidays this summer. There are some absolutely gorgeous provincial parks near us and we had hoped to do some camping at one of them. So I looked up the camping rates and here is what I found...



A - Premium

$ 42.75 Electrical
$ 37.75 Non-electrical
$ 36.25 Non-electrical without showers

B - Middle

$ 39.25 Electrical
$ 34.25 Non-electrical
$ 32.75 Non-electrical without showers

C - Low

$ 34.25 Electrical
$ 29.25 Non-electrical
$ 27.75 Non-electrical without showers


Ya. $42.75 for a nice campsite with electricity and access to showers... $27.75 for the CHEAPEST campsite with no electricity and no showers. And from what I read that means no flush toilets either... just those delightful outhouses. Ick. I also looked at a bunch of private campgrounds in the area and found similar rates.

It is my opinion that $ 30 per night is far too much to spend for camping without even having the option of taking a shower. No thank-you. Especially considering that if I wanted to truly "rough it" while camping I could find some crown land or a friend with lots of land and camp for free.

But since when is camping with 3 children (who are all afraid of the dark incidentally) with no electricity and no place to clean up a vacation? My husband and I went camping like that when we were first married and it was great fun (really!) but having kids has completely changed my idea of what is a necessity on vacation. Showers and toilets that flush are a necessity. And so is electricity for a truly enjoyable time.

So now we don't know what to do. What do you do when even camping costs too much money??

Monday, April 19, 2010

Olivia's very busy day...

Pin It It was a gorgeous day outside today and Olivia had a ton of fun in our yard. I thought she looked super cute in her outfit-of-choice as well. The kid's got personality!


Fast...

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

In short...

Pin It My wonderful computer that I adore is on the fritz... we need to take it in to get repaired but are waiting until we have the money to fix it ... so in the meantime I am stuck using this teeny tiny wal-mart netbook and it is sucking my creativity out of me. Don't get me wrong- I am thankful to have it! But it makes posting pictures really hard and the teeny tiny little screen and keyboard are annoying and it just seems to take me longer to get stuff done. But wow, I would seriously be screwed without it! So three cheers for cheap computers, even if they are slow.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that 4 years ago all I did on the computer was check my email. And 15 years ago I never used a computer. Ever. My how things change.

All that aside I just wanted to share a couple of especially cool things that happened this weekend...

1. my mom got back from her vacation and my kids are SO excited to have her back! I'm sure she has gotten more hugs and kisses in the last two days than she has in months. She also brought us all presents :). Welcome home Grandma, we missed you!

2. the weather was so beautiful today that I was outside in jeans and a t-shirt for the first time since last fall! Lovely. I love you Spring xox!

3. Tonight when I was putting the boys to bed Owen asked if I would read "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss to him. I was right in the middle of giving Aiden his inhaler so I said "how about you start it for me Owen". So he did! And then he just kept on reading!

Owen read me the entire 62 page book.... it makes me all emotional just thinking about it because I am so darn proud of him He struggled so much to catch up to his class in reading and to see him just pick up a book and read is a beautiful thing.

So ya, it has been a very good weekend.

By the way- it is Autism Awareness month so if anyone has any questions they would like to ask me about Autism or about Aiden specifically or how we do things around here please feel free to ask. I am happy to talk about it!

Friday, April 16, 2010

UBP After Party- cool blogs I met along the way...

Pin It As most of you know I've been participating in the Ultimate Blog Party- hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom- the past week. It was great fun blog-hopping and meeting so many new people!

I want to share a few of the cool blogs I "discovered" during my partying this week... but I am limiting myself to just some of the blogs I discovered from the comments these lovely ladies left on my party post.  I stole all the information about them off of their respective blogs :). Enjoy!

1. Susie QT Pies: Scraps of Life







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Susieqtpies says this about herself:

Blogging and product reviews! Coffee drinkin Pastor's Wife, Homeschool mom of 3 girls, Recipe hunter, Lipstick wearing, watching movies, love books and scrapbooking.



2. Another Piece of the Puzzle


Trish says this about herself:

As an introverted bookworm turned passionate autism mom, I spend most of my time as my Little Guy's case manager/ advocate/ cheerleader/ everything else. The rest of the time, you can usually find me with my nose in a book!


3. Mommy's Minute


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Sarah says this about herself:

My name is Sarah and I am a stay at home mom of a precious little boy. Motherhood has been one of the most exciting and most challenging experiences I've had thus far and the adventure is only just beginning.

I love bargain hunting, reading (when I can find the time), and spending time with family and friends. Some of my interests include crafting (especially baby related items like diaper cakes, shopping cart covers, and shower gifts). I enjoy trying new foods from around the world. I am a HUGE tea junkie. I am also a big fan of family friendly products that promote good  values.
I also happen to know that Sarah is a fellow pastor's wife :)

4. Our Fruitful Vine


Here is what Jennifer says about herself:

Welcome to Our Fruitful Vine where you will find me blogging about the areas that I am passionate about - marriage, raw foods, healthy living, food storage, emergency preparedness, recipes, my life and more.


I am Jennifer C. Valerie, a pastor's wife to a darling pastor husband, stay at home homeschooling mom to two adorable boys ages 6 and 7. Vegetarian is what I have become and I love discovering about the wonders of raw food and their benefits to the body.

Food storage and emergency preparedness is also one of my many passions. Helping wives succeed in being a blessing to their husbands gives me tremendous satisfaction.

I dream, I love, I live and I laugh alot. It's a wonderfully abundant life (John 10:10)

5. Sunny's Place



Here is what Sunny says about herself:

Sunshine Morningstar
Woman. Wife. Mother. Feminist. Canadian. Child of The Creator
but you can read a lot more about her very-cool self on her About Me page.

AND A BONUS BLOG.... this amazing lady I "met" just a bit before the Blog Party but during the party I went back and read a whole bunch of her amazing blog and I just love her so I had to include her in this list...


Here is what LindsayDianne says about herself:

LindsayDianne is a very opinionated mother, photographer, blogger, journalist, hemp historian, anti-prohibition lobbyist, housewife/stay at home mom,  ex-fat girl, philosopher, healthy eater, food-as-fuel advocate and basically well rounded individual.
 She is also a fellow Canadian and currently lives near my hometown in BC and her blog posts have made me both laugh cry this week. She is amazing and I really think you should check her site out immediately!

What great blogs did you all discover this week?

Look what I found in our yard!!!!!!

Pin It *insert me jumping up and down in glee, clapping my hands and loudly exclaiming that Spring really IS coming to our town finally!*



Now I admit that we are months behind most of you but that just makes the first buds of spring even more beautiful to those of us farther north! And trust me, those tiny little green buds are some of the most beautiful things I've seen in months. :) Happy Spring!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Little Helper

Pin It Olivia very sweetly helped me make supper...


She cut up small pieces of lettuce with her plastic knife...

It was absolutely adorable to watch her work with such concentration.



This is the best kind of help to get :)

Even if it DOES take more time and make more mess and create more work... it is all worth it to see the look on her precious face- so happy to be helping!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pull-Ups Potty Dance

Pin It I must admit we have NOT been potty-training rock-stars in this household. Both of my boys took ages to potty train... but once they did it took about a day each. And a promised toy each. Totally worth it. I just didn't have the energy to push it and at times I seriously wondered if they would be wearing diapers to college. But no. They both successfully mastered the potty in plenty of time to attend junior kindergarten diaper-free.

I thought Olivia would be easier to train. I had heard that girls are easier to train. And I suppose that might be true... as long as you don't move twice in one year.

Olivia has been ALMOST completely trained 3 separate times over the past year. But here we are with a very non-trained 3 year old little girl. We bought her pretty pink panties. We have two special potty-chairs... one for upstairs and one for downstairs... one of which has Dora on it. We've read several potty books with her over and over again. We have sticker charts and rewards. But alas, she just is not ready yet I guess.

Olivia has absolutely no problem using the potty. She likes using the potty and does so regularly. She just ALSO pees her pants regularly. And since I can only do so much laundry in a day without wanting to tear my hair out we have special keep-mommy-sane panties called Pull-Ups. Oh how I love pull-ups!

You've probably seen the commercials and know that Pull-Ups has a new thing going on- the Pull-Ups Potty Dance. It is the latest thing we are trying in our quest to rid ourselves of diapers forever!!


These two videos feature funny lady and mom Jessica Holmes and Traci Melchor from E-Talk. They have filmed their own potty dances with their kids.


The Pull-Ups Potty Dance provides kids with a fun ritual, making the process of potty training a positive and happy one for everyone.  There's nothing like a bit of dancing to motivate success and make potty training something that our little ones enjoy and look forward to! Check out the Potty Dance instructional video here.



Olivia loves the dance and I sure hope it works!


***Thank you to Huggies Pull Ups and Mom Central Canada for providing me the opportunity to participate in this blog tour***

Wordless Wednesday- a time out with mom

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In Motion...

Pin It I took a few pictures of Owen at the playground... he spent the vast majority of the time we were there in constant motion.

Running up the slides...


Jumping over his sister...




over and over again!



Tossing a skipping rope he found on the ground over the monkey bars...





Indian Jones style of course...



And then I noticed this...

Everyone needs to stop now and then. :)
 
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