Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Snow Days Get Creative with a Wayfair Colouring Contest!

Winter hit us this week. All of winter... in one week. It's been horrible! There's so much snow, it's actually hard for Little C to play, because it's so deep. The drifts are way over his head, and our entire backyard is a drift. If Little C walked into the back yard, he would sink down, about 5 or 6 feet. It's hard to believe that a week ago our yard was bare grass. Mother Nature is playing a horrible game with us.

Needless to say, I've been on the hunt for fun activities to keep us entertained. There has been a lot of Play Doh, games, painting, cookie decorating (and eating!), reading, and singing. There has also been colouring... or maybe scribbling would be a more accurate term. Little C is more a free-spirit when it comes to art. Accuracy is not always a priority. 🙂

A couple days ago, I came across something that mixes two of my favourite things:
artsy fun AND contests! has released a free downloadable colouring book, the WayZoo Colouring Book. It's great for kids (and probably adults!) of all ages. It features 10 scenes of animals around the home. To celebrate the launch, they're holding a contest, for a chance to win an art supply prize pack, which looks awesome! It includes an easel, chalk, markers, and paint. There will be five winners!

To enter, you submit a scanned copy or photograph of your child's favourite colouring page. The entries will be displayed on their website, so they'll get a little fame from their artwork!

There are only 6 days left in this contest, so make sure you download the WayZoo Colouring Book and start colouring today! Submit your picture to them by February 27th.

To go to WayFair's WayZoo Colouring Book page to read all the rules, get your colouring book, and get started, go here.

I submitted Little C's picture... do you think it's a winner? (It is in this mum's eyes... so it's going on my wall at work!)

Monday, 20 February 2017

Random Thoughts: Kids in Restaurants

We were sitting in a restaurant for lunch last weekend, and I got thinking. 

I always thought it was cute when kids would stare you down from a neighbouring table or when they leaned over the back of the booth, practically putting their chin on your shoulder. I was also be super impressed when I saw kids who were really well behaved, silently praising their parents for a job well done. At the same time, I'm sure that I got annoyed with kids in restaurants at times.  I'm embarrassed to say, I was probably a little "judge-y" of the parents with kids were a little less well-behaved.

Well, last weekend, my kid was the one who was a little less well-behaved. 

I admit, as soon as I had a child, I had my eyes opened. I find myself saying, "When you know better, you do better," a awful lot lately. This is just one more example of one of those situations. Now, I'm so much more open minded and find myself defending and supporting other families, when I see kids having a moment in public. 

As an outsider looking in, I don't know the full story. 

We've always taken Little C out to eat. Sometimes, it's at McDonalds, but we also try sit down restaurants. We think it helps him learn what is expected of him in public places and gives him opportunities to practice. We certainly don't expect him to be perfect. He's 3! 

Every so often, I see posts online about being annoyed by kids in restaurants. I know that kids can be loud and energetic, but they're also learning. Restaurants can be boring and overwhelming with all the forced sitting and new sights and (often loud and unexpected) noises.  They'll get better and better, but if they are never taken to restaurants, how can they work on behaving in restaurants? 

Now, when I see families at a restaurant enjoying a meal together (or trying to...), I always try to give an understanding smile and shrug to let them know that I get it. 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Finger Painting

Happiness is... watching a three year old finger paint. Especially when the three year old doesn't like getting his hands dirty, but realizes that he actually loves it!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Our Forgotten About Fall To Do List!

I was cleaning off the side of the fridge yesterday, and look what I found! It's my forgotten about Fall to Do List... which made me think of my semi-forgotten about blog. Let's face it, I'm no blogger, but I do like to post here from time to time, when I have spare time. Typically, that's summer, when I'm off work. I'm horrible at photo albums and scrapbooks, so this is a way for me to document some of my life happenings. Mostly happy times, sometimes things that are just living in my mind.

I checked more off my fall list than I thought I would, to be honest. This fall, I started a new job, C started back to preschool and we had a lot of meetings following his diagnosis of ASD. 

1.  Go apple picking - ✓ This year, we went to Charlotte's Family Orchard, in Gagetown. There were so many varieties of apples and lots of space to explore. C had a great time running around, picking apples (and eating about 10)! 
2.  Take a drive up to Fredericton, stopping at all the farm stands - ✓ It was a beautiful drive to the apple orchard, with all of the leaves popping with colour, so we decided to go even further toward Fredericton, to visit Moxon's Country Pumpkin. Besides being a farm and vegetable stand, they have the best bakery (C is all about their spoon bread!), and as a bonus for families, they have a small petting farm and playground. In the fall, they also have about a million pumpkins. Can you spot our little pumpkin in the pile? 

3.  Decorate our yard for fall - ✓  This is something my husband does every year. Corn stalks, straw bails, pumpkins. It's not extravagant, but Fall is our favourite season, so it really gets us into the season. 

4.  Carve pumpkins - ✓ C LOVED carving pumpkins. He did a lot of drawing on the pumpkins for me to carve and poking holes with the pumpkin knife. 

5.  Enjoy a walk in the park, to enjoy the fall colours - ✓ The leaves were beautiful this year. Any day we were able to to get outside to see them was a good day. 

5.  Make pickles - ✓ I did it! I made my two favourites, Chow Chow & Pickled Beets and then hubby and I made Apple Jelly. 

6.  Find a Halloween costume for C. - ✓ (but, also a total fail!)  We found a Halloween costume, but C refused to wear it. It was a really simple Thomas the Tank Engine costume, and he LOVES Thomas. He wouldn't have anything to do with it. Since he didn't want to wear a costume, we didn't go Trick or Treating, which made me sad, because Halloween is one of my favourite holidays and he had so much fun last year visiting a few of our neighbours. It ended up okay though, because he passed out treats to our Trick or Treaters. We had a TON! I think the final number was 220. That's a lot of work for a 3 year old! It ended up being a fun Halloween for everyone.

7.  Plan something special for C's 3rd birthday! - ✓ We had a nice family dinner for C's birthday. No kid party this year. Honestly, October was a very up and down month.  It was busy.  I couldn't figure out a good date and time for everyone, so I decided not to do it. I felt like a total mom failure, but many people reminded me that parties for little ones are usually for the benefit of the parents more than the kids. I still felt bad, but kind of agreed. 

8.  Jump in puddles - ✓ Many times! So much fun! I guess the upside of a very bumpy, uneven driveway has its benefits! 

9.  Get some fall candles from Bath & Body Works - ✓  Fall scents are the best scents. 

10.  Host Thanksgiving Day dinner! - ✓ I did it! This was a big one for me. I am not a "hostess," but I was pretty proud of pulling it off. It was a pretty good meal and C. made some cute centerpieces out of gourds. 

11.  Thanksgiving crafts! - ✓ This was fun! Gourds, paint, paint brushes, feathers, and anything else we could paint with. They turned out pretty cute. C was super proud of them and took good care of them, until the dog chewed one into pieces and C sat on another one and squished it. Then it was time to say, "Buh-bye gourds!" 
Thanksgiving crafts led to finger painting, which was a whole lot of fun too! This one is now in his art frame in the living room. 

The others didn't happen, but the worst fail of all would have to be:

*Sit back, relax, and breathe. <MAJOR FAIL!>  I can't remember a time when I felt more stressed than I was this fall. Work got the better of me. Home commitments got the better of me. Volunteer commitments got the better of me. It was bad. 

I was so happy that the Christmas break arrived. I have really allowed myself to take a break. Sleep, relaxation, and lots of play time with C. I think it's exactly what we all needed.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

It Takes A Village

"Your son meets the criteria for a diagnosis of autism."

The words still sting a bit.

It's been two weeks since my husband and I sat in the office following Little C's assessment.

It was a surprise, and it wasn't a surprise.
It was definitely surreal, hearing those words spoken.
It was definitely emotional.
It was definitely hard to hear.

To be honest, C was a total rockstar at the assessment. I was (and still am) so very proud of him. He immediately took to the team and seemed to have fun. He showed off all his skills - pretend play, talking, letters, colours, shapes, fine motor, gross motor, puzzles, matching, and so much more. Sometimes he did more than I expected, and sometimes I knew he could do better, but that's okay. It was a long day, and he can't be 100% all the time.

Honestly, the best part of the day was that I got to sit back and watch. I couldn't interject or clarify anything for him, so I had to just sit, and watch in amazement. It made me realize just how far he's come in the past year. This time last year, we were just starting to work with a Speech Language Pathologist. Since then, there have been so many changes in him. A year ago, he couldn't say any words. Now he has many, many words, and his vocabulary grows every day. He also seems to understand EVERYTHING.  A year ago, he couldn't sit still for 2 minutes and now he can sit through a 30 minute SLP session, with very little complaining. He is making much better eye contact, and although it takes him a little while to warm up to new places and faces, he is much more friendly with new people.

In the end, the diagnosis was made. He has autism. We had a feeling it would come, but it was still hard to hear. Sitting in that room and listening to the psychologist, I couldn't seem to process what I was hearing. In the weeks leading up to the assessment, I found myself saying to my husband, "We have to be prepared for the chance that he could be diagnosed." We had talked a lot about how it didn't really change anything. C would still be the same awesome kid. We'd still be the luckiest parents to have him as our son. And we would still work on what he needed to work on, just as we always have. Still. It was hard to hear the words. The assessment team was very nice and very supportive and gave us time to process, let it sink in a little, and talk it out with them.

We made it clear that C is so much more than a label, and we wouldn't use it as an excuse. We'll keep working, just as we have up to this point. He is a loving, funny, smart little boy, and I would never wish him to be any different than he is.  This new word is just one small piece of him.

I'm a firm believer that in the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." With this diagnosis, our village has grown. That's comforting to realize, when there are so many things I'm not sure of. It's nice to know we're not alone.