Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Thinking back on the last 9 months...

Little C was diagnosed with autism exactly 9 months ago.  I have been thinking a lot about how things have changed since that assessment. Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago. Other times, it feels like just yesterday. 

Because the government was making improvements to intervention and changing service providers, it took a LONG time to get intervention started. Too long. I was excited about the changes, because I felt like C would get better service and support, but I hated having to wait. It was stressful, and I often felt like the I was failing him, especially when all you hear about autism is how important early intervention is.

That changed a two months ago, when we finally started intervention. We were so lucky to be matched with a great supervisor and interventionist. It was such a relief! I see him growing even more. It's also a great feeling to know that Team C has grown. 

Looking back, I think I was probably a little hard on myself. It's not like we sat back and just waited as the months passed. We work really hard with him, while making it fun. We also visited a private speech language pathologist every other week, which helped me learn more strategies to work into our day. We have actually been going for almost 2 years now, and over the past six months, C's speech has exploded. He's gone from single words to five or more word sentences. He talks NON-STOP now. Half the time, I can't understand him, but it's like listening to music. He's so funny, too. I always knew he was funny and I knew that he was a thinker, but it really makes me wonder what has been going through his head all of these months. 

I see so many changes everyday. He is also becoming more friendly with people and talks to them. He has always been a bit shy, but was starting to get really shy around the time of his diagnosis. It usually takes him a less time to warm up now. Sometimes, he really surprises us and jumps right in. 

As his speech progresses, he opens up so much more. He comments on everything, asks questions, and makes a lot of requests (especially when something sweet is involved!) He's recognizing emotions in others, and says, "Sorry!" when he thinks he has upset you. When he gets excited and gets a little rough, it's always followed up with, "Sorwee, Ma." The other night, I was putting some greenish goop to my face (a mask), and he said, "Ma, WHAT are you doing?" He cracks me up! 

Of course, some things don't change. He climbs everywhere and is always able to figure out how to solve any problem he encounters. What a dare-devil! He always pushes the limits, in a very calculated way. It's pretty rare that he fails when taking risks. He is also the most loveable kid you could meet and gives hugs and kisses so freely to those he loves. He is a great judge of character. 

All of the worrying I had a year ago has been fading. He has come such a long way. This time last year, he had one word. ONE. He didn't say mom. He couldn't tell us anything he needed or wanted, and was so frustrated. We were frustrated. Now, with each day gets easier for us. This summer, we enrolled him in soccer. The first night was a disaster, but it gets better each night. I guess, that's what I have reminded myself over the past year - stick to it; keep working; it gets better... and it is SO worth it. 

Life is good. Really good. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Chatbooks: Photo Books for Busy Folks

I used to love scrapbooking. Well, let's be honest. My scrapbooks were not those creative creations that some talented people make. I actually used to call my scrapbooks "fancy photo albums." Heavy on pictures, with some pretty paper and stickers. The photos were the showcase, not the layouts. 
The problem? I don't have time to scrapbook. I'm currently working on a scrapbook from my trip to Disney World, back in 2012. Yup, 5 years ago. 2012PC (Pre-Little C). I don't really have the space to lay things out, nor do I have the time, even though I love taking pictures, getting them printed and then putting them in albums. 
I do post pictures of my family adventures on Instagram and Facebook all the time. It's kind of become a digital photo album of sorts, but I like the idea of having a physical book on the shelf though. 

Cover of My Instragram book
- a frosty bedroom window
I recently found a solution! It's as easy as posting online, but you also get a book for the shelf! It's called Chatbooks. Have you heard of this? They offer different options, but the best is the ability to connect your Facebook or Instragram feed to your Chatbook account, so it automatically updates your Chatbook. You can choose your cover photo and include the date and caption from each post too. Then, you can open your Chatbooks app, make any changes to the order that you want, and exclude any pictures you don't want. This is great if you make business posts or post funny pictures you probably don't want in a family album. 

If you choose to do one of these linked series, once the book fills with 60 pictures, it will automatically charge your credit card and send it to you in the mail. 
The Spine:
My Instragrams
Dec 2012-July 2014
Of course, I just set up my account a month ago, so I have LOTS of pictures I want in books. That's why I love the series option. I set my account up to send me one book a month from Instagram. These are hard covered books, which cost a few extra dollars. My first book arrived last month and my next one is on the way. I can't wait to have a cute little line of books on my shelf. 

I just set up my Facebook series and decided to opt for the softcover book, and have 5 books sent per month to catch up. They are now on the way. 

If you want to try Chatbooks, please use my link. You get a free book and I get a discount on my next book! 

Take a look inside my first Chatbook!

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.