We Waited 701 Days For Today

13 04 2018

That day we thought would never come, came today.

We officially, legally, forever-ly (yeah, I probably made up a word) adopted our son.

He’ll be two next month. The hospital placed him in our arms when he was three days old. It’s still very surreal. But what was once a dream is now our miraculous reality.

WE ARE LIVING A MIRACLE.

We waited 701 days for this day and it was worth every second.

To commemorate and celebrate the day, I made T-shirts.

Nine of them.

6 of the 7 children had a shirt like this (Front)

For the back, I used a line from the song This is Me, from the movie The Greatest Showman. I feel like this line sums up what it means to be in the foster community. You can’t be a useful part of this life if you’re not willing to fight for something or someone. When you become a foster family, you open your doors to battles raging you never knew existed.

Like systems that don’t work well, sometimes, but they’re all we have. We learn to fight by learning to navigate the system we’re now working in. We learn that sometimes, the best fight, is to be quiet and let things run their course. Other times, we learn we have to speak out.

We learn to fight by becoming a force for change in the system. Looking at areas we can help with then getting involved.

We learn to fight by encouraging others who are on this rocky path with us. Encouraging parents who try their best to love and help their traumatized children.

We learn to fight our children, to keep them safe from themselves, sometimes. We learn to fight FOR our children when we pour over article after article looking for ways to help them. When we call doctor after doctor asking for help, only to be turned away because they don’t see what we do – AND WE KNOW WE’RE RIGHT.

We fight for the relationships we had before we entered the foster world, because those are hard to hold on to when your whole world is taken over by one of the hardest good things you will ever try.

We fight for the relationships within our own homes because change is not easy. Bringing foster children into your family IS NOT like having the children next door sleep over one night and just never go home. Foster children are in the system, they walk through the doors of our home, because THEY HAVE BEEN TRAUMATIZED. Often – OFTEN – many times. The day the state goes in and removes them (for their safety) is a traumatic event all on its own. But there are circumstances that lead up to that removal. And when these children walk through our doors, they often do NOT want to be here. It’s nothing personal, but there are other places they’d rather be, than with more strangers. For our established children, that can be a hard transition, too. So we fight to maintain balance (that still feels like an unattainable dream most days) within our homes while fighting forces from without, too.

YOU CANNOT BE IN THE FOSTER WORLD UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO FIGHT. That’s why this line got my attention. We’ve been refined and molded into warriors.

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My husband and I had slightly different shirts.

Here’s a picture of all of us. You can see mine says His, and His says Hers ๐Ÿ™‚

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And while we’re at it, a back view of all of us.

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But little man, the whole reason for the celebration, his was a little different. His reflected the feelings of our family, extended family, and friends.

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Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo

So you can enjoy the song, too ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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The Lord and I need to have a frank discussion on how awesome He thinks I am…

8 04 2018

Because I’m just not seeing it.

The world didnโ€™t stop with our ASD diagnosis, but it would have been nice.

I’m a *tad* overwhelmed, and this post is me dealing with that. It would be nice if things could be put on hold while we figured this thing out. But they’re not.

Twelve days into our autism diagnosis and itโ€™s hitting me that our lives may be dramatically different than what we were planning.

Or not.

We just donโ€™t know, and thatโ€™s part of the stress. Just not knowing… Not knowing anything…

I like to learn about the things I’m facing (there’s a lot to learn right now and it’s going slower than I wanted). Then I like to plan and put those plans into action. After that, that’s when I start to relax because I’ve done all the things I can to make the situation better.

After that, I can “play”. That’s what I call doing necessary things, but in a fun way.

We’re not there yet.

But I have chosen a therapy program. It’s a hybrid of home and center based therapy. I’m not ready to let my baby go completely, but right now, I can’t give him the help he needs because I’m not trained to do it. But I’ll learn ๐Ÿ™‚

The center based therapy can provide the break everyone tells me I need to take. I don’t disagree with them, but at the same time, I feel like I’m abdicating my role as his mom, and that’s hard for me to come to terms with. But I remind myself about that self care thing. Still not sure when and how I’m supposed to fit that in when there are a handful of other children with their own diagnoses. But we’ll see.

I feel like knowledge is power. That it arms us to face our challenges. This is a BIG challenge and I feel like instead of meeting it head on clad in armor, I’m dressed in a slinky nightie. I feel like there’s all these choices that need to be made and I don’t have all the information – but I *think* (and hope) – I have enough to make the very first decisions I need to to help my son. “I may not know it all, but I know enough,” is the mantra scrolling through my head at this moment.

Now we have to wait on the insurance company to do their jobs and hope they do them well and quickly. I think this may be one of those miracles I pray for. Quick access to therapy for my boy.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to augment our early intervention team’s awesomeness with another therapist that brings her own strengths to the floor to help my son in a very easy going and fun way for him.

I’m hoping that once these therapies get started, we’ll see some good improvement and that will take away some of the stress of the unknown. Because I’ll see we’re on the right road.

I really am surrounded by amazing people and I’m grateful for them.

The Lord knows what He’s doing. He’s just waiting for me to catch up.

*laces up running shoes to get going*





Coping Through Crafting

6 04 2018

My blog is fluid.

It changes with my life.

But one thing stays pretty consistent; crafting. It feels like it can make any tough situation just a little better. I needed a little bit of that therapy this week ๐Ÿ™‚

We’re 10 days into our ASD diagnosis for my 22 month old. And let me tell you, there is a lot of information out there! It flies at you nonstop and it’s so easy to get overwhelmed.

So I organized and crafted.

Here’s what I’ve been working on.

Mamma Bear’s Big Blue Book of Autism Help

I used a digital scrapbook program I have to create the cover. It was nice to sit down and just rest and create something cute AND helpful.

Now, for the organizational part ๐Ÿ™‚ I love tabs and colors ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I have all my info in one place with an easy way to find what I’m looking for.

 

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Here are some of the things in my notebook:

http://nationalautismassociation.org/docs/BigRedSafetyToolkit.pdf
SAFETY INFO! Ways to keep our spectrum kiddos safe AND what seem to be very popular safety issues. For instance – 49% of our spectrum kids wander off for a variety of reasons. But did you know, that 91% of accidental deaths in those who wander off are water related? Our babies seem to be drawn to water. Now I know and I can keep them safe.
And THIS

https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/100-day-kit
It’s an information ORGANIZER for families with newly diagnosed children to help us hit the ground running. This thing is seriously amazing.
I also included his diagnosis and evaluation information so I have that at my fingertips, as well as the therapy information packets I received at his evaluation.

Life is hard enough. Being organized can make a hard situation easier.

And now, I’m ready to take notes and learn ๐Ÿ™‚

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Psst – even though the sharpies say they don’t smear…they did.

 





Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis

27 03 2018

Our foster son (soon to be adopted- yippee!) just met with the Developmental and Behavioral clinic today. I’m sure you can guess from the title, we received an autism spectrum diagnosis. To be more specific, Autism Spectrum Disorder with Global Delays with Speech Impairment.

We knew we had some delays. He’s been in physical therapy since he was three months old.

We knew he had speech delays. He’s been in therapy for that for the last seven months or so.

He’s pretty caught up in PT, but still lagging behind in speech. Although, I believe his receptive speech isn’t too far off target. But his expressive is still significantly behind.

They gave us a severity level of 2 – or moderate…

We figured something was up. Knew this was a possibility. But I kind of expected a mild case (a 1) if we received any diagnosis. So this 2 is kind of throwing me a little. I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was to hear the words.

I’m pouring over the stacks of papers they sent home with me and have barely scratched the surface.

I’ve called and texted numerous people to give them updates since they’re involved in the case. I think I remembered everyone…

And with that done,ย  I’m now dealing with hearing the words and what it means for our family. What it means for my son. And what I keep coming back to is the fact a whole world of resources and help just opened up for us.

Obviously no one WANTS a diagnosis that complicates things. But we don’t get to choose. My daughter didn’t want a epilepsy. My sons didn’t want ADHD. Depression and anxiety? Nope. My kids didn’t want those either. Migraines? Scoliosis? Please. But you know what? We have them. We live with them. We manage and thrive with them whenever possible. Sometimes we win, other times we take a small break before getting up and trying again.

This diagnosis is no different. And there’s help to learn and manage our stumbling blocks.

I didn’t have access to that support before today.

My brain thrives on information and I have access to it. How wonderful is that? We’re so blessed to live in this time of medicine. I’m grateful to be in this moment when there is more help for my son than ever before.

We’re hoping that with time, the early interventions already in place, and adding more services specifically for this leg of the journey, we’ll be able to help him move from a moderate level to a mild level. There are no guarantees, but we’re going to do our best.

WE ARE SO BLESSED.





You Were Born Trailing Clouds of Glory

25 02 2018

I’ve LOVED unicorns since I was little. Not the cartoonish ones around today, but the regal, majestic ones.

So when I had the chance to do a shower gift bag for a precious baby girl, I thought unicorns and I’m so glad I did. I’m kind of excited with how things turned out.

Some of that excitement comes from trying new things and realizing those ideas worked ๐Ÿ™‚ Like modifying bag designs, digitizing hand lettering, and playing with glitter HTV ๐Ÿ˜€

Also, babies. Those little bundles are pretty exciting. I love holding and snuggling them. There’s something miraculous about a new born. Something heavenly. So I also included some William Wordsworth words (the trails of glory).

This post is kind of picture intensive, but there were quite a few things.

Ready? Let’s go ๐Ÿ™‚

I like giving mommy gifts. Those usually consist of thank you cards. But recently, I’ve been going nuts with vinyl, so I included that insanity in the gift as well. But I had to figure out how to package it all. So here’s what the gift looked like packed up.

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I made the bag, using a design from SVG Cuts that I altered to fit my needs – that was the first thing that excited me. It worked ๐Ÿ™‚ Obviously, the bag and mom’s card coordinated. But I wanted the unicorn on the bag to be a little more dramatic than the one on the card. To do this, I used my prisma color pencils to define and enhance some of the shading.

Here’s the next exciting thing. The words on the card front are from William Wordsworth, but the lettering is mine. See?

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I scanned it into the computer and into my Silhouette Design software where I could clean it up. I’ve been practicing my hand lettering for 5-6 months now. I haven’t perfected it, but it’s fun to play with. After I cleaned the lettering up, I used it in my Craft Artist 2 software where I created the card above.

This is the inside of the card. I rarely decorate the inside, but this one just seemed so fitting. This was mom’s card. It was a 5 x 7.

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I duplicated these cards and made a dozen 4.25 x 5.5 size cards for the new mom to use as thank you cards. I transferred the card design into my silhouette workspace and really made my print & cut feature work. But those cards needed a box…so I made one. Or two. Each box held 6 cards and their envelopes comfortably.

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The saying is one I found in a book but had no author’s name attached to it.

So now, I have two sayings. I also happen to have two 0-3 month onsies just waiting to be vinyled. So, using the hand lettered saying, and the one I found for the front of the card box (I used vinyl on that, as well) I played with some red glitter heat transfer vinyl…it’s amazing. It looks like someone skinned Dorothy’s ruby red slippers and made HTV out of it it was so sparkly.

Here’s how the onsies turned out.

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Now I had onsies just kind of floating around in the bag. It was not cute and this bag was all about cute. So, I found baby themed boxes in the design store that held the onsies perfectly.

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Here’s what it looked like all laid out.

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Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo

Links to the projects:

Carousel Horse Bag (mine looks like a unicorn bag), Card Box, Onsie Box

 

 

 

 

 

 





Valentine For the Hubby

15 02 2018

I got his wrapped up about an hour before he got home. I wish I’d had time to make a box or bag for him, but I didn’t.

Here’s what you need to know about the love of my life.

He comes across as intimidating. I have NO idea why, but he does until you take the time to get to know my quiet wonderful man.

Something else you need to know. I think he likes it and kind of plays on it sometimes, especially as our kids have gotten old enough to date.

He also likes to laugh.

So the gifts were made with theses things in mind. And they were well received ๐Ÿ™‚

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thanks for stopping by!

xoxo

 

Links to files used in the projects

Corset, Pattern1, Pattern 2, I Don’t Like Morning People





Little Cousinsโ€™ Valentine Party

11 02 2018

I’ve been sitting on this for a bit! Now that everyone has their things, I can share it ๐Ÿ˜€

The younger cousins got together and had their own Valentine’s Day party this weekend. They colored Valentines I cut out on my Cameo, did a craft, had a treat then played.

But I played well before they did when I put together matching shirts for the kids.

I like how they turned out and the kids were cute in them.

The white onsies are for the girls and the red shirts are for the boys.

Thanks for looking!