Hope

14 11 2019

I found this video over the summer and it was a big deciding factor in me reaching out to see if an autism service dog would even be possible for JJ. Nathan’s story was so similar to what JJ’s gone through. The bullying is why JJ’s homeschooled. His anxiety was too high to go back after the summer.

I’ve spent the last FIVE years trying to help him understand that my job is to keep him safe because I love him. I couldn’t send him back to an environment he didn’t feel safe in (because he wasn’t). It breaks my heart that this man had to endure so many years of the bullying like my son has faced.

But Nathan’s dog, Sylvia, gave me hope. Seeing how Nathan’s life turned around, just his over all quality of life skyrocketed, that’s what I want for my son.

With a service dog, JJ should be able to safely go to school again. And because there’s no better mix than kids and dogs, there should be plenty of opportunities for positive peer interaction…for FRIENDS.

The road to raising $18,000 seems long and impossible, but there’s hope and I’m holding on to that.

Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

xoxoxo

https://www.paws4autism.org/jj.html —> to read more of JJ’s story or donate

Nathan and Sylvia’s Story

 





That Time I BEGGED Because I Needed Help

6 11 2019

I have a shirt for my 3yo son that says: Autism is fun most days. Today may not be that day.

If you’ve been around my blog for a bit, you know that my two youngest children are autistic.

You probably also know we have seven kids.

I bet you can make an educated guess that I’m tired. If I had the energy, I’d make a shirt for myself that said: Running on Fumes and Grace, because that’s how I see my life. It’s hard, I’m tired, but I know it could be worse and I’m grateful that it’s not πŸ™‚

That being said, I need your help.

Because of the autism, my 7yo is homeschooled. The school struggled to keep him safe from bullying because we never knew which child would take a swing at my son on any given day. There’s more to his story, and there’s a link provided further down.

I want him to be able to live his fullest life and I want him to feel safe doing it. So I reached out to an organization that trains dogs specifically for autistic children and we were approved.

This is really exciting, but scary. For me, this dog symbolizes hope. Hope for safety. For better days. For experiences like his neurotypical peers. For friends and positive peer interactions. For me, as a mom, it symbolizes hope for nights we get to have better sleep. Days we have less anxiety. Freedom for both us, because honestly, we overwhelm each other some days.

But it’s scary, because service dog’s aren’t cheap. Like way not cheap. And I see this hope just sitting there on the horizon with a wagging tail and bright eager eyes…and what if I lose it because I can’t find a way to come up with the money? Somedays, the hope of that dog – whichever dog it is – is what pushes me forward and keeps me going.

So this is where I start begging. First – I freaking LOVE this organization. They’ve done their best to make autism service dogs a possibility for ANYONE. They work on a pay it forward mentality. Whichever dog my son matches with, has already been paid for by someone else’s fundraising. The fundraising we do, pays for the next dog for another family who is in desperate need of hope. The organization itself is all volunteer run to help keep the costs of the service dogs down as much as possible. That being said, we still need to fundraise…$18,000.

I cry a little each time I say or write that number. In the beginning, I didn’t know how we were going to do that, but I took a leap of faith. Now, as we’re getting into it, things are starting to come together and kind people are stepping forward to help. I believe I’m living inside a miracle as I watch this unfold. It’s “magical” to watch.

So I’m asking you guys (begging) if you can help us out.

Interested?

Here’s how you can help.

  1. Share this post. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
  2. Straight donation (remember, donations are tax deductible) to his fundraising page here.Β 
  3. To help the organization continue moving forward, sponsors for events, and yearly sponsors/partners for the organization are a necessity – that’s what helps defray their costs. You can check that out hereΒ and download the sponsor packet if you’re interested – Just let me know πŸ™‚ One of the things I love about their set up, is that the fundraising isn’t straight cash. Getting involved and helping get needs met for the organization (like finding sponsors and partners) gives us credit toward the fundraising goal reducing the amount of cash we have to raise.
  4. Stay tuned! We have fundraising opportunities in the works. We have an exciting raffle we’re trying to put together, personalized gift opportunities, and more. As those things get finalized, I’ll post them here – so PLEASE share those as well.
  5. One of the ideas the organization has talked about is an organized charity motorcycle ride that benefits Paws4Autism. If this is something you can help with, please let me know πŸ™‚ Like I said, if I can help them, it helps me ❀

Thank you so much for stopping by today.

xoxo

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Autism and Touch

26 08 2019

In case you don’t know, touch can be different for people on the autism spectrum.

It can range from physically painful, to uncomfortable, to almost not feeling at all.

My 7yo falls kind of in the middle, with some tendencies toward not feeling physical things as much. He’s considered high functioning on the spectrum.

It’s a strange world for him. He WANTS the hugs and affection, but at the same time, it makes him uncomfortable.

I’ll ask him to come sit next to me on the couch and put my arm around him to snuggle. He’ll lean closer, but doesn’t melt into me. He stays kind of stiff. And he never initiates.

Except today…

While we sat side by side at church, he threaded his arm through mine to link our arms. Then he tentatively laid his head against my shoulder.

This might not seem like a big deal, but it was ❀️ He still struggled with the closeness and how much he should lean in and how completely he should let his head rest on my shoulder.

BUT HE DID IT!

I’m so grateful for those tender moments and hope I’ll never be too busy to appreciate them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Xoxo





Valentine’s Day Clock

22 03 2019

So this is a little late, but if you read the previous post, you’ll understand why πŸ™‚

My husband and I have a running joke about when it’s time to leave work. He’s a great worker and has pulled all nighters before, when necessary. He also works with people from different time zones. This means that sometimes he’s on a call or working on a project for someone after our “office hours” are over either because the job has to be finished, or he loses track of time.

So I made him a clock. And a card, because Valentine’s Day.

And of course, it’s out of paper πŸ™‚

Front view

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Side (my husband used to live in France, so I wanted to incorporate that)

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The clock file is from Dreaming Tree. I blinged out the 5 as a reminder to my husband that I miss him and it’s time to come home πŸ˜‰

Thanks for stopping by!

xoxoxo

 





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 didn’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 it’s hitting me that our lives may be dramatically different than what we were planning.

Or not.

We just don’t know, and that’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 πŸ™‚

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*





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,Β  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 πŸ™‚ Like modifying bag designs, digitizing hand lettering, and playing with glitter HTV πŸ˜€

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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