Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

Irish in my heart

I’m fortunate as I grew up knowing and learning about my Irish heritage. I loved listening to the stories of my ancestors from my Gram and her sisters. Four of my Gram’s siblings came off the boat with their parents, for dreams of a better life. After the devastation of the Great Potato famine of 1845-1849 my Great Great Grandparents and their kin, survived and without them I wouldn’t be here today to tell this story.

Michael and Elizabeth left Scotland at the age of nineteen and traveled by ship to South Hampton, England. At the time, they had three daughters and a son in tow. With competition for jobs, financial security, and food being scarce with the population boom, they made their way to Canada and settled in British Columbia.

My Great Grandparents *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Great Grandfather Michael found work in the mines and was there for twenty-nine years. They hadn’t lived there in the community long when devastation ravaged the town with floods from 1848, to 1947, the mining disaster in May of 1908 that killed one hundred and three miners, and the Great Fire of August. 1 st of 1908 that destroyed the town.

My Great Grandma Elizabeth was pregnant with my Grandma Margaret and due to give birth that hot summer. There were ten lives lost and thousands of homes burnt to the ground. There was a lot of hardship and sadness that my ancestors had to encounter in the new land. I’m happy to report my Gram made it safely into the world as the hospital and the church were the few buildings that were left.

Time passed on with my Gram and her siblings growing up and their parents had added on to their family with four more daughters. More hardship would come to the family as the mine would be closed in order to investigate the fire of 1908. My Great Grandpa Michael had to find work elsewhere. All the daughters worked as well or helped look after the youngest children.

My Great aunts such lovely lasses. *image courtesy of my cousin*

That was the life back then, everyone had a strong work ethic and supported one another. I remember my sweet Gram Margaret telling me stories of her housekeeping days, collecting oranges at the train yard, and working as a caddy at the golf course. The sisters all went on to marry and have families of their own. They still remained close as they raised their children and visited each other when they were Grandparents.

My Gram and 3 of her 5 sisters *image courtesy of my cousin*

A tragic accident in 1917, took the life of the youngest family member Josephine and she died at the age of two, with severe burns to the chest and abdomen. Poor baby girl lighting up the world with her beauty and smile, and for her life to be snuffed out like a candle is so sad. Peter, the only son of nine children returned home from World War 1 and fell ill as well. He succumbed to cerebral meningitis at the age of twenty-six on March. 17th 1922.

He was to sing in the St. Patrick’s day concert that evening for the Knights of Columbus, and he sat up in bed and sang then died. The song that he sang was Danny Boy, a beautiful Irish melody that is dear to my heart to this day.

My Great uncle *image courtesy of my cousin*

After the youngest daughter and only son had passed just 5 years my Great Grandma Elizabeth became ill. My Grandparents were set to get married in the summer month of July and Elizabeth passed 9 days before the wedding. Instead of the church wedding that was planned they quietly got married in the priests rectory of the Holy Family Catholic Church.

My parents got married there as well and my middle sister followed suit and my husband and I proudly married there after. As a devout Irish Catholic family that attended mass every Sunday and invited the priest over for dinner after one of my Great aunts went into the sisterhood. She took the name Sister Michael and lived out her young life devoting herself in service to God.

She passed tragically in a car accident when I was a little girl and my Gram would tell me stories about her love of the family and of the church. There was always tears and hugs given when she spoke of her siblings that had passed on.

My Great aunt Elizabeth and her Father Michael *image courtesy of my cousin*

I celebrate my dearly departed loved ones memories and I carry on the namesake of my Great Grandma, my Great aunt, and my Mom. My Great Grandpa Michael lived on to see his daughters marry and meet his Grandchildren. My Mom had a special relationship with him and would speak of him with joy on her heart. He passed on well into his 80’s to be reunited with his lovely wife and daughters and son.

My Gram and my Mom *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Gram and Mom always said I had the gift of my Great uncle’s vocal talent. To this day when I sing the song of my ancestors homeland Oh Danny Boy I feel uplifted on their angel wings. St. Patrick’s day is celebrated in our family household as much as the joy of birthdays. Wishing you all Irish blessings and may the luck and love of the Irish be with you always. 💚☘️

An adapted version of this story originally appeared on The Wellness Universe titled Irish heritage.

*Special thanks to my cousin Maureen for the use of her family pictures. The late night chats of our family’s story helped me feel closer to my Irish clan.*

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Green

I’m happy to link up with Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G. Hill. Green is a symbolic colour in my family. We’re 1/3 Irish on my Mom’s side so you can imagine how important St. Patrick’s day was when I was growing up. We would say our prayers, honour St. Patrick and have my ancestors recipe of delicious Irish Mulligan stew.

There was one thing that confused me though could a certain colour of green denote danger? I was told if we were to wear Paddy green that it was bad luck. When you grow up with Irish ancestry a lot of superstitions are a part of life so I just didn’t question it.

I didn’t know what shade of green was paddy anyways so I chose not to wear until I was an adult. Then one day my Mom came to visit me and I was taking her shopping. I came out dressed in a new t-shirt I had bought recently and heard her exclaim “oh no you’re wearing paddy green!”

I went back to my bedroom and changed immediately. I know that may make some laugh as I was grown woman. But when my Mom starting making the sign of the cross and praying the Our Father I took this outburst seriously.

After we got to the food court I asked my Mom what was the superstition connected to that particular colour of green. She had told me my Great Grandparents immigration to Canada, tales of the Irish banshee that had a body of a dog and a face like a scary villain out of Grim’s stories. But really paddy green what was the fear of that?

She had explained that when someone in our family had worn the colour that a relative would die. At first I scoffed then I looked deep into her eyes and was ashamed because there was a belief and fear there.

Who was I to question the validity of a belief she held all throughout her life? After this insightful conversation we went back home and I made her a cup of tea and her favourite treat scones, like my Gram used to make. I cherish those memories and keep our Irish traditions alive with my own children.

My favourite thing about St. Patrick’s day is that there’s no expectations on this day. No need to get dressed up and go out to anyone’s for dinner, or get out of your pyjamas for that matter. The only thing you need to do is be happy, drink green beer, and sing Danny Boy.

In my family I make the green pancakes and potato patties like I would have as a child. And for one day out of the year I speak with an Irish accent. I’m putting those years of theatre training to good use. Also it makes my kids happy, and I love to hear their giggles when I break into song and kick up my heels in an Irish jig. I think the world could use a lot more happy traditions so I wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s day and may the luck of the Irish be with you.

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It takes a village

I recently took a physical for life insurance purposes. My nurse was kind and polite and when I was asked why do I take an anti-depressant when your otherwise healthy? I simply replied “I’m a special needs parent who’s always advocating, teaching, learning, researching, and loving my family I have to cope somehow.”

The look of surprise that crossed his face was something that I’ve seen before. I’ve had people ask me how do you do it, deal with autism, ADHD, ODD, SPD, and a genetic neurological disorder that affects everything from motor skills, to recessive language delay, to selective eating issues due to textures, smells, and shapes of food.

I have no other answer other than I don’t think about it I just do it. All of it needs to be done always. I need to advocate for my children so that they can have access to resources, funding, and therapy inside the school system and outside within the community. I need to keep up with the latest research on my son’s genetic disorder so I know how to help him specifically and what other co-morbidities I need to be aware of. I also need to teach him about number and letter recognition so he can begin to print what he knows. I have to deal with regression as it’s the part of his brain that’s affected by his micro-duplication.

I need to check, double check and help my son re-learn when he’s lost his ability to process what he’s learning in school. He’s come a long way with his progress from screaming if I tried to help him hold a crayon in preschool to printing his name confidently in elementary school. Now his world’s growing bigger as he attempts to make sense of all those letters on the page and learn to read. I remember what joy I felt when my Mom introduced the magical world of books to me.

I long to see that light in my son’s eyes that I know appeared in mine. Yet I see him stumble on three and four letter words and in frustration throw the book across the room. At the moment we’re working on his reading comprehension so that he can create the story from what he sees illustrated on the page. As for the phonics and word recognition I’m using a multi-sensory approach as well as his special education resources teacher does in the classroom.

1. First I print the word then I get him to to tell me the letters and we sound it out and say it together.

2. Next I have him build it with his alphabet letters on the line below.

3. After he prints the word with his pencil.

4. Then we go over the word and use it in a sentence and repeat with the remaining words.

Sometimes he only has enough patience for three words but to me it’s quality over quantity. I learned the Write, build, print method from an amazing website called Understood. I love this website as I now have a resource that’s there to help us both on our learning journey.

When I see the furrow in my son’s brow as he concentrates to maintain his alligator grip on his pencil I marvel at his independence. He sings a little song as he does so. Alligator grip then my pencil doesn’t slip. Then when he’s completed his task his beautiful smile makes his whole face light up. I’m excited to incorporate building Lego into his learning as we work on math next.

I have five months to prepare him to catch up with his peers and continue onto the next grade. He has an excellent team at school who’ve been there to help with his frustrations, transitions with the use of visuals and successes. My son teaches me just as much as I’m teaching him this why I choose medication for myself and seeking the guidance of a therapist.

No parent is an island and it takes a village to raise a child. When it’s a child with special needs it takes strength, courage, and a bigger, non-judgemental village. I need to be able to cope with this roller coaster of a life we lead. I need to stay on task and ten steps ahead of a sensory overloaded meltdown. Most importantly I need to take care of myself and repair what I feel is broken. My mental health and the well being of my children depend on it.

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next month’s Voices of Special Needs Hop? Click here!

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The Tear

What is it about the passage of time? I’ve heard that time heals all wounds, time passes on and time is short. It’s that tear in the fabric of time that intrigues me the most. Where you can be another version of yourself-someone who is stronger and makes better decisions and takes a different path in life.

Like the actress Gweneth Paltrow played in the movie Sliding doors her character was on the subway platform deciding if she should or shouldn’t get on the train. The director portrayed what would happen with her life if she stepped on the subway and who she was and who she interacted with.

It really fascinated me with the twists and turns within the plot of the movie. It showed me that you do have to be careful what you wish for. As I’m watching this the character in my favourite TV show #Thisisus is replaying the memory track of what his life was like before when he was a high school football star and adored by everyone. Kevin had colleges scouting him, a girlfriend who loved him and a close relationship with his family. Then it all came to a crashing end when he was tackled in the big game and suffered a broken leg.

He still had the beautiful girlfriend (who he would later go on to marry and divorce), a strong bond with his fraternal twin sister Kate, an emerging relationship with his adopted brother Randall, and his parents Jack and Rebecca that were there to love and support him to this jagged tear to his football dreams. Yet Kevin can’t see past any of that as he sinks into a depression that goes on to shadow his life in his current phase.

What would’ve his life been like if he avoided that devastating hit that changed his path forever? Would he have gone on to football stardom and become the proud recipient of the Heisman trophy, married the girlfriend and lived happily ever after? Even though he’s a television character Kevin and his life story is enthralling to me that he went onto to what appeared to be a good life making a successful living as an actor while recovering from the death of his Father, the rock in his life.

How would his life be any different if he would’ve just thrown the football, avoided the tackle and never have to lose his Dad at such a young age? It’s the conundrum I’m sure most of us have encountered at some point on our path what if I would’ve taken that subway train, stayed with the ex or gotten that scholarship to college. It’s the tearing of the dream that we have for ourselves that can hurt the most where we feel the regrets of time we’ve lost and where the what if’s eat us up inside.

Is the grass always greener over on the other side of the fence? Not necessarily, should we all just be living the life of our dreams with no regrets or resentments? I’ve always intended to raise my sons to follow their dreams, reach for the stars and be kind and giving human beings. It’s the life that we live that shows us who are true character really is. Excepting the hand we’re dealt and taking the leap of faith and being who we’re really meant to be that matters the most.

I saw myself becoming a famous actress and singer entertaining the world with my talent. Unfortunately I didn’t have the courage to pursue those idealistic dreams and leave my parents and go off to the big city. I didn’t believe in myself as much as I should’ve and that tears at my heart still today. But who am I to say that my dreams shall just wither and die? I can still realize them just in a different way, by performing in theatre and pursuing my passion for storytelling.

It’s the gift of words that sets my heart aflutter now as I’m passing on that love of reading and writing to my sons. It fills my eyes with happy tears as I sit and listen to my youngest champion son reading about Pete the Cat and his buttons as he acts and sings out every page. When I thought his brain might not be able to make sense of the letters with his autism and mental processing speed. Then as my heart swells with pride when my oldest rock star son starts reading me an essay that he’s writing for school and telling me he wants to be a writer like me when he’s older.

I wish for them not to struggle with their identities or what direction they should go career wise like I’ve done. To be able to avoid the “hits” that happen in life the fair weather friends, bullies on the playground, and young love breakups. If I could I’d protect them from it all but then they wouldn’t be truly living and discovering the world for what it is. Their time shouldn’t be spent wondering what if but really experiencing all that life has to offer them from school, friendships, love, and beyond!

It’s in these moments that I know I found the right path and even though my mind can wonder about the what if’s of the world it’s the life that I’m living being the best me I can be that matters. Not the one who made her way to Hollywood to become the actress of her dreams who may have caved in to all the pressure that a lot of celebrities fall under and resorted to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope.

I would rather be my authentic self who loves who I see when I look in the mirror, that prays with my children every evening for a better world for them to grow up in, and loves my husband with everything in me. That’s the bond of family that dreams, pride, fantasies, or ego can never tear away.

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Celebrate Blogging Linkup Party #20

WELCOME TO THE PARTY!!!
Is it just me or is November flying by?!
I can’t believe Thanksgiving is less than a couple weeks away.
This past weekend we did our thankful jar and made some
leaf rubbing books. 

I also did a little Christmas shopping! I got the kids Christmas
pajamas, Christmas books, advent activity books and other little things.
I love a Target Christmas run…don’t you?!-Arianne

LET’S START CELEBRATING…!
Grab a button for your blog sidebar!

CELEBRATE BLOGGING LINK-UP PARTY!

CELEBRATE WITH US…JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP:
FOLLOW OUR PINTEREST BOARD:
We pin every link to our board every week!!!

ARIANNE FROM FAMILY JOYS:

JEANINE FROM JSACK’S MOM’S BLOG

BIBI FROM SIMPLE SUMMIT:

SHANNON FROM CRAFTY MAMA IN ME:

MARILYN FROM FINANCIALLY SHOPPING:





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photo
Arianne
Family Joys

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Ten Things of Thankful-Some kind of wonderful

It’s time to join up with the merry band of thankful crew. I’ve been on a little hiatus due to back to school craziness. It’s been a wild month of keeping track of all school responsibilities and I need to dive waist deep into some thankfulness. This is where my heart is and always will be whether in participating in the TTOT linkup or just reading all the wonderful talent that reside there. 

I’m thankful for having a more organized week and making each appointment and having my sitters lined up for the last week. My kids enjoy spending time with these special caregivers and I’m grateful for some me time and a date night with my handsome husband. 

I’m thankful for celebrating 11 years of marriage. There are times when life beats me down and I feel overwhelmed. I look towards my husband and he’s always there cheering me on and believing in my inner strength that I know I possess but need a reminder of when I’m feeling clouded by doubt. 


I’m thankful for the wonderful friendships I have in my life. I’m never without a kind word, strong shoulder, or zany sense of humour from my tribe. The real life friends make me feel so loved and appreciated. My online friendships have grown and have taught me to believe in myself and the power of my words. Words that can make a difference and be the change I wish to see in the world. 

I’m thankful for a successful week of charting and tracking my daily life habits. I’ve had 3 successful weeks of tracking my behaviours of food, mood, anxiety, sleep, and OCD I’m a journal. I’ve begun to see patterns of my behaviour that I can now work on changing and revitalize my self care regimen. 

I’m thankful for my behavioural therapist that I’ve been seeing for the last month. Cognitive behavioural therapy is the game changer in my life and I’m looking forward to more successes that I will accomplish with her support and expertise. 


I’m thankful for my sons doing well in school. It’s only been a month but they’ve both felt positive about being in their classrooms. Soon I will find out what funding is available for my youngest with autism and a teacher conference for my oldest to see how he’s doing in school. I’m proud of them both and the resilience and inner strength they’ve shown me. 


I’m thankful for a wonderful day spent at the women’s show. I met a lot of different vendors and listened to an amazing guest speaker. I sat in the sunshine and painted a wine glass and met some very interesting kind people. It was a rewarding day of being social followed by a 3 hour successful theatre practice. The most memorable part of my day was signing the poster asking the question in one word describing myself. I chose to say I’m inspirational and the loving energy that poured out of me from that moment onward was incredible. 

Speaking of theatre I’m thankful that I was cast in the lead role of the pantomime play! I was going to be brave and try out for a bigger role than in the previous years and I did. I’m memorizing a lot of dialogue, dances, and really enjoying my character. Performing is where my heart is when I’m on stage I feel like I’m invincible. 

I’m thankful for autumn days and walking along the river with leaves crunching under my feet. The pictures I take at this time of year thrill me as Mother Nature decorates these beautiful tapestrys of colour and wonder. 

I’m thankful for all things pumpkin now that it’s October. Halloween is a big deal in our household so let the dessert making and decorating commence. Stay tuned for guess what Halloween costume I’ll be wearing coming soon. 

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Ten Things of Thankful-Feeling prayful

There are times in life when some things just don’t make any sense. Death for one isn’t something I can fathom. Whether a loved one is young or old, natural causes or sudden tragedies it tears at my empathic heart. My husband and I recently lost a friend this week. The sadness overtakes me as this special soul leaves behind a beautiful, caring wife and three amazing kids. I think about the last conversation we had, the laughter, the reminiscing, the hugs of let’s keep in touch. Just when I start to ride a grief wave another loss happens, and I’m threatened to be pulled under by the melancholy cloud of darkness. I don’t think I’m supposed to understand death I’ve lost too many people to count in the last ten years. I’m beginning to believe that I’m just supposed to survive the affects of death and keep learning and appreciating the life lessons I’m taught. I will now begin to attempt to find some thankfuls as part of Lizzi’s TTOT linkup and glean a silver lining in a dark cloud. 

I’m thankful that even though it’s been a difficult week my husband has been able to talk about his feelings. He attended his childhood friends funeral while I attended an appointment. He told me it was good to see old friends and there’s comfort in knowing how many turned out for the sad day and how loved our friend was. 

I’m thankful that I kept my head and my heart busy with baking, walks in the sunshine, and movie time cuddles. My oldest (Captain) went with his Dad and spent time with family. The youngest (Mad dog) stayed home with me and enjoyed having me all to himself. 

I’m thankful that my Mad dog is making great progress with his behavioural aid sessions. His fine motor skills are improving so next we will continue working on having him sit for longer periods at circle time. It’s a large part of preschool and kindergarten and I want to prepare him for when he attends his new school. I’m so proud of his accomplishments in the last six months. ❤️

I’m thankful that I had silly, sweet, text conversations with my Captain while he was traveling with his Dad. We chatted from everything about wrestling (he’s a John Cena and Shane McMahon fan), Donald Trump versus the world, and how he wants to surprise his brother with the best beef jerky on the planet. I sure love my son and his creative mind! ❤️

I’m thankful for healthy meals, daily exercise, and relaxing in my hot tub with my family. When I have these things in my life everything just flows better and I feel so happy and loved. My fitness journey is ongoing and I strive to grow stronger in mind and body everyday. 

I’m thankful for catching up on housework, the dreaded laundry monster, and enjoying some beautiful summer weather. My moods are really tied to how much vitamin D I’m getting so the sunshine’s my elixir in life. 

I’m thankful for earth day this week. My Mad dog and I went for a walk by the river with his behavioural aid. We skipped stones jumped from rock to rock and took in the beauty and appreciation of our home. I’m grateful for the fresh clean water, the plants and trees providing me with oxygen and the flowers blooming and letting me enjoy their fragrance and aromatherapy. 

I’m thankful for reading, writing, and accomplishing my work tasks. I still have a few things to catch up on but I’m crossing things off my list and that’s a win/win in my world. Organization has never been my strong suit but as I see my piles of clutter becoming less I feel more in control of the direction I’m taking. It’s the old adage “cluttered space equals a cluttered mind.”

I’m thankful that I was able to apply that mindfulness to eliminating my digital and online clutter as well. Now that I’ve deleted data, cleaned up email accounts, and uploaded pictures onto my computer my phone/office is running at the speed of light! It’s amazing what a good feeling of satisfaction that can generate. 

I’m thankful for late night cuddles when my son can’t sleep. Late night talks and tuck ins when they miss me when it’s time to go to sleep. I’m getting to a point now where they don’t need me as much, especially my Captain. It’s so rewarding to see them growing and discovering the world and still wanting me by their side to chat about life and it’s mysteries. 

I’m thankful we had a successful follow up appointment with my youngest son’s sleep specialist. Since his diagnosis of autism in February and asthma in March we’re solving more health mysteries. The asthma medication has improved his breathing and shrunk his tonsils so much she doesn’t think he needs surgery! Now I will push for the MRI and see what’s going on inside his brain in regards to where the sleep apnea is originating from. Central sleep apnea is a a very serious condition-whereas the brain isn’t communicating with the heart and lungs about getting sufficient oxygen intake. Knowing my son is safe, breathing and sleeping properly is an answer to my prayers. Thank you to all you sweet souls who have expressed concern, said prayers, and empathized with us on this long, sleep deprived journey. This is the best outcome and update I could ever hope and pray for! I’m so thankful to God for these blessings. 💖

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Ten Things of Thankful-feeling the love

I’ve been thinking lately about the things that make me hapy. I always count my family, friends, and my ability to see the light in a grey cloud. I lived costal for nearly three years and one thing it taught me was to appreciate the sunny days when they happened. This was supposed to be part of the TTOT linkup but a faulty phone app froze and I missed the deadline. I’m going to post it anyways because life’s too short to not be thankful for my blessings! 

I’m thankful for a enjoyable spring break with my kids. It rained a couple of days but the last four have been perfect. We went for walks by the river, played in the backyard, made crafts, relaxing in the hot tub, and today was a perfect day for a water gun fight. And also seeing a sunset like this tonight. 

 
I’m thankful for learning how to paper mâché with my son’s behavioural aid. Even my oldest got into the fun as well. I’m excited to reveal our project for you next week. 

I’m thankful for getting caught up on laundry and housework over the week. You can’t tell I did much now so I’ll be back to the grind tomorrow. 

I’m thankful that my kids had a great experience at their dentist. The staff was friendly, professional and polite. Watching soccer on the flat screen was a big hit with both my boys and led to some interesting conversations. The office having IPads in the kids room was also a big hit with my kids. I was so impressed with how the staff addressed my concerns regarding my youngest son’s autism and comfort level. I’m so happy we found an office that’s close to all our other professional services. 

  
I’m thankful for relaxing, watching movies, learning Minecraft techniques, and baking with my son’s who are full of energy. We had a great time and I got a break this weekend from being there entertainment director. 

I’m thankful for sunny days, visiting with the neighbours, and digging in the dirt. It’s so exciting to see that spring has finally sprung    Now I’m anxious to get out and garden as soon as the morning frost disappears. Mother Nature has a sense of humour to be desired. 

 I’m thankful for coming to the blog to tell you what makes me happy and gives me a thankful heart. 

I’m thankful for you my dear readers and making it to 600 of you lovely followers. I’m grateful you like to pop by and read what I’m musing about. 

Pixabay free photo no copyright or attribution required

I’m thankful for finding a local special needs community. A few faces I recognized from moving here and I look forward to making new friends for myself and my family. Special needs parenting can be lonely and isolating so to find others like our family is a blessing indeed. 

I’m thankful for having wonderful friends who invite me out to have fun, chat, and remind me that I’m not alone in life. Even my friends who are farther away who check in with a text, message, and a phone call just to see how I am. 

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A-Z challenge Brave

I recently started the blog linkup challenge of all the letters of the alphabet. I started writing them and left them in a draft status. For the next few days I’ll be publishing them and I’m thinking I’m either brave or crazy for doing so.

Word prompts always get my writing creativity flowing and I tend to write whatever pops into my head. Sometimes that’s refreshing and other times it leaves me feeling vulnerable. I recently shared that my son was diagnosed with autism on World Autism Awareness day. I considered writing about it with the beginning A of the alphabet but I chickened out and I wrote about acting instead. It’s a very personal part of my family life to discuss but this is what it feels like to be brave in print.
We started out on this journey two years ago when I was aware of my son’s developmental challenges. He took his first steps early at ten months when we had just moved into a hotel. My husband had just got a job transfer to a new town while we were attempting to sell our house in the previous one. By the time our youngest son was twelve months he was running and had a small list of foods he would eat.
He also wouldn’t sleep for long periods of the night even after cutting out his first nap of the day. I was living on caffeine and Carnation instant breakfast shakes. He was on the move constantly and I would take him to his brother’s school to attend a play group, and there I noticed he wasn’t behaving typically like other children in his age group. I watched as he grabbed toys and played beside me while I participated in craft time and play dough making. He wouldn’t touch any of it nor interact with other children.
He would also have a difficult time with crowds if the classroom was too busy. I chalked it up to tiredness and I’d take him back to our room for nap time. The vacuum would scare him and he didn’t like surprises or things he couldn’t predict. I had always referred to him as my sensitive boy when he was born as he was quiet but could get his feathers ruffled quickly. It got to be exhausting keeping him calm, well fed, and happy as he was easily sensory overloaded.
He was tactile hypersensitive and never liked to touch his finger food, play dough or the rice table. I had at this time become good friends with the facilitator of the playgroup and I asked for her guidance. My son had turned two by this time and had finally started sleeping through the night as we had moved into a rental house when he was eighteen months old. It was an adjustment for our family but one I welcomed after living in a hotel for seven long months! The staff was incredible to us and thought of us like family. They made the long days of dark clouds and rain bearable.
I feel brave for having gone through that experience and yet I had this feeling that my son needed more interventions. With the help of my friend the children’s facilitator she referred me to a child development agency. Then came the next few months of evaluations and questionnaires regarding my son’s development. He was approaching the age of three and still was behind in his gross, fine motor skills, as well as speech delayed.
Those assessments led us to a developmental Pediatrician that diagnosed my son with Sensory Processing Disorder in particular Sensory Modulation Disorder. This is when the central nervous system is seeking out sensory input to deliver that message to the brain and the rest of the body. My son had no fear, he’d climb a six foot bookshelf and jump on to the couch below! He’d also empty every book out of that shelf and dump out toy boxes. I would be in tears trying to put my house back together daily.
In that time I did a lot of reading staying up late burning the midnight oil with learning everything I could about SPD.

My husband had gotten another job transfer out of the province and I was doing my best being a solo parent. The nights were long as my son had begun snoring which isn’t your normal behaviour of a toddler. We saw an ENT that diagnosed him with a sleep disorder but said he was unable to do anything about it.
It was a struggle for the next three months but I persevered found us a house, got us packed up and moved into another hotel while waiting to take possession of our new home. I hardly slept and luckily my son was still napping so I’d catch up on sleep with him.

My oldest son was also suffering with some anxiety and I had to keep reassuring him constantly that he would make friends and enjoy his new school. I got him involved in a summer camp and started moving and unpacking all our belongings.
The next few months I spent my every waking minute making our house a home. The school year started and with that brought some more anxiety in the form of my oldest son getting bullied. I had to deal with this issue for the next three months. The office administration got to know me well as I was always requesting a meeting.

Finally that worked out as I got some school counselling and his teacher to help out.
Meanwhile I was attempting to socialize my youngest son as his vocabulary was starting to increase. We met a sweet friend and we attended a play group. It was very busy, loud, and crowded and my son didn’t do well at all. Nap time was a Godsend as the environment left me feeling sensory overwhelmed as well. After that, we attended play dates with our new friend and her family. It was special to have picnics at the park and birthday party fun.
When my son turned four we started to think about preschool as he was almost fully potty trained. It had taken awhile but we worked all summer towards his accomplishment. We did all the assessments with a speech, physical, and occupational therapist who found out he was Globally Developmentally Delayed. Meaning he had a severe delay in one or more of his developmental skills.
We worked hard to obtain funding and now he attends a wonderful preschool and has funding for a therapy team. He just turned five and will be transitioning to Kindergraten in the fall. With knowing he has autism there’s been a push in the right direction to get him the funding and behavioural aid support he needs. My son has a lot of challenges in life but ones he’s always faced head on with his tenacity and strength. I see a future full of success, determination, and substantial support. He’s our family’s blessing and the sky’s limitless for him and what he will achieve.

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Ten Things of Thankful Successes and Springing Ahead

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I will start out my thankful list by being really honest I loathe the spring time change. I love to sleep, day time naps especially since my youngest son has severe sleep apnea we’re awaiting surgery to repair. Knowing it was coming around the corner of losing that hour filled me a sense of dread. I had intended to change my clocks then my son woke up and needed some cuddles. By the time I got him settled we both fell asleep. Waking up Sunday on my couch and disoriented because I had no idea what time it was is quite a trip. I persevered to get through the day as it was beautiful and sunny and I couldn’t waste a moment of it. So onto to the thankfuls with your co-host of TTOT Fly on our Chicken Coop Wall
I’m thinking of my successes this week on this Sunday where I take 20 minutes for me to write this blog, tuck my kids into bed and get in one last kiss. They’re my biggest successes in life as well maintaining a loving relationship with their Dad. Today was a beautiful sunny day so we went to spend it at the zoo. Laughter, sunshine, and watching the Penguins swim after my happy boys as they played made me giggle and smile. The biggest successes in life are made up of who I love and who loves me. 💖

 

Penguins get very hot when they swim so they cool off by fanning their wings out at their sides.

 
I’m thankful that my family therapy program is going well and there’s been a lot of progress with adjusting and changing troublesome behaviours. I feel more confident about keeping myself in check and not overreacting and letting a trigger affect my progress with a difficult situation. I’m noticing the good and ignoring minor behaviours and dealing with major ones immediately. 

I’m thankful for the consistency, calm approach, and compassion that I’ve been able to tap into have been the greatest keys to our families success. We’ve been having regular family meetings and checking in with each other to talk about our feelings. Each of us feels heard and understood and then we usually play a board game or Wii after. 

  
I’m thankful for being consistent and getting four workouts in as well as some resistance training and yoga to build and stretch out my overworked body. It’s been a long slow recovery with my neck injury in January due to how stressed my central nervous system was. I’m happy to say I’m back to feeling 90 % better and know I’ll be back to more cardio and strength training soon. 

I’m thankful I did take the time to rest and recuperate when my body said enough. I’m not always the best at slowing down because the routine and nervous energy has been something I’ve thrived on. I’m learning daily what I can and can’t do and running on empty in my food fuel or emotional tanks is detrimental to my well being. 

  
I’m thankful that I started a new parenting group and I’ve met some like minded parents looking for strategies and I’m refreshing skills that I haven’t been using. I also attend a support group for parents of anxious kids and it’s been a tremendous support and lifeline for my family and I. One major thing I’ve learned is how difficult it is to have my mind and body in a fight or flight response. As well as anxiety lies to us and we are the truth of our feelings. Taking the six second approach to engage my senses I’m able to help myself and my children go from intelligent brain to primal. 

I’m thankful for beautiful weather and I got outside to do walking everyday this week. The sunshine’s an elixir in my life and I feel so much better if I get my vitamin D fix. It always feels better when I walk and I’m able to clear my head when life situations overwhelm me. I see and hear messages that I wouldn’t by being preoccupied. 

 

Angel wings in the sky

 
This week marked a very special occasion as my cousin’s daughter turned one! I’ve written more about her story last year Here and the challenges this sweet baby girl faced. With an incredible, tenacious, Mom with the strength of a warrior guiding her through life and a patient hard working Dad as well a ton of love and support I see nothing but success for Amazing Grace. 

 

Photo courteousy Love by Krista Evans and used with permission

 
I’m thankful that my son had a fun game to round out his hockey season. Both Atom and Novice teams were matched up and the kids had a blast playing against each other. Next season most of them will be reunited on the sane team as Atoms. I’ve come to know a few of these players and their families and my family and I feel blessed to have made some amazing friends. 

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I’m thankful for visiting with my friend, chatting over wine, and enjoying some relaxation in my hot tub. As a special needs parent my days are busy with therapy lessons, school, hockey, and medical appointments. When I put those things all aside and focus on my self care the results are positive for all my family. I feel better knowing I’m taking care of myself and my happiness and that makes me a better person, Mom, wife, and sister! 

I’m thankful that I dropped all of the housework chores and took advantage of a beautiful +15 sunny day. We went to the zoo and had a fabulous time. I watched my kids interacting with the Canadian geese who were almost domesticated with how tame they were. A few of the exhibits were closed due to maintenance and the gorilla family were celebrating a new baby. We were able to see a live cam of the Mama and her little baby cuddling. It melted my heart and made me think of how I cuddled my own growing precious son’s. We’re really not that much different from animal kind and human kind when we all are united in love. 

A Mother’s love 💖

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