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.*

2 Comments »

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!

18 Comments »

Hotel living 101-special needs parenting

A month ago I embarked on a journey to pack up my truck and my kids and headed out on a new adventure. My husband has been working away for 3 months and after solo parenting, recovery from a broken arm, and listing our house for sale I was done! I counted the days till my kids were out of school and got out of dodge.

Once we arrived tired, sweaty, and dis regulated late at night that's when the real fun began. It was a long trip and after listening to my kids nit picking each other for 7 hours. I arrived disheveled and I needed a time out. I love my children but I was "needed out" and wanted to forget my name was Mom. But who would answer if I don't? My husband was off limits as he was attempting to sleep with working the next day. I went into action mode and set up the pullout couch for the kids. I jumped into my pyjamas and crawled into bed. My youngest son was stimming and in need of sensory input and regulation so we needed to fill that asap!

I walked around the hotel and read books and gave him deep pressure hugs that only his Mama can give. Inside I was praying for him to go to sleep as he jumped out of my lap and rolled around on the floor. I felt the need to explain to the front desk hotel staff that my son has autism and not able to follow the quiet time rule after 10 pm rule. He gave me a nod of understanding and I carried on with my regulation methods.

Finally by midnight my son was sleepy so I put him to bed. Meanwhile my brain was on hyper drive as the events of the day piled up and reduced me to tears. I lay there on the cold bathroom until my crying subsided then fell into bed into a deep sleep.

I woke up in the morning feeling like I had ran a marathon then someone had run me over and left me for dead. I needed to eat, shower, brush my teeth, and unpack. Breakfast was complimentary and a Godsend. My youngest son was fascinated with the pancake machine as he pushed the button an they fell onto his plate. Thank God for these little gifts as this held attention long enough for us to get through breakfast and back to our room.

5 ways to survive hotel living special needs style

*Beforehand research your list of hotel options and book one with pool, gym, and spa facilities. Luckily my husband's company took care of that for us in advance.*

  • Swim daily and spend as much time there as you can in order to wear your children out. That includes numerous trips to the water slide and to the hot tub. Water can have a regulating affect on children with sensory disorders if there's no Sensory Defensiveness present and they're comfortable being immersed in a pool.
  • Invest some time in the gym. I go there weekly with my kids to work out. Even at the ages 10 and 6 there's machines they can use like the treadmill, elliptical, spin bike, and free weights. It's a wonderful way to feel healthy and deal with stress.
  • Provide sensory friendly cut up fruit and vegetables for snacks. The crunchy foods provide the sensory seeking benefit as well as toning the jaw muscles. With my sons hypotonia condition in his jaw this is a huge benefit to his sensory diet.
  • Cut back on junk food for snack time. My kids tend to be sponges for everything they absorb like sugar and food dyes. Trust me you don't want a sensory overloaded mind and body meltdown within close quarters in a hotel room!
  • In one word Netflix plus additional DVD's, colouring books, crayons, felts, wipe board books, and washable markers on those inside days when you're too tired to move.

Maintain your children's sensory diet even while on vacation. Move as much as possible explore your local parks, playgrounds, and the city itself. On days when the weather's miserable have board games, puzzles, crosswords, and structured time on electronics. I stress this one as you don't need to struggle with the affects of a dopamine crash after a limit is not followed. We also signed up for the Kids Bowl Free summer program and that's fun for the whole family.

My kids became very creative through the pleas of I'm bored and built themselves and indoor bowling alley that kept them entertained for a few hours. They also did some crafts, painting, and worked on maintaining fine motor strength playing with thinking putty and play dough. Our favourite thing to do is play make believe as they pretended they were superheroes and the world was being covered in lava. I watched my kids jump from bed to bed and marvelled at their imaginations.

After a month of hotel living I'm confident I made the right choice to reunite as a family. I wanted my kids to have a fun summer instead of being stressed about keeping a clean house for showings while attempting to sell. Now I spend my spare time reading, writing, organizing housing information and counting off the days till our new homes possession date then the fun starts again with packing and unpacking. Whatever comes our way we'll get through it as being together as a family is the best place to be.

Come to the Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop. A monthly gathering of posts hosted by the http://www.thesensoryspectrum.com/and http://www.thejennyevolution.com/category/voices-of-special-needs/

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 months Voices for Special Needs Blog Hop. Click http://www.thesensoryspectrum.com/sensory-blogger

Leave a comment »

Monday Musings-The Aftermath of Time

It takes two minutes to return a smile, a lifetime to grieve a loved one, and thirty seconds for panic to set in when your child’s missing. People can vanish without a trace, be lost and never found, die of sudden or natural causes and we’re left to wonder about time. The time we could’ve spent sharing our love and appreciation with that person, a better use of the time spent with them not knowing it would be the last time we would see them. 

It’s happened a lot in my life-loss and the grief’s felt like a never ending cycle of turmoil and pain. Ever circulating and appearing in my life for a personal loss of life or one shared with a friend. Time where you wish you hadn’t said words in anger, fear or mistrust. When you could see past your very human ego to forgive instead of forming the words of negativity and pain. Forgiveness really is an art form, to move past the pain inflicted on your psyche and spirit. To turn the other cheek and give kindness when in your heart you know it’s the right thing to do. Forgiveness solves many problems but what happens to the person who releases the one who caused the indiscretion in the first place? 

Do they simply forgive and forget words that sliced through their heart like a serrated knife? Do they move on and feel their spirit lighter with an air of peace? Does the simple act of saying “I forgive you” imply that they understand why the hurt was inflicted upon them? Here lies in the struggle, I personally find it difficult to forgive. I was raised with an armour of stubbornness and tenacity that’s made it difficult to make that choice to forgive. I feel weak and vulnerable, to relent to pain caused to me. I’m human yet moving past the pain to divinity is better for my soul. 

I recently had an argument with my son and in his preadolescent mindset he chose to walk away then help resolve it. We were in a city we had never been to before and on our way back to the hotel we were staying at. He thought his Dad and I were being unfair so he stomped away. I had no idea where he was going or if he knew how to find his way back to our hotel. It was a dark yet a well lit parking lot but to see him run away like that was heartbreaking. I was feeling more scared then angry as I ran after him and he disappeared!  

My family and I entered the hotel and I couldn’t find him anywhere. My lungs were ready to burst as it was cold night and my asthmatic symptoms were setting in and I frantically searched for my son.  I asked the front desk staff if they had seen him and they replied they had not. The woman said “do you need a key card” and I replied “no I just need my son back now unharmed!” I made my way to the elevator to see if he was waiting for me while my husband and youngest son went ahead to our room. 

For fifteen heart stopping minutes I had no idea where my oldest son was. Was he hurt, was he kidnapped, was he lost and searching for me? By the grace of God he was found when another friends parent saw him waiting in the hallway and took him back to our room. I quickly jumped in an elevator and as my mind raised all I could think of was the last time I saw him. The hurtful words that were exchanged, the look of anger on his face, and how lost I felt when I couldn’t find him. I should’ve took back those spiteful words of anger said, I should’ve recognized he was frustrated and needing to be heard than reacting to his outburst. I needed to make better use of my time with him letting him know even though I disagreed I still loved and respected him. 

When I got to my floor I burst out of the elevator like I was on fire and ran to my room. I opened the door and grabbed my son up in my arms in a hug that needed to last a lifetime. He squirmed away from me then eventually relaxed into my embrace as the tears flowed. I tried to talk but my words were halted by my sobs. 

What I managed to convey to him was that I was so worried that something could’ve happened to him. With the last words we had spoken to each other in emotion were not what we meant to say. Yet it’s true as the adage says we always hurt the ones we love. Why is that easier option then to just agree to disagree and come up with a solution? There were apologies given and received and for the rest of the weekend he wasn’t out of my sight. Except to play hockey and use the dressing room facilities. Forgiveness was difficult but necessary to give in order to value each other and our relationship. 

I never want to go through that heart wrenching experience again! I feel like it aged me by ten years and took time off my lifespan. It all begins and ends with time.  I’ve learned a valuable lesson to curb my temper and refrain from spouting words of anger and angst in the heat of the moment. My son has learned that a moment of negativity can cause him to make a poor choice yet he’s willing to admit his mistake and learn from it. Time it’s the deciding factor of all our words, actions, and transgressions. And I for one will be using my time more wisely with my friends and loved ones. You just never know when that time will run out and regret will take its place. 

Would you like to take part in #MondayMusings? Our host is Everyday Gyann read her post to see how to slow down and get creative. 
Here’s how it works:
Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.

Use the hashtag #MondayMusings.

Click on the Everyday Gyann link then add your link to the linky below

Use our #MondayMusings badge to encourage other bloggers join in too.

Visit and comment on the posts of other bloggers linked here.

Share the love.

12 Comments »

Sensory Processing Disorder in the classroom

My son has had a long journey in his five years. He was born a month premature and didn’t open up his eyes for his first five days on the earth. Even back then he knew he was sensory overwhelmed with his welcome to the world. Most Moms have babies crying when they make their exit from the spa into the brightness of a hospital OR. Not my son he was sleeping in my OB’s arms as he was brought over the sheet to check his vitals. 

From that day forward he found his voice and expressed himself fully with the power of his lungs. He was a cuddly baby that never like to be put down to sleep and was rolling back and forth at 4 days old! Then he grew into a bash and crash toddler that scared me with his antics of climbing up a five shelf bookshelf and jumping onto the couch. Now he’s grown up so much I wish time could slow down and I could swaddle that sweet baby he used to be. 

He’s 5 now and recently diagnosed with autism and co-morbidities to watch out for, and attending kindergarten and I have routine  that I do for him in the morning to prepare him for the day. He’s not a morning person after two years with obstructive sleep apnea so every morning is a little more jarring to his central nervous system. We start slow and easy in the morning with the routine of wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed, and get his backpack ready for school. All shown with his visual pictures to keep him on task. 

Regulation 

 He needs to be emotionally and physically regulated with his central nervous system before he steps into his classroom so I have a morning cuddle with him and give him a deep pressure massage to wake up his senses slowly. He then gets fed, dressed, washed, and then coat, shoes, backpack are put on. If he’s feeling antsy I have him jump on his minitramp for 1 minute. That amount of time can balance him out and then crab walks to the door with some heavy work to prepare him for sitting. 

Stimulation

Now that’s he’s awake and ready to start his day he can become overly stimulated by what he sees around him. I help him focus by putting on his glasses so he can single out each object. His classroom is a busy place so I know this cuts down on all the visual distractions. Noise and commotion are difficult input for my son to process so he has his noise cancelling headphones in his backpack to block out the overstimulation. If he doesn’t wear them he will stim and compete with the noise with his vocal power to cancel out the offending auditory trigger. 

Oral Fixation

My son tends to chew on his sleeves, cuffs, collar of his clothes so after he’s dressed I make sure he has his chewlery. He’s a shark and ocean marine life lover so he has his shark on a cord and wears it as a necklace. He doesn’t always like to wear it but I tell him that sharky’s there to help if he feels nervous. It saves his clothes and gives him the sensory input he needs for his low muscle tone in his jaw. 

Motor Planning

He has difficulties with  transitions so I make sure that I use visual supports to keep him on task. First we use his visual picture cards so he can see his morning routine. Then I draw them on the white board in a 3 step format of first, then, after. As he completes each task he erases it feeling accomplished and ready to start his day. 

Zones of Regulation

Each day my son and I will go through the zones of regulation where he will tell me what each colour is to express a feeling or action. When he’s unable to express how he’s feeling verbally he will tell me a colour. 

  • Blue is feeling sad or tired. 
  • Yellow is feeling scared or nervous. 
  • Green is happy and smiling.
  • Red is angry and frustrated. 

Verbal Diahrrea 

My son enjoys talking so I need to show him how to take turns with having a conversation as his receptive language skills are severe. He can have tunnel vision and want to be the only one talking and expressing his thoughts. I have a Popsicle stick that he coloured with one side is red and the other is green. He holds the stick and when it’s green he’s a go for talking. When it’s red then he has to stop and let someone else talk, namely his teacher. 

The visuals keep him on track and help with his slower processing time. We all know the adage it takes a village to raise a child. When you have a child with special needs that village grows. Now we prepare for him to be assessed by the school psychologist so he can qualify for an aid in the classroom. It’s not an easy process because sometimes my son doesn’t want to be organized and given direction so it becomes more of a dance. He takes a step and we each take turns leading. One thing I know that everything we do is to prepare him for success in the classroom. 

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthlygathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution  . Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!

https://static.inlinkz.com/cs2.js

25 Comments »

The Haircut

I see the long shaggy hair covering his eyes and he’s bent over trying to put his Batman in his Bat mobile. He’s getting so frustrated because he can’t see what he’s doing and this task is taking too long to figure out. I gently offer to help him and he runs away in anger and slams his door. He’s only four and already acting like a teenager. I pick up his toys, walk to his room and gather him in my arms. 

  
I wrap his blanket around him holding him tight in my Mama bear hug. Deep pressure soothes him and I rock until he stops crying. I brush the hair back from his eyes and I say the dreaded words “oh honey it’s time for a haircut.”

 Soon his body tenses and he’s ready for fight or flight. I rock him and tighten my hold till his fear ridden body is limp in my arms. 
The next day I tell my husband our son needs a haircut. He shakes his head and says “well I don’t want to do it.” Neither of us do it’s a two hour ordeal and the emotions overflow and we’re all stressed. We take turns holding our sweet boy who will turn into a howling banshee any moment. It’s my turn to perform the task of completing a decent haircut. 

I assemble my tools scizzors, buzzer, guards, comb, spray bottle, and a cloth. He will not wear a cape so we strip off his shirt and wrap a towel around him. I place his blanket in a clear plastic bag to protect it but so he’s still able to see it. Next I grab the iPad, thermos of water, and a bag of lollipops. 

I call my husband to help wrangle our son and it’s easier to catch a greased pig at a BBQ! He holds him tightly and I begin wetting down his hair. I’m being very careful to not spray his face at the same time singing his favourite song while his Dad finds him his favourite superheroes on YouTube. I begin to comb his hair and I cautiously snip his bangs. This is not an easy task as I venture close to his eyes. 

I comb his hair out a few more times and move to the sides. I gently approach his ears and I’m holding my breath while I cut around this delicate area. Next I move to the back of his head making sure to work quickly now as he starts to wiggle. I move over to other side and you can hear a pin drop as I cut around the other ear. The hair starts falling and covering his face and blanket in the plastic bag. 

I quickly blow it away and brush off his lap. He starts in with a low growl and I back off completely gently soothing him with my singing.  I carry on only to reach an impasse as he doesn’t want to sit any longer. I bribe him with a lollipop and ask his Daddy to hold him in his blanket bear hug. Instantly he’s soothed and I continue cutting. I’m not a hairstylist I have no professional experience whatsoever. Other than cutting his big brothers hair in the classic “page boy” style.

 I comb out his hair and continue cutting until he gets excited with the video and jerks his head and shoulders around. I narrowly miss stabbing him in the back of the neck! I tag team out with my husband and we trade spots. He plugs in the buzzers and I brush the hair away from our sons face and body. I prepare him for the buzzing sound and hold on to him tight because I know this is going to be a bumpy ride. 

His Dad works quickly and efficiently as I tighten my grip and sing louder overtop of the sound of the buzzers. He’s on my lap wiggling out of my arms and it’s like holding a bag of snakes! We’re almost in tears and we quickly wash his hands and face that are covered in hair. I pick up the hand mirror so he can survey our work and he starts to cry he wants all his hair back. A full sensory meltdown ensues while he can’t process what happened and why I can’t put the hair back. This is the invisible cloak that he wears as he tries to process all eight of his senses. 

I can only imagine what this has felt like for him. As much as we prepare him for haircut time it’s still unbearable. We let him run free and then I change him into his pyjamas while I make him a snack and give him something to drink. He sits at the table singing away between bites and I look at his happy face in awe. Just moments ago I imagined that the clippers felt like hot razors attacking his scalp as his body, brain, and central nervous system were in overload. He finishes up his snack, I wash his hands and face and hug him so tight while telling him how proud I am of him. 

He cuddles up with his Dad and watches a cartoon before storytime. I clean up the mess in the kitchen, sweeping, making lunches, and pour myself a stiff drink. I go downstairs and sit and sip while glancing up at my son and his Dad nestled together in the recliner. My husband says “thank you for being a brave boy for Mommy and Daddy.” 
His eyes well up with tears and he holds his Daddy’s face in his little hands and says “you hurt me Daddy.” I watch my husband’s face crumple and we look at each other and silently agree that this will be the last haircut he ever gets at home. This is our life with Sensory Processing Disorder. 

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!

IMG_7769-1

20 Comments »

Ten things of thankful-missing my Mom

I’ve been writing all day, furiously scribbling and typing out my feelings. Today is a day I dread more than ever the anniversary of my Mom’s death. I cry, write, read stories we wrote together, and listen to her favourite Elvis music. Two weeks ago I shared my list of thankfuls for my dear Dad. Today I will share about my Mom. She was my gift and I will love and miss her till my last breath. I’m proud to share my memories and thankfulness on the TTOT linkup with Lizzi and her ever faithful thankful family.  

 I’m so thankful that my Mom decided to have me her sixth child and third daughter. She was older yet I think she knew that I was meant to be. I was sickly when I was born so I’m thankful I got to spend that extra week in the hospital bonding with her. She would tell me stories of how I would look up at her as she fed me with this baby face and bright blue eyes of wonder. 

I’m thankful that she taught me the magic of books and how to read. My life has been full of all the adventures I’ve taken myself on with my love of words and wonderful memories. I loved when she would read to me and change the inflection of her voice and turn a story book into an interactive experience. 

I’m thankful for her beautiful smile even when she was tired as I wasn’t much of a sleeper as a child. She would read to me and T ell me stories she’s made up on the spot. She was so loving, kind, caring and an amazing story teller. She loved her children and Grandchildren with all her being. She was proud to show off pictures that graced her walls and upright piano. As beautiful as she was she just glowed when she held a child on her lap. 

I’m thankful for her brilliance. She wanted to be a teacher but she didn’t want to leave her parents to go away to study. She was very close to them as their only child. So instead she worked around town, met my Dad and fell in love. First came marriage, and many baby carriages and she had herself a full family to teach. 

  
I’m thankful for her gift of laughter. She could always find the humour in something. She would look for the silver lining and say this too shall pass sadness doesn’t always last. She had a beautiful laugh that would rise up from her toes and she’d slap her knee in emphasis. She taught me how to impersonate characters on tv and in the movies. I would get her into a fit of giggles when I’d do my Tim Conway impression from the Carol Burnett show. 

I’m thankful for all the times she let me stay up late watching old black and white movies with her. We’d have tea and treats and is watch the classics with her like Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, and every Elvis movie we could find. She had quite a collection of his movies that I’m proud to covet today. Our favourite was always his first Love me Tender and I sing it for her when I’m lonely for her presence. 

I’m thankful for my memories of singing and doing the dishes with her. She even made a mundane task like that fun. We would sing all the Irish classics and she’d dance a jig  around the kitchen. My heart would leap out of my chest as I joined her twirling around until I was dizzy with love and enthusiasm. 

I’m thankful for her talent of writing. She was so gifted with her thoughts and expressions and we collaborated on many stories together while in school and after I graduated. She would also make up silly poems and limericks and keep me in stitches with how funny she could be in real life and on paper. 

  
I’m thankful she taught me to be brave and follow my dreams. It’s because of her guidance that I started writing and sharing my heart here on the page. She guides me still and I write for her always in my mind and spirit. 

I’m thankful she was my biggest cheerleader and my sounding board. I could and did tell her anything. She knew I could see and feel things about people and never made me feel like I was weird. With  being empathic in a very sensory overloaded world was a gift and cross to bear that we both shared. She was my guiding light, truth seeker, lover of people, compassionate, kind, and had the strongest love and faith in God. She gave her heart to those who were deserving. And a piece of her intelligent mind to those who were not. 

I’m thankful I’m a Mom myself and I still wonder in situations what would she do or say. There will never be a day I won’t wish for her presence in my life. I have my memories and pictures, but most of all I can look in the mirror and see her there. As well as glowing  with love and pure divine light in my children. Love you always and forever Mama. ❤️

12 Comments »

Lose the Cape-Never will I ever (then I had kids) Book Review edited by Alexa Bigwarfe and Kerry Rivera

  
It’s been no secret that I received the honour of being published in this book anthology. I’ve been on cloud nine since my essay was excepted by the Lose the Cape team! I was even more excited to purchase an ebook to read on my kindle app before the printed version was available. I’ve bragged about this book shamelessly and promoted it on all corners of my social media. For this I have no apology as my acceptance revitalized my commitment to my writing. 
I was feeling dejected as some bigger publications I submitted to denied my stories. In the meantime I was published on some great websites as well and I’m appreciative of that. I was looking for some reach on my social media platform and to build my brand. I was floundering and I didn’t feel like their was a clear path for me. So I decided to write for publications that really mattered me and not chase the “cash cow” that I was. I have no judgement for anyone else to enter those hallowed halls it’s just been too hard on my bruised ego. 

I saw that Lose the Cape was accepting submissions so I applied and got accepted! I was very happy and my post made it into the top 5 as most read for the month of October. This was a nice feather in my cap then I saw the call for personal essays for the book anthology to Lose the Cape-Never will I ever. I jumped on this opportunity like a cowboy to a horse and sent in my story. 

You can imagine my surprise and elation when I opened up my email and saw my acceptance and congratulations! I hugged my husband tight and I sprang out of bed like I was on fire and broke out into an Irish jig. I’m sure I made my ancestors chuckle as I like to speak in an Irish accent when I’m happy. Tis true it was my Ma’s way of making me laugh, sing, and dance. So who am I not to entertain my family in the same manner? 
Without further ado I give you my review of Lose The Cape-Never will I ever. 

I received this book as an ARC (Acquired reading copy) for my honest review and I’m privileged to be a contributor to it as well. I was very excited to see my words in print but this book has provided so much more than that! I read each story learning more about myself with each writer’s personal accounts. I laughed, cried, laughed, found my composure again and found myself so absorbed in these heartwarming stories. Lose the Cape-Never Will I Ever is a wonderful book written by such talented people and edited by the amazing team at Lose the Cape and Kat Biggie Press. I feel so blessed to be a part of something so special. Just recently I applied and was accepted as a writer/contributor to Lose The Cape. I love being on such a creative and talented team that reside there. I’m learning more about myself as a writer and as a person with each story I read there. I’m affirming myself as the writer I always dreamed I would be and living for my Mom’s vision for me. Please come check out the website and follow along on social media as well. I also wrote a book review for Alexa and Kerry’s first collaboration Lose the Cape-Realities for Busy Modern Day Mom’s and Strategies to Survival you can read it Here

  
  Make sure you enter the Valentine giveaway for these great books. 
You can follow Alexa and Kerry on social media sharing their book here:
http://losethecape.com/

https://twitter.com/LosetheCape

https://www.facebook.com/LoseTheCape

Author background information:
Alexa Bigwarfe

Alexa Bigwarfe is a freelance writer, wife, and mother of three children and a dog. In addition to raising her children, managing her home, and writing, Alexa’s heart is in advocacy and raising funds to support nonprofit organizations involved with infant, children and women’s issues. Alexa launched her writing with her personal blog No Holding Back, (katbiggie.com). Here she chronicles topics including health and wellness, living with autoimmune diseases, and most importantly, her grief after the loss of one of her twin daughters to complications from Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). Alexa took the experience from that painful life event and channeled it into a compilation book for grieving mothers entitled Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother and recently edited another book anthology Never the Same Again-Families Forever Changed by Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. She has also been published in two anthologies, The Mother of All Meltdowns and The HerStories Project. Alexa enjoys writing articles about parenting and children’s health and wellness topics for regional parenting publications and online magazines. In her “spare” time, you can find Alexa enjoying time with her girlfriends or hiding in her closet for some “alone” time.
You can follow Alexa here:
http://katbiggie.com/

https://www.facebook.com/NoHoldingBack1212

https://twitter.com/katbiggie

Kerry Rivera
Kerry Rivera is a full-time working mom of three kids with a to-do list that stretches to “infinity and beyond.” Between a demanding corporate gig, the nightly homework and kids’ activities, and managing a household with her full-time working husband, she blogs about the “juggle” at BreadwinningMama.com. Her career journey started in the newsroom trenches and has since transitioned to working for one of the largest global automotive companies. She additionally writes for corporations, government agencies and brands in her “spare” time, and especially enjoys sharing the joys of modern parenthood around the web. Her love for content creation is only trumped by her love for content consumption. Her Kindle and nightstand are equally full, and a stack of magazines can be found in every room of the house. As a Southern California native, she takes advantage of the outdoors, enjoying both the beaches and mountains with family and friends, and loves to caffeinate with Starbucks Refreshers and Coke. She aspires to perfect a handstand in yoga, but is still working on touching her toes.
You can follow Kerry here:
http://breadwinningmama.com

https://www.facebook.com/BreadwinningMama

https://twitter.com/breadwinningmom

 

10 Comments »

Monday Musings-Triggers of the Past

What is it about the past that activate the triggers in your mind from childhood? It’s like those thoughts lay in a locked  box deep inside my brain then something happens and then they’re triggered, and opened up to sift through like a filing cabinet of memories. I recently woke up with a stiff neck and had to spend most of my day resting and stretching my overworked muscles. 

I started a new fitness program and I was overzealous about it and this is the result. I have to remember I’m not twenty anymore and take it at a less than frantic pace. All I could think about as I lay there feeling sorry for myself was how much I loved to climb as a child. You could find me in trees, on top of the roof of my house, and sitting on my Mom’s upright piano. 

There was one time I was climbing like usual after I bounded out of the house after breakfast. I reached out to grab a branch and instead I grabbed a snake! You can imagine my fright as I felt helpless and plummeted to the earth below. I lay there listening to my bones crack I wondered if I could walk and if that snake was going to land on my head. I could see it still in the tree hissing at me like something out of Disney’s Robin Hood. 

I never did like that character Sir Hiss as my Mom and Gram had a fear of snakes and all I knew was to fear them as well. My Mom came outside to check on me and saw me lying on the ground. She started screaming, crying, and praying as she tried to find help. All my siblings had left for school and my Dad for work. So she picked me up and brought me into the house. 

She laid me softly down on the couch and covered me with my favourite blanket. She put a cool washcloth on my forehead and began to check my head and neck for damage. I was so sore and had a big goose egg on the back of my skull. It hurt to move my neck so I just laid there while my sweet Mama cried and prayed over me. 

We lived in a rural community so to find anyone home to take me to the Dr was a slim and none chance. My Mom gave me something for the pain and turned on the tv. She had put my favourite show Sesame Street on and I listened and drifted off to sleep. I survived that fall and many others because I was a climber. Now I have my own child that loves to climb bookshelves, the back of the couch, on top of his bike, and has yet to climb a tree. 

This is what I thought about as I lied there in my bed having my pity party unable to turn my head while my sweet little boy looked after me. I don’t do helpless and sick very well, I don’t suppose any of us does. I just wish for my Mom to look after me like she did so long ago. But time has passed on and with it her life has too so I end up wistfully missing her and her tender loving care. 

Childhood triggers fill my mind with memories of good days and bad. Songs, games, and old friendships that were so important to me. I think of that old red house that reminded me of a barn on a farm. With the big heater with the stove pipe in the middle of the room. I think of the many hours spent there on my beloved Mama’s lap as she rocked me holding me tightly in her arms. I wish I could go back there for another day feeling that loves and cherished. Instead I lie here in my bed stiff and sore cuddling my child. Who will grow up and have these memories of special times with his Mom. 

This brings to mind a poem to fill my wistful grieving heart. 

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.

Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.

-Rumi

This has been my late edition of #Mondaymusings as I was searching for the linkup that is now being hosted at Everyday Gyann if you’d like to join in here are some tips to take part in #MondayMusings? Here’s how it works:

Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.
Use the hashtag #MondayMusings.

Add your link to the linky which you will find here and on the post of a co-host.

Use our #MondayMusings badge to encourage other bloggers join in too.

Visit and comment on the posts of other bloggers linked here.

Share the love.

  



14 Comments »

Pause 

There are moments in time I’d like to freeze as my children are growing up so fast. One tells me I’m the mayor of Crazy Town (in our household it’s a real place) the other asks me such interesting questions about the Mir space station and will Steve Harvey ever host a Miss America pagent again? 

I still remember when they were babies and the circumstances that led up to me bringing them into the world. One two days late and long and skinny and purple as Barney the dinosaur. The cord was wrapped around his neck and his head was too wide to engage down into the birth canal. He had the brightest eyes and watched my every move as fascinated with me as I was with him. Oh how I loved him I knew he was waiting for me all along. 

I have to pause that moment when he squeezed my finger and looked up into my eyes as it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Now he’s 4″8 and soon will be height at nine years old and towering over me by the time he’s licenced to drive. His little brother made his scary and rapid appearance before I had a chance to prepare for it. I knew nothing about early onset labor and all that will follow having a premature baby. 

I have to press play on my memory bank as those two weeks of having my baby in the hospital NICU are a blur of emotions. He came into the world sleeping the OBGYN actually woke him up as he cut him out of me and lifted him over top of the blue sheet. He was like a little loaf of bread all curled up and he made this meowing sound and I burst out laughing. I looked at my husband and said “did our baby just meow?”

Then the whole OR started laughing and it broke the thick as ice tension with the seriousness of my son’s early arrival. He was such a mystery to me and didn’t open up his eyes for five days. Then when he did I felt like I could see all the wonders of the world. My baby had an old soul and he looked at me as if to say it’s ok Mom I’ve done this before. 

The love I had in that moment enveloped me like a warm mist floating through me and all around as I was lost in the swirling rainbow of emotions. I have to pause that moment in time as everything I read about Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet came flooding back to me. 

Your children are not your children.

They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not of you. 

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,

but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

For such a young little life he had this wisdom about him and I was captured by it. When we brought him home he conpleted our family with his gentleness. It took him two more weeks to find his voice as he was quiet and serious. It was like he was taking every moment in of his new world and didn’t want to miss a minute of it to sleep. We settled into our family of four and I went into grief recovery as my Mom had died five weeks prior to my baby’s birth. 

I felt so much guilt because I loved her so much I couldn’t hold onto my pregnancy. I wanted to pause the last moment I had with her as I told her we were expecting again. The warmth in her hands as she squeezed mine, and the glow in her eyes was my most cherished moment with her. 

I know she watches over my children and wants our greatest gift to be our happiness. Cuddling with my husband while watching our kids entertain us with their antics these are the moments I’d love to pause and hold them in their youth a little longer. 

This had been my Stream of Consciousness Saturday with Linda G Hill as part of Just Jot January posting everyday for the month. Today’s prompt was the word pause. 

  

15 Comments »