Sunday, September 30, 2012

A hiking we will go

A quick hike on the Bruce Trail this morning reaffirmed my desire to hike the entire trail, end to end.  It's on my bucket list, and I'm going to start next fall (or maybe in the spring.)  The first chunk would start in Niagara, and I'd like to think I could do a quarter of it in those 10 days (that's about 20km/day over 10 days) finishing up somewhere around Georgetown. (The entire trail is 885km from Niagara Falls to Tobermory.)   It also reaffirmed my decision NOT to invite the kids, if I ever want to hike the whole thing before I turn 85!  There are certainly some logistics to figure out, but I'm going to start planning it this winter.

And...I'm looking for a buddy to do it with...anybody want to come? 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fairytale, fairytale.

Someone made a comment to me the other day, that wasn't meant to be nasty, but it kind of "got me", and took it to heart. I do that sometimes.  So of course, I had to write about it.


My life, your life, the lives of most people out there who are blogging and posting on the internet are FAR from fairytales.  There are poopy diapers, and spilled milk, and parenting moments that will kick us right off the mother-of-the-year list.  They are everywhere.  Anyone who says they don't have those moments is a liar-liar-pants-on-fire, full out. 

I used to pride myself on "keeping it real" - posting about the (literal and figurative) shit, AND the glowing fairytales, and everything in between.  I used to get up in arms about the people who led a seemingly "perfect" life, with their perfect blog, and their perfectly adorable children, running around in hand-knit sweaters and cloth diapers, eating keifer and kale, and homeschooling in the woods.  It seemed so idyllic.  (Especially while I was being projectile vomited on, and falling into PPD.)

However, now I know that those women, they were just smarter than me.  They were younger than me, or older, at the relative same place in their journey as me, or where I saw myself to be in 5 years. But they had already figured it out.

They figured out that being miserable gets you nowhere.

And that being happy can get you anywhere.

And the only person truly responsible for your own happiness is you.

And if you focus on the fairytale; the happy bits in your life, then the not so happy ones are less likely to take over your whole life.  Even if there is more crap than cupcakes, focusing on the cupcakes makes the day all that much brighter.

Maybe somedays it all seems like it's a fairytale over here.  Trust me when I tell you that it's not.  We all have our struggles. Asperger's is our version.  But...we struggle against the syndrome, NOT the kid.  The kid is not the syndrome, and the syndrome is NOT all that there is to the kid.  And the syndrome is NOT all that there is to our life.  Our life is so much more.  

So yes, I'm still keeping it real.  Real happy.  I'm letting the world (or the couple dozen friends that read here, and my Mom...hi Mom!) know that it there are gifts for you everywhere.  You just have to want them, and you have to look for them.  (Don't expect them to come to you on a silver platter.) (Although, sometimes, if you're lucky, karma might just hand you a freebie...that's how I ended up with my husband!)

And if you want your life to be a fairytale, then make it's ok if it is.  In fact it's awesome!  Focus on the good, forgive and forget about the bad.  And if you're happy with your life, sing it from the rooftops, people!  Maybe you'll make someone else smile in the process, and that alone makes it worth singing about. 

That's all for now.

(I had to come back and edit this just after posting, because I found this quote in an article, and it was a perfect fit.)

“We didn’t ask to be born – how could we? – and yet, ever since our birth day, life itself has been there for us. Sure, there are times when life can be sheer torture, and when we could do without some of its trials and tribulations: but life just keeps being poured out for us. Every day a fresh start, a new beginning, a new birth, even. Every day is a new day for us to use as we choose.”  Terry Biddington

 He's not an evil genius, he just plays one on the internet.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Some words

Do you ever sit down at the computer and wonder what the hell you're going to write about?

Me too.

However, I also sit down sometimes, and wonder WHERE to start, there is SO much.

Like today.

So I think I'll just start, and see where this goes, m'kay?


Fall is upon us, that's to be sure.  And with it comes warmer sweaters, and fireplaces on, and more cups of tea, and soup...lots of soup! I love this season, I love the snuggles and the cuddles that it brings, the cozy warmness and extra blankets.  The hearty meals, and the knowledge that these halcyon days of fall will soon turn too chilly to walk outdoors with out hats and mittens, are keeping us holding onto every moment of every day in the sunshine. 

Before we moved here, we used to come for a drive up here in the fall, because the colours were always so beautiful.  The road into the valley is a twisty, turny, tree covered decent that follows the winding river down, down, down into this little paradise that we now call home.  And that road, full of beauty and splendor?  I get to drive it every freaking day if I want to.  How awesome is that? 


I've often been reluctant to talk about Griffin and the "issues" we've had with him here, for fear that he may someday come here to read it all, and feel somehow that we love him less for all his differences.  However, as I know this is not actually the case, in fact, we may love him MORE for all his differences, and we're conscious to tell him that all the time.  For me, it's also important to discover the words to talk about all this - for instance, I don't feel that "differences" is necessarily the right word.  Neither is "issues." I started to type difficulties...there are certainly those too, but they are not all that this syndrome is about.  Sometimes though, in the heat of the moment, they are certainly the things that stand out.  I'll find the words, it might just take time.

However, it sure has been nice to put a title to this all.  I was fearful of giving Griffin a label, but there are SO MANY other parents out there who are dealing with the same thing that we are, and now with a simple google search, I can connect with them, and go 'OMG, your kid is EXACTLY like mine" and know that we're not alone in all this.  And that?  Is huge.


Babies are SO tiny. You forget, after yours grow up, and out, and start eating solid foods, wiping their own bums, start talking back, start setting the table.  You forget that they were once that small.  I mean, you remember, but until you hold a newborn in your arms again, it's hard to fathom that something that tiny and that perfect could grow inside and come out of a PERSON.

It's been SO nice to have a teeny tiny baby in the 'hood!


This kid?  Is crazy.  But we have been having SO MUCH FUN hanging out together.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Birthday (Was Awesome.)

My Birthday was Awesome.

There were ninjas.
Friends from far off places, with their children swinging in trees.
There were presents.  (The bounty, AND the bowl.) (Squee!)
Um.  There were sunsets, the likes of which were not captured nearly well enough in this photo.
There was this kid.  "Who, me?"
There was this hot guy, and his mad bbq skillz.
There was chocolate cake (but it was mostly made of zucchini, so it was pretty much like a health food cake.  Which means I can eat lots of it. DID eat a lot of it.
And there were books in sweaters on porches, and there was a spectacular dinner, with pretty great friends.  There was a dinner guest that had to leave early...a much anticipated baby was soon to arrive, and she was on the docket to be Midwife in Charge to deliver said baby!  The the next morning, a wee baby was born.  Isla is a special little gift to this village, and we all can't wait to meet her!

As far as birthdays go, this one was up there, up there on the Spectacular Scale.   A new year, indeed.

Cheers to 37.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Go be happy.

After an evening in the city this past weekend, visiting a few friends who are dealing with some pretty serious illnesses, I posted this little blurb on Facebook:   

"Good morning, beautiful people. Do me (and yourself!) a favour this week, would you please? Let's focus on all the things that are wonderful about our lives, instead of all the things that suck about it. Choose blessings over hardships. There are a lot of people out there who are really truly struggling, and most of us are not among them. Find some of them this week, do good things for them. Instead of focusing on whats terrible in the world, go make it a better place."

I'm getting terribly tired listening to folks kvetch and whine about all the "hardships" they are enduring.  Sure, I am sometimes guilty of the same thing, but I try to keep it light and humorous, and recognize that in the grand scheme of things, my "first world problems" are nothing compared to much of the suffering that many others deal with.  

I don't know why so many people focus on the negative in their lives.  I can't see how it's healthy, happy making, or constructive.  And to me, it takes WAY more work, and (miserable) effort to be cranky and angry at the world.  A state of contentment is a much easier place to live in.  

I don't really know what my point is here.  I do however know that this message is crucial...and I want more people to get it.  And to GET it.  

I think Jack Layton said it best:  

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

Go.  Be happy.  It'll change the world!  


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Finding our rhythm

Well, we're a week into this Stay at Home Mom business, and things are going rather well, I'd say.  The mornings are still too early (the bus comes at 8:04am) and I still often have to shake Griffin out of bed at 7:20, but I suspect as the days get shorter and it starts to get dark earlier, that getting his protesting little butt into bed at a decent hour might be a little easier.  So far he is enjoying school.  I had a great chat with his teacher on the phone on the 2nd day of school, and two days later they had an EA (Educational Assistant) for him, to take him out of the class for an hour each day and do individual work with him, and let him decompress from the insanity that is a grade one class.  (This is a strategy we used as his previous school, and it worked very well.) We're incredibly lucky that his classroom teacher spent 8 year teaching special education, before becoming a grade one teacher.  The school is also so tiny - 5 classes, plus the Kindergarten kids...which makes a huge difference on the volume and chaos of school time, both things that Asperger's kids generally have issues with.

Corben and I are falling into our own rhythm here at home.  There is breakfast to eat after Griffin leaves, and errands to run.  I try to split naptime between getting some work done that I need to do that he's not particularly interested in, balanced with a bit of quiet time of my own - tea and reading, or blogging.  I'm about to bust open my fabric bins to try and eek out a bit of quilting time in the afternoon, for a friend's baby that is coming soon.  Naptime usually ends right around the same time that Griffin arrives back home on the bus (although naptime is becoming more infrequent...which Mama no likey!) and we usually all join in together to start on dinner.

Steve was away for the past two weeks, and having him join in on the fun has been great, although he's usually up and gone by the time the kids awake.  Having him home means that I've also been able to give a bit of time to some friends that need a bit of a helping hand, one of whom is in the hospital with some pretty serious issues.  It's important to me to be able to do that in my community and beyond...if we can't count on our friends to be there when we need a hand, then what the heck is the point.  I HATED being too busy to find time to help a friend in need, and now I'm not anymore, and that feels amazing.

So that's us, for now, in a nutshell!  I still love everything about this place!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New new normal

Yesterday my "baby" turned six.

Holy crap, how is that even possible?

Did you know that six is one THIRD of the way to 18?

Does.  Not.  Compute.

Yesterday also happened to be the first day of Grade one.  So much excitement in one day!

Hell, there is SO MUCH "excitement" happening around here these days...


On Friday afternoon, I went from being gainfully employed at a pretty decent job, to packing up four years worth of work mementos into a dinky little cardboard box, and walking out the door.  (Not without a few tears, I may add.)  It was surreal, and terrifying, and FREEING all at the same time.

I left my job because I am needed here, at home, more than at my job.  My kids need me.  Specifically, my newly minted six year old needs me.  In the presence of only an "unofficial" (but what we all feel is quite accurate) diagnosis, it would seem to be that Griffin has Asperger's Syndrome.

We have always known from day one that something was different with Griffin.  His behavior wasn't typical, and it's been a long road to figure out why.  Thanks to an extra-special teacher that taught Griffin through Junior and Senior Kindergarten, we've finally come to this place of a diagnosis.  We're continuing down the path of getting it made official, but we're looking at about a 12 month wait to get into see the person that can even make that diagnosis (good lord.)  He's on the moderate end of the scale, but he's certainly on it.

So here we are, at the start of a new school year, with a new teacher in a new school.  A new roll for Mama,  a new routine for both the boys.  A new house, in a new community.  And I truly feel that we're in the best possible place that we can be for all of this to go down.  The support of the community here is INCREDIBLE, and is exactly what we need here.  Knowing that we're not in this alone makes all the difference in the world.

I've been researching, reading books and websites, and learning about my son and how to help him.  Because it really is a whole new set of skills that we need to figure out, all of us.  (Which is good, because most days I'm feeling like I'm at the end of the skill set that I already have...I am glad there are new ones to learn.)  There are also big diet changes to be made - I'm just delving into the world of potential food changes that may just help smooth the road.  I am thankful every day for the internet and the wealth of information that is out there, but sometimes it feels like it is SO MUCH and I don't even know where to start.  But I'm starting, and that's what matters.

And in all of these changes and challenges, there is Griffin.

Griffin is incredibly intelligent, with a vocabulary that amazes many adults.  He has amazing perseverance at tasks that he's truly interested in.  He can be so very kind, and loving, and so desperately wants to be loved back...and he is, oh how he is!  We love this kids to bits, and both Steve and I see so much of ourselves in him.  But I compare his behavior to a pendulum - he mostly lives in the two extreme ends of the swing of the pendulum, and rarely hangs out in the moderate middle.    One of the biggest things I want out of all of this, is for HIM to understand who he is.  I want him to know that he is NOT stupid, and nobody hates him (two things which come out of his mouth on a regular basis.)  He only needs to learn how to deal with this condition, so he can thrive.

And he WILL thrive.  I can see the positive sides of this condition already.  Because of their tendancy to focus and fixate on certain things, kids with Asperger's often grow to become "experts in the field" on their chosen topic.  Griffin at 4 could tell you more things about dinosaurs than most adults knew.  He's spent the past few nights assembling two Lego ships that he got for his birthday - fairly complicated pieces of construction, and he sat down and did them both, start to finish, with hardly a helping hand.  He's highly intelligent, and succeeds at most things that he puts his mind to.  This kid is going to be just fine.

So.  It's all about working with the teachers at his school.  Reading and researching and advocating.  And loving, loving, loving the heck out of this kid.

And lots of very deep breaths.

We love you, kid.  We're so proud of you, and who you've already become, and can't wait to see where we go from here!