Behind starburst eyes

Active Participation; his way

Shoulders slightly hunched as he plucks at his pant strings. Sitting on the only chair in the room, he watches the other children dancing. It would be a sad picture of a child excluded, until you look at his face. He’s not forced to sit on the sidelines as it first appears. He’s focused intently on watching their dancing. He’s breaking down the flow and movements of limbs and core into pieces he can then re-create at home. In private he’ll try each move. If he’s stuck he’ll ask his brother for help. Even then, he’ll ask him to do them over and over until he’s sure he’s figured out the “how” to each one…Then he’ll dance. Joyfully, with abandon he’ll dance, for himself, and for all those he loves he’ll ask: “Wanna see my cool dude moves?” But first he’ll watch. I’m thankful our local YMCA accepts him as he is. I’m grateful they respect his ways, and understand his need to watch first. I’m glad they understand that for Mr. N watching IS active participation for him. It’s his way, and they smile at him and tell him he can join in with the actual dancing when he’s ready.


Murphy’s Law in play!


Last night Mr.N slept 2 hours and was then up for the rest of the night, so we all started out seriously sleep deprived.

I’d planned on tidying up the house the morning as Mr.C had friends coming over and I wanted it to look nice, I know they don’t really care, it’s me that cares about other people being in my home when it’s messy. I say it doesn’t matter to me, but secretly I run around trying to clean as much as I can if I know that people will be visiting. However, just as I was about to start, my niece was sick at school and her mom was an hour away at placement for school so we picked her up and brought her to our place until her mom was able to come and get her. Of course even though her school is in the same building as Grandview I left Mr.C’s paperwork that is due for his ABA assessment at home instead of remembering to grab it and drop it off while I was already there.

Then it was off to homeschool group at the Y, and it was the one I was running. I get there and Mr.C’s 2 friends are there and there’s a kerfuffle about them being signed in, eventually it got fixed up thankfully!

We all come back home the 5 kids (my 3 and Mr.C’s 2 friends) all played and had a good time until their parents came and grabbed them. (Which was the only part that didn’t go wrong lol)

Because it’s Monday night Mr.C also had his 4H Bike Club tonight, so off the hubby goes to bring him when the power steering goes while he’s driving. He forces the van to the side of the road and the belt had shredded.

I called his leader and she was just lovely, she felt bad that she couldn’t come and get him herself but it was too close to 6:30 for her to leave and come back. She was truly sad he was missing it, and kindly suggested that Safety Village has open house days and perhaps I could take him another time so he didn’t miss out on it. (I totally am!)

We call my brother only to find out that his stove’s element exploded not 10 minutes before we called, and he now has a pot with no bottom left to it! An hour into the broken van part of our evening he realizes he doesn’t have his wallet, it’s in fact gotten lost during his trip to help get the van running again.

30 minutes later, a couple and their teen stop by WITH his wallet! They found it in the middle of the road with all the cards and papers and pictures scattered across the street. They’d stopped and he’d quickly darted onto the road to try and get it all picked up and returned. The money was already gone by the time he found it, but he managed to find all of his I.D and one of the pictures of the girls. We tried to offer him some money but he refused and so I darted into the house and got a jar of the sweet cherry jam we’d made as well as the very last candle I’d made with the blessed oils I’d been gifted with. It was the least I could give him for his kindness.

He said he thought he’d gotten everything, but that he wasn’t sure. Sadly there was something missing, something far more important than the money, my brother had a picture of Joy in his wallet, a very precious one, it was the very first photo that was ever taken of her when she was first in the NICU after she was born.

THANKFULLY they had told us where exactly they found it and he went back to see if he could find anything, and he did. On the street were some business cards, and most importantly her photo!

Finally after all of this, the tow truck showed up, they got a ride, they got the van fixed and are now home. And now this momma just wants to have a glass of wine and veg out 🙂

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And so a hero is born…

At the YMCA today Mr. C went to his homeschool group while Mr. N and Miss. G played in the gym. After it was over I stayed in the gym with them while my mom went to the program area to get Mr. C. He came into the gym and both siblings rushed to hug him as if he’d been gone for years instead of the hour it had been. Miss. G was trying her best to throw the basketball into the net. It didn’t really work, in fact it didn’t work even a little for her, she’d hold the ball above her head and try with all her might to throw it high, but it’d only go an inch or two above her head and then come bouncing down. Mr. C watched her and cheered her attempts on for a couple of minutes, but then he walked towards her and scooped her up. I watched Miss. G’s face light up with glee as Mr. C carried her on top of his shoulders towards the net so she could try and get the ball in the basketball net. Written upon her face was the sure and deep truth that he was her hero as clearly as if she’d said the words aloud, and my heart sang from being blessed to see this moment between them.

We hadn’t gone to Monday’s homeschool group in awhile, see it ends at 2:30 p.m, which is exactly when Joy would be picked up from the Y’s daycare. While my heart lurched and tears sprung to my eyes as the hands showed it was indeed that time, I’m glad I went. I would have missed out on the giggles as Miss. G raced across the gym to get the ball over and over, I would have missed out on Mr. N’s proud exclamations of “look at me, look what I doing!” as he tried to balance on his stomach on a basketball. I would have missed watching Mr. C and Miss. G bonding, and I would have missed the moment he stopped being just her brother and became her hero too.


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I won’t let you fall…

My first “date” with my now husband was an outing to go rock climbing. I say date like that because it was supposed to be just two friends having a bit of fun trying something new together. Perhaps if we’d done something else together it would have stayed just friends hanging out, but there was something about being up that high, looking down and realizing that I had to trust this man with my safety, this man was the reason I wasn’t going to fall. Sounds a bit melodramatic when I re-read that part lol, but that’s how I felt. He confessed he felt the same when he was up at the top, and that it made him look at me differently. It made him think about me, who I was, what I stood for, and the fact that he could indeed trust me with his safety and perhaps even his heart.

I had been rock climbing many times before, only I never actually climbed when I went, instead I belayed for my eldest every week. I started taking Mr. C when he was 3 and a half years old. See he had a fixation with climbing the furniture at home and I figured if he was climbing the furniture it was because he wanted to climb stuff in general (I know, total genius on my part lol) Since I didn’t like him climbing the furniture I thought about what would be a great equivalent and came up with rock climbing. He loved it, and so we’d go and I’d belay for him while he climbed to his heart’s content.

Fast-forward the years to now…There is a rock climbing wall at our local YMCA that members can use anytime they want, IF they are certified by the Y to do so. They also offer an instructor there every Saturday from noon till 2pm that will belay for anyone interested, but because it’s a once a week thing, there are lots of kids eager to climb and I just find it difficult because of having 2-4 other children with me every Saturday especially the wonderful Mr. N and Miss. G, both of whom seemed to have inherited my deficit in the patience region, and so aren’t all that great at sitting in their stroller just now waiting in line for the elder 1-3 kids to climb. However, each Monday night from 7:30-8:30pm the Y offers a certification class! So of course last night I was at there showing off my ability to tie really secure knots to the friendly instructor and by the end of it she had certified me.

I can now take the wee ones any day or time to use the rock climbing wall, I can even belay for my husband again which might be a fun night out, filled with reminders of our beginning and the very potent reminder to trust one another, because we will be there for each other no matter what transpires, no matter what life throws at us, we’ll always watch each other’s butts as we climb the obstacles life puts in our paths.

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Two Seagulls, a payphone operator & chick peas

 “I’m not laughing at him, just the fact that you can’t make shit like that up!” ~ My husband after I was finished telling him the craziness of my afternoon with the boys.

It all started out innocently enough, G was napping and so I took the two boys to the YMCA for Family Gym time. They had a blast, as they always do 🙂 Well there was a bake sale helping to raise money for a local school to buy new sports equipment, and the boys wanted a cupcake each. Totally reasonable, only I didn’t think when I used all my change to donate for the cupcakes that I still had to call home when we were done to be picked up.

We go to the payphone and I realize, I just spent all of the cash I had on me so I tried to call collect, it wouldn’t let me, got an operator on the line and was told my number was blocked from accepting collect calls. SO I tried to do a third-party billing first to my home phone and she wouldn’t let me do it cause it was the same number for billing as calling so I tried to call my sister-in-law with my number as the one to pay the charges only to be told her number doesn’t exist. I beg to differ, I call her every day of course her number exists!






MH900227656So fine, we’ll walk home I decide since I can’t call home to get a ride. We get outside, N starts to run, wipes out on his head, his cupcake goes flying, two seagulls swoop down from nowhere and gobble up his cupcake, and while I’m trying to deal with the scrapes on his head he’s bawling “cake, cake, no bid no!” (Bid is his version of bird right now) Back into the YMCA we go, and I tell the receptionist what happened, she sees his head and kindly lets me call home. My mom brings $5 for me to donate for the new cupcake I get N.


imagesCAM66FYAWhile getting N’s I see a sign in front of some chocolate cupcakes that says gluten-free. SO deciding I need a treat as well I grab one, the guy tells me they’re made from chick peas. Now my darling, lovely, wonderful husband has made me food with chick peas in it before and to be polite we’ll just go with “its not to my taste” so privately I’m thinking I am going to totally NOT enjoy this cupcake now, but being polite I smile and say “oh wow, that’s fantastic!” and then I ate it. OH MY GODS! Whoever made those was a culinary GENIUS! They were the most delicious chocolate fudge cupcakes I have ever had in my life! And let’s be honest dear readers, these curves aren’t ONLY from pregnancy, they’re also from a deeply committed relationship with chocolatey goodness 😉 Now I am on the hunt for chick pea chocolate cupcake recipes because those will be the new chocolate cake/cupcakes that are made in this house!
If any of you happen to have a recipe for gluten-free deliciousness please pass them along 😀

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Bribing them to read with cookies ;-)

Last week C and I spoke of how N wasn’t welcomed at C’s first dance competition (that can be found here) C was so angry that his brother wasn’t accepted, and that by extension he too was not accepted for who he is and how his neuropathways work. So I had two choices, I could either validate his emotions or not. Of course I chose to do so because they ARE his emotions. No one should ever tell someone they can’t feel the way they do. Then what could have been the really tricky part came, how to help him deal with it in a positive manner.

We spoke about awareness, and acceptance. We spoke of how the two are not mutually inclusive of each other. We spoke of how when people don’t understand Autism that their perceptions are skewed in a negitive manner towards things like meltdowns.
That not everyone understands the difference between a meltdown that occurs due to the brain dealing with too much sensory information it can’t process (even in “fun” or “enjoyable” situations) and a tantrum that is a “want” based behaviour choice that occurs simply to produce a desired result from someone.

So we did what I often do when I’m bothered, we baked. Then we baked some more, and we continued to talk and bake for most of the evening. In total we made just over 200 cookies. But these were not ordinary cookies, oh no. These cookies were “secret agenda” cookies. Because they were green and purple puzzle peice shaped sugar cookies and were going to be given out with a business card that C and I designed about Autism.  Here is about half of them:


On the front of the card it said “Life with Autism can still be sweet!”  and below that the one thing C says is most important to know about being Autistc “My brain works a bit differently, but my heart doesn’t. I still feel everything else that other people do, and I just want to be accepted as me, not as what you think a label makes me”  On the back I added a list of ingredients for the cookies and how to find their way here should they wish to learn more about what Autism means for us specifically.



We then discussed who/where we were going to give out our plethora of cookies, and C said he’d like to give them out to the kids at his homeschool group, because “Me and N go there, so I want them to understand Autism doesn’t make me or N bad, just a bit different, but different can be good too.”

Well the cookie giving went very well from my point of view. There was one moment that one of the other homeschooling moms came up to me, told me how much she liked what we’d done, and thanked us for informing her and everyone there about Autism. I was floored, it was such a lovely reaction, and I treasure her support of our endevour greatly! The staff at the YMCA where we go for homeschool group were great about it as well, smiling, munching cookies and reading the cards attached. Many of them commenting to C how great it was that he had done this. Ahh yes another reason I adore the YMCA we go too, as if I needed more reasons with how fantastic every person that works there is! (Seriously, I have no idea how they managed to get that many awesome people to work in one building, but I may never move towns just so we can continue to go there specifically for so many of our fitness/social programs!)

C was so happy with how well it went that I have agreed to help him make another 200 cookies to give away to somewhere else. No clue where that is yet, as I’m letting him pick where he feels we should go with them. 🙂


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