Friday, November 29, 2013

Autism Speaks - Please don't speak for me...

I've never been much of a fan of Autism Speaks, one of the most recognizable charities that purports to help people with Autism. Recent statements by co-founder Suzanne Wright pretty much cemented what I've always felt about the organization -- they certainly don't speak for me. I think the idea of a national organization designed to champion the rights of people with Autism and their families is a wonderful idea....but I don't believe that Autism Speaks represents that organization. Sadly, they are the most widely recognized and I would suspect that the average person, who has little involvement in the world of Autism, may think that donating to them would be a good thing. Sadly, apparently only 4% of their fundraising goes to programs that may benefit Autistic individuals -- the vast majority of fundraising goes to research. Not that I'm against research, please, research away, it would be interesting to me to know what causes Autism (I suspect there are SEVERAL things that cause it, not just one) but mostly I like to support organizations that offer real support and assistance to families and individuals living with Autism. Research can mean all sorts of things.  It's sort of the same way I feel about organizations that raise money for "autism awareness".  I've never quite figured out what that means.  Where does the money really go?

This particular statement doesn't appear that bad on the surface.  I agree that the government needs to do more to help these children.  And I guess the only way to get the government to dole out funds, is to paint an unimaginable picture -- which is what she has done.  I mostly take exception to the part that says that the families of autistic people aren't living.....just existing.  Life is lived in despair --- what a sad picture to paint to the world.  This goes against everything I feel about how I would ever want autism to be represented to the world - as if it is a horrible burden that we are saddled with, and that must be eradicated.

A recent blog post by John Elder Robison sums up this recent controversy regarding Suzanne Wright's statement  much better than I can, he is an individual on the Autism spectrum, and had a personal relationship with the organization.   He recently decided to severe his association with the organization.  I also highly recommend his books "Be Different" and "Look me in the Eye" two books I've read on my journey as an "autism Mom". 

I've been involved in this world of Autism for about 10 years now, since Limefreckle Jr. was diagnosed at age 2.  I've met, many, MANY different types of people along the way, some that have become fast friends, some that I wish I had never met.  One thing that I have learned above all else -- Autism is a VERY. WIDE.SPECTRUM.  No two children are alike - similar yes, but rarely the same.  This of course makes it very difficult to find the right treatments etc. to satisfy everyone. I've also learned that family members of people with autism (of which the founders of Autism Speaks are - their grandson has autism) can be very passionate about their journey with autism.  Some people handle this whole journey with grace, dignity, and humour.  Some rage against it, and hope for "recovery" for their child.  Some paint a dismal, horrible picture of living with autism.  Some prefer to focus on the humour and lighter side of life.  Like the spectrum of Autism, everyone's response to living with it is different.  I've seen families deck their children out in t-shirts proclaiming their autism, stickers covering their cars, in an "I HAVE AUTISM AND I AM PROUD" kind of way.  Personally I've always been a bit uncomfortable with that.  I didn't want to drive around with a multi coloured ribbon on my car (until Limefreckle Jr. announced that he wanted one, and then I said "who am I to argue?" and we slapped one on the car till it fell off in the car wash).  I have made Autism Awareness Bracelets because jewelry is my preferred way of expressing myself.  One family we know has a "handicapped child" sign outside their front yard, I'll never forget the day Limefreckle Jr. and I pulled up in front of the house, and Jr. said to me, "WHAT?  Matthew D. is handicapped???"  I've laughed and laughed about that ever since.  It was an awkward conversation to have with him, because he knows he has autism, and he knows that Matthew D. has autism, but never in his wildest dreams did he consider that to mean that he is handicapped in any way.  I just told him that some people consider autism to be a handicap, and he seemed to accept that and not mention it again. 

I wish there was a national organization as widely recognized that really represented the interests of ALL people with Autism, and that really worked to help the individuals living with autism and their families.  I would much prefer to hear words of encouragement, hope, and real support, rather than words of doom, gloom and fear.  I find that is a much better way to live my life.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

It's important to have an "I Can" network in your child's life

This recent Ted Talks that was circulating Facebook really spoke to me - -brought me to tears even.  I can so relate to his mom, I've sat there, in front of many experts, listening to what my child CANNOT do.  Thank goodness I didn't listen to them, and instead surrounded myself with my own "I Can" network.  If you have a child with any special needs, I encourage you to do the same...there's no telling what they can achieve with the proper attitude

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Mom's can always fix everything....

This morning started out like every other day....actually, no that's not true, usually I have to drag Limefreckle Jr. from his bed every morning, this kid is hitting the "teenage years" a bit early, and he HATES to get out of bed in the morning.   He complained recently that his bed wasn't "soft" enough, so after listening to my Mom's recommendations regarding flannel sheets, I went in search of them.  Instead I found some polar fleece sheets....and I have to say, I've crawled into his bed, and I don't want to get out - no wonder he won't!!  I'm thinking of picking some up for myself, they are absolutely the softest sheets I've ever encountered (I got mine at Walmart, but saw them at Bed, Bath and Beyond as well). 

Anyway, to make a long story much longer....Jr. has been setting the alarm on his ipad lately, getting himself out of bed, in return for a couple of apps each day for his movie making endeavors....a very wise teacher once told me if you are going to buy him something anyway, make him work for it -- so I came up with the idea that he would start to get himself up in the AM in return for a new special effect for his movies.  Today was day 3, and it's been working like a charm.  Actually, it worked a little TOO well this morning he was up at 6:45 and had to come in and wake me up. 

He barrelled into our room and announced that his ipad wasn't working.  A fear that I've been dreading for awhile, that kid films CONSTANTLY using his ipad, and I've often thought "what happens if the ipad breaks down".  He's not much for waiting for things to be fixed, and although I have an ipad that he can borrow, it doesn't have all his apps and movies loaded onto it.  This morning was a lesson....ALWAYS BACKUP YOUR WORK!!   So I checked out his ipad, and all the sounds were distorted.  I feared the worst, and spent the morning panicked, worried that all his hard work over the past few days would be lost.

I managed to convince him to go to school, because seriously all he wanted to do was crawl back into that cozy bed and stress....I wonder where he gets THAT from?  His autism does cause anxiety, but I think he comes by some of it honestly.

I got home and got to work.  I quickly googled "ipad sounds distorted"...THANK GOD FOR GOOGLE!  Truly, that should be their slogan.  I found a few message boards, and figured out that the problem was likely caused by my recent ios upgrade...why did I upgrade?  At what point do the newer apple upgrades just not work on the older apple products?  I happened to have an appointment booked at the genius bar at my local Apple store for my ipad, so I'm going to bring his instead tomorrow and see if there is any other problem that should be looked at.  I love me some Apple products but I absolutely hate having to make an appointment in order to get help with your items.  For now I think we've figured out a fix.....and I've learned a valuable lesson to download his movies more often so that we can save anything that might be lost.

The other thing I learned was that although he had a problem with it all, probably more so than a neurotypical child, he handled it all WAAAAY better than he would have a few years ago, and that shows progress!!  He still looks to Mom to fix everything, and if I can't he just doesn't know how to process that information -- and truth be told, I pretty much bend over backwards in order to do everything I can to fix things for him. I wonder, would I do that if he didn't have autism? I don't know, I only have one child, I can't compare, but I guess it's not really all that out of character for a mom to want to make her child happy.  Perhaps I'm doing him a disservice by always being there to jump in when things go wrong....I don't know, but truthfully, I don't know how to be any other way.  My Mama Bear just comes to the surface when he needs help.  He did have to wait all day to find out if I was able to get things working for him, that would have been next to impossible for him to do a few years ago, but he handled school pretty well today.  Step by step, he's growing up, learning skills that he just wasn't able to do in the past, and progressing.  That's all I can really ask for....progress!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Weekend fun with the girls

It's Sunday morning as I type this, my favourite morning of the week.  We don't have to hurry up and go anywhere, I can enjoy my coffee in total peace and quiet, and catch up on my favourite blogs. 

Its been a lovely weekend here in Southern Ontario, you could hardly tell it was November! I grew up in Northern Ontario, where it wasn't uncommon to have snow for Halloween, but living here in the "south" is much nicer. Winters are milder, for sure. Limefreckle Jr. isn't liking any of it, he wakes up every morning hoping to see a blanket of snow on the ground! I don't know where this kid came from! My close friend Sandie had a jewelry party at her house on Friday night, so we had a lovely time visiting with the girls. Sandie and I met when our sons attended the same school, and although her son has moved to a different school, we are still very close, as are the boys. Limefreckle Jr. came along so he could play with his buddy (they are both aspiring movie makers so they spent the night working on his latest "project" as he calls it). Sandie invited a lot of really nice ladies, most of us with kids on the spectrum, Autism truly does seem to dominate our lives, but it is so great to be able to unload, brainstorm and laugh with other mom's that truly "get" our day to day struggles. And I sold a few pieces of jewelry too, which is always nice!

some of my older designs

my latest designs

my current obsession, leather wrap bracelets

this statement necklace suited her to a T. 
 Now if I could just carve out time to get more of these lovelies listed in my shop!  Can't decide if I should work on that today or pull out some of the Christmas decor and get started on decorating the house.  I have 3 craft shows coming up in the next few weeks so lots to do, it would be nice to have a jump start on the decor, and now that Halloween is over I'm actually ready to jump right into Christmas!  I guess I'll wait and let the weather unfold today, that will determine if I want to work inside all day, or maybe get outdoors and have the annual "fight over the Christmas lights" that my husband and I look forward to every year!  I swear we CANNOT work together!  He won't take direction, and I won't give up control on creative matters! Sometimes I am tempted to just call one of those companies that install your lights for you, and get our house kitted out, Clark Griswold style!  Maybe I'll work on the interior decor instead!  Either way, it's shaping up to be another great day here, hope wherever you are is beautiful too!

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Friday, November 15, 2013

My creative juices are flowing!

What a busy couple of weeks it's been here at the Limefreckle household!  About 3 weeks ago, I hurt my back in hot yoga.  There I was, feeling like a rock star, all bendy and ballerina like, doing yoga every day, totally zen, when suddenly, after a class in the changeroom, I bent over to remove my pants and YOUCH!  That familiar pain in my back returned with a vengeance.  A few years ago I herniated a disc, and have had numbness in my right leg ever since. I still remember when it happened, I was vacuuming out my car, twisted a certain way, and suddenly I felt like a rubber band snapped in my back, and it almost felt like a liquid ran down the inside of my leg.  Ever since my leg has been partially numb.  Consulted with a surgeon, nothing much to be done.  Have tried massage, active release massage (ouch!), acupuncture, spinal decompression therapy, chiropractic visits, pretty much everything I could think of, but nothing has relieved the numbness, I've just learned to live with it.  The pain fortunately, went away fairly quickly, but the numbness has not.  A nerve is obviously being pressed, and I'm not sure if I will ever get the feeling back totally. 

Fortunately it doesn't really interfere with my life.  I don't run anymore, but I never did like running anyway, so there!  I don't do any really heavy duty workouts like I used to, and I think, at my advanced middle age, that's probably a good thing.  Yoga is the exercise I love the most anyway, so I've been concentrating on that.  Since school started again and my days have been my own, I've been going to classes 3-5 times a week, and LOVING IT!  But since I hurt my back 3 weeks ago, I haven't gone ONCE!  The pain was gone pretty quickly, thanks to a massage the day of the injury (had that booked already, wasn't that lucky timing!), a chiropractor visit, and Volturen emugel (have you tried it? Works wonders!  It's a cream that doesn't have the heavy scent that some do).  But somehow, I've just lost my mojo, and everything else in my life has taken precedence to yoga.

But I'm trying not to be all anal about it, I'll get back to it next week, and although the next few weeks are pretty busy too (who am I kidding, Christmas is approaching, I'm going to be busy from now till the break) I'm going to try and let go of my all or nothing attitude, and get there when I get there.

One thing I HAVE been throwing myself into lately is jewelry making.  I have a jewelry party at a friend's house tonight, then 3 craft shows that I'm involved in (actually 4 shows, one is selling craft supplies).  I decided that it's time to get back into the "show circuit" and get out there  in front of people.  I have mixed feelings about craft shows.  I'm not sure they are as popular as they once were.  I do feel that because my items are a bit higher priced than some products at some shows, I would probably be better off getting into the higher priced shows.  But unfortunately I just don't have the time to devote to those types of shows.  It's too hard to spend a whole weekend at a show, Mr. Limefreckle usually works at least 1 day on the weekends, and Limefreckle Jr. isn't really interested in hanging around a craft show with me all day long.  So I look for small local shows that aren't too expensive to enter, and cross my fingers that they will be successful.

We are hosting our 2nd annual Christmas show at Limefreckle Jr.'s school this year on November 30th.    Our last Christmas show was a big success, I sold a ton of my bracelets (although I also had a lot of friends there, they are my best customers!)  I'm hoping this year's show is another success, I help with organizing all the vendors, it's a lot of work, but so much fun, and if nothing else, it's a great way to promote our school to the community.    This year Limefreckle Jr. has agreed to help Santa greet the kiddies.  We tried to talk him into being an elf, but so far he's not going for that....but he might be a reindeer instead....he can just wear the hat he wears every day in the winter....

can you notice the antlers?  I love this hat, it suits him to a T!

I'm doing a jewelry supply sale on November 23rd, and 2 more Christmas Craft shows, December 8th, and December 14th, but they are both first time shows, so I'm a little nervous about that.  I'm going to try to just be positive though, they weren't super expensive to join, and it's a great way to get back out there and get some exposure!

In the meantime I just can't stop making jewelry!  I was on a real roll making bracelets, they are perfect to do while watching TV (and I watch A LOT of TV).  Here's everything packed up and ready to go to my jewelry party tonight (sorry for the poor quality of the pic - taken on my phone)

I felt like I didn't have enough necklaces, I've been concentrating so much on bracelets, so I whipped up a few new ones...

 The rest of my new necklaces were packed and ready to go to the show, I'll photograph them tonight when I set up.  I'm hoping that on Saturday and Sunday I can get some proper pictures taken of everything and start adding items to my etsy shop.  The absolute hardest part of selling online is photographing and listing everything, it is VERY time consuming....and I'd rather be creating!

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This or that....

How perfect, I couldn't think of anything to blog about today, then visited one of my bloggy favourites Jodi, and saw this link up.....I love a good link up! Which would you rather do?

This week's topic is parenting.  Which would you rather deal with?

1.  A night without the kids, or a night with well behaved kids?  No question, a night without the kids (or kid, in my case).  I love my boy, but come on, we spend soooooo much time together, it's good for all of us to spread our wings!

2.  Full on tantrum in the grocery store, or tantrum in the movie theatre?   I've had the pleasure of dealing with both, Limefreckle's early autism years were absolutely crazy.  I don't do tantrums in public very well, I feel like all eyes are on me and my poor parenting skills....but I think I would prefer the grocery store.  I remember one tantrum in the theatre quite was the first Madagascar.....we had to carry him out of the theatre and we left early....he broke out of his car seat in the car on the way home, wow he was mad! That kid was strong while in tantrum mode.....thank GOODNESS those days are behind us!

3. Runny nose or Runny bum?  Another easy one.....runny nose....I've got to go through all the link ups to see who picked runny bum! LOL

4.  Self Done haircut or self done sharpie tattoo?  I think the tattoo would be easier to handle....he's always putting those rub on tattoos on himself, so it would probably not be in too obvious of a place.  Although I tried to trim his bangs the other day.....let's just say he resembled Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber. Then his school calendar came home and said picture day was next week!  Needless to say we had an emergency trip to the stylist this weekend!

What a fun link up!  Thanks Jodi and all the girls, will start looking for this on Tuesdays

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fall friend swap

I signed up for the Fall Friend Swap hosted by Britney, Alicia and Jodi because I thought it would be a fun way to get to know some new bloggers.  I've been following Alicia and Jodi for awhile now, and have become online friends with them, and hope to get to know some of the other bloggers that signed up for the swap.  Oh how I miss the summer holidays, when I had so much more time to spend online.....

I was paired up with Kati, and these are the goodies I received.....

A leaf pin, some yummy Godiva chocolate (which I devoured the afternoon I got the package!) a pumpkin spice Yankee Candle (I love Yankee Candle, and you can't find it everywhere here in Canada) and some pretty fall dish towels.  Thanks so much Kati, and I hope you enjoy the package I sent in my swap.  I'll give you all a hint...what would a jewelry designer send out?  It was a fun thing to do, and I look forward to joining in a swap again!!  Thanks girls for organizing it!



Friday, November 1, 2013

But it's just a wafer thin mint....

I swear I can't eat any more Halloween candy. I have had too much over the last few days I see a Monty Python skit coming on.....Mr. Limefreckle packed up the remainder last night to bring into the office, but forgot it, and I woke up to see it on the table, haunting me... Limefreckle Jr. came home and sorted the stuff he likes (plain chocolate, plain chips, smarties and suckers) and the rest of the stuff HAS to leave!!  Can't even imagine how many WW points I consumed last night (but I had a big lunch and skipped dinner, so maybe that offset things a bit.

We have had some pretty mild weather this week, but of course, as the 31st rolled around, the rain and wind picked up.  Our grim reaper almost didn't make it, but fortunately he was parked near a tree and we were able to secure him for the evening.

 I love this Grim Reaper inflatable.  I found it last year at Walmart, along with a few new headstones, a strob light, the skeleton stakes, and a fog machine (we didn't use the fog machine this year.) Everything was 75 -80% off after Halloween last year, I think I paid about $25 for this great inflatable....gonna head over there today to pick up some more things for our collection.

 Our cemetery --- it grows a little every year, but it was so windy last night, I'm surprised I didn't lose any pieces....we didn't, but I ran out after everything quieted down and pulled it all up in case the winds increased over night.

Do you know who Limefreckle Jr. was?  It's Mordecai, from the Regular Show.  Most adults just thought he was a Blue Jay, which everyone thought was pretty cool (The Toronto Blue Jays are our team after all) but a couple little kids followed him around like an entourage for awhile yelling "hey Mordecai!".  Limefreckle Jr. loved it!  He did so well trick or treating, he's really growing up into such a great young man....but he's soooooo tall, he doesn't look anything like a 12 year old!!
It was a fun night, my parents were in town, and our friends came over with their son so the two boys could spend the evening together.  They had fun, we all had a glass of wine or 2 after the festivities, and the rain didn't hamper our neighbourhood fun.  This neighbourhood goes ALL OUT at Halloween, many adults are dressed up and handing out candy on the front step. It's crazy busy.  The boys didn't really care if they hit too many houses, neither one of them were really in it for the candy, just the experience (when I was a kid, I was in it for the candy....we were out there for hours!!) We were quite happy to head back home a little earlier than normal, because the weather was so crappy.  The boys played in the basement and worked on their film (they are constantly filming something....) and the adults had a nice visit.
I saw on the news yesterday that there was a woman in Fargo, North Dakota, that planned to hand out letters instead of candy to children she deemed to be obese -- the letter basically said something to the effect that she wanted to be part of a village.....her part in being a "villager" in raising a child was to point out to parents that their child was too heavy, and she hoped that they would go through the candy and limit sweets etc. to their child.
I.  HAVE.  NO.  WORDS..............
I hope her house got majorly toilet papered last night!!!
When we got home my mom pointed out a post on one of my favourite blogs that I pinned immediately.....great to use next year.....

check out Karen at The Art of Doing Stuff.  She is HILARIOUS, I love her blog, she always has great ideas, and this one really ranks up there!!!

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