27 May, 2011

Kraft it up challenge

I love creating pages with Kraft. It goes with everything! Especially my bright colours and vintage stamps. I decided to do the Kraft It Up May challenge using no pattern paper - for me, easy! I do that all the time. Tim Holtz distress ink, acrylic paint and water, blown with a straw, vintage stamps, journalling pen, fabric and stickers (don't tell the kids).


Dinner time at our place: chicken nuggets/barramundi and chips.

It was a hard morning, with Tas reluctant to go to kindy, which is really not like her at all. I don't think she's ever asked to stay at home before. Maybe I should have listened. It took an hour and a half for her to stop clinging to me and be happy and confident to go and play. It was tricky with Angie there, who was climbing up on the craft table during story time and putting great gollops of glue everywhere. It was a huge relief to get home. I'm glad we stuck it out actually.

Mid week report

Yesterday, Tuesday I went along to the first meeting of a group program for parents of children with autism. It's the Monash program, developed by two academics from Monash University. It will run for two terms, and it feels good to be doing SOMETHING. Angie handled the creche pretty well, so it was nice to have a break and talk with other parents. I recognised two Mums from my Early Days workshop. It's good to be linked in with others and know you're not alone. Wednesday I decided to keep Tas home as she was a bit unwell with a cold. I also cancelled Angie's Occupational Therapy session as he still has a bit of a cough.

Tuesday - Meeting the Gov

Ian gets invited to all sorts of fancy events in his various voluntary roles but this time I was invited to go with him to Government House for a "Partners of Veterans" function. Ian explained that as I was in fact a partner of a veteran, he'd look pretty silly going without me. Fortunately his parents felt able to have the kids visit with them while we went. So we got all dressed up and went into the city and gee whiz, it was pretty exciting! Exciting in the sense that Ian and I don't get out together very much. It was a glorious house too, and I couldn't help but notice a mini book on one of the tables scrapbooked with papers from the Graphic 45 range! We were there exactly an hour, and at 6pm, like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight, the Gov popped into his private office and it was all over.

Still high from the excitement of our mini-date, I've arranged for a babysitter for Friday night so we can go out to dinner.

23 May, 2011

Scrapbooking layouts galore

I got busy at the weekend, muckin around with inks and paints.

Ah flower stencils

Pretty clouds

I knew I was going to scrap this photo of a rainy day looking out over the backyard. Then I saw the perfect quote on Paulo's website.

Black splatters look awesome. Who knew?

And this. I'm working on something top secret. Shhhh!

Weekend - Her Millipeep and His First Sentence

On Saturday I decided to venture out to the shops with Tasmin. She was pretty well behaved, actually, until we met up with one of her little friends from childcare. This little girl was friendly and sweet, with energy levels to match Tasmin's. They got a bit wild, as we Mums walked and talked, and it was a relief to get home again! We made cupcakes to celebrate Moo-Cow's birthday and played parties with balloons.

On Sunday there was a lot of excitement as Tasmin ran to show me something.

There was something crawling up her arm. I went "Yuuuuckk!" and she explained, 'It's a millipeep."

On Sunday Angie surprised us with his Very. First. Sentence.

It was, "See you in the morning," as they say in the ABC Kids goodnight hour.


20 May, 2011

It's good to be up-to-date with my most favourite of photo projects. I call it the 365 album, but each double page layout is based on the week, with photos for MOST of the days. I like to digi-scrap the date blocks - it's fun and quick. They look pretty collaged together.

Friday - the staying at home challenge

I scored a few minutes on the computer in the morning, with Tas beside me drawing with textas. She stayed pretty well on task, except for the part where she started to draw on the back of some photos.

But then she made this beautiful card. I love watching her quietly drawing, even though it never lasts long.

The kids and I have colds so we stayed at home today. Tas had a bit sleep in the afternoon. Cheering!

Thursday - Imaginative play?

I conceded to the early intervention researcher on Tuesday that Angie's imaginative play was limited to trucks and trains, mainly. Yet today, Angie was driving Iggle Piggle around in his shoe!

The other really cool thing Angie did was getting the hippo and tiger to kiss, complete with kissing sounds!

The experiment to take away his trucks and trains this week has gone surprisingly well.

It was a bit of a struggle getting away to kindy this morning, mainly because I felt pretty tired. But Tas stayed on her own today without me there, and did very well.

Tuesday and Wednesday - admin days

On Tuesday Angie and I went to see the researcher-therapists at Flinders University to assess Angie's abilities. Once again, he amazed me with new words and skills. The senior therapist was very experienced, and engaged Angie brilliantly. Angie imitated some of the play skills, which is rare for him to do, and said a few new words including "hi". He play-sipped from a cup, and play-flew a little aeroplane.

In the afternoon we had our long awaited visit from Austism SA and it was great to have more information, plus the all-important government-funding authority. We get a few thousand dollars of in-kind services (OT, speech, early intervention therapies) which has to last for four years.

On Wednesday I had to chance the catch up some of the autism-related paperwork while Ian stayed home from work to take Angie to his speech and OT appointments. I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped, and left a few messages I'm still waiting to hear back on.

17 May, 2011

Monday - a journalling day

It was such a guilty pleasure only having myself to please all day, with the babies at childcare. I spent most of the time updating the journalling in my 365-project album and digi-scrapping the title blocks for each week. I even made my favourite lunch from my childhood, chesse and tomato on toast.

I love taking the time to record the everyday stuff and make it meaningful.

Weekend - jumping into cushions

We set up the loungeroom floor with cushions and doonas for the kids to run and jump into. It was great fun. Later I spent the ENTIRE Saturday afternoon sleeping. I decided I must have been catching up on four years of sleep deprivation! Ian's so generous letting me nap at weekends lately.

On Sunday he spent a lot of time clearing out under the house for the hard rubbish collection. His weekend downtime is usually in the study, either chuckling at something on Facebook, updating his military history research blogs or this computer game.

In the afternoon I set Tas up to do some "scrapbooking" and even gave her a good collection of spare photos I've been putting aside for her. She loves gluing, drawing and cutting with her scissors, only later I found she'd sliced several photos into tiny slivers!

When Tas was in bed Sunday night, Ian and the little man had fun on the cushions, rolling around, being tickled and both giggling. Angus definitely slept better that night.

Friday - questions

I took Tas to see our paediatrician today. An hour's wait, then he gave me a list of follow-ups. At least he agreed she should have the wax washed out of her ears. We're starting to wonder if she can hear us!

15 May, 2011

Thursday - first day at kindy

This was Tasmin's first day at kindy. She will attend for two hours per week in this initial, pre-entry term. She refused to pose properly and I left her bag at the kindy, so this is the best I could do!

Angie and I stayed for the two hours as she seemed a bit anxious. We did feel welcome, and even though the other new mums paired up and made friends pretty quickly, I found the director much friendlier and more understanding this time. Angie sat on the mat for an hour and a half playing with the enormous train set, until pack up time when he had a big tantrum. She assured me it was alright and not to worry. In a room full of kindy children and their parents, and Angie running freely around just out of reach, it was a little stressful.

When we returned home for lunch, I made the decision to cut into the tomato we grew. It was very, very exciting! The plants went in late in January, and they produced several little green ones but only one actually ripened. It tasted wonderful, and Tassie was happy to try some.

Wednesday - first OT,11 words and the truck

So this was our first trip to the OT (Occupational Therapist). Unfortunately I let Angus hang on to his favourite Tonka truck, which has flashing lights that respond to sound or movement. If I'd taken it off him before reaching the new toys in the waiting room, he'd have had a tantrum. Another little boy with apparently severe autism ran directly to the truck and grabbed it from Angus. Angus passively withdrew, a little upset, and by the time the truck was returned to us five minutes later, the little boy was having a full noisy meltdown. It lasted ten minutes. I apologised to his Mum, who had another toddler and baby in a sling, but she only grimaced and avoided eye contact. I knew EXACTLY how she felt, of course, and vowed to myself never to let that happen again.

The girl we worked with didn't have the experience of the terrific guy who did the initial assessment - and there wasn't the same chemisty between her and Angus. I can see how amazing this therapy is going to be though - it's so great to see Angus totally connect with the world while he's running, and leaping and jumping and bouncing around in the cushioned room. I counted him say ELEVEN words during the first half an hour. He's never said more than three words a day.

Tuesday - an awesome day

This has been my favourite day in ages. Angie and I went shopping - we seem to be managing on fortnightly shopping at the moment. He lost patience towards the end, especially when I wouldn't let him have an apple until they were paid for. We made a dash for the ungated playground which made him happy - only I chased him around and around until I was worn out. Had an interesting chat with a woman caring for a boy with Down Syndrome - she was giving his Mum the day off once a week. He also has a lot of early interventions, like Angus.

We got home to have lunch and unload the shopping before having to go again for Angie's speech lesson. It went so, so well. He repeated the words "Come back" which I'd heard him say earlier when I was trying to take the shopping from the car to the house. The speechie definitely heard it too. I popped into my local scrapbooking shop on the way home, searching in vain again for ink mist in lime green. I finally decided to order one and bought some embossing powder in that colour instead. Then I took Angie for yet another play, this time to the gated playground.

I even dropped in a month's worth of photos for developing. So that evening I updated the 365project album with photos - this time gluing them in to save time. What better way to end a great day!

Monday - evening walk

I spent the first few hours of the day filing away the reams of papers that had been accummulating, all related to the children. Then a lovely very long conversation with a new friend. Then a blog update. I had decided I was going for a walk in the evening - and I did. Tasmin was in bed at 6.30 so I grabbed my walking shoes, ipod and went. Just for half an hour. I would so love to make exercise a daily event.

Mothers Day weekend 2011

I think autumn is my favourite season to photograph - the beautiful colours.

It was a simple but lovely trip to the little German-style town of Hahndorf. We never get tired of going, and always notice the new shops that have opened since the last visit. Having the children with us limited us to grabbing a quick sausage for lunch and visiting the playground - not the Devonshire tea I'd envisaged! But so nice to have a little day away.

09 May, 2011


Too busy to take photos, can you believe?

First I called Centrelink to find out why on earth they cancelled our Carers Allowance payment. They believed I hadn't supplied them with ID papers. I checked my Project365 album from last year, and there was the photo of the Marion Cultural Centre, 17th December, proof of the day I went to Centrelink, waited AN HOUR, and showed them my ID papers and application paperwork. The girl on the phone simply would not believe I did it (obviously not followers of my blog), and didn't feel it necessary to at any stage send us a letter advising us of any of this.

Fifty minutes later, dear readers, I convinced them to reinstate my payment. Tick! But. I still have to go back and show them the paperwork again! I asked about the fact that as I had already taken this step, five months previously, what had happened to the copies of my ID papers? It's a bit of a worry, people. Not to mention taking Angus back and waiting for another hour (I found I can skip that next time and make an appointment).

The day got better. We organised Tasmin's mental health care plan to help address some of her "Sensory Integration" issues. Tick! Then I called a special ed school about the possibility of Angus enrolling for next year. Tick! And I spoke to someone at the Education Department about my problematic dealings with Tas's new kindy and they were very understanding. We agreed it would be okay to drop a session of kindy and replace it with a full day at childcare, in order to best meet Angus's and mine and well, Tasmin's needs. Tick!

Love crossing those nagging tasks off the list.

We're also finding out about disabled parking stickers - will get back to you on that one.

Thursday - help from Nan

Today Angus had his first assessment with the Occupational Therapist, which turned out to be a real insight. I dropped Tasmin at her Nan's house, then took Angus into the city for his appointment. I had my notebook handy and took lots and lots of notes of ideas of things to try and home. After a two and a half month waiting period, we are now booked in for weekly sessions and I feel sure this place has been worth the wait.

During the assessment, Angus laughed and laughed. Together he and the OT really engaged. They swung, jumped, rolled, lunged, dived, smiled, cuddled, and bounced. When I got home and described it all to Ian, we agreed we may have to ditch the house renovation plans and convert our spare room into a sensory haven for the kids!

I'm quite serious...

When we got home, Tasmin set herself up with an activity - her favourite thing at the moment is working in her pre-kindy workbook, which was a gift from Santa. I was amazed to see her do this herself without any prompting from me. WOW!

Wednesday - help from Disability SA plus Carers Respite

Another really terrific day today. I had been dreading the fact there would be three appointments in one day, followed by my first day back at work. Well speech went well with Angus, and as it was the first therapy Angus had had for a few weeks I noticed a big difference in him afterwards. He was more alert and engaged with me.

Then we had a visit from Disability SA who turned out to be the nicest, warmest and most supportive people! The two women who visited reassured me that sometimes it's ok to do nothing (ie. therapy) for a few days while you have a break. They also said I was doing a good job and I believed them!

I'm really looking foward to the Monash program I will be doing in terms two and three, which provides training for me to navigate the whole autism thing, as well as the chance to link up with more parents for problem solving.

The other thing I have to mentionn, was they also referred me to Carers Respite and I am SOOOOO relieved to know that next time it gets too much, I can call CR for help with cleaning/nanny or whatever.

Things are looking up.

Tuesday - 3 happy things = totally awesome day

Happily, this turned out to be the last day of the blues I've been having. First, my scrapbooking prize turned up from Aussie Scrap Source with gorgeous goodies from Lush. Happy happy happy! In my fave orange (pink for boys). Then I get a call from childcare saying Hey didn't you remember it's today that Tassie's extra days at childcare starts? No I thought it was next week! And the third thing was getting a call from my cousin Karissa in Melbourne, who also has small children, and talking for ages.

Thanks so much Karissa, and childcare, and Aussie Scrap Source for helping me today xxx

03 May, 2011

Monday - Where were you when you heard the news?

Where were you when you heard the news about Osama bin Laden?

I was in the car, feeling resentful about having to attend a meeting on my one free day of the week. I was on my way to Tassie's new kindy, and DH had left the news radio station on. It was about 1.45pm. My two were happily playing at childcare.

Our thoughts are with my brother-in-law who deploys to Afghanistan on Tuesday, and his family, who'll be missing him for the next few months. We're so grateful to the men and women willing to serve their country in this way.

02 May, 2011

Some layouts to show

These are the layouts I made recently and promised to show up close. The first, a photo from last year when Angus was going through his dinosaur phase:

Cute dinosaur embellishment...

This is a page I made to document all Angus's progress at the moment.

The journalling...

I used a digital photo cluster, then made two copies, for a 3-D effect.

This was a quick page, using one of the collaged layouts I made a few weeks ago. They were really meant to be cut up for embellishments but I wanted to see how it would work as a page background.

And the journalling...

The wet weekend

It was quite a rainy weekend, to mark the end of the school holidays.

Steph returned to Canberra, with Tasmin at the airport to wave her off. Then she returned home to call Gandy and make sure she was coming over on Sunday for dinner.

Angus would have preferred to go outside and play.

Lucky Dad was on hand for stories.

Friday - Quirky kids

On Friday I hooked up with a support group for parents of children on the autistic spectrum. Originally I would have missed this meeting, as Ian and I were supposed to have been attending the state autism conference, but it was fully booked. So I decided to go there instead, and it was brilliant to meet more supportive mums who understand exactly. Looking forward to the next one.


Just an ordinary day. I was in the laundry putting on a load, as you do, when I found I could see the children through the window, playing in the sandpit.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Steph arrives

Steph arrived from Canberra on Tuesday. Ian and the kids went to collect her from the airport, then spent the day together before returning home in the late afternoon.

Wednesday Tas and I had our own little appointment and came back with some great strategies for managing behaviour.
It's such a treat to have someone new do the bedtime story!


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