21 May, 2012

Welcome to Monday and what I've learned so far...

Angus at his specialist ELC, Daphne St, Prospect

Life has been so busy lately that this poor little blog has become pretty neglected. Life can be very inconvenient! It's taken me several months to navigate new routines -- and hang on to my sanity -- while speeding my way up a very steep learning curve.

Let me fill you in.

Last year my youngest, Angus, was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2, and early this year my daughter Tas, 4, was also diagnosed with an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) -- Aspergers. Five years ago I was heavily pregnant with my first child, and (naiively) thought life was hectic and full then - with a fulltime high school teaching job and a new mortgage. I wonder what I might have thought or done differently,  if I'd known what was ahead? I'm afraid I was one of those girls who had a very romanticised and rosy image of motherhood - picture a slow, quiet life, with cookies baking in the oven, a little herb garden by the back door, endless time to craft and sew and renovate, and play with the children in the backyard.


After battling a long and painful recovery after the first birth, a rather drawn-out period of post-natal depression, and loneliness as a new mum, financial struggles with two (interstate) step-children to support, the death of my dear Dad, family issues and living with a very challenging toddler and new baby, it's been a hard road. But the good thing is, I've come out the other side and there have been many blessings.

I've learned how to control my stress during the day when I'm in "fight or flight mode" so I'm not so worn out by the evening.
I've learned that I can be free in any situation by closing my eyes and praying (or meditating or just thinking happy thoughts and visualising a calm place).
I've learned to breathe.
I've learned that I can fit exercise into my routine.
I've learned that I don't need to comfort eat in the evening to relax.
I've learned that scrapbooking is the best hobby ever.
I've learned that I have very cute kids.
I've learned that I really dig photography.
I've learned that there are some AMAZING mums out there.
I've learned that it's a marathon not a sprint.
I've learned to not tolerate the intolerable.
I've learned that I have the same number of hours in the day as everyone else.
I've learned that I need 8 hours of sleep every night.
I've learned that strangers who look "creepy" or "weird" usually aren't. Just different. (It's a lingering stereotype. Society still wants to label people with learning disabilities / disorders negatively).
I've learned that I have to be the change that I want to see in the world.
I've learned that a surprising large number of people know next to nothing about autism.
I've learned that it is okay - necessary - to have time for myself several times every week.
I've learned how to be an ABA therapist / early childhood teacher / psychologist / speech therapist / legal advocate and occupational therapist for my children.
I've learned that I can limit our schedule to no more than one appointment a day and that it's ok to say NO.
I've learned that it's OK to keep the school holidays appointment-free.
I've learned that the slow cooker is the best kitchen appliance ever invented.

plus I have an amazing husband...but I already knew that! Have a great day...I plan to :-)

02 May, 2012

Scrap pages to share


I have been away from the blog for a while. A bit swept away by the busyness of the everyday, each day so tightly scheduled. I've been thinking a lot about how I might get more 'balance' in to each day. There are soooooo many things that need to be done, then there are things that I would LIKE to do, and there's the issue of eating well, sleeping well, exercising.

How do you fit it all in each and every day?

This week I've decided to break my habit of flopping on the couch and just watching tv in the evening when the kids are in bed, when I could be reading or having a bath, or scrapbooking.

So far, so good!

Here are some layouts I finished recently but haven't shown on the blog, yet. These first two were for Stuck!? Sketches in the month of April:

and this one was made for a March Stuck?! Sketch...

I have been inspired to create some new things recently that I'm looking forward to sharing here as I go. Here's what floated my boat on Pinterest recently:



Great winter recipes!

I've pinned well over 1000 items on Pinterest now. I know! But I've gradually started to actually make things based on what's inspired me. I used to do a lot of cooking before having children, but have really struggled to find the time for it. I've started making some new things based on recipe pins.

Last week an opportunity arose ... it was Anzac Day, DH had the car, and the kids were home so I decided it was as good a time as any to make bread. I've always wanted to try making my own bread. This one is gluten free, which we're experimenting with (children with autism are thought to benefit from gluten free diets, but it's really only based on anecdotal evidence). Here's the result:

I'm very proud of this effort, considering it was my first time! I used a Basco bread mix from the shops, and it contained tapioca flour, maize flour and rice flour. The kids weren't keen on it but Ian and I liked it, and it's the first time I've even liked a gluten free bread. The texture was similar to a scone. The trick is to cool it quickly when it comes out of the oven to avoid the glugginess.

I made a chicken soup for dinner tonight in the slow cooker with a whole chicken and a fresh packet of 'soup mix vegetables' from the shops. I haven't got a photo of it, but trust me, it was great!

Are you inspired to try new recipes for winter?


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