Monthly Archives: March 2012

11 Questions from Lyndsay

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Lyndsay over at Who wants to be Martha when I can be me? tagged me. This is my first time joining into something like this, so here I go.

The rules:

  1. Post these rules.
  2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random things.
  3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
  4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
  5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you’ve tagged them.

Here I am in 2008 (at my bachelorette party) with two of my fave ladies ever – my sisters Kristy & Lindsay

11 Random Things: 

  1. I live in Woodstock in a 105 year old two-storey red brick house with my best friend and husband, Eric, our daughter Madeleine, and our beagle Loki.
  2. I think that laughing until you cry is one of life’s best medicines.
  3. I grew up dancing competitively and still miss it every day.
  4. I don’t know what I’d do without my family. I know I can count on them for anything. Additionally, I have been blessed with some amazing friends who I know are always there for me.
  5. My husband, Eric, got me obsessed with Myers-Briggs. I think part of the reason our relationship works so well is because we both took the time to understand the other’s personality profile. Both of our profiles are bang on (I’m an INFP and he’s an INTP).
  6. I’m an idealist. I struggle sometimes fitting the real world into the world I imagine or think should be. Because of this, most of my day is spent inside my head. I daydream for probably 85% of each day. Sometimes my daydreams are so real that I can’t remember if they really happened or not. I call them my vivid daydreams, and I usually have one or two that are recurring for long periods of time.
  7. I am constantly wondering what the meaning of life is, what it means to live a good life, and how I’m meant to use my talents to make this world a better place. Some days I feel like I’m on the right track, and other days I feel like I can’t even see the tracks.
  8. I’ve felt misunderstood for the majority of my life. There are only a handful of people in my life that I think truly get me.
  9. I have a really hard time relating to and understanding people with black and white thinking, because I think on a grey scale. Sometimes this causes me to defend a position more strongly than I normally would, because the rigidity of the opponent infuriates me. I feel the most relaxed around someone who acknowledges that not everything in life is so cut and dry. Eric laughed so hard when I read this to him… that’s how true this is.
  10. I think we should all pay more active attention to complimenting and encouraging other people. A world where we all support one another and feel comfortable enough with ourselves to be able to identify strengths in others sounds perfect to me.
  11. I feel blessed when I think about what I’ve been given in life.

11 Questions from Lyndsay:

1.  Why do you blog?

I originally started blogging so that it would give me some motivation to start new sewing projects. I’m loving the human connection that it gives me. In particular, I have connected with so many mothers who understand my current situation, and that experience has been invaluable.

2.  What have you made in the past year of which you are most proud?

I think I’m most proud of my first outfit for Maddy, especially since my first clothing attempt wasn’t exactly a success.

3.  Where do your best ideas come from?

The internet (pinterest, etsy, other blogs), magazines, and sometimes just seeing something in a store I want but know I can sew or knit myself. As a new sewer though, other blogger’s tutorials are my go-to.

4.  What’s your favourite background noise while crafting?

Hmmm… prior to Maddy it would’ve been TV or movie in the background. Nowadays I cherish the silence during her naps and keep it that way 🙂

5.  Why do you craft?

Finishing a project is so satisfying. As a current stay at home mom it also gives me some alone time to collect my thoughts, and feel like me (instead of just Maddy’s mom – as fabulous as that is).

6.  What’s your favourite hangout spot?

I’m not sure I exactly have a favourite hangout spot… but I love being outdoors: camping, hiking, walking, biking, you name it!

7.  If you could pack up and go anywhere right now, where would you travel?

So many places!! I’d love to be able to head to South Africa this summer for Eric’s cousin’s wedding. Additionally, the places that have been at the top of my list for years are Iceland and the Galapagos Islands. I hope one day I’m lucky enough to see the Blue Lagoon and a blue-footed booby.

8.  What book is next on your list of things to read?

I’m a bit boring right now. Currently working through Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children with Sensory Processing Disorer by Lucy Jane Miller Ph,D., OTR. The next two to follow are No Longer A Secret: Unique Common Sense Strategies for Children with Sensory or Motor Challenges by Doreit S. Bialer and Lucy Jane Miller, and The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder by Carol Kranowitz. Just to balance this out, I’m also in the middle of reading Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares 😉

9.  Coffee, tea, or cola?

I have a sick obsession with Pepsi that I’ve been working on for years with no success. But, I also love, love, love herbal teas and drink at least two a day. I despise coffee… unless it is in the form of Coffee Crisp or an Iced Capp with chocolate milk in it…. mmmmmm.

10. Five years from now, do you think you’ll still be blogging?

I hope so!

11. Which blogs do you read most regularly?

I follow a lot of blogs… but most regularly it’s gotta be my sister Lindsay’s delicious food blog, and my sister-in-law Lyndsay’s crafty blog. I also frequent Oh She Glows for yummy vegan recipes, MSPI mama for yummy milk/soy-free recipes, Gluten Free Gobsmacked for yummy gluten-free recipes, Bloom Photography for my newborn fix, and MADE, Vanilla Joy, and Made by Rae for sewing projects and tutorials.

My 11 Questions:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What do you think is the hardest part of blogging? Easiest?
  3. What is the one craft skill you’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t yet?
  4. What project did you learn the most from?
  5. What is your biggest (and most humorous) project failure?
  6. What one place have you travelled that you would recommend to others?
  7. What was the most breathtaking view you’ve seen?
  8. What’s your favourite book?
  9. What song affects you the most?
  10. What was your first concert?
  11. What is your comfort food?

I’m tagging:

  1. Ashley’s Thrifty Living
  2. Read Write Sew
  3. Bella Bambina Knits
  4. Christina Purls
  5. Myfavouritecolour

Find some beauty

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Yesterday was hard. It was long. It was tiring. I felt like I had hit a wall. I felt like there was no possible way I could survive until Eric got home. But I did.

I woke up yesterday after not enough sleep to a fussy Madeleine. By the time Eric left for work, Maddy had cried through her morning bath, and refused to eat breakfast. When her first nap came, it took me 45 minutes to get her asleep… and she woke up after 25 minutes. We had just enough time to eat a little snack before we left at 10:30am for our hour-ish drive to therapy. Maddy cried almost the entire way… but as luck would have it, fell asleep to finish off that morning nap five minutes before we arrived at Blue Balloon (isn’t this always the way??!).

At therapy, our OT remarked that Maddy was not as receptive as she had been last week. She handled the hour adequately, but it was apparent that she was not in the mood for it. Following the hour of OT, we saw our PT for a half hour. Maddy cried through the entire PT session. Despite the fact that she was upset, the PT saw tremendous improvement from last Thursday. Maddy’s crawl is no longer clumsy and awkward, and we’ve almost completely gotten rid of her one foot, one knee crawl. Maddy is pulling up properly with prompting – even when upset, which is a good sign as our PT explained that old habits tend to take over when upset. We’re still working on her sitting down properly.

Before we left therapy, I gave Maddy another snack, knowing that she was exhausted and would soon fall asleep. She was asleep within a minute of the car starting. She slept the entire way home. I was cursing in the front seat, dying for a nap, but knowing that she’d be awake when we got home. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived home… stopping the car didn’t wake Maddy up. So, I opened a door, lowered my seat, and had an hour nap in our driveway.

When Maddy woke up at 3pm she was in a fairly pleasant mood. I took the opportunity to clean (instead of eating… my lunch consisted of a chocolate protein shake and a Pepsi… I know… bad). I just knew that if I didn’t clean then, I wouldn’t get another opportunity, and our house was a disaster with a capital d, and it was starting to stress me out. I was able to get a couple of pots washed, the dishwasher unloaded and loaded, and the floor almost done before Maddy started fussing.

The fussing quickly turned into crying. Big tears, heaving sobs – the cry I’m so familiar with. I tried everything, but nothing seemed to calm her. I tried deep massage, swinging, spinning, bouncing, rocking, feeding, bath time… but nothing worked. She cried for almost three hours by the time Eric got home. When Eric walked through the door, I was a puddle of exhaustion, frustration, anger, and sadness. Sadly, it’s the chaos that Eric is welcomed home to frequently.

What happened after that, I’m not sure. Thankfully Eric took Maddy and I rested. I talked on the phone, I watched some TV, and caught up on my email. I was relieved to see an email from a former boss, someone who has mentored me over the years, and who has had a somewhat similar life experience. She said two things that really hit home yesterday. She acknowledged that some days will be hard, but reminded me that each day is a new day, “Yes you will get tired and feel like you have hit the wall but we are only given one day at a time to deal with.” She left me with a piece of advice that I know I will be repeating to myself frequently, “Find some beauty around you each day.

Yesterday was yesterday. It was long, it was tough, and it tested my patience. Today is today. It is a new day. Now I must go and find its beauty.


The $100 sewing mistake

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I made the most expensive (and perhaps least smart) sewing mistake I’ve ever made before. Drum roll please.

Last night I was cutting fabric for three small projects I’m working on.

Mistake number one: Cutting the fabric on my lap

Mistake number two: Simultaneously cutting the lululemons I was wearing

I have a few choice words I’d like to share right now… but I’ll keep those to myself. Let this be a lesson to all those who like their pants: Cut your fabric on a table, not your lap.

There’s not much else to say, except that thankfully they were my oldest pair and were slightly too big for me anyways (but they also happened to be my favourite pair). Today I will pray to the lululemon Gods that one day I might own another beautiful pair of simple black lulus.

Progress!

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I’ve been promising a lot of people an update on Maddy since her diagnosis, so here goes.

This past week was our first week of therapy – we have started two OT and two PT sessions each week at Blue Balloon in Waterloo. The therapists are incredible. They are so good with Maddy, keeping her happy and interested, while simultaneously keeping Eric and I informed with what they’re working on.

The OT is what is addressing Maddy’s sensory needs. I’m so happy to report that at our second session, our OT told Eric and I that she’s already seeing some progress (and compared that to older kids who sometimes take 3 to 4 sessions to see the same kind of progress). This is the exact reason why it is so important disorders like SPD are caught early when the brain is still developing and adaptable to change.

We started PT to address some of the motor difficulties Maddy is having, caused by the SPD. The PT explained to us that Maddy has been skipping steps. Most of the steps she has skipped she has compensated for in other ways, but there are two that the PT wants to address: crawling, and pulling up and sitting down properly. When it comes to crawling, as I mentioned before, despite getting into the crawling position for 3 months, Maddy has never attempted to crawl. For pulling up, and sitting down, she does these both, but improperly. It is important that she gets some practice with these steps as they help with developing hip and shoulder strength, and can impact how she learns future motor skills, like walking. We had great news at our second PT session too: progress!

Progress, progress, so much progress!! I am thrilled to share with you some of the progress Maddy has made since my lowest of lows post.

    • Maddy giggled – actually giggled!!!! I was biting her feet at the dog park and she giggled. I was so happy my eyes welled up with tears. My baby girl was happy! This followed after a day of extreme, non-sop stimulation and we haven’t heard another giggle since then, but we know it’s in there.
  • On that same note, she smiles… pretty frequently, but only if we’ve worked a lot of the OT suggestions into the day.

    Smiles!

  • She crawled!!! It was a clumsy, awkward crawl that took an hour of stimulation techniques our OT taught us, but she crawled. We’re having to correct her crawl frequently as she does this funny one knee, one foot kind of crawl, but every once in a while she pulls this out: 
  • Our OT asked us to practice this over the weekend as it will provide oral stimulation… and look, after a day she’s got it (we’re still working on her learning how to round her lips):
  • She has started pulling herself up properly with prompting from us. Like crawling, she can only do this if she’s getting the proper sensory input through the techniques our OT has taught us.
  • For the first time ever, Maddy was flirting with strangers out in public. Usually strangers talk to her and she just stares at them with an “I’m so unimpressed with you” kind of look. Yesterday, she smiled and played peek-a-boo with a woman in line at Tim Hortons.
  • She will sometimes eat without crying. We have learned that in order for her to eat she needs sensory input. Sometimes that means she eats lunch while I push her in a cart at Walmart, sometimes it means she eats in a laundry basket while playing with her toys on the fridge, sometimes she eats watching the cars from our sunroom – we do whatever works.

    Lunch time

We still have a ways to go, and I know that these are needs Maddy will have for the rest of her life, but the progress is so encouraging. Best case scenario? She continues to progress with her therapy and one day is a happy little girl with some sensory quirks. Until then? I’ll try to enjoy the new ups and grin and bear the familiar downs.

Baby dress with open back

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Remember these?? I promised I was working on the second half of that outfit. It’s done, and I’m so excited to share it! It turned out a whole lot better than this mess.

Maddy was pretty excited about it too!

I bought this Tiedyediva pattern at E-patterns Central. I made the dress one size up from what Maddy is currently wearing, so it’s a bit big now, but hopefully it will be a good size come summer time.

All smiles

The pattern was super easy to follow, and definitely accessible for beginners like me. I didn’t even make any mistakes on this – the sign of a very clear pattern. I made it over several days during Maddy’s nap time, so I’m not certain how long it took me, but it was fairly quick.

You wanna know the best part about this dress?

It’s reversible!!! I’m so excited to make one of these for my beautiful niece, Chloé.

Have a great weekend!

Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley

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I have been thinking a lot this week about what I thought having a baby would be like. How I thought my maternity leave would be. I have been comparing what I thought then to what I have now. I’d like to share a poem that articulates my feelings much better than I could. Thank you to Christina, a friend of mine from high school, who shared this with me. On days when I’m feeling frustrated, not able to figure out what it is that Maddy needs from me, or exhausted from a non-stop day to keep her stimulated, I think of this:

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.  It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy.  You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum.  The Michelangelo David.  The gondolas in Venice.  You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.  It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  You pack your bags and off you go.  Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy!  I’m supposed to be in Italy.  All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan.  They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease.  It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language.  And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place.  It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.  But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips.  Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.  And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” 

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever  go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

Here is a link to a youtube video of a reading of this poem.

No, this might not be what I had planned, not what I had expected.  One day after we’ve learned Maddy’s unique needs, once we have the skill set to help her succeed in life, we can look back on these days and think what an extraordinary experience we’ve had.

Looking Back

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I need to say once again, thank you to everyone who has been in contact with us over the past week regarding two of my recent posts (you can read them here and here). I continue to be overwhelmed with the amount of love and support we have received. I even got a sweet card in the mail today – nothing like hearing from a friend to make you smile.

Although day-to-day is still tough in our home, my mindset is so much more positive. A special thank you to Cynthia Miller-Lautman, an Occupational Therapist from the Montreal area who was not only instrumental in us determining that Maddy had a sensory processing disorder, but whose website, Milkintolerance, was so helpful back in September when we discovered Maddy’s food intolerances.

Since Maddy’s diagnosis, Eric and I have been looking back and recalling instances that suddenly make sense to us. Probably the first ah-ha moment, was when we realized that the reason she was happy with visitors and out in public was that on top of the extra holding and bouncing she gets, the extra stimulation makes her “feel”. The fall of 2011 was a big one for us, as I was so fortunate to have been a part of two of my closest friends weddings, Meagan and Julie.

Ash, Jules, & Meag in 2006

Being in two weddings means showers, bachelorettes, and the actual weddings, of course. So many people told us at these events what an easy baby we had. Usually I would just smile while thinking in my head, “if only you knew”.  Can you imagine what kind of heaven Maddy must’ve been in at the weddings? Loud music, multiple people holding and dancing with her, lights, and a ton of things to look at.

Another ah-ha moment we had was Maddy’s love of our sunroom. Even when she was very young, a month or two old, she loved it. When she’d be having one of her crying-all-day-long-no-matter-what-mom-and-dad-do kinda days, one way we could get the crying to stop for a minute or two was to go from the house into the sunroom. At the time we thought, “wow, she really likes temperature change,” but it probably was the temperature change, the visual change, and the sounds (we live on a fairly busy street). Maddy even loves the sunroom in the dead of winter.

The sad face we know and love

Eating was another one of those things we couldn’t quite figure out. Once in a while she would be so happy and eat a lot, but most of the time, she looked like this in her high chair:

There are a couple of instances that stick out in my mind where she ate pretty well. At Christmas, in a room full of family, she didn’t cry and ate pretty well. There were a few times where blaring music and dancing around the kitchen helped her to eat too. One of the few times we’ve eaten in a restaurant since Maddy was born was just recently. Surprise, surprise, she ate SO well. I think you can see where I’m going with this…

I’m sure as time goes on we’ll continue to think of things that suddenly make a lot of sense to us. I’m so happy that we now have an explanation for some of our more frustrating experiences with Madeleine. You know what? They don’t seem quite as frustrating anymore now that we understand what they’re all about. I’m not going to lie, it is still hard. Some days it’s REALLY hard. Some days I still don’t think I’ll make it to the end of the day. But, when I’m having those days, and can’t figure out how to help Maddy, I can remind myself why things are the way they are. I can start brainstorming ways to make Maddy more happy. I can remind myself that soon I can talk to our OT who will have new suggestions.

We have our first OT and PT sessions this week – two on Tuesday and one on Thursday. Wish us luck!