Locks of Love 2018

Thursday I cut off ten inches of hair to donate to Locks of Love. The last time I donated was over six years ago, two days before I went to the hospital to have Joe. I’m so glad to cut off all that hair!

2018: Our life on the Spectrum

April is Autism Awareness Month. I wanted provide a small glimpse into our life and how it is affected by Joseph being diagnosed to bring awareness and understanding. You can read more about our journey here.

This has been an amazing year of growth for Joey. He is currently enrolled in a general education Kindergarten class and seems to be thriving there. He loves everything about school and takes great pride that he is “almost a first grader”. Joe receives speech and occupational therapy at school, in addition to private music therapy/lessons, and has some additional assistance from the resource room aide, his beloved Mrs. G, in his main classroom.

His teacher, Mrs. L, is wonderfully patient, yet firm enough to handle Joey’s considerable charm. She understands that his ASD gives him some extra challenges, but doesn’t allow that as an excuse or crutch. He is his champion when working with the rest of the staff to help them understand how his ASD “works” and does everything she can to make sure he is getting every opportunity. (I have volunteered in the classroom and have seen this for all her students. She is a true gem and I’m so thankful for her.)

Mrs. G is Joey’s cheerleader and possibly his biggest fan. Their relationship is so sweet and loving, I know that she would do anything for him.  It helps me knowing that he has someone there to give him that sense of security and comfort.

I have to say that the entire staff, have been nothing but warm, positive, and supportive to Joey. I love walking him into the school and seeing him say hello to the librarian, telling his gym teacher he’ll see him on Tuesday, or giving the principal a fist bump. His classmates have been amazing as well. His teacher explained that Joey has ASD and sometimes does things differently and they all take it in stride. After walking Joey into class after being absent for being sick, they all welcomed him back to school with hugs and smiles. It brought tears to my eyes.

This isn’t to say that we haven’t had some challenges this year. Joe’s impulsivity and stubbornness can lead to not wanting to follow directions or complying with non-prefered tasks. He also can find it difficult to follow spoken directions or adjust to things outside of his routine. However, overall, he seems to being doing quite well and continues to show improvement in these areas and I’m hopeful that, with the continued support, he’ll continue to thrive at school.

In addition to Joey’s current school situation, I wanted to share a little more about where he fits on the Spectrum. Although it is not an official diagnosis, Joe is considered High Functioning Autism (HFA).  Joey has been described as “scattered” when tested for ASD symptoms, meaning that some typical characteristics such as stimming and severe verbal limitations are not present while others, such as poor eye contact and sensory dysfunction.

Joey is bright, verbal, socially aware, and can show affection. He has age-appropriate academic skills. At first glance, most people do not realize that he has ASD. This creates a set of challenges that can be different than those who place elsewhere on the spectrum.  By being “high functioning” Joey is asked to navigate a world in a neurotypical way even though he has these extra set of challenges. This can lead to unobtainable expectations at school, judgmental attitudes in public, and sometimes even misunderstanding with family members. I highly recommend reading this article to understand why HFA is so challenging and that no matter where someone falls on the spectrum, “it is important to remember that autism is autism.”

April is Autism Awareness month. Please consider participating in some way. Perhaps by supporting a cause,  joining a walk,  donating supplies to your local school’s Special Education department.

 

A Silver Anniversary and celebrating a Golden Age

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I’ve been mulling over the events of last Saturday in an effort to find words that can convey the joy that filled my heart that day. It was a  day of time travel, tears of laughter, the warmest of hugs, and analog video.

So, some back ground information its needed to fully comprehend the significance of this day. First, our class never has had an official high-school reunion. This, along with a myriad of reasons, caused many of us to lose touch. Thankfully, Facebook was borne into this world and I was able to re-connect (however odd that social media connection might be) to many of the class of ’93. Second, one particular group of friends were wonderfully  creative  and made movies on what is now looked on as archaic video equipment that Hipsters of today would chop off their man-buns to get their hands on. Yes, in 1993 we were the geeky group making videos, but I prefer to believe that we were just ahead of our time. (cough, cough)

Fast forward 25 years and it was decided to celebrate this wonderful cinematic silver anniversary and have a viewing party. All original players were invited, a viewing would take place, and there would be much rejoicing.

I’m not going to lie, I was a nervous wreck heading there. Driving from Grand Rapids, I had three hours to obsess over seeing people I haven’t seen in literally a quarter of a century. Insecurities ticked away with the miles . . . reminding me that I no longer look like my 18 self. But when that door opened and I walked to that room, all of that completely left me. There was no room in my brain. All I could take in was the warm comforting love from so many people that, although I have not been with in many years, my heart remembered and cherished. We were reunited, and it felt so good. There were a few people present that I knew for all of my childhood. One going back as far as second grade. It is a blessing to be able to see them, hear their laughs, reminisce and remember. I am truly grateful for that day, and hope that we keep our promises the we will not wait until our Golden Anniversary to see each other again.

 

 

Parting shot

Well, 2016 decided to give me a farewell gift of influenza (now morphing into bronchitis per my doctor.) How thoughtful . . . and in character. New Year’s Eve was curled in the fetal position on my mom’s couch or in the guest bedroom. Instead of libations and toasts, I celebrated with fever and ague. How very Laura Ingalls of me. 

Super Hero Shawn has been taking care of all the things, even packing up Christmas. There are not enough emojis to do that man justice. 

Thanks to modern technology I was able to enjoy my SEVEN HOUR wait to see someone at urgent care at home. They send a text when your 20 minutes out for a wait. If I was more coherent, I would wax poetic about how amazing this is. 

Now I’m patiently waiting for the pharmacist to fulfill my drug cocktail so I can properly toast to New Year. 2017, I’m so glad you’re here. 

Peace Out 2016

Like the vast majority of us, I feel that 2016 was . . . . a bitch of a year. I don’t really want to rehash all the stress and duress that filled up the calendar, but let’s just say Team Colley is very much looking forward to 2017.

This has been a pretty quiet place for 2016, something I hope to rectify in the new year. I miss this space and hope to make it more of a priority. I’ve been writing here since 2007 and I think that this year it was, by far, the least amount of posts.

I finished up my third round of “101 Things in 1001 Days” back in November and decided to hold off for the latest re-boot to coincide with New Year’s. I’ve updated the page with my new list, if your so inclined.

Wishing all of  you only peace & love in 2017.

 

 

Sleepless in St. Charles

  
So I mentioned in my previous post that we are moving and that Shawn has been commuting on the weekends until we can sell the house and join him in Grand Rapids. 

As you can imagine, this has been hard for Joe. It’s been most prominent in his sleep, or lack there of. He goes to bed at his normal bedtime of 8pm without any problems but has been waking up in the middle of the night yelling for me. Sometimes I can get him back to sleep after a quick trip to the bathroom, others he is up for hours. He freaks out if I am not in the room with him and I usually end up using my mom-ninga skills to sneak out of the room. He’s been consistently waking up at least once a night since November, when Shawn started with the commute. He’s now getting worse  where he’s been up twice (or three times) a night. Out if sheer exhaustion, I’ve been having him come into my bed. This is something I have never done, unless sick, and I don’t want to make it a habit. (No offense to co-sleepers, just not my thing.)

 I’m at my wits end trying to figure out how to help Joey, but I’m at a loss. He’s also exhibiting some other changes in behavior such as clinginess and anxiety when realizing I’m not close (such as when I run upstairs to grab the laundry or something.) 

I’m really struggling with getting no sleep. I think I actually slept more when he was an infant! It’s making me less patient with him and adding  to the stress of solo-parenting while putting the house on the market. Any suggestions (and good sleeping mojo) would be so greatly appreciated. 

On the move  . . . .again

So, there has been a lot going on behind the scenes around here. 

 Shawn took a new position in November that’s in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has been living there during the week and coming home on weekends. We’ve been trying to adjust and see if this could work long term, but it’s really too much for us to handle.

 The stress on Shawn and myself is difficult, but it’s hardest on Joe. He misses his dad terribly and it is affecting his sleep and made him very clingy/nervous. Up to this point, he has been flourishing here and it pains me to see him struggle with it. 

This has made us decide to sell the house and move so we can all be together. We’re so sad to leave our home, especially after all the work we put into it, not to mention our neighbors, friends and community that we quickly have grown to love. It’s even more heartbreaking to leave our family. I haven’t lived this close to my parents and siblings since I was in high school, and it’s been wonderful to have them be such a large part of our lives again. Joe’s had the blessing of having my parents around (even living with them for a time) and I know it will be difficult to not be so close. 

We just finished having some painting done and placed the house on the market this weekend. I dearly hope it sells quickly, I want this transition to be as quick and painless as possible. 

I’m optimistic that we will create a wonderful life in Grand Rapids. It’s a great community and reminds me of Madison, which we dearly loved. I’m looking forward to all of us being together again as well. Honestly, it doesn’t matter where Team Colley hangs our hats, along as we are with each other. 

Happy Birthday 

 

Happy Birthday, Shawn. You are the most amazing husband and father I could ever hope for. Thank you for sharing this amazing life with me. You are, and will always be, my true north. I love you. 

March for Babies 2015

March for Babies is coming.

I’m excited to say that Shawn, Joey, and I will be walking in the March of Dimes’ March for Babies again this year. As you know, we walked in Columbus each year to commemorate the twins, celebrate Joey, and help fund a cause near to our hearts.

Since we weren’t able to participate last year due to our move, I’m really looking forward to this year’s walk. We will be joining the Fox Valley March for Babies walk that goes on here in St. Charles on Saturday, May 2nd. I’m hoping that many of you will be able to walk with us this year, or lend your support in other ways. If you’d like to register to walk with us, or donate towards our team goal, please click hereIf you would like to create your own team, or find a walk in your area, please visit www.marchforbabies.org .

In addition, I will also be donating 100% of my commissions from Stella & Dot towards our team goal from now through May 2nd. So, if you’d already looking to spruce up your Spring wardrobe, or want to purchase something special for Easter Baskets or Mother’s Day, please consider shopping with me or being a hostess.

 

Dreaming . . .

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I have to tell you, I am beyond tired of this cold weather. Although it has not been quite as brutal as last year, I’m ready to throw in the towel. . . . or grab a beach towel and head south. As I sit here shivering in my shearling-lined slippers and clutching my cup of coffee for warmth, I can’t stop dreaming about warm beaches, playing in the sand with the little guy, and sipping something a little more frosty and tropical. Unfortunately, we are able to get away right now, so I guess I’ll just have to settle for throwing another quilt on my lap and snuggle up with Joe to watch Thomas and Friends.