Cutting down a Christmas tree becomes a family memory to treasure at farms such as Henslers Nursery in Indiana.Read More
As our family celebrates the 12 days of Christmas, I don't feel it is too late to wish you a very, merry Christmas! After all, it is only the 4th day of Christmas.
Today was Nick's first day back to work in two weeks and we sure do miss having our guy around :( It's hard to get back to real life.
But this is what we are doing today...just chillin'. It is so nice to have these days of no where to be and nothing to do. To stay in our pjs or sweats all day and have some really deep relaxation. I am trying to soak all of this in since we start school Monday and will be on the run again before we know it!
This Christmas was so magical! My cousin, Andy, stayed with us and it was so nice having him around and having lots of family pop over to just hang out. That is what Christmas is made for!
This photo is from our ugly sweater party! It was a small group this year but we had so much fun laughing, snacking, and watching our traditional movie of Christmas Vacation. Memories!
Christmas morning I woke up before the children to make some coffee and get myself prepared for the mental anguish of the wrapping paper blizzard that would ensue.
I know you know what I am talking about here ;)
Check out our Christmas tree! Santa came!!!
The kids were so gracious about their gifts and it was so fun to watch them open everything they got from us and then from Santa. They loved all of their toys and since have been having a blast playing with everything!
Here's Calvin with his lego bible. It is so fun!
Here's Emma with her weaving loom! She asked Santa for it and has played with it every single day!
After the kids opened their gifts I insisted we take some family photos. This year the kids had REALLY wanted us to all have matching pjs. Let me tell you, that is easier said than done. Has anyone else endured this nightmare? After 3 pairs of pjs we landed on matching pjs from Burt Bee's Organic Cotton collection and we LOVE them!
Of course we had to take some silly photos after we FINALLY got a good one!
I think this one is adequately silly, don't you?
Nick and I got one another some pretty great gifts too! Nick got me an Erin Condren planner (I've wanted one FOREVER!!!), he also got me some le creuset kitchen items, a ton of wool socks, and spent way, WAY too much Shearling slippers for me. When I scolded him he said "you're always here doing so much for all of us. You deserve warm feet." He is just the sweetest man!
I got Nick a big tv for our bedroom...he's wanted one FOREVER and I was so excited to actually surprise him with it...I've had it hidden in my dressing room for months! I thought for sure he had discovered it but he hadn't and I was so tickled to surprise him. I also got him some cubs memorabilia from their big win!!! this year. And I got him the book The Secret Garage, about praying for your family.
We've had the best holiday, not to mention all of the wonderful gifts our families gave us! We received some amazing gifts...my camel for my nativity, awesome travel mugs, and more!
We hope you and yours are having a very merry Christmas season and that your days are merry and bright!
This isn't one of those posts where I'm all like "Christmas with an Autistic Child is like a dream come true..." because it just stinks.
The case of the stinks starts pretty much right after Thanksgiving. Or rather on Thanksgiving.
Christmas tree getting leads to over load. Decorating leads to overload. Cookies lead to overload. Church performances lead to overload. Shopping leads to overload. Everything leads to overload.
And a lot of times people don't see it unless you are in the house with an Autistic child. THEN I'm sure you see it.
Our son, Calvin, will fall asleep when he's overloaded. People say "oh, the poor thing's had a busy day."
Nope, he just can't take anyone or anything, anymore.
Which is a great coping mechanism until it's 2 am and he's raring to go while punching me in the face to watch this one commercial with him. Over and over and over and over.
Oh the Christmas joy.
Then there are the times when he doesn't even try to hide his overloaded-ness from anyone.
Take last Sunday in church for example...
Our cute, adorable Emma (who I always seems to describe like Grover) sang in church with some other girls. Nick pulls out his phone to video tape it.
So here is the next 2 minutes of Calvin, full volume, in church with a somewhat Veruca Salt tone in his voice:
"I knew you had your phone.
Why can't I play games on your phone?
No cell phones in church!
No cell phones in church!
Let me play games on your phone!
No cell phones in church!
No cell phones in church!
You never let me play games in church!"
If you seeing me saying this to my son it's not because I don't love him but rather because I am tired of whisper arguing in church after 3 sleepless nights.
Anyway, this is one of those Autism Mom Public Service Announcements to say, if you know someone who has an Autistic child, please cut them a little slack. We all have a lot on our plates this time of year but for those of us with a child from Autism it takes everything to a completely whole new level.
Just imagine we're trying to pacify one child so they won't completely fly off the handle at an event or at home and we are trying to make sure the children who don't have autism aren't feeling like the autistic child is spoiled and everything is focused on them and we are trying to plan for every little thing...is aunt so and so wears her strong perfume and they are going to complain loudly about how bad she smells what are you going to do? Or if that dog that they hate is there what are you going to do? Or if other kids want a turn with the toys at Grandma's and they don't' understand, what are you going to to? We have 18 backup plans with 2 more to have as backup plans to our backup plans. All that coupled with remembering green bean casserole and wrapping gifts and everything can just feel chaotic and overwhelming.
So if you know a Momma (or a Daddy!) who's little one has Autism, a hug and a starbucks giftcard can go a long way towards making us feel like we're not in this alone. That you get it. That you're here for us.
And if you are celebrating Christmas with a little one on the spectrum please don't be freaked out. Be understanding but don't treat them with kid gloves. They will be able to sense it and that alone will feel weird and foreign. Just be you to them and loving and understanding if they need to back away. Look for those signs. The child isn't trying to be defiant or naughty by not wanting to participate or do something but rather that may be their way of shutting down as a coping mechanism to try to avoid overload. We sure love our little ones don't we? Christmas is so special for them and even if they aren't participating or are struggling, they're still here doing it with us. They know everything around them and they get it on a deep level, trust me.
All that being said...
Merry Christmas! I have a feeling it will definitely not be a Silent Night.
So this is a behind the scenes I'm going to be honest post.
This holiday season is not going as planned.
Picture me, early November, all curled up on the couch dreaming of how the holiday would be after Thanksgiving:
I'd get my decorations out before Thanksgiving to have time to mull over what I wanted to use, what I didn't want to, yada, yada.
Everything would be decorated and the bins would be put away by the end of the Thanksgiving weekend.
From there, every day we would make a magical recipe and would store them away to give for gifts or in anticipation of the big day.
I would tidily wrap 5 gifts a day and would be done by the week before Christmas so I didn't have to bother with last minute things.
All of this was just a big, fat wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
And wait for it...
So here has been the reality. The week before Thanksgiving my grandmother passed away, which I wrote about here. She had been sick, she's in a better place, but somehow there has just been this fog. I know you can't rush grief or getting over someone being gone but it just feels hard. And foggy. Some days I just want to stay home. And what should seemily have taken me no time (in my mind) and been done by now is still languishing around.
Further more from a working/website perspective this has made it so I have nothing to say. No fun Christmas tutorials over here. No house tours ready from this gal. Unless you want "today I put on jeans and not leggings, and you can too" then yesterday I totally nailed that.
But the sad truth is that as I was wallowing. Because that's what it's been, wallowing, I realized that maybe I'm not the only one wallowing. And maybe that's the beauty from ashes that God pulls out of all of this and wants to use.
This isn't our first Christmas that things haven't gone as planned. It's not always happiness and sunshine over here folks. There have been Christmas' where the tree fell over. Where we had no money when it certainly seemed we should. When there was no work and we had no money and it made sense we had no money.
But somehow God works through those tough times.
And I know He will work through this.
Everything will come together in His time. I just have to give myself the grief and time. To cry over the Christmas card I got from Grandma last year I found that sent me to grief all over again. And the crying when I unwrapped the Christmas ornaments from her. It's all there. All under the surface. And I just need the time.
So I apologize to you readers. I had a really great "Christmas countdown" series planned with games and strippers and rides and fun. Well only one of those things was included but I digress...
Instead I am here with real life, living real, feeling real, hurting real, healing real. And it's going to be okay.
I hope that whatever you are going through this Christmas, your hurts, your pains, your money issues, the betrayals that you've been hurt with, the shocking news you just can't bounce back from; that that is the message of hope that I can share with you:
"It's going to be okay."
Forgive me for being absent. Love you all.