Happy Place

One of the Roc’s favorite places to visit is the beach and we got to go many times in the two weeks we spent visiting GC’s family over Christmas vacation.

We went in sunny warm weather,

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IMG_3036with Marcello while he was still in town,

IMG_3049and with the Roc’s cousin Aiden when he came up to stay at Nonna and Nonno’s house for a few days!

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We even took our crazy dog to the beach one evening!

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It wasn’t sunny every day, but even light rain won’t keep the Roc away from the water.

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While we spent most of our time walking on the beach, the Roc and I finally hiked a little trail at the state park (that I won’t step foot on in the summer — poisonous snakes!) and he loved this awesome tree.

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IMG_3409I love that the Roc wants to be outside as much as I do.

We also stopped by the marsh and freshwater lagoon one afternoon so I could photograph birds.

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The Roc is working on his patience while I work on my photography.  We both have a long way to go.

The beach is my happy place too.  Especially when I’m with my boy.

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July: South Carolina

July was awesome.

We spent the whole month of July in South Carolina, staying with GC’s parents for most of the time, except for one week in which my parents flew out and the five of us stayed in a house right on the ocean.

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Being ocean front was marvelous.  The view from the porch was gorgeous any time of day.IMG_1059

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IMG_0293The Roc was very excited again this year to go to the ocean.  Last year was the first time he actually spent time in the water, running and playing in the waves, carefree in the sun.  I was looking forward to watching him in the ocean, getting in the warm water myself, and playing in the sand.  I was doubly excited that my parents were with us this year.  I’ve talked about the magic of South Carolina for years and it was so fun to share it with them.  The big thing this year was boogie boarding!  The Roc tried it for the first time and really enjoyed it, though he got pretty frustrated when he couldn’t catch a wave just right.

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The Roc’s cousins came up from Charleston and spent some time with us at the beach house.  The kids all had a blast.IMG_0325

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GC’s parents came over a few times and it was fun watching the guys play soccer on the sand.IMG_0713

It went by fast, but we had a great week.IMG_1155

GC spent some of our time in SC working, (since he works from home and can work anywhere!) so there were many days the Roc and I headed out to the beach just the two of us.  We stayed for hours and constructed a lot of sand castles.2014-07-22 11.42.48

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One morning, after a bit of a meltdown, the Roc and I went walking at the state park beach.  We were in calf deep water and all of the sudden the Roc said, “Look Mommy!” and to my left this was swimming by:2014-07-22 17.17.08

The Roc did really well most of the time we were in South Carolina, but of course, he had a few moments, and there was more than one time I thought I may lose my mind.  I never stayed mad for too long.2014-07-20 11.26.57

IMG_0119Pomegranate margaritas also helped to take the edge off.2014-07-19 13.10.28While we did spend the bulk of our time at the beach, GC, his mom, and I took the Roc mini golfing for the very first time.  He loved it!IMG_1196

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We also spent a lot of time at the pool!

2014-07-19 17.34.00Quickly our month came to an end and we were back in the car headed home.

2014-07-26 14.34.49Until next time….

 

 

 

 

 

Tales from SC: waves conquered!

I wrote this about the time we were in South Carolina in 2010.  The Roc had such a hard time with his fear of the waves on that trip.  There was one day when he did go in a tidal pool and then the tide came in and he had a blast in the incoming waves.  When his cousins arrived a couple hours later he had more motivation to stay in the water and play.  It was towards the end of the trip, and he didn’t want to go in the ocean again, but I took it as progress in conquering his fear of the waves.  If he did it once, he would be able to do it again, even if it took a few years, or longer.

Well, moving across the country meant that it took a few years to get back to the beach.

The Roc kept telling me that he was going to go in the ocean when we got to the beach this year.  Over and over we read the book, “Ladybug Girl At The Beach” in the months leading up to our trip.  It was a book we had read only sporadically before, but repetitively in May and June.  I was hopeful for him, but I wasn’t going to push him and I promised myself I wouldn’t be disappointed if the waves proved too much for him again this year.  Based off his repeated declarations about playing in the waves, I thought that this just might be the year he would go in.

The first day at the beach we walked down to a tidal pool, which I knew the Roc would love because he could still play in the water and build sand castles, which he started right away.

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Then he laid down in the tidal pool.

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Then he laid down in waves!

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Then he RAN into the water!

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And he ran back and forth, into the water and out, flopping onto his belly and swimming, popping up before a wave crashed over his head, all the while with a grin on his face.

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In fact, it seemed that he didn’t stop smiling every day we went to the beach!

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Well…it’s not always true that he was smiling.  He did get annoyed with my constant photography.

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But he got over it quickly.  Usually.IMG_0238

One of the days just him and I were at the beach he worked on building a wall around the tidal pool (I helped some and sat on a beach chair and watched some, a perfect balance.  I was glad we practiced at the lake.)

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He got a lot of compliments on his creation.

I was so happy to see him let go at the beach.  He wasn’t anxious about the waves at all.  He ran and splashed in them!  He alternated between building sand castles and playing in the ocean.  He had fun.  He was carefree.

It was what I wanted for him three years ago when we were there.

I didn’t know I just had to wait.

This child is forever teaching me patience.

Three Things in September

1) The Roc started 2nd grade!

Back to routine, structure, and predictability (some what anyway.)

2) The Roc started his next round of swimming lessons,

and also hippotherapy!

He did therapeutic horseback riding in Delaware and really liked it.  Every place I checked into around here was much more expensive than what we paid out of pocket in Delaware, so much more that we couldn’t pay out of pocket, and so I shelved the idea for a long time.  Recently the Roc received a grant we could use to pay for the sessions, and the place I was interested in had an opening.  The owner is a wonderful occupational therapist who told me this weekend that when she screens people who want to work for her, they must believe it is a privilege to work with these kids.  If they don’t, if they view it as just a job, she doesn’t want them.  I got a little teary eyed as she spoke with such passion about the changes she has seen in the children she has worked with.  She is so upbeat, yet has a very calming quality, and the Roc tries really hard for her.  She has gotten the Roc to do things on the horse that he has never done before – he got up on his hands and knees on the back of the horse this weekend and he also trotted!  She pushes him and it’s so good for him.  The Roc has an OT evaluation with her in two weeks and we hope to add some individual OT with her at the hospital to his after school schedule.

3)  I went to Key West with Christa for 5 nights!  A mommy get-a-way we will never forget!

Easter Recap

We are not traditionalists around here, nor are we particularly religious, so when the young man at Trader Joes asked me if I was going to be celebrating Easter (after calling me Miss instead of the usual Mama, yay!) I stuttered and said, “Yes, well sort of… we do something for my son.  I guess he celebrates the Easter Bunny.”  It’s true, we’re heathens, and I’m okay with that.  For now the Roc thinks Easter is about a giant bunny who sneaks into our house at night, leaving plastic eggs and presents.  He is very much like Santa, and in no way does the Roc want his picture taken with him.

I woke up before 6 am on Easter, because I am the Easter bunny and since we have 4 cats, I have to lock them in the basement to hide the eggs, otherwise we would hear the plastic rolling across the wood floor all night followed by thumping and running.  I had wrapped the few gifts in the only wrapping paper we have at the moment, Christmas wrapping paper.  I figured I would just tell him the Easter bunny wraps the gifts here before he hides the eggs and it was the only paper he could find, which is true, if he happened to ask.  After hiding the eggs and with the cats safely meowing behind the door to the basement, I went back to sleep, only to be woken up by, “Mommy, the Easter Bunny came!  There are eggs!  LOOK!  There’s a present!”  And so we began our morning.

The Roc was thrilled to follow the little trails I made to each of his 5 presents (new ball, a couple sets of markers, a game, and a toy helicopter) and he had to open each egg in which I had placed either jelly beans or little jelly candies.

He truly enjoyed the process this year, and actually cared more about what was under the wrapping paper than the paper itself, which is a step up the progress ladder.  We did let him have a few candies, but luckily he doesn’t seem to associate these kinds of holidays with candy consumption, a pleasing side affect to having done the GFCF diet for a few years.

Even though there are things we have to do around the house to prepare for our move and the grass is almost taller than our little boston terrier, we decided to head down to the beach.  We won’t have many chances left before we move to the middle of the country in a few weeks.  It was deceptively warm, and when we go onto the sand and saw some kids playing in the water GC went down to get his feet wet.  It was not warm enough!

We had a picnic lunch and then went walking.  The Roc just loves the beach.  It is one of the things I am going to miss about this area.

It was a nearly perfect day capped off by a bubble bath, another rare treat for the Roc.

Christmas Recap + South Carolina + A New Year

Even though the title is too long (and not a proper title, I know, I know.  You know I like those little plus signs don’t you?) I promise this will be short…well, I’ll try anyway.  I just sat down and I don’t really know where this post is going.  If it’s not short…sorry.

I haven’t blogged since posting that little video of the Roc opening his coveted gift on Christmas morning.  There was so much I could have said before and/or after those 52 seconds, about how the fact that he so badly wanted it was a majorly huge first this year, about his voice, his excitement, the joy!  I could have written a whole post about the feeling I had watching him tear into that gift, and the fact that GC told me later he teared up watching the Roc.  I could have told you about how each gift he opened before that he was disappointed it wasn’t a combine tractor, and he told us so.  He also told our wonderful neighbor who went out of her way to buy him a gift, wrap it and walk it over to us on Christmas Eve, that “clothes aren’t a good gift.”  ACK!  (At least she’s awesome and she busted her gut laughing at his response.)  I could have told you about the rest of the day which was good but then went downhill when we went to dinner at a friends house.  It was hard for the Roc to wait long past the appointed time for dinner, hard for him to be watched by so many strangers, and then extremely hard for him to be told not to do something by a stranger (he cried, and I felt so bad for him as he wasn’t doing anything wrong.  Geesh!)  We left as soon as dinner was over, all of us pretty much done with the evening.  I could have written a few posts on all that stuff, but I didn’t (until now) because the very best part of the day were those 52 seconds, but you knew that already.

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After Christmas the Roc and I survived our couple days stuck in the house together while the snow fell and then the wind blew it away.  He was seriously upset that there wasn’t any snow to play in, and I was bummed that we had driven all over town to find a sled because the original forecast was for a significant snowfall…and then it wasn’t much of anything.  Then we went to South Carolina to visit GC’s family.  And again I could write a few posts about the our time there.  About the changes in the Roc.  About how we spent the night with my sister in law and her 3 kids and the Roc loved it.  Loved it!  Loved being with his cousins, wanted to do everything they were doing, played hide-and-seek with them, and then later had a dance party – which was probably the most amusing part of the evening.  About how different this was from a few years ago when he couldn’t be near his cousins and would scream when they would invade his personal space bubble.  I could kick myself for not taking any pictures of the kids together.  I did get pictures from the walks we took on the beach 3 days in a row.  (You know it, here come the beach photos.)

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Finally, it’s a new year.  I don’t do resolutions, and this year is no different in that regard.  But I have been thinking about Ali Edward’s and her yearly One Little Word tradition (since 2007.)  The idea of picking a word that can have an impact on you throughout the year.  For the past two years I silently picked a word in January, and then forgot about them as the year unfolded.  Last year I think I choose peace and the year before was celebrate, or it could have been reversed, that’s how much they impacted me.  I didn’t give the words the attention I thought I would throughout the year.  Then this year I realized that I didn’t let the word come to me, choose me, instead I choose it, I tried to force it.  For the past few weeks a word has been popping up, I’m noticing it every where and have been turning it over in my mind.  The word is focus.

Focus.

The past couple years I have been wholly focused on Autism.  Reading, researching, googling, worrying, completing evaluations, studying reports, going to doctor appointments, attending school meetings, and worrying some more.  Last year was eaten up by the educational label change and my worries and fears about the Roc repeating kindergarten and his school placement for this year.  Not to mention the more challenging aspects of the Roc’s autism diagnosis, the behaviors and explosive emotions we are working hard to help him manage.

There are so many ways to go with this word when thinking about how it can impact me this year.

It has become obvious to me that I need to shift my focus.  That I need to make time and room in my brain for more than just autism and my gorgeous child.  Of course I need to keep my focus on him, but I need to enjoy the good and live in the moment more.  Enjoy where he is right now and not where I want him to go or what I hope we accomplish in the next 12 months.

I need to focus on my relationships, with GC and with friends.  I shut myself away for awhile after the diagnosis and over time I’ve come back out.  I need to get out more, connect more, feed those friendships that have sustained me through these stressful times.  I am lucky to have GC, for so many reasons, and I need to focus more on us.  We need each other and our relationship deserves more time than it’s been given.

I need to focus on me.  I need to feed me and let go of the guilt, for I carry so much guilt around every day.  I am no longer going to feel guilty about needing time apart, space for myself, for needing my friends, for wanting to expand, for needing my family, for needing time to be more than mommy/therapist.  I need to focus on being healthy and take care of me.

More than anything this year I want to life this life.  I want to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now.  The small stuff.  The good stuff.

Because this life is good.

It’s a new year, what will you focus on?

 

A Few Words Wednesday (More Beach Photos)

Went to the beach on Monday.

Maybe someday I’ll learn to do this.

Then again, maybe not.  When her boyfriend/husband/man friend (pick one) tried it – he kept falling off.  I guess it’s harder than it looks.

Catching birds is also hard, Guinness tried anyway, and then had to settle for watching them from a beach towel.

Found a tennis ball.

Found a tidal pool.

The Roc wanted to get his clothes all wet, but I knew he would be very uncomfortable later, so I let him go in his underwear.  He surprised me by saying “But I don’t want anyone to see me in my underwear.”  I told him to stay seated if someone happened to walk by.  He watched for people to come.

Then promptly stood up when they got close, shooting me a “what are you going to do about it” grin.  I just shook my head.  Only a few people passed us and caught a glimpse of the Roc in his undies, and I think he’s still at an age where this was okay, though I’m sure GC would have just let him get all his clothes wet!

Later, as we strolled back to the car, I went over in my head the fact that he verbalized he didn’t want anyone to see him in his underwear.

The self awareness.  That’s new.

Interesting things have been happening lately.