Monday, September 05, 2016

On Your Mark, Get Set, September 1st. GO! \(^-^)/

It is no secret that I am crazy for fall. Crazy, crazy, crazy. In all honesty, I just tolerate the other three seasons and bide my time until autumn comes around again. I look forward to fall more passionately than I look forward to most things. While I do enjoy completely surrounding myself with "cinnamon pumpkin scent," oddly, I've only once partaken in the quintessential fall girl drink - the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. (It was good, just not my thing.)  Which is troubling to me.  Am I not the biggest autumnal fan that I can be!?

While I've been worried about not being in love with the Pumpkin Spice Latte like I'm supposed to, I did see that they just released a new fall drink. The Chile Mocha. I might need to try one of those. They sound like the Mexican Hot Chocolate that I used to drink in San Francisco, only the Chile Mocha also has coffee in it. Incidentally, while drinking Mexican Hot Chocolate at The Canvas in San Francisco, I learned that the film that forms on the top of fresh hot chocolate and other heated dairy products, it is called a "ploika" in yiddish.  The end.

Back on track.... Fall. Of course being the fall maniac that I am, you'd better believe that I had my house plastered both inside and out with autumn decorations on September 1st.  Psych! Just kidding, why would I wait so long? The 1st. was a Thursday and I knew that I'd be homeschooling that day, so I just went ahead and spent August 27th, which was a Sunday, putting up every last foam pumpkin and faux leaf that I owned. I also put up an apple wreath that I made for the front door, and apple pie window decorations that I crafted, and the plastic acorns and the scarecrows and black cat and the mini-apple stool with the wool felted gnome and the autumn dish towels and rugs and hand towels and the fall wax warmer with the cinnamon wax melts and the golden glitter pine cones...........and....and....and...and....... THIS YEAR....this year do you know what I did? I SCALED BACK ON THE DECORATIONS!

Here is some of what it looks like. Don't judge. (Not that you ever do.) I just couldn't help myself!!!

A tip that my Mother gave me: If you can't change out your rug at the moment, and it doesn't exactly go with the look that you're trying to create, just ignore it! Pretend the rug is a neutral and just do what you want! That is why I have orange fall cushions and a bright red rug. Just be like: "WHATEVER!"

Excuse me, your slipcover is showing!

Noah was not as enthusiastic as I was about fall decorating.

I fully realize that with the fall bathroom I kind of crossed a line. This room is a bit...out of control and corny. Ha! Pun intended. But I couldn't help myself and Noah loves it, so WHY NOT? 
Why the "H" not?

This is why not. Because you can end up doing this. On the back of your toilet...
Don't tell anyone.

 Did I make up for the bathroom with this "elegant vignette?"

 But LOOK how RESTRAINED I was in the family room. Nary a decoration in sight.

 Thank you Mom, for giving me your couch. And thank you couch for having a slipcover that is PERFECT for the fall and winter, that covers up your 1992 yellow floral chintz that is PERFECT for for spring and summer. Winning.

Jon is not fazed by the decorations. He is a real man.

One day I spent HOURS and HOURS making these paper and marker decorations for the windows.

And I made this faux apple wreath! I love it and had so much fun. I was inspired by The Wood Grain  Cottage.  All you need is a foam wreath frame, some burlap, a hot glue gun and a bunch of fake apples. Voila.

Happy fall y'all!!!!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Our New Normal

Isn't it funny how sometimes something can be right there in front of your eyes and pretty obvious for a long time and you don't even see it?

That's what happened to me. I didn't see that Noah might need a much less traditional path than we were already on. I thought we were being open-minded and proactive with his progressive school and top-notch specialists, but it wasn't exactly what he needed, at least this past year. I still feel a deep pain and disbelief that we are no longer part of the school community that we called "home" for so many years. I miss them, and the future that I thought we had together. I don't fully understand why things unraveled as they did last September, but what I do know is that even in such a wonderful school, he wasn't thriving. Each year the tears remained, the worries compounded and Noah's self-image sank a bit lower.

I've never ever pictured myself as a homeschool Mother. In fact, just like so many, I skeptically eyed homeschooling, wondering how a child could ever get the learning and social skills one would need in life.  Now of course, after living a year as a homeschooling family, I find my early worries laughable! Not only have my concerns about education and socialization been flattened, I've been truly taken by the MASSIVE AMOUNT of opportunity, community and the quality of education available out there.

So what happens when the way you thought everything would be just.... falls through?

Well, you have to be willing to bend and to allow yourself to re-think, re-plan, re-work all of your expectations, goals and dreams. That took a lot for me to do, especially because we were at the same school since Noah was three, and I fully expected him to graduate with all of his friends. I had imagined the ceremony many many times. It was a dream.

Now that the new school year is upon us, and Noah is not in a place where he can go back to school, I have come to accept that I've come to realize and embrace the reality of not having a neuro-typical child and honoring his unique needs. (For those of you who might not know, Noah has ADHD- inattentive type, Anxiety and is 2e.)

Hi. My name is Lauren, and I recently realized that I am the parent of a child who has a different set of needs. Maybe even more importantly, I realized that I have to stop struggling to make him just act like all the neuro-typical kids. It's far better to laugh and accept and joyously search for the best-fit path, than to wear myself down fighting it. THAT awareness has made all the difference in the world.

Some days I feel exhausted, especially when Noah resists doing schoolwork for me.  Sometimes I feel a little down when I think about the vastly different life I used to have. Somewhere there must be more help, as we have yet to find just the right mix of  support, but I know we'll get there.

I also know is that Noah is a very caring, gentle, sweet boy who has always had a most sensitive heart. He loves animals and helping others. He worries about people's feelings and the world.  He's never been one for competitive sports or being too rough and tumble, but if you need a listening ear or a word of encouragement, Noah is your guy. This knowledge makes the hard times worth it.


So what this mean for our new normal? It means we have to re-think every single thing we thought we knew about parenting our child. It means that we have to learn to be even more flexible, even more open to different routes and paths of doing things. We have to change our expectations, not goals. Noah can still do anything at all that he sets his mind to, but our expectation of straight lines to get there, they have to become more fluid.

It means that we can never give up on finding the right situations to best help our child. It means more appointments, it means being ok with and thankful that we can allocate some of our income to helping him. It means learning how to advocate for Noah, asking for more help, and to find more support. It means that I make less excuses, more boundaries. It means that Jon and I can't let the stress of our new normal get the best of our marriage. It means being ok with the sad feelings I have when I see happy families on Facebook doing all of the things that I wish we could as well, but not letting those feelings overwhelm me. It mean taking care of all of us, extra. It means letting Noah know that HE CAN DO IT!!!! \(^0^)/

As August rolls in, I don't know what this year will bring. I have a feeling some of the same, but also, good things as well. I feel more hopeful and stronger than I did last year, and for all the hardship and tears, a lesson was learned - one of gracefully embracing whatever life brings you.