Jasan loves numbers.
He has been sounding out words and reading since he was 2 1/2. He loves watching shows like Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, and plays Bingo with me because of the numbers and words attraction.
I decided that I would start an on going numbers and letters photo series for him…
I am having fun with it… these are just a few. Someday I will do something cool with them all and gift it to him.
Maybe on Valentine’s Day. <3
Well friends, we gloriously ended the year with the first lost tooth (happened on Christmas evening!) and an obsession with USBs…
and even Pictionary!
This is “Google” by the way…
I love how he has changed even in just the last few weeks! Language is exploding and that is so very exciting to me. He is definitely GROWING UP. 🙂
We have had LOTS of snuggle time. I think that is always secretly my favorite part, and always will be.
Uncle Todd (my younger brother who lives in AZ with his amazing and lovely girlfriend Jodi) were here! It was so fun to watch him watch Jasan. I realized how much I miss my brother and how I wish he could be around Jasan more often…
I appreciate where Jasan and I are in life right now. It feels good. Amazing things are in the pipeline for this next year, and that is REALLY exciting. The amount of personal growth that I have experienced in 2014 is out of this world. I still feel so blessed to wake up next to the best gift every morning. He is such a huge reason for my smile. I love my little dude.
I want to increase the momentum of “Following Jasan” in this coming year. That is one of my goals. Life got unexpectedly busy in September of this year, in a good way, and my photography and writing had to slow down. I am aware of the fact that I miss it and need to make the time to focus on this part of our journey again.
I do have a few photos I wanted to share that I haven’t gotten a chance to blog about…
Thank you for taking time to share in our journey. I am looking forward to writing and photographing our stories of growth (and sometimes of struggle) with you to share my perspective on this journey of beautiful life and autism.
Cheers to 2015!
Wow. What a year this has been so far! So many wonderful things have happened in our lives that I’m overflowing with gratitude…not just today, but on a regular basis.
Look at that face! Every single morning I love beyond words that I get to wake up and he is right next to me. He is so joyful and happy most of the time, and I love how we play off of each other.
Autism is a part of our lives, and you know what? I am thankful it is. He chose to come into the world this way and I love every bit of him.
Our world is filled with sound effects, singing and lots of talking. I waited a long time for him to speak his mind, so I say, “BRING IT ON! TALK MY EARS OFF!” His unbelievable ability to mimic sounds still blows my mind everyday, and his love of music just fills me up. I was praying that he would be musically gifted when I was pregnant with him because I know how much that gift is important to me personally. When he sings, my heart sings. <3
I am thankful for laughter. He is not the type of kid that laughs a lot. He is happy 95% of the time, but he isn’t always laughing (like I tend to do! HA.) When he does laugh, oh my. BEST SOUND IN THE WORLD.
We are blessed with such incredible family. I cannot even count how many times they have gone out on a limb for us. I could not say “thank you” enough to express the gratitude I have for them…
Friends. For the first time in my life I feel as if ALL the people surrounding me fill me up. There aren’t any relationships in my life that drag me down or exhaust me. This makes me realize how much I have grown emotionally. Life feels amazing. I feel really, really good. The people in my life accept my son for who he is (and me too!) I know Jasan can feel this too.
The opportunities that have come my way have given me a whole new outlook on life. Creating this blog, sharing my heart and my perspective through our story has opened up a new chapter for me.
Being able to actually exhibit my work was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I cannot wait to do it again! I have a passion for images and telling the story; the story of how our kids are so perfect just the way they are.
Thanksgiving can be every day. It’s all in how we choose to see life.
Thank you to each and every one of you that take the time to read this blog and share in our journey.
2295. That’s what Jasan and I term the office. This is the building where I work. I have a new job and I am loving it so much. Because I can’t entirely work a full day yet, (single mom, no daycare, the boy is done with school and off the bus at 3:15 pm,) I came up with the brilliant idea of working Saturdays.
I remember very clearly the couple of times I went to my dad’s office when I was young. He was a graphic designer in my early years, and he had the coolest office. Just the whole office environment was pretty darn awesome in my opinion. It felt so “adult” and it was a chance to, for a few hours, be part of someone else’s everyday reality that wasn’t mine. Obviously because it was my DAD’s reality, it meant a lot to me. Plus, being the artistic little girl that I was, I could not get over the massive marker set that he had. I’m not talking about Crayola or Sharpie kind of markers, these were the “professional artist” Prismacolor set of markers. Not to mention, I was not drawing on typical copy paper, it was those artist pads of special “drawing”paper. ha. (This was graphic design before computers took over!)
Now, with my son’s love of computers, and anything mechanical really, I figured he would love coming to the office I work in.
I was SOOOOOO RIGHT.
This Saturday will be week 5 of this experiment. I knew it would take a couple of Saturdays of just exploring with him and that I would not get any real “work” done. I was very correct about that. 🙂 But now, he knows what he wants to do when we go there and he LOVES it! (And, I can actually be productive.)
I am hoping to create a fun memory for him.
Oh man. The Canon. This puppy is a BIG hit. We hardly EVER use this tank of an old copy machine. But, Jasan has provided it some love lately because it is his new object of affection. I keep a special stack of “Jasan paper” that we keep reloading for his use. He does not care what is being copied. It is all about the sounds and the mechanics of the machine.
And then, Mama’s headset. (heehee. It’s just cute on him.) He was quite mesmerized by it at first. We call Grampie from the office every time and Jasan will mumble about turning computers on and off and Canon and copying, etc. (We are still not quite versed with talking on the phone. It’s pretty much a mystery to the person on the other end what the heck Jasan is saying, but it is adorable none the less. He is really trying!)
The conference room is way cool too. The computer in there is viewed on the big screen which is very handy when watching Wall.E videos on YouTube! He wears his noise canceling headphones because we also have a fancy coffee machine that is a bit noisy when you turn it on. And off. And on. 🙂
Because it is pretty much just us in the building on Saturdays, we can run down the hallway to the lunch room. Putting coins in the vending machine to get chips and Oreos (ha…his favorite!) is always a thrill. There is a key code to get into the restroom, and of course we have to spend a few minutes there each time as well.
I like that we have our Saturday “Mama’s office” routine. It fills him up with his time to explore, and I can get a few more things done that I wasn’t able to Monday – Friday with my limited hours.
And……..we are together. I love that more than anything.
Jasan and I were gifted a night stay at a hotel nearby our home and we went for it this Saturday night. (Thank you Lisa & Ken Leisering if you are reading this!)
WHAT AN AMAZING TIME. I cannot say enough good things about this mini getaway. Because Jasan and I do not live alone currently, it was nice to just spend some quality time together. Just the two of us. My intention going into this overnighter was to just let Jasan explore this space exactly as his heart desired. I would then, in turn be in awe of his perfection of himself and how he views the world.
It was magical.
Whenever we have spent time in hotel rooms, Jasan has always gone for the thermostat. Of course! I let him change it to his heart’s desire. Hot, cold, on, off… This one was “Amana.” (Everything is named by it’s brand in Jasan’s world.)
Oh! And we had so much fun in the elevator. We pretty much did the majority of our multiple rides just the two of us, but occasionally we would have other riders. An alarm would go off if people would press more than one floor at the same time (hence the noise canceling headphones.)
Now, I have been practicing for some time now just letting Jasan truly be Jasan. That means, I will not allow myself to be affected by other people’s reactions to him. So, while we were riding the elevator, I did not sush him. He was a little loud in the hallways at times, but I let him be. He was hugging kids like crazy in the pool and I let him go. You know what? Everyone loved him.
The alarm went off in the elevator when we were with two teenage girls and an older woman. Jasan was loudly matching the tone of the alarm while it was going off, and the girls were like, “Oh! He’s so cute!!!” and giggling incessantly. The older woman commented, after the alarm had stopped, “Oh my goodness!!! He matched pitch!! How old is he? That is not normal for 5 year olds to match pitch! You are going to be a singer, boy…” and all I could think was, HE ATTRACTS LOVE EVERYWHERE HE GOES WHEN I LET HIM BE WHO HE IS. I have seen it many times before.
I am done with sushing him to what I think society deems appropriate.
When I revel in his “Jasan-ness” he rocks it. We are both vibrating on a high. It’s FABULOUS.
He hasn’t had much experience with these old school phones. (Its crazy. Am I getting old? Will he ever hear a busy signal? haha) His examination of this was too funny and so brilliant.
“What the hell is this thing?” He is probably thinking. But then, his brilliant mind goes to this:
I was giggling inside so much about how much I LOVE THIS KID!!!!!!!!! I COULD EXPLODE I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.
I feel grateful that he is oblivious that I photograph him all the time. Because I use my iPhone, I can put it on silent and he hears nothing. It’s fabulous. I get to be in my bliss creatively capturing the beauty of my son. WHAT COULD BE BETTER, REALLY?
Those of you that know Jasan or religiously follow this blog know that the GUEST LAUNDRY was a huge hit. 🙂
I love him. I love him fully. I love him regardless. I love him always. I love him EVERYDAY EVERY MINUTE. Even if he spits in my face sometimes. I love him. He is perfect.
Newsflash: ALL OF OUR KIDS ARE PERFECT.
When you look at your children that way, they will feel UNCONDITIONAL LOVE from you.
Think about that word UNCONDITIONAL. We all say it quite a bit, but I don’t think we all act it out, REALLY.
Loving someone completely and fully, WITHOUT CONDITION. Regardless of anything that they might say or do. They are NOT here to please US. We are given these children as gifts…to love them for who they are. However that is. It is my opinion that we do not grow up learning to love this way.
Think about it.
We are so used to reacting to conditions around us…what would happen if we just fully loved our children and they felt that from us, energetically, unconditionally? Worlds would change.
Just go have fun and let them be them.
Today I learned of a friend’s passing. He was very young and leaves behind a beautiful wife and two amazing autistic children. My heart feels completely saddened for this family. A husband and a father is now gone. Dynamics have changed…so unexpectedly.
We have all heard the phrases, “Live life like it’s your last day on earth.” “Life is too short.”
But do you? Really?
Those statements really hit you when an accident happens, and it seems unreal. Say what you want to say to your loved ones. Make time..
Quality time to spend with friends and family.
Love a little more. Hug a little tighter. Make connections. Keep in touch. Just simply BE happy. Realize and be grateful for the blessings in life.
We don’t know when our last moments will be.
In honor of Bill Maglares. You are in heaven now watching over your family. They will always have their own personal angel…
I am really getting used to just doing our own thing wherever we are. Sometimes being self-conscious will still creep up on me, but mostly, I OWN IT. As Jasan gets older, I appreciate who he is becoming even more. I keep reminding myself to step back and look at the big picture. I may not totally understand everything now. But, I picture myself looking back at his life when he is in his twenties and it all making sense. Why does he have an obsession with appliances? What is it about fahrenheit and barometric pressure that makes him smile so much? Why does my son prefer Best Buy over Toys R Us? I don’t know, but I’m his biggest cheerleader.
We hung out at good old Best Buy for quite awhile today.
Refrigerators were a hit.
There will always be the beloved washing machine.
And now, the most recent addition to fun spots to go in Best Buy? The printer aisle. We had a lot of fun with sound effects and powering multiple different models on and off.
On a BUSY Saturday afternoon was I spotted taking pictures of my son LOVING on appliances from many WEIRD angles?
Did I care?
Did a million Best Buy employees come ask us if we needed help?
Did they look at me weird when I said my son likes to hang out by the washing machines and we are just pushing buttons and listening to sounds?
Am I cool with all of this?
It’s our life.
I LOVE IT.
I feel like my “Following Jasan” project has been so neglected. I’ve missed writing and taking photos, but sometimes life happens and you just need to try to stay positive and get by. That’s been our situation lately. First year of full day school + a new job for mama + new routine + early as heck bedtime for Jasan = overwhelm and not enough hours in the day.
I don’t want this to sound like complaining; it’s not meant to. It’s a realization of a lot going on and how I have handled it. Umm…I haven’t handled it as smoothly as I assumed I would.
Due to the nature of how my son is wired, he really needs me. I LOVE that, but on occasion I feel like I need a minute to breathe. We went from spending the majority of every day together to (during the school week) about 3 1/2 hours (awake.) Now that we are a few weeks into this new schedule, I know he just needs MAMA and LOVE during that time period. Errands and life have a hard time fitting into that time slot.
Transition for him has been difficult…as much as I am a sleep nazi with his schedule now, he still remains tired. His diet is beyond horrible at school so I am sure his energy gets low. (I don’t think chips provide the protein he needs. haha.) He isn’t used to NOT having a choice when it comes to the activity in his schedule. That is rough. Throwing and spitting then ensues, and behavior gets out of control. Reading these handwritten notes from his teacher when he gets home from school that describe the destructive actions that occur break my heart. Jasan and I are so connected that it is hard to hear that most of his days now are rough. So many questions go through my mind. I know he needs to learn how to follow a schedule at school. He will never survive in life if he doesn’t, I just wish it didn’t have to be such a painful process.
These past few weeks of what has felt a bit like mayhem to me, I have learned this. I know my son is beyond sensitive to my energy. He knows when I am not my even keel happy self. He may not be able to ask me, “What’s wrong, Mama?” but he will manifest his sensitivities to my discord in different ways. Sickness, moodiness, behavior issues, etc. And then, of course that adversely effects me. The vicious cycle continues until I get my head out of overwhelm and center myself.
I think our children with autism have a special gift. With the way they interpret their environment around them, how could they not be extra sensitive to what their caregivers are feeling? All kids are, of course, but our autistic children…
I believe it’s on a whole other level.
Which poses this thought. When you are a parent or a caregiver to a child with special needs, it is more important that ever to keep life in balance. That may sound unrealistic. Shit happens that we don’t necessarily control. But do we have the ability to create what we want in our reality and keep drama at a low? Absolutely we do.
I think it’s one of those things that we need to really think through to help our children. For example, we know that going into certain environments will cause sensory overwhelm and upset. We know the tools that they need to be able to cope appropriately, or we don’t go. That’s a simple one.
But what about when it comes to our emotional health as the adult? What can we clean out of our day-to-day to reduce emotional upset within ourselves?
That will greatly benefit our children. When we give them a calm and emotionally stable environment, that clears the way for them to thrive. We are their examples. With the challenges that they already face, wouldn’t it be the perfect scenario for them to succeed? I realize that this is much easier said than done. It takes lots of practice. I am not an expert by any means, but I do know that my awareness level is on track. That is step number one…
A key to this is living in the moment. Are you?
When I feel like I am living in the moment, I feel more calm. I can embrace what is happening. I can be grateful for where I am at, no matter what the situation. At this stage in my life I don’t believe in coincidences anymore. Life is always teaching us something. We have to open our eyes and our minds and be free to see it.
Sometimes you just need an eye shot of a cute butt to bring a smile to your face. This cute butt works for me!! 🙂
When I really feel off, I am going to bring my mind to this moment. Jasan. Beach. Waves. Running. That smile that melts me. Sunshine. Beautiful places on this earth that we can travel to see. The feeling of sand in-between toes. Watching him discover this beauty surrounding him. Sounds. Senses. Umbrella drinks. HAPPINESS.
It’s all about mindset. It’s worth it to me to keep a balance. For my own well-being, but ALSO FOR MY SON.
The crashing. His body needs it at certain parts of the day. His sensory system craves pressure to regulate. I realize this about him, and I get it. But I have to admit there are times when it drives me crazy. For example…
In stores or shopping areas.
When we are around people we don’t know.
When we are around people that don’t have any patience.
When we are at a restaurant.
When I am just NOT IN THE MOOD to be ran in to. 🙂
I could keep going, but you get the idea, I’m sure.
So, with that being said, I try my best to keep my thoughts on the positive and to work with him instead of against him. Instead of getting annoyed and telling him, “No!” (which just fuels the fire anyway,) I assimilate. If we are out and about, then I pick him up. Swing him around. Get goofy with him for a bit. Make a game out of it as much as I can. Go for a walk. Chase each other. Whatever I can do depending on the situation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I know it’s the way he is wired. I want to love him and help him be who he is.
This summer, we did a lot of “crashing” in our gazebo.
Do you have ideas for your child(ren) when they need to sensory regulate and it’s inconvenient in the current momentary situation?
Please share. (I could always use more!)