vacation

Hotel.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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“What the hell is this thing?” He is probably thinking. But then, his brilliant mind goes to this:

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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?

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Those of you that know Jasan or religiously follow this blog know that the GUEST LAUNDRY was a huge hit. 🙂

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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.

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Finding interesting things everywhere.

While we were in Florida, it was fun watching Jasan find his comforts in completely new surroundings and some new adventures (like chasing birds – see previous post,) but in some of his norms too. For example, my child has a love affair with straws. He has since he DISCOVERED the straw. The strength of his love has had its ebbs and flows, but the straw infatuation always remains in some capacity.

You see, a straw can be many things. It can can act as a speedometer, or possibly a tachometer. If two straws are present, then there you go! Both going at the same time. (With sound effects, of course.) They can act as windshield wipers, just something to spin (which is the perfect stimming tool,) any meter of his choice, a CDI (a course deviation indicator for those of you that don’t know what that stands for…Ha!). Let’s see, clock hands, a GPS of some sort, keeping rhythm in a song…should I keep going?

Since we frequent restaurants quite a bit, we most likely always seek out the beloved straw. It’s a comfort thing. I usually will always find a straw or two in my purse, in my car, and we have a big collection of them conveniently in a reachable large cup for him in our living space.

 

Crossing signals. He LOVES crossing signals. Sometimes we take a little stroll down the street from our home just to hang out by the signals so we can watch them change from the “red hand” to the “walking white man” (as Jasan terms it…) and all of that good stuff.

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This is the crossing signal by our house. He’s lovin’ on it.

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Sweet! They have crossing signals in Florida too! (And straws. Double awesomeness.)

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He was a little freaked out to stand on this big “photo op” chair, but he stretched himself and got up there for the obligatory photo. (He’s got that, “I’m not so sure about this Mama…” face goin’ on. Therefore, a little straw security never hurts.)

 

Now, another favorite, once it had been discovered, is the pinwheel. (I touched briefly on the pinwheel in the last post as well.) During our cloudy day shopping adventure, we found this store. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I could not get him out of there.

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All of those things behind him were spinning. And the pinwheels at the entrance, with the strategically placed fan blowing down as you walked into the store, put those babies flying in high gear!

As you wandered to the back of the store it was packed full of wind chimes. All I could think of was this video (link also on my Extras page.) This store represented the autistic person’s dream or possible nightmare (STIMULATION OVERLOAD!)

 

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The fan.

Jasan has had a HUGE interest in fans since before his first birthday. You would think he would be sick of them by now, but no way. There is still an allure to the fan that keeps on giving. As he gets older though, he likes to seek out the fan in it’s many uses beyond your traditional box fan. He has figured out that air conditioners on sides of houses or buildings include a fan. (That’s a big draw on the side of our house. I’ve been known to pull a chair around and have a seat while he does his “checking it out” thing. I have found that it is something not to be rushed.)

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Ha. Snapped this goodie the other day.

He has discovered that fans exist under the hood of the car, in any kind of motor capacity, and also in his super awesome “box” that our pilot friend, Mr. Rob made for him. (The “box” is on the left in the photo below.)

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(He often multitasks. In this photo he was creating a pattern with the video he was watching, of him in Mr. Rob’s plane, to go with the sounds and actions as he would press certain buttons on the box. Multitasking & Jasan will have to be a whole other post in itself to come…)

Getting back onto the subject of fans, it was pretty sweet when we found this gem of a restaurant to eat at while shopping that day!

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It was completely surrounded by water except for the pier that got you there. The fans that were hanging all around this cute spot caught Jasan’s eye right away! We found a table in a corner, near a fan, where we could watch the pelicans. Too cool.

Part of loving my son and his autism is recognizing what makes him feel good. Sometimes it’s the little things. A pinwheel, a couple of straws, or a box fan can put a smile on his face so fast. Sometimes that may mean taking a 5 minute break as we are walking along because he wants to stop and look at a bunch of meters.

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Or maybe “The Lobster Zone.”.

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Whatever floats his boat.

Life is good.

I’m helping add webpages (experiences) to his picture internet (that is his brilliant autistic brain.) The more webpages he has, the more knowledge he has to refer to. I am determined to build his library.

YES. I. AM.

 

 

 

Water, Waves & Chasing Birds.

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Jasan has always loved water. This makes me very happy because I too, have always been a big fan of the water. The pool, the beach, all of it. The first experience Jasan had with waves was at the age of 2 when we took a quick trip to Michigan with my father. It was a 3-day stay right on Lake Michigan at this cute little cottage. Day one was spectacular… perfect temperature and calm waters. Jasan was having a blast in the water! Day two and three the waves were up and about, and he was quite frightened to go near the water. This was the first beach experience for him and he didn’t want much to do with sand toys and such.

Fast forward 2 years and our experience at the beach was much different! He found the sand to be of some interest, not necessarily to use buckets and shovels to play with, but definitely to kick in the air. Ha! (Not so funny though, when you get sand in your eyes…good thing that didn’t occur.) The waves were a huge hit! We developed a routine. I would walk in the water behind him as he held my hands. He would lead, and we inched our way deeper into the water and CRASHED into the waves with our bodies. I would pull him up a bit with his arms so that salt water would not get in his eyes as the waves came up on us. Of course I added the “WEEEEEE!!!” sound effect with each crash. (It’s a Heidi mama thing…)

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Jasan being a sensory seeker, crashing into waves makes total sense. I love how as he is becoming more aware of his surroundings he is being brave! He wasn’t afraid at all. AWESOME.

 

The pool is always fun. He LOVES the pool and always has. (Who wouldn’t love a HUGE bathtub?) My little dude will NOT wear floaties. He will not allow me to even get them near him. As much as the floaties would be much more convenient for me (they are so well made now that kids could literally be in the pool without you…) my thought process is, he will not have a false sense of safety in the pool. I need to be with him at all times, but I would want to be anyway. This way we stay connected and he learns how the water REALLY feels. I’m guessing this will speed up his learning curve when it comes time to actually swim.

The lovely Far Horizons, where we stayed in Redington Beach, has a pool for guest use, and is situated right on the beach. Pretty dreamy. This was great for us to have both (pool/ocean) literally steps from our hotel room.

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Since it had been almost a year since last when we had been swimming, it took a day for him to get really warmed up to the idea of going “under.” It was almost like he forgot that he had done it before. We had a little oops where he went under, and then it was ON. We would go under together, one at a time, hold our breath for as long as we could, float, “swim” 4 year old style…it was fabulous.

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Jasan was big on GPS during this trip. It was a continuing theme the whole time we were there. It started in the shuttle from the airport. He requested my iPhone, which he does often during car trips, to load Maps and start the GPS. Then seeing the shuttle driver with his devices, his brain went into GPS & Garmin overload. (And remember, Jasan, being in our friend’s Piper Cherokee airplane, has been obsessed with Garmin ever since he first sat in the cockpit. Garmin, in any case, is always a BIG DEAL to him. It all goes back to the airplane…definitely in his “most awesome experiences” brain file.)

While we were in the pool, I would sometimes lay on a raft. He would push me out into the deep end, and would make up his own directions as I floated away. He remembered that we were staying on Gulf Boulevard, so when I would return to the shallow end and float under the railing (a.k.a. “the bridge,”) I was returning to Gulf Boulevard. Hilarious. I loved it.

 

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Not a new concept for all kids, but it was new one for Jasan. Chasing birds. He had never seen birds of this size before, so the fact that they were just hanging out all over the place was the coolest. And why not try to touch one? Again, awesome that he wasn’t afraid. The game became to make them fly. Most of the time, he was too quick for me to get a great shot!

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So close…

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If only he could reach! He wanted me to pick him up. That made me giggle.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of cloudy days during our Florida stay. So on a day with a high chance of rain, we returned to this cute shopping area. The birds must like this spot, because they were still there.

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I was totally loving how happy this made him!

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And, anytime I get eye contact when taking a photo… BONUS!

The last evening we were in Florida, the three of us (Grammie, Jasan & me) took a walk on the beach. (Note the pinwheel: if it spins, Jasan loves it. That was the purchase he wanted to make during our cloudy weather shopping spree.)

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And then… THIS HAPPENED.

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YES!!!

I was ready to shoot this time.

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The chasing birds theme has continued even now that we are home in Illinois. It isn’t quite the same, but it makes us both smile… that’s what counts.

Florida baby…

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We are having such a blast. Jasan’s first vacation! Tons of firsts on this trip… much to share, but I am trying to soak up every moment instead of being aware of where the camera is. 🙂 Actually haven’t been photographing him nearly as much as I thought. I need time to go through all of my shots (and thoughts!) which I will do when we return to the cold in Chicago. ❤

Much love!

Heidi & Jasan