Friday, July 29, 2011

Flashback Friday

I got this awesome idea from Deanna's Corner!

Every year we go camping for the weekend at my Grandmother's house. It is our unofficial family reunion. This pic is of my Timmy (about 2.5 years old here), pulling my brother around in a wagon. It is just such a funny picture. Everytime I see it, it brings a smile to my face. Ahhh.... how much things have changed in the last 5 years.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Crochet Fish Hat (Pattern)

I know there is a crochet fish hat pattern out there.  It is a perfectly good crochet fish hat.  I've made her crochet fish hat.  It really is a nice pattern.

That being said, I am not a fan of single crochet hats.  They are fine, but I just really prefer the looser fit of a half double crochet hat.  So, I sat down and started working a pattern up from scratch.  I didn't just change the sc areas to hdc, I wrote an entirely different and new pattern.



Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Pirate's Life For Me!

A test crochet project I did up for tams42.  It was a super quick crochet and was just ADORABLE!  I plan on making many more of them!

Lay Off The Judgment

 When we go out and about, I'm always faced with a dilemma.  Do I stand next to Timmy and remind him to quiet down, to not talk out of turn?  Do I stand next to Timmy and remind him not to make little noises?  Do I stand next to Timmy and push his hands back down when he starts to lift them and make funny hand gestures?  Do I stand next to him and keep my hand on his shoulder so he doesn't bounce up and down?  Do I stand next to him and remind him to enunciate his words properly?  Do I tell him not to make funny faces and head tilts?
Do I do all of these things, to try to make him into the perfect child that everyone else will accept?

"He's perfect just the way he is.  If people can't accept that, then it's their loss."  This is what my mom said to me today when I was crying on the phone about this.  Can you see, now, why I love her so freaking much?  She is so wise.

Last night was the end of VBS.  They had a big program at the church.  There was singing, dancing, magic, presents, food, etc.  Timmy was very excited.  He loved VBS.  Timmy loves dancing.  LOVES it.  He sorts resembles a rabid cat on ecstasy when he dances, but that is just fine. I think it is pretty cute.  He could dance for hours.  So he is dancing to the music ... and I see people giving him "the look".  You know the one.  The one where their distaste for his actions are written all over their faces.  Yeah, there was even an eyeroll or two.  After the dancing was the magic show.  Timmy LOVES magic.  He was bouncing up and down in his chair in excitement.  A couple times he even said stuff like "I know how you did that!"  Again ... the looks.
Here's the thing ... he wasn't being naughty.  He was enjoying himself.  He wasn't hurting anyone.

Please, just accept my child.  Please don't make me feel like I need to force him into the "perfect child" mold that you think all children should come from.  He isn't going to fit into it.  Me trying to force him to, will just make him miserable.  Me trying to force him to, will just make me miserable.  Everytime I go out in public, I worry about what will happen.  I worry he will do something to make others start up with the looks and eyerolls.  There are days that he does do something that I can almost understand the eyerolls.  If he is having a meltdown or something ... I could understand.  We've been in that situation, and definitely saw the looks.  That, to me, is more understandable.  But when he is behaving himself?  When he is just having fun?  When he is at a kid's function?  Can't people just lay off the judgement and lay on some love and understanding?  It would go so much further in people's lives, that is for sure.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Aqua Cowl

I recently test crocheted this beautiful aqua cowl/scarf for JosefinaKnits on Ravelry.  I absolutely LOVE it.  If I was a cowl/scarf wearer, I'd definitely be wearing it.  

Food and my ASD child

Know his aversions.  Keep him gluten free.  Keep him on a decent schedule.  Make SURE he gets 3 meals a day.

These are all things that we have to keep in mind with Timmy and food.
He has a major aversion to certain foods and certain textures.  He cannot eat mashed potatoes.  He cannot eat cherry pie filling (don't even get me talking about the puking incident with them at Denny's from the pancake smiley face).  He cannot eat fish.  If a meat is too chewy and he can't swallow it easily after a few bites, don't feed him that either.  Don't tell him he has to take at least one bite of these things that he has severe aversions to, or he will end up vomiting all over the place.  Trust me, I know.
We took Timmy gluten free 1.5 years ago.  It was one of the best things we have done for him in regards to his behavior.  He stopped acting out as much.  He stopped having as many meltdowns.  He stopped flapping his hands and making noises as much.  Really, he was almost a different child.  If he happens to get exposed to gluten, you definitely know it.  The other day at my mom's 50th birthday party, Timmy was karate chopping across the yard and making noises.  He'd been very "in your face, forgetting about personal space" all day long.  He'd been very flappy and making lots of noises all day long.  We were all sitting there in a group (my family) and I said "Hmm... I think Timmy got some gluten" and everyone started giggling and said "Ya think?" I'm glad that my family can see, now, how important it is to his behavior to keep him gluten free.  It is almost like he loses total control of his body.  He loses all inhibitions, and just goes a little wild.  Yes, all from gluten.
We also need to keep him on a pretty good schedule with eating.  When he starts to get hungry, instead of saying "Hey!  I'm hungry", he starts acting out.  He'll start picking fights with his brothers.  He'll walk by and smack his brother.  He'll start jumping up and down, twirling, etc.  Like he just needs to DO something ... because he is hungry.  When I see him starting to do something like that, I ask him if he's hungry.  I don't care if it is 40 minutes until dinner, I know he needs something THEN, or we'll probably end up with a situation on our hands.  I'll toss him an apple, and it will take the edge off his hunger and let him feel good enough until mealtime.
Timmy will get upset if he doesn't get 3 meals a day.  The whole brunch thing doesn't work well for him.  He likes to have his breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Sometimes, when we do do a brunch, we will just end up giving him something like a fruit plate or something later that day so that he will feel like he has 3 full meals.  It is really important to him, and very easy for us to do usually, so why not?  Right?

Who'd have thought that food would be so important?  Dealing with all of these food things, on top of Adrian's food things (Celiac Disease), and my food things (Lap band) .... well let's just say our lives revolve around food here.

HOT summer days

It's been so hot lately. I'm not used to this heat. My children are not used to this heat. In SW NY you may get a few 90'+ days a year. Our summers are normally 70-80's. I'm comfortable at a nice 75'. That is what I call perfect!
But, we don't always get what we want, so we make do with what we get!
That means running the AC a lot in the house. It also means filling up the kiddie pool and letting the kids splash around. (The lake beach is closed because the heat has caused the EColi levels of the lake to exceed safety levels, so no swimming).

My cousin's son came to visit today, too, so it was especially fun!
Niko making a splash!
Adrian making a splash!
Oooo!  Good one Adrian!
Kalen & Adrian were playing Lifeguard.  Kalen was up on the perch watching out for drowning children.  Adrian, of course, is "drowning" and needing help!
Yay!  Kalen saved Adrian!  What a strong and courageous Lifeguard he is!
Timmy wants to play some ball!
Don't these two look like ruffians?  Better watch out, or they'll beat ya up! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Olivia The Pig!

My cousin called me up a while back and told me that her daughter would LOVE an Olivia The Pig stuffed animal.  She was wondering if I could try my hand at crocheting one up for her, since she had loved the Muno that I had made for her the year before. 
Me, being the procrastinator that I am, waited until the day before the party to start this.  I stayed up until 4am, but I was able to complete it!  And she LOVED it!  YAY!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Freezer Meals

I've been trying the freezer meal thing lately.  I'm not really sure if it is a huge time saver or money saver yet, but we will see.  Recently I've made a huge pot of split pea soup (yuck), scalloped potatoes, texmex mix (beans, ground beef, ground turkey, onions, garlic, taco seasonings), spaghetti mix (ground beef, ground turkey, garlic, tomatoes, spaghetti seasonings), and today I made 2 different kinds of meatloaf.  TexMex Meatloaf (ground beef, onions, tomatoes, taco sauce, crushed tortilla chips, taco seasonings and cheddar cheese), and Regular Meatloaf (ground beef, onions, Worcestershire sauce, Ketchup, Mustard, gluten free bread crumbs, eggs). 

The texmex mix is all cooked, just defrost and use it in chili, tacos, etc. 
The spaghetti mix is all cooked, just defrost and use it in goulash, spaghetti, etc.

The meatloafs are NOT cooked.  So you just unwrap the aluminum foil off the top and set it in the loaf pan like that. Give it some extra time when baking, to make up for it being frozen.

The scalloped potatoes need to be cooked before you put them in the freezer or the potatoes turn black.  Ick!  So bake it until it is almost done, then take it out, let it cool, and toss it in the freezer to be pulled out at a later time to bake up for dinner. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Fair Maiden (pattern)

I was looking for a beautiful, but comfortable slouch hat a while back, and I came up with this pattern.  I had already made the pattern for the Mellow Maiden, but wanted something a little more intricate, and a little prettier.  This is the pattern I came up with.

Supplies needed:
-1 skein worsted weight yarn (about 200yards)
-4.0 mm (G) hook
-5.5 mm (I) hook
-darning needle

I've made the pattern for this hat very affordable for everyone.  You can purchase a copy of it here. Pay with a credit card or paypal account, and you will receive the pattern immediately.  I include resale rights in every pattern I write.  So you have every right to sell any items you make from my pattern (just not the actual pattern).

$2.50 USD

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The White Man

We went to visit my grandmother and grandfather over the weekend.  On our way there we drove through the reservation in Salamanca, NY.  I grew up about 10 minutes from there, and worked on the reservation while in highschool.  So while we were driving through, I was pointing out different things to the boys.
One of the kids asked what a reservation was, and I tried to explain it all to them.  It was something along the lines of "the white man's" government forcing all of the Native American's into small areas of land.  So we talked about how mean that was, etc.
Adrian (5) goes to me "The white men are big MEANIES!"
I go "You do realize, you are a white man, right?"
He looks down at his arm, then up at me.  Then down at his arm, then up at me.  His eyes are HUGE and he goes, "I am?????"

LOL, I had to laugh so hard.  It makes me feel good that my children don't see in colors.  We're all just people.  I hope that that continues forever into their lives.

My little Adrian with his big, beautiful eyes.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Happy Anniversary Mom & Tim!

Yesterday was my mom and her WONDERFUL husband's anniversary.  Although they've been together for 19 years, this was year #5 for their actual wedding anniversary.
I'm so very, very happy that my mom is with such a wonderful and caring man.  I really could not want for a better man for her, father for me, or grampa for my boys.  He is so wonderful, and I love him so much!
And to celebrate ... here is a pic of a VERY dirty and tired Niko at her wedding reception.  1 year old + cupcake = VERY big mess!  LOL  But isn't he cute, anyway? 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm Just Tim.

It's so hard to not step in with my shield and sword and fight every battle for him, even the small ones. He's been through so much since starting school. Not many people "get" him. They don't "get" what he is saying to them. They don't "get" his funny humor. They don't "get" his needs. And when they don't get him, they can sometimes be mean and rude. Sometimes it is just a snarky face. Other times it is a snarky comment. Other times it is people/children not wanting to be around him.
Whenever I see him do something that makes others uncomfortable, I want to step in and explain that he is just a little different, and that it is ok. Whenever I see him get uncomfortable with something someone says or does around/to him, I want to step in and tell them that that upsets him, and try to calm him down before he gets too upset.
But sometimes ... I know I just need to step back a bit and let him work it out. It is soooo hard to do this, though. I just want to protect him from all of the crap he faces as people navigate through his life.
Today it was something as simple as a child calling him "Timmy Turner" (from The Fairly Odd Parents). Timmy hates being called anything besides Tim, Timmy or Timothy. The child was just being fun with him, not picking on him at all, but I knew Timmy took it wrong. I knew that Timmy, as he always does, became upset when someone "messed up" his name.
I've tried to explain in the past, the difference in someone joking and someone being mean to him, but he always takes his name being changed as being mean to him. This other boy had no ill intent toward Timmy, but I still took that step forward to put my arm around Timmy and face the little boy and let him know that Timmy doesn't like to be called anything but by his actual name. But I stopped myself. This wasn't an actual battle. This was something that Timmy was going to have to work out himself. This wasn't someone being mean to Timmy. This was .... well part of life.
So I stood there, and I watched. I saw Timmy getting upset about it. I saw him starting to growl under his breath. But then I saw him look down at the floor and take a deep breath. Then another. Then another. And then my little boy went over and said "I'm just Tim." and walked away over and took care of his backpack. And it was over.
Sometimes we've navigated over so many freaking mountains, that it is easy for us, as parents, to make a mountain out of molehill. I've really decided that I do need to step back sometimes, and let Timmy navigate over the molehills on his own. I'll step in and help him over the mountains.
I'm very impressed with Timmy about this, though.
First off, he used his breathing to calm himself. Meltdown was averted by his deep breathing exercises that we have been practicing. YES!!
Second off, he used his words and told the boy his feelings. Yes, it was a very small sentence, but it got his point across. He let the boy know that he didn't like the nickname, and what he likes to be called. YES!!

Timmy, my boy, you navigated that molehill awesomely! <3!

Monday, July 4, 2011

What a great holiday weekend!

Saturday we had the bonfire with friends. Sunday we went to Darien Lake Theme Park. Monday we went to the fireworks in Mayville, NY!

Our family had a wonderful time the entire weekend! Yes, we were absolutely exhausted by the end of it, but it was GREAT!

Niko at Hook's Lagoon - Darien Lake

Adrian at Hook's Lagoon - Darien Lake

Adrian at Hook's Lagoon - Darien Lake

Timmy at Hook's Lagoon - Darien Lake

Timmy & Niko waiting for the laser light show - Darien Lake

Adrian & Daddy waiting for the laser light show - Darien Lake

  Fireworks in Mayville, NY!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bonfire & Friends

Tonight we decided to invite some friends over for a bonfire.  This was our first bonfire of the summer.  The kids were all psyched about it.  We had also purchased a few fireworks to set off.  I was a little worried about how they would effect Timmy, but he didn't seem to have any problems.
Our friends showed up with their 2 sons and the boys started playing and having a great time in the dark.  They chased lightning bugs, played on the swing set and just ran around like the wild little boys they are.
We had only planned on having our friends over, but before we started setting off the fireworks we had, I decided to call the neighbors behind us, and the neighbors down the road to let them know what we were doing.  I ended up inviting them all over to watch and to enjoy the bonfire as well.
Timmy didn't know that other people would be coming, so when the 2 boys from down the road showed up, and the neighbor guys from behind us showed up as well, he started doing his running around, rolling on the ground, hopping all over kind of thing.  Just making weird noises, getting in the boys' faces, etc.  He wasn't upset that they were there, just .... out of sorts because he wasn't expecting it, I think.  It took a while to calm him down, but he did eventually calm.
We had a GREAT night.  Absolutely wonderful.  To have friends all around us, cooking marshmallows and making s'mores, chatting, watching the kids run around and have so much fun.  I want to do this over and over and over this summer.  The fireworks were pretty, but the company and friendship was beautiful.  Just beautiful. 

While the boys from down the road were here, I told them that Timmy would be going back to school this year.  The one says to me "I felt so bad for him, because B always was so mean to him and picking on him on the bus".  And yet, the school still stands by their determination that nothing happened on the bus, and that Timmy just was making it up.  I didn't ask this child about bullying on the bus, I just told him that Timmy was coming back to school and he offered the information.  So, if Niko, Adrian, Timmy and the boys down the road all saw this bullying, why didn't the bus driver?
I know this is all in the past.  I know that it is a moot point at this point since he won't be riding the bus with those kids anymore, but still.... it hurts that we went through all we did this past year because Chautauqua Lake Central School will not take their heads out of their bottoms and SEE what is going on on the buses.  That they do not protect the children on the buses like they need to.  That, even though I called EVERY SINGLE TIME something happened, not ONCE did that busing supervisor ever write a report up.  Or, at least that is what the principal says.  It just makes me sick.  That school ALLOWED my child to be bullied.  That school did NOT protect my child.  And yes, even though this is in the past, it still freaking hurts.  And badly.  And I'm so upset still that because of THEM, my son wanted to die.  At 6 years old, he wanted to die.  Ugh.
*sigh*  But really, I didn't want to make this post into another rant about Chautauqua Lake Central School and their inability to properly protect the children when in their care, this was suppose to be about our great night we had.  I just needed a moment to vent about this.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nottinghamshire (pattern)

 This is my favorite hat I've ever made. This is also my most popular pattern I've ever sold. It makes a beautiful and chic hat.

I've made this hat in all different types of yarn. From the softest wools, to the cheaper acrylics, and it always looks beautiful.
Supplies needed:
-1 skein worsted weight yarn (about 220 yards)
-G hook
-I hook
-3-5 buttons
-darning needle

I've made the pattern for this hat very affordable for everyone.  You can purchase a copy of it here. Pay with a credit card or paypal account, and you will receive the pattern immediately.  I include resale rights in every pattern I write.  So you have every right to sell any items you make from my pattern (just not the actual pattern).

$2.50 USD

© 2011 Catrina Usher
This crochet pattern is not for resale and does not include resale rights. Reproducing and distributing this pattern and photographs in any form (including selling, sharing, trading, or posting of this pattern on any web site) is strictly prohibited.
Items made from this pattern may be used for commercial purposes, but please acknowledge my name and pattern.
By downloading this pattern you agree to these terms.