Happy Mother’s Day

We do not participate in traditional celebrations of what I call “Hallmark” holidays around here. We enjoy the holidays, but in our own way. I don’t need over-priced bouquets of flowers or chocolate, or a meal in a restaurant on one of the busiest days of the year. Its nice to have an annual reminder to take the time to appreciate the loved ones in our lives, but everyday can be a Valentine’s or a Mother’s or Father’s day. We try hard to teach our children to show appreciation and be thankful year round and we don’t put a lot of pressure on the holidays.

That said, today is Mother’s Day. I bought us strawberry and goat cheese muffins to have for breakfast, made myself an extra cup of coffee, and pretended Oliver’s sleeping till 8:30am (as opposed to getting me up at 4:30am) was some kind of unconscious gift! And as I held my little Oliver this morning I couldn’t help but think of the fragility of our time together. The ache of the terror and grief I experienced having almost lost my son is as sharp today as it was two and a half years ago, and prodded me to think about what Mother’s Day, the actual day, means to me. My conclusion is that I am so thankful to be a mother. Its easy for us to forget what a privilege it is to be a mom, as it is easy for our kids and spouses to forget how lucky they are to have us.  Mother’s Day is as much about appreciating my family as it is about them appreciating me. So I resolve: Today I will not worry or stress. I will enjoy my domestic activities as my disaster of a house is really evidence of our wonderful life together. I will laugh at my children’s antics instead of worrying about the couch pillows. I will hold, hug, and kiss my kids as they require. I will stop what I’m doing when I’m needed and appreciate the interruptions because my life would be so empty without them. I love you, my little ones, and I love you, my husband. What and where would I be without you? Happy Mother’s Day to me!

Kids Volunteering for Coats for Kids

I’m getting into the volunteer circles late this year. Coats for Kids is  a non profit public service that takes a huge amount of time and commitment to pull off.

Coats for Kids gathers gently used and new coats for underprivileged families. No child should ever be cold. We managed to get in on the day of distribution and lend a hand.

Next year we will volunteer during the preparation stages of the process so we can do more! But the kids enjoyed themselves. And the important part is that we took our first step.

My youngest was born with a mitochondrial disease, its genetic, and has been incredibly difficult for our family. Over the last three years our family has received a LOT of support from friends and strangers as our Christmases have been celebrated based on revolving door trips to the hospital. This year we are blessed. The flu season has been mild. My youngest had a brief respiratory infection, but we wasted no time pulling out the big guns, and we managed to beat it before it gained momentum. Also, he is so much stronger this year. He’s gained weight. He’s two and a half and at the developmental age of a 9-12 month old, but he’s gained skills. I hope our hospital worthy illnesses are going to fade into the past. And since we are able to enjoy a somewhat normal holiday this year, I realized we cannot sit back and be passive recipients. We have to give back to our community. We spend a lot of time just kicking around the house. Its cold outside and the kids are bored. I’ll bet there are a lot of people out there in similar situations. Meals on Wheels and More currently has 28 open meal routes across Austin and, with the holiday season here, even more volunteer cancellations are expected in the coming weeks. Seasonally, this is a time of year when MOWAM sees one of the highest rates of volunteer turnover, as people cancel their service commitments due to holiday vacations and obligations. Meals on Wheels and More relies on volunteers to deliver 90 percent of the nearly 1 million meals it distributes annually. Meals on Wheels and More is also looking for substitute drivers to fill in during the holiday season, from now until January 2, when volunteer cancellations are expected to sharply increase. For more information please contact Volunteer Recruiter Denise Jimenez djimenez@mealsonwheelsandmore.org or call 476-6325 and ask for Volunteer Services.

We’ve filled out our application to be a substitute driver for Meals on Wheels. It took less than five minutes. These are routes that can be delivered during an office lunch hour. Coats for Kids has come and gone, but Operation Blue Santa, Meals on Wheels, and other non-profit assistance organizations still need your help whether its time or donations.

Have a blessed holiday!

Halloween Sewing Frenzy is OVER

*WHEW* That was intense.

I opened my Etsy shop and, based on my experiences the last time I had an Etsy shop, I was prepared for a mosy-along approach to sales. I thought I’d make a costume here, another costume there, slowly build my options and it would be relaxed and fun. Well it was fun, but it was not relaxed! I made the gnome costumes first with no idea how much people love gnomes!!! So cool! Once the gnome costumes and accessories were in the shop there was no time for anything else. I had so much fun, and I learned so much in this crash course to the holidays on Etsy, I just wanted to throw a general THANK YOU out to the universe and my customers.

This year has brought a lot of progress for me in terms of my goals. As a stay at home mother of three preschoolers for the last six years I have slowly felt my edges blurring. I knew I was more than a mom, but I didn’t have time to pursue self-enrichment. And my youngest was born with a mitochondrial disease, pulling the focus of life even farther away from me. I was getting a little depressed. I think a lot of moms can relate to that. So took hold of my bootstraps and decided to get back on Etsy and go back to school. My idea is to get a BA in Business while building a business from the ground up. That way once I’m finished I’ll have more to put on a resume than I’m a SAHM who went to school while taking care of the kids! This holiday season on Etsy has certainly gotten me off to a great start. I fortunately decided to take only one class this semester, which is turning out to be the best ever choice. If I’d had more on my plate I might have taken a turn for the looney bin! As intense as the last two months have been, I am thriving. And I am thankful. There were times I got a little grumpy, but I reminded myself, “Hey! I asked for this!”

Now the question is, what do I ask for next, hmmm? My goals for the rest of this year include:

  • Coming up with Christmas gift ideas to sell.
  • Coming up with new dress up and costume ideas.
  • Running my first ever craft fair booth (at my daughter’s school’s Winter Festival!).
  • Establishing administrative polices for myself – don’t want to get behind on the paperwork!
  • Learning about taxes and how to itemize!
  • Re-organizing my sewing studio so the design is more friendly to what I’m going to call Extreme Sewing vs Home Sewing.
  • Build a website.

OH yeah, don’t forget continuing to care for my family, managing my medically needy son, maintain my house, be a substitute teacher for my daughter’s school, and make straight A’s! I’ve accepted I’m not capable of regular blogging activity, but my goals will be the topics I’ll be blogging on. So if you’re a SAHM who wants to get back into “it,” or a budding entrepreneur, or just curious, keep reading. I hope to share some useful information. Or check me out on Facebook! While I can’t blog on a regular basis, me and FB are tight. Its easy, and fun, to post on FB and connect with my friends and customers. https://www.facebook.com/WooWhoEtsy

Thanks again, Universe!

~Melissa

First Playdate for Oliver EVER.

Yes, it was truly Oliver’s first ever playdate. Any time we’ve had friends over to play they’re the friends of my older kids. Oliver can only do his best not to get stomped. This time, however, our company was a little lady with CP and she came just to play with him. I put a movie on for my older kids in another room and let our quieter children enjoy some personal time together. Oliver is two but at the developmental age of a 9-12 month old (it varies in the different categories) so he still isn’t playing “with” other children, but “next to” as is the m.o. of younger toddlers. But he was absolutely stimulated and excited to have another little person crawling around with him. He was intrigued to see his toys in someone else’s little hand. He noticed when she held his drum and went over to investigate. Their paths crossed as they cruised furniture and they stopped to regard one another for a moment. It was so lovely. Bless their baby hearts. My friend and I have not spent a lot of time together over the last couple of years. Having a special needs child is intense! Neither of us knew where our children were headed and we each had a variety of health concerns to deal with. It seems, tho we’re not out of the woods, that we’re in a place in our lives where we can relax and make time for these types of get togethers. Oliver is so much stronger I’m not terrified of germs and letting others touch his toys. And S. is stronger, too, not so fragile. In fact since she compensates for her lack of lower body strength with her upper body her biceps are almost as big as mine, and she’s only three! 🙂 We’re looking forward to the next time!

 

 

 

 

Big Day Developmentally Speaking…

My son, Oliver, is two years old but functions between a 9-12 month developmental age. Oliver is technically undiagnosed, but extensive testing has shown he has mitochondrial dysfunction. Oliver receives occupational, physical, speech and feeding therapy,  has a therapy coordinator and a music class that we do together. Oliver turned two in July. It is SO HARD when a special needs child has a birthday. Their actual age is suddenly in direct focus, it can’t be ignored. Shopping for birthday presents is so frustrating. He is unable to do the things a child his age can do. Oliver can’t stack blocks, doesn’t put toys into containers, and he has no speech. But he’s happy! And adorable. We don’t think about what he can’t do on a daily basis, we focus on the little triumphs. Its just hard sifting through the toy store inventory trying to find things that fit him!

Generally Oliver will have a lull in progress before making huge leaps in his developmental skill set. We’ve been experiencing one of those jumps for the last couple of weeks.  Yesterday, Friday, we started the day with a Music Together Class. In our class are parents with children Oliver’s age. The kids run around on their chubby legs grabbing egg shakers and movin’ to the music. On the first day of class Oliver was very reserved and would have NOTHING to do with an egg shaker. Today, six weeks later, for the first time he picked up an egg, shook it, squealed in delight and dropped it. Then when it was time for the music exploration portion of the class, he crawled right into the melee of kids and instruments shaking a tambourine here and whacking a drum there. I was so moved. When a typically developing child picks up an egg shaker its no big deal. When someone like Oliver picks up an egg shaker its a G.D. miracle. It feels like insanity to be so humbled by such a small action. Then after music class we headed to feeding therapy where he did beautifully! His therapist tried some new techniques with him and he responded with flying colors.

Our lives are bursting with blessings, sometimes they are as small as an egg shaker. I have two typically developing children as well, and I’m thankful for my little Oliver being just who he is. My other children are loud, strong in will and body, and uncontainable. My Oliver is small and gentle and at two years old still the happiest baby I have ever met.

 

My son, Oliver.

My son, Oliver, was unanticipated. My husband and I had decided to wait to have our third child another year, but the joke was on us. Even as we made that decision little Oliver was growing in my belly – we’d already conceived! The pregnancy was my healthiest to date, completely uneventful. At my 38 week checkup I asked the P.A. to “sweep the membranes” as my first two pregnancies had had to be induced. I wanted to help my body initiate labor as much as possible. Each pelvic exam I’d had previously had shown that Oliver was head down – but when the P.A. swept the membranes we discovered he was actually breach, and that when they thought they were feeling the sutures of the head they were actually feeling his sweet, baby bum.

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