First and foremost, it's a special day.
Happy 1st Birthday Bee!!!
It seems like yesterday that Jake and I travelled to Toronto to be there for Ofeibea's birth. She missed being a Canada Day baby by ten minutes, but instead, she became the princess of our extended family. It has been really difficult not living close and watching her grow up and reach all those first milestones. I've been sorry that I couldn't be the auntie that I wanted to be for her. But I'm grateful to the internet and the power of cell phones, because I feel like I know her well from video and photos. We are so excited to get back to Ontario to hang out and expose her to our testosterone-filled family. I don't think Jake can stand the wait.
So now to our good news. We have been under a ton of stress. There is nothing like showing your house up to 8 times a week; the cleaning, the sleepless nights, the upheaval of throwing 3 kids in the car to drive around aimlessly while strangers walk through your home. We threw all of our trust into the belief that it would all work out, as we made our plans for a move to Ontario, without yet having sold our home in Calgary. The moving truck arrives on the 16th and our flight was booked, whether the house was sold or not.
It sold. That explains the smile on Jake's face.
Thank God and all of our angels up there. We still have to wait for the conditions to go through, but it's looking good.
We have already had to start saying our goodbyes and I still don't think it feels real. If I let myself think about it, I realize that there are some faces we may never see again and that makes me really sad. In many ways, I think that Owen and Will may be fortunate to be blissfully ignorant of what is about to happen.
Owen was full of smiles on his way to his last day of school. His teachers, Joanne and Shawna could not have been better this year, had we chosen them ourselves. They were so kind and nurturing, compassionate and helpful to our whole family. We will miss them dearly. Trish and Donna on the bus were god-sends to us. There was so much anxiety for us when planning this school year and their first time on a school bus. Donna treated our boys like they were her own grand-children and we will be forever grateful.
Jacob's five years in Irish Dance in Calgary came to a sweet conclusion this month. His school put on a wonderful performance for family and friends and it was so great to reminesce and think back to how far he has come. We have made so many wonderful friendships with the families from the school and many of our memories that have shaped our time in Calgary, will be made up of those from the people we grew to think of as our Irish Dance family. I know that Jake will miss them all so much and he hopes he can stay in touch. We also got to get together at one of the family's homes, where they graciously hosted a very special evening to end the year and wish Cara and Mark best wishes for their upcoming marriage. Special thanks to Cara and Mark who have watched Jake grow and who have had to ride the roller coaster with him. We will especially miss Kellie and Margie and all of the families who really reached out to help in some of our trying times over the past few years. We were really lucky with this group, there's no question.
Jake, Ella and Owen M.
After a year of feeling like I've been caught up in a vacuum, not really seeing many friends or making connections with people, I got to see a lot of my friend, Lisa. I'm not sure that this was a good thing, because it only made me sadder to realize how much I am going to miss her and our friendship. But our kids have benefitted from these recent visits and I am happy that we will have these little memories to look back on, as our last days spent with good friends.
This little monkey has been going through some changes of his own. After many years of trying to work on behaviour interventions to get a handle on Will's OCD, we finally came to the conclusion that his safety was our utmost priority, and that our interventions just didn't cut it. It seems to us, that his mind was always racing. Was always distracted by scripting and looping obsessions that drove him to act impulsively and sometimes dangerously, in order to fulfill whatever need he was thinking about. For example, last fall when he was obsessed with reinacting scenes from the Toy Story movie (do you remember this? Digging Deep). In autism, it is not uncommon to see people who have obsessive compulsive thoughts, but classicly, the behaviours that stem from them are acted out upon in order to calm them. In Will's case, it appears that acting out on these obsessive thoughts only seemed to further upset him, yet he couldn't seem to stop them. So after many months of thinking it over and meeting with specialists, we opted to try a medication that might target this for him.
We are happy to report that we are on week three and we are seeing results. I will give it another week or two before I summarize the changes, because they are too subtle to describe on here, but I have hope that it is helping him and he seems happier and more at peace. On the downside, we are trying to figure out what came first, the chicken or the egg, but Will has been waking every single morning around 3am for the day and he's eating everything but the kitchen sink. So we're still trying to figure out if it's the meds or just the time of year. Time will tell and then I'll tell you. :)
Lastly, see this sweet picture?
Seems innocent enough. Two boys sharing in their love and interest for this wonderful piece of technology. The iPad. Our saviour. Tablets, iPods, iPads and iPhones. They all seem so innocently life-changing and wonderful. You would also think that they could only be good for kids like Owen and Will. With apps to help them communicate, to learn emotions, to schedule their day, to record data on their behaviours throughout the day. Amazing how far we have come, thanks to Steve Jobs.
Well, if you ever hear anyone talk about people who have autism and they call them idiots or dummmies. Tell them about my Will.
Do you see this?
Tonight I got a phone call from my credit card's security department. They wanted to notify me that there was some unusual activity on my Visa. It seems someone was having a field day on iTunes. After some further investigation, we figured out that that time earlier today when Will was resting his chin on Jake's shoulder while he played on his iPod, Will wasn't just being affectionate with his big brother Jake. He was spying. And memorizing. And plotting.
Will used the password he scooped from his brother and racked up over $250 worth of purchases on iTunes. Backyardigans, Pearl Jam, the Lion King and Dora. Yup.. didn't take a brain surgeon to figure out who the culprit was.
Someday maybe we'll look back on this and laugh.