Normal is boring

I’ve said it a million times… I’m an awful blogger. The longer I go without making a post, the tougher it is to sit down and write. Part of what’s added to the craziness is that I went back to work this year. I was a teacher in my former life, and became a stay-at-home mom when Zac was born. Teaching is a passion, but with a pre-schooler who needs me, working a traditional job (teaching public school) was impossible with our schedule. Instead, I’m teaching pre-K at my son’s former church pre-school. I am still able to drive Zac to school every morning, go teach my kiddos, then have an hour (sometimes more) in the afternoons before the bus brings him home. It’s the best of both worlds and I love it.

Working in a pre-school is great in so many ways, but one benefit (for me) is a relaxed dress code. When I taught in the public school system, I dressed up most days. Now, my uniform consists of jeans, a graphic tee, and comfortable shoes. Because I’m me, I’ve enjoyed designing my own t-shirts for work. It’s expanded into selling them to friends and followers.

My newest (and favorite) t-shirt design was actually inspired by my son. Zac was officially diagnosed with autism a year ago. I know every parent reacts differently to receiving an autism diagnosis for their child, but for me it was a relief. Zac was already in an autism preschool program for a year at that point, but once we received the diagnosis we were able to get help for private occupational therapy. A few weeks ago, while I was in the waiting room at his therapy office, one of the speech therapists asked me if I ever made an autism shirt. April is autism awareness month, and she hadn’t found anything she liked. A couple days later one of Zac’s old OTs reached out to me asking the exact same thing, so I decided to draft something up.

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I love this shirt. I love bringing awareness to autism. When I had my suspicions about Zac, I actually had somebody (a professional) tell me there was no way he could have autism because he smiled, laughed, and enjoyed being hugged and tickled. If you’ve met one kid with autism, you’ve met one kid with autism. No two kids are the same. When you hear, “it’s a spectrum” people tend to to think of a linear line where autism is categorized mild to severe. It is a spectrum, but there are many spectrums- verbal communication, nonverbal communication, social awareness, sensory integration, cognition, and adaptability. My son didn’t talk until he was 3, but now at age 5 is VERY verbal. The kid never stops talking and asking questions. Zac struggles most with sensory integration. He craves movement and touch, but is super sensitive to certain noises. I am amazed at the progress he’s made through school and private therapy. We’re now at a place where he can say, “mommy, it’s too loud in here.” It’s saved him (and us) from struggling through a meltdown. Pic Jointer.png

Autism has brought some wonderful people into our lives- teachers, therapists, fellow moms… I’m thankful for every one of them, and the impact they’ve had Zac.

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The December Darlings

I am so excited about this quilt. It is an adult size blanket, using baby onesies. 32 onesies to be exact, that came from 30 awesome women (plus myself). The story behind this quilt began over 2 years ago…

Social media plays a huge role in our lives. What you may not know is that sites like Baby Center and The Bump serve not only as online resources for new mothers, but as a community of women. There are groups for everything from pregnancy, to motherhood, those struggling to conceive, dealing with a loss, and everything in between.

I found out I was pregnant with my son, March 30, 2011. I was already a member of the Baby Center online community, so I searched for a due date group to join. I had no idea then the impact that decision would have on my life. The group was called “The December Darlings,” and was a private board for women due December 1-10, 2011. People shared every aspect of pregnancy- the good, the bad, and the ugly. We grieved together as some women suffered miscarriages, prayed together as some (myself included) received troubling news, and rejoiced as our babies were born.

As the year drew to a close, our group dwindled. What was once close to 200 women was now 73. Anyone who’s had a newborn knows that sitting down at the computer can be a challenge, so most of us accessed Internet through our phones (especially those up nursing a baby at 2 am). For convenience, we decided to move our group over to Facebook. Not everyone made the move, but for the ones who did, our bond grew stronger.

We’ve supported each other through the loss of parents, miscarriages, deployments, sick children, and spouses with cancer. We’ve celebrated as our babies reached milestones, new pregnancies and the birth of younger siblings, homecomings, and more. Somewhere along the line we started sending gifts, and that’s where the idea for the quilt came to be. How cool would it be to have a blanket made up with something from each of us… I was eager to take on this project, and after weeks of nagging, I got enough onesies to make the quilt.

I’ll spare you the details, and focus on the highlights. What started off as women with one thing in common (motherhood), and over the past 2 years we’ve become great friends. Our group consists of 36 women, spread out over 23 states. We range in age from 22-42. Some of us are first time moms, others have 7 children. Many of us have had the opportunity to meet one another; I’ve been fortunate enough to meet 3 of my fellow darlings (pictures below). As a group, our dream is for all 36 of us to meet with our babies. Anyone out there with the power and funds to make that happen- my contact info is available on the blog.

I think our story is powerful. Support comes in all forms. These women, most of whom I’ve never met, I consider my closest friends. I truly don’t know how I would have made it through the past 2 years without them. In an online arena, there is no shame in asking the kinds of questions new mothers have. In our group, sometimes we jokingly wonder how our ‘real world’ friends get answers to their personal questions.These women are my sounding board for everything, and I’m so so thankful for that decision I made, back in the spring of 2011, to join this group.

If you read through this, thank you! For those here for the quilt, this blanket consists of 32 onesies and 32 flannel squares, each measuring 7″. The teal border is 2.5″ and the snowflake border is 4″. The finished blanket measures 69″ square, and its backed with pale grey anti-pill fleece. We plan to “share” this blanket, sending it to those in need when they need it. I’m hoping nobody “needs” it soon because I’m not ready to part with it.

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