Just call me Jiji

…me, just pretending to be me ….now, where did I put that cape??

Archive for the tag “children”

From One Differently- Abled Child to Another

My Wild Child

Leon is 9 years old and he has Asperger Syndrome /High Functioning Autism. He is an extremely  bright boy with big ideas and an even  bigger heart.

One of  the many wonderful characteristic of Asperger’s is Determination, and he’s got  plenty of that.  When Leon has is heart set on something, he cannot be derailed. When Leon was in 1st grade, he watched a video presentation in school about St. Judes Children’s Hospital, on that day he decided he wanted to help the kids of St. Judes, because, in his words, “I can help kids who are really, really sick” .  He then told me he wanted to cut his hair

In 2008, sporting his blue mohawk

(which was  Mohawk  at the time). When I asked him why, he said “because, I want to donate it to the ones that are bald”.

  Leon has not cut his hair since and that was back in 2008. In that time he has been teased, mocked, and bullied by other kids. He is often mistaken for a girl. But Leon takes it all in stride. He simply explains to those patient enough to listen, “ I am not a girl, I am a boy. I am  just growing my hair to donate to St. Judes Kids”.

In 2011, we found out that there was no guarantee that his donated hair would go to a  St. Judes Child. In fact it was unlikely. This did not sit well with Leon at all. He was very upset in fact. Although he knew that his hair would still go to a good cause, it was the children of St. Judes and their story that had touched his heart.

This is why he began hosting the “Leon’s Locks for St. Judes Kids Fundraiser”. It was important to him that he still do something for St. Judes Kids. Leon set his goal quite high, at $5000. We know it is a long shot but we have always taught him to reach for the stars and to believe in himself.

We worked together as a family to get donations where ever we could. His father and I reached out to our contacts via email, Facebook, and this website.  We also had cards made up for Leon to give out when the opportunity presented itself.

Leon’s Story Card

He gave them out to friends and their parents, at birthday parties, and communions. We carried them with us where ever we went. We even had a pin and a T-shirt made that said “ask me about my hair”.

Then when asked he could tell his story and give out a card. This worked out very well, because Leon did not always feel comfortable approaching people he did not know. But when asked he was always more than happy to tell his story about why his hair was so long. He spoke to people on the train, in restaurants, and we even hung out in Times Square for a while, giving out information cards.

Times Square NYC

 

.Both his dad and I are very proud of how much bravery and confidence he has shown when approaching and being approached by others. We love how much partaking in this, has helped him improve on his social skills, something that is greatly hindered by his Asperger Syndrome.

Being a part of this fundraiser has helped us grow in so many ways, both individually, and together as a family.

Tomorrow, July 7 2012, we will celebrate with our friends and family at our Annual BBQ that we have every year in July. At some point in the evening Leon will cut his hair for donation to “Locks of Love”. And while we  are happy to report that since Leon began this fundraiser in March 2012 , he has raised $1385.00;  we hope to continue in spreading the word and getting more people to donate to his fundraiser for St Judes Children’s Research Hospital.

Folks can donate with a credit card via this link https://waystohelp.stjude.org/sjVPortal/public/event/page/displayEventPage.do?sectionStyle=subMenuFour&eventId=310924&programId=2002

Please forward and share this story as much as possible!!

Leon’s self portrait

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SEEEEEE!!

We’ve just had an extremely busy weekend, so I haven’t had a chance to give an update until now. But I really didn’t want any more time to go by with out takeing moment to say a great big  Thank You to Gail Roca of  The Kids Kloset for allowing us to fund raise at their 2012 Nassau Spring Event.

Leon is thrilled to say he raised $502 this past Friday thru The Kids Kloset bringing his total so far to $1362. His response to the total funds raised thus far, was “SEEEEEE I DID make it to $1000, and more!” .That was in reference to my comment to him after he told us his goal was $5000, which was, “Leon that’s so high, you’ll be lucky to even reach $1000.

I am fairly positive that this won’t be the last time that this child proves me wrong!!

I am one proud Mama!

Thank you Gail and The Kids Kloset

…and they’ll tell two friends…

Leon is very proud of himself, as well he should be. The “Leon’s Locks for St Jude Kids” fundraiser that he is hosting online, may have had a slow start but as of today it is just $5 shy of $700.

Leon is still determined and confident that he will reach his final goal of $5000.

We have succeeded thus far by word of mouth and reaching out to our family and friends via social networks like Facebook, Twitter, & Pintrest; and of course via his dedicated webpage on this blog.

We’ve reached out to everyone we know personally and have bid our contacts to further spread Leon’s message.

Our most successful venue thus far has been by way of Facebook. We’ve posted this link, at least once a week (if not more), and asked that people like it and share it on their own walls. Additionally we have also created a Facebook event for this fundraiser as well. The hope is that everyone invited will then invite as many people as they are comfortable with from their own contacts, in an effort to spread the word even further. And then of course their contacts will do the same, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Remember  when Heather Locklear told 2 friends and they told 2 friends and so on and so on…?

Hey you could be like Heather too! Just follow this link to our Online Facebook Event page and let us know you are in, then invite two friends (or more) to then invite two more friends……

…and so on and so on and so on…

That would actually go a very long way in helping us to get the word out and hopefully get the donations to reach goal.

Thank you for your support!

What can you make with fishing line, crazy glue, and scissors?

Well, probably a lot of things. But what Leon made was a messy and chaotic morning!

English: A pair of kitchen scissors.

Ron has gotten plenty used to dealing with Leon in the mornings. While I sleep through it all.

But today woke up to Ron yelling and Leon screaming. From what I could make out, Leon was not staying on task and Ron was getting frustrated over …all of it(?).

So I stumbled out of the bedroom to see if I could give a hand. What I witnessed was Leon in all his …ADHDness! And Ron cleaning up after him with steam coming out of his ears!

I recognized this scenario right away, it is  the same one I deal with, when Leon gets home from school. But I also saw something else… a reminder. A reminder of what can happen when Leon is left up to his own devices. He really does need supervision when he isn’t at his best. Which translates to; when he is off meds.

My first question to no one in particular was, “has Leon had his meds yet?”

Ron answered “not yet!”, with a huff.

I sat down next to a very fidgety Leon and placed my hand on his shoulder, and reminded him to “Take a bite”, he did as I said as he yanked himself away from me. There was too much left on the table from the night before. I took a toy out of his hand, “BITE”, I reminded him again. He grabbed for the next closest thing as he took another bite. I held my hand out, and he knew to place it in my hand, which he did with a slap. It’s too early to correct his behavior right now, besides it would only escalate things. He started to reach for something else, but I got to it before he did; “take another bite”. “I AM!!!” he screamed.

I look at Ron and he answers my puzzled look with, “Did you leave out the fishing line last night?” as I watch him follow and collect the invisible string from all around the room, over chairs and in between chair legs and all around the table.

“I don’t think I did?” was my response. He tells me, “It is everywhere!”, he was NOT happy.

I grab Leon’s wrist as he tries to lunge for yet something else at the other end of the table, “EAT”, I say, and then, “Leon where did you get the fishing line?”

He  says “the drawer on your desk was open“.

I get up and check my desk drawer, which is indeed open and my eyes widen. I think, Oh Crap, and I say, “Leon what did you do with the glue?”, as I realize the lid had been removed from the container that I keep all my super strength glue hidden in.

“Nothing!” he says angrily, and then in response to my stern look, he said, “It doesn’t even work, it’s empty”. So I ask, “well what were you trying to glue?” and again in his angry voice he says, “Nothing, I was just trying to glue a bookmark into my book”, “but it didn’t even work the only thing that got glued was my fingers, but don’t worry I eventually got them unstuck.”;” Wow that must have been scary”, I said. His response was. “I was a little scared, ….at least now I know why they call it CRAZY glue”

I almost laughed, but I kept it in as I went into his room to survey it for any damage and I pick up the scissors on the floor. “so, what were you cutting?” I asked, as I looked for things with holes in it. When Leon gets a pair of scissors in his hands he loses all sence of reason. I worried that it was the bed sheets again or the clothes strewn across the floor. He casually said, “nothing, just my cards.”  I look on the floor, yep, there they were, all cut up into tiny little pieces.

I realize he is out of his seat and standing in his room with me, “Leon, did you finish your breakfast?” He runs back to the table, and starts to shovel the food in his mouth like a madman.

I should be correcting him, telling him to take smaller bites, and to sit in his seat instead of standing there leaning over the table. But I don’t, I just think to myself – eh, at least he’s staying in one place and eating. …and if he choke’s I am right here to do the Heimlich. Then I wonder to myself hmm, do I even now how to do the Heimlich?

Didn’t matter in the end. He was done in a flash and on his way.

I watched him, hop around on one foot and then another. He was worked up, but for no other reason than he just had to move. And move he did. And jump, and twist, and flail…

…and when I see him like this, I know, “he’s just getting his Flutterwackin on” ;

Yup it’s Leon in all his ADHDness, alright. And then some.

I try getting him back on track, and ready for school. He just lashes out! He’s angry, and frustrated, and the tears start to fall.

I get it. He feels like we are on top of him, smothering him, trying to control every action he makes… and the truth is, we are. We are because we have to. We are because if we don’t, it won’t get done. We are because at this very moment he just CAN’T. We are because it is a school day and we have to get him ready for his day, feed him, get him dressed, give him his meds and get him out the door and on the bus so he can have a good day at school. It sounds so simple but it’s not. It’s exhausting…. and a little sad.

The sadness comes after he’s gotten on the bus, it comes when all I can think is thank goodness that’s over (now I don’t have to deal with his ADHDness for at least another 7 hours).

The good thing is, neither does he or his teachers for that matter.

That’s when I realize it’s his teachers that always get to see him when he is at his very best.

After such an exhausting, stressful, anxiety provoking morning,that’s enough to make me jealous and then I think, Thank Goodness for weekends!

Click it… PLEASE

Hi,
I entered Leon in a Cute Kid contest and his photo was selected.
Now I am reaching out to everyone I know; we need votes people! Lots and lots of votes.

Please take a minute to click the link below and vote for Leon – (future Tommy Hilfiger Model).

And if you could help pass the word and ask everyone you know to do the same, we would be ever so grateful.

Thanks!

Picking up the Pieces

So my previous post was a bit DESPERATE, don’t you think?

I was in a pretty pathetic and desperate state of mind.

But today is another day and I’ve got some repairs to make.

I am happy to say I slept a good 10 hours that night. Something I definitely needed. Not napping created the crash and burn effect I needed to restart my clock. I’ve been eating better and taking my meds ON TIME, and at least TRYING to get on a better if not normal sleep schedule.

The morning after was tough and slow going. I had a very heavy patch of brain fog going on and it lasted quite a while too. But that was to be expected and I just made my way through it.

When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. - Dory, ” Finding Nemo “

When I woke up the next morning, I decided to take a ME DAY!

…and now I am thinking maybe it’s more like a ME WEEK. ….or 2 ….ish.

I really need to pick up some pieces and get back on track. Because believe it or not I was somewhat on track. Really, I was! December went fairly well for me in terms of getting things done.

As the holidays approached, I was able to Christmas shop, get my house back together, decorate, and celebrate with family and friends, but not without the HUGE, HUGE, HUGE help I got from Ron. (…and Leon too). Thank you, my loves!

All the clutter found a home or else it went into the trash. We cleared away piles of stuff that we really did not need any longer. And while there was/is still more work to be done, we were able to make our living space, livable and our workspace, workable again.

We decorated the house and the beautiful Christmas tree that Ron and Leon went out and chopped down, during the Annual Oldfield Christmas Tree Hunt. The house was finally a warm and welcoming place again. Everything looked so beautiful and inviting. AND PEACEFUL.

The lights are my least favorite part of decorating the tree

Awww fiddlesticks - half the tree lights don't work

We spent Christmas Eve at home with our family, both Ron’s and mine came for dinner (17 of us in total). And the thing that amazed me the most about it was how relaxed I felt. Tired, but relaxed.  Finally!!!

I love taking out my china for the holidays, it makes me feel like I'm almost a grown-up.

Can you see the tree in the next room?

I realized it was because my house was full of the people I love and who love me, AND because Ron and I had put so much effort into putting order back into our home.

Santa Ron!

My Family

My loveys

Like mother, like daughter

She's waiting for Omi to cave, an hand over the chocolate.

You blow boy!!! In a good way!

The Angel and the Devil, but which is which?

Cheers!

Cheers!

Cousins!

Much of the week that followed Christmas, was spent relaxing in the glow of the Christmas lights, watching Leon play with all his new toys. We spent some time visiting with family, Leon got to go ice skating (can you imagine me on skates, HA!), and we took our traditional trip into NYC to see the tree in Rockefeller Center and check out the Christmas Window Displays.  We ended our winter break and the year at the home of a dear friend watching the Doctor Who marathon. It was a wonderful little staycation for all of us, and it certainly ended the year nicely.

Leon and like a third of Grandma's Christmas Village

Our Tree! The lights flying off to the side are actually being pulled by Santa in his sleigh and his 8 tiny reindeer.

Leon and his Christmas haul! It was a very Merry Skylander Christmas!

Now in the midst of all that activity, I had made one big mistake. I ran out of refills for my Cymbalta and kept forgetting to contact the doctor’s office. So for about a week-ish leading up to when I completely snapped (see previous post) I was off meds.  No wonder I had been such a WRECK! – DUH!

But NOW, I AM doing better,

So to those of you who reached out, THANK YOU! AND I LOVE YOU TOO!

I am feelin’ better, so no worries. But I need to take some ME TIME.

So…   I am not ignoring you. I am just under repairs,     ….and probably not answering the phone,    …or emails.

But I loves ya!!

Oh and Happy Christmas, Season’s Greetings and a Joyful New Year to all!

Ahhh, just another ADHD conversation.

Me: Leon!!!! Why is there a bath towel STUFFED into the toilet bowl!!!!!!!

Leon: What, it’s not my fault! I dropped my glasses in there!

Me: !@#%@#!!!

Ahhh, just another ADHD conversation.

He's just lucky he's so damn beautiful

Today’s To Do’s

Find Christmas Lights and put them up

Get started on making the house more festive

Make a visible dent in the computer room (desk top and file cabinets)

Blog a bit

Put paperwork in order for Special Ed Meetings

Write note to teacher re: Leon’s checklists

Make returns to stores

Be happy with what I have accomplished today, and start again tomorrow.

 

 

I have so much I need to do. So, so much. So much that I have just been tripping myself up just thinking about it all the time.

This year has not been kind to me (that post is coming soon). It’s as if my life was involved in a 10  car pileup. One thing went wrong, then another, and another, and another, and so on. And detangling it all is a mess in itself. I would get so over whelmed with the enormity of it, that I would feel road-blocked and paralyzed to do anything. I just never knew where to start. Anything that I did start would be dependant on something else getting done first, and getting that done would also depend on another thing happening and so on and so on. I just did not know where to start.  So in the end I mostly ended up doing nothing and the pile-up would just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger and so on. And there I was trapped somewhere in the middle of it all just getting more and more depressed over what a failure I am as a wife and mother and even at taking care of myself.

I’ve always been a list maker, and that has usually worked for me. But this year somewhere along the line I lost my way. I would get stuck on making the list and never actually get to the work truth was the lists wouldn’t be made up of 4 or 5 things to get done it would be 4 or 5 pages of things I still haven’t done. Eventually I just stopped making the lists all together, again because of the enormity of it all. I felt like I was failing at life.

At some point you can either give in and become a hoarder or you have to get a plan to get things done.

I had a plan to get a plan. But I  wasn’t sure what that plan was yet or even where to look.

I finally found one I want to give a go at, in a hot tub, at the base of Hunter Mountain, just a few weeks ago.

I was enjoying a soak in the tub with a few friends and a few drinks during my brother-in-law’s wedding weekend in the Catskills. We got to catch up with friends we hadn’t spent time with in a long time. The wedding was a blast and I walked away from that weekend with a new plan.

Melissa is the one who told me about a book I should look into. I was drunk that night so by morning the details were a bit hazy. But what I pieced together from our conversation was that it had something something something to do with seven somethings or other, in which you decide who you are, and who you want to be, and what you want to accomplish and then you assign a priority or a percentage of your time to it or something like that, …I think?

It went something like, what percentage of who I am is a wife, a mother, a blogger, PTA volunteer, crafter, etc… and then assign a percentage of your time to that part of you and work on a little bit of each part of who I am each day. So like if I am 50% homemaker and 25% crafter and 10% blogger, the time I give to each of those things should be divided accordingly. This way I can start making a dent by freeing myself up a little bit more each day in all the parts of my world that are important to me, including the parts that wants to do more than just clean house and chase after what I haven’t gotten to yet.

I was drunk at the time, so I could have gotten it all wrong but I did get something out of it that makes sense to me. At the time I thought she was referring to this book which I had read about previously (but I never actually read the book itself), and I had already put it on my universal wishlist.  I later learned via a Facebook convo with her that she actually meant this book, which also looks like a good read. I haven’t read either book as of yet, but they are both on my wishlist now and I do plan to read them when the avid reader in me jumps up to a higher priority in my life.

So while I am not following any specific magic formula as of yet on how to get things done, I was inspired by what I had learned from my friend to come up with a plan I could actually follow. For this plan I need to set priorities and assign a specific amount of time in my day to each of these priorities. And just get done what I can in the amount of time I give myself. And I also need to allow myself to be happy with what I have accomplished for the day and not wallow in the muck of what I still have to do, there is always tomorrow.

So, Melissa, if you are reading this, thanks for the info, and the kick in the pants to getting things done.

Now excuse me while I go look for the Christmas lights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I LOVE my Feral little child.”

Early in the morning through bleary eyes, I peer out across the sun lit room at my child, and a grin slowly forms on my lips as I think to myself;

I LOVE my Feral little child.”

Sitting cross-legged on the floor wearing only his PJ bottoms, with his fuzzy blanket draped around him like an animal skin of sorts, with his long, wild and crazy hair all messed up and draped over his shoulders; he really does look like a feral child!!

He looked back at me, and I fully expected him to say “Me Leon, You Mommy, Me hunt and gather food, You wait here.” instead I got “Mooooom, I am huuuuungreeeeeey!” To which I replied, “Me Mommy, me tired, go now, ask your father to forage for food”; his reply … “you’re weird!”

Yes, yes I am!

I later opened up my laptop to look up the meaning behind “feral child” , I wanted to be sure I was thinking of the right word. Wikipedia not only spit out the meaning, but provided a picture in example as well:

Oh look!! It’s a picture of my very own sweet child!

It looks just like him!!!  At least I think it does.

It’s fitting though, and not just because he looks like a feral child with his hair all tangled, and mussed up, going in all different directions. But also, because he is a wild child at heart. And I mean that in the best possible way.

He certainly dances to the beat of his own drummer. As I’ve often maintained, he is a strong-willed child with a mind of his own, and once it is made up there is no changing it.

Such as it is with his long luscious locks, which I am happy to say, we have learned to tame (somewhat anyway).

He made up his mind to grow his hair long just short of 2 years ago in January of 2010, I remember the date because I blogged about it here.

It was late in January when he came home all excited about doing the Math-a-thon to raise money for St Jude Children’s’ Hospital and helping other kids his own age, who were sick with cancer. It was on that day that he asked if he could donate his hair to the kids at St. Judes. When we told him he would have to have a lot more hair than what had just recently grown out from his mohawk, he said he didn’t mind at all.

Leon in Disney sporting his blue mohawk

Leon's Hair as it was the day he came home and declared he was donating his hair to a kid like him with cancer

I also told him that it would probably take him a few years before he would have enough to donate. It didn’t phase him one bit. Both Ron and I  were pretty proud of him for wanting to do this, but we also thought it would not last. Boy were we wrong. It’s been two years and he still has an inch or two more to grow before he can donate it. Despite being picked on and teased in summer camp, and consistently being called a  girl by strangers, he is more determined than ever to reach his goal.

We’ve come a long way….

   He is such a beautiful child, it is no wonder strangers call him a girl

In the end it will be so worth it. And that long hair suits him, it suits his personality. And yes he does occasionally look like a feral child, possibly raised by monkeys. It was after all just yesterday that I caught my wild little child in the act of standing on his chair in the pizzeria attempting to swing on the lamp that hung above his table. But no matter how wild my little child gets or looks, he will always be MY little wild child!

“I LOVE my Feral little child.”

And So It Begins….

7:00pm

Telephone -(ring, ring)….                                   
Me: Hello?
Little Girl Voice: Hi, Can I talk to Leon?       
Me: Sure who’s calling?
Little Girl Voice: This is Samantha
Me: Okay Hold on a sec.
Samantha: ok
Leon: Hello?
Samantha:Hi    (….yes I was listening in)
Leon:   Hi (….trying to hide his grin)
Samantha: What are you doing?
Leon: Um, playing Monopoly with my dad
Samantha: Oh, okay I’ll let you go play monopoly
Leon: Wait, why did you call?
Samantha: I just wanted to say Hi
Leon: Hi
Samantha: Hi
………(silence)……..
Leon:  Okay, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow   
Samantha: Okay, bye
Leon: bye (GRIN)
Click

ME:  (suppressed smile)  

Voices in my head:  O-M-G!!!!! How freakin cute!!!!! Leon got his first phone call from a girl!!!! (SQUEEEEEEAL!!!!)

Leon certainly lit up when he heard her voice.  Could it be???? …..Puppy Love???  – tee hee……

Recycle -old clothes, old toys, old posts….

Well I haven’t done much writing of late, although I have slowed down enough that I in effect should have plenty of time to do it. My Fibro has gotten so it is just too debilitating and I really need to cut down on the things that have been too draining on me. Caring for my niece is one of those things so instead of watching her 4-5 days a week I have cut down to 3-4 days. Woo Hoo, now maybe I can find my way out of the maze of mountain like piles of stuff that seem to be growing at an alarming rate here in my house. It’s cluttering up my house and my life and it is time to let go of it.

Rather than throw things that still have plenty of good use still in them, I rather recycle, repurpose, or donate them.  The Kids Kloset Consignment Sale is a terrific way of accomplishing that.,

A few years ago I wrote an article about my experience with them, and in the spirit of recycling I am gong to recycle that old post right here, right now….

ENJOY!

Cleaning my Plate / Decluttering my Life…     

                                                        …same thing.     

     

There are plenty of different ways to do this.     

Quite often the clutter just gets so big that you don’t know where to start. Turns out it doesn’t matter where you start, only that you actually do start.     

Me, I started with all those baby items that I kept in the hopes of a baby # 2. Alas, my dream of having a Brady Bunch Family is not meant to be.     

Although with all the babysitting I do it sometimes feels like the Brady Bunch household. :)      

Every year, since April of 2008 I have been consigning all of Leon’s clothes, toys, and other items with The Kids Kloset. Consigning is a terrific way to get rid of your clutter and make some money while doing it! And Gail Roca, the owner of The Kids Kloset makes it very easy. The process is simple; once you register as a consignor on the website you will get a consignor number and gain access to the consignment manager, where you can enter information about the item you want to sell, as well as name your price, and then print out your bar coded tags to be attached to your items. This is only one aspect of the preprep process; it is important to thoroughly check all your items for stains, missing parts or defects; only the best will do. Each piece of clothing you consign is to be on a hanger and sorted by size. It is a lot of work but completely worth it. I have made as low as $300 and as high as $650 at sales. The amount you make depends on if you volunteer at the sale or not, and for how long. At minimum you can earn 60% of your sales if you do not volunteer to work the sale and as much as 75% if you do. I always choose to volunteer for 12 hours in order to gain the maximum earning level of 75% of my sales. And like I said Gail always makes it so easy, she gives her consigners options and incentives. Like allowing me to drag Ron into it, where we both put in 6 hours to complete our 12 hour volunteer time slot. Some how we both end up putting in much, much more than our 12 hours though, probably because there is just something about Gail and what she has created here that makes you want to chip in and be a part of it. She is always coming up with new ways to make the sale great. The sale has always been about recycle, reuse, and resell; she was green before green was popular. And this year she came up with something new to get the kids involved. And I have to say it worked like a charm on Leon. Consignors were invited to sign their children up as consignors as well, earning their own consignor numbers. The incentive for the children was “Sell your old toys and earn your own money while helping out the environment”. As a bonus the kids relieved a $5 gift certificate to purchase items at the sale and a certificate stating that the helped the enviroment. Leon is always hesitant to part with his toys, even the ones he hasn’t touched in over a year or so. When asked if I could sell them previously, he would say they are part of his “collection”. However once he signed up to consign, it was a different story, he was willing to part with things that he never would have let me sell before. We of course had our own set of rules about the sale too; such as, the money he made would only be given to him on July 25th once our vacation began as pocket-money, and that Ron and I had the veto vote on purchases we felt were inappropriate. He gladly went along with it already deciding on what he wanted to spend his money on. After parting with all but a few Thomas trains and track, his Pixar cars, and various other toys; he was on cloud nine when he received his very first paycheck in his own name to the tune of $264. He was a little disappointed that he fell short of his $400 goal in order to buy the Lego Death Star at Legoland in California, but he wasn’t surprised either because we prepared him for that outcome. It never stops him from reaching for the stars though! I myself made close to that amount as well. Now we have spending money for our trip.     

The Kids Kloset isn’t just good for selling things, it’s also amazing for purchasing incredibly inexpensive previously owned and sometimes new items with tags still on them. As I do every year I picked up a few great items at a fraction of the cost. Being that Leon is such an avid reader my favorite section is the books, and then of course it is the toys (but that’s because I am just a big ol kid myself).  I managed to pick up about 30 chapter books for under $15, as well as a few miscellaneous items.     

And the bonus to all this decluttering is that we were able to turn Leon’s room from this

     

     

     

To This

     

Now the challenge is to keep it this way! Well that, and getting the rest of the house to look this way too.     

So far, we’ve done a really good job of keeping it this way and the rest of the house has come along nicely. And even if I can’t always keep up with it, I make sure that the areas most important to Leon, are as clutter free as possible. Like his room, the kitchen table where he does his homework, and the computer room where he plays video games with playdates.  I really, really feel it makes a huge difference in Leon’s life. His ADHD brain is already too cluttered enough, no reason to let everything else around him get too cluttered.     

(the original post can be found here)

Oh and FYI Leon did get his Lego Deathstar after all.

It’s my party and I can run myself into the ground if I want too!!!!

With this year being as difficult as it has been, doing something I truly enjoy hasn’t been much of an option.

One of the things I really enjoy doing is planning something special and hosting parties for special occasions and holidays. Traditionally, we host big Christmas and Easter celebrations for our family of 17 every year with special extras like traditional Weinachts Teller and Easter Egg Scavenger Hunts, birthdays of course are also real big here, and I plan big too complete with banners, balloons, and birthday fairies. Then there are the smaller  holidays and events that I try to make fun and memorable, like New Years Eve where Leon gets to stay up late and bang pots and pans at midnight; Valentine’s Day where we decorate the windows and make heart cakes; St. Patty’s Day where Leon leaves out a decorated treasure box at night for the Leprechauns to fill with gold and greenery; the last day of school where we have a big get-together in our yard complete with wet and wild summer activities to welcome summer vacation; 4th of July BBQ, which Ron has been hosting for 20 + years; Halloween… etc… etc… etc..  .

But due to all my health issues this year, I just haven’t had it in me to make these special events happen, I even had to cancel Easter at the last minute this year because I was too, too sick to make it happen, and that is saying a lot. I was so incredibly disappointed in myself. And for as much as everyone reassured me that it wasn’t a big deal. It WAS a big deal to ME! I loooove hosting the holidays, it was a big letdown for me and I lost out on doing something that makes me happy doing it. Even the Leprechauns made a poor appearance this year because I just could not do it.

Leon always looks forward to the backyard party we have on the last day of school and I was not about to disappoint him or myself. I knew full well that I would pay for it in the end, and that it probably would end up being a bit too much for me, but there was no way I was not going to have our year end “Welcome Summer Party” for Leon and his friends (and for me and my friends too).

The invites went out, and the responses came in. As the date came closer I started to have some doubts. Every day has been a painful one for me at some point during the course of it. There was no reason to believe that this day was going to be any different. I wondered if I would make it through my own party without excusing myself to take a nap. I started begging Ron to take the day off so he could help me get through it (that was unfair of me I know).While he could not take the day off, he did go above and beyond in helping me turn this hoarders paradise back into a home.

Leon’s last day of school was a half day on June 25th. I spent the morning rushing around and breaking a sweat as I was working hard to get the yard ready for 20 + kids and 10 + moms; that I had absolutely no time to wallow in the pain.

It was a really great day, despite the threat of rain. The kids arrived with their moms and headed straight for the water slide, while us mom’s headed straight for the Coconut Pineapple Mohitos.

I didn’t get to sit in a chair for any good length of time with all the running around I had to choose to do. I had a bunch of fun summer activities planned.

While we waited for the rest of the guests to arrive, the kids jumped from pool to pool and discovered the big box of prefilled water squirters.

Once all the guests arrived we picked teams for the water balloon fight. The kids had a BLAST!

There where plenty of other activities for the kids as well.

Like jumping on the trampoline;

playing with Lego;

drawing with chalk;

 building a castle;

 huddling together in pop up tents;

and just all around having fun with good friends.

It was tons of work to put it all together and keep things rolling! By the time I finally able to really take a seat and relax; I was exhausted and in pain. The pricklies on my arms were feeling hot and hurtin, and my legs were heavy and aching pretty bad. As the party was winding down I was dreading the worst part of the party, and that is the clean up. All the work to get it together and only a few hours later it needs to all be broken down again. I was NOT up for it any more.

As luck would have it I have some really amazingly terrific friends!! Everyone just chipped in and helped put everything away in no time, despite my arguments to “just leave it”.  In a blink of an eye the pools were drained, the castle was boxed up, as was the Lego, the chairs were stacked by the garage and the dishes were done. I don’t know what I would have done without my good friends to help me.

And now here I am just days later and I am still paying for it. I may have spent the the last 2 days in bed, but it was definitely worth it to see this smiling face;

And hear him say “mom, thanks for inviting all my friends over and having a party; I had so much fun!”

Yup, it’s my party and I can run myself into the ground if I want to!

… Cause it’s worth it!

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