I realize it has been quite awhile since I’ve given an update on Grayson’s progress.  Truthfully, we’ve just been so darn busy doing life these days that every time I try and collect my thoughts on where he is at, my mind has trouble conceptualizing everything into one cohesive post.  But, I am going to try….

So it has been officially three months since we received the diagnosis of autism for Grayson and I can tell you how we feel about that diagnosis now is entirely different than we felt back in January.  When we first find out that your child has a label, it’s hard to swallow.  Not because you think of your child any differently in that moment, but more because the idea of the child you had in your head suddenly vanishes.  Let me explain…..

I knew Grayson was going to be slower at talking, but I always imagined him being able to run up to me and saying things like, “mommy, I love you,” or “mommy, I need you.”  It is true that Grayson doesn’t necessary say those things, but he sure does communicate them in his own way. Grayson is one of the most affectionate and loving little people I know.  His hugs are fierce and his kisses are sweet and he certainly doesn’t hold back in giving those things out. Grayson may not run up and say “hi” to you, but he will surely blow you a big kiss and wave goodbye.  When I tell Grayson that I love him, he may not say it back to me with words, but he immediately wraps his arms around my neck and kisses me over and over on my cheek.

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Our therapist recently said something that really resonated with me.  She said kids with autism are just the same as their peers, they just learn in a different way.  Boy is that true!  Grayson is learning new things every single day. He listens, he participates, he engages but most of the time, he needs a little extra help to get there.  For example, instead of just saying, “Grayson, clean up your toys,” and expecting him to do it, many times we have to physically initiate the process by pointing to the toys and holding out a basket.  He knows exactly what to do from there.

Let’s talk about Grayson’s progress……

Grayson has gotten really good at adapting to new situations. Between bringing a new tiny human home and placing him directly in his world, to adjusting to a new work schedule for John, to starting a preschool program, Grayson proves that he has little trouble with separation.  He is starting to engage more and more with his peers, although its not always consistent, he definitely shows more interest in other kids these days. He has gotten to the point where he even walks up and gives hugs to his friends (unprompted), which was a HUGE step for him.

We are really trying to enforce Grayson learning from other adults (other than just me and John) as this is such an important piece for him as he gets more involved in organized school programs. We are realizing that Grayson WILL engage with other adults, he just needs one-on-one engagement with them. I’ve recently looked into getting Grayson a TSS for when he starts preschool this fall as I really think a personal helper for him in school is exactly what he needs.

We are still blown away by the advancement in this speech and OT therapy. Even though Grayson still isn’t using sentences, his communication has gotten so much better and his play has become more engaged and purposeful.  As long as he is motivated, he will engage, laugh, take turns, and listen so beautifully.

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Grayson’s therapists tell us every session that he has such great skills in place, it’s just all about getting him to use them consistently and each week, he seems to be doing better and better.  That’s not to say he doesn’t have his days or even weeks where he shuts down.  We hear this is very normal (in just about any child’s development) where with the onset of new skills comes some resistance.  As he learns more and more, his little brain gets overloaded and he needs a day or two to reset.  I try and recognize those times and let him relax a bit with not a lot of pushing.  He’s like a car running on fuel.  When his tank is full, he is ready to go, but the more he goes the more his gas runs out and he often needs a break.

As far as what we are doing, things still remain the same in terms of Early Intervention, his diet, and supplements.  He just began a summer program at the preschool he will attend in the fall that consists of one day a week for a few hours, which is a great introduction for him.  He does well in his Kid’s Club at the gym, and does so well at his Sunday School.  At home, Grayson continues to learn in his routines and is always finding new ways to communicate with me and John.

I get asked all of the time how Grayson is with his little brother and truthfully, he does pretty good with him.  Grayson isn’t super excited by him but he’s not bothered by him in the slightest. I often catch him playing with his hands or rubbing his head but it’s not like Grayson is trying to play with him just yet. I’m sure it could be better, but considering the situation, John and I are actually really pleased with the whole thing.

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Okay, this is all leading me to my last and final point.  Since Grayson was diagnosed, we are learning that although Grayson may not develop or learn at the same speed of his peers, that doesn’t mean anything is wrong with him or that we feel bad for him in any way.  This little one is smart! He has so much joy and happiness and so many wonderful things and people in his life.  I remember when he was first diagnosed, I reached out to my friend, distraught, and asked her what I was supposed to do.  Was I supposed to apologize for him every time I dropped him off for someone to care for him or explain his situation?  Was anyone going to want to watch him or teach him? She told me that my mindset will shift….I will advocate for him in every way that when someone new is taking care of him, I will seek out the people that WANT to help him and won’t settle for anything else.  Boy was she right!

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Often times, when we tell people that Grayson is autistic the initial response we get is, “I’m so sorry.”  But that response is not something a parent of a special needs child wants to hear.  They don’t want you to feel guilty or bad for their situation, because truthfully, their situation is nothing to feel bad about.  Sure, moments can be more challenging, but ultimately, their journey is something beautiful, something that most people won’t understand.

Grayson is incredible in every way.  I will be honest, I went from thinking I wasn’t cut out for all of this to now feeling I can’t imagine life any other way.  So now when anyone says, “I’m sorry” at my situation, I simply respond with, “I’m not. Our life is kinda great.”

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5 Effective DIY Beauty Tips

by Lauren on April 26, 2017

The following is a contributed post. Thank you for your support and I hope you enjoy! 

 

You will be only too aware how expensive it can be to fill your cupboards up with health and beauty products. If there are any affordable shortcuts and solutions that you can take advantage of, you will be only too pleased to hear about them. Well, today is your lucky day! Here are a few simple DIY beauty tips that you can try yourself. As well as being affordable, they have also had proven results!

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Drink Water as Soon as You Wake Up

 

You will probably be only too aware of the importance of drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Not only is this hugely important in your general health and wellbeing, it also helps to keep your skin looking young and fresh. While you have been sleeping during the night, your body becomes naturally dehydrated through breathing, so it is a good idea to replace this moisture fairly soon after waking up. This first glass of water will set you up for the morning, but try to get into a good habit of drinking water regularly throughout the day.

 

Don’t Go Without a Pot of Vaseline

 

Petroleum jelly is the kind of affordable beauty product that no one should be without! Its primary use is obviously protecting and healing dry skin, but you can also use it for other beauty purposes like softening the lips or highlighting your cheekbones. If you dye your own hair, it can be used to prevent the dye from staining your skin, so use it around the hairline, ears and neck. Another use is to tame eyebrows that are getting out of control. If you are going on a big night out, try applying a thin layer before spraying your perfume so it stays on your skin for longer.

 

Try Honey as a Face Mask

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Photo Credit

 

Honey has a wide range of antibacterial properties that can be effective in helping skin that is acne-prone. Apply plenty of it on your face and leave it there for around 10 minutes. Afterwards, simply wash it off with some warm water. Most people say that this is a solution that works better in the long-run rather than being a short-term fix.

 

Gentle Body Scrub

 

Try olive oil and sea salt in a 2 to 1 ratio as a way of creating a body scrub that is quick and effective. The main advantage of this solution is that it removes dead skin cells and helps to give your skin a healthy glow. If you have any skin tags, homeremedyshop.com has a great list of home remedies to help you remove skin tags. If there are DIY solutions, then it makes sense to give them a go.

 

Use Baking Soda for Brighter Teeth
Rather than spending a great deal of cash on teeth whitening kits, you can try mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with three drops of hydrogen peroxide. Use this as a toothpaste and it can help your teeth to look both brighter and whiter.      

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No Gym? No Problem

April 18, 2017

The following is a contributed post.  I hope you enjoy!  If you want to get fit and lose weight, most people will tell you to head straight to the gym. Although the gym is undoubtedly a great place to be if you want to get healthy, it isn’t strictly necessary – there are lots of […]

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Good Things to Come!

April 11, 2017

Hey Guys, I just wanted to quickly pop in to tell you that I am still alive and well.  I know I’ve been super sparse on this page and for good reason.  I’m getting ready to launch a brand new site design and have been working on the backend on a very exciting business project […]

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How to Have a Healthy Day: AM to PM

April 6, 2017

The following is a contributed post. I hope you enjoy!  Let’s be honest, it’s difficult near-on impossible to have the perfect day every day. Sometimes we don’t take enough time for ourselves, we don’t always eat the right things, and we can neglect our exercise. That’s okay. But it’s also important to spend as much […]

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The Ease of Living Your Life

April 4, 2017

This is a contributed post. I hope you enjoy!  Image Source No matter what we do in life, there will always be something to help us do it easier. Think back to the start of the 20th century, when people were still using a mangle to dry their clothes. Fast forward a hundred years and […]

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Let’s Catch Up….

March 26, 2017

Hey there! I am just ending a lovely Sunday with a sleeping baby on my lap and figured I had a few things to catch up on with you guys.  So pour yourself a glass of wine and let’s chat….. Grayson Update Oh this little ball of energy!  We hit the official 2 1/2 year […]

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Getting In Shape With A Baby In Tow

March 17, 2017

The following is a contributed post. I hope you enjoy! 🙂  It’s no secret that when you have a baby your body changes, which can leave you feeling less than happy with your new size and shape. Although changes to your figure are completely normal after having a baby, it’s natural to wish that you […]

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Lately

March 14, 2017

Oh hey there! Are you currently digging yourself out of this winter storm Stella like we are?  Ugh, what a mess! Just when we thought we’d get out of having any significant snow storms this winter, the biggest one to hit PA for March decides to dump all over the state. I think we must […]

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Living A Stress-Free Life

March 8, 2017

The following is a contributed post.  Many of us dream about living a life that is completely free of stress. Social media and celebrity culture partially have a role to play in why so many people have an ideal in their mind of how their lives should look – calm, collected and with everything running […]

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