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glorious gladys popping open...

!! hurrah hooray !!

it will be a most marvelous two days
filled with
knick knacks
(paddy whacks)
(are we allowed paddy whacks anymore?!)
forsaken souls
(looking for forever homes)
linens galore
(and more)
handmade goodness
(dottie angel style)
granny chic furniture
(perfectly suited for grannies and granny chic likers very muchlies)
china and collectibles
(sets, and odds and ends)
and of course
Our Gladys
(looking for the next adventure in her airstream life)

if you know of folks near and far
who might be interested in
Glorious Gladys popping open.
please do share freely!
alas and alack
my city will not allow
 Gladys' sandwich boards
on the main road
at the bottom of our hill.
within moments of spotting them,
they whisk them away
back to their city lair.
thus no passing traffic 
will ever know
she has popped open her doors
and the treasures
which can be found within

so this time around,
i must rely on 
myself and others
shouting loud
and shouting proud
Glorious Gladys
and her 
popping up days!!

thanking you muchly
Tif :)

gloriously gleaming gladys...

on sunday, we tackled Gladys outers, when i say 'we' i should really say 'he', for it was my man who tackled Gladys' outers whilst i made him a cup of tea and shouted ever so helpful words of wisdom on how to tackle the job, above the din of the power washer. upon finishing, Glorious Gladys was gleaming, i was beaming and my man, well he was realming. how marvelous was that last bit! gosh the old dusty rusty blogging cogs have still got a few miles left in them. some may say, "hang on a wee mo, Tif. there is no such word as realming" and yes they may be quite correcto and yes, they may have Darren Dictionary on their side to prove it. however from where i could see him, balanced upon the top of our Gladys, he was most definitely realming, whilst i was positively beaming and she was gloriously gleaming.

on monday, i set myself the task of tackling Gladys' inners. i was full of 'gun-ho' when i started, an hour later i was full of procrastination and overwhelming-ness. having snozzled up the dust and odd cobweb, shifted some forsaken souls from one end to the other, removed the christmas tree (oh shame of shames) i had mislaid my 'gun-ho' attitude somewhere amongst the piles. i looked for at least all of 4 mins and 23 seconds before concluding monday was not the day to tackle all of Gladys' inners, but instead to pace myself, carefully throughout the week. a brilliant cunning plan i thought to myself, closing up her door and heading back indoors. upon where i wished to reach for the kettle and make myself a cup of yorkshire tea with milk and sugar, alongside of two lovely chocolate half sided biscuits. but no, no that was not allowed, instead having not tasted a cup of tea for over 3 months i reached for a glass of coconut water. instead of digesting the most delicious choccie biccies in the world i reached for the tub of almonds floating around in some water in our fridge. as i stood there, glazed over, pondering and plotting my next moves, alternating a sip of coconut water with an inflated, water logged almond i struggled to keep thoughts of tea and chocolate at bay with thoughts of Gladys and her next journey in life.

i needed her ship shape and ready for her end of summer sale, a grand sale of vintage and handmade goodness, i needed to stay on track for this, thoughts of tea and chocolate were clouding my vision, whispering in my ear, tempting me with their deliciously warming goodness. no be strong Tif, for one weak wonderful choccy dairy filled moment will cause you many moments of crappity crap regret. 

yes ship shape and ready not only for an end of summer sale but to be ship shape for her next adventure. it is hard to believe after 5 years of looking at her beautiful curvaceous-ness every single day, she is now looking for a new home. as i tippity tap this, there's a lump in my throat, is it because i am saying goodbye to a dream, is it because i am letting an old friend go, or is it because the same old suburban setting has stifled me yet again. sometimes, you have to let go of one dream to make space for another, sometimes you don't even know if that dream you are trying to make space for, will ever come true but in the old words of an old song from my teenage years 
"you've got to have a dream, 
cause if you don't have a dream, 
how you gonna have a dream come true" 
i have to keep on dreaming and i have to keep on believing, if i am ever going to keep on surviving these years misplaced in suburbia...

Tractors, Raspberries and Horses

We took the kids to a county fair on Friday night. We were detoured on our way there three times and then I almost ran out of gas. My tank literally hit zero on the digital gauge. When we finally pulled up to the fairgrounds it was 8:45 p.m. and I was sure we'd be the white trashiest family with too many babies at a fair ever. Turns out, we fit right in.

The twins loved the tractor pull. If you have never been to one, you're surely missing out. The dined on food from garbage trucks and pet cows, sheep, lambs and some other wildlife. They had a total hoot. Ry kept telling us all the different color tractors he saw. I think he liked the fair.

On Saturday we went raspberry picking at a our CSA's farm. The rule is you can pick to your hearts content and if you leave half your haul your berries are free. Our kids lost interest in picking after about thirty minutes, but Joe and I still managed to pick 12 pints of berries. Meanwhile the kids entertained themselves running up and down the field. Lola stayed by our side on berry quality control. That kid loves to eat.

{ what berries? I didn't eat see any berries. }

We grilled pizzas Saturday night, and they were so good that I actually stopped eating to take a picture so I can share the recipe with you all. I mean, so good. The kids don't sit and eat when they're outside, which is unfortunate. Well, Lola does. Anyway, I figure if they're hungry they'll eat.

Sunday we met up with some friends at a polo match. Our first of the season and Reese went wild for the horses. She loved hanging around with older girls and really tried to grow up too fast that evening. The twins loved stomping the divots and running on the field. We stretched them past their bedtime again for the third night in a row.

We are in so much trouble when summer is over and going to bed late and sleeping in is a thing of the past.

monday moments...

Early Intervention, Part Five

If you missed the first four installments you can find them in this thread.

During Ryan's appointment with the pediatric ENT, an audiologist lent words to what I was already thinking and fearing. In a perfect storm of good timing, we had a private speech therapist start working with him the week after the ENT appointment. Prior to her ever coming into our home, I had discussed Ryan's history, past evaluations and the ENT appointment with her.

She sat with us for almost two hours and observed Ryan playing in our home, interacting with me, etc. and she noticed some things that were just "off" developmentally. From the way that he walks, his need to hold toys in his hand, the lack of eye contact that he was making and the lack of attention he paid her (a stranger in his home), etc. She suggested I call Early Intervention again and ask for another evaluation to be done.

I had given her copies of all of his previous evaluations and she reviewed them and told me that the previous screener had marked off that Ryan was given a multidisciplinary screening (i.e. he had been screened for behaviors, speech, motor skills, etc.) but that only a speech pathologist had actually conducted the screening. In doing so, the speech pathologist was claiming a multidisciplinary evaluation, when in fact it was not. And she told me that a speech pathologist was not  qualified to screen him in these other areas. She told me to ask for a new screening with a full evaluation team and to also ask for a sensory profile specifically, which would measure Ryan's response to specific sensory stimuli.

I credit this private speech therapist with Ryan qualifying for services. Sure, I advocated for him and made the calls and kept fighting for someone to help him. But she gave me the bullet points and the terminology that got Early Intervention to listen to me. And she gave me the confidence to believe that I wasn't just a crazy, overbearing mom looking for something to be wrong with my son.

Also in a perfect storm of good timing, Ryan's 30 month well child fell on the same week as his private speech evaluation. I went over all of the information from the private speech therapist and the audiologist with our pediatrician. Our pediatrician is so wonderful that I could honestly cry when I think of the love I have for that man. He gave me a lot of insight as to what we may be dealing with -- he suggested something called Verbal Apraxia which was later ruled out by our speech therapist and also a diagnosis called PDD-NOS.

PDD-NOS stands for Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified. It is a "mild" form of autism.

I think I need to stop and give that pause. It was at this point in time that I was realizing, maybe for the first time, that my son may have autism.

PDD-NOS is not something that they'll diagnose until he is fully talking. A child with PDD-NOS (or really any form of autism) will not be able to understand the mechanics of objects and instead they will make associations. So, for example, if you ask a child who is developing normally to say the first thing they think of when you say the following words, here's how it would go.

Adult: Pen, Child: Write

When you ask a child with PDD/autism to perform the same activity here's what it would look like.

Adult: Pen, Child: Crayon

This is because their brain doesn't form the same pathways for processing and identifying information. The pathways become very linear. So associations form in place of functions. Until Ryan's conversational language improves we won't really know a lot about what his diagnosis will be. And for now, I am fine without a formal label.

Our third (most recent) evaluation with Early Intervention happened in mid-July. This time there was a whole team that evaluated him. It was *truly* a multidisciplinary core evaluation. He had a certified school psychologist, an occupational therapist, a speech pathologist and a social worker do his evaluation this time. And our Early Intervention case worker attended the evaluation as well. I think she wanted to see what I was making all the fuss about, and even she saw the things in Ryan that I had been expressing for years.

With these evaluations they do not say the children "fail" the test. Instead, they evaluate it by orders of difference. So there is some difference or a definite difference that is noted against standard ideas of development. Ryan was shown to have a "definite difference" in the following areas: Communication, Motor Skills (sensory processing falls into this category), and Social Development.

Here's what this means. He has trouble stringing multiple words together, making certain letter sounds and generally communicating his needs. He has issues with oral sensory processing (needing to put things into his mouth), auditory processing (sometimes not hearing/listening, needing to be touched to get his attention) and registration (tuning into social situations, he actually walks into things sometimes like the wall or a table!). In terms of social development, he was shown to have a clinically significant issue in the areas of withdrawal (meaning he doesn't readily approach adults or kids that he doesn't know to interact with them) and pervasive development problems.

They drew up a 15-page report that was filled with everything I already knew. Yet reading it was like swallowing knives. This final evaluation qualified him for Early Intervention and entitled him to 8 hours of in-home therapy per week with a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist and special education teacher. Since the kids participate in several physical activities per week (gymnastics, dance, swimming) we deferred the physical therapist for now, so as not to overwhelm him completely. The rest we are working into our schedule.

This is going to make such a HUGE difference for him, I just know it.

We have an appointment with a developmental pediatrician in June 2014. Yes, they book out over a year in our area. My plan is to bring all of Ry's evals and all of his notes from his EI therapists and see what they think based on where he started and his progress.

For so long I have just been managing the chaos that is my life that even I didn't realize how significant some of Ryan's behaviors have been. Even more than I thought they were. I am thrilled that maybe in the next year, he will put down a train and walk to the door and put on his shoes. Or not hit me. Or not have an outburst when I take a car out of his hand to get his shirt off.

Small things.

He is such a wonderful, loving little boy. But it almost feels like his mind is trapped sometimes and he's frustrated. Other times he's just triggered because we took away a security object or lord knows what.

I do not think Ry has autism. Not because I am in denial about it, but because I think we are dealing with a sensory disorder and I can't tell if the sensory stuff is magnifying his speech delay. Or if the speech delay is magnifying the sensory stuff. Only time will tell.

What I do know is that I have a little man who hugs me so tight for no reason at all. That climbs in my lap just to hold my hand. That looks me dead in the eyes before kissing me with the fullest lips. He hugs his sisters readily. Rocks the baby often. Laughs from the bottom of his soul.

He is one of the most beautiful people I have ever known. From the second that he left my body and I waited for his cry and wondered out loud if he was real, if he was mine, I have been in a kind of love I never dreamed possible. I don't know what lies ahead of us, but what I do know is that we're strong enough to get to the other side. And that I am lucky that I get to grow through this experience with him.

Hall Gallery

This was one of those projects that took a considerable amount longer than it should have, both because it is hard to hammer on a wall adjacent to a napping child and because it is hard to really get anything done with kids present in general. I started mapping this wall back in March and we just hung the last picture at the beginning of August.

I tried a new way of mapping the wall after seeing a template on Danielle Oakey's blog. I think if you are doing a smaller, less substantial gallery this template would have been great. In our case, there was a lot of cutting little shapes and several frame sizes were missing, so I was making my own shapes too. For all intents and purposes, it was helpful to visually map the wall and see how it might puzzle together though.

What ended up being more helpful once we got upstairs was actually creating a grid on the floor and mapping the frames that way. Using two tape measurers (similar to the template above) I was able to keep the frames we were using in the right spots vertically and horizontally, the same way they'd appear on our walls.

Then I went about it the old-fashioned way, which is to say that I cut out paper the size of each frame and used that on the walls to make sure everything fit before ever touching a hammer or nail. This was super helpful when we got to the smaller side and realized we forgot to account for the light switch.

This was my inspiration, from Interiors Magazine.

And this is a not so great, iphone picture (like all of the other photos in this post! oops, sorry) of what we ended up with. I still have to fill some frames with mats and photos and switch out some older photos for new ones, but the frames are finally off the floor and on the walls.

And for anyone who's wondering -- the kids don't touch the frames at all. They were curious at first, but I don't think they're that interesting to them. Though for the first week they were up, Reese would stop and point out everyone she knew on the wall -- "thas gramma, thas papa, thas nana gray" (her great grandmother that she calls nana gray since she has gray hair...) it was cuteness times infinity.

New Personal Parish

On the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (F.S.S.P.) had their church of the Maternal Heart of Mary, in Sydney Australia, constituted a personal parish by George Cardinal Pell, archbishop of Sydney.  Fr Duncan Wong, F.S.S.P. was appointed as the parish priest.  Being a personal parish of the F.S.S.P. it is dedicated exclusively to the celebration of the Traditional Mass.

The first Solemn High Mass to be celebrated in the newly erected parish was celebrated by the parish priest, Fr Wong.  Fr Damonn Sypher F.S.S.P. was Deacon, and Mr Daniel Mould F.S.S.P. acted as Subdeacon.

Early Intervention, Part Four

If you missed the first three installments, you can find them here, here and here.

Ryan was tested for early intervention for the second time at 28 months old after a PEDS screening at his preschool. Since we had already gone through a specific agency with his first screening at 15 months and they seemed competent, we went through them again for this second screening. Ryan did not qualify for services, again.

At the urging of the speech pathologist who had conducted the second screening, we scheduled an appointment with a pediatric ENT to have Ryan’s tonsils and adenoids evaluated to see if they were enlarged and possibly contributing to his speech delays. The recommendation was to then have him screened again after 30 months for qualification into an early intervention program that is managed by our school district, as opposed to the county, and run by a group called the Committee on Preschool Education (CPSE). The idea being that if his adenoids or tonsils were the issue, he would have surgery and then we could see if his speech improved. Or if he did not have an issue with his tonsils or adenoids and still didn't make progress, he'd be more likely to qualify after he was 30 months old.

In the meantime, I hired a private speech therapist to come to our home. This was only marginally more expensive than my insurance copay. This also avoided the babysitter/childcare/managing schedules for three kids dance that came with going to a private agency wherein you have to bring your child to an office for services.

Ryan’s appointment with the pediatric ENT was on June 17. They looked at his tonsils and adenoids with the mouth flashlight that pediatricians use and also with a camera that was put down his nasal passage. As a sidenote to this, our insurance company considered this “surgery” and we were charged a ridiculous amount for this procedure out of pocket because we haven’t met our surgical deductible for the year. Insurance reform is so badly needed, but I digress.

Ryan was also seen by an audiologist (which is a medical doctor for hearing, please forgive me if you knew that, I had no idea what the hell an audiologist was before this appointment). They put Ryan and I in a sound booth and she sat behind a semi-opaque mirror and played noises in various speakers placed around the room. The point of which was to get him to turn toward the noise, no matter how soft it was. It was hard not to turn to the noise with him sitting on my lap, thereby tipping him off to something inadvertently. It was even harder to sit with him there on my lap and hear the noises and anticipate him turning, and know that there were noises that he was obviously missing.

After being screened in the booth, the audiologist tried to conduct an advanced hearing test on him by sticking these rubber things in his ears that would play sounds. Ryan would not let her anywhere near him or his face and his behavior was some of the more outlandish that I had ever seen.

I was told that Ryan's hearing is on the lowest end of "normal" and that his ear drums were retracted, which is a sign that they were either recently filled with fluid or they were about to be filled with fluid. The fluid is what causes kids to have ear infections. Now, Ry has never had ear infections. But apparently you can have ear fluid without it progressing to an ear infection wherein you get very sick, have a fever, etc. I had no idea.

They suggested we come back in three months -- October -- to have his ears looked at again. In the meantime the audiologist made some comment about how they would be monitoring him for some developmental things that she noted. I kept pushing her to tell me what she had seen, but she wouldn't give me more information other than to say that they would be monitoring him. Having been a teacher I knew in my heart what she was hinting at and it lit a fire under my ass so big that I went right into action as soon as we got back into the car.

I called the Early Intervention caseworker and I think she was less than thrilled to hear from me again. I think she thought I was crazy. I told her if they missed diagnosing my son with autism for budgetary reasons that this wouldn't be the last angry phone call I made to her office (!) and what do you know? She scheduled a new evaluation for Ryan.

* p.s. we are still successfully paci-free, and it has helped with his clarity of speech immensely. Some of these are just old pictures. 

planning ahead for winter...

many many moons ago
i made a grande market sack

many many moons on,
my grande market sack
has seen many pottles out and about
and is starting to look
a little bedraggled

so yesterday,
i had an itching to start stitching,
my cogs being a little rusty
and Miss Ethel
being a little dusty,
we decided upon
the thrilling task 
of making a new grande market sack.
and as the nights will be drawing in soon,
we also decided upon
making it suitable for winter togs.

i went about
patching and piecing 
old linens 
and my precious woven ribbons 
to a tapestry floral piece,
i cut from a pillow cover
i had made earlier in the year

as i was in winter frame of mind,
i threw caution to the wind
and snippity snipped into my last remaining 
barkcloth curtain, 
for the back and the handles.

now the handles i am most happy with.
on my summer market sack
they came about by accident,
(see way way up above in second picture)
i had made tres wide straps
thinking them most suited to my shoulder.
however upon 'trying them out'
i discovered they were not at all
what my shoulders required
and because the whole bag was already complete,
and there was no way
no how
 i was unpicking things.
i folded them in half and stitched them down.
making for a narrower, thicker strap
and a pleasing flat area 
where they joined the bag

this time around,
i choose to do the same
and i noted upon doing so,
the thickness of the barkcloth
made for a most pleasing handle
with extra cushioning
for my shoulders
should i aim
to fill my bag to the brim

my winter grande market sack
is lined with the reverse side
of a black floral quilting fabric, 
(as i like it muchly better than the front)
and although the patchwork
is a little squiffy
i am most delighted with the results

it is a tres grande sack for sure
measuring in at a whooping
19" x 22" 
(handles not included)
so i have no doubt,
when the nights draw in
and the temps start to drop
and winter wardrobe mode begins,
this little sweetie
who really is a big sweetie indeedy
will become my besty best friend

No mother loves you more than Mary does!

During a long absence from our family it is usual to write home to let those we love know how we are doing, to tell them of our joys and sadness, of those things we have received and of those which we desire.  How happy our mothers are to receive such a letter, reading it over and over, looking for any requests of ours which they might be able to satisfy — mothers always like to do things for their children.  If this is so for our earthly mother, how much more must it be true for our heavenly mother?  The difference is that there is nothing that our heavenly mother cannot obtain for us from her Divine Son!  She only needs to be asked and what better way to ask her that by a letter?

Every Saturday on Papa Stronsay we make the Perpetual Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Succour.  During this devotion, letters, petitions and thanksgivings which have been written to Our Lady are read out and the community offers the prayers of the Novena the intentions included therein.  The petitions are then placed before the image of Our Mother of Perpetual Succour, enshrined above the altar, and there they stay for nine weeks.  Each of those nine weeks, the new petitions and thanksgivings are read out, and those of the previous weeks are included in the prayers.  You too can write to your Holy Mother in heaven, laying before Her your troubles and your wants, telling Her of your joys and thanking her for the graces she has bestowed upon you.  All you need to do is go to our Novena page here and write a letter to Her.  It is anonymous; there is no need to leave your name or contact information.  Write to Her today, and every week so that the Fathers and Brothers of our Congregation can pray for your intentions to Our Mother of Perpetual Succour!

 Petitions ready to be offered to Our Mother of Perpetual Succour.

During the Novena devotions the petitions and thanksgivings that are not marked as private are read out for the members of the community to pray for.

Following the prayers of the Novena comes Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.


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