Summer Activities List (Printable)

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We’ve started our summer holidays from school now so here’s my annual Summer Activities List, filled with free or low-cost activities for sunny and rainy days:

2015 Summer Activities

Each of the activities are ones that my daughter loves doing, and my son (who has Autism) will also do (not sure if he likes them all but the smiles are awesome!).

Like my Facebook Page and please share any photos of activities your family does throughout the summer. Would love to see great family-time this summer! I’ll also be including videos of us doing these activities too on my Youtube Channel too so be sure to subscribe there.

4th Time in 4 Years…No Guilt

I seem to be publishing more videos on Youtube recently than writing here on my blog so, if you want to keep current with what I’m up to, check out my Youtube channel here: I’m A Mom Too.

I’m writing today because I’m enjoying something and wanted to share it with you. Ii’m currently enjoying…

a chai latte…

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caesar salad…and sweet potato fries.

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This may not be a big deal to some and normally, it’s just a little treat to be able to go out and enjoy these foods at a cafe, on a weekend when the kids are at their dad’s, and where I didn’t have to cook.

Today however, it’s a bigger deal. See, my ex-husband (the kids’ father) asked last week if he could pick the kids up from school tonight. Random request, even though our Court Order states that he is supposed to pick the kids up from school every other Friday for the weekends they are with him AND also every Wednesday night for an overnight. He doesn’t. I drop the kids off at their dad’s at 7pm every other Friday and he doesn’t do the mid-week visit because he works out of town.

An added thorn in my side is that, despite being in Court twice and mentioning that he has never talked to me about whether it’s ok if he doesn’t do the mid-week visits (which frankly, it doesn’t matter to me…but I’m sure the kids would love to see him every Wednesday). He even emailed me months ago asking if the kids can come back to me mid-week when they are at his place over the summer for “four non-consecutive weeks”, stating how “important it is” for the kids to see each parent throughout the week…umm, I know. I’m the one cleaning up the pieces every time they tell me they want to see him more often than for four days per month. He’s also never taken me up each time in Court when I suggest we “switch” some of that mid-week time to one-on-one time for each of us, with each of our twins, on one of the weekends they are supposed to be with me in a month. His response is always “we’ll see”…which I’ve learned to translate as “no, but I don’t want to outright say that”.

So, here I enjoy the FOURTH time in four years where I haven’t had to rush to pick the kids up from school, IBI therapy or meet my son’s bus…three of those four times were when I had to arrange for the kids’ dad to pick them up from school because I had an out-of-town event (the 4th time, my boyfriend picked them up).

This is the FOURTH time in four years where I’ve had the time flexibility to chit chat with my colleagues after my shift is done because I’m currently at placement related to my return to school in Fall 2013.

This is the FOURTH time in four years that I haven’t had to make the kids’ after school snack because they are “starving” and haven’t “eaten in forever” as soon as they walk in the door.

This the FOURTH time in four years that I have been able to enjoy a leisurely way to get home. To stop at a cafe, enjoy some youtube videos, people watch, see the mom and little girl in the booth next to mine on a “mother-daughter date”, and write just because I enjoy writing. Not write an essay or assignment for school (although I should be because I have logs I have to submit for my placement, but I don’t feel like it).

I’m just spending some time doing NOTHING. I don’t have to be anywhere for another three hours. I may go for a walk along the waterfront after I’m done in the cafe. Who knows? I have three more hours to waste…and I’m not going to feel guilty about it. I’m going to enjoy my chai. Enjoy the sun shining outside. Enjoy this fourth time in four years.

Cheers!

#WorldAutismAwarenessDay 2015

2nd Annual World Autism Awareness Day photo montage:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/I5_aw8XBdDI“>

Last year’s montage is available here: https://youtu.be/9V51KVuGAr4

My family’s journey: https://youtu.be/siP4DLOm-YU

Please leave any questions you have below. I will answer them as best I can. 🙂

Dear Mom Who Called My #Son With #Autism A Delinquent

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A mom (we’ll call “Mom 1”) came running into McDonald’s screaming something like “a big kid is on a little kid in the playplace”. Immediately, I got a pit in my stomach…that big kid was probably my 9 year old son, in the playplace with all the other little kids. All parents went running into the playroom to see what was happening. We all saw the little girl who was crying and her mom (we’ll call “Mom 2”) was understandably being protective of her, while all parents were trying to figure out what happened. I just *knew* that my son did something, completely innocently, that scared this little girl, probably trying to hug her but, because he’s big for his age and she was maybe 4 years old, I can totally understand her fear. They were both way up in the top of the playplace, where no one inside the McDonald’s could actually see what was happening. I do not deny that he probably scared her but the situation got out of control VERY quickly.

Both Mom #1 and Mom #2 started yelling at him so I told them to stop, that he has Autism and doesn’t understand the language they were using.

Mom #1 said “Autism? Well then you’re stupid for letting him be in here unattended, and you shouldn’t even let him out of the house. Why are you in public with him?”

I’m sorry…but what??!!

I told her that he’s a child and is allowed outside, plus we haven’t had problems in the almost 10 years we’ve been going to that McDonald’s location. I tried turning my attention to Mom #2 to see if her daughter was ok. Her daughter was scared but physically ok. Mom #2 was understandably angry and upset.

Mom #1 kept yelling obscenities at me and my son. She even started claiming the little girl had peed her pants…which she hadn’t.

I’ll admit that I yelled back at her to stop yelling because it wasn’t helping the situation.

My son was calmly standing beside me, waiting because he clearly didn’t understand what was happening. I took him out of the playplace, got his winter stuff on, had him sit down while I got my stuff on…and Mom #1 started telling other parents how he has Autism so he’s a delinquent; he’s pure violence; he needs to be locked up; etc. I said “Excuse me, but I’m right here, and you’re talking about my CHILD. Stop spreading lies about him and Autism”. She started yelling and telling me how horrible of a parent I am; how dare I bring him out in public; he needs to be thrown away. I’m not proud but I lost it and told her that it was time for her to leave because she wasn’t helping the situation. We left as soon as we collected our things. My daughter was upset for leaving so quickly. My son was oblivious to what had just happened. I was ticked off. The kids’ grandfather was confused and wanting to protect all of us, but also get us home as soon as possible.

On our way out, I was glad to see Mom #2 taking her daughter and the other kids they were with back into the Playplace. That helped me feel better that her daughter was ok.

A few hours later, I’ve had time to calm down and think about the situation, and I’ve decided I would like to thank her…So, kind Mom #1…thank you…

Thank you for making me realize that I still have a redheaded temper (it’s been YEARS since I’ve seen it).

Thank you for bringing out my mama bear.

Thank you for changing the focus from the little girl to you.

Thank you for not allowing me to talk to Mom #2 to ensure her child was ok (I could see the child was ok, but I still wanted to check in, and offer to pay for their meals, etc).

Thank you for escalating the situation to pure emotions so I couldn’t ask you what you actually saw, which would mean I can then teach my son not to do that, thereby stopping it from happening again…because let’s face it, that’s what needs to happen.

Thank you for insulting my son over and over again.

Thank you for bringing my parenting into question (which I just laugh off…my ex husband tried worse after we split)

Thank you for spreading lies about what Autism is and who children with Autism are.

Thank you for motivating me to finally sign up for crisis intervention, basic breakaway and joint locks training, in case I have to protect myself and/or my children in the future, even if that’s to subdue my ever-growing 9yo, who is the size of a 12yo, during meltdown. I’ve been putting off signing up for it, not wanting to face the reality that he’s getting too big for me to physically intervene in a meltdown (which we experienced about a month ago, for the first time in over a year) and, dear Mom #1, if all that over-stimulus had caused a meltdown for him, you aren’t the one who would need to help him through it for hours or days. I am because I’m his mom.

Thank you for making my daughter get upset because she witnessed her mom yelling at another mom for the first time in her life.

Thank you for making me cry out of anger and frustration when I got home.

Thank you for showing me how much more awareness is needed out there because Autism is NOT pure violence, nor does it mean he’s a killer like you were claiming.

So, Mom #1, thank you for being the biggest motivation I’ve had in a few years to continue furthering my education to become a Social Worker to officially help other parents because, sadly, this type of situation happens all the time.

Thank you for making me even stronger.

Meghan

How to keep up with the #clothing my #kids’ #outgrow

I’ve mentioned this tip a few times recently so I thought I would share…

How to keep up with the clothing my kids’ outgrow (which seems daily right now!)

Comment below with your tips of how you stay on top of the kids’ clothing.

#Autism #School Calendar & #ReportCards

My Kids Alternate Special Needs Report Cards

A bit late because I was sick for a week with step throat (stay tuned for the blog post about that!), but here’s my son’s Autism class’ calendar for February:

Son’s School Calendar Feb 2015

His class is an Autism-specific class offered through our school board. They follow a Monday through Friday schedule rather than a Day 1 through Day 5 schedule like the rest of the school does.

Report cards were also sent home last Thursday so I decided to film how my kids’ report cards are different from other report cards that go home. My daughter’s report card is the same structure as mainstream school because she’s in mainstream schooling, but has a couple of accommodations for her IEP (Individualized Education Plan). My son’s report card however is very different from mainstream school, seeing as he’s in an Autism-specific class.

Our First #SnowDay of the #School Year

Today, we woke up to a beautiful winter wonderland…and our first snow day of the school year!

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We spent some time with the neighbours in our little culdesac, shoveling out everyone’s sidewalks and driveways, and playing with some of their dogs.

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The kids were both exhausted and happy.

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When we came back inside, I was getting hot chocolate and marshmallows in the kitchen and realized that somehow snow had come in from under the back door overnight. I moved the bookshelf and found a bunch of snow.

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I cleaned it up and, while the bookshelf was moved and half of the kitchen floor was now clean and dry, I figured I would take advantage of it and start putting the laminate flooring I had bought last week, on at least that portion of the kitchen floor. For the last two years since we moved into our home, we just had the underflooring that had been hiding underneath the horrible flooring we had to pull out before redoing the kitchen.

Soon, my daughter got curious about what I was doing in the kitchen and the next thing I knew, she was helping!

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Now we have a beautiful kitchen floor, that we laid ourselves…

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…and my daughter has even asked if something new can be added to her chore chart: mopping the kitchen floor!

But #Moms Can’t Have #Concussions

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Last Saturday, I was at an event where I ended up getting hit in my left eye socket with someone’s mask (it was a costume type of event). It hurt but it was manageable. Sunday morning, I was pleasantly surprised to not wake up with a black eye. Started having a headache later throughout the day but again, manageable with some Advil. Went to bed that night with an ice pack on that side of my head because the headache seemed to be getting worse. No big deal. A good night’s sleep will help.

Monday morning, I woke up with an almost migraine and after finishing the last school drop off, I called my chiropractor to get adjusted, hoping I wouldn’t have the sore eye socket AND a migraine. Told my chiropractor why I was there, and surprisingly, he was able to adjust my eye socket and jaw (which had also gone into a spasm), as well as everything for the almost migraine. He confirmed that he believed I have a mild concussion. Later that day, there was a bit of darkening in that eye socket, but it was gone by Tuesday morning.

Tuesday morning, I had meetings at the kids’ school, which had been scheduled prior to Christmas so I couldn’t cancel. I followed as best I could because I was still pretty fuzzy-headed. Thankfully, someone else takes minutes for one of the meetings so I look forward to reading them when they come out…make sure what I remember from the meeting actually happened. I took notes, but seeing them today, there isn’t much context unfortunately.

What has been amazing throughout this, is my daughter. She’s been constantly checking in with me, asking how I’m feeling, telling me she loves me even more than usual, and even opening my car door for me. Yesterday morning, I told her that I wasn’t sure if I was starting a fever or just having a really long hot flash. 😉 Next thing I knew, I could hear her in the kitchen and she brought me an ice pack from her lunch, wrapped in a paper towel (photo above).

Last night, when we got home, she told me to go lie down on the couch. Again, I heard her rustling around in the kitchen. She brought me a cold water (ice cubes and all) and a snack, which of course consisted of her favourite snacks: goldfish crackers and a rice cake. No wonder why she received the Empathy Award at school last year!

She has been so amazing through all of this, and I can’t wait to be all better (even less fuzzy-headed would be helpful, but at least I can see the computer screen properly today…although it’s tough work!)…but while I’m healing, it’s amazing to see how much she is mini-me in trying to take care of me; tuck me in; bring me snacks. I’m in awe of her empathy, and her natural ability to help look after someone else. She amazes me.