“Those that see it, those that don’t”

Take a look at this picture.

socks

It belongs to a friend of mine. (Don’t worry; she gave me permission to share.) 😉

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those that see it and those that don’t.

I am without a doubt, one of those that see “it.” It’s no secret that I like my house clean! Oh wait. Let me clarify. I like the look of my house when it’s clean. Unbeknownst to my husband, the process of cleaning my house is not actually enjoyable for me. I mean really, who wants to spend their “spare” time picking up other people’s belongings?! Scrubbing toilets and dishes, washing clothes, hanging up the clean laundry. Ugh, I loathe hanging up the laundry!

It’s the worst.

Back to my point. I hate the process; however, I really enjoy the outcome! Not for long, mind you. I have three kids, (four if you include the husband.) But how great is that moment when your whole house is clean?! You can sit back on your couch, put your feet up, enjoy a glass of wine and be at peace with your surroundings.

Total Zen.

If you are a Mom reading this, you know that I am lying, because your little terrors angels are a step behind you ripping everything apart. Or, your husband. I don’t know about you, but I can’t focus on anything, when my house is a mess. It’s like a representation of my mental state. If you ever walk into my home and it looks like an episode of “Hoarders” was filmed here, it is in your best interest to leave. Immediately.

By all means, I try my best. I organize and simplify the steps, but I have three kids and with each kid, you get more stuff and more mess. I realized the other day (while cleaning the house of course), that I spend more time putting items back where they belong, than the time it takes for vacuuming, laundry, and dishes combined. Putting things back in their original place! How much time could be saved if the other people that live here would put things back where they belong?! Toys in the toy bin, laundry in the laundry basket, dishes in the sink. It’s like a scavenger hunt to see what kind of treasures I can find on a daily basis! I’m not gonna lie, it drives me absolutely batty sometimes! No matter how hard I try, I will never understand, because I am one of those people that “see it.”

Have you looked at the picture? Do you see IT?

Here’s what I see. A wife that tried her darnedest to simplify a process.

Problem: Her husband throws his socks on the floor, beside the bed, every night. Now, there must be a logical explanation for this?! Some kind of obstruction or barricade that is keeping him from entering the laundry room? Clearly his legs are broken and his crutches won’t fit through the door! Or, NOT. He’s fine. His legs are perfectly fine, but every night he removes his socks and drops them on the floor, beside the bed.

Solution: The wife places a laundry basket in the exact location of removal.

Do you see it now?? Mind. Blowing.

Now here’s the funny part. Not everyone can “see it.” (Well, not before I point out the obvious.) How do I know this, you ask? Because I showed my husband. I am someone that totally “gets” the insanity of it! The wife made it as simple as possible. Yet, the process of putting the socks into the basket could NOT be done. Her husband just doesn’t “get it.”

I thought to myself, this is the perfect example to show to my husband! He is known for leaving his socks beside the bed too. Surely, he will see the hilarity of this picture!

I waited until he got home from work that day. I couldn’t just send this sort of thing in a text; I had to see the reaction on his face when he saw it. I wanted to share the moment with him. That instant when his brain had processed what his eyes had seen, and we’d laugh, and laugh, and laugh about it. I tried to conceal the smirk on my face as I handed him my phone, where the photo had been stored for easy access. He took the phone from my hand. There was at least 30 seconds of silence as he analyzed what he was looking at. I said to him “isn’t that hilarious?” And he says to me “why would someone leave an empty laundry basket beside the bed??”

I could tell by his expression, that he was not joking. He wasn’t messing with me, he was actually puzzled. And so there I am thinking to myself, it does not get any more obvious than this photo, and he still doesn’t “get it”. He doesn’t see the damn socks?! How is that POSSIBLE?!

That’s when I “got it”.

He will never see the socks.

It’s never going to happen, because he’s just one of “those people.”

It’s not his fault. I actually felt a little bit sorry for him. I mean really, to be that oblivious. But then it hit me. Why on earth do I feel sorry for him!? Someone feel sorry for ME! One, because I want to be the person that doesn’t see the socks! That mounding pile of dirty, sweaty, smelly socks beside the bed. How liberating that must feel, to walk past those dirty socks day in and day out. And two, because I am the person, that will have to pick up those dirty, sweaty, smelly socks for the rest of my days.

Why you ask?

Because my husband doesn’t even see them.

By: Sara Park

 

 

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Martinis & Motherhood

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Back in December, an opportunity arose to submit a story for an upcoming motherhood anthology.

The timing was a bit tough, as we were right in the midst of our Kickstarter fundraising campaign, to the fund the second print of  “Clever Carter” books. (Which was a success, by the way ! Yay !) But, lucky for me, the submission deadline for the anthology wasn’t until February ! That gave me plenty of time to sort through the books and pack the Christmas stuff away, before turning my focus back to writing.

A few days and a million interruptions later, I was done! I submitted my story (in the eleventh hour, of course) for their evaluation.

Then came the wait.

I don’t recall exactly how long the wait was, probably a couple of weeks, but I would describe it as a sort of “eternity.” It was like I was waiting for the acceptance letter from my favourite post-secondary school. Sweaty palms and anxiety; the anticipation was killing me !

Well, not literally. But a little bit.

FINALLY in March, I received notification that my story had been accepted into their “Woe” category! (Bet you didn’t see that one coming.) 😉

This awesome anthology is jam packed full of hilarity and “Aww” mommy moments, that will have you wiping tears away while you sip your martini. Yes, the book also includes martini recipes !Martinis book cover

It will be THE book to discuss at your next book club meeting or “girls night in” and it’s available TODAY !

Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe and WTF?!” is an anthology and martini recipe book, in one! “These tales of Wonder, Woe and WTF?! Share a little glimpse into the lives of other moms, who are a lot like you. Through their tales, we’re reminded to savour the little things (like capturing extra morning snuggles), to let go of the stresses (they won’t be in that unfortunate phase forever), and to be grateful for the laughs that the unexpected brings (because laughing is better than crying and it may be the only workout our abs get!).”

“So shake up an easy-to-make martini, put your feet up (quickly, before the kids find you) and join us on our journey as we toast to the many clink-worthy moments that motherhood brings.”

Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe & WTF?! is now available on Amazon (CanadaUSAUK and more) in print and Kindle version. * Note, Canadians who’d like to buy the print version of the book will need to order from amazon.com as it is not yet available on amazon.ca.

To read about the WONDER contributors, click here, the WOE contributors, click here, and the WTF!? contributors, click here.

Or you can follow the links below.

Did I mention that I’m a “WOE” contributor ? 😉

Cheers Everyone ! 🙂

Sara

Wonder Contributors Lynn Morrison nomadmomdiary.com ,Angila Peters detachedfromlogic.com ,Magnolia Ripkin magnoliaripkin.com ,Louise Gleeson latenightplays.com ,Jocelyn Pihlaja omightycrisis.com.com ,Alison Huff crumbsdown.com ,Leigh-Mary Barone Hoffmann happilyeverlaughterblog.com ,Shannon Drury theradicalhousewife.com ,Patricia Mirchandani raising-humans.com ,Lauren Stevens lo-wren.com ,Cordelia Newlin de Rojas multilingualmama.com ,Sarah Deveau doingallthethings.com

Woe Contributors Shannon Day martinisandmotherhood.com ,Tara Wilson dontlickthedeck.com ,Vicki Lesage vickilesage.com ,Abby the Writer littlemissperfect.com ,Brooke Takhar missteenussr.com ,Kate Parlin shakespearesmom.com ,Christina Antus christinaantus.net ,Jennifer Baird-Dean thechiofjen.com ,Sara Park crcrsmommyblog.com ,Tamara Schroeder thattamiam.com ,Kristen Hansen Brakeman kristenbrakeman.com ,Lori Lu Green LeRoy theinadequateconception.com ,Carolyn Mackenzie Global’s Carolyn Mackenzie on FB

WTF?! Contributors Susanne Kerns thedustyparachute.com ,Sarah Halsall del Rio established1975.com ,Lisa Webb canadianexpatmom.com ,Jessica D’Andrea Kapp jesskapp.com ,Kim McDonald twobugsandablog.com ,Lisa Carmody Doiron momologues-soliloquies.com ,Olga Mecking europeanmama.com ,Holly Rust mothersguidetosanity.com ,Kathryn Leehane foxywinepocket.com ,Jill Hudkins Robbins rippedjeansandbifocals.com ,Kristine Laco mumrevised.com ,Andrea Mulder-Slater noreallyandrea.com

All or Nothing.

photoALL OR NOTHING

Autism.
You’ve heard the word before, but what do you actually know about it?

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes social impairment, difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, problems with sensory processing and repetitive behaviours.

Basically, it affects the way a person will think, learn and experience everything.

The latest statistics show that 1 in 68 children are on the Autism spectrum.
It is five times more common in boys, than girls, which makes the number 1 in 42 (boys).
As well, the numbers do not represent children under the age of 8, so as you can imagine, the numbers are much higher when you add those children into the equation.
My son turned 8 in August, and though he was diagnosed with Autism at age 3, he was not one of the 1 in 42 boys represented in the data.

With numbers this high, I would estimate that every second classroom has a student on the Autism spectrum.
If the number of children diagnosed with Autism, continues to rise, I would expect that every class will have a student with Autism, in just a few short years.

When I was growing up, the statistics were more like 1 in 10,000 children.
It was practically unheard of, which is why there are so many adults out there, that don’t know a thing about it. You may even be one of those adults!

A few years ago, my son (who has Autism), was in preschool.
His classmates were starting to notice that he was different than them.
They were asking questions about him, that no one really knew how to answer.
I wanted to help.
I wanted the kids to understand why he did the things he did, and I wanted to encourage them to be his friend.

So I wrote a poem.
It was essentially an “introduction to Autism” for preschoolers.
The poem was read to the children, and it was well received.
Questions were answered and the kids learned how to engage with my son.

That’s where the concept of “Clever Carter” began.

There is a growing number of children diagnosed with Autism every year.
How great would it be to have a resource for teachers and parents that could help to educate our children about Autism, starting as early as preschool?!
A kid friendly way to share some facts and commonalities.
A way to encourage inclusion and understanding of the disorder, from the very beginning.

The poem I wrote became a book, so that other teachers and parents outside of my son’s class, could use it as a teaching tool when educating about Autism.

We pre-sold 200 copies before they were even printed.

Resources for educating children about Autism are sparse, and the speed at which we sold the books, confirmed that.

That is my motivation.
That is why I’m doing this.

Today, we launch our Kickstarter fundraising campaign!

For those that don’t know, Kickstarter is an “all or nothing” fundraising site.
Meaning, if you don’t reach your goal in the designated time (36 days from today), you leave with nothing.
Nada. Zip. Zero dollars.

That’s a lot of pressure on a person!

Fortunately for me, I am well versed in “all or nothing”, because I have a kid on the Spectrum.
It is pretty much our way of life!

(And I like to ignite a little fire within me, from time to time.) 😉

Back to the campaign.
Our goal: to raise what we need to fund our second, much larger print.

That is where I need some help.

I like a little fire, but I am only ONE person.

Please share the campaign.
Everywhere. Often.

Donate what you can to help us reach our goal!

Thank you! 😀

vwp_parkfam05-ZF-1220-55032-1-001-005

Xo
Clever Carter’s Mom
Sara

Our Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1067812886/clever-carter-a-story-about-autism?ref=nav_search

Resources:
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/autism/

http://www.autism-community.com/autism-and-learning-2/

http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0327-autism-spectrum-disorder.html

An open letter to Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

Dear Mrs. Kathleen Wynne,

First, l would like to say, “Congratulations” on your political victory !

I have been legally allowed to vote for the past 14 years, but I have to admit, that this is the first time I have ever voted in an election.

I have never followed politics, nor had I ever had any interest in voting.
It was your promise for additional support and shorter wait times for special needs that caught my attention.

I am a stay at home Mother of 3, and my first born child is on the Autism Spectrum.

Before my son was diagnosed, I knew very little about Autism, so I’m going to assume that you know as much as I did.

I will do my very best to explain the process to you.

The first thing you will be told after a diagnosis, is that early intervention is vital.
They recommended that the child start Autism intervention as soon as possible. The quicker you start behavioural intervention, the better the outcome for the child.

This part is so important in fact, that we had our son start therapy, even before he had his official diagnosis.
We didn’t want to waste our “critical window of opportunity” (that is, intervention for a child before the age of 6), sitting on a multitude of wait lists.

Our son was diagnosed with Autism when he was 3.5 years old.

When we mentioned our concerns about his development at his 18 month wellness appointment, we were referred for a speech assessment.
Our son was put on a wait list at the CTC in our district, and we had to wait 10 months for that assessment.
After the speech evaluation, they recommended he be assessed for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Our name was placed on another wait list, and we were finally called for our appointment one year later.

Once we had our official diagnosis and we were deemed eligible for Autism therapy coverage (some families are not deemed eligible, which is another big concern), we waited close to three more years before funding was actually available to us.

That is almost five years of waiting.

Five years that would have been lost during the “critical window of opportunity”, had we not taken matters into our own hands.

We remortgaged our home, we cashed in our RRSP’s and we emptied the account of funds we had set aside for our children’s post secondary education.

That sounds like a heck of a lot of money, right?! That’s because it IS.

Autism Intervention is expensive.

The annual cost is $40,000+ (for part time), and $80,000+ for full time (40hrs per week) therapy.

The minimum number of therapy hours recommended for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder is 25 hours.
With the average cost of an instructor therapist and the minimum number of required therapy hours, a family is looking at approximately $50,000 each year.
If they continue therapy up until the child is 18 years old, it will have cost the family $900,000.
That is for the minimum number of therapy hours recommended.
Full time therapy will cost a family $1.4 million+ over 18 years.

Lucky for us, our personal funds carried our son through part time therapy until exactly one month before we received assistance from the ministry.

Of course, we will never retire.
Or pay off our house.
Or be able to fund post secondary education for any of our 3 children.

But hey, our dollars brought us to the end of the ministry wait list !
What a relief that was !

After 5 years on our own, having used up all our financial resources, we finally had some help !
Except that the average family receives only two years of therapy coverage, before they are once again on their own.
2 out of 18 years.
(Then from 18 years for the rest of their lives, because there are no supports in place for adults with Autism either.)

Let me just say, a child with Autism is in no way “rehabilitated” after two years.
There is no known cure for Autism, but children can “recover” with the proper supports in place. They can get to the point that they don’t require full time care. They can graduate high school, forge ahead to post secondary education, live independently and become contributing members of society.
It IS possible.
But not without continued support.

Financial support being number one.
We can’t have our children sitting on wait lists for years at a time without intervention, and families simply can not take on the financial burden of Autism.
It’s too much !

You plan to spend an additional $5 million dollars to support families of special needs and reduce wait times.
But that is $5 million dollars split amongst 20 ministry funded children’s treatment centres.
That is an additional $250,000 per year, per centre.
The cost of part time therapy for a child with Autism is $50,000.
An extra $5 million dollars invested into the 20 CTC’s will help 5 children at each centre.

Sadly, hundreds of children are waiting for intervention.

You are the only political candidate that acknowledged the wait times and lack of support for special needs families.
You pledged to invest $5 million dollars in additional support for special needs, and though that is not nearly enough, it is a start.

So, you got my vote.

And now that you are fully aware of the actual cost and wait times for Autism intervention, maybe you can find a little extra wiggle room in that budget of yours. 😉

Pretty please.

Sincerely,
Sara Park

Imagehttp://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/lifetime-costs-autism-average-million

http://www.asatonline.org/resources/clinician/earlydetection

 

“To vaccinate or not”

Vaccinations.

Here I am, new to the blogging world, and I am about to blog about the dreaded vaccination debate.

People often ask my opinion on vaccinations, so here it is.

These are the facts.

I have three children. image
One of them is vaccinated, and two of them are not.
One of my kids is on the Autism spectrum, and he is the one that is vaccinated.

Now hold on a second there before you go reading into my words !
I am in no way saying that his vaccinations caused his Autism.
It just so happens he is vaccinated and has been diagnosed with Autism.

If you were to ask me whether I think his vaccinations led to his Autism, my answer will be “I do not know.”

I DO believe that his vaccinations along with other factors *may have* played a role in his Autism, but that is my own personal theory, because I have no way of proving it.
Any of it.

NO ONE can prove ANYTHING.

As of today, there is NO KNOWN cause for Autism.
It is believed that genetics play a role and/or environmental factors.

If you Google the word “Autism”, you are likely to come across information indicating a possible link to vaccinations.
Our googling of Autism, led us to various resources of vaccination information.
Whether that information is 100% accurate or not, it doesn’t matter.
It was enough for us to question it.

When further researching vaccinations, Autism aside, we found information we weren’t completely comfortable with.
So, for that reason, we decided not to vaccinate our other children.

That’s where our “opinion” stands.

Usually, I am not one to publicly express my vaccination opinion, because there will always be that one person whose comment takes a condescending tone and turns the discussion into an ugly debate.
The tone that implies you are an imbecile if your opinion differs from theirs in any way.
Like they have done more research than any person EVER BEFORE and they have ALL the answers.

And to that person, I say….don’t.
DON’T DO THAT !

Did you do all your own research and talk to various medical professionals before making your vaccination decision ?
I’m sure you did.

So, can we just assume that everyone did ? Please.

There is no need to insult each others intelligence and assume they’re uneducated in their decision.

If you really want to help them, encourage them to do their own research, and come to their own conclusions.

We have a right to make the decisions we see fit for our own families, and parenting is hard enough without a judgy mcjudgerson making us feel bad about our choices every step of the way.

It does not matter if our decisions reflect your own.

How about we just band together as parents and assume we are all doing the best we can with the information we have at hand.

There is no right or wrong here.

Unless you decide not to vaccinate, or you decide that you will.

‘Cause most likely whatever decision you make, you will be making the WRONG decision.

Let’s face it here folks, our kids will probably grow up to be dysfunctional adults either way.  😉