"I have Autism, but Autism doesn't have me."

I started this blog to share my thoughts on what is life as a stay-at-home mom. With changes that have developed and shaped our characters here on the homestead, this is now Tristan's blog (Captain's log?) about life with Autism. We will be sharing various topics, focused on Autism, ranging from the professional focus to being in the parent's seat and how every day is different from yesterday and may not come close to tomorrow. There is much to continue learning when it comes to Autism, and as a family, we are sharing our experiences along the way. Pull up a chair, learn, then go out into the world and make a difference with what you've gleaned. Knowledge is Power!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back on Track

Wednesday is here, and today is our creative project day. Because of Tristan having been sick for almost five full days, I didn't plan ahead for today's project, so we're going to shoot from the hip. We did complete our April 2010 preschool homeschool chart, which now hangs on the wall above our reading chart and cork board that has paperwork we need to pay attention to for weekly stuff. It helps to keep in mind and on paper, a schedule that we can follow yet, I know that things happen and scheduling should always be flexible, especially when it comes to kids. You can plan until your last breath but there are times when the apple cart gets turned over and you have to set it back on its wheels, gather all the apples, taking care to set aside the bruised ones-hey, they make great pie....and then you pick up from there once again and move forward.
Thinking of the above metaphor makes me realize that time with your children is priceless, and every moment counts because you'll never get it back once it manifests and becomes a memory. Long before I became a mother, I felt like I needed a full schedule of "things to do" to keep from becoming bored; I often found myself wondering why I always felt like I didn't have enough time to really enjoy what I was doing. It was in the beginning of taking on my responsibility of being a new parent, even into my son's first year to almost two years of life, it was time for me to step back and take a good, long look at what I was doing, where I was trying to go, where I was really going, and what was really important for everyone involved.
I didn't have to accomplish everything I set my eyes on, don't have to manifest every idea I have at the moment into something tangible right away, and realizing that preparing my child for life was going to be the top priority and that everything else was going to have to come afterwards or drop off completely. Adjustment to motherhood has taken the better part of two years for me to really get a firm grip on, knowing that in my heart, I'm not in control. I etched out a mental list of things I want to do, not setting it on paper, and being happy with the results of going with the flow of life.
Love, ~Mom
"Let us accept truth, even when it surprises us and alters our view." ~George Sand

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coming Through the Dark of Illness

Wow....it has been quite an interesting five day chunk of time...Tristan got sick last Thursday and is now, on Tuesday, almost 100% again. The first day was spent throwing up, the second, third, and half of the fourth days were spent sleeping and feeding him to keep him hydrated, fed, and comfortable. Monday afternoon looked promising with the hope of at least 75% better and this morning he's really taken off. After FOUR bowls of dry cereal and watered down juice, his demand for food really came on strong, and with a light lunch, a walk down and back up the basement stairs, he's sleeping peacefully. This is the longest he's ever been sick, and just the idea of knowing someday I'll be rangling two kids through sickness-'cause they usually like to share what each other picks up when it comes to virus and bacteria pets....I didn't sleep hardly at all these past few days, so working on auto-pilot and knowing the coffee pot will be my best friend...whew....
My strawberry picker from last year; I can't help thinking of this year's season to come when we can go pick berries and make jam making, storing and freezing, and just snacking on a big bowl of fresh, yummy VT grown strawberries...I'm looking forward to it again this year. We might try to grow a few plants here at home with the edible landscaping project I have in rough draft but to truly appreciate the jam making and storing up of locally grown berries, we definitely are going picking again this year. Our season is soooo short here-only two weeks for the best crop options-one must take full advantage of such a short season. And to think, next year, I'll have two little sets of hands to help with the picking-eating, e'hem.....
My writing took a 24 hour break; I looked up a deadline, thinking it was within a day or two and come to find out-or possibly that it got moved back, who knows-its later than I thought it was going to be. Fine with me. I also looked into other opportunities to write and found quite a few. I've picked my arenas to write for, happy with the knowledge that most outlets I can write about the things I know and find things to write about that perhaps I'm limited in knowledge on, and be happy with non-pressure deadlines and recipients who are going to be happy with the final product that gets turned in. Ahhhhh.....I can breathe on this one, too.
Love, ~Mom
"You tell me who has to leave the office when the kid bumps his head or slips on a milk carton." ~Wendy Wasserstein

Monday, March 29, 2010

Memories of the Early Days

Issues with accessing my blog page, and finding myself having to sign in another route-huh? Seems there's another blog page attached to this one, which I've NOT authorized or set up; hope it's just a clitch that can be remedied, otherwise Momma ain't gonna be happy....
Tristan has been under the weather since Thursday and now seems to be on the road to recovery, just at a slow pace. The last time he was really sick, it was only for three days-now, we're moving into day five. He doesn't get sick save a couple times a year, that's it. He's pretty healthy, especially for a toddler who's around other kids a couple days a week.
Boy, does this picture bring back memories! He was little but didn't seem as little as most babies-not for almost nine pounds! He's always been content, not fussy except when he's hungry, which he still voices his "I want to eat!" when he's hungry these days. He still likes to cuddle, although its when HE wants to and has nothing to do with anyone else. Ahhh....those were the days and these are the days.....to remember.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On My Way

"Oh, yeah, that's it-right there.....thanks Mom. A thumbs up for that great back massage/reiki session...."
I loved the Snoopy suit, even if Tristan only wore it for about a month before I handed it down to my youngest sister for her new little man-what a long time ago!
I've composed a list, and then some, and feel confident today as I continue to work on things I need to get done. Still staying off the social networking, and maybe even do it again tomorrow. I don't mind not being there, as I've got my hands full with tasks to complete and opportunities to continue looking forward to.
Tristan and I went to the library today, picked up some books, signed him up for next week's Easter egg hunt, and toodled back home to grab lunch and chill out before reading and settling down for a nap. We found some great books for him, especially the three on cd that I think he'll love. I found a great earthy kids sing along, and really hope he likes that, too. I'm thankful these days that he will nap for the most part, and learning to work around those days where a nap is just not going to happen, per the jumping and party-like cheeriness that undulates from his bedroom like the aroma wave in the Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Dinner has been started and fragrance of roasting chicken fills the kitchen air as I write this post. Tumbling plans for tomorrow's creative activity over in my mind like a load of clothes in the dryer, knowing that we're starting our freshly washed, and the results are pinned on light, airy, and warm-we want to avoid the shrunken wool sweater affect if we stuff the dryer and not pay attention to what gets put in there before hitting the go button.
My current research is beginning to blossom, and I'm happy and amazed at what I'm finding. Interesting history that I never knew about, let along paid attention to or looked for. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds and works out. Speaking of writing, I still have an article to finish before the middle of next week but my priority for today is to sew and finish repairs to a fiber project so it can be on its way and off my list of "Things to Complete After a Long Weekend of Insanity." Yeah, that's the heading for one of my lists.....~Mom
"It is never too late-in fiction or in life-to revise." ~Nancy Thayer
"In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play." ~Nietzsche

Monday, March 22, 2010


Face down over Elmo, that's where I'm headed at this point. I've always loved this picture...
Well, I finally just took a deep breath and took a step back to the insanity I've been neck-deep in. Finding freelance writing prospects has been great; now, to tackle the list I've composed so as not to miss an opportunity but to not become overwhelmed at the same time. I've acquired all but one element to improve my soap making, so now its about preparing for that final step off the diving board into the pool of business improvement. Fiber work has tangled me into a ball of yarn, thus having to compose a list of the projects that need to be finished before moving onto new ones had to be done; now, I just have to stick with that commitment.
Spring has sprung, and major nook and cranny cleaning has begun for me; I love this time of year, as I get into corners I typically ignore for six months at a time-the Fall will be my next major cleaning overdose. Purging and organizing has become a huge part of my cleaning expedition this year, nesting-pregnant or not. Being pregnant, I could contribute nesting to my cleaning but I really can't. Homeschool trials are going well; I just have to sit and incorporate our school activity journal to keep track of progress and the things we do for the year. I'm really having fun watching Tristan enjoy learning and showing what he's learning.
With really putting myself into the first four days of the new season, I cut my time with social networking to all but dead. I don't miss it at this point; I think I put too much time into it but I can at least say I'm not signing on to play games to chain mail to my friends. I don't have the time for such things and love the idea that I can keep in touch with people without being overwhelmed with building a farm or sending kissses and heart shaped pillows. And when I see a chick send a guy a "What kind of sexy bitch are you?" quiz, I have to wonder if she's aware he's a GUY, not a CHICK? Hello? Duh?
Plagued by paperwork in need of organizing and finishing, the things I've already stated, and utilizing my time to get things done....wait, did I squeeze in time for myself and maybe a few minutes of downtime so I don't find myself face down over Elmo? Yeap, gotta fit that time in there to keep my sanity and wonder where the box of Cheerios went to....have I vacuumed out the box yet?
"Somewhere in our lives, each of us needs a free place, a little psychic territory. Do you have yours?" ~Gloria Steinem

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Day Before Spring

"Only My Grandmother Understands Me"

It's the Friday before the Vernal Equinox-Spring. I've got a few minutes with prepping dinner, reading board books, and emptying my head out onto the page. Its been quite the week or so, and many things have happened. Last Tuesday, Tristan locked me out of the house and after trying to pick the lock to get in, employing one of my neighbors to try to help out, the town cops AND the fire department had to come to pry the door open. I've been musing about writing about the experience, and I've come to the conclusion the only way I can do that is with a sense of humor; therefore, you will find it on my creativity blog page, The Pearl and The Muse-the link is to your right under "Where to Find My Writing." A small turn of fortune came along as well, and I'm making my investments for improved soap making. Writing an article, researching one as well, and managing to finish fiber projects in the midst of planning for the gardens and starting spring cleaning a day early. Yeah, I'm tired, are you? Whew!

To think we only have another week and a half of March and then we march right into April. I'm looking forward to it, as we're working our garden spaces, enjoying the sunshine-despite the sinus flare ups between Tristan and myself-and feeling, I mean really feeling the warmth of the sun. I can't wait to photograph the garden progress this year, and to use our experience of homesteading in an article. Yes, I'm planning to write about the experience and especially touching on the concept of urban homesteading-a.k.a., gardening in small spaces. I'm still raising an eyebrow over the concept of living an urban life, especially in Vermont, where I don't perceive any part of the state to be "urban." Still feels like the 'burbs to me.

I've unplugged from social networking for the next four or five days to focus on house management, spring cleaning and purging, gardening, writing, family time, business rough drafting for the new season to come, and time to myself-somewhere it will get squeezed in. I like to network but when it comes to the days when I should be focused more on my priority list-yes, I've started composing those to get through and not procrastinate, I find myself checking in to see if there's anything new going on. Ok, time to unplug for a few days. Finish up unfinished business, be open to new possibilities, and keep family first. Yes, still making time for myself.....somewhere in there.

So remember, Mom is a busy girl but never too busy to hug, tickle, and cherish the moments that are fleeting. Even if Grandma understands the little people best....she is a mother, too.

Love, ~Mom

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring is Almost Here!

"Tristan's First Garden" 2008
It has been some time since this picture but we are looking forward to gardening again this year; last year's weather was not exactly prospering garden growth and yield weather but hoping for a better growing season this year. Our first garden was located in a community garden project, of which I loved watching other garden plots grow as well as the joy I felt in working in the dirt in our own space that year. Our garden prospects for this year are here at home, working the soil and engaging in "urban edible landscaping." I have it on my writing list for an article/chunk of work focused on gardening in small spaces in a more populated environment...it should be fun.
So, Spring is coming and I'm feeling it. My chronic sinus issues of my lifetime have cropped up again this year, right on schedule. Being pregnant, I can't self-treat as aggresively as I can when I'm not pregnant or breastfeeding, so recovery time is longer than what I care for but for the safety of my child, I'm doing the right thing. A bonus of this Spring is that I'm finalizing my materials/ingredients collection for my new adventures into soap making for my business. I'm soooo excited and can't wait to get started. I'm really looking forward to the process and posting my experiences on my business page, which you can find the link to at the bottom of this page. And yes, writing an article/chunk of work about that, too....yeah!
Ahhhh....warm peach tea with lemon and honey, a coconut macaroon, the never-ending list of "Mom's things to do," and realizing there's Cheerios under the coffee table...are they in my shoes, too? I guess I better check. ~Love, Mom

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Am I in a Warp and Don't Know it?

Ok, this is the second time posting and issues with trying to post more than one pic at a time. Not sure what that's all about but hey, we'll get through it, around it, over it, whatever it takes to move on from this realm of sticky goo. Pictured to your right is our Wednesday creative/science and math project-Onion Bagels. We also made Dill Cream Cheese to go with them, which I have to say, early in the morning, these are great! Absolutely love them! Even Tristan likes his bagel, excluding cream cheese but warm from the toaster oven all the same. My little helper appears to have a tendency for baking-not a bad thing, I have to say. Ok, I just tried something and I think I'll be happy with my posting and my pic layout for this post. Here's the recipes for the bagels and cream cheese; the bagel recipe is from a bread cookbook I have and the cream cheese recipe is shooting from the hip......enjoy!
Onion Bagels
4 1/4 to 4 1/2 c. bread flour*
2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water (110 degrees)
3 Tbsp. agave nectar*
1 Tbsp. salt
*Notes: I use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, as I find it rises better for me and I work with my dough a bit less than the average or professional baker. I substituted the sugar for agave nectar, which is a great non-processed sweetening alternative.
In a large mixer bowl combine 1 1/2 c. of the flour and the yeast. Combine water, sugar, and salt. Add to dry mixture in mixer bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer for 1/2 min., scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat 3 mins. at high speed. By hand, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 mins.). Cover; let dough rest 15 mins.
Cut into 12 portions; shape into smooth balls. Punch a hole in center of each with a floured finger. Pull gently to enlarge hole, working each bagel into uniform shape. Cover; let rise 20 mins. (Optional step for glossy, smooth surface: Place raised bagels on greased baking sheet and broil 5 in. from heat for 1 1/2 to 2 mins. on each side).
In large kettle combine 1 gallon water and 1 Tbsp. sugar; bring to boiling. Reduce heat to simmering; cook 4 or 5 bagels at a time for 7 mins., turning once. Drain. Place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 mins. (For bagels that have been broiled, bake about 25 mins.) Makes 12.
Onion Bagels: Prepare bagels as above, except cook 1/2 c. finely chopped onion in 3 Tbsp. butter til tender but not brown. Brush onion-butter mixture over tops of bagels after first 15 mins. of baking.
Dill Cream Cheese
1 brick softened cream cheese (bargain or name brand is choice of baker)
3 Tbsp. dried Dill
Place ingredients into bowl, using fork to fold dill into cream cheese. Enjoy on your bagel!
So, there it is, our Wednesday project for this week. Love, Mom
"The whole life of man is but a point of time; let us enjoy it."
~Plutarch, 46 AD-120 AD

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Writing about Grandmothers

Early morning here today but to sit and write when Tristan is sleeping is the best time for me to unload my thoughts onto the page. My little man was seven months old in this picture, seen with my grandmother (my mother's mother) and it seems like sooooo long ago some days. I love his baby pictures and need to get some of them printed and into a photo album.
I've picked up freelance writing again, and finding it enjoyable this time around. Funny how perspective can change, along with how you choose to go about things. At one time, I wrote and it was strictly based on making money writing on subjects I knew well enough to do the work. Now, I find myself writing for enjoyment, aside from making some money. I wrote a piece on grandmothers not too long ago, and enjoyed the work I put into the piece. I'm now getting ready to spin off of that writing to add color and texture to another article about grandmothers-actually, more like a short story this time.
Grandmothers are the wisdom keepers, ones who have seen more than we have in their lifetimes. Yes, there are times when our generation may have gone through hard times, experienced disappointed and heartache that would make a strong man cry but who can say they grew up during the depression of the early 20th century, young adult during WWII, saw the 50's sail in with the new wave of rebuilding our country and recovering from loss of jobs, soldiers lost overseas, raised two children during the 60's, saw the addition of grandchildren during the 70's, watched up grow during the 80's & 90's, and now seeing and living through what the 21st century has to offer? Wow....
Pies, homemade bread, canning veggies and jams, stocking the dirt floor cellar, watching the birds at the feeder just outside the kitchen window while doing dishes....memories for me. Working on crocheted items, varying from decorative motive to functional goods such as sweaters, hats, and mittens. She has passed those talents down, which I'm happy to be able to work those moments from memory into daily and seasonal activities. Does she know she established the foundation for sustainable living in my household? I'll have to tell her....
So, as I always give the last tid bit to hug your mother, keep in mind: she has a mother, too. Hug your grandmother today. Love, ~Mom

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Day Later But Never Too Late For Apple Tart

Tarte aux Pommes

2 lbs. medium cooking apples, peeled, quartered & cored
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. raw sugar
4 Tbsp. butter
3/4 lb. shortcrust (homemade pastry)*

Cut each cooking apple quarter lengthwise into two or three slices. Sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar and toss to combine. Melt the butter in a large heavy frying pan over medium heat and add the apples. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 12 mins until the apples are just golden brown. Remove the frying pan from the heat and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 12 in. round and trim the edge if uneven. Carefully transfer the pastry round to a baking sheet. Spoon the apple slices onto the pastry round, heaping them up, and leaving a 2 in. border all around the edge of the pastry. Turn the pastry border and gather it around the apples to enclose the outside apples. Bake the tart for 35-40 mins. until the pastry is crisp and browned. Serve warm, with crem fraiche or cream, if desired. ~Serves 6.

I chose to sub the sugar originally stated-superfine-with the raw. I also make my own pastry (2 c. flour, 1/4 c. oil, & enough milk to moisten & form into pliable dough) as opposed to buying pre-made dough, and love the results of leaving my edges rough, as it adds to the "rustic Farmhouse charm" of this tart. To me, I consider this the pie before pans were such a needed element to pie recipes. The best part, aside from the end result, pictured above before cutting and loving, was the added hand I had in prepping the apples before folding into the crust and baking.

"I'm helping, really I am...."
We were a day late on our typical Wednesday project but hey, sometimes that's what life does-creates a change in our days to help us see that a schedule is made to shape and bend just as much as following it to the nose. I also feel like I'm preparing for becoming more flexible about schedules and getting things done so that I can savor the most important moments of life-my family and my time spent with them. Running errands and keeping appointments are important but to keep in mind that time for those priceless moments come and never come back. Take each moment for what it is, and savor each second. It all passes away so very quickly. These are days to remember....Love, Mom

"All my possessions for a moment of time." ~Elizabeth I (1533-1603)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Changes, Sunshine, and Spring on the Way

Vanishing Oatmeal Cookie Bars

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
3 c. Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned , uncooked)
1 c. raisins

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Stir in oats and raisins; mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 mins or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack. ~4 dozen

*Bar cookies: bake 30 to 35 mins in ungreased 13 x 9 inch metal baking pan.

I made this recipe for the bar cookies and because of the size of my pan-roasting pan, that is-I had to double the recipe to have the right proportions for the size of the bars. YUM!!! These are soooo good; we still have some in a ziplock bag, and try to limit myself to one a day or every couple of days to have a "sweet treat." I posted the activity on my business blog originally, experiencing some tech issues with pic layouts, so decided to add the recipe another day. In the process, I decided to add those creative activities to this page instead of my biz page; business is business, and creative projects are here at home to be enjoyed. I don't want to confuse my fans, so I when I had an epiphany to create a page just for creativity and my writing, I knew I had to do it. What Tristan and I do here at home, especially when it comes to schooling and having fun with him, I will post here. Check under "Where to Find My Writing," and you'll know right away where to find my creative and words on the page moments.

" A Snow Man? I thought it was a snowcone!"
We had fun last Thursday when we (I say we but Momma did the hard work, Tristan supervised and thought it was a giant snowcone) built our first snowman. Living in an apartment complex for the first two years of Tristan's life didn't give us much opportunity to get out and play in the snow but since we've moved into our own home-we've been here for almost a year now-he loves to be outside, regardless of the weather. I'm thankful for that each and every day, even on those days where its raining and I have to scoop him up to run from the car to the house and he gets madder than mad because I won't let him play in the rain. Hey buddy, when we buy your first rain boots and coat, then you can play in the rain, ok? How about this spring? Sounds like a good idea to Momma.

"My Sunshine"
Spring is coming but I hope we're not getting teased before a major snow storm; I mean, New England living is what it is and the weather here can change in a heartbeat, that's why we don't get too excited about warmer weather this time of the year. When its April and we're in the midst of mud season, then we can get excited.
So, here's to changes, sunshine, and knowing that spring is on the way. Love, Mom