Monday, November 30, 2009

31 days of nothing.....

Okay, so perhaps that's a little melodramatic. But as I sit here, ignoring the soon to be arriving credit card bills from my Black Friday shopping, I am inspired.

New challenge for myself for the month of December. No non-essential shopping.

Alright, get it out, laugh. I know, you're thinking surely I can't go that long without buying SOMETHING crafty!

So let's see! I am challenging myself in the month of December to purchase ONLY necessities and pay bills. (Seems the kids to get antsy with no food or heat...) Any bills that arrive, obviously I need to pay them. But all those "just gotta have it" fabric purchases, spontaneous coffee runs, etc--NO!

Can I do it? Could you do it? Perhaps you are wondering if I ate a magic mushroom because surely this challenge cannot happen in the month of DECEMBER!?

Ha-Ha! That is where I've got the angle...I do not celebrate Christmas!! MUAHAHAHHA! So I do not have to purchase presents, trees, decoration! So while much of the world racks up their debt, I am going to challenge myself to NOT rack up any debt and see how much money I can save!!

Who else thinks the husband is going to support this challenge 110%?

So let the games begin tomorrow..December 1st. 31 days of nothing...


And check out the OUS blog for more therapy around supply hoarding/shopping!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday INSANITY!

Wow. It's crazy out there ya'll! Why not skip the madness and shop online? Hundreds of retailers and handmade sellers are ready to hook you up! :) Including moi of course!

40% Off through Monday on all orders of 25 or more at Mama's Little Monkeys on Artfire and Destash City on Artfire. Just use the coupon codes "blackfriday" or "black friday".

Buy 1 get 1 FREE (equal or lesser value) at Mama's Little Monkeys Etsy. WAIT for revised invoice or I can refund via Paypal.

Be sure to check out these great deals from the Cafemom Team and Handmade Louisiana!
Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am Thankful.....

  • For healthy children and family
  • For a place to rest my head
  • For a husband who loves me despite my flaws.
  • For a faith so strong that I am comforted even when one thinks I should be lost.
  • For a country that can and will fight it's way back to being what it once was.
  • For the freedom of speech and creativity to do what we love and what we are talented at.
  • For the ability to make my own decisions...if they are wrong, then it's on me.
  • For the smell of coffee brewing...bonus points if it's accompanied by the smell of gluten free cake baking.
  • For Black Fridays Sales---from the comfort of my PJS! (Buy Handmade!!)
  • For my friends near and far, even those I've never met who make life a little easier each day.
  • For the smell of a baby after a bath
  • For a pile of uncut's just so pretty.
  • For America and those who hold it dear.

May you have a safe, happy, healthy and thankFULL thanksgiving!!!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Craft Overload....

So I am 5 days away from completing my Renewal Experiment. I would have to say on the surface it's been a success! I have averaged a sale a day and that is very different for me. The odd thing is, the sales have been in both Mam'a's Little Monkeys, Destash City and a few on Artfire.

So it will remain to be seen with fees, etc how this little experiment worked out. I will also need some time to look at the Google Analytics of it all and see if I can find any answers there. So on the surface it seems to be, renew and you'll make sales.

Hmmm. So why didn't it work in the past? Is it the renewing EVERY day? Is the varying of times? Is it the renewal of the SAME item? I still don't know the answers to this and may not for some time until I look at all the fun filled data but overall I'd have to say it was a success.

I have learned a few things though:
  • I like getting sales. Duh.
  • I need to adjust my prices to cover more of the Paypal and Etsy fees if I continue to sell more on Etsy than on Artfire.
  • International shipping is really damn expensive and I have had to adjust some of those for the Destash shop. I'm sorry it costs 12.80 to ship 1 lb to England but it does. Investigating shipping options through UPS.....
  •  I miss crafting for fun. I have enjoyed being able to get rid of some of my inventory (and let me tell you, there's a lot) but when I returned from my trip and started my journey into minimalism, my goal was to focus less on the shops and more on crafting for me and for fun. Not that I am COMPLAINING about sales because my customers have been fantastic, especially considering TWICE I was out of a fabric I thought I had! I am enjoying the sales, believe you me....but have fallen behind on things I wanted to do for our family!

We shall see how often I continue to renew and what the final verdict of numbers and what not will say. I am preparing for a new Congo of toy makers and am happy to soon have my chalk cloth bags and rocket ships in that, so hopefully that will help move those! :) As usual I have a gazillion things I want to make and no time to do them :) But I don't do the holidays so while everyone else is rushing about prepping for Christmas I can sit back, drink my coffee and sew!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Supply Rehab...Won't you Join me?

Well, it's official. I've been committed. I am officially in Craft Supply Hoarder Rehab. So I must make an effort to plow through my supplies. Yes, the fabric is pretty. Yes the paper is crisp. But I MUST get through it. Why do I have it if I'm not going to use and enjoy it? Sure I run TWO destash shops to help move some of my obsessions, but really...I have to get busy.

But I don't want to worry about creating for the shops. I don't need to. I have plenty of inventory in all the shops. No, I want to create for me, my friends, my family. I want to create to give away to those who need it more. Create to make someone else smile.

That is my mission for the next few months. I do not celebrate Christmas but I do appreciate the cheer and giving that occurs this time of year. So I am trying to continue my journey into minimalism and focus less on STUFF and on the creation process, and the satisfcation of creating something new.

What will you create today?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Eli's Story

I thought I would take this opportunity to tell my son's story. Of course it is not complete, but hopefully will explain where we are right now.

Eli was born Jan. 23, 2008 (a very strategically planned winter baby--I was NOT evacuating 9 mos pregnant again!) and a welcome addition to our family that also includes big brother Harrison, now age 4. The pregnancy was your typical normal pregnancy and his birth was actually enjoyable, so different from Harrison's very traumatic, long, nearly ending in C-Section, birth.

Eli hit all his developmental milestones just fine, give or take a few weeks, until around 14 mos. He had a few words at 12 months including mama, daddy, kit-kat (cat), milk, more and he also signed more and all done. He was breastfeed until 11 mos, so he never even got a bottle really until 12 mos, so he was late getting off the bottle. He started milk and gluten at 12 mos (we have Celiac Disease in our family so I was hesitant when to start wheat.) and seemed to be fine. Meanwhile his brother was complaining of tummy aches and his own (undiagnosed) sensory issues were still being dealt with.

We noticed around 14-16 mos that Eli had stopped saying the words he WAS saying, stopped signing and wasn't picking up NEW words. He also was suddenly not eating ANYTHING. I mean virtually nothing. I found this very odd because up until 14-16 mos, he ate EVERYTHING I put in front of him and I loved it because Harrison was SUCH a picky eater.

So at his 18 mo visit I addressed my concerns with his pediatrician and for once she didn't blow me off. Having taught Head Start and worked in Early Intervention, I knew what I had to do. I called Early Steps, Louisiana's early intervention service for children under age 3 and scheduled a screening/eval. As I suspected he tested about 6-8 mos behind on his language, slightly behind on social/emotional and slightly behind on fine motor. He also failed the autism screening.

Now, granted the 'cut off' score for the autism screening was 20 and he got 23, but still. It was enough to warrant an evaluation. Of course, Early Steps does not actually COVER the cost of diagnosis and I was advised by a few people to just let it be and let him get the speech and OT Early Steps was suggesting.

But do I normally just do what people say? Not so much.

I knew from my years of teaching that if there was even the slightest chance he DID have autism, we needed to know now and get therapy started immediately. So I did some digging and found a developmental pediatrician, the fantastic Dr. Susan Fielkow at Ochsner and scheduled an eval.

Dr. Fielkow is great and doesn't really do 'scores' on young children, which I appreciate, because someone needs to really look at the whole child to see what's going on. Eli did receive a diagnosis of autism, albeit mild.  Now this is where most people think I'm crazy or a hypochondriac looking for sympathy! They say, "but he looks you in the eye!" "He hugs you!"

Yes he does. He looks ME in the eye and he will look some strangers in the eye. And he hugs ME on HIS terms. Can I pick him up on my own and get snuggles? No, not usually. That usually sets him off. He will play games like Peek a Boo and other baby games, but that's the point, he's behind. If he's hungry, I wouldn't know other than knowing his cries because I am his mother. He does not take my hand and lead me to the fridge, or say hungry, or eat. (Although he IS making strides and does now stand in the kitchen and fuss.)

So yes, at first glance, he looks totally 'normal'...whatever that means anymore. His stims are fewer and farer between since starting therapy and they are not very noticeable--mostly visual stimming with a toy or an inanimate object. Lots of vocal stimming also, whining, crying, strange noises but little real language. He can usually be easily diverted from his repetitions and stimming with some major gross motor pressure, flips and games. He is currently obsessed with circles and loves everything circle! He is a sensory seeker so he loves the wild tossing, flipping and other fun things an OT would do :)

My son has autism. Many children do and there are tons of myths surrounding it. I encourage you to never judge that someone is making something up, or that their child does or doesn't have a certain special need. The faces of autism are drastically different but still adorable and deserving of a chance.

What are we doing for Eli?
At the moment, once a week speech therapy, occupational therapy and special instruction. We're looking into applying for a pilot program for autism therapy through Early Steps because we cannot at this point afford the ABA therapy that would benefit him.
He has also begun the gluten free diet. This is a no brainer due to me having Celiac Disease and Harrison being gluten sensitive. It remains to be seen does Eli REALLY have autism or does he have severe Celiac Disease showing as symptoms of Autism? It doesn't really matter because the treatment is the same for him, Gluten Free diet and therapies.

A recent study in Pediatrics showed that children of mothers with Celiac may be 3 times more likely to have Autism. This does not surprise me at all. The statistics speak for themselves...1 in 150 have Autism, 1 in 133 have Celiac. Do the math.

Many children are helped by the GFCF diet. Some are not. But I feel it is an easy, (mostly) harmless way to help your child. Never start the GFCF diet without professional guidance. Some autistic children are SO picky about food that if you went cold turkey they literally would dehydrate and starve themselves. Go slowly and seek help through professional organizations and your doctor/nutritionist.

My advice for parents who suspect a problem? Don't take no for an answer. Trust your gut. Maybe you're wrong and your kid is just fine. Wouldn't you rather look stupid then wait and find out later there WAS something wrong and you could have helped? You always have the final say in your child's health. Do you want to delay or not do vaccinations? Then do your research and speak your mind. (For the record we do not do shots for personal religious reasons, and Eli still has autism.)

Do you want to try the GFCF diet? Do your research and try it! Do you want to try other biomedical techniques? Again, great, do your OWN research and see what you can do. You are the authority on your child and you know what's normal and not normal for them! I personally vote for trying just about anything once to see if it will help!

I can tell you by now I know what sets Eli off and what makes his symptoms worse. Don't be afraid to be an advocate for your child. No one else will be.

We paid (or will pay) about 1000 dollars for Eli's diagnosis. It was worth every penny. It set my mind at ease, let me know what we were up against and gave me a professional to help give me guidance. So, no Eli is not your 'typical autistic child' (again, whatever THAT is supposed to mean.) but he is who he is and we'll help him learn to be the best he can be.

My child may have autism but autism does not have my child.

Please feel free to share your stories of autism and how you are coping!!


Related Posts with Thumbnails