And we're baaaaaaack ;)

Where my party, pa- party Party, pa- party people at?
If I'm right you should all be blog hopping through cyberspace right about now, coming from the insanely talented Michelle Hernandez

and if you didn't, hop back on the party bus, head back to Punky Scraps and start your trip again cos you lost!
For all you newbies to discover PunkyMy Name's Tam-aka Stepfordwife..I've been on the creative team there for a lil bit now and it's seriously heaps of fun! The challenges are awesome, the gals are totally full of spunky punky attitude and we have heaps of fun along the way!

For this lil ol blog hop our fabbo leader Nat asked us to showcase our fav layout with techniques :) For anyone that knows me..getting all arty and getting my hands dirty is a little out of my comfort zone and something I really push myself to do ;) So when a challenge was set that I was to create a layout using NO patterned paper and just texture, paint, ink etc I wholeheartly said challenge accepted..ok no thats a lie..I had heart palpitations and nearly cried LOL..BUT I did it, and that's exactly what Punky Scraps can do for you! Challenge you to think outside the box, create bootiful pieces of art, layouts etc that are not what you are use to..
So here's my current fav layout :)
Washi tape, embossed cardstock, twine, mist, stamping.

So that's it for your little stop over here you're going to make your way back to the party bus and your next stop will be at Wendy's blog
Look forward to seeing you all take part in the Punky challenges!
And keep on hopping for your chance to win the grand prize of a spot on the Punky DT!
Peace out!


To label or not label...

So I've sat for almost 2 hours trying to write this blog post :( numerous starts, countless deletions, trying to get the words out of my head...
To those that know us, they will be aware that we have 3 amazingly beautiful children, all different within their own right, all fabulous at varying things...but the reality, our new reality is that we have 2 children on the spectrum, one fabulous daughter who was diagnosed 3 years ago with Aspergers and one handsome spunky son who recently was diagnosed with what they say.."mildly autistic, borderline intellectual disability"
I've never really blogged about their diagnosis, results or for want of a better word "label" how we came to find out or how we in actual fact feel about it.
I remember Pixie's assessments and subsequent evaluations quite clearly, she had been working with the school well being officer for various problems at school, bullying, anxiety etc and then this particular day after school the officer made a point of talking to me about her concerns for pix and how she felt it was best to take her to a psychologist as it was beyond her qualifications to go any further with her. I was a little taken aback, composed myself and realised he was doing what was best in my daughters eyes. That night we had another night of tantrums, yelling and our beautiful sobbing on her floor telling us she was the naughtiest child in the world and that she
should just say it broke my heart was an understatement, it sent her father reeling and resulting in him demanding I make an appointment for her to see someone, anyone. So phone calls the next day and the ball started rolling..
The day we received the "label" Of Aspergers Syndrome I sat there, trying to make sense of it all, slowly things were starting to make sense, the social awkwardness, the repetitive routines and need for constant order and structure.
Then at home the tears came, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't stop crying, this was not the life I envisaged for my daughter, life shouldn't have to be hard for children, it's meant to be full of naive visions and tea parties and friendships..not times of isolation, sometimes bullying, constant self I know that some will say
yes but these are all "normal" childhood things..and yes they are but for aspies it compounds and it grows and it's harder to understand for them and comprehend. I was really against the label at the start, completely and utterly against it, almost to the point I didn't want people to know, but that was my issue to deal with. I felt I had failed as a mother in some way. Like I had let her down. But after long talk, many talks actually!!! with her psychologist
and my incredibly amazing
Husband, we accepted the "label" and went with it, in orde to have the label we opened doors for her that we may not have had the opportunity to have before, it allowed people to "get" her, to understand her. That being said, once we did accept it and decided that we would tell people their were those who wanted to help, those that didn't understand and those that were so uncomfortable about it that they changed the subject, still do.

Zac's diagnosis came about a little differently, he has always been delayed, delayed in his speech, delayed in his walking, all his milestones but as first time parents we took it as he was just a slow learner, he will catch up. How wrong we were. Kinder came and went, and during the whole 3 years of kinder he had occupational therapists appointments, speech therapy, you name it and he had it. School years started and for a little while there he was holding his own, socially was doing fantastic and even seemed to be holding it together academically, not the top of the class, but doing ok all the same..then in grade 4 it was like he started to go backwards, reading took a step back, spelling became and issue and don't even get me started on maths!! So we asked the school to do some testing, which through a public school system can be a long, drawn out process sometimes!! First diagnosis came in grade 5.. Zac has an auditory processing disorder..umm yep to us in parent language now!! "he has trouble remembering, so basically his short term memory is quite bad" ohhh ummm right, so how can we fix this? Unfortunately not a lot you
can do..then it was make an appointment with the psychologist, more drs, more appointments and then a parental we go, sit down and she just looks at me... My heart sank :( I knew I wasn't going to like
what she said.. "mildly autistic, borderline intellectual disability, IQ has dropped from 79 to 73 since per" umm what??????? Are you kidding me? Another one oft babes on the spectrum, how the hell did this get missed? Omg we
really did fail him, all those times we said, he'll catch up to the other kids, we should have seen the signs. But
the wonderful things with Zac is he is verbally strong, he can talk the talk and that's how he slipped under the
So, another label or not to label..we went with the label..

Having aspergers and being autistic does not define my children, yes it's a part of who they are, and it's become a part of who we are as a family. Every single day I am incredibly proud of them, the things they do and the potential they have. I had a conversation with someone tonight, and I mentioned that Pixie had organised Light It Up Blue day this week at school and that I was going to see if she wanted a wristband in support, and she said that in their
house they don't focus on the label..and it got me thinking..don't get me wrong it stung a little when she said that, and believe me she isn't the first to say it about having the label, but like I said it got me thinking, do that many people have problems with labels, was I being a little sensitive? It made me question whether we did the right thing, by A. Getting our children assessed and diagnosed and B.Taking ownership of the label..
I know that I can be very opinionated in what works for us strategy wise, but I also know I can sit back and say nothing when people make their ignorant comments about things regarding my children, and people that are close to us, people that we wouldn't think they would say it but they have and it hurt and no I won't be talking to them about
It, because I honestly don't have the energy to deal with them and then pacifying them for their own ignorance.
But I'm getting off topic, labels are a part of everyday life, mother, auntie, friend, gay, straight, boss, employee, does having the label of being "different" really make people that uncomfortable? If my children didn't have the
label would it make you more comfortable? I make no exceptions for being their biggest advocate. I once had someone tell me that I am their voice, things will happen for them if I shout loud enough.. I will scream it from the
rooftop if I need to, and I make no apologies for the way I run our lifestyle alongside my hubby.
I never introduce my children as "meet my chiildren, this is X, Y Z oh and by the way, they are autistic and have aspergers" I also don't allow it be an excuse to get away with bad behaviour, but having the label has allowed us to
be a little more understanding, a lot more patient, and a little more creative in the way we raise our children.
So as of tonight, hubby and I are adopting the approach of this is us, these are our children, yes these are their
Labels, they carry them everyday the same as you all carry your own labels whether you choose to believe it or not
Is your undoing or blessing whichever way you look at it, but if you can't take my kids as they are, labels and all
then perhaps it's time you moved on.
We won't really be asking people to understand anymore, and no it's not a woe is me statement, it's how we feel,
we're taking ownership of that..we were lucky enough to become parents of kids on the spectrum, and while some days
are incredibly hard and I want to throw my hands in the air and give up, the other days make it so worth it.
So to the person I had the conversation with tonight, I'm not sure if you'll read this, I'm sure you will at some point, but not say anything to me about it, I thank you, for making me sit and think about how I feel about it all, and nope I don't need validation if I did the right thing, I know I'm a bloody good mother, it's easy when you have amazing kids, so thanks for opening my heart and my thoughts on this issue.
For the rest of you reading, sorry for the long winded post lol, and it probably doesnt make sense but I needed it
To get out of my head!


Defining Personal...

I'm a little behind in the Simplify Your Life challenge prompts due to us having a family holiday and then needing to stop and take stock of what was going on with my precious girl (I'll post a little more about that at the end of this post)
Anyway before i go off on another tangent I'll stay focussed on the topic at hand!
I decided to write a bit of a list of the Values that really speak to may have your own list of values and that's fabulous, but these are the ones that come to mind for me..

Self Worth

One of the prompting questions this week was
"What do you feel strongly about in life?-What things would you defend fully in an argument with other people?
For me, it's Racism..I just cannot get my head around it..I don't understand how hate and ignorance can harbour so deep in some people.
I am trying to raise my children that we are ALL Equal, we are all entitled to the same freedom..but it shocks me that even in this day and age there are people who are still racist..not only shocks me but disgusts me a little..while I'm all for everyone having their own opinion and voice heard, when that voice is spoken and it's filled with hate shouldn't it be silenced?
A lot of our "friends" that we are in contact with regularly don't see themselves as a racist, yet still choose to make smart ass remarks about asians, sudonese etc all the while thinking they are humourous..faking someones accent is not humorous, it's rude and disrespectful.
I don't find it amusing when you talk to me like you are Asian, I also don't find it acceptable to listen to you rant that "they came to our country, they need to speak our language" what a lot of rubbish..So from here on in if you're in my house, around my children and you choose to behave like that, stop and think about it first and if you do continue with it, you'll find yourself seeing less and less of us.
I have this conversation in my head all the time and one that I have repeated on many see my dad
(actually he's my stepdad but a father to me in every sense of the word) is a Kiwi..born and raised in New Zealand. And I remember when i was at high school we were having a conversation about different countries etc and he said to me "Juice, if you are going to be a racist, you may as well include me in that because to be a racist means you cannot tolerate anyone who isn't Australian born and bred here like you, doesn't have your white skin, hasn't lived your lifestyle" I sat back and took in what he said and the conversation has stuck in my head ever since..there was no way I couldn't be accepting of it was a simple choice for accepting, We are all EQUAL..

So with my list of Value words chosen I had to choose 5...just 5..:O are you kidding LOL, after staring at the computer screen for what seems like eternity! (thank god for auto save blogger!!!) I've narrowed them down to 5 in ranking order!

This speaks to me in volumes, and on so many different levels.. To have respect for ones self is so powerful, I have a quote saved on my computer that I adore..
Self-respect cannot be hunted. It cannot be purchased. It is never for sale. It cannot be fabricated out of public relations. It comes to us when we are alone, in quiet moments, in quiet places, when we suddenly realize that, knowing the good, we have done it; knowing the beautiful, we have served it; knowing the truth we have spoken it. This is a value that I'm instilling in my have respect for themselves, but to also respect others.

Self Worth
Finding Self Worth can be a hard saddens me that there are so many that have no self worth. Some days I know for me it's a struggle to find my own self worth, am I enough? I question myself too that how am I meant to teach my daughter in particular that she is enough, her whole being is exactly as it should be when i question myself to often..This value is one I have on my list to work on..

Some of the most incredible people I know have pure acceptance of who they are and aren't afraid to let the world know..they accept themselves for what they are and who they are and make no excuses for it, and refuse to change for anyone.. I love this..
The most beautiful and powerful people in the world have acceptance of themselves and for everyone around them.

Speaks for itself honest with yourself and those around you and things are less complicated. While I may still have people in my life that have been caught out to be dishonest and obviously not valuing our friendship I haven't forgotten that honesty is clearly a value they don't hold high on their priority list. That's their issue to deal with, not mine so I let them go along with their merry selves!
Honesty is what's kept my marriage and relationship with my gorgeous hubby amazing for 17 years and if that's what I get out of holding that value them I'm hanging on to it with both hands tightly!

I often get told by people I'm to kind...really?? that's absurd to me, how can someone be to kind? I don't understand that. The age old adage, treat people as you would like to be treated still rings true for me.. I like to be kind, it makes me feel good LOL, being bitter and angry at the world never got anyone nowhere, well actually it did, a fast track route to loneliness if you ask me! But I'm not a do gooder like out of the movies, but I do think I am kind, and I like to help takes nothing to be kind to someone, it doesn't cost anything. And if I can go to bed at night and think well I did the best I could today, I did all I was capable of and I was kind then at least I'm doing ok! No I'm not a door mat like I said, I'm also not a crack whore, but it is still possible to be kind these days people!

So there you have it, my 5 core value words, it was actually harder than I thought to narrow it down to 5! Values that I'm going to work on more with my babes this year.
Thanks for reading, I'd really love to hear what yours are!

Side bar- so we got to the nitty gritty of things with my beautiful Pixie, and it was what we thought :( she looks at food and thinks it isn't healthy enough, she'll get fat if she eats to much of it etc..I know that part of her Aspie traits is that she needs to have control of things and that for the present moment it's food but it's not something I'll allow, we are getting her back to her psychologist, we've have many in depth conversations with her about her self worth and acceptance of who she is. We've also talked about her sensory issues with food and how we can accomodate that. She felt that if she was to ask for a different meal to the rest of us because she didn't like how it felt, tasted, the color etc that she was basically putting a flag above her head saying "Hey look at me, I'm already really different and now I stand out at the dinner table too" :( poor kid it breaks out heart. But that's where we are at, that's the hand we have been dealt and it's for a reason, that I'm certain of.
We can't thank everyone enough for their never ending support, the private messages on facebook, the txt messages, the pictures of beautiful quotes. It really is humbling to know we have the support.


My heart...

Is in my throat... I've been here before, and it terrifies me. We've spent a fabulous week away, beautiful sunshine, beautiful company..happy days. But in between all this I've been silently watching, observing and taking mental notes for myself about my gorgeous girl.. Prior to her Aspie diagnosis, we started the spiral of heartbreaking eating issues, and all that comes with it. We worked through it, together, as a family.. That's the way things are done around here. But this week her daddy and I have been watching some of the traits slip back in. All of a sudden she "isn't hungry" "she will eat later" and to be honest I'm scared, really scared. This behavior terrifies me, I feel like I'm out of my depth, I have all the spectrum strategies and tips in the world, but this?! So we'll have a little quiet time when we get home, we'll have a little chat about stuff and see if I can't get t To the bottom of what's going on. Make no mistake, there is NOTHING I won't do for my kids, so if you have any tips, ideas I'm all ears. Believe me the media, the magazine moguls and their airbrushing techno guys have a lot to answer for, but that's a whole new post, so for now I'll quietly watch her nibble away at a small hashbrown that she's been hanging on to for the past hour and a half :(


52 Weeks to Simplify

So it's been a while since I was here again and I thought it was fitting that my first post of the New Year entailed this.. Last year I was barely keeping my head above water, emotionally and physically...and at some points my gorgeous husband spent the night consoling me when I couldn't even explain why..No-one else knew what was going on, and to be honest I really didn't/couldn't be bothered telling them! So here I am, jumping head first in to this challenge.."52 Weeks to Simplify Your life" There's a few others that I know that are taking part in this and I'm really looking forward to reading along with them and sharing their journey on it too..maybe you would like to take part as well? I'm going to be taking part in the form of a blog post, I'd love to say I'd scrap an album as well, but I'm really conscious that while it may be a wonderful reminder it may also become a little bit of pressure to complete each week alongside the blog so will see how we go! So the following are guides to get your started as Deb said, you don't have to answer each one..I'll do my best! What energised you? I started back in the workforce in 2011, something that I've been out of for the best part of 12 years..I've been so fortunate to be able to stay home with our babes and really spend that time with them, but felt that even though our little man isn't quite at school yet, it was time for me to start finding myself again. What made you feel happy? There were a couple of things that made me truly happy in 2011, My beautiful beautiful niece was born, completely my sister's family..Life hasn't always been a smooth road for my sister, so meeting her second husband and enjoying being truly loved and cherised led to the birth of Willow..which in turn led to a wonderful family unit being completed..To watch how much joy my sister has in her life now with my nephews, my niece and my brother in law brings a huge amount of comfort to me, as the older sister I worry about her a lot, probably more than I need to but meh..that's what you do! so this all truly does make my heart happy.. What made you feel at peace? Inner peace is such a hard place to reach for me sometimes..having two children on the spectrum can for me personally make me question and second guess everything I do, am I doing enough for them? are they having every opportunity offered to them, but seeing my eldest graduate from grade 6 gave me a sense of peace that yes..hubby and I were doing something right, that we needed to follow the path we are on and everything else will just fall where it is meant to land. What positive people lifted you up? I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a lot of positive people who are always there to pick me up when I need it, and often times before I've even given a hint that I'm struggling they are there.. My best friend...she amazes me..she often has so much going on in her own life but is always always there for me, we speak every day, text every day, see each other every day..I'd be so lost without her. My sister..I wish I could convey in words the relationship we have..we are so so close..she makes me feel like an amazing mother, and constantly encourages me in anything that I do, we weren't always so close an I'm so grateful that we have reached that part in our relationship where we lean on each other for support and advice. My Mum..You would think at 36 I would be a little more independant LOL but I still rely on mum to reassure me that yes everything will be ok.. somedays the day can be just travelling along as normal and I have the need to speak to mum, not for anything in particular but just to centre me..she gives me a huge amount of comfort, and is constantly telling me that she is proud of me and how I am raising my babes..that's huge to me, I always said when I had kids I wanted to be the mother to my kids that she is to me.... My whole world..enough said ;) What worked to bring your family together? We had a family holiday in September, we drove to QLD from Victoria, a trip that allowed us to reconnect as a family. To often I sit back and watch as families including our own, get so caught up in the day to day that they start to disconnect, unfortunately we had started to do that..between work, moving house and appointments with psychologist, paediatricians, drs, school transition officers etc I felt us slowly drifting apart and I'll be honest, it scared family is my world and after 18 years my husband is still my universe..he makes me heart beat happy. So having the holiday brought us back to each other, allowed us to really sit back and take in our kids and all their quirks! Seriously, kids are amazing...and kids on the spectrum..well the way they see the world is soooo different to everyone else, makes you stop and think for a while! What did you learn (positive things)? I learnt that I have a lot to be thankful for, I also learnt that it is possible for me to wear all my hats...mum, daughter, sister, friend, wife, employee and still be centred in who I am, and that I'm not to bad at all..I have a long way to go till I'm completely comfortable in my skin but I'm getting there ;) What are you grateful for? I'm grateful for my husband for loving's a rare thing to find your soul mate and I'm so grateful that I found mine early in life..i have a whole lifetime to experience the world with him My children..they have truly made me a better person and have taught me to look at the world in a whole new light.. My family..Our weekly family tea, always being on the other end of the phone and basically for supporting me and my family... My friends..Seriously..I have the most amazing group of friends...and each of them is different, completely different to the other, they make me laugh and laugh and laugh.. Thanks for stopping by...maybe you'll stop by Deb's blog and join in to find your simple? Xxxx


Wow..(beware of excessive use of images!!)

It's been a little while since I swung by here!! hope someone actually still reads this!!! So what's been happening in our world...a lot actually! We moved house...that was a bit chaotic, then 5 days later went on a holiday, took the kids to QLD but decided we would drive so we could stop in Sydney, Coffs Harbour, etc on the way up! Had the most amazing holiday, we so needed the family time that came with that holiday. Leading up to the holidays we had been so incredibly busy and had so much going on that by the time it rolled around, I was counting the minutes till I could just be with them.. Here's a couple of snapshots...I'll spare you the 600+ photos I took!!!!!
just a couple of shots ;) I'm trying to start scrapping them! So we jam packed as much as we could in to the holidays, with the kids declaring this was the best ever holiday! Success!!! Arrived home late on the Saturday night, more like 1.30am on the sunday! then on the Monday headed off for a week of camping with two of my favourite peeps in the world...I adore these girls..I'd be completely lost without them! It rained, it was cold, the sun came out, but god we had a good time!!!
so there's an insight in to our little trips away!!! I've been on the scrapping hop since I got back! My time at Creative Scrappers has come to an end, time to move aside and let someone else have a turn! I loved being on the Creative Scrappers team, they have awesome sketches, which are soooo good when your mojo has vacated the building!! Here's a couple of layouts I haven't shared yet!
and last but not least a little sneeky peek of a layout ;)
Thanks for stopping by! See you soon!!


Stop the world....

I wanna get off!! Ok not really, but seriously life?? Slow the hell down!!!
Life is insanely busy at the mo! We're busy packing up the house to move in 4 weeks and then 5 days later we're off on holidays!! I can't wait! the kids are beyond excited! The weather will be warmer than here! The sun will be shining, my kids will be beaming...ohhh yeah..its gonna be awesome! I just need to get through the next couple of chaotic weeks!!!
So in the order of getting all prepared for the sunshine ;) I present you with my latest layout for Creative Scraps Sketch #169..
How gorgeous is my free, so happy to be cartwheeling on the beach...remember those days? when life was so easy, so free and to cartwheel on a beach was super awesome fun!

Side it just me or do you think this Sass Lass Paper is just divine too! I'm ordering more because I am so in love with it!!

And a couple more shares for you :)
Head over to Wicked Princesses to check out the sketches :) Have a go and you could be in the running for a prize too!!

I'll be back with some more shares soon! Promise :)