House Keeping With Your Special Needs Child ! Theres No Maid HERE !!

So I’m cruising on Facebook and see this post on one of my Autism mommy groups written by a mother of 6 and how she is able to keep her home clean and organized. The comments under the post were mostly by furious exhausted autism mommys as they did not feel the post was even relevant to them and guess what, they are probably right ! House keeping and having a child and some more than one child with special needs brings house keeping to a whole different level. When my adult children were small(there were 6 of them)my house was a hot mess ALL the time ! Now I just have my 6 year old with autism and I have to tell you he can make 3 times the mess of all my children in half the time BUT my house is NOT a mess, not anymore anyway. I finally have this figured out after 35 years of raising kids. For me the question is not “how to clean a house with a VERY active 6 year old on the spectrum” its more “how not to get stuck cleaning your life away ! I have better things to do with my life than clean, so take it from an old pro, this IS how you can STOP cleaning SO much. Though my focus is mostly for families with kiddos with special needs this would also work for any family with small children.

TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THE TOYS ! :

Face it we love our kiddos and we want to get them their hearts desire but I’m going to be honest with you if you have a kiddo with autism and special interest they are probably only playing with a few of those toys, the other toys are more than likely just contributing to the billion things in this world that are over stimulating to them and triggering behaviors. Keep the few toys they are actually playing with and put the rest away. When I say put them away I mean, make them inaccessible even if you have to lock them up. I watch my lil mr and when he starts getting bored with those toys, I will go to the BIG toy box and exchange the toys in his little toy box. My guys has been playing with the same 4 super heros for the last week without complaint and seems waaay more content in not having to spred ALL the toys he owns out in front of him. The bonus is when he does exchange his toys its like Christmas everytime.

SPECIAL BOXES:

Make some of your childs toys work for you:

I have 2 boxes I keep up out of reach, one with games, one with art supplies, playdough and playdough toys. These are “special boxes. They only come out when I can sit and play with him and he earns them with accomplishing expectations(like cleaning up after himself). I really make these times special and give him my undivided attention when playing with these “special boxes BUT when we are done he helps me clean them up and they get put away.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS HAVE A MOTIVATOR:

We always have to clean up what we are doing before we can do something else, its just the way it is. With a kid with special needs if you want him to clean up ALL his toys you have to make that something he manage and be successful at and you always have to have a prize at the end. Some kiddos just need a kiss others need a prize box, the best thing you can do to get your kiddo more independent is to find out what motivates him and set him up to succeed. If that means you have to pick up 2 toys with him hand over hand and the reward is a M&M then do it.

KEEP A SCHEDUAL:

As we all know our kiddos work the best when they able to predict what is going to happen next. With my guy he plays with toys for 20 minutes in the morning, I set a timer,the timer goes off, he picks them up (his 4 super heros) and is motivated to do so by the next step on his schedule which is eating breakfast and watching one of his favorite shows, other wise we would get stuck on picking up the toys for the majority of the morning. I try to keep that carrot dangling in front of him all day, he does something hard and gains something good. Build in things that motivate him on the other side of things that are difficult for him and put it on the schedule until it becomes a habit. When he just does it automatically then build in something else.

The bottom line to not having a messy house is to not have the stuff readily available to mess it up with. Do nothing for your kiddo that he can do himself, don’t take that from him even if that means doing it with him hand over hand in the beginning…in the end he will be more confident and you will both have less chaos if you both know and follow through on the expectations. Always do things in the same order ” first get dressed, then put clothes in the dirty laundry” ect. this will help him become more independent and establish a habit.

Find out what your kiddo CAN do, what YOU can do to help him achieve those things and resolve that it WILL happen, if it takes a week or a year, fight for his independence and yours. Build in motivators in the areas you see him struggling.

For me when I decided we were moving into our tiny house I also had to take a long hard look at what we REALLY needed, it was tough but in the end it was a huge weight off my shoulders to have less stuff to be responsible for. Face it we parents of kiddos with special needs have a lot on our plates…it does become easier if we have fewer plates to clean. Less stuff and working hard at establishing good habits has been key for us and though we aren’t always successful we are a long way from where we were !

I hope these few tips have helped, I have many more where those came from so feel free to ask and to comment on things that have worked for your family. We all need to support each other because the job we have can be hard. I look forward to hearing from you all !!

Tiny House- Big Life !

Sitting here snug in this tiny house in Maine, the temperature outside is -1 degree, inside an easy 70. This place super easy to heat and right now I am feeling very thankful for that. Everything is not ideal but really is it ever for anyone? The forecast for this weekend predicts a whopper of a storm with a possibility of 20 or more inches of snow ! This will be the big test for this tiny house and for our endurance here. I heat with a electric fire place and I’m really thinking we might be in trouble if the power goes out. I think that might be the case for a lot of people not just us. With this in mind I’ve been thinking of alternative heat sources. I’m not really crazy about heating with gas in such a small space, wood isn’t a good option either as Noah has asthma. A heat pump or pellet stove would still leave us without heat if there was a power outage. At minimum I do see a generator in our future. Watching the monster storm on the horizon knowing that my little mr is completely depending on me to keep him safe and warm is a little unnerving. The last several weeks have me a little unnerved, being out of work with this shoulder injury has taken a toll on my finances and my personal endurance, the lack of sleep, the pain is wearing on me. I just keep taking one step at a time and thinking of the blessing in the here and now, so far its is working. God has a way of putting just the right people in my life at just the right time, this time is no different. Though we have and will continue to face challenges we have also been gifted so much joy, adventures and beauty in the last few weeks. If I were to just sit here and keep my eyes, my heart looking up I would be so much more confident in HIS ability to provide for us, he always does. If I could just keep looking up I could let go of this fear because I know he has never let us down. I find proof in what I see… let me share with you my hope.

Beautiful Frozen waterfalls
Noah found Bigfoot Foot Prints !
Tiny ice shelves
Mr Moody Blue !!
That smile !! That joy !!

This is what keeps things in perspective, these moments in time that we would just miss if we spend our time not believing in miracles. These are the miracles, this is what I am working for, these very moments. They are here inspite of hardship, the lesson is to see them, stay in them, not to miss them worrying.

The NEWS

The news, I do my level best not to watch it but its like one of those ridiculous series that are so shockingly offensive you just can’t seem to take your eyes off of it. I watch in suspense and disgust with my mouth hanging open barely blinking, shaking my head. Is this real ? Is this reality T.V ? Do we even know ? Five more years is all I need to get my tiny paid for and on a piece of property, all mine, no payment. I just need five stinking more years before the world looses its freaking mind. No I’m not a dooms dayer or survivalist .My original reason for buying a tiny house and wanting to be off grid was for financial security, piece of mind and to have a home to leave to Noah so I know he will always have a place to live. Seems like this tiny house may come in more handy than I had originally thought at this rate. At this point in time it seems I really have to look for the solids in my life.

Here are 10 things that I am absolutely sure of:

1.God is real
2.Nothing happens without his permission
3.The Earth is round
4.It is stinking cold tonight
5.Voice to txt is not the easiest way to write a blog
6.Chocolate is good
7.Coffee is necessary
8.Not everyone will love you
9. That might just be a blessing.
10.Tomorrow is not promised, so try to do what is RIGHT today.

AND the BONUS thing I am absolutely sure of is:

11 (Bonus) I am a honest but uniquely human mess and I’m ok with that ūüôā

I’m again thinking about being creative in my existence, thinking about how to live my best with the least Finances. My goal is to get my over all month to month cost of living down to 600 month and it is very doable in the long term in my situation but its taken a lot of planning. In all actuality there are millions of Americans doing this already, many living on even less, they are those living under the poverty guidelines. Just a bit of food for thought, a single mom of only one child working a minimum wage job brings home maybe 375. a week after taxes, she will pay 100-150 dollars a week in childcare and most government programs do not count childcare cost when determining eligibility so she can receive extra help. So she has to be away from her child, and then not be able to even provide for their basic needs with a 40 hour a week job. Think about it.. the minimum wage in my area is 11hr, the average rent is 800-1200 plus utilities a month… now imagine a single mom of 3. I am putting my money where my mouth is in realizing I need to learn HOW to do this and then show others, I’m on the right track… so face it the sooner we get off the consumerism train and jump on the train to independence in providing for ourselves through lowering our cost of living ,giving ourselves more freedom in choosing what defines the quality of our lives the better off we are all going to be both financially and the more stabile we will be as people, neighbors and communities. I don’t want to work 40 hours a week or more¬†for Armani, Gucci or 30¬† year mortgages. Instead I would rather invest that time and money back into¬† building up our families and our communities. That would mean as a collective whole we would have to thinking in terms “us” and not “me”. The bottom line, and we all know it is there is no Government or nonprofit agency that is going to do that for us. We ARE going to have to do it together. Sink or swim. So start saving, start doing and lets make this real. Its not utopian, this is the way people have been humaning for centuries. We grew our own food, we built our own homes and raised our own kids. Our advantage now¬†is we have better technology and understanding of how to do this in so many ways then we have had at¬†in anytime in history, Just google it if you don’t believe me ! I look forward to your ideas and feedback .

Thank¬†you all for sticking with me, I’m still on the mend so I’m not able to be here as much but I’m working hard to get back !

Night all !

The Witness

Woke up this morning to lil mister tapping on my cheek at 4:30a. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to do this day, I tried to make a deal, to bribe, even blackmail mister to sleep just a bit longer. He was excited because his worker was coming to take him out for breakfast, but Noah doesn’t tell time yet so breakfast is when he wakes up. Ive been sleeping on the pullout couch because my shoulder injury makes it difficult for me to get in and out of the loft, so I rolled out of bed and walked the three steps to make coffee only to find out the coffee can was empty. I knew this yesterday but even though I have been to Walmart two times since I still have not remembered to buy coffee, as a matter of fact, I still have NO COFFEE ! As a I said yesterday, the pastor of my church passed away on Friday of this week, today would be our first Sunday without him. Really, I just did not want to do this. If I just stayed in bed I could just pretend everything was fine and I was just playing hooky from church. I’m still in shock. Our church is small with the core people numbering around 50. I knew I needed to be there with my church family but I just hadn’t had time to process the reality of this, I still haven’t in its entirety. Noahs worker came and I did manage to build up some emotional fortitude, get my big girl pants on, got myself out of my pjs, put on my face and started the 20 minute drive to church. The reason I’m telling you all this is because this little church out in the middle of nowhere Maine is the absolute best when it comes to messy, after I tell you what happened today you will see why. I pulled in the parking lot and saw all the same familiar cars I see every Sunday, all but Pastors. I noticed that right off, it was getting a bit real, I panicked for a minute but I pushed through. I stared at the front door with a lump in my throat but forced my self out of the car. As I reached the front door it opened and standing there to meet me was one of the men of our church, he greeted me with a hug and talked with me for a few minutes about Pastor. The sanctuary was full of the same people I have grown to love over the last 10 years. Tears running down their faces. I forced myself into my seat. Over the next hour and a half I watched in awe as this little church did the most beautiful thing with their pain and tears, they didn’t fall apart like we all feel like we might do when tragedy strikes, they pulled together. The ladies sang with tears running down their faces, the men came in between each song and gave testimony about our pastor and they fought tears too. Love filled the church and in our mess no one was left alone. As a matter of fact they turned their tragedy into strength , honor and love. The men in our church stood up and lead in compassion and humbleness with a drop of a hat. It was the most powerful witness I have ever seen. It was a testimony to our Savior and to the Shepard who led us for 14 years. I could tell stories about pastor all night and all the selfless work he did in the shelter ministry and our congregation but my real point in sharing this is mess done right breeds love.

Go Ahead !! Do It ! Whats Your Mess Today ??

The last month here at the tiny house has been happening at warp speed, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. I was sitting here tonight watching Noah spinning around in circles, a Marvel character in each hand, scripting lines from the movie “Spider man” and teared up because that’s what happens to us autism parents sometimes, we just tear up because there is this wall between us and our kiddos that sometimes just seems impossible to hurdle. Really I just wanted to snuggle him and he just wanted to spin in circles and script, he didn’t want to be touched. Scripting is a big part of our lives, he hears or see something that impacts him and he mirrors it back, sometimes it’s entire movies,even in other languages other times its a phrase that shocked him, lately its been “shut the fuck up”, a phrase that he heard from another kid at school that has infiltrated his until now innocent scripts. Do you know what I want to hear ? I want to hear how my son feels about something, anything and know that it was his thought or idea I want to know what he thinks Warp speed I say !! The good bad and ugly. I’m writing this from so many lenses right now. I am a professional that hasn’t been able to work due to a shoulder injury. I am the sole supporter that doesn’t know where the next paycheck is coming from. I’m a church member who just found out her pastor has died. I’m a tiny house owner who has stepped outside of the normal to attain the dream of the stability of home ownership. I am a Christian who flails around in her walk. A mom that works hard to do her best for her children and often fails miserable more than succeeds. I’m a single woman who hasn’t given up on love but is terrified all at the same time. I’m a blogger who writes all this personal stuff about our lives for everyone to see simply in hopes that being a mess, being human will some how be the excepted norm so we no longer have to hide our messes, so maybe we will start to feel more alike than different and do our messes together. No one should have to bear the weight of the world on their shoulder out of fear of rejection or shame. I saw a post on Facebook yesterday that really ticked me off. The lady who wrote it was shaming mothers with ASD children for “complaining” about their children. It made me furious !! When a mother who is probably isolated due to the behavioral barriers of her child reaches out on social media to either find support of find a place to vent I applaud her because I know she hasn’t given up the fight, she’s looking for what she needs to do this another day. This lady would nail me to the cross !! As Ive said before, lets do this mess together ! As for me and my blog, if you want to jump on here and post what your struggling with today, you just go ahead and go for it, type away. You are welcome here with your messy self ! ūüôā

Tiny In My Tiny House

Feeling small in this tiny house, feeling unsure, antsy with so many things unfinished in my life but feeling powerless to finish them.¬† This shoulder injury is really got a hold on me, my first instinct is to push through it but that is what got me here in this position to begin with.¬† So I’m here, trying to heal, trying to be patient and listen to God in this place. I’m trying to be understanding and forgiving. I’m¬† looking hard for the gifts in this. Lack of sleep has made it even fuzzier. I pray and pray. Pray that somehow God will touch my lips and help the words that I speak be understood. Misunderstandings, misinterpretations¬†seem to run amuck in times of adversity. Humaning in this¬†Tiny house, there is no place to hide. Time to walk the talk¬†and do it¬†anyway.¬†Inspite of this we¬†are still here, though I’m not sure where my house payment and bill money will come from next month as I am unable to work,¬†we have it this month. We¬†are still loved, we still had a beautiful Christmas with family and friends.¬†I haven’t failed, not yet anyway. I really just wanted to stop by and let you all know that I am thinking of you and miss you all. Please don’t give up on Tiny¬†House On The Spectrum, we are still here fighting for the dream. I will be back¬†to blogging daily as before¬†hopefully soon. Until then I will post¬†when I am able.¬†¬†Thank you ALL

Good Night Folks

The Next Hurdle- Time To Power Up !

Sitting on my front porch I can almost feel what Vincent van Gogh felt when he imagined Starry Night . It must have been a cold night for the sky to be that particular Deep color blue. The moon dangling in the sky like a giant dense egg yolk. When you breathe out your breath swirls around your head and up into the air and dances in the sky just like Van Gogh described in his painting. Hit me like a ton of bricks just sitting here with my feet kicked up on the railing staring at the sky snuggled in my blanket exactly what he felt or at least what I hope he felt . Sitting on this porch thankful for this tiny house on the Spectrum I could have never imagined we would be here, when¬†just a few short years ago I was¬†lying in¬†the bottom of a bunk¬†bed in a women’s shelter, with my son terrified of where life would bring us it felt so scary and hopeless. It’s been a lot of hard work getting here . As I sit on this porch faced with another hurdle part of me is screaming ‚Äú I can’t do this anymore‚ÄĚ ‚Äú I give up‚ÄĚ but the other part of me saying ‚Äú look what God did, he brought us from a homeless shelter to here ! What is his plan for this??? Overall I’ve been a good steward of the money he’s given me and spent wisely but still with this shoulder injury even a few weeks down could blow us out of the water. I’m going to keep my head up and my nose to the ground. I’m going to try to stay focused on the things that I can do and do them. I can still blog, I have voice to text. There’s a lot I can still do, it’s just time to change gears. Maybe its time to explore new avenues into making this tiny house community a reality. Up until now the work and miracles God has done in my life has been between him and I and very few others but now it will be between him and I and all of you. I think it’s okay to feel scared, it’s okay to feel worried but more importantly even in that to dig in, rely my faith so you all can be witness to what he can do. So stick around and watch, and I will to !

Good Night Folks

Tiny House Redemption

Life can be so unpredictable. One day your cruising along without a care in the world, the next day it can all come to a screeching holt, you think you’ve got this and then you find out you really don’t no matter what safe guard you have in place, things can unravel quickly for any of us in the¬†other percent.¬†Over 100 million people in the United States live just one or two pay checks away from poverty, while 43.1 million live in poverty. Out of 325.7¬† million Americans, those are some huge numbers. So why are we living so close to the edge ? Part of that is because we are trying to borrow something that’s not ours and call it our own. We drive cars we don’t own, we live in houses we don’t own and spend money on credit that is not ours. The illusion¬†of a good life with all the bells and whistles is now considered success when in reality its not , its debt. When staying out of debt should be the goal, getting good credit is the goal leaving a very fragile infrastructure that can be taken down¬†quickly with an injury or illness.¬†Though I see this and¬†I’m sure many of you do too. I am sitting on the edge of poverty with my¬†hands tied behind my back to scared to move because I feel at this very moment I am tittering. I know the answer, with a¬†few acres of land and some hard working people we could start moving people into financial stability one family or individual¬†at a time. Home ownership in a tiny house community isn’t novel or rebel or hippy, its smart. Its living mortgage free in just a short period of time, its being responsible for our footprint, our environment, our finances. How cool would it be to live in a community of people who where doing all those things. Their cost of living would be lower, their work to life ratio would be better, sounds like a happy little group of people to me !!¬† I want it ! I want it so stinking bad !! Here I am¬†sit sitting on the edge tittering, worried about falling back into poverty now after my shoulder continues to get worse. Will I loose my job ? I owe just 10,000 on my tiny house, will I loose that to. I’m scared, I’m damn scared…. but still I can’t stop thinking about this tiny house community. If it were a reality, I wouldn’t have to be scared, I would just simply change gears. Its not right for people to live in fear like this, especially you are a hard working, honest¬†person.¬† This fear though it drives me to advocate stronger, God always has a valuable lesson in times like these.

Good Night folks

The Secret Part 2

Its been a few days since I posted. Partly because I’ve been really struggling with mouse shoulder and partly because I’ve been feeling a bit blah. I know imagine feeling blah this time the year ? Its a weird blah that comes with getting up and going to work in the dark, working in an office all day and then coming home in the dark. DARK, DARK, DARK !!! BLAH !! But then I see the Christmas lights and feel the blah lifting a bit. Noah and I take different way home from day care every night¬†just so we can see all the lights , I love to hear him squeal in the back seat “MOM ! MOTHER, MOTHER, LOOK AT THAT ONE !!!” I could just drive around with him all night. Then we get home and that’s when I realize my porch light is blown again. I’ve realized this every night for almost two weeks but still have not remembered to buy a new light. WE get out of the warm car and I fumble around on the freezing cold¬†porch trying to find my key, Noah swinging from my coat ,Josiah on the other side of the door “MEEEEEEEOOOOOW” and there’s that blah again.¬† Finally in Noah races for the remote and I race to the fridge to find the easiest thing I can find to make for supper. Corn dogs was the cuisine of the night tonight. So much for my dedication to one ingredient foods, organic, white free…. my solemn vow to eat healthier just went right out the window with a little bit of blah¬†. What is that you say ? Secret ? Oh my YES ! The¬†SECRET ! Get ready for this !! Last Saturday I went on the very first date I have been on in 3 years !!! How did it go ? Well it was wonderful !! We¬†had Thai food, went for a walk¬†and found some beauty in the out doors, the sun on our faces, full bellies and great conversation. Super nice guy ! AND he even called me back ! I’m telling you folks I told him the whole truth !! And he still called me back, I even told him there were possibilities of meltdowns¬†and biting, I didn’t even specify if it would be Noah or I delivering and he has¬†talked to me every day since the date. I think I might be on to something here. Even if nothing comes of it, I am sure he will continue to be my friend. Us¬†renewable energy, cool idea, tiny house loving people have a tendency to stick together.¬†You know I think there was one thing about the date that I didn’t like, after being alone for so long at night when the house is quiet I am now keenly aware of that aloneness. So what is a girl to do ? BLah ? I could just not date and sink back into my hermit hole or I could get my big girls pants on be okay with a¬†bit of this kind of humaning messy feelngs stuff. Well enough of that for now¬†.¬†Speaking of tiny house people, Jay is almost done with the next tiny house !! I am hoping to have pictures for you all soon¬†see !

Have a great in blah evening folks !!!