Shabby Miss Jenn

Monday, 29 December 2008

The holidays have began!

With Christmas now past....and I hope you all had a fantastic day, the holidays here have well and truly begun and although we are still busy it's somewhat easier now that we don't need to worry about kids and school until the 2nd of Feb 2009. Now talking about Christmas we had a wonderful day, we had 2 back up plans in place for Lance if the strategies we put together fell apart but he managed well enough and that meant Tim and I could relax somewhat and just keep an eye on Lance and check in with him throughout the day.

We spent the day over at Tim's parents, 17 of us all up and all of them being from Tim's side but it was so nice to catch up with his older sister and her hubby, Tim's niece and her hubby and their 3 children and Tim's nephew and his wife of course with grandma and grandpa and our family crew. The day was perfect, the food was gorgeous and it was just nice to sit back and relax with family and loved ones.

So what did Santa bring you! Ok first up the boys got an XBOX 360 Elite Bundle, Lance got one of the guitar hero thingies as well, Maddi got Star Wars Clone Wars DVD, they both received extra games for the XBOX, new doona covers and the typical stocking stuffer thingimajigs such as jocks, lollies, smelly know the deodorant, shower gel things all bundled together and money. The girls got a I still think it's funny, Wii Fit, Wii Music and the Wii Sports and another game was bundled with the Wii console itself as well and new sheet sets. The santa stocking stuffer thingimajig stuff with knickers and manicure sets, lollies and money.

The family recieved a PS2 with new games and Tim got a bunch of DVD's to do with motorbikes and new jocks and I was so lucky this year because I got a DSLR....woohoo yep a brand spanking new Canon EOS 1000D Twins Lens DSLR. We were all so so so fortunate and thankyou SANTA!!!

Guess what? Received a phone call today and my grandmother is now officially moving into a nursing home on Wednesday, yep New Years Eve. So today I made that all official and tomorrow I need to go to the hospice she has been in for almost 2 months and let her know the good news even if she will forget 10 secs later and start packing and sorting her things not only there but at mums too. The wonderful thing about it is once she is moved and settled which may take awhile then she can call her new room home and be looked after well. More paperwork to do of course but we are finally seeing a few positives in this horrendous time we have had this year and I tell you I will be glad to see the back of 2008 although I said the same thing in 2007 but truly I figure it cannot possibly get any worse then what we went through this year.

Lance is doing well and we just hope and pray it stays that way for a little. Would you like to hear (well read) some more great news? Of course you would....Lance is getting a support worker and he starts work with Lance on the 5th of January. He will come in slowly and build up a repore with Lance and then support him with activities through the week such as gym (he has been funded a brand new gold gym membership for 3 months), shopping, and things like that. It has been a huge positive and Lance and Tim and I have met the support worker who is a young fellow of 20 years of age. Armed already with a wealth of experience he has accepted working with Lance and it was made official just before Christmas.

Onto some more good news Stephanie is now part of the Young Carers Support Network (part of the Carer's Support Services in your local area here in Australia) and 2 Saturdays ago she had her first official outing with a number of kids who are all in similar support/carer situations. An afternoon at the local swimming pool, water slides, pizza's, cans of drink, some new friends and all paid for as well. So if you have a young carer in your home (although we have 3 you can only choose one) then please check out Young Carers which is a part of the Carers Support Services in your area.

Ok well that's about all the news there is for now and no I haven't done any recent LO's, sad I know but I just haven't the time. Once my grandma is settled in her new nursing home, Lance has all the services and help put in place which is slowly starting but getting there finally and the family gets some much needed respite then and maybe then I will have a little more time to get back to my passion with scrapping..... we can only hope and pray for another miracle can't we??!!!!!!!!.

Till next bloggin' I wish all of you wherever you are in this world of ours a truly wonderful and exciting New Year and all the very best for 2009. Hugs Chris xoxo

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

To all my friends, followers and bloggers alike I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas wherever you in the world and however you celebrate this special time of year. I know that there is so much emphasis placed upon present giving and receiving but remember the true meaning of Christmas - celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and what that means to mankind. I look forward to waking up in the morning and watching my children, although all teens, excitedly unwrapping gifts placed specially under our tree.

This year has been an exceptionally difficult and horrendous year for my family, but you know things are looking up and even though it is still very difficult and there is so much much of that is for Lance and we are finally starting to get services in place for him.

Anyway that's a story for another time but for now it has just gone past midnight here on Christmas Day and while I sit and type these words I am thinking of so many of you but I am also thinking of how things have changed in my world and my life and for the first time my dad is not here with us to celebrate Christmas (RIP Dad xoxoxoxo), this year my mother is in Melbourne celebrating it with others and this year my grandmother is celebrating it in who would have ever thought such a day could be completely transformed as such but this year I still have my husband Tim and our 4 kids and I love them all dearly.

With much love to you and your families MERRY CHRISTMAS and may your day be filled with cherished moments, fabulous memories, beautiful people and kids full of giggles. Hugs Chris xoxo

Thursday, 11 December 2008

All things Formal!

Isn't she gorgeous?!!! Yep that's my DD Grace at her year 10 formal last week and as much as I had tried to blog about it earlier silly blogger was having a few troubles so we will try, try again. It was a gorgeous night and the girls all looked beautiful and hey don't worry the photo with the wine glasses is non alcoholic and nothing more.

These are just a few that were taken on the day/evening and we do have some professional photos due this week and I can't wait to get my hands on them. Grace and her friends hired out a stretch limousine for the evening which took not only her but 9 of her friends to the formal. Once there we had kids arriving in all sorts of transport. Harley Davidson's, mustangs, vintage cars, rodeo utes, more limousines and one kid arrived in a supermarket trolley adapted as a side car fitted to a push bike which was pretty impressive and fun. We even had a few fellows hire out a helicopter and fly in now that was pretty awesome to see. Oooh I can't wait to see how the professional photos have turned out and Grace had a few done which we pick up later this week along with a professional DVD.

Ok so what else is new you ask!!!! Hummmmmm....I have finished inspecting the nursing homes (all 7 of them for high levels of care) here where we live and have popped the preferences down now and we just wait for a bed to come up in one of them and take it. Some paperwork is done and we just wait for that to be processed, receive the findings of that and take it to the next step once done. Considering all the difficulties everything is being done and nanna is doing well.

Lance has been well although still on a high and his last visit to the paediatrician suggests that Lance is bipolar which we have believed for a long time now as the pattern is there and so is the behaviours associated to each state of mania. That is something I know I will be bringing up this week with his psychiatrist and what her thoughts are on that.

Maddison started on dexamphetamines a month ago for ADD and the meds have been somewhat beneficial. His review appointment with the paediatrician was last Thursday and he now wants Maddi to start on Ritalin so we are wading through all that and we are seeing the benefits thus far. Of course the school Maddi is attending is finally acknowledging that Maddi indeed has learning difficulties and that he needs lots of help. However until a full diagnosis is made and we find out whether or not Maddi is indeed autistic or not with ADD the school may not be able to manage or fund the help he needs if at all they can as when questioned by the paediatrician about what supports can the school offer to those who have learning difficulties they mentioned zero.

The girls are doing well and everyone is now finished school and on holidays so it's going to be a long break for us. I haven't been able to do anymore Christmas shopping and so I am way behind and then there's Grace's birthday on the 23rd which I haven't even had time to think about. Appointments are still full on no end in sight there although thankfully I have finished looking at nursing homes but still with both my boys receiving help and Christmas drawing upon my far too quickly I still need that clone. You know I haven't stopped doing hospital rounds since midway through September and I am still there most days as I deal with nanna's stuff and visit her. Today I am taking up a small Christmas tree, some decs, stocking and tinsel and decorating her room. We are allowed and so I thought why not. Anyway I had better love ya's and leave ya's as I have the cleaning lady coming in half an hour and I'm not dressed....rofl! Till next bloggin' stay safe and take care, hugs Chris xoxo

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Yay it's done it's finally done!

I can't believe I finally got out there on Thursday and did the bulk of my Christmas shopping. Not only is most of it done but now I can sit back and relax that apart from Grace's birthday shopping (23rd of Dec) and the stocking stuffers I am done and for me this year that has been a huge achievement.

Oh and did you want to "hear" some exciting news?! Yeh you did, ok then here we go. A few months ago Lance's tv simply stopped working. Now to those of you out there thinking yeh so just replace it and we'll be fine, well we simply couldn't afford to and so Lance kinda took over our main tv in the lounge watching all HIS fave shows etc etc which has caused some difficulties for the rest of us.

Anyway his case manager and psychiatrist found out, decided that because of Lance's many difficulties and the impact it has on the family, that he needed his own space within his room and his own tv. A funding application had to be made, put in for approval further up the line and if approved we would be funded a new tv. Guess what..... the approval took about a week and we received that funding yesterday and Lance is the new owner of a flash new 32"LCD TCL tv. How awesome is that and already he has set up his DVD player and XBOX and even his computer can be connected to it and just in one day it has made the hugest difference. So a huge thank you to our health system here because with that small amount of funding it has made the biggest difference. Oh and there are a number of extra digital channels he can access too, something like an extra 19 ....not bad 'eh! Check it out below!

L32E9AD 32' (81cm) Integrated High Definition LCD

Built in HD tuner
8 ms response time
3000:1 Contrast Ratio
Viewing Angle 178º (H) 178º (V)
Resolution (pixels): 1366 x 768
Colour: 16.7 Million
3 x HDMI Version 1.3a, YPbPr, VGA
S-Video Input
AV input
Parental control/Child Lock
Wall mountable (bracket not included)
Teletext DTV
Analogue tuner
CEC control simple to connect with DVD etc
Super power saver( standby < 1 W)
Hotel lock
3 Year Warranty


I am now starting to look at high level care nursing homes for my grandmother. There are 7 of them for me to inspect of which 2 I have already made an appointment for next week with those I need to and once fully done 5 of them will be put down as preferences and we wait for a bed from those 5 to come up and then move her to her new home. All the paper work, the assessments, all the legal documents and the difficulty with it all as mum still wishes to maintain being her full time carer and power of attorney but doesn't want to do anything she needs to, has to or is responsible for. That makes things extremely difficult in any legal matter. So we do what we can with the Doctor and Social Worker who are there helping me with what's necessary.

Oh and guess what? We have finally put up the tree. It went up last Saturday and stayed naked until I found some time to pop the decs on it but slowly it is coming together and I just need to add a few more along with an angel topper and all will be done, promise I'll take a pic when it's finished!

Well I think that's it for today but how 'bout that pure visual in Lance's new TV?! awesomeness!!!! Ok take care, stay safe and until next bloggin' be cool, hugs Chris xoxo

Monday, 1 December 2008

Pinch and a Punch......

....for the first of the month. Yep that's right here downunder it's Monday the 1st of December, the first day of summer and not too many sleeps left before Santa arrives. Have you been good or bad, naughty or nice?

Life is still full on here and there is just more and more being added to my already overflowing plate. Yesterday I had a bad day and today is not the greatest either. Things that take place, decisions made without my knowledge, things said that just make you go mummmmmm and that effect you so badly that you feel worthless, useless and downright low that at times my life really sucks.

Lance has been ok for the past couple of days although we had a serious issue with him and Maddi on Wednesday night which ended in major meltdowns all round. He is on a major high at the moment so we ride the waves with that, some extreme and some not so, and wait for him to crash and burn again as he usually does once the high hits its peak and he comes down off it.

Grace has finished school, her exams are over and done with and now the next exciting thing is the YR10 formal on the 10th of this month. Talk about long holidays though.....weeks and weeks it feels. Both Maddi and Steps are still there for 2 more weeks and then they are finished for the year and how we are going to survive these holidays will be a miracle in itself. With everyone home, not having enough to do, different routines and day to day boredom (so say the kids) it will not only be difficult but it will be so draining - physically and mentally and I usually love the holidays.

No scrapping at all this time round. No digi and no paper as I just have no time to concentrate or even think along those lines. I am still fully and heavily dealing with the dramas of my poor dear 95 yr old grandmother which has taken on it's own complexities with me in the middle of all the drama and trying to do what's right for her with the doctor's, social workers, nursing staff in my favour and then my mum throwing a real doozy in the midst of it all.

This week is just as full on as any other week and today already there are 3 appointments and I am just filling in time before I go off to the next one. Not enough time to do anything else but thought I would grab this time to update my blog.

On the positive though we had home help start last week and from here onwards for at least the next 6 months someone will come in once a week and clean our home. Just the basics so sweeping, vaccuming and mopping floors, cleaning the bathroom and if time permits a little dusting. In that time I hope to get a chance and take a "breather" and catch up on my emails, snail mail and phone calls to those that need to be contacted and I don't feel guilty at all. I simply can't do it so if getting someone in to take a little pressure off this family then that works in my favour for sure and although we have to pay for it at least I know it's done.

Well that's it for today I hope you all had a good weekend and and for those on the other side of the world I hope your having a great weekend. So till next time take care and stay safe, hugs Chris xoxo

Monday, 24 November 2008

What's New @ La-Di-Da Studios?

Midnight Lace by Tara Dunstan is just beautiful. Although I have not had a chance to scrap with it yet it is by far my fave kit from her to date. I just love the colour scheme and the name of this kit is just gorgeous. You can grab it here in the shop at La-Di-Da Studios.

Let's Eat It by Tara Dunstan and JanaM Designs is an awesome and fun Christmas Kit that will delight the hearts of those that love the Yuletide Season and you can grab this one here in the shop at La-Di-Da Studios.
Woohoo we have a new designer over at La-Di-Da Studios. One of our creative team members Winnie otherwise known as Charlize Art in the digital designing world has started designing and she is doing a fabulous job. You can purchase her digital goodies here and just to tease you a little with her designs here is her latest kit - Natal - in collaboration with Shien Designs from Digital Candy and Digiscrap Boutique.

So how was your weekend? Considering it is now Monday morning, the start of another new week and I'm sitting here blogging is somewhat of a
Our weekend was busy enough and on Saturday the Bendigo Autism Asperger Group (BAAGS), we are now members of, had their Christmas breakup at the Discovery Centre here in Bendigo. It was just wonderful to be able to go to something where we could meet and chat with other families who have children on the Spectrum without being judged or frowned upon in any way and where we or should I say Lance could just be himself even after the "out in public" facade was beginning to fall apart and his agitation and frustrations of not being able to communicate as well as so many others (gosh was that obvious) was starting to show.

Onto digi layouts I'm sorry but I did manage to finish another 2 paper layouts for Stephanie's album. I must get about scanning them in, and showing them off to you all. After all it's only an 8x8 album and so that fits onto the scanner nice and simple.

Apart from life being so busy and hectic I feel I am not getting anywhere when it comes to all things festive. Christmas tree and decs are not up which every year by now they are and that's simply because we have no time to do anything. I have not started Christmas shopping either and that is so frustrating as well because normally by now I have and the fact that I can't even get time to get out there and look around makes it worse. Lance has finished school and he is now home although in the past 5 weeks he has barely been to school anyway but it just makes it more difficult because he is unable to get out because of his depression and anxiety and that means that we can't leave him on his own either so I have to fit in even more on my own and try and do you do that when there is only 24 hours in a day!!!!!

Grace has finished school - exam week was last week and so her year is over. The funny thing about this morning though is she has gone to school dressed in casual clothes and I asked her why....."well mum everyone else is so why not", she's a dag. Next on the list for her is transition to Bendigo Senior Secondary College for all year 11's for 2 days this week and then the YR 10 formal next month which she is completely organised for. Dress, shoes, clutch bag, hair, makeup, limousine, photography and all things formal for the formal. Oh I so can't wait to see her all dressed up.

Stephanie and Maddison still have 3 weeks or so to go till they finish for the year which is good because holidays are long enough without them being even make sense?! Yeh thought so!!

Ok well I think that's it for now...time to finish up on the pc, shower, dress, sort out Lance, visit nanna in hospital, make some phone calls and off down the street to get some much needed supplies. Until next blogging, take care and stay safe, hugs Chris xoxo!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Bring on a miracle I say!

So here is my latest CT LO for La-Di-Da Studios (Tara Dunstan Designs) completed sometime last week from memory and very late at night hummmm actually in the wee hours of the morning in the dark and the quiet. The photo is of my DD Stephanie at dads funeral on the 10th of October, just a little over 5 weeks ago now and I still find it hard that he is actually gone.

Life just doesn't slow down for us these days and last Thursday Lance was finally admitted into hospital into the acute psychiatric unit because he was no longer able to function in any capacity and none of his meds were working. It was the scariest, most gut wrenching and heart breaking thing to do but it was desperate because he was in serious crisis in a serious way. After a difficult 24 hours of tears and frustration and escaping, Lance finally started to settle on Friday and by Saturday/Sunday we saw I peace and calm in him that we have not seen in a very long time. After having a good weekend he was discharged last night and is now home.

For those of you who haven't caught up with the news.... Lance is 17, autistic and dealing with multiple diagnoses. Not only is he autistic but also has an anxiety/panic disorder, depression, presumed coronary artery spasm and it now looks like he has epilepsy. As you can imagine each diagnosis is complex in it's own right but add them all together and wow we have serious issues and complications and when meds start to do the unthinkable.....not work, we are then in serious trouble.

There is still a long road to travel and in no way will it be easy with its bumps in the way some small and some large but we have crisis plans in place now and every health department in Bendigo (Psych and CAT services, CAMHS, DHS, Carer's Support, Home Assessment Care, Interchange and the list goes on) know our son by now and so that in itself in many ways as scary as it may sound is a comfort that so many departments are helping with much more to come over the coming months.

News on our youngest son Maddison who is 13......we have been dealing with some pretty heavy things with him as well and because he is also visually impaired (Best's Vitelliform Dystrophy) so many of his learning difficulties have been hidden under that banner until this year. He is now seeing the paediatrician and it is looking more and more like ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). He is struggling with all his language based subjects, his speech is slurred (something that has been happening and getting worse this year) and finding school very difficult. We hope to have him assessed to see whether or not he has autism but more on the milder side as the paediatrician thinks. Who knows when this will be but he is on the CAMHS waiting list and that's all we can do is wait. He is on a months trial with meds for ADD and so time will tell.

My dear grandmother is still in hospital after 3 weeks. She is 95 and suffers with dementia and as of last Saturday I have been left in charge of her as my mum decided to go on a "holiday" for a month because she felt she could not deal with things as they were any longer. I could say more here but I won't and the reality that my dear nanna has deteriorated since she has a serious fall some 2 weeks ago, is in rehab, is meant to go into respite next week which I have to sort out and organise and her memory both short and long term is a mess. So tomorrow I sit down with her doctors and the recommendation I do believe will be that she now needs to go into permanent care. I know that I do not want her going home to mum if mum ever comes home and I know it is time to put her in a place that can take good care of her. There is no way my mum could take care of her now and mum has not been coping with looking after her for quite some time now. Just in the past 3 days nanna has deteriorated even worse and she doesn't even remember what she had for tea 5 minutes after she has eaten it let alone having to keep reminding her of who I am but I love her dearly and the decisions the doctors and staff make with me will be in the best interests of nanna now.

So you can see even in our own crisis with our son Lance, his struggle to get through each day and make some sense of it without self harming, more and more is heaped upon us everyday. In a time when I am holding so many people up......God grant me the strength I need to keep going, the courage to manage all that I do and the peace and calm so necessary in times of difficulty where there is no option but to do what I have to. Bring on a miracle I say.

Till next blogging guys stay safe and take care. Hugs Chris xoxo

Monday, 27 October 2008

Life in the fast lane!

Isn't he absolutely gorgeous? Yep thats my great nephew Tyson in the LO above and at only 14 months old he is just the cutest and most adorablest. Of course had to scrap and now it's ready to be printed and given to my niece as a gift.
As for life in the fast lane................well that's kinda where I feel I'm at these days. My days are full and my mind is even room left in there to fit anything!

The past couple of weeks has seen our son Lance in an extremely severe mental state that has a whole team helping him with his extreme depression and panic disorder. He needs to be in hospital but here where we live there are no adolescent units and so everyday they try to get him in the adult unit but everyday there is no know the hospital system really stinks.

So with the help of psychiatric professionals, his case manager, carer's support and every other government department involved we continue to do the best we can with his medication and monitoring him at home....not an easy thing for any family to have to deal with but that's the only option we have. We have been up to hospital twice in the past week attending to both his psychiatric and medical needs and he is on clinical alert because he is so unstable.

It's almost a month (tomorrow Oct 6th) since dad died and I still can't believe it. Every time I go too mum's I simply expect dad to walk in from the backyard or in from the letterbox and for him to say g'day Chris and sit in his chair in the lounge......and every time I go I realise it isn't going to happen......he's gone and that's pretty hard to deal with alot of the time.

My parents were both full time carers for my grandmother who is 95 and has dementia, since dad's passing her dementia has taken a serious dive for the worse and although we knew this was happening, it's just another huge bump in the road we are traveling and I would like to take a new route personally but this is reality and that's not possible. Still dealing with the grief of losing dad mum is sole carer for nana now with our help and things are bad. As much as I can, I do what I can for both of them and on Sunday nana had a fairly serious fall at home and although no broken bones there is some damage to her spine but operating on it would put her at serious risk and I don't think we could handle that reality after just losing dad. She is in hospital but last night she had an even more serious fall and somehow managed to climb out over the bed rails that keep her in and with the bed up so high she fell over the rails onto the floor, 2 black eyes and a seriously huge cut across her forehead requiring alot of stitches is the result. It is so full on for us at the moment and my poor mother who is 72 is exhausted....yep just like the rest of us.

In the past month alone I have had 24 appointments and that does not include the time spent in hospital, dealing with dads passing, funeral arrangements, the recent time spent with Lance in the emergency department over this past week and now nana in hospital as a patient, or the phone calls that take just as long as appointments and of course helping mum in anyway I can.
Welcome to my world and I need a clone!!!!!!!!!

So please understand the lack of scrapping as it just isn't happening and please understand the lack of blogging....just don't get as much time to do both these days and things aren't looking like they will improve any time soon.

On a more positive note though I have a table full of paper scrapping goodies and I am very slowly putting an 8x8 album together for Steps for Christmas. It is something that is taking ages and I usually work on it when Lance is on my pc and he is settled both mentally and physically which only happens occasionally or very late at night/early morning when he is finally asleep and the house is quiet.
I had all these plans this Christmas with gift making and card making and all that goes with the festive season and not any of it is going to be possible....but I guess there's always next year.......I hope because I just love the Christmas Season!

To my dearest friend Tara....know that I'm thinking of you and the difficulties you are enduring at this time. To the rest of you hugs and God Bless all of you.
Till next blogging stay safe, take care and huge hugs!

P.S. I'd love you all to pop in and say hi on my blog....I miss you all! xoxo

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Yay I finally scrapped!

Yes can you believe it....I have scrapped and darn well proud of it too. This LO was created using the new I See the Sea Collab Kit over at La-Di-Da Studios with a few other little goodies from there thrown in as well. I personally love the touches of red...but then it's one of my fave colours anyway.
Life is flat out but then when isn't it and Tim and I are off to visit his parents so a quick post and till next blogging take care and stay safe. Hugs Chris xoxo

Friday, 17 October 2008

Back to some sort of normality!

We are trying to get back to some sort of normality here in the Turnbull household since my father (the kids grandad) passed away on the 6th of October. His funeral was held last Friday on the 10th and it was such a beautiful service but it is so hard to get my head around that dad is actually gone and I feel I haven't had a chance to catch my breath since it all happened as I have been so busy.

This week alone I have had 5 appointments and they are all just for Lance. I am looking forward to having some time out this coming weekend to spend some time in my garden and some time in reflection. As for scrapping well I'm sure when life's busyness slows down a little I might just find time for that.

But I can tell you about a new digi shop and site called La-Di-Da Studios home to a couple of pretty awesome designers and check out some of the gorgeous goodies they have.

First up if you spend $12 or more in the shop you can get this massive mega kit for that is one awesome special.

Next we have one for all those mums that have gorgeous pregnant belly photos in need of some scrapping. This Belly Pop Pregnancy Collab kit by Faith True and Tara Dunstan is awesome.

I'm off to get myself ready and get organised. Lance has a paediatricians appointment today and that will be very interesting as there has been alot of background work done behind the scenes with the team helping Lance and his official diagnosis is now complete. With his recent diagnosis of Autism some 3 months ago we knew there was more to it then that and as of last week with the latest official medical report from his paediatrician, psychologist and psychiatrist he also has a panic/anxiety disorder and presumed coronary heart spasm. That part is all official and all complete.

We are now also having to look into Epilepsy because of the recent seizures which the results of the EEG coming back clear but his paediatrician said as good as that is it has not ruled out epilepsy so just another thing to deal with for Lance as 30% of autistic people also end up with epilepsy. All I can say is what an awful lot for one kid to have to deal with but we are there helping him in every aspect and there is finally a whole team working with us as well. It has taken a very very long time to get this far and the entire family need every bit of support and help we can get.

Maddison recently had his eyes checked and he is now having to wear bifocals because his close up sight had changed but not distance. We were looking at getting him graduating or progressive lenses but his eyes are so bad that the thought was if we did try them it would only distort his peripheral vision so badly which he needs. He is slowly adjusting to them as we only got them Monday but they look awesome anyway as he has new frames which are nice black trendy ones and look fab on him. I will however endeavour to try and take a photo of him so you can all see just how cool they really look.

Tim and the girls are doing fairly well and we just take each day at a time....that's pretty much all one can do anyhow. So on that note I'll love ya and leave ya and until next blogging take care, stay safe and ciao. Hugs Chris xoxo

Monday, 6 October 2008

It is with much sadness that........

This morning at 12:25 am (AEST) daylight savings time my father Ronald James Parsell passed away peacefully in Critical Care at the Bendigo Hospital. As family gathered around him to say our last goodbyes and as I held his hand, he lost his 12 day battle with an aggressive form of cancer. Goodbye Dad, goodbye Grandad we love you so much and miss you already. xoxoxoxoxoxo

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Another Day at the Office!

Yes since last blogging I think there have been a few more days at the office, the only disadvantage is I'm not getting paid for any of it but boy do I do my fair share in life each and everyday and then some.

No I'm not talking about working in a real office but here at home as a full time carer for not only hubby Tim and our 2 youngers kids because they are visually impaired but for our 17 year old son Lance who is autistic and is 24/7 both in every way you can possibly imagine and then some.

Today we tried to go out, just a small trip to the Chinese Museum and gardens and lunch in the park. It took some time to get ready as it does in a family of 6 and Lance managed fairly well.....or so we thought. The very reality of living with autism and a severe anxiety disorder (just too name a few) hits home every minute of our lives when our son can barely manage to get ready to go out let alone walk out the front door into a world that just hasn't been created for him. He had a meltdown went to bed and stayed there and then Tim and I have to try and still focus on taking the other kids out but we do even with the mental anxiety both of us feel leaving Lance home in the state he was and on his own.......grrrrrr to be torn so many ways so many times is exhausting. So we just do lunch at subway and manage looking in the old post office and all it's history and then home, yep cut short once again. Welcome to the Turnbull world and our lives.

We are learning more and more not only about Autism itself but different anxieties and co morbid diagnoses in our son as well. We have been borrowing books from the library but recently we started purchasing books because we need those books here at home to book mark all the things that we need to have with us all the time.

Our little collection is growing and so far we have All Cats Have Asperger's Syndrome - Kathy Hoopmann (although our son has autism NOT Asperger's Syndrome this is a beautiful picture book I fell in love with), Nobody Nowhere, Somebody Somewhere, Like Colour To The Blind, Exposure Anxiety - The Invisible Cage and The Jumbled Jigsaw all by autistic author Donna Williams who was born in Australia in 1963. She grew up hearing words such as 'deaf', 'disturbed', 'crazy' and 'spastic' and wasn't formally diagnosed with Autism until adulthood. Yep one amazing woman I reckon with trying and succeeding in making sense of our world within her own.

Monday Tim and Maddison had an appointment at our optometrists and Tim now needs to wear reading glasses, yes he wears glasses full time anyway but with this genetic eye disease Tim, Stephanie and Maddi has, it just doesn't make things nice and easy for any of them. Maddison now also needs to wear bifocals as he needs to have reading glasses and his left lens has to be stepped up twice. But that's not all as after lots of thought and making the right decision as to whether or not Maddi would cope with 2 pairs of glasses....the ones he wears all the time and then a pair of reading glasses for reading, computer etc etc and the fact that progressive or graduated lenses could possibly allow his peripheral sight to be distorted which is not good seeing as what they have is a rarer form of macular degeneration and they rely heavily on their peripheral sight to see what we would normally see looking through our central vision, that the best would be indeed bi focals and so long as they will work for him. Not a cheap exercise as we have to pay for all these pairs of glasses and Maddi's old ones are only a year old and his new pair are another $600 and if they don't work for him then we have to go with plan B and he goes back to wearing the old ones but then we still have to pay for another pair of reading glasses as well. Yikes these bifocals had better work. Clear as mud?! Yep thought so!

Now you can understand a little as to why I scrap....many reasons apart from memories and capturing all those moments in life. But for me it's about letting my creativity unfold and taking some much needed theraputic time just for me.....yep my time to zone out from everything going on around me.....well at least try to a little. While I'm on the topic of scrapping....look below, gorgeous isn't she. Yep that's Stephanie who is 15 next March.....oooh now that's hard to imagine but she will be. She actually took this photo herself and I just love it and as a dedicated scrapper I just had to scrap this one.


So that's it for now and if you stop by please pop in and say hello. I know so many of you come this way and I would love you to say howdy in your own special way. So till next blogging stay safe and take care. Hugs Chris xoxo

Monday, 29 September 2008

School Holidays and all that Jazz!

Yes it's school holidays here in Bendigo and we've just started the 2nd week of them. I have to admit that apart from the kids being at home I don't feel like I'm on holidays. Everyday last week we had an appointment of some kind and if it wasn't the doctors it was the paediatricians, then another trip to the doctors then an appointment with CAMHS and that's without the phone calls and much needed things that we need to implement along with a few other government departments to get some support and help for our son Lance. Yes we have now gone into implementing a crisis plan as of last Thursday because things are critical here. As much as I want to blog more often, scrap more often and simply take time out from this world our family lives in, it isn't going to happen. How we all survive is truly a miracle and I thank God everyday for his help.

Last week I received some more bad news and yep if things couldn't get any they can. My father is in hospital seriously ill - he has just been told he has cancer. I am somewhat numb with it all myself I have to admit. One operation down things were going ok for a day or two until he took a turn for the worse and is now being feed intravenously with tubes coming out of every part of his body with what they are pumping in and what is coming out.

Until he is stable they are working out what to do as he needs to recover from this operation where they took part of the bowel and now there is another lump and so the initial thought was - operation done, home to recover then once done he would possibly start chemo, now he has taken a turn for the worse I am not sure what will happen and I don't think he will be home for some time. So apart from all that is going on here, keeping in contact with mum and helping out when I can life is hectic.

Scrapping....yes although I don't scrap as often because of different priorities now I still do manage to get some done. These LO's below were actually created some weeks ago ready for Tara to go live at her new store over at Funky Playground Designs on the 15th of this month. Unfortunately due to unforseen circumstances just as quickly as her shop opened there she is no longer selling at FPD or PBP. But still she has her store here @ Tara Dunstan Designs

Oh and have you checked out this new store After Five Designs cause if you haven't then you're missing out. Packed with the most awesomke designers and many of them were and still are the most amazing scrappers. Anyway go check it out for yourself oh one thing I should mention.....major drooling over the designs in the shop may just happen so be warned!
A couple of LO's with some of those gorgeous designs!


Click on the credits to find what gorgeous goodies were used and don't forget to check them out in the shop. Well that's it for today, I hope you have been inspired somewhat and I hope you enjoy my LO's. As for all those mums (and dads) out there on school holidays with their kids enjoy them and stay sane.
Till next blog post take care guys and hug a loved one. Hugs Chris xoxo

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Creative chaos and all things hectic!

Ever feel like you live on another planet? Well if you answered yes then welcome to my world!
Every day seems a whirlwind, every moment chaotic and every morning I get out of bed I surprise myself that I still am!

Today I managed to bring grown women to tears (including myself) who share a similar experience as I do......looking after a child who has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Today I attended my first Autism Support Group meeting here in Bendigo and although my very intention was to sit and listen, take note in new surroundings, learn of others in similar situations, slowly pace myself, crawl before I walked, walked before I ran, I found myself to be the very opposite when they all asked me about my son Lance and our struggle in everyday life with him before diagnosis and the here and now since his diagnosis of autism some 2 months or so ago.

Just like me they were shocked to hear and learn it had taken so many years for our son Lance who mind you just turned 17 on Monday (15th) to be finally diagnosed with a lifelong neurological learning disability - Autism and that he indeed suffers with depression, severe anxiety and has learning and communication difficulties just to name a few.

Today I felt that I was able to sit, share and talk with all these other amazing and incredible mums who not only know exactly what it means to have a child on the autism spectrum but the difficulties and complexity of such a diagnosis, the impact it has on everyday life for not only the child but the family as well. Life will never be normal for the Turnbull family.

So ok it's been a while since my last blog but life has been somewhat hectic, oh and that in itself is an understatement. Since my last blog posting on the 2nd Lance had an EEG to check out some sort of seizures he has been having. Hopefully we find out the results of that next Monday. Tim and I with Lance were asked to go in to CAMHS to visit with one of Lance's assessors last week - this psycologist and talk to us about the diagnosis and listen to our journey with Lance his whole life completely undiagnosed and then begin to tell us that Lance is a high support needs child and they will put in place everything he needs and with some things he has become a priority. Appointment at the high school for Stephanie to sort out her course selection for next year -yr 9 and get that underway, completed, filed and signed off. Dealing with Lance and the aftermath of a massive meltdown and blowout last week. Another doctor's appointment for Lance yesterday with more health issues, ultrasound today, results next week on top of seeing his paediatrician Monday. Never ever a dull moment here...ohhh and that's without normal life, raising 3 other children, dealing with school camps this week, my own appointments, family visitors this past weekend, school difficulties with Maddison and his difficulties with his visual impairment, trying to implement strategies and plans for Lance and dealing with NETschool and coming to the realisation that Lance is not coping as well as we would like him to.

OH and let me tell you that it was mine and Tim's 22nd wedding anniversary on the 6th, Lance's 17th birthday on Monday (15th) and my mother's birthday yesterday (Wed 17th) and it is Maddison's 13th birthday tomorrow (19th)! Happy Anniversary and Happy Birthday guys and gals!!!

So that's my lot, anyone want it? Nah didn't think, however I could seriously do with a clone!

While I have you here though I have managed to scrap a LO or 2 or 3 or more....ohhh yeh they are far and few between at the moment but still when I can I will. This one is for the latest Hodge Podge Challenge here over at the Hodge Podge Art Blog in which you are all invited to join in. Tara invited me on very short notice and although it was one of the quickest LO's ever it was finished in record time and has been up over on their blog ever since, I am only getting about uploading it into my own personal galleries. Such is life!

Hip Chic

......and this one below too!



....and last but not least (for tonight anyway)

Old Building


Ok so that should take care of the creative chaos and there are a few more CT LO's ready to go but you know, I think I'll leave that till next time. Till then blogging buddies, take care, stay safe and be true to yourself! Hugs Chris xoxo

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Up for some Retail Therapy?

Oooh that got your attention now hey? Cheeky I know but still worth a shot. Ok seriously guys Tara Dunstan Designs is having a HUGE sale over at her store because it's time to retire some of her old gorgeous goodies to make way for some of her new gorgeous goodies. The shop can't hold them all so if your up for a little retail therapy and let's face it who isn't....hummmmmm yummy...ooops sorry got sidetracked a bit there, then why not pop on over to her store and grab yourself a bargain, I would be if I didn't already have

That’s right, 50% OFF EVERYTHING! ((Includes all Commercial Use Items)) <..... awesome hey with the CU items!!
Lots of products will be retired once the week is up to make room for lots more goodies too so get on in while stocks last!
If you cannot see or click the image above please go to:

So what ya waiting for and better be quick because once the sale finishes, her retired goodies will be no more.

Oh and pssst just 'tween you and me I know there's a typo in the above advert but if you don't tell then I won't let Tara know either!

Ok so lots to say but for now I think I'll leave it for tonight and simply leave you with the above temptation. :)

Till next blogging take care, stay safe and enjoy scrapping with those gorgeous new Tara Dunstan Designs. Hugs Chris xoxo

Friday, 29 August 2008

The weekend's here...WOOHOO!!!!

I am so grateful the weekend is finally here. I was just saying to hubby this morning that there is just so much I want and need to do but if only I had another 12 hours in my day or just think if we didn't need to sleep what we could accomplish. I have to admit that life for the Turnbull family still has not slowed down and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon but we just manage the best way we can and I think that's all that matters because unless I had a clone (although one of me's enough) or a maid I simply can't do the impossible and I'm no superwoman!

So least see....hummmm what's new since last time I blogged?

Lance is slowly settling into NETschool and although I expect once the honeymoon phase is over for him things may be a little different and that's ok cause just like every other thing.....we will deal with it. We have an appointment on Monday to meet with his mentor and discuss some matters I felt needed addressing for peace of mind because when the transfer was made unfortunately not a whole lot of Lance's personal details went with it so I asked if we could meet to discuss all those things parents need to discuss with those that need to know.....ahhhh clear as mud yeh I thought!

Grace went to Melbourne today as part of her Indonesian Class activities and went to an Indonesian Festival although 2 hours later they were all bored and so with teacher in tow managed lunch at Macca's, shopping in the Bourke St Mall and more shopping at why didn't they ever have school excursions like that in my day. :)

Stephanie is busy tonight at the Zone Entertainment Centre here in town laser tagging with her mates. She has also been fairly busy with her school sewing class creating an outfit for a fashion parade next week. Very exciting because while she finished the dress which looks awesome she also asked me to buy t-shirt material so she could make a top in class.
I will admit one thing, all my kids have a real creative side and I think it's awesome, ahhhh must be the mum genes me!!!!

Maddi is not up too anything much at except playing Runescape on the pc and that's about it. He seems to be settling into semester 2 a little easier then the start of the year but I tell ya......high school and primary school are just so far apart from one another with getting a handle on things that I think once he fully settles down and to be honest that won't be till next year he will be fine. He loves his hands on subjects such as woodwork, metalwork, electronics and all that jazz but as for the "typical" subjects forget it and not that I blame him as this kid loves to keep his hands busy. 2 things he has always said for as long as I can remember is...mum I want to join the army and I want to be a plumber. I hope those dreams of his come true and his knowledge of all things WW1 and 2 are pretty impressive I tell ya and he's only 12.

Tim has had a bit of a difficult week but we are managing and there is just so much going on that I am not surprised he has taken a step or 2 backwards but you know I've been there and done that so many times myself and as I said to him he only had to look at all we are dealing with on a daily basis and realise that we are doing it pretty darn tough and all on our own!

I threw my back out last Saturday and that's why I feel like I've been invisible. Yep another disc hernia...same place and although Tim wanted me to go to hospital to seek help I knew what it was because I have had so many of them for years that I simply said no. I just spent a day or 2 in bed because I couldn't move too well. Today has been my best day although still very painful but then I also have osteo arthritis in the spine which doesnt help and although I have needed bed rest and a walking stick I am doing kinda ok. But it sure takes everything out of you and it is very crippling. I just cannot do anything when it is like that and even when it settles I still live with chronic back pain and have to be careful with it all.

No scrapping to show off this time. I have managed to finish a few LO's but can't show them off because they are for September's issue of BSM and Tara Dunstan gorgeous new goodies not yet and apart from that I have not managed anything else. But on the plus side of things I have been wanting to get my hands dirty again with a little paper/hybrid scrapping and have been busy purchasing a few bits and pieces to create a few bits and pieces. Can't wait to get started and now just to find a little time to work on a few little projects in time for xmas. Woohoo!!!!

Ok well I think that's about it from me tonight guys except to say here it is Friday night already and my weekend has started so I hope wherever you are and whatever you are doing.....have a great one.....weekend that is!!! Till next blogging stay safe and take care. Hugs Chris xoxo

Saturday, 23 August 2008

New look and all that jazz!

Isn't the new look for my blog awesome?! I have been wanting to change it's appearance for sometime but mainly time stood in the way. I have also spent many times over at the fabulous Shabby Miss Jenn shop looking at all her gorgeous goodies for months and finally decided it was time to take the plunge and invest in a little blog wear. Thanks to Tara Dunstan for paving the way because she lost her blog and had to start a new one which I must say looks rockin' and is also using blog wear from the fabulous SMJ. Anyway I fell in love with French Attic and so thanks to Tara as well for fiddling about on my blog (behind the scenes) cause she needed too and I didn't have the time we have popped a little colour in and alot of love. Thanks girl it looks amazing and you've done an awesome job. Hugs xo

I will be putting a photo on the header but trying to take one of all the kids together might be a tad tricky and I think I will seriously have to bribe them....oh I mean reward so we can all work together with it so the header although looking good is not finished. So if you like the new look leave me some love and if you don't then love some loving!

Anyway it's Saturday here and I have been busy pottering about the place. Cleaned the pc desk and Tim and I are looking for a new one next week as well as a book shelf or two for all those bits and pieces that need to be away but not out of sight. May even take the plunge and buy me a new monitor. I have a Phillips 19 inch monitor and love it. It cost us a fortune about 5 years ago when we got our first ever home pc and that was the biggest you could get then. I am needing me a bigger one and my DD has a 22 inch and I wouldn't mind one that's 24 not greedy much hey.

Well that's it for today and to all you guys who visit thanks because it means so much and to all those keeping up with the family issues as I blog about them thanks for taking the time as well. Hugs Chris xoxo

Thursday, 21 August 2008

I've been busy scrapping!!!!

Aha yep yep yep I have been scrapping a little this week. Funny thing is that I have had appointments everyday this week and yet I've still somehow managed to scrap 3 LO's in all the busyness of another week. The sad news is I can't show you any of them *sigh* because they are all for my CT requirements and even Tara's are a secret. The good news is you'll see them soon enough.....just have to be patient YAY and I know you can do that. :)

After alot of thought and decision making and Lance getting to a desperate time with school, not too mention every day life, Tim and I decided it was time to make a huge change in Lance's life to help him get through schooling. A decision not taken lightly because of the incredible difficulties this would bring about for Lance but one we felt would benefit him enormously in the long term and once things settled down again which we knew could take months not too mention the meltdowns that would come with it.

When Lance was first diagnosed with autism it was highly recommended that he attend NETschool. Still a part of the school he attends but not on the same campus, not with another 1800 students and not with the same overwhelming difficulties he has had to deal with all year in fact for most of his schooling life and in particular the past 4.5 years of high school. Unfortunately no matter how much his paediatrician, case manager or his assessor thought this move would be the best for him Lance was not so willing and something we could all understand. Better the devil you know then the one you don't no matter the fact that it is just so hard then having to undergo yet another huge change in your life and not managing because of it. Lance hates change and any small change in routine or daily life means a meltdown and a lot of time recovering from that. The impact is huge not just on Lance but the entire family.

Yes the school he attends was going to get funding for him for an integration aide as well as support aides (yet no visual cues because they said it was impossible)....but what good would that do as the integration aide would not be an expert or a specialist in autism so we realised that in itself would do more harm then good. His teachers have no understanding of autism and nor do they have time to learn after all we are dealing with a senior high school not junior and after another big meltdown and recovery time (2 weeks) and medication increases it was time to act before our Lance couldn't function at all anymore.

Anyway we made an appointment to visit on Monday, prepared Lance (very simply but well) for a few days before and let him know that we felt that we no longer had a choice but to try this. We helped him to understand the outcomes of every part of his schooling via visual cues on his whiteboard we use everyday so he could see for himself and hoped that by doing so he could somehow understand what we had to do and how it would either help or not help Lance. Monday came and so did the appointment and without going into any detail (no need to bore you here) Lance made the decision himself that he needed to try this and although the change would be difficult he knew this was was needed.
The facilitator asked him one question at the start of the meeting and that was simply "what seems to be going wrong for you at school". His reply was only one word but it implied so much "everything"!
I was so proud that Lance not only spoke even if it was just single words but knew what he meant in that one very simple word. He had finally realised that "everything" was going wrong and he was not in a good place within himself because of it. WOW!

Today was his first day there and although it will take time and he reckons it's "boring", both Tim and I feel we have made the right decision for now. What happens in a month or 2 or next year really does not matter just now because Lance can only deal with one day at a time and even that can be simply too difficult but that's fine by us because sometimes in order to move forward in our lives we must take a few steps backwards and I'm pretty sure there will be many steps backwards for Lance and us as a family but I know if it means Lance can move forward in positive ways then we have achieved what we set out to do and that is everything we can for him.

DD Grace is starting the transition from year 10 to 11 and so it is a busy time for her in choosing her VCE subjects and all that goes with it and even though we went through it all with Lance, this time it is different and although overwhelming so much easier as well. So far we have been to an Information Evening, Open Day last Sunday, counselling appointment today to finalise subjects and courses and get all the "official" paperwork sorted out. Education these days is incredibly overwhelming with a certain amount of TMI (too much information) overload. Not at all like in my days...rofl! Anyway she is looking at nursing (loves health) and more so specialising in paediatric nursing so she is preparing her subjects and courses for next year.

Stephanie is right in the middle of making a dress in sewing at school. Mostly done and we went and grabbed just a few little trimmings so she can finish it off tomorrow in class (oh and make a t-shirt) and then some of the students including herself are showing their skills off in a fashion parade soon.

Ever had a child who is right into Star Wars? That would be my almost 13 yr old son Maddi. He has the full series of Star Wars movies that my sister gave to him recently and he watches them over and over and over and over and over and over you get the gist. He loves them and wants to see the new animation one The Clone Wars and has also started collecting Star Wars Lego. Maddi is quite the collector and loves every piece he collects. Mind you the Lego pieces are put together in one hit like within an hour or two after they have been bought and then he expects a new one straight but then that's just Maddi.

Anyway I have waffled on and on and it was not my intention to do so at all. I was coming in here for a quick post to tell you the positive news with Lance and here I am still waffling. So it's with that I say goodnight and with the weekend coming up (Friday tomorrow here) take care and stay safe. Till next blogging hugs Chris xoxo

Friday, 15 August 2008

Who's happy it's Friday?

Oooh now that would be me....rofl! It has been another full on and busy week and I am tired but the good news is I've just finished a LO I started earlier this evening and it's the weekend finally.

I had the most gorgeous gift given to me yesterday when I was RAK'ed by Hollie (Holliewood Studios) a very talented designer over at Oscraps. It really meant the world to me and so today as you can see I created the LO (under the preview) using She's So Trashy Vol.1 even though it's a masculine LO. That's how versatile this kit is and a must have in any digi stash so thankyou so much Hollie!

Does the pain in your heart ever stop hurting? Nope it doesn't but perhaps it just lessens over time or every now and again. I have to be the first to admit that I really am struggling with my son's diagnosis. As much as it has been a huge relief to all of us I am just finding it difficult to deal with it myself. The emotions are quite overwhelming and we are in the hardest and most difficult time, as we have been for years, with it all and just at the moment dealing with the crisis we have been for most of the year. Talking to his assessor this week on the phone made me realise a little more the impact of Lance's own journey and how hard it would be. Sometimes I really wonder if I am built for this kind of stuff, if I have it in me and I seriously don't think any of us can possibly imagine being in those shoes until we have to deal with it ourselves. As much as I want to yell and scream at the world and tell them how unfair this is, I remain quiet and fight the battle internally and I just thank God for the peace and comfort he gives me when I need it so desperately and at the moment I need it constantly.
I often wonder if I am doing the right thing when it comes to blogging about our family and some of the issues we deal with on a daily basis, in particular my son Lance's diagnosis of Autism. For me blogging is my memory, a place I can be myself and put my thoughts into words, a place others can come and share in those thoughts and where those I know who read my blog and like to keep up with the latest news.....can! Yep it sure is out there for all the world to view and as much as I am fully aware of that, I hope that by blogging about our journey as we know it now will in some way be a positive tool for others in difficulty as well and that by telling our story we can be there for others in their time of need and that they too will manage to hang in there knowing that others are going through similar situations. There is light at the end of the tunnel although at times it appears to be further away then others and sometimes we need to take many steps backwards in order to move forward but knowing what we have been through, what we are going through and what is before us can make all the difference in how we manage from one moment to the next and if that's all we can do.....then it's doable!
I wish everyone a great weekend and whatever you plan to do, do it well! Take care, stay safe, tell a loved one how much they mean to you and spend some time resting and relaxing. Hugs Chris xoxo

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Live Life Loud Charity Collab Kit for Mitchell House


Tragedy strikes when you least expect it and for one unfortunate family in Tasmania this is so. Tara along with a fairly extensive list of incredibly talented designers came together and created this absolutely huge charity kit to help the House family when their 18 yr old son Mitchell was seriously injured in a car accident recently and is still critical. As you read the description below be aware that these are Tara's words and not my own and if you haven't purchased this kit already please do so. It is huge so be warned and it is for an incredibly worthy cause. I have already purchased it and scrapped with it already and the above LO is just the first using this stunning kit.
Read on..................
I have come together with some pretty AMAZING and TALENTED designers to bring you all this MASSIVE Charity Collab Kit, Live Life Loud for some dear friends of my Husband and I. On Thursday the 26th of June our friends Michelle and Rodney House's 18 year old son, Mitchell was on his way to work around 2.00am in the middle of the night, pitch black, raining and gale force winds when he drove straight into a herd of black Angus cows on the road. The cows had been spooked by the storms that had been going on throughout the night and had wandered out onto the highway where poor Mitch struck them. Mitch received very severe injuries in the accident and if you go to the following link you will see the write up in The Advocate newspaper that was released the day after the accident: CLICK HERE to see the article.
He has a very very long healing process to go through and not only him but his parent's will be there each step of the way. As traumatizing and emotionally draining as it is and will continue to be for some time.
I suggested that I could try and help out in some way and as scrapping is my love I thought I would try and get a fundraising/charity kit together with some awesome designers and I have got 30 gorgeous girls who have stepped in to help me raise as much as we can to help Michelle and Rodney stay by Mitchell's side.
My heart is breaking for them and if you could add Mitchell into your prayers and/or thoughts I know they will help so very much. Thank You!
A special heartfelt thank you goes out to all the amazing designers who participated and helped me out and also a big thank you to Annette Farrelly, the owner of Pickleberrypop for allowing me to host this massive kit here. Thank you all so very much girls. To view this kit please click on the image above or CLICK HERE.
Thank you so much for any help you can give towards the House Family.
Just a quick post tonight and I hope you can help the House family too.
Remember to tell a loved one how much you love them and please take care and stay safe. Hugs Chris xoxo

Friday, 1 August 2008

What's in a bag you ask?

Well if it's a Tara Dunstan Lolly Bag to help celebrate Pickleberrypop's 2nd birthday then expect it jam packed full of the most awesome and lolaticious designs and all for just $3 which is a real bargain. Wanna see what's inside it......hummm I thought so but I'm not going to show you everything just going to tease a little and show you!!!!!

Now aren't those gorgeous goodies? So pop on over to PBP and grab Tara's Lolly Bag before our celebrations are over and you miss out.

Of course I also want to wish Pickleberrypop huge birthday wishes as we are turning two. I can't believe it has already been that long since PBP first opened it's online doors to the public and so

Happy Birthday Pickleberrypop!

Well that's it for now guys so till next blogging, take care, stay safe and hugs galore Chris xoxo

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

There's so much too say and so little time!

Well that's how I feel anyway and I still haven't had a chance to fully finish my blog but it will have to do till I have some much needed time to work on it a little more and finish it. Life is still a little chaotic at the moment although I somehow think that won't change too much in the near future and we just go with the flow of it all as only one can.

Good news...Tim is so much better, his depression is pretty much out of here and he is just dealing with his anxiety which is part and parcel of having a breakdown but we are working on it day by day and he is now able to do a little more then just stay within the walls of our home which is a huge step forward and I am feeling somewhat calmer myself because of it.

More good news...we had out very 1st meeting on Friday with Lance's school to deal with his autism. Attending the meeting was his school coordinator, his case manager, Lance, Tim and I. We talked with his coordinator on what autism is, Lance's own journey with autism, what was needed for Lance and what everyone who dealt with Lance needed to know to best implement the help Lance so desperately needs. What will be implemented is an integration aide, support aids (one in particular will be a laptop to help him with his writing skills because of the difficulties there) and we did try to enforce visual aids because Lance needs them but the school coordinator said because this was a senior school there was no way they would be implemented which I must say as much as I understand the reasoning behind it once again it also hit home that everything in life is orientated towards those of us who are neurotypical and not those of us with special needs and disabilities. Anyway he will undergo another IQ assessment this time with the school psychologist asap and reports will be sent to the school from the autism assessment center and CAMHS here in Bendigo to get this ball rolling as soon as possible. We will be changing his total school curriculum and with much thought and total cooperation with his school we have all decided that this will start as of next year when everyone else starts fresh as it would be too detrimental to Lance and his well being if we decided to do it now and we can prepare him for that over a longer period of time so it's much easier for him to manage the change. I'm sure there will be many steps backwards for Lance so he can move forward with a more positive outlook and approach with all the help he will need.

You know my husband read something from a book last night and I will quote it here.

Point to Ponder
I have heard that some folk have difficulty with the giving of a label. 'We are all different', they say. 'Labels separate and can make "difference" a noted factor that might mean "discrimination". Well. I must say that if the baked beans in my cupboard were not labelled differently to the tins of cat food, then I would not know how to encounter these foods appropriately! I think labels are useful.
(ref - Understanding and Working With the Spectrum of Autism. An Insider's View. Wendy Lawson, pg 64)

Wendy herself was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in adulthood.

Could you imagine going to the supermarket and every item there had no label?! Or even your own pantry or food cupboard?! How would you feel? You would become confused, frustrated, disorientated and possibly angry because you would not be able to make out the difference between the items and therefore you would not know what to buy.

Imagine the frustrations, confusion and anger Tim and I have felt over the years when the early intervention officer that took on Lance's case when he was just 3 yrs of age first mentioned it was possible that he was autistic but 2 years later with 2 years of speech therapy and other things put into place she decides the he was now fine and they would close his file and that was that. He starts school, is a mess and no-one could work out why. He continues on, suffers with depression and plenty of meltdowns, is labeled with ADHD sometime further on, then in yr 7 his teacher mentions to me that he thought Lance was autistic because there were just so many similarities in the autistic kids he worked with prior to working at the high school and he saw them in Lance.

We took that to his case manager back then and she refused to listen and said that there was no way Lance was autistic. Funny how things turn out hey because when Lance's diagnosis was made official a couple of weeks ago and that he indeed was autistic all you can think about was what you had been through all these years and that all these years we had been right. Indeed Lance did have autism and the so called "experts" got it so terribly wrong.

So having no label or indeed the wrong label can cause more harm then you could ever think possible. Imagine being told that your son was normal....there was nothing wrong with him despite the long list of difficulties he presented or how about this one.....we think the parents are too blame for their son and the way he all too familiar story yes? Oh how much Tim and I can relate to this because it has happened to us far too many times and all we could question was how is it possible when our other 3 children were not like Lance. Seems silly how they could never answer that one. Having the right diagnosis or the right "label" allows you to become fully educated and with that knowledge, understanding and power you can then help your child in every aspect of his/her life.

For Tim and I (and the rest of the family) we have started a new journey. We now have a diagnosis and because of that we have researched, read many books, watched DVDs and asked many questions about all things concerning autism and Lance fits into the spectrum perfectly. We have started to understand our son and who he is. We are no experts in autism, but we are experts in our son and our mission (for want of a better word) is to continue on this journey and learn as much as we can about autism and to be our son's advocate in every way we can. We will continue to learn and by thus doing so we hope that we can make some small difference in this neurotypical world of ours for those that are on the Spectrum of Autism which now includes our son Lance.

So what's new well seeing as I have been pretty sick for thepast 3 weeks and have only just come good this past day or so I am desperately trying to catch up with so much including my scrapping forums and sites. Check this awesome collab kit out by Tara and Ann-Marie pretty darn funky I say but then hey I'm also bias. Funky Chickadee is available at Tara Dunstan Designs and Pickleberrypop.
And here is my CT LO for Tara using this fabulicious kit. Gorgeous ha!!!! Well I think so anyway!

Ok well I think that about suns it up for today so until next blogging, stay safe, take care and tell someone how much you love them. Hugs Chris xoxo

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Pardon me while I redecorate, renovate and overhaul my blog!

Yes I decided it was time to do a little redecorating of my blog and I am having so much fun doing! You never know what I'll end up with and in fact neither will I but it's fun sussing out some great headers and seeing what works for my blog. No I haven't been too adventurous by creating my own header but you never know I must just do that if I can't find anything to work! So a quick post today just to let you're not going mad but indeed I am doing a major blog overhaul (so much needed) and to pardon all the construction work while I set it up just perfect!

Till next time....I'm still getting over this flu/virus thingy and I hope you are all well and healthy! Stay safe, keep well and hugs to all! Hugs Chris xoxo

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

And you all thought I was hiding!!!

I had forgotten all about this LO when I had finished it.......a big oooops on my behalf and so managed to throw it into my galleries last week just before I got sick and buried myself in bed for days. Oh and it also got picked over in the standout gallery at DST (thanks Biancka) much to my surprise last week so that has popped a smile on my dial! Isn't DD Grace looking very cool and groovy with her new glasses? Although she doesn't have to wear them full time she does need them for a lot of things and they really really suit her don't you think?!

Oh my what a week!!! Just when I thought I had a small grip on things in life I get sick (no I haven't been hiding this past week) and I don't mean just a little but I have spent everyday in bed since last Wednesday (9th July) and today is the first day I have managed to get out of bed and stay out of bed for a time. I don't recall the last time I came down with a virus as bad as the one I have now. I usually don't even pick up a cold let alone anything worse but I did and boy have I been sick and unable to function in any manner till now. But that was then and this is now and although I am far from being 100% fit and healthy I am improving and the coughing or should I say barking has almost ceased, the fevers and dilirious state have finally finished as of last night and I slept, although only a few hours, better then I have slept since I got sick so things are improving and all I need now is for the pressure in my head to disappear and I think I will be back to some sort of normality.

I feel I have missed out on a whole week.......oh yeh I have and trying to catch up is going to be impossible so I am not even going to try this time round. Tim is now sick not as bad as me thank goodness but he now has a heavy cold and trying to shake it and thankfully the kids have not got sick yet either and I hope it stays that way as they just started back at school this week for term 3. Yep the school holidays are officially over and a new term and semester have begun!

So today I am just pottering about the place. A little blogging, a little housework, a little catching up here and there, a little more housework, a little trip to the shops and fill the car up with gas and that's about it. Anyway just a quick post today to let you all know I'm still alive and that I've only been sick, not hiding. Until next blogging take care stay safe and stay well! Hugs Chris xoxo

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

My sincerest apologies!

It has been so long since my last post, life has a funny way of throwing the odd curve ball your way no matter how well you may be prepared for it. I do apologise to all my readers for not blogging as often as I could be but here I am with an now stay calm...rofl!

Life is still very busy for me and I am still pretty much flying solo with everything although Tim has improved, it is still a long and bumpy road for him with his deep depression but he is so much better then he has been in a long while and for those that know anything about mental breakdowns and deep depression it is so dibilatating for so long but I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and eventually it will be bigger and brighter and closer then it is now.

Lance seems to be doing ok. Although we do have a diagnosis for him now (in part) it has been a long time coming and although it explains so much and is a relief to finally have an answer after all these years of incredible upheavel and difficulty, the family and I are still coming to terms with it all. Lance is autistic....he has autism.

For the past 3 months his case manager has been dealing with Lance and I, trying to figure out how to help Lance with his own breakdown and depression (although we now know it was a major meltdown) when something I mentioned to him made him click into thinking Lance had Asperger's Syndrome or Autism. A meeting was held with all the professionals including paediatricians dealing with Lance and he put forth the idea that his gut instinct was what we were dealing with was ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and had been all of Lance's life (he will be 17 in Sep). Everyone felt strongly that it had been missed and an assessment was carried out in May with everyone expecting it to be Asperger's Syndrome and we were lead to believe that it was looking more and more like it. So what does one do but as much research into Asperger's (which is on the autism spectrum) as much as possible until we were told it was not Asperger's but indeed autism and so it upped on the scale. As to exactly where on the spectrum it will be is still to come but we now have a diagnosis and we are now looking at all things remember both Asperger's Syndrome and Autism are on the same spectrum.

Because of the enormous difficulty Lance has in school we now need to look at pulling him out of where he is and putting him in another school (something that has been strongly encouraged by the experts) so he can manage and the teachers there are well equipped and able to handle someone with not only Autism but his severe anxiety levels (part of having autism) so we were strongly encouraged to learn as much as we could these school holidays on autism and when school starts back we can go in fully armed and ready to negotiate with the school Lance's situation. This is just in the short term as they team will be implementing plans but until we get the full scaled diagnosis this is something to be done just until then. We meet on the 18th of July and hopefully the team will have an answer but of course Lance starts back on the 14th and will have 5 days to manage as best as he can under the circumstances and trust me when I say the circumstances at his school are bad I really mean it. But I won't say anymore there because as much as it helps to vent and let it all out, it does no-one any good so I'll just leave it for now but they will be in for a shock when I tell them the reality and they will have to listen this time.

Anyway as you can well imagine there has been alot happening and blogging was not exactly on my priority list because I just had to take a step back and take everything in for awhile and after reading this I hope you will all understand and forgive me.

With all of this going on I have had to say goodbye to my CT committments with Pickleberrypop, something that did not come easy, a decision I did not make lightly and one that I mulled over for weeks before I decided that I could not keep up with the pressure of 1 LO a week.....4 LO's a month all the time. I felt it was not only unfair to the rest of the team that I may not be pulling my weight as usual but also the designers. Being on a store CT is a tad more difficult then that of a designer so I have now resigned but the good news is that the invitation is open if I want to go back on once things have settled down in my life.

The good news is that I am still on Tara Dunstan's and Bella Scraps MagazineTM as they are much more flexible and the requirements something I can manage. I couldn't give up all my CT's and besides Tara has become a great friend and has been there every step of the way for me with all Tim and Lance's stuff and I am not willing to give up BSM.

Scrapping is my passion, it is my "time out" in this crazy world of mine and it is something that I just love so you'll still see plenty of LO's and I hope you will still enjoy each and everyone of them.
Having said that here are a few recent ones for you to enjoy!

If you pop by and read this post please pop in and say hi.....I would really apreciate it. Anyway until next blogging, we are on the 2nd week of school holidays here so I'm not spending as much time on the pc, please take care and stay safe and don't forget to tell someone you love them cause we all need to hear that as often as we can.
To all you school holidayers out there.....we're past the half way mark now so stay sane....rofl! Hugs Chris xoxo