Shabby Miss Jenn

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

the end...

of what has been the most glorious autumn easter break. i have enjoyed every minute of the school holidays although they have been quite busy. the past 5 days however i decided it was time to catch up on things here at home and simply put everything else on hold. wow amazing what once can achieve when one doesn't have to worry (too much) about anything else...well at least put 'anything else' on hold until after the easter break.

wouldn't i be wonderful to have long weekends like this every not much else would get done but seriously i think everyone would be so much happier...don't you? anyhoo i've managed to get steph's room done, do a little pottering about the home, rearrange the lounge with the help of hubby...oh and rearrange the laundry as well of course with hubbies help. tidy and clean the bathroom with the help of grace, ponder the next big painting project which i'm torn between isaac's room and our lounge, but only as a good mum will do...she'll put her child 1st and pretty much do isaac's room first. pick my hand grown pumpkins, water the garden, shop, take photos and enjoy some time with hubby today thanks to grace who was our 'carer' for a couple of hours while tim and i popped out and enjoyed this most glorious perfect autumn weather.

tomorrow it all goes back to some sort of 'normal' and our busy schedules and routines start all over again. not that it really just becomes different. so for the most past school also starts back tomorrow...yes even here, however steph doesn't actually start till thursday. but our holidays are over and this week is flat out with appointments everyday, mountains of paperwork and mountains of paperwork to file seeing as we've just had a rearranged the lounge and i need to find a home for all those papers you can't throw out. thank goodness i have a huge filing system....just been somewhat slack on actually filing everything that needs to be filed.

isn't it just as well i like to keep busy both with my hands and brain!!!

i often get asked how do i manage everything and to be honest i'm not always sure how to answer. life is what it is...even for us. raising 4 teens...3 with autism and other disorders certainly has it's challenges don't get me wrong, it's just that i'm not one to sit on my butt and do nothing. i hate daytime fact for the most part i really hate i don't watch a whole lot of it anytime. my fave shows i insist on watching every week however are escape to the country and 60 mm, i love these 2 shows and enjoy them alot. i have an incredibly supportive husband and i will say this one thing...without tim being the housekeeper i wouldn't manage. he is wonderful when it comes to the chores and for the most part he manages most of them...dishes, laundry, most of the other housework and dealing with the pets.  

i still cook, do the dishes occasionally, do the shopping, answer the phone calls, deal with all the emails - for home and BAAG, pay the bills, take the kids to their appointments etc, do all the overseeing of the kids situations with departments, specialists etc, what's necessary in relation to BAAG daily and somewhere try to fit in more and more photography because i seriously want to go somewhere with this. i've got a queue of parents wanting me to take photos of their children...many of them are children with asd/special needs and families simply struggle to have more 'professional studio' photo's taken simply because their gorgeous cherubs aren't able to sit still long enough for those 'happy snaps'. i would like to offer an opportunity to families/carers/parents to have moments and memories in their life that can be captured and can be treasured for life. i would also like to offer this at a cost that won't be a huge financial burden to parents either. so i'm trying to work through plans and options suitable and of course balance it all well so i can offer my services both as a photographer and as a parent who understands.

local 'natural light' photographer able to offer services in a (local) location of your choice...hummmm not bad!

bendigo has the most amazing outdoor locations and so many of them as well. i actually sat here the other night and started writing them all down - unbelievable and just within bendigo and it's suburbs itself, there is so much choice. being outside allows the kids to be natural, parents to relax and less photography equipment needed to be carried. it's all about nature and allowing children and their families to be happy, without restraint, without pressure and let the kids be as they will...and i'll be there right in the midst by their sides taking photos. :)

ok so while we're on the subject of photos here are a few from today's beautiful autumn weather + hubby + grace staying home being 'carer' for a couple of hours + a chance to spend quality time with tim and create the opportunity to take some photos. of course all that = the below photos...enjoy ♥♥♥

until next time enjoy the above photos and take care. hugs chris xoxo

Friday, 22 April 2011

happy easter...

today is good friday here, in fact it's late afternoon and we've just finished up having a bbq. today is peaceful, everyone is happy and i ♥ that alot. it's not usually like this but i'm so glad that it is - today. we're not doing anything much this easter...for the past however many years we would normally go away...but going away under extreme pressure and for the most part not enjoying any of it as our kids did not cope, tim did not cope and therefore nor did i was horrible. we would go year after year after year, we went because it's what was expected of us and people simply had no idea or understanding of what our family would go through to please other's expectations. now that pressure from 'others' is no longer there, that immense stress we were under is gone and for the first time in a very long time...the kids, tim and i are at peace!

it's a 5 day long weekend here and i'm looking forward to spending some much needed time with hubby and the kids over this extended weekend. potter about home a little, finally finish steph's room which is almost done, maybe take some photos and basically that's about it. oh and i must just add that my back is pretty much ok. a little tender here and there but this morning i was able to fully dress myself (i have not been able to do that for a month without help) and i put on my socks and shoes this morning all by myself without any help. i still have to be cautious but i've learnt to live like that for years now and i really hope i never have a major disc bulge again.

anyhoo this post is meant to be short and sweet simply to wish everyone a very happy safe and blessed easter wherever you are and however you choose to celebrate. ♥♥♥

the latest little photo shoot (steph as model) from last saturday April 16th out the front of dudley house here in bendigo. steph had a piece of artwork on show at the raw art exhibition and so we went along to check it out.

ok well that's pretty much it from me for now, happy easter. hugs chris xoxo

Saturday, 16 April 2011


life throws all sorts of things our way...some good, some bad, some soso and some very special. there are moments, times and people that pass our way that simply leave you feeling overwhelmed although not in a bad way...because today i've chosen the positive, but in a very special way. life itself is a journey, a path well worn, a road much traveled and for each and everyone of us...unique. unique not necessarily like a one off rare item or moment, but unique because of the wonderful people we travel that road with.

over the past 2.5 years i have meet some incredible people, their stories, their truly inspirational lives have touched my heart in a way i was totally unprepared for. traveling the very unique journey of autism is wrought with all sorts of obstacles, mazes and hurdles, but through it all and sometimes without realisation, the path is not always a negative one, in fact it can be quite positive and sometimes we just need to look a little farther and other times the very special and amazing things are right there in front of you...we just need to open our eyes and see.

i am a passionate person, determined, committed and dedicated to what i love the most...over the years there have been those that have tried to bring those very qualities and values down and tread all over them. however more fool them because it has only allowed me to get back up much stronger with even more passion and determination. life as we see and how we live it, is a is not something to be taken for granted, it is not something to gain for egotistical is an opportunity to create amazing moments and memories along the way, for all it's worth it is priceless...

this is one of those incredible memories, one of those amazing moments in life. these beautiful photos tell a wonderful story, my daughter grace with rhylan. rhylan has an autism spectrum disorder and they have developed a unique and very special bond in a very small amount of time. look closely at the photos...the expressions, the eyes, the smiles, the trust...truly inspirational. a small moment in time captured in it's purest form, a memory to be treasured, now this is priceless...

hugs chris xoxo

Thursday, 14 April 2011


i believe most people have a passion or 2 or 3 and some even a little more. over the years mine have changed, some of them i no longer involve myself in, others i didn't have the opportunity to involve myself in for reasons at the time although the passions didn't die, they just went on temporary vacation. scrapbooking has long been a passion of mine both in the paper format and of course digital. i've worked out that i've been paper scrapbooking for around 12 years and digital for something like 7 or 8.

the other passion of mine has been photography and of course to me scrapping and photography go hand in hand. for many years i didn't even own a camera and then when i did it was just what i classify as a cheap and nasty simply because the finances were not there for a more affordable one. i look back at when my kids were little and think of all the opportunities lost and although there is nothing i can do about that simply because i can't bring back the past and reinvent it...i can do something about it now. 

i own a decent camera now and i am endeavouring to make the most of it. i've owned my canon EOS 1000D DSLR for about 2 years now and i love it and slowly over time i've been adding to my camera bag of goodies. if only lenses were not so $$$$$ i would have a few more. currently i have a EF-S 18 - 55 mm EF 75 - 300 mm and EF 50 mm F1.8II. i'm now looking into a decent tripod and seeing as the birthday is next month i'm hoping the kids will pool their resources and buy me one as a gift...a mum can hope so can't she. next on the list are some decent backdrops and a remote control. there's a few more things on the list but like all things one desires i need to be patient.

anyhoo recently and more and more i've had parents ask me if i would take photos of their kids. at first i said no simply because i certainly didn't think i had what it took nor enough 'skill' to go with it all. these parents have children with special needs...autism spectrum disorders and other challenges. on tuesday as a few of our BAAG members met for a photo shoot with one of the photographers from our local paper as we have placed an article for an autism awareness feature for tomorrow's paper, i decided it was time to take that bold step and take some random photos of the kids doing what they do best...having fun! although i'm still very much in the process of editing a few photo's from tuesday i've managed to get a couple of batches done and uploaded. they've turned out brilliantly and i know there are parents wanting my services. so i'm taking the plunge and i'm starting. i'm still working out the final bits and pieces however i'm not standing in the shadows anymore or saying no. i love what i do and although i am learning all the time this aspiring and budding photographer is overwhelmed by those that have commented, asked, wanted or simply told another about who i am and what i do. after all i wear a few hats, however none as important of that as a parent and a carer to 4 teens...3 of them who have autism and other special needs. i hope my passion for photography will give other parents and their precious cherubs an opportunity to have their special moments captured for all it was nature for who they are and all that comes with it.

totally gorgeous kids...yep see the one just above...that's my girl steph. love the way these have turned out and there's more but today sadly my time is limited so it won't be until late tonight that i can finish uploading the rest. i hope you enjoy these photos and one thing that i feel is really important to mention...all these children including my girl steph have an autism spectrum disorder. they are beautiful and unique in their own truly wonderful way. ♥♥♥ ciao chris xoxo

Saturday, 2 April 2011

happy WAAD...

what the heck you ask is WAAD? world autism awareness day and april the 2nd (which is today here in the land of oz) is officially in it's 4th year of celebrations. today BAAG (bendigo autism asperger group) held a special morning tea for all our members in support of WAAD, recognising and representing all individuals on the autism spectrum. we had quite a few families and individuals turn up and the morning was fabulous.

today i'm doing better, i'm still tender and very frustrated however i'm hoping my back and i are on the same page now and working together to move forward. i really hate this crippling condition that stops you in your tracks and does not allow you to do anything except breathe unaided. today i did not use my walking stick but did have it in the car just in case. today i have been able to manage better then the past 1.5 weeks and i am hoping for no more set backs and the ability to function fully again in the next few days. i have much to do and this is not helping with my to do list which is growing longer everyday.

so it's saturday and the most glorious autumn day i've felt for awhile. i could do with a lot more days like this because for me it's the perfect weather. perfect to potter about the garden, perfect to potter about inside, perfect because it's not too hot nor too cold, perfect because it's autumn and one of my most fave seasons along with spring. today is bliss!!! 

for those of you who have come to know our family enough you'll know isaac is our youngest, has autism, adhd, high anxiety, is visually impaired, is completely disengaged from society, is no longer in school and has quite a few sensory issues etc etc etc and i won't go on because that's enough. anyhoo he licks, sucks and smells his hair constantly and is also very restless and fidgets alot. without going into further detail about what we've already tried etc i found a wonderful website that offered a range of chewlery and fidget sensory canada. then checked out the locations and realised i could get those items here in the land of oz.

a couple of days ago i called isaac (my 15 yr old) into my room so i could show him a couple of items from the range on the laptop. he was able to communicate with me that he licked, sucked and smelt his hair because of anxiety...i was quite overwhelmed that he was able to join the dots there. however what he said next astonished me even more and so the conversation goes a little something like this.

me - isaac if i was to buy you one of these chewlery items would this help

isaac - mum you spend alot of money on me already with my eyes and i don't want you to spend anymore on me because you need the money for my eyes

me - yes i do however do you think this would help you instead of chewing your hair all the time

isaac - mum i don't chew my hair i lick, suck and smell it because it helps me when i'm stressed and anxious

me - so would one of these help you so you don't lick suck and smell your hair all the time

isaac - if you would like to buy me one then i would use it

the above conversation was one of the longest and most open conversations i've had with isaac for a very very long time and not only the 'what ' but the 'how' he communicated his needs to me was amazing. although i knew all this i've been somewhat concerned that isaac wasn't sure why he had certain behaviours, idiosyncrasies, sensory issues etc etc and this was an incredible break through.

the items in question...

kids companion chewlery and you are able to purchase these items here in the land of oz as well, right over here at special needs toys australia so i'll be ordering a couple of black ones asap and the beauty of these is they can be quite discreet and be popped on a lanyard or a clasp. i'll let you know how we go with them and of course more importantly how isaac manages them.

lance is going for his drivers licence on the 28th of this month. he has managed his 120 hours on his learners, has been having quite a few lessons with an instructor who actually has dealt with a few young fellows on the autism spectrum and she has said he is ready. i mentioned my biggest concern for lance was his ability to transfer that 'skill' from being supervised for the past 2+ years to solo driving. she has told lance that he will still need to have tim or i in the car just because it's been such a long time and not start driving solo for a little while once he does get his licence so he can slowly get use to it. he has admitted to both hubby and i that he would not be up to driving solo once he does get his licence which i'm glad he is able to recognise and it will just be careful management and a little more work for us to achieve that on any level. i have to say it's pretty scary stuff, technically he is able to drive the car and very well, it's the 'solo' driving that concern tim and i with all the what if's all due to his learning difficulties...hummmm but i'm being as positive as i can although it's tough emotionally as we know him better then anyone else and tim and i do have our concerns.

last but not least yesterday...well i think it was i was able to get out into the front garden in the arvo and snap a couple of pics. not much but certainly enough to take my mind off my frustrations with being so very limited in my ability to do NOT MUCH AT ALL!!!! gosh i'm yelling lol told ya i was frustrated but anyway here they are and i hope you enjoy them.

ciao for now, hugs chris, xoxo.

Friday, 1 April 2011

happy 17th birthday steph...

i'm a day late to wish my daughter steph a happy 17th birthday in the blogging type of way. usually it's something i do on the day but the past week and a half i have spent most of it in bed flat on my back with a serious disc bulge barely functional and barely able to move.

wednesday i was pain free and was able to sit up and take things slow but yesterday i pinched the nerve again all just because i popped my shoes on and that pretty much landed me back in bed again for the most part of the day. i'm still tender but not as bad so the next few days will be slow going...very slow going indeed.

so where was i?....oh yes that's right so yesterday being thursday the 31st of march was steph's 17th birthday. we did manage the presents, we did manage the take away of choice (pizza), we did manage the b'day cake - marble mud cake and all thanks to grace doing the ordering and hubby picking all the food up. i did not manage photos...i was in bed but apparently grace did so i'll be looking through them to see what's been taken cause i heard that camera go off a thousand times and i tell ya i swear that's the truth and all through the clicking and i heard grace keep saying but if i don't take lots and get the right one mum won't be happy...i'm pretty sure she was messing about because she made sure she was loud and constant...gotta love her. 

ok so while i've been blogging i decided to hunt through the photos that grace took and i've found a couple to pop on the blog. although i always pop my copyright siggy just to protect the pics a little more when popping them on to the web these pics are grace's work...not a bad job hey!!!!

soooooo happy birthday stephanie...although it didn't quite turn out the way i would have preferred i know you still had a wonderful day and got extremely year i'm not putting my back out seeing as you're gonna be 18 and all. may your dreams and aspirations, may your wishes and hopes all come true. it's been a rough year for you but i know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and we're making our way towards it. love ya heaps girl ♥♥♥♥♥

ciao for now, hugs chris xoxo