Monday, 31 March 2014

Oh my poor aching feet!


7km as the sun was rising was a great way to start the day.  I felt like sleeping in but am glad I got my lazy butt out the door.  It was so worth it.


I volunteered at the twins' school today so I've been on my feet all day.  T2 was really happy to see me at school :-).  I thought I'd volunteer as much as  I could now, because I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do if and when I get work in the near future.  And I'm still juggling 2 courses.  I was able to take the twins home early so no school pick up (hurray!).  I've got feet up and am lying on the couch.  In 20 minutes its off to soccer practise.  My body says no!  I'm definitely going to have a long soak in the bath later.

2 things came in the post today.  I love getting real mail (that does NOT include bills).  Today I got the last season of The Paradise because I somehow missed it when it was on TV and a lovely new Kindle cover ($7 on ebay including delivery!!).  I love the red and now my Kindle Touch has a home that fits!

I love a package in the mail!

Unfortunately its the last series :-(

I just love my Kindle :-)
Do you have an ereader?  Which one?

6km &IEP update & eating my stress!

Therapy room by central at night (notice the block of choc)

The positive thing about the garbos coming at 5.30am is that I was up early for a pre-dawn run.  I'm beginning to enjoy them, except I'm a little bit worried about rolling an ankle.  Hopefully I'll repeat this workout tomorrow morning as I won't have time for a run during the day.
Fascinating stuff, isn't it?


I'm hoping for a quiet and productive week this week.  Despite the chaos of last week I managed  to write an essay that is due this week.  Unfortunately I ate a LOT of chocolate - I'm talking blocks of hazelnut cadbury and any other sugar, carb-loaded items.

If only I could deal with stress in a positive way.  Friday was the boys IEP meeting.

Last week my husband and I went and saw Noah.  It was quite good.  It was raining heavily outside so it was pretty apt.

IEP Meeting update

So Friday afternoon was the twins' individual education plan meetings aka IEP - there's so much jargon in autism!  We went in there with 2 big goals - and I was ready to do battle.  I even wore my new Zara shirt and jacket and put on make-up and jewellery!

1)   to get the staff/aides/shadows to take data
2)   for the school to bring in an ABA therapist that I employed to fill in the gaps where funding didn't cover it.

Hurray!  We got our 2 aims - well, its yet to happen in practice but we've got the go-ahead.  When I tell anyone about ABA I know I sound like a religious zealot!  By the end of the meeting the principle wanted info on the functions of behaviour - woo hoo! looks I have another convert! I'm thinking about giving him a Bobby Newman book to read over the hols.  I'm sure that's what the principle wants to be doing over Easter :-)
Bobby Newman's books are excellent - and entertaining!

Do you have a favourite book on autism - maybe I should review some.  Before I started studying nursing I read the Journal of Behaviour Analysis for leisure!  I miss it!

Do you have a favourite book on autism?  Please share what it is.

Saturday, 29 March 2014


Just a quick post to log my training.  I didn't feel the competitive juices running today so I skipped the Parkrun and just ran my own 6 km.

Will update tomorrow re IEP meeting, my out of control eating this week - snowed under with uni/tafe work right now (stress= eating for me, which sucks.  I wish I was one of those people who ate less when stressed - I'd be really skinny ha!ha!)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Running has helped me survive........

....keep reading to find out - you will start scratching your head - I promise :-)


A beautiful predawn 6km run this morning.  I haven't run that early in a while - and I loved it.  Its been an 'eventful' week and yesterday I didn't run.  My body was tired but my mind could have really done with a clean out yesterday so this morning I out the door early.  I really, really needed a good, solid run.


I had recovered from the flooded kitchen and the dead dishwasher and last night was settled in to polish off an assignment when my eldest came downstairs.  It was about 9.30pm.  He said 'my head's itchy'.  Fellow parents - I know what you will all be thinking.  And yes, you are right.  Apprehensively, I checked his hair, and yes there they were...eggs and one hatched lice.  I've been a parent for over 11 years and have we've never had a case.  Just a little tip for you - don't let your child borrow another child's helmet, which is what we did on Sunday and I'm pretty sure that's the source.  Anyway, it doesn't really matter where they came from, we've been lucky to get by so long without a case.

By this stage,  it was 9.40, the late night chemist closed at 10pm - I made it, returned and spent the next hour treating, combing and killing the little $#*@s.  Then my head started to feel itchy and I started to freak out.  I got the family all looking at my head and they deemed it psychological and that perhaps my scalp was a little flaky (sorry, TMI) and I was lice free.

I'm starting to think what is going to happen next!  Thank God for running (and I mean that)!!

Anyone want to share natural treatments for head lice removal/prevention?

Monday, 24 March 2014

A quick post

A quick hill training session this morning. Seven 1 minute hill repeats and jog down in between.  I like a quick session on a Monday.

Feeling abit down about the family finances tonight.  The dishwasher died tonight, 2 cars to insure this month, school fees due, expecting therapist's accounts any day now.  I feel like it never ends.  So many unexpected expenses.  It cost almost $500 to register the boys in soccer, now the dishwasher.  The sooner I get a job the better.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A HUGE day!

Shall I just list everything I did today?  I'm half exhausted and half exhilarated because of the sheer enormity of it.

Lets start at just before dawn shall we?  It is Sunday, mind you!

  • 15km long run
  • Got home in time to literally have a 60 second shower, grab the twins and head down to
  • the twin's trial soccer game
T1 running in for one of several goals

Its 4 a side so a great way for T1 to make new friends and sharpen his social skills

T2 was off the pace but he survived and managed to kick the ball a few times

  • stopped off at the shops to buy a present for a party my eldest was going to
  • got home in time to sit down for 5 minutes and wash my hair
  • dropped eldest at party
  • took the twins to McDonald's ( I know, I know its evil stuff but its T2's big reinforcer for kicking the ball during soccer - believe me, he needs the big guns to play soccer with kids his own age).
  • Came home and went for a swim with the twins (I don't know why I bothered washing my hair!)
  • Made mini-quiches for the boys' school lunches
  • Did a 21/2 hour therapy session with T2 - one of his therapists has shingles so I'm getting back into it
  • Then my husband and I took the twins to the park.  I literally shuffled and wasn't my usual energetic self - I sought out the swing as soon as we arrived - just to sit down (my poor aching feet!)
T2 training at the park :-)

Then we went for a stroll by the river

  • After dinner and clean up my mother and I made a batch of choc-chip cookies
  • I wrote up T2's therapy folder
  • Helped get the boys ready for bed.
  • Am now catching up with blogs/email

And I still have to study the skeletal system and joints and do an assignment on palliative care (nothing like an assignment on dying to finish off the day!).  But in all seriousness, I'm finding the topic extremely interesting.  I decided to bring up advance care planning with my husband and discuss care preferences for end-of-life care...- his response? 'do we have to talk about this now?' (bless him!)  My list of requirements was quite long and he said - you don't much do you!  Haha!

Saturday, 22 March 2014



This morning I headed down to my local Parkrun.  After the first 1km I was feeling almost sick, my stomach was churning.  I decided that today I'll just aim to finish as best as I could.  Then I looked down at my Garmin when it beeped the 1st km and I had run it under 5min pace!!  Ahhah! That's why I was feeling rubbish.  I was really pushing myself.  I took heart and kept pushing and am very happy that I ran well under 25 minutes.  I've shaved off more than 3 minutes from my 5km time this year.  Woo hoo!


And now for the Hallelujah part.  Lately T2 hasn't been sleeping well.  When the twins were 3 we did a sleep training program designed by a behaviour analyst.  It worked a treat for T1 and failed miserably for T2.  After discussing it with his paediatrician we decided to give him a small dose of melatonin, a hormone that seems to be on the low levels for many kids with ASD.  The first night we gave it to him it worked a treat.

However, this year T2 has been waking up anytime between 1am and morning and not really going back to sleep.  Its like having a newborn again - but he is NOT a new born and I can't handle this anymore!  It can get pretty bad.  It ruins you.  There's a reason sleep deprivation is used as torture.  So yesterday I decided I would teach T2 to swallow a pill whole.  The slow release melatonin must be swallowed whereas the other can be chewed.  I thought it would take days/weeks maybe even longer.  I researched it and modelled swallowing a little cake decorating sugar ball.  To my amazement he did the same and seemed happy about it.  Then I modelled swallowing a tic-tac (he is a big boy and is 6 years old.  I'm not sure if I'd try it on a little one).  Still amazed he immediately swallowed it with water and asked for another.  Now it was time to swallow the melatonin tablet and HALLELUJAH!  he swallowed and then SLEPT FOR almost 12 HOURS without waking.  I'm just hoping that it will happen again tonight.  I'm going to be a new woman!  And poor husband who often gets up will get the sleep he deserves.
Step one - start with swallowing a small sugar lolly (with water!)

Then we moved onto the tic tac

And finally...slow release melatonin..aka my sanity(seriously!)
My new Kindle Touch- thanks Amazon!

I set up my new Kindle tonight.  Its my 6th!!  Only because they keep breaking and Amazon has amazing customer service and keep sending me new ones (for free!).  This time they sent me an update - a Kindle Touch.  Aaah - no buttons!  But I'm working it out.  I love ereaders because I love English literature and I can download old books off Project Gutenberg for FREE.  I've been without my Kindle for a few weeks so I'm looking forward to settling in with some Anthony Trollope tonight.

Does your kid with ASD sleep well?  Any tips for me?

What's your best time over 5km?

Thursday, 20 March 2014

My golden rule of running & a free range parenting - autism parent style!


After school drop off I adhered to my golden rule when I plan a run during the day.  This rule serves me well.  It goes like this - don't sit down, don't think, do immediately put on running gear and get out the door asap.  Under no circumstances, I repeat under no circumstances should you sit down.  If you do there will be no run.  What do you think of my rule :-)?  It works for me.

I ran 6km and came home, did my stretches and jumped in the pool.  Its about the only time I'm in the pool lately as the water temp is a little cool but it feels so good after a hot run.

Can you spot the killer hill?


I'm a natural helicopter parent, which is lucky because if I wasn't I'm pretty sure T2 would be dead.  You think I'm kidding?  I'm not.  Once when I forgot to deadlock the front door he took off and ran across a road and up a road without looking.  He was 3 years old but had no concept of danger - at all.  A classic absconder.  I was chasing him up the street while he was laughing hysterically and running as fast as he could up the street.  Many kids with autism are dragged out of pools, ponds etc every year.  Its one of the many stresses and thankfully T2 is much better (but not perfect) with this.

Anyway, yesterday we were running late for school and I casually asked the twins if they wanted to do school drop off.  They said 'yes!'.  Its a pretty secure system but it did mean I had to remain in the car while the boys walked into the school to lines.  This is free range parenting for me - hee hee!.  But I confess, I immediately parked the car, walked into the school and checked they had made it.  Today I did the same.  Tomorrow I plan on not parking the car.  The lure of leaving late and being able to look an absolute wreck in the morning is overcoming my tendency to helicopter parent.  This a big step for them and for me!

School is making me nervous right now.  I'm hoping I won't toss and turn tonight.  The boys IEP (Individualised Education Plan) meeting is scheduled for next week and the shadow wants to debrief with me beforehand.  Sounds serious.  Aahh- parenting kids on the spectrum sucks sometimes.

On the bright side they did some amazing craft at school today.  Check it out.
T2 - this is amazing..I remember when colouring produced a paper scrunching tantrum!

T1's cute little sheep

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Sport Sport Sport!

I've been outside all day.  And its been really exhausting and great at the same time.  First up I had a speed session as part of my half-marathon training plan.   It was short but painful.  6 minutes hard running, 2 minutes recovery, 4 minutes hard, 2 minutes recovery, 2 minutes hard, 2 minutes recovery.  Today I managed to get a shot of the moon which wasn't quite as stunning as yesterday but still beautiful.

Then I was on 'transport duty' for my eldest son's cricket match.  It was a perfect day for watching (and playing!) cricket.  And I was so proud of my son - he opened the batting order and did quite well - a total of 10 runs including a 4 before he was run out.  The highlight was during his 1 over of bowling - he bowled 2 people out in 1 over!  Seeing (and hearing) those bails go flying while watching your treasured one bowl is an awesome feeling.  Cricket means alot to my son and I just felt so happy for him.  All his hard work is paying off.  They won the game and are through to the next round of the knock-out competition.

Then it was the twins' first ever club soccer training.  It was nerve-wracking and I couldn't have done it without my husband.  T1 was perfect and he loves playing soccer.  T2 was up and down.  There were a few tears here and there but he managed to participate in a full hour of soccer training in the hot sun.  We are going to get him to do a little practise between trainings and hopefully by game time he will be fine.

2 years ago I never thought that the twins would be able to participate in club soccer.  Correction - 12 months ago I didn't think they would ever play club soccer.  Never underestimate kids on the Spectrum.

Now I'm collapsed on the lounge but I'm committed to going out to our local Thai, Star of Thailand,  for dinner.  We've been talking about it for a few days now.  It time for a date night.  Besides, I think we've earned some curry puffs and a stir-fry after today!
Curry puffs - yum.  Photo a little dark as we were out on the balcony

Sizzling Seafood - minus muscles

satay chicken and veges

 We ended up getting all the foods our kids are allergic to - prawns, peanuts...ahhh...the good old days.  Must remember not to kiss the kids tonight!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Another PB!!! & an easy 10km & confrontation

Today I found out my time for yesterday's 5km and I did it in 24min 17 secs!!  A big PB for me. But just to put it in context, I was beaten by a 12 year-old girl!  This morning I headed out for an easy 10km.  The sky was streaked pink and blue and there was an enormous full moon.  It was beautiful!  I don't take my phone with me now that I have my Garmin but I think I'm going to have to take my phone out to try and get a photo tomorrow morning, in the hope of a repeat.

Not much else exciting this Monday - a clean-a-thon, study time and Downton Abbey - which I'm loving.  It such a visual feast, one of the reasons I love nearly all British period dramas.  If only there was more time to watch.

Boys seemed to have had a good day at school.  I wish there was better communication.  I need more info.  Hopefully no news is good news.  I'm thinking about bringing the subject up but I HATE confrontation - really hate it.  I love running so much.   It helps me deal with all the stress of parenting these precious boys with ASD.

How do you deal with confrontation?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

5k Race Recap - where are the stats? I need my stats!

I had a 5k race this morning.  We were supposed to be at the venue at 8am.  At 7.41am my husband tapped me and said 'don't you have to be at the run?'.  I jerked my head awake so quickly that I feel like I've given myself whiplash.  But we made it -just!  I was keen to run hard.

At the starting line I remembered to start my watch but it hadn't found a satellite before the starting gun went off.  So off we went.  At about 3.5km a course marshall said 'you're the first woman!'.  WHAT???  I felt horrible at that stage, like stopping and walking, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

Then on the last hill I got pipped by one other lady.  Oh well.  I did my best and at this stage I'm just running for times.  But where is my time?  I haven't been able to find my time.  Its like I'm back 5 years when it took days for results to come through.  I just hope they are uploaded sometime, somewhere.  I really have no idea, as I collapsed after the finish line (literally).  I don't want to email (yet) as I'll look desperate!

I'm also a very proud mumma because my eldest (who doesn't really have time to run in between cricket matches) came second in the 1km event.  I wonder what he could do if he started training?!

Now I'm putting heat  and tiger balm on my neck - which is still hurting.  I can't believe I've injured my neck because of a fun run.

Friday, 14 March 2014

A strong 6km; resilience & a lazy Saturday morning!

Yesterday I set out to run a 'solid' 6 km.  I didn't want to go all out as I have a race tomorrow, so I just went by the feel and didn't look at my Garmin.  I just uploaded my data and am really pleased that every 1km split was under 6min/km.  For those who want to see the data, you can check it out below.
I'm hoping the couple of dips were nasty hills :-)

Its the first Saturday morning in  LONG time that I can be a lazy slob.  No mini-cricket and no Parkrun.  School mornings are pretty hectic too so I'm loving this morning.  I'm just lazing round, typing my blog, drinking tea (green) and doing as little as possible.  I might check out some blogs and drink 20 cups of tea today :-)- but I'll also have to study as well, which is ok.  Sometimes even parents need a rest and I'm sure the boys will be ok.  They need a rest too. Bliss!

Following on from my previous comments about resilience.  Here are...

5 ways you can build resilience.

1) In a painful situation look for any positive aspects or at least any valuable teaching moments that may arise out of the situation.  Practise positive self-talk.  Writing in a gratitude journal can help develop a more positive outlook.
2) In the face of a painful experience practise problem-solving rather than blame.  Ask the right questions e.g. 'what are my choices here?' and 'what can I use in this situation?' rather than non-useful reactions
3) Help others - research has shown this builds resiliency
4) Keep physically healthy - and spending time outdoors and in nature is particularly healing
5) Develop a sense of humour where you can learn to laugh and make jokes in the face of painful situations.  That's where the terms 'black humour' and 'comic relief' originate from.

 I know I could improve in most of the above areas.  Thanks to rediscovering running I think I've at least got 4) covered.

How many of the above  do you do? 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

A 'social' run; exploring Woolwich & resilience

My legs were feeling fresh after two days off.  I had organised to run 5km with one of the mums from school.  I'm usually a solitary runner. Firstly, because I'm really busy and need to slot a run in whenever I can.  Secondly, I live with five other people and although I love them to pieces, I love a bit of time to myself.  I found it difficult to talk while running but luckily we were going at a manageable pace so it was fine.  I'm so glad we found this school for the twins and although I didn't know anyone really well at first, I'm making a big effort and its paying off.  I'm starting to lose that fish-out-of-water feeling in the playground.   I've been a mum for 11 years now and I've got to tell you, the playground can be a jungle for the mums and the kids!

Today was my husband's day off and we headed for nearby Woolwich.   I'd never explored there and I didn't want to go to far afield.  It was a really interesting day.  We went for a walk along the harbour, which was peaceful and relaxing.  Just what I needed.  We seemed to stumble upon an American yachting headquarters for the USA Oracle team.  I'm not sure what event they are preparing for but they had a lot of equipment and were hard at work. Then we stumbled on this INCREDIBLE boat. A deckhand was polishing it.  I googled the boat name and this private boat cost $10 million dollars! Expensive toy!
Great view but a really hazy, humid day

Ahh the solitude!

Oracle Team USA

This boat is worth $10 million - I kid you not!

Woolwich docks took 4 years to build in the early 1900s

Woolwich Docks

Then we walked around a bit more and walked back to the Woolwich Pier Hotel for some Dory and chips.

This is my idea of a pub

This was delicious, and reasonably priced.

Exterior of the Woolwich Pier Hotel

I've been hunting a textbook that I haven't been able to get my hands and my lovely husband drove me to North Sydney.  Now I just have 4 chapters of reading to catch up on.
The elusive textbook - finally located

One of my assignments I'm working on at the moment is on the topic of resilience.  Why do some people have it and others don't?  Is it inherent?  Is it to do with a person's early environment?  Can resilience be learned? If so, how?  Its really interesting.  I'm going to finish it off tomorrow and share some of what I learned.  I think it relevant for people who have kids on the Spectrum.

Would you describe yourself as resilient?

If so, what do you think makes you a resilient person?

Monday, 10 March 2014

A pretty chart for you!


Last night both my eldest and T2 kept me up.  I'm not sure why....a bad dream/sleep disturbance/asthma???  So I wasn't up for a morning run this morning.  After I'd finished the Monday morning cleanathon I do with my MIL every week I forced myself not to sit down, but to lace up the joggers.  It was the middle of the day, 27 degrees and sunny.  According to my training program I was due for a speed session- 2 minutes hard running, 2 minutes easy running/shuffling repeat x5.  Today was my fourth day running in a row.   It hurt, I won't lie but collapsing into the pool afterwards was heavenly.  Tomorrow is a day off running.  Tomorrow is all about hitting the textbooks and preparing for T2's IEP (Individual Education Plan).

I'm pretty impressed with myself for working out how to do this! Hey I'm a GenXer - don't laugh

Do you love running charts/stats?

Sunday, 9 March 2014

10 weeks to go....


...until the SMH Half-marathon!!  They even sent me an email reminder.  Today was my long run so I did an easy 13km.  In fact, today's run was much easier than yesterday's 5km.  There were a lot of bikes and runners out this morning.  It was good to see people from the under 5s to the over 75s.  Great to see.  I'm studying aged care at the moment. And let me tell you, its a daily reminder to look after your health so hopefully we can enjoy a healthy old age.  If I could only get my father to give up smoking..

High Tea at Burnt Orange

The benefits of a long run include being able to enjoy a high tea at Burnt Orange in Mosman.  I have been there before and last time I had their signature fish pie...and hated it!  This time friends had invited myself and my MIL to high tea.  And it was delicious.  We had a table at the edge of the deck which looked onto the harbour and it was a picture perfect day.  I didn't take too many photos because I would have felt a little weird.  One of the best thing about Burnt Orange is window shopping in the gorgeous gift shop.  I've been there twice and I think its time for my long-suffering husband to be introduced to the beautiful view and atmosphere.  And I've had one bad food experience and one good food experience so I need at least one more visit to make an objective assessment ;-)

Yum yum yum!
Love the button tea set

Unique toys in the gift store - a good one for kids with ASD

A great display of books

Another good one for kids on the Spectrum

For all the budding scientists

A unique selection of quality toys


My husband has many wonderful qualities and is an absolute gem.  He has one major failing that I regularly remind him of.  Crippling motion sickness.  I didn't understand the extent of this until I witnessed him have an episode.  Now, my idea of a perfect holiday is a cruise around tropical islands.  Until now I thought that I would be a nervous wreck if I took T2 anywhere near s cruiseship.  Horrible images of him going overboard or just getting completely lost in a floating city spring to mind.  And then last week I stumbled across this....Autism on the Seas.   They even run autism friendly disney cruises!  Pity we'd have to get to the USA first.  If we start saving now, how many years....

Did anyone else used to watch The Love Boat?

They even employ specially trained staff!

This is just so great!

Where was your most successful holiday taking your child on the Spectrum?