Saturday, 28 June 2014

Parkrun and my first BBQ


I set two alarms to get up for this morning's Parkrun.  Since being injured and Winter I've been perfecting the art of sleeping in.  So I got my butt out of bed and headed down for my local Parkrun.  I was a bit scared really - I was returning to the scene where I pulled my hammy on the first step.  I decided to start off at the back of the pack.  It was a little annoying as there are a lot of people running on one side of a bike path but I think I'm going to run like this for a while.  I'm a little scared of a repeat injury and being behind people ensures I don't set off too fast.  My time was almost 2 minutes slower than my PB - but hey, I'm back and my legs felt pretty good afterwards.  I'm back baby!  Bring on the City to Surf in seven weeks.
My Local Parkrun


This morning was soccer and I put my hand up for the BBQ, as there was no-one else who could do it.  I know this is unAustralian but I have never manned the bbq in my life!  It was really good fun.  There was another Dad showing me the ropes and it wasn't too busy.  I've decided that one day during these school hols we should go to the park for a bbq and play.
Hopefully the first of many more bbqs!

Sadly, the twins soccer team lost their winning streak of winning 11 games in a row.  With only 4 games left in the season I was secretly hoping for a win.  I couldn't actually watch the game very well but I had a good enough view from the bbq to see that things weren't going too well.  T1 scored a goal but he was a little off his game having been sick. T2 scored his very first goal…..unfortunately it was an own goal :-)!

Well its school hols and since we're not going away I'm planning for 2 or 3 play dates with the boys' mates.  I am beyond relieved that they have little friends, and I hope they continue to have friends.  I hear so many awful stories of kids with ASD having no friends.

Meanwhile,  I'm applying for assistant nursing jobs.  Its slow going.  I really don't want to travel for this kind of job.  I'm mainly doing it for experience and to help fund T2's therapy.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

A pump class, 5km on the tready and job hunting


As anyone who lives in Sydney knows, today was blowing an absolute gale.  So I made use of my 15 day gym membership to exercise indoors.  First up I did a pump class.  Since my injury I've realised I may have been relatively aerobically fit but have now realised I am extremely weak - especially my upper body.  There were women in their 60s lifting more weight than me!  Embarrassing!  I am definitely going to keep up the pump classes if I can.  Then I ran 5km on the treadmill.  After about 15 minutes I accidentally bumped a button and my treadmill went onto some virtual trainer and kept abruptly slowing down every few minutes- very annoying- but I eventually made it and felt really good afterwards.
Great to escape the wind chill factor

Last time I was a gym member there were no iPhones, now there's little plugins for them

I bumped a button - and found myself on a track!

I know you love stats right? - slow, I know.

Afterwards I celebrated with a hot chocolate (skim, extra hot, marshmallows in, if you please) while reading my Kindle - bliss.
My reward!

Then back home to get my final Certificate 3 paper signed to send to TAFE.  Then is was time to start filling out job applications.

At the moment I don't want to ring up the boys Program Supervisor as there isn't a lot to pay her with.  Man, I feel for all those kids whose parents had no chance of funding Early Intervention.

Thankfully those couple of years where we were able to fund it have paid off and at the moment things are going really well at school.  I helped out with reading groups on Monday and the kids were supposed to find a partner.  My heart beat sped up as I looked on.  The next minute a gorgeous little boy was telling T2 'come on let's go!'.  Over the weekend the boys have been to two parties and they behaved so beautifully.  I am so proud of them.  Unfortunately T2 had an allergic reaction just at the end of one of the parties and through up in their backyard (aaahhh!).  I got him home and his eyes swelled up.  That poor boy can't get a break - autism, asthma, anaphylaxis and eczema!
The weather was much crappier than it appears - my hands were like blocks of ice

This arvo was soccer training for the boys - we felt like skipping it as it was freezing and windy, but I'd already offered up my husband as today's coach (I'm good at volunteering him!).  I can't believe how far T2 has come.  He is running and kicking the ball more every week.  Who knows how much progress he can make in the next couple of years

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Run2Cure Neuroblastoma

I made it!!!  And I ran pretty much the whole 10km (I haven't yet mastered the art of drinking water and running at the same time).  It was a great return to running and my legs feel pretty good (well maybe a bit stiff).

When I woke up it was raining!  I may have sworn.  Thankfully by 7am it had pretty much cleared up and at the prerace warmup a beautiful rainbow appeared.  Now only 50% of children with neuroblastoma make it to their 5th birthday, and this race was held to raise funds to search for a cure.  I've always equated rainbows with hope and I'm gonna take it as a blessing.  I forced myself to head to the back of the pack.  I jogged the first 4km and then thought - hey I don't feel too bad- and upped the pace - a little.

This was early - it got busier!

Is there a better place to run 10km than around Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens, by the harbour, gazing at the bridge and Opera House?  If so, I'd like to know where.  The course was a two lap 5km course and a very enjoyable run.  My face was very red afterwards (thanks pale skin + lack of fitness!).  Afterwards I grabbed some fruit and a nut bar and headed to the Team Mia gathering.  Most of the team were running the 5km so I got changed and waited for my husband and T1 (T2 was sick and eldest at a party) to appear.  After a waiting a while I called only to be told that my husband and T1 had found Australian test cricketer Mitchell Starc and Australian cricketer Alyssa Healy and were playing cricket with them!  No other kids were around.  I know my eldest will spit chips when he finds out he missed out on that!  There were jumping castles, face painting, coffee vans, sports activities.... You could even buy yum cha from one of the vans (I love yum cha, but….straight after a run from a van…nah!).

T1 bowling to Mitchell Starc

Alyssa Healy bowling to T1

I was happy to have raised $180 thanks to people generously sponsoring me and as a bonus I ran the 10km in under 60 minutes.  A month ago I would have been really disappointed with my time, but I was stoked that I could even run that far today.

Sometimes I'm in my autism bubble and forget that other families are struggling to deal with their own burdens.  I can't imagine what it would be like to deal with that statistic - 50% - .  Today I'm gonna hug my kids extra close.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Lion King - Autism friendly performance

So the day finally arrived.  After booking tickets more than 6 months ago, the twins, my husband and I were off to the Capitol Theatre, Sydney, to see The Lion King.  I must admit I was a little surprised at how chaotic the foyer was just before the performance.  It was crowded and noisy and there were queues for the toilet.  My husband took the twins to the mens and told me that one poor dad was coaxing his son out of the cubicle as he had locked himself in.  Yep - been there.  That's the best thing about a performance like this.  Your kid makes a weird noise, locks himself in the toilet, refuses to enter the theatre because they're too scared - no worries, we've all been there.  Noone bats an eyelid.  Thankfully the twins were on their best behaviour for most of the time.
This is a waxwork - amazing!

It was a great atmosphere.  There was a feel of excitement and I could tell that none was taking this opportunity for granted.  Being able to take a kid to a three and half hour show is not usually possible.
We're almost there!

The foyer felt 'busier' than this photo appears
inside the foyer

The twins were primed.  We'd been listening to the Lion King soundtrack for 2 weeks.  T1 had seen the movie but T2 wasn't interested in watching it at home.

I loved was that the actor who played Scar came out and spoke to the audience before it started and introduced all the characters and reassured that kids that he wasn't too scary!

We were asked to do an interview by the director of Autism Awareness, Nicole Rogerson (do you remember Danno and Jonno - well she's married to Danno).  She set up the therapy centre we first attended, the Lizard Centre, as well as the charity Autism Awareness.  I was asked to do a quick chat to her for the ABC cameras.  She asked myself and the boys some questions and they filmed us taking our seats.  When I eagerly switched onto ABC news later on I realised we'd been cut (there goes my brush with fame :-)!!)

We were seated very near the front.  I would never have taken them to sit up the back.  It would have been too far from the action and they would have lost interest.  There was quite a lot of noise coming from behind but those of us up the front were so captivated that there was not much noise.  Overall the audience was great for a 3 hour plus show (there was a 20 minute intermission).  During intermission the therapists lined the street outside the theatre to stop anyone absconding straight into traffic.
Interior of the Capitol Theatre

T1 was perfectly behaved.   T2 was really good - he did make a few little noises that none would have noticed, switched chairs a few times and ate a lot of snacks but I was impressed by how engaged he was with the show.  The amount of Wh questions T2 asked was amazing.  Here's a sample.  'Where's Simba gone?'  'Is he out there?' Where's Moustafa?  Is he dead?  Why?
When I tried to explain he'd gone to heaven he said 'up there' and pointed at the ceiling (-:  He did get a little obsessed with that.  And I had to explain that Simba and Nala are now all grown up.  In the end I said don't worry they'll all be back at the end (thank goodness for curtain calls).

I'm very pleased to say that two Autism Friendly performances of The Lion King in Brisbane and Melbourne have been announced.  If you can afford it (its pretty pricey) I definitely recommend going.

My Tips  - Prepare!

  • Take plenty of snacks
  • Purchase tickets in around the 4th row, not up the back.
  • Buy the soundtrack and get your kids familiar with it - I played it in the car and put it on my phone.
  • If they'll watch the movie that's good prep too.  As long your kids know they aren't going to see the cartoon movie.
  • I was hoping you could buy the DVD of the stage show or watch clips on youtube, but unfortunately you can't.  I showed the kids pictures of the characters and their costumes on the internet.
  • Read them the basic story line
  • Print out the social story put together by Autism Awareness.  You can find it here.
  • Some kids had headphones, don't be scared to bring them along if you need to.
  • Relax! - and don't worry about behaviour - everyone understands.  That's the best thing about these performances.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Injury and Life Update


So I went out for a test jog on Wednesday morning.  It felt so good to be out running (shuffling actually). But unfortunately in the afternoon my leg ached and has been aching on and off.  I think it needs at least another couple of weeks off.  Meanwhile, I'm packing on the weight and being cranky.  One of my local gyms was offering a 2 week trial so I decided I had to do something.  So today I went to my first pump class in a decade.  The instructor said 'don't worry nothing much has changed'  …'except the music' I replied (and I also should have added 'and my body' :-).  It was so much fun.  I just did squats instead of lunges and was ultra aware of my hammy as I don't want to set myself back.  It was fun and I'm keen for the next class.
Seems like a distant memory - but a fantastic one!

I only bought this after the race when there was a 50% off sale -  I LOVE it!


My exams are over!!!!  YIPEE!!!! No more anatomy and physiology - until next semester :-(.  Like a good mature aged student I studied very hard and know that I've passed this subject (phew). The thought of repeating it is motivation enough.

Next week I have an interview at the aged care facility I did my placement at so that I can do some casual work there.  The interview is a formality so I pretty much know I'm in.  I'm a bit nervous.  Without saying too much the residents are very high care and there is a lot to do.

The boys are chugging along well.  School is going well, soccer is going well.  They've been invited to TWO  parties this term.  I am so happy/relieved about this.   Although I hate stereotypes I can't help but have them in the back of my mind.  One is that kids with ASD have no friends/ don't get party invites etc.   My tip, is to have playdates and foster friendships with the kids and between yourself and the other mums. Its rewarding on so many levels.  If you need to get specific social skills help (and which kid on the spectrum doesn't!) I would ask to focus on skills relevant to playdates.

T2 is 'star of the week' at his school.  He got a special certificate in assembly outlying all is wonderful characteristics.  The kids love it and its a lovely touch.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

5 minute run! Cafe Sienna & so proud of my boy


Yesterday I really felt like running but was scared my leg wasn't ready.  So I walked for 5 minutes, then did 5 minutes of jogging at a slow pace with very short strides, then I forced myself to stop jogging and walk for another 5 minutes.  That was it!  I can't believe I ran a half-marathon only 3 weeks ago.  Oh well, such is life.  The good news is that my leg was absolutely fine and actually feels better today.

Cafe Sienna - 61 Annandale St, Annandale 2038

When a voucher pops up for high tea for $29 for two people I just can't refuse.  It was my husband's day off and so we dropped the kids at school and headed to Annandale.  I'd never been there before but I just love the gorgeous tree lined streets and terraces.  When we arrived at Cafe Sienna it was absolutely pouring.  Luckily it was easy to find a park and we were the only ones at the cafe for a little while.  That didn't last and by the time we left it was pretty full.  Obviously, the locals love this cafe and I can see why.  The high tea was great and the service was warm and friendly.   We were given a corn fritter topped with crispy bacon and relish and that would have to be the highlight (closely followed by the red velvet cupcake!).
This tasted SO good

My favourite was the red velvet cupcake

I love cucumber sandwiches but not with cheese

Fantastic value

A big tick

Made in England (yes I checked the bottom :-)

The scones were a little big and bread- like

What I loved about the High Tea

  • Service was great - we were give a corner table by the window and soft cushions to ease our lumbars and they were happy to top up my put with hot water ( I tend to drink around 10 cups of tea at High Tea - no, seriously)
  • The ambience was great - the cafe is a converted corner store
  • Real tea leaves 
  • The corn fritter plus bacon and relish - to die for
  • The jam (blackcurrant) and cream (not out of a can :-)
What could be improved
  • The scones - when I see overly large scones I start to worry that they might taste like bread rolls and these did a little.  A change of recipe and a smaller size would be better.
  • I got excited when I saw cucumber sandwiches - but when I tasted them they also had cheese on them.  This is a personal thing though.  Cucumber sandwiches are perfect as they are :-)
Overall - this is a great little cafe and I'm keen to return for brunch.

So Proud of T2

Apparently T2 offered to read at the Kindergarten Mass.   This church is - big- and school masses involve the whole school plus parents and teachers.  As T2 headed up the stairs to the lectern my heart began to pound.  I saw a lit candle to the side (what if he tries to grab it- I envisioned the church going up in flames).  He spoke into the microphone and read the prayer beautifully.  His voice is quite low compared to the other kindys and he was so cute.  What I was just as happy about was that both the twins waved and smiled at me when they spotted me - ahhh…typical behaviour.  Can't put a price on it :-)