It’s been a little over a year since I’ve had time to spend here on the blog. I’ve checked in with my site regularly, but the plain, un-dressed-up truth is that I just haven’t had time to blog or read blogs. I haven’t even done much writing since last year’s NaNo.
The by-and-large biggest cause of this has been that our two youngest children’s special needs had grown significantly over the 6-9 months leading up to this time last year. If you’ve read my Family Intro, you may recall that Bug is on the autism spectrum. Well, the particulars of his position on the spectrum have become more concrete / obvious over the past year and a half, and the behavior pieces have been a pretty significant challenge at times. I’ve spent the last year just surviving day to day with him and trying to figure out how to get beyond a “day-to-day” pattern of living for him / us.
Part of surviving this past year included figuring out some sort of coping mechanism for myself. As writing was just not working for me at the time – it was far too easy to get distracted by my thoughts, which was unproductive in more than a few ways – I was becoming more and more frustrated with myself, which made dealing with Bug’s issues even more stressful. So I had to set aside writing for a season. During this time, I discovered Art Journaling, and it became one of the best outlets for stress and emotional overload that I’ve ever had.
Once the older kids’ school year ended, I spent tons of time poring over resources and brushing up on my ABA from several years ago when I did my second undergrad degree in Early Childhood Special Ed. Then I put together a schedule, and began working with him in ABA and physical and occupational therapy on a daily basis, in a much more intentional way than “just getting through each day.” Don’t get me wrong – it’s still one day at a time, and we still have our extremely rough days; but overall, things are improving as he learns coping skills for each of the various areas where he struggles.
With Tiny, therapies have been much easier to implement, once I figured out exactly what she needed. She has been perfectly willing to put into practice the tools I’ve given her, while Bug still fights me sometimes, even when it’s overly obvious that he is very much in need of whatever activity / therapy he is fighting me on. (And come on – these activities are fun, not like eating broccoli or something!)
Both of their therapies are integrated with their schooling, which also makes their schooling more full-time this year than I’ve ever had with Kindergarten age children. As well, this means I’m actively homeschooling all five kiddos, which is more than I’ve ever had at once before! It’s fun, but so much more time-consuming than I would have imagined, and so far this school year has seen me so busy with planning and schooling, that I still haven’t had the time to try to get back into writing or blogging. (I have no idea how my friend with 8 kids does it!)
However, with the approach of November, I’ve gotten the writing bug back, and I just don’t think I can hold back from participating this year. One majorly helpful thing that I discovered while furiously trying to figure out how to stay organized this year is the MAMBI Happy Planner System. Although the creative side of this combined with the infinite number of possibilities for add-ons makes this an all-too-easy black hole for me, the organizational part of it has been incredibly helpful and stress-reducing. Not to mention that because of the creative element, I’ve been able to expel some stress through that outlet, helping a tiny bit to fill the gaping hole created by the fact that I haven’t had time to do any Art Journaling since before Labor Day.
All of that to say, the same planner that has helped me organize and structure my crazy days and weeks so far this year is going to help me fit NaNo into my already super-full life. It will probably even help the actual writing process, as I will be able to make inserts to help organize my thoughts and plots and plans (oh my!). I’m also hoping to fit regular blogging and blog-reading back into the schedule as well. I have immensely missed keeping up with all of you this past year!
Whew. That was a lot to throw at you all at once. And that was only one piece (albeit a HUGE piece) of what has been going on this past year(ish).
More will have to wait for another day.
I hope this finds all of you well, and I hope to be able to catch up with you all soon.