Monthly Archives: May 2013

Paper Clouds Apparel for Windrush Farm

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One of the first pages I recall reading and loving on Facebook is Paper Clouds Apparel. I checked out their website and thought ‘wow…I would love my kid to be part of something like that’. Since that time, Logan has been asked to be part of their fundraising efforts by being invited to be a guest artist for June.  I will come back to them after I explain the drawings and the charity we are working so hard for.

Some of you may know the story of his horse drawing. Logan, having developmental delays, was never comfortable or confident in his drawing or writing abilities. He refused for years. One day while cleaning his room a few years ago, I found a drawing of a horse under his pillow and my heart soared. I fell deeply in love with this picture. So in love, in fact, I had it tattooed onto my arm, then added more of his artwork.

Paper Clouds chose the horse, and the skull & crossbones to put onto shirts they create, and they give 50% of proceeds to our choice of charity- which is Windrush Farm. Windrush is an incredible therapeutic riding center that expands and enriches the personal, emotional and physical abilities of all those they serve by partnering with their horses and the environment. Logan has been riding at Windrush for many, many years and it has helped develop his love for horses, as well as confidence, balance, language and responsibility. If you have never heard of therapy horseback riding, you need to check out their site.
We were also asked if we would like a co-artist to join us for this campaign- and that awesome artist is Connor aka “Bug” at Rockin Autism Mom. He submitted some art too and you can see his on his mom’s blog. ( I love the owl and I am soooo glad we are teamed up with them!) 
Okay- back to Paper Clouds. This company works with a different special needs school or organization every 2 weeks. ALL artwork used by Paper Clouds Apparel is created by individuals with special needs, like Logan and Connor. Paper Clouds takes that art and transfers it onto Earth friendly, super soft, bamboo shirts. (I have one, they are suuuuuuper soft). Paper Clouds Apparel hires individuals with special needs to package up all of their goods. 50% of the profits of these sales goes to the organization that created the art, or the artists choice of approved charity/organization. 
When you purchase a shirt from Paper Clouds Apparel on June 10th, you will: 1) Help raise funds that will help students with special needs continue to enjoy horseback riding. 2) Make jobs for individuals with special needs at the Paper Clouds Apparel facility 3) have a kickass super soft shirt that you will love- with Logan or Connor’s artwork on it! This is a win/win!! 
**Bonus info**
2 more things! The first, when you get your shirt, send us a picture of you or your kids wearing it! The photos will go into a “Paper Clouds Apparel” folder on the crumb diaries page and the photo with the most “likes” will receive a gift from Logan and I. 
Second, every purchase will get you an entry into a raffle. If you buy one shirt, you are entered once. If you buy two shirts, your name goes in twice, and so on. We will select a winner in a random drawing and send them a special gift. Maybe a Slombie!

Don’t worry- I will be sharing the heck out of this campaign once they go on sale. You will have all of the info you need, I will make sure! Thank you guys!! Love, Ally

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It’s here

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I don’t know that I was what you would consider a ‘girly-girl’, but I definitely looked forward to attending my junior prom. I wanted to get dressed up, and to see my friends dressed up. I was eager to see who might win Prom King and Queen, and who was going where afterwards. I was the oldest grandchild and my grandfather started his tradition of buying the granddaughters their prom gowns the year I attended my prom.

I remember buying that red dress, borrowing the shoes, and doing my own hair. I think my dress cost $99 and that was the only expense I had. I don’t really recall much else about the whole thing. I don’t know what I ate, I don’t know who danced with whom, I don’t know who sat at my table. But I remember the spark in the air of the whole night. It was glittery, sparkly, magical and everything I’d hoped it would be.

When I had a daughter, the prom eventually crossed my mind. I had as much fun watching Abby attend prom as I had at my own. Dresses were more expensive and girls no longer did their own hair, but the feel was the same. In our town all of the kids meet at our library, slip in the back door and the crowd gathers in front at the bottom of the staircase. Couple by couple they are announced and come down those stairs for everyone to oooh and aaaaah at the gorgeous girls in their dresses and the handsome guys in their tuxes.

Abby attended again the following year and it was just as much fun for me. I love the whole idea of it, seeing these kids who are typically in jeans and ponytails all glamorous for the night. I can see the magic in their eyes and the excitement in their smiles.

When Logan became a freshman it dawned on me..he is in highschool..there will be a prom. At that time I pushed it out of my head. Why worry, its so far away. Sophomore year I realized we’d become a year closer to this and I started to wonder about it. Would he go? Who would he go with? Why worry..its a year away.

This year, his junior year. Prom year. Here we go. No more pushing it out of my mind, time to figure stuff out. Okay, I will….I promised myself. But I didn’t. I procrastinated, and went back and forth with the idea. We made a couple of tentative plans and they fell through. I stressed over it, I beat myself up over it. He couldn’t miss this night, this milestone, this tradition. I was asking him if he wanted to go, and he would just shrug. He could go with buddies, but part of the fun is having the girl in the pretty dress by your side, and I wanted the whole shebang for him. I wanted him to have the full experience, considering this might be the only prom he attends.

After multiple conversations with Abby about what to do, she called me and simply said “Kevin bought me a flight home. Pick out a dress that Logan likes, I am taking him to prom.” A weight lifted off of my shoulders as I said that out loud.

Logan. Is. Going. To. Prom.

I know it seems like a small, insignificant thing to some people. Some people don’t care about the prom either way. But for me, it means everything. It symbolizes so much. It was the first time I looked at my date, who would later be my husband and the father to my children, and felt love for him. It was the first time I got to feel like a princess, and the first time I got to help my daughter to feel like a princess. It is a rite of passage, a small town tradition, a coming of age type of thing that is special to us.

I don’t care if he owns the dance floor. I don’t care if he doesn’t understand what a Prom King is. I don’t care if he spills his drink down the front of his rented tux. My kid. Is going to PROM.

The mother I’ve become

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I’ve been a mom for lots of years. Almost 21 now. I’ve been a “special needs mom” for over 17. These are different kinds of moms, but the same in lots of ways.

I never in a million years thought I would be a mom of a kid who needed extra help. You don’t plan for that in your head. You don’t look at your toddler, who is doing everything right on target and perfect in your eyes, then rub your pregnant belly and think “yea, this next one will be completely different and need extra help for the rest of his life”. You think things will go just like they did the first time. You will have a nice easy birth, go home and start writing milestones in the baby book. You will have play dates and dress the kid up cute and take it to the park and have coffee with moms while you all smile dreamily at your perfect little rugrats, while sharing the cute things they say and how high they can count.

Sesame Street will help you out, teaching your kid to count to 10 in Spanish, and Barney will teach it how to share. You think of all the stuff your kid is going to do, and wonder if he’d like baseball or soccer or maybe a skateboard. You look at the kids his age and wonder which ones his friends might be, or which girl may eventually be his first crush. Who will he sit with on the bus or at lunch? Will he be a good student? Or will he be a rebel? Maybe class president giving a speech in front of his class in the auditorium while you beam with pride in the front row.

You think of all the things that will happen…and then they don’t. The milestones don’t come, the playdates become less, the moms don’t understand. You are a different kind of mother, thrust into a parallel universe and instead of football practice you are at physical therapy. Instead of speeches, you attend speech therapy..but you still beam proudly.

As a mother, I have goals for my children. The first time around Abby was hitting milestones left and right, mastering every goal set in front of her. She learned quickly, spoke early and well. She was a sweetheart, always chattering away happily, carefree and loving.

Logan was not. He was missing milestones left and right, struggling to master the basics. He didn’t speak. At all. He became frustrated and hard to handle. He would scratch or bite or flail when angry, and you would never know what would set him off, because he couldn’t communicate what he needed or what he was feeling.

I didn’t know how to be this kind of mother. My kids were going to be right on target. They were going to be sweet, smart, well behaved and I would show how good I was at this mothering gig. I couldn’t understand what went wrong, or how to fix it. I was no longer anchored, I was floating out into space with nothing to hold onto, and unable to catch my breath.

This was an odd time for me in my life, having one child who was so close to perfect and another who was struggling and so hard to help. I was very young, and had no idea what I was in for. I had no way of knowing how long of a journey I had just started, or how difficult it would be. I had no clue I would spend days on end at doctors appointments and my child would endure endless tests, pokes and prods.

I also had no idea how hard I would fall for this kid. My hard to handle, impossible to tame, difficult to help son. My wordless, biting, scratching, flailing kid, who I couldn’t get to know because I couldn’t communicate with him.

I am a different mother than I would have been, but as hard as its been, I love the mother that I am and the child that I have helped Logan become. It was worth every single frigging second. Every sleepless night, every long afternoon in therapy, every mile traveled to specialists office. Even though my child was not anything that I expected him to be, the day he was born I gave my life over to him and buckled down for the long haul. He owns my heart, and I would do anything I can to help him. He has become an amazing, inspiring young man and although he may not be the class president or football captain- I could not possibly be any more proud of him than I am.

I am so lucky to be his mom. I reflect each Mother’s Day and look back on how far we’ve come. We’re a damn good team.

Happy Mother’s Day no matter what kind of mother you are. It’s not always easy, we’re not always perfect, but every day is a new day, a chance to try again. You can’t predict or control the path you will travel with your child, but you can hold his hand while he jumps the hurdles, and cheer for him every time, no matter how small.