Sunday, August 24, 2014

Summer Vacation and Special Needs: Why We Go Despite it Being So Stressful

I came home from summer vacation more drained than before I went. It was tough and sometimes I wonder why we do it. Let's face it, sometimes, when you have special needs kids, it is easier to just stay home. They crave routine and are familiar with their surroundings. At home, Dan has the run of the place. We've already secured rooms and important things so I can be at my computer or the sewing machine without worrying that he will get in a bit of mischief. He will usually entertain himself for quite a bit without asking me to get up for food or drink. 

Outings are another issue but I do it anyway going to the occasional museum, zoo, or park. Holding on to him for dear life and nervous that he might escape, but I still do it and I feel he sometimes gets more out of these city outings than vacation.  For some reason, going on vacation without having these safety nets  for a couple of days gets overwhelming for me. So why do we do it? Here are seven reasons why:

 1) It's fun getting there

It takes us about 2 hours to get to our destination. During that time I sit in the back with the boys because our aunt rides in the front seat. Yes, our aunt comes with us but she is adamant that I not include her in anything on the "internet" so I won't talk too much about her. I am usually in between them and I get to enjoy cuddling with Dan and talking to my oldest. He's a talker now so I get an earful. We talk about school, sports and play trivia games. We simply enjoy each other's company without any distractions.

2) It's beautiful scenery. I am very visual and the place we go to is beautiful. Nuff said. lol

3) The boys, especially Dan, love the water and get to bond with Dad

I am not a water person. I don't know how to swim and I rather just spash around than immerse myself in a  pool so it works splendidly that my husband loves the water and enjoys this time with the boys. My oldest, who usually is scared of the water, really enjoyed it this year which goes to show that sometimes you have to keep trying. 

The down side  to all of this is that instead of taking pictures, I should have been sitting down on a chair and reading my magazine. By the time I sat down, Dan had already had enough and only wanted to be with me. Next year you might not see any pool pics.

4) I experience the kindness of strangers.

You might wonder why Dan has a pink vest with pretty flowers on the side, or maybe not but it would not have been our first choice of color. Well, we forgot to buy any floating water gear for Dan. Last year we did fine with the  noodles provided by the pool but apparently Dan got bigger this year and they were hard to tie around his torso. When we did manage to tie it, it just kept getting loose. Well, a nice man must have seen us fumbling around because he came over and offered to lend us his daughter's swim floaty jacket. I don't think his daughter was too happy because she kept watching us like a hawk but we were so grateful for the kind offer and Daniel enjoyed himself immensely.

Also, the kind man I always talk about, (I mentioned him in this post from 2012) was at the merry go round again this year and he again recognized us and refused to take our tickets when offered. I think I love him. Which brings me to the next point.

5) I don't own a merry go round or other carrousel rides.

Dan just absolutely adores merry go rounds. My oldest, not so much, he detests rides. So yes, I could take him to Central Park and pay an arm and a leg for several rides while the older one just watches but it's nice to have this time of unlimited rides with Dan. My oldest was off playing miniature golf with his aunt so I had no pressure to stop because he was waiting for me. 

Oh, and I again, got my special bracelet which lets everyone know I am riding with a special needs child. I think this is cool. 

6) I got to see D again.

We have been coming to this vacation spot for the past 4 years and I met this lovely woman, the second year we came. She was the housekeeper assigned to our room and we bonded immediately mainly because I speak Spanish. Most people in this establishment are of Irish descent and I, with my big curly hair, immediately stick out. Last year someone thought I was a worker and asked me to bring them juice at their table. lol. Anyway, when D realized I spoke Spanish, we were off talking about everything! She asked me about Daniel and I immediately told her about his diagnosis, she was so kind and offered hope as a friend of hers also had a child with autism. She shared about her family and some of the struggles she has been through. So when we arrived and we saw each other, it was like reuniting with an old friend. Although she isn't smiling, she is super pleasant, funny and such a hard worker. It was great to see her again and to know she is doing well.

7) My oldest made a friend

I didn't want to post his friend's full picture as I didn't get permission from his parents to post it.  

This, for me, was the best part of our vacation. If you have read my blog for any length of time, you should know that my oldest is also on the spectrum although many people would not know it since he is extremely verbal and is practically mainstreamed. These days we are mainly dealing with social issues. Usually, he spends vacation with just us but this year, he met the nicest boy who was a year older and they immediately bonded over sports, my oldest's favorite topic!  I could not have planned it better myself. They talked in the pool, on the balcony, a little during breakfast, and they did it all without me prodding, coaxing, or my monitoring my son's behavior. He was totally appropriate,  friendly, and sweet. This made my heart sing! Before we left they exchanged addresses and promised to write to each other. This gave me so much hope for my son's social future!

So this is why I might continue going. Dan comes back wired and its hard to get him back in a routine. He is now pacing feverishly and screaming for soda which we let him have because well, he was on vacation too, he should have some fun, but we're paying for it big time now. 11 days until school. But whose counting.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Romper/Jumpsuit from Men's Suit Pants Tutorial

Hello, I'm back!

I started this project in my old place and finished it here in my new space so I thought it was appropriate for this to be my first tutorial.

My husband gave me a couple of his suits to reconstruct. I love that he supports me and always asks me if I can do anything with his clothes before he gives them away. I usually don't take everything because there are a lot of people that could use the clothes (I know I am always grateful for the hand- me-downs I get for my kids!) and I need to limit my refashioning stash. It can get overwhelming if I don't.  Anyway...

When I saw the pants, of course I knew that I immediately wanted to make a jumpsuit/romper. I wanted to challenge myself, though, and use only the pants as my fabric and not use any extra material.

I started with this inspiration photo by Junky Styling, a label well known for refashioning mens suits. They also published a book full of even more inspiration photos! You can get it here

Junky Styling

The first thing I did was chop off about 12 inches from the bottom of the pants. The cut pieces will become the bodice of the jumpsuit. But we'll talk about that later. 

This is what you are left with for your capri-like bottoms.

I eliminated the zipper along with the waistband by cutting all around it. 

I then cut the inseams and the crotch seam apart. I did not cut the side seams, I left them as is. 

I opened up the front and back part of the pants (still held together by the side seam) and placed a pant "front pattern" on top of each pant front side and cut around. I did the same with the pant back parts. For the pattern, I cut apart pants that fit me very well.  

I then re-stitched the inseams (front to back) and the crotch seams together. 

Now for the left-over bottom pieces. First, I unfolded the hem on each.
Then I turned it around (the folded part will be the top of the bodice) and cut one side open of each. One will be the front bodice and one will be the back side of the bodice. 
To add interest, I further cut the front bodice into three corset-like pieces. 
Then I sewed them together

This is the back
I sewed the front and the back on the side seams. Not sure why the back ended up longer than the front but that was easily remedied by chopping the extra fabric off. 

Then I cut right through the middle of the front bodice and about 1/4 inch down the middle of the pants, and stitched the top to the bottom. I refolded the top of the bodice, ironed it down, and sewed it down flat. Then I installed a zipper through the entire middle of the bodice and 1/4 way down the middle of the pants.  (I forgot to take a picture of this step, I apologize). 

I had left over fabric which I used to make a thin tube that went around my neck and was sewn right above each bodice side seam. 

There you have it! My men's suit pants to jumpsuit/romper refashion!

I love the way it came out and happy that my sister Melissa was around to take outside pictures.

I like it even more with a little sweater over it as I love the details of the straps peeking out. 

Here's a close up. 

So tell me how you like it. Would you do this refashion? Do you like it better with or without the sweater? Let me know in the comments and thank you so much for dropping by! 
God bless!