Yay! It's finally time for the Ultimate Blog Party!
Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere- come on in and make yourself at home.... ya, just step over those toys there and try and ignore the dishes on the counter... my house was clean 5 minutes ago. Really. Don't believe me? Just go to the post I wrote last week for picture proof!
If you haven't met me before- hi! My name is Tara and I am addicted to blogging. I started this blog when I was on bed-rest with my third child in October of 2006. It was my husband's idea and I am sure glad I listened.
*If you are just here for the swag than feel free to jump to the end of this post because the swag is pretty darn cool.*
April is Autism Awareness month so I just want to take a minute and tell you about our Autism experience. My oldest son Aiden (who is almost 8 years old!) has high-functioning Autism. He also has ADHD and a whole host of sensory issues and just to make his life extra fun he has serious Asthma.
He is also funny and full of life. He is super smart and can build the most amazing Lego creations I have ever seen. I basically knew nothing about parenting when Aiden arrived... and from the minute he came out he has done nothing but teach me how to be a better mom and person in general, how to love more, how to let go of my unrealistic expectations and how to accept people for who they really are.
* here, have a drink, I'm a talker and you might be here awhile... but don't worry there are prizes at the end and really I am fabulously interesting... and if you get bored you can always count the bits of playdough stuck in my carpet*
Aiden struggles a lot with socialization- even though he is actually a very social kid (10% of Autistic kids are social) he just isn't very good at it sometimes. He basically wants to be the ruler of the known universe and simply can't understand why the rest of us don't fall into line and follow his every command. It breaks my heart knowing how hard he has to work just to function in our society. People judge him (and us as his parents) pretty harshly sometimes but if you just look past his Autistic behaviours you will see the truly amazing kid inside. I really love that kid!
I also have two other amazing kids... both of which are "neuro-typical". They both have some minor sensory issues like hating seams in clothing and socks but nothing too major. And of course they both have Asthma as well. We spend far too much time at the ER.
*are you getting bored yet? No? Good. Here- have a cupcake!*
Owen is 6 and so full of life it just bursts out of him sometimes in fits of air guitar and joyous yelling! He loves to laugh and he makes me beautiful pictures on a really regular basis. He is so creative and has an amazing imagination. And he is loud. Very Very LOUD.
I'm sure every middle child will say they have it rough but Owen has had it especially rough. He is only 17 months younger than Aiden and has had to bear the brunt of Aiden's social-difficulties. It is tough to be the sibling of a special needs kid- don't underestimate just how much harder it is for them than your average sibling. It can be hard to understand why your sibling gets all that extra attention and why they act the way they do and why they are really mean to you sometimes. Owen adores his older brother but it takes a lot of work to be friends with him sometimes. Owen will be starting in a support group for siblings of special needs kids soon and I think it will be very healing for him.
*you didn't expect to come to a mommy blog and not hear all about my kids did you? Good. Because they are pretty much my world and I seem to be incapable of having a conversation without talking about them. Have another drink. *
And then there is my baby... Olivia... who really isn't a baby anymore. She is three and a precocious princess if there ever was one. She is rapidly growing in independence and can be rather demanding at times. But oh that smile of hers and the sweet "I wuv yoo mommy" just melts my heart. She is growing up far too fast and I find myself wanting to hold on to her a little tighter to slow it down! I am finding it hard to let go of my last baby but she starts junior kindergarten in the fall so I better get used to the idea soon.
This blog is filled to the brim with my kids... I can't help it... they MUST be talked about! Plus I have a terrible memory and I love to look back and see where we've come from.
*ok, ok, I'm almost done! Would you like a cookie or some cake perhaps?*
My husband Doug pastor's a small church in our small town in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. He's an all around great guy who keeps me sane by cooking and helping me with the house and kids. His office is in our basement so he can't escape either ( *insert evil cackle here*). He is also an amazing photographer and fellow blogger. You can find him on his photo blog and his regular blog and twitter too.
As for me? I have been told many times that I am NOT the "typical" pastor's wife (which I choose to take as a compliment). I have a ridiculous thyroid disorder that drives me crazy, Asthma that annoys me and I have struggled with depression for years. I am a real treat let me tell you ;) . I believe in medication. Meds and blogging and a great support system in-real-life are what is keeping me sane!
Now we all know that no party is truly complete without a fabulous door prize...so just because you have all been so delightful to party with today here is what I am offering...
A $150 WaySpa.com gift card!
WaySpa.com gift cards are valid at thousands of spas worldwide. You can search their website to find a spa in your area. WaySpa.com gift cards NEVER expire!!
I am also hosting a whole ton of other giveaways right now but this post is getting far too long so I put them in some other posts (don't panic, they are all listed nicely at the top of my blog and I'll list them at the bottom of this post too).
Now since I am a broke pastor's wife (seriously- do you know how much a pastor makes?) the lovely folks Latitudes - the Adventure Co. are sponsoring this super fun giveaway. Three cheers for fabulous sponsors!
Latitudes - the Adventure Co. specializes in the art of traveling. They offer unique, personalized vacations in Costa Rica for discerning travelers, creating personalized trip itineraries for families, honeymooners, beach lovers and adventure seekers. Make a date for a trip to Costa Rica's tropical paradise!
*round of applause for Latitudes- the Adventure Company *
Would you like to win a $150 WaySpa.com gift certificate?
There are two very simple ways to get your first entry
1. Become a fan of Latitudes- the Adventure Co. on Facebook
AND / OR
2. Follow Latitudes- the Adventure Co. on Twitter
* you must do one at least one of the above to enter and if you do both please leave two separate comments so you can have two entries!*
*if you are not on Facebook or Twitter then please leave me a comment explaining how on earth you found this giveaway and why you are not on Facebook and Twitter... just because that would fascinate me!*
For additional entries you can do any of the following- be sure to LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT for each thing that you do!:
This giveaway is open to readers in Canada & the USA. I will choose a winner on April 17, 2010. Don't forget to leave a link to YOUR party post in your comment (if you are participating) and a WAY FOR ME TO CONTACT YOU in case you win!
Winner will be chosen with random.org and notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to reply to my email or I will choose a new winner.
Here is a list of the other cool giveaways I am hosting and a few my very cool friends are hosting too...
*My friend Shannon is giving away a $150 GC to Canadian Tire on her travel blog and $150 WaySpa.com GC on her family blog .
*My friend Ruth is giving away a $50 iTunes gift card, a gorgeous Mother's Day bouquet and some Lakota products on her blog.
*My friend Tanya is giving away a gorgeous skin care gift basket from Seabuckthorn and another wonderful Mother's Day bouquet.
* Voice on the Go is giving away free long-distance for a month to everyone who fills out their form. They're welcoming #UBP10 participants with a grand prize of free long-distance for a year ! Follow them on Twitter or Facebook . *Open to Canada and the US*
* Select Taste , a corporate food catering company in the Greater Toronto Area, is offering a 25% discount and you could win a corporate lunch at your office for 10! Follow them on Facebook . *Open to Mississauga, Etobicoke, Oakville and Burlington, Ontario*
* Cottages of Paradise Point , a vacation rental in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, is giving away an iPAD , join their fan page to win!! The draw will take place on June 30th. *This is open to the US and Canada*