• autism,  COVID life,  family,  high school,  milestones,  motherhood,  travel

    We have been preparing 17 years for this

    One thing I’ve learned about this COVID-19 world we live in is that every small decision–decisions that you would never think twice about–you end up mulling over and over in your brain until it becomes a simmering stew of anxiety. In the beginning a lot of those decisions revolved around groceries. Toilet paper is gone, what should we be stocking up on that might be disappear off the shelves for the next 3 months? How often should we be going to the grocery store? Should we go every other week instead of every week? When should we go to the grocery store? Is it more crowded in the morning, afternoon,…

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  • autism,  family,  motherhood,  travel

    The boy in Barcelona

    Across the street from Gaudi’s gingerbread church the boy in Barcelona sits sandwiched between his mother and older sister. His arms flail as he squints and stutters sounds of protest in a language I don’t recognize. Scandinavian, I think. Something Nordic or Germanic. White blonde hair and blue eyes. Tourists like me. Like most of us in the park. There’s almost nowhere to sit. Steve and I sit hip to hip next to another man who might be a local and might be a tourist. The Lonely Planet and Rick Steves books say that Barcelona (like Lisbon and Rome) is a hot spot for pickpockets and I’ve developed the habit…

  • anxiety,  autism,  family,  travel

    Knowing when enough is enough

    I can’t believe we’ve passed the Fourth of July hump. Once you’ve hit the Fourth of July, you have only a month and some change of summer left and then it’s back to school again. I can’t believe we’ve passed the Fourth of July hump because I still don’t have my summer act together. I feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants, just trying to make sure everyone is where they need to be and all of the things that happen in the in-between time happen too. Like I said, I feel like I still don’t have that under control yet. But that will be another post…

  • autism,  teen years,  travel

    New York Trip Part 2: Autism and the City

    This whole trip had me thinking: What if we lived in New York City? How would J function living in such a busy, overstimulating place? I know there’s got to be autistic children and adults who live and function in New York every single day. Where are they? And how do they do it? New York City is definitely NOT disability friendly (I don’t know how someone in a wheelchair could use the subway system or get into any of the little or shops or restaurants we walked by). It’s busy, it’s fast, and totally unpredictable. And those things are hard to navigate when you have a disability. 1. The…

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  • anxiety,  autism,  family,  travel

    New York Trip Part 1: If we can make it there, we’ll make it anywhere

    I feel like Sinatra’s words couldn’t be more appropriate for today’s blog post—in the most literal sense. When we started our Spring(ish) Break: New York Tour we knew there’d be some hurdles to navigate. Steve chose New York as our spring break destination months ago and we knew that despite the hurdles, there were things working in our favour. Steve’s sister Heather lives in New Jersey, just an hour’s train ride into the city. Steve and I both have been to New York before and we figured we’d be able to pick out some things our kids would enjoy seeing. But still we anticipated a few hiccups and knew with…

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  • anxiety,  autism,  travel

    The Minneapolis Trip That Didn’t Happen

    Three years ago we brought autism to a rock concert and the Women’s FIFA World Cup. Since then we’ve taken autism to California, Ontario, Manitoba, Kansas, Florida, Colorado, and Utah. We’ve taken autism to the Canadian Rockies and we’ve taken autism to Hawaii. I go back to these posts and look at all of the little hiccups we encountered along the way. Sensory overload at the Imagine Dragons concert, “tainted” hotel room numbers, late nights, disrupted schedules, toenail injuries and urgent care visits. Anxiety over tram rides. Time zone jumping and red-eye flights. None of these trips happened without some sort of minor autism crisis–but we managed them all. I’d consider all of…

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  • autism,  family,  travel

    Ohana means family

    Every two years, Steve’s family has been trying to do a “destination family reunion” where Steve’s four other siblings, their families, and my mother-in-law all meet up somewhere and share part of the summer holiday as a family. This time everyone wanted to hold the reunion in Hawaii and it was an exhausting, exhilarating, and lovely time. It was kind of a big deal too. Big meaning the travel out to Hawaii was quite the adventure. Our family got out the door by 8:17 am July 12, drove up to Winnipeg, caught a 2:30 flight from Winnipeg to Vancouver, and then flew out of Vancouver at 6:10 and arrived at 10:30…

  • autism,  family,  travel

    Family is family no matter where you are

        For my entire life, I’ve had to travel long distances to see my extended family. At one point, my closest cousins lived in Calgary, Alberta, a three hour drive from my family’s house in Edmonton. In the early 1990s, however, they moved to Lethbridge, a six hour drive from Edmonton–but still much closer than the two day’s drive across Canada to see the rest of my cousins and grandparents. Then, in the mid 1990s, my parents, sister, and I moved to the States. Now we’re all grown up we’re even more scattered. I have cousins in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and England. My parents live in Colorado, my…

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  • anxiety,  autism,  cross-country,  high school,  motherhood,  strategies,  travel

    Deception, Manipulation, and Bribery

    Willmar. We’ve avoided talking about this race all season. When J first saw the race schedule for the year, he immediately had a meltdown when he saw Willmar, MN listed. “I’m not going there! I am NOT running in Willmar!” The anxiety runs strong in this one. I knew what this full-on panic attack in my living room was about–or at least I had a hunch. He couldn’t articulate it exactly to me–he was that worked up–but I knew it had to do with a number phobia. Specifically an exit number or mile marker. J has catalogued every exit number in every single state we’ve driven through and locked that…

  • autism,  family,  travel

    There’s no place like home

    As a little girl, my parents, sister, and I would pack into the ’88 Toyota Camry (a luxury car compared to our early 80’s Chevrolet Citation) and drive 2 days across Canada (or the “American Way”–hovering just under the 49th parallel) to get to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to visit my grandparents and two sets of aunts, uncles, and cousins for a few weeks. My sister and I enjoyed every moment of it (even the middle of Saskatchewan/North Dakota parts–and who would ever guess that one day I’d end up living in North Dakota?). We couldn’t get enough enough of our cousins and grandparents. After all, we only saw them…

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