2019: Tuesday 8th January 

Ryan was quite calm this morning, which was a nice change from yesterday! We did some reading. David’s little friend he looks after came to play and the boys had fun with the music drum floor mat, playing Birthday Blowout (the new game we got out yesterday) and playing with the Watsit (blue plastic drum/tub/thing) – they both had turns spinning in it, and putting it on David’s head so he would pretend sneeze it off to make them both laugh. 

Ryan came down with a sore head, which he hasn’t complained of in a few days, so spent some quiet time riding his go-kart in his room with the curtains shut – he insisted they stayed shut. A little while later I managed to convince him to get some fresh air and he perked up again. 

More fun on the Watsit and then I gave the boys the large sheet of bubble wrap it was delivered in. They jumped and popped it. David’s friend was picked up and Ryan asked to go for a drive. We had a play at the park and grabbed a geocache that was a “park and grab”. Ryan asked me to wash the car windscreen while David and Alex found and signed the cache. 

I left a large piece of paper and crayons on the kitchen table and interestingly all the boys have had a doodle at different times today.  

Ryan played ‘Where’s my water?’ on my touchpad, which he hasn’t played for a while, and found it very funny when he got the water to shower the crocodile. 

Ryan got very silly before bed, throwing things out windows and stripping his bed. Quite frustrating behaviour after such a good day. But overall a better day than yesterday. 

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2019: Monday 7th January 

Today has been the longest Monday ever. It’s hot, windy, raining off and on, and Ryan has been very hard to manage. Everytime he has 2 seconds unsupervised he is opening windows and throwing stuff out them. First thing this morning it was all the lounge cushions and TV remotes. 

Julie came and took him out for a few hours. They went for a drive to the beach and it was high tide so Ryan loved listening to the crashing waves 🙂

Back home after lunch it was toys, games,  his touchpad (eek!) and cushions… out the lounge window. So much stuff David took a washing basket outside to help Ryan pick it all up. Then less than 10 minutes later he emptied a container of marbles out the lounge window, with some smashing as they landed. Scream!!!! (What I felt like doing but didn’t) 

Each time he says “Sorry! It’s not good to throw things out the window. Dad will be very angry when he gets home.” but then does it again. I was getting very angry/frustrated/annoyed when I came across a facebook post of another mum feeling similar, and she was reminded that “behaviour is communication”. I realised that Ryan was possibly bored and/or wanting my attention. So we spent the afternoon playing games and doing things together with no further incidents. 

I decided a drive would be a good idea so I  put him in the car, made sure his door was kiddylocked, checked there was nothing in arms reach he could throw, turned the music up and we went for a long drive to find a geocache. Ryan was quite happy to be off for a drive and he gets excited when we say we are going geocaching. 

Alex found it quickly and Ryan saw a smurf toy was in it. David signed the log and we were off home again. 

Ryan asked for a bath so I ran him a very deep one and it took him ages to empty it, one cup at a time, into the bathroom sink. But I stayed in sight the whole time as he was acting very unpredictable. Sometimes when he is very calm I can fold washing or make a coffee (within earshot and only a few metres from our bathroom) but I wasn’t risking that today. 

When he was dressed I got out a new game my brother brought him for Christmas called Birthday Blowout. After we put batteries in it Ryan had a great time blowing to make the candles spin and the lights (flame) go out before the music stopped. A very cool game! 

A courier came with a parcel from xtreme imports kapiti. I had brought Ryan a Watsit. It’s a plastic thing that is basically whatever the child wants it to be. Straight away Ryan sat in it and spun 🙂 Great fun! 

A new early reader called ‘I write’ was today’s new book. And then I gave Ryan some a bee stamp, crayons and paper. He spent a long time drawing and writing his name, while I cooked his dinner. 

A friend came to pick something up and I raced down to answer the door, hoping he would stay eating and watching Mr Bean. But somehow he ended up with whipped cream in his hair courtesy of a cheeky teenage brother lol. 

Ryan was very hungry at dinnertime and ate well. Havoc came to sit with him. He was ready for bed not long after Stefan came home. Well actually, to be honest, I was ready for him to be in bed so tuck in was a bit earlier tonight. He will probably get up a couple more times, and he has spent over an hour calling out from his room but hopefully he falls asleep soon. 

2019: Sunday 6th January 

I had to remind Ryan that feet don’t go on the table, and after he moved them he ate 8 slices of wheatmeal toast, and Stefan had made him 2 slices before he left for work! 

All fueled up and ready to go Ryan asked for the 6 balloon to be tied to his go-kart.

We spent the morning catching up laundry, dishes, folding washing and vacuuming. Ryan helped with most of it 🙂

We headed to the park in the afternoon and Ryan had lots of laughs and fun with David and Alex, especially on what he calls the “up-down thingie”.

Next was a drive for a Geocache. Ryan didn’t want to get out of the car so we watched the boys race off and they returned with a fake pinecone that had the log sheet in it!  Ryan was very impressed and told Stefan about the “geocache pinecone” at dinnertime. 

At home Ryan helped whip cream for eclairs and then wanted his usual bath then shower. 

His independence with getting undressed and dressed has improved hugely. He can undress in seconds and, with prompting to remind him what he is doing, he can pretty much dress himself. Most items go on backwards but this time last year he needed hands on assistance with every step.

He asked to play “Trapped Penguin” and asked David to play too. It was good practise taking turns but Ryan struggled with only tapping one brick at a time, and stopping once his turn was over. After a few games they did get a game where they both got about 4 turns before Ryan smashed the rest apart, which David was pleased about. 

Ryan wanted to do colouring and chose a picture of Donald Duck on a roller coaster. 

Stefan was home at dinner time and it wasn’t long before Ryan decided it was bedtime. One thing we had been dealing with all day was Ryan posting things out windows. Everytime we went outside we would find more things, and if we left anything lying around (like the TV remote) it disappeared out a window as soon as we weren’t looking. It’s impossible to keep him in sight at all times but he also knew it was not something he was supposed to do,  because he said sorry as we walked into the room. He didn’t get anything back that he threw out so now I have a pile in my room of books, cars, glasses, pens, hats, and painted rocks. Hopefully he has got this out of his system now! 

2019: Saturday 5th January 

Ryan had another good nights sleep and was very pleased when he remembered Julie was picking him up this morning. After he left Stefan and I did nothing. Seriously, nothing. We actually just sat and blobbed for a couple of hours. Watched some TV, chatted, but it was nice to have no plans and a quiet house (the teenagers don’t appear until lunchtime most days). 

Julie sent me a message: “Cheap hired help!!! Only cost a frozen coke and a 9 pack of nuggets! Taking booking today 🤣” 

Love it! Ryan looked like he was having a great time in the photos! 

When he got home, and many times over the afternoon, he told us “I did a good job cleaning Julie’s car like a good boy because Mr Bird did a sh!t on it” To which Stefan replied “can we say bird poop? Just sounds a bit nicer?” knowing if we react then the rude word becomes more fun to say, although it did seem to be his word of the day to repeat. He was very proud of his “good job” cleaning the car 🙂

We went for a walk at Westmere Lake and that was where we found today’s geocache. Up and down hills and through bush, and when Stefan found it we discovered it had a painted smiley face in it that I painted 2 years ago! So we added a new smiley face rock, signed the log, put it back and carried on our walk. 

Ryan walked, pushed the pushchair and had rides in the pushchair, changing his mind every 100m or so. One time he jumped in and the pushchair rolled back and I had to chase it. Ryan was laughing with his hands in the air (see photo) crazy child who has no fear! Ryan found rocks and hid some too. And stopped to check if he could see a troll under the bridge – his idea. 

Home for his usual shower and bath routine before French toast for dinner. We didn’t get a chance to take his go kart out today so he had a play in the lounge lol. I need to work out how to add some cushioning to the seat, as he has bruises on his back where his bones have bumped the hard plastic seat, poor kid needs some padding before we take it out for a big ride again. 

2019: Friday 4th January 

Ryan slept in until 7am (yay!) and after breakfast Stefan took him for a walk around the lake. They got home with enough time for Ryan to put a load of washing on before Julie came to pick him up. 

We had plans with the older boys for David’s 16th birthday and knew it was something Ryan may not have coped with, so decided it was best for him to spend time with Julie. In the afternoon I got the most awesome message:

“This kid never ceases to amaze me!! Today he ate a picnic lunch at kowhai park with all the family…he ate all 9 nuggets and then played in the water park for about an hour. Incident free! No meltdown, listened to all instructions, greeted everyone and had a ball.”

Kowhai Park is somewhere we generally avoid during school holidays as it’s a very busy place. It was really neat to hear Ryan had a great time and was very social, as sometimes the water can be very distracting and he can only focus on that. 

When he got home he asked for a walk at Gordon’s bush so we did that, and drove a bit further out to Okoia for our Geocache-a-day January challenge. Ryan helped look and David quickly found it 🙂

At home Ryan found David’s birthday balloons and was very excited about the 6. The older boys deflated the 1 and made Ryan laugh by inhaling the helium and talking funny lol. Ryan carried the 6 around the rest of the day saying “it’s just like a kite”. They played cake splat again and Ryan got another face of cream. He thought it was hilarious when Alex got splatted! 

The 6 kite came to dinner and Havoc climbed up to give Ryan a smooch. Havoc has decided he really likes Ryan at the moment and we often find them together… although I do wonder if it’s because Havoc loves chicken nuggets and often gets one when he is around Ryan 🙂

A very tired boy at bedtime, and another brilliant day 🙂 

2019: Thursday 3rd December

Julie was back from holiday and Ryan was super excited to see her, screaming hello and jumping up and down flicking his hands before running to open the door. 

She had family from Auckland staying so Ryan got to spend time with Julie’s sister Vicky, and Vicky’s granddaughter Jayde. 

They went to the lake to feed the ducks and watch the fountain 🙂

At bedtime Stefan said “What is Julies sisters name?” Ryan answered “Uncle father”. Stefan “and what was the little girls name?” Ryans answer “sister”. Lol oh dear, will need to work on photos and names again.

Ryan got home at lunchtime and immediately asked to go out in the car. We popped out to Gordon’s Bush and the car park was full! Busiest we have ever seen it! Ryan sat in the pushchair and walked a bit, hid some rocks and found a couple.  He said a loud “hello” to everyone we passed 🙂

Mid afternoon we headed out of town to Marton, approx 25 minutes away. We found a park with nice wide concrete paths and Ryan pedalled his go-kart up and down hills. So much fun and a lovely place to walk with beautiful gardens. His steering still needs some work, as Stefan’s foot found out :/ Lots of laughs and fresh air 🙂

We went into the main street and Ryan found a cool wooden seat he wanted to sit on. And then we were off to a friends house, which was our main reason for our trip. She lives out in the country, with very bumpy gravel roads and the Google Maps lady giving directions that Ryan said “what did she say? ” everytime we got a direction. Once there, to Ryans delight, he found her washing machine, and she kindly let him help put a load of washing on. 

The reason for our visit was to pick up a super special Harry Potter themed birthday cake for David’s 16th birthday tomorrow. Cakes by Kirsten is her facebook page and the photos don’t do it justice. This is a beautiful work of art and we can’t wait to surprise David with it tomorrow (he’s on a self-imposed social media ban until after he sees his cake lol).

I carefully held the cake all the way home,  with Ryan yelling a million questions behind me, Alex with headphones on ignoring all, and Stefan driving while trying to ignore Ryan’s requests for his favourite songs, to wind the windows up,  to wind the windows down, to use the wipers “because the windscreen is TOO dusty Dad!!!” but we made it lol. 

Time for Ryan to relax with a shower, then a bubble bath,… then another shower, before dinner. 

We ended the day by racing out for a drive to find our Geocache-a-day January challenge. It was called “Cats are everywhere” and took us to the Mars Pet food factory. A quick find and off home for bed. Past Ryan’s bedtime but he was still saying “I want to find another geocache” lol. 

Ryan was tucked into bed by 8.30pm when he heard the teenagers playing Pie Face. He got up and asked for a turn (never played it before) and laughed and laughed when he got splatted with whipped cream! Crazy kid lol! What a day! 

2019: Wednesday 2nd January 

We had another night with very little sleep. Ryan was up for the day about 3.30am. Mr Penguin has been his friend and came to breakfast. Thankfully he went back to bed around 8.30am and slept for a couple of hours. 

We read a book called “Smile” said Dad. I didn’t realise how old the book was until the last page where Dad runs out of film for his camera! I’m not sure if Ryan understood when I tried to explain cameras used to have something called film in them. He has only seen cameras on phones. 

Alex put Ryan’s main Christmas present together. It is a pedal Go-Kart. Ryan struggled to learn to ride a bike because he had to pedal, steer and balance (even with training wheels). When I saw this I thought it would help him build the leg strength to pedal, without needing to balance. He has awesome upper body strength but always had weaker legs. It took a bit of working out but he figured out how to make it move and loved it! 

Ryan wanted to go for a drive so we headed out to do our Geocache-a-day January challenge. In a tree, in a small reserve, up a windy street in Aramoho was where we found a camo geocache! Even Ryan helped look today 🙂 

Back at home David took Ryan’s go-kart outside where we normally park our cars, and Ryan rode around and around for ages! I stood by the gate to make sure he didn’t head out to the road, and David helped teach him to steer and push when he got stuck. 

Jasper watched from the window and eventually Ryan agreed to park it by the door and come inside. I bet his legs are sore tonight! 

Shower, dinner, stories and bed filled in the rest of the day for our busy young man 🙂

2019: Tuesday 1st January 

A very disturbed night of fireworks, drunk stumbling people walking past, barking Toby and Ryan up and down every half hour or so made for very tired everyone this morning! 

Ryan did some stamping then watched a man put cornflakes and milk in his washing machine (thanks YouTube, he better not copy this one!) and I got Ryan a handful of cornflakes to show him what they were (the laundry was locked, just in case he got any ideas lol) He used to eat them but today he just crushed them. 

We also had some very tired kittens from being up all night, and they slept all day. 

I decided some fresh air would be a really good idea, as we were getting grumpy with each other, so we went outside for a while. 

Our January family challenge is to find at least 1 Geocache each day. If you haven’t heard of geocaching, it’s basically an online treasure hunt using a smart phone or GPS. Check out http://www.geocaching.com for more info. 

We used to do geocaching all the time but we ran out of local ones and Ryan went through a stage of very difficult transitions getting in and out of the car. Now he is a bit older we are trying again. 

Today Alex chose 2 and we headed out in the car. Ryan was happy since we said we would find a swing at one of our stops. First stop was a small reserve and the cache was called “Groups Of Trees” We hunted for a while but no success. Ryan found a seat and looked at the colourful trees before we got back in the car. 

A short stop at Hutton Park for a swing, and silly Ryan pretended to get stuck in the baby swing and laughed his head off lol. Next stop was about 3 minutes drive to a cache called “Sugar Mill”. Ryan didn’t want to get out of the car so David and Alex shot off to hunt but came back not having found it. Alex waited with Ryan, so David and I had a look and I found it! Log signed and replaced, and off for a Frozen Coke on the way home. It’s a great way to go places you haven’t been (our first time driving out Mill Road!) and a bit of fun too. 

Ryan watched some Mr Bean on YouTube then headed outside for some water play. 

Inside for a shower, then bath, then another shower (water is Ryan’s favourite sensory calming activity) before dinner and bed. Stefan read him ‘Cat in the Hat’ and ‘The Very Cranky Bear’ and Ryan was happily tucked in bed early. It will be an early night for us all hopefully. A fantastic New Years Day 🙂

2018: Monday 31st December 

And so 2018 comes to an end. We have survived a second year homeschooling! 

Julie joined our support team in June and we can honestly say it was one of the best things to happen in 2018! Ryan has been able to spend time connecting with extended family (Julie is Stefan’s cousin), learning Te Reo, music, how to do the haka, cooking, swimming, and life skills. Having Ryan be in a safe, caring environment away from home gives us time to rest, refresh and relax. We are very fortunate to have this respite available, as I know how hard it is to find a suitable carer and many families just simply don’t have supports like this in place. 

Emily moved away in August and we were very sad to see her go, as she had been part of Ryan’s life for 2.5yrs. Ryan loved their many trips to the beach, having chicken nugget picnics and driving through the car wash. 

Donna was Ryan’s swimming buddy for most of the year, and has joined Ryan to “hang out” when she has been able to between her other commitments. Even though we saw her less later in the year, she is still a huge part of Ryan’s world and he loves seeing her 🙂

David and Alex have both been amazing older brothers to Ryan and make me very proud. Ryan loves them both to bits and seeing the bond they have is so special. 

And of course, I’m blessed to be doing this journey with the most amazing husband, Stefan. This year must have seen him walk around Virginia Lake hundreds of times and watch the fountain for many hours. No matter how tired he is, he always has time to read Ryan a story or have a chat before bed. 

Ryan has done so much this year it’s hard to summarise but it’s all on here if you want to flick back through. We focussed on experiences and life skills, rather than worksheets and bookwork, and it has made it an interesting year, with lots of fun and laughter. I have put together some photos of Ryan’s smiles from 2018, there were so many to choose from!

Thank you to all who have supported us,  in real life, and by following our journey on here. Every like, comment and share has meant a lot and encouraged us, especially when we have had rough days. This journey is not all rainbows and sunshine but we try to enjoy each day and have fun when we can 🙂 and isn’t his smile just the best! It’s what keeps me motivated to give Ryan the best life we can  🙂

2018: Sunday 30th December 

Today was Stefan’s only day off, and he has been super busy. Ryan watched him do yard work for a while, and then they went out for walks. They walked around Virginia Lake and went to Gordon’s Bush, hiding and finding painted rocks. I asked Ryan if he found any rocks and he said “No, I found a baby.” When I asked Stefan he said they ran into a friend at Gordon’s Bush and she had her 2 week old baby with her 🙂

Stefan, David and Ryan took a huge carload of recycling to the recycling centre. There was lots of glass bottles for Ryan to drop down the chutes. 

David gave us a break by taking Ryan outside to throw water balloons and play with the water sprinkler. I tried to get some photos but wondered what David was whispering to Ryan in the top photo. I quickly found out when Ryan got a perfect throw right into the open window and hit me with a water balloon. They both laughed for ages! 

After a shower Ryan spent time hanging out in David’s room, listening to music and watching YouTube. Ryan has been super talkative today and his repeating questions/statements of the day were – “What do the shadows do?”, “You forgot to check the lint filter!” (at me, even when I showed him I had) and “You didn’t put the lawn mower away!” (at Stefan, even after it was away).