Last week ended very badly but I think it was a build up of stress and anxiety. Once it was over, it really was over and this week began really well, and I was briefly back to my old energetic self. I cooked myself a dinner (instead of the toast I’ve been living off for the past few weeks) and we sat down to eat together. We discussed the history of the X Men. As you do.

I also cleaned the house, the car, cut the grass and started digging the garden.


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Autism has dominated the ups and downs yet again this week. I’m glad that autism awareness month (April) has finished because I get upset that so many people are so aggressive about autism awareness and acceptance and I can’t listen to them.

So it was wonderful to realise that one of the characters in this book probably has autism, even though the word has not been mentioned so far. He is a clearly a little different, but his brothers and sisters just accept it, work around his differences and help him to exploit his strengths. I’ve not seen a better way to promote autism acceptance than this. In this story, he’s just another kid.

No big deal is made out of it. No-one is angry, no one is preaching about how he should be labelled or not. No-one is prescribing treatments, He is just a part of the family. I’m loving it! Though he hasn’t had any meltdowns yet…


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It was a school friend who invited me onto Facebook in early 2008. I was interested, but didn’t really see the possibilities, until I lost my job the following December. Within a few months my son had been diagnosed with aspergers syndrome and I was working with the Child Benefit protest group PACUB, and Facebook became the hub for special needs support and on-line campaigning.

PACUB is now dormant, but the friendships I made are not, and some have now become autism mums too. And it is the autism mums that I turn to on a daily basis because even though I also have a severely disabled daughter, it is autism that dominates my life.


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I have a confession to make: I haven’t read the book. But with so many people talking about Marie Kondo, I’ve picked up a few tips and I’m thinking that I might be able to reduce the stress in my life by removing daily activities that do not spark joy. Sadly many of them have to stay. But making a few changes by following the principles in the life-changing magic of tidying up has given me several reasons to be cheerful for this week…

Starting with Socks

In this family we like to know our own socks, so everyone has to wear a different style. As a result I’ve accumulated a drawer full of hastily bought socks with dubious patterns on them that do not look very stylish when peeking out from under the hem of a pair of jeans.

So this week I “treated” myself to another set of black socks (with coloured toes and heels) which meant I could get rid of all the old ones that just annoy me. There’s nothing worse than the glimpse of a Santa hat on a sock in July. Well you know what I mean…

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So the Easter school holidays have begun, and the days are a bit less stressful. Smiley’s adult programme continues, so I’m still up at stupid o’clock, but the pressure to get my son to school is gone, and I’m hoping to be able to organise some outings for the two of us. Especially as the sun appears to be shining and all is calm.

But first there was St Patrick’s Day. Smiley was at home, except we weren’t at home, as she was invited to take part in a local parade, once again. I *may* have shared most of the photos already, but just in case you missed them, here she is again, showing just what a great day she had.



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Autism nearly broke me this week. Not my son’s behaviour, but the response of the world to it, especially the education system. By Thursday evening I was doubting my judgement, my parenting, and the evidence of my own eyes. Thank you to all the friends on Facebook and Twitter who put me straight and their ongoing help is my first reason to be cheerful this week.


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I don’t have a fancy camera, just an ordinary mobile phone. But I love taking pictures. The joy of spotting something unusual or interesting, cute or topical, and for a few seconds all your worries are banished to the back of your head, as you grab your phone to snap it up before it’s gone. It’s a little break and just what I need right now, as my son heads towards his Junior Cert exams, with the mocks next week.

So it was perfect timing when I discovered that my blogging friend Nicola from Simply Homemade had launched a February Photo A Day Challenge: it’s not too late to join in either, and you can find my photos over on my Instagram. Here’s a sample of what I’ve posted so far.

And here’s two more reasons to be cheerful:


Read about them here


Well here we go again, another new year and another new term: and that means lots of stress all round, piled on top of all the other things that need attention. So I will keep looking for reasons to be cheerful to remind me that it isn’t all bad. And this week I’m celebrating the little things:

  • A lovely relaxed lunch out with my son (having discovered on Monday morning that he wasn’t in fact due to go back to school until Wednesday).
  • Shopping with my girls.
  • A new mobile phone for Christmas, which is much faster, has a bigger screen, more storage, and a better camera (though I’m still getting the hang of it).



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Reasons to be Cheerful
Sometimes the death of someone you’ve never even met has a profound effect, and so it was this week with the passing of Andy Nimmo, husband of special needs blogger Steph Nimmo. For the past year, they have both been sharing some inspirational writing about living a good life with cancer and if you want to remember how to celebrate life, I recommend reading Steph’s blog Was This In The Plan.


More reasons here