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Clonidine = insomnia?

Ryan did not have a good night’s sleep. On the advice of our doctor, last night we started Ryan on Clonidine (0.1mg), but withheld Melatonin (10mg). He had his medicine shortly before 8pm, and then went to bed at 8:30pm. He didn’t fall asleep until sometime after 9:30pm, and was up again at midnight – AND HAS BEEN UP EVER SINCE. Against my better judgment I went ahead and sent him to school, but only because he insisted he wanted to go to school and would be fine. I sent an email to his teacher and the principal letting them know about this, and I asked them to please call me if Ryan acts out or falls asleep or even if he just looks miserable. I really hope he’ll sleep better tonight. Tonight’s sleep medication type/dosage to be determined. I sent a message to the doctor asking if we should continue the Clonidine tonight, or increase it, or give the lowest dose (0.1mg) with Melatonin, or increase it and give Melatonin, etc. Basically: WHAT SHOULD I SEDATE MY CHILD WITH?

As for me, I’m very tired, and my back feels both locked up and twisted up. I took some medicine earlier and it’s starting to kick in, which means that my pain is lessening but my desire to take a nap is greatly increasing. Blah.

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Sweet dreams are made of Clonidine

Autism and sleeping problems seem to go hand in hand, and Ryan is no exception. Not long after I suspected he was autistic (around his first birthday; he was evaluated at 18 months, services started shortly thereafter; and the official diagnosis came a few weeks before his second birthday) came the sleeping issues. I cried tears of joy when he began sleeping through the night around four and a half months of age; and I cried tears of frustration and exhaustion when along with Ryan’s stimming behaviors and inability to babble (let alone form words) came the poor sleep – the late nights, middle-of-the-night wake-ups courtesy of him head-banging against his walls (and later eating drywall, which led to a medicine cabinet fully stocked with every possible OTC and RX stool softener and laxative, and a PICA diagnosis).

When our attempts at behavioral and environmental modifications in order to improve Ryan’s sleeping (ability to fall asleep and stay asleep) continued to fail (regular sleep schedule, regular daytime/evening schedule, quiet activities before bed, low lighting, no blue lights, no bedtime distractions, ceiling fan for white noise, etc.), we gave in and went with our family doctor’s recommendation to give Ryan Melatonin. This was in the winter of 2009, and we started with a 0.5mg dose.

Fast forward to now, six and a half years and 9.5 milligrams later. Ryan has been taking the maximum recommended pediatric dosage of 10mg for the last couple of months, and it’s clear that it’s just not working. For most of the summer (the first few weeks after my surgery excepted) and now this month, on most nights Ryan goes to bed between 8:30pm and 8:45pm, struggles to fall asleep, sleeps restlessly (lots of fidgeting/movement), wakes up anytime between 1:00am and 4:00am (or several times during those hours), gets into bed with us, sleeps restlessly for another hour or two, and is then up for the day no later than 6:00am.

Needless to say, we’re all miserable. The chaos and stress of this past spring and summer have worsened Ryan’s overall behaviors and general state of mind – he is very anxious and irritable. And the poor sleep is adding to it. And just as importantly, Ryan’s poor sleep is affecting us (and by us I mean mostly me, as I’m a lighter sleeper than Dan is and Ryan almost always comes to me when he wakes up – just as he did when he was a baby/young toddler, and I’d do my best to cuddle and nurse him back to sleep, while trying not to fall asleep myself and end up dropping him or suffocating him or simply crashing in a corner while he tottered off and got into all sorts of trouble unattended).

So all four of us went to the doctor’s office this morning. Ryan had an appointment, I was the one bringing him in, and Dan and Alyssa tagged along so that all four of us could get our flu shots. Our family doctor knew the reason for the visit with Ryan: while I was talking to him last week about everything that led up to the emergency/unexpected surgery (*cough*him*cough*) and the fallout afterwards (family/finances/my own sanity), I brought up Ryan’s sleeping issues and he suggested I bring him in so he could evaluate him and prescribe something while we wait for an appointment with a local renowned but heavily wait-listed autism treatment center.

Until we can get in to the pediatric autism treatment center, Ryan will be trying Clonidine for sleep. We’re starting him on the lowest recommend dose for his age, weight, and problem (sleeping): 0.1mg. The plan is to increase the dose by 0.05mg weekly, but not to exceed a dosage of 0.4mg. Clonidine is typically used to lower blood pressure, and it’s that exact mechanism that enables it to work as a sleep aid – lowered blood pressure makes you sleepy. So, fingers are crossed that it works without lowering his blood pressure overly much (I’m going to get my hands on a pediatric blood pressure machine by the end of the week, and he has weekly appointments to keep tabs on his overall “reaction” to the medication). I’m just hoping that he doesn’t run low like I do (a typical reading for me is 100/65 – which kind of sucks if I’m in pain from something like, oh I don’t know, a STRANGULATED HERNIA or a PERFORATED ULCER, because what’s an elevated BP for me is barely above normal for many other people).

So, our fingers are crossed that the Clonidine is sufficient in helping Ryan get better quality of sleep (longer duration as well as restful), because I know all too well from my brothers and a neighbor’s special-needs children that after this, the next step is the harder-hitting stuff with gnarly side effects and more serious adverse reaction risks.

I’m especially hoping it’s effective tonight, because I’m tired and feeling kind of icky (maybe from this morning’s flu shot?) and I’d love just one night of uninterrupted sleep.

I has a tired
Look At How Tired I Am selfie

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Financial resources and tips for when you’re broke as a joke

I have spent the better part of this year debating whether or not to put together this type of post. On one hand, there’s the “outing” of myself and my family as a family that is struggling. But on the other hand, not publishing this post means possibly not extending a digital helping hand to someone who could really benefit from it.

So, consider this post as me holding out a digital helping hand. While I can’t help directly like family, friends, and neighbors can, posting this list will hopefully help someone find one or even multiple ways to reduce their expenses, which means more money for groceries, gas, paying off loans, and so on and so forth.






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DIY Wedding Decoration Ideas on a Budget


Even if you’re planning your wedding with a limited budget, you can still have a beautiful celebration. Creativity is as valuable as financial resources. All you have to do is decide the theme and ambiance you want to create to celebrate your big day, and then let your imagination run wild. Here are some ideas to spark your wedding-day ceremony and reception plans.

Bouquets, boutonnieres, and garlands are definitely festive staples in wedding decorations, but you don’t have to go completely traditional to have the floral effect. The blossoms themselves are often the priciest parts of arrangements, so save money when you supplement with:


Mason Jars
Glass mason jars are readily available, inexpensive, and come in a variety of cool shapes. What may seem like ordinary jars can become:

In addition to jars, you can also use unique-shaped bottles to create simple, yet sparkly decorations.

Paper Décor
Don’t underestimate the power of paper. You can buy or make garlands, streamers, and backdrops with colorful paper, by:

Ribbons from your local craft store come in an abundance of patterns and textures. You can hang streamers of ribbon to align with your wedding colors to create moveable curtains of color. Consider hanging:

Who doesn’t want to see pictures of the bride and groom at the wedding and reception? Gather photos from earlier time periods, such as on your first dates or as babies and young children. Arrange the pictures:

Your day of holy matrimony doesn’t have to drain your bank account. All you need is some creative energy and a bit of time. Decide whether you want a formal or casual event, then dress your decorations up or down to fit your festivities.

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Bridesmaids’ dresses: fashionable, stylish, original

Not only her wedding attire and gorgeous accessories can emphasize the bride’s beauty. A bride without her maids is like a bright flower without lovely butterflies flying next to it. So, a bride should take care of the images of those “butterflies” long before the wedding. On the one hand, the maids’ attires should by no means overshadow the beauty of the bride, and on the other hand, it’s extremely important that the colors and fashions of their dresses could not derogate the body advantages of their owners.

This article will offer you to consider some basic color solutions for the bridesmaids.

1. Similar monochromatic dresses for all bridesmaids (it’s desirable for the girls to be of an alike body type, so the dresses would look equally beautiful).

2. Dresses made of different tissues and having various fashions but being in a common color palette. For example, girls in pale peach bridesmaid dresses will appear very tender and will make your wedding even more romantic.

white and peach wedding

3. Dresses sewn of one tissue type. At the same time, the fashions and styles of the dresses can be absolutely different: their choice will depend on the preferences and body peculiarities of every girl.  Someone of them can choose one of the long peach bridesmaid dresses, another one will prefer a short cocktail gown of a totally different color.

4. Dress styles can be similar but the colors can differ. But one should remember that the hardest thing is to choose the dress fashion for the corpulent girls. You should focus mostly on those girls, because ones with a slender body will look nice in any dress fashion. Trapezoid dress model is universal option for everyone. You can also choose a costume variant: a top till the hip and a classical skirt.

blue and pink bridesmaids dresses

5. Finally, the best solution here may be the alike accessories: belts, straps, jewelries, hats. For example, every maid can hold a little bunch of flowers similar to ones in the bride’s bouquet.

Bridesmaids’ dresses style and color should comply with the bride’s finery. If a bride wears a long dress of a sophisticated fashion, the maids should have the same ones. In case the bride’s dress is of a knee length, a long dress for the maid would be highly inappropriate.

The choice of the wedding dress and bridesmaids’ gowns requires a very careful consideration. Those dresses are to be worn at one of the most important days in every girl’s life. Thus, they should not darken the feast by some unpleasant detail. A girl should feel very confident and solemnly wearing such dress.

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