12 years- Reflection

I live with a permanent injury daily. This gets pushed to the back of my mind when I am playing the rolls of mother, daughter, sister, wife, co-worker, and many more. It gets pushed to the back of my mind along with others pushing it to the back of their mind. I do not let my injury define my life, but in return it's easy to forget that my paralysis needs to be addressed.

It has taken me a dozen years to realize that it's ok to let people help me. What I mean by that is much more complex than you would think. I get so caught up in "I can do it myself" and as time goes by, I'm realizing I'm not able to live my life like that anymore.

Goal:

Start letting people help. When people ask, say yes. Put your pride away and let others be a crutch to help sometimes.

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Another thing it has taken me 12 years to learn is to stay true to my values.

I have a hard time making decisions. I have a hard time with confrontation. It is easy for others to take advantage of me, tell me what to do or who I need to be. I've almost leaned on others too much as the "Safe Route". (My husband especially).

I need to remember my values, I need to stay true to me. After all I have learned in the last 12 years with a permanent paralysis, it would be a shame to let that go to waste.

Goal:

Say how I truly feel and with that remember my values are when I'm tempted to start questioning them. Don't always just "Go with the flow" because in the end it probably isn't where I (that's me) want to be. With every decision made, remember how lucky I am to be alive and what is most important in MY life.

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A photo of my little Alice and I, because being a mother is the greatest gift in my life.

A photo of my little Alice and I, because being a mother is the greatest gift in my life.

I have been through a lot in my life, more surgeries than I can count on one hand. Two full term pregnancies and raising those babies from a wheelchair. Owning a business, working full time, being a momma and wife, being there for extended family events all without complaining about my paralysis. (Ok, I may or may not ask Nick to rub my back every night because of pain due to pushing my limits to hard.... oops).

I tend to make others feel like whatever they are going through really isn't that bad, and I tend to forget that they haven't seen my side of things. It is a big deal to them.

Goal:

Have more sympathy. Understand that everyone has their battles and they aren't always the same as mine. Be more understanding instead of feeling like others should have nothing to complain about. Know they may be going through something I have never been through.

Be more understanding.

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For some reason I don't realize that there are probably more people that know me as the paralyzed version of Autumn. I forget that my kids never knew me as an able-bodied person. I forget that I am coming up on living half my life in a wheelchair (only 4 years shy). Instead of thinking so much about how I was before the accident, I need to focus on the person I am after.

"Before the accident" comes out of my mouth several times a week and I need to start to let go of that. Part of that is accepting THIS. IS. ME.

Most of these goals may not make sense to you right now, but at some point you may read and thing "I need to work on that too" and that's just fine! I am putting these goals on my blog for everyone to see so I can hold myself more accountable each day, month and year I reflect upon.

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My 12 year anniversary is tomorrow, and my cute husband reminds me every year to celebrate life on that day. This year (this week especially) has been particularly hard, lots of "Why Me?"s and "I would be prettier if I could walk..." s  too many "what would my life be like?" s and "who would I be?"... those are the negative thoughts I NEED to ditch. I tend to remember that day as a negative day, instead I need to remember that I AM ALIVE. I have so much to be grateful for. My wonderful husband makes me a little video each year to remember how far I've come. I will share that with all of you tomorrow.

CHEERS to celebrating life! 12 years down, forever to go! Because I CAN do this. 

For now, enjoy last years video celebrating 11 years. CLICK HERE

xoxo,

autumn.png

See you later 2017!

I have been meaning to update my website and get back on track with blogging about my story. I added a "Daily Life" tab to my website because I feel like my accident itself is talked about and reflected upon a lot when really the 11 years after my accident are when I learned the most about myself. I will also be adding a "Mom Life" tab very soon to explain my experiences as a paralyzed mother, because lets be honest... That deserves a tab of its own. I have made mistakes, learned and I am still learning to raise kids from a wheelchair. Stay tuned for that.

As I reflect on 2017 and think about the year I truly feel like this year went by so fast. I would say it was a good year. A year of learning, growing, heartbreak (like true broken heart, a pain I have never experienced before). Most of all I feel like Nick and I dug really deep into ourselves and decided what we wanted to do for our future. WE WORKED HARD. Working full time for Sola and running Almost Alice during the holiday season sure took over my life soooo there were no Christmas cards sent from the Van Komen Family.... HAHA. 

Recap of 2017-

Nicholas:

 In March, Nick was hired by Tanner Clinic for Clerical work. He instantly loved his job and felt like it was a treat to sit at a desk for work because his last job was at Pepsi and it was physically exhausting. He fit right in and became a permanent at the Syracuse, Utah location. Nick finished his first book and finally carries the title of "Writer". He spent many hours writing and illustrating this book and ordered 50 Hard Cover Books and 100 Soft Cover books. We launched a presale on my website and had a really good turnout for his first book! (We are down to the last soft cover copies!) The books arrived at the end of November and after delivering/shipping all of the preorders, Nick was already on to the next project. (Stay Tuned! It's going to be worth the wait!) Nick is the glue to our family and I don't know what we would do without him. He is a peacemaker, he is the parent that the girls run to when they want something and he is a best friend to all 3 of us girls. We are blessed to call him ours.

Autumn:

Oh what a rollercoaster of a year you guys. I am so blessed to have the life I have. 2017 was a HARD year. I worked, worked some more, and worked some more. As an entrepreneur I have a hard time telling myself when enough is enough and to chill out for a minute. I love to work and its something I do constantly either sewing, website design, marketing, production of orders or customer service, there is always something to be done. I rebranded my business from "AKVK Creations" to "Almost Alice". I searched for the perfect name for such a long time and I finally found one that I am thrilled about. I started a full time job as a Marketing Director with Sola Wood Flowers in September and I am so blessed to have found a company like this to work for. My boss Meagan has become one of my best friends and I have met some of the most amazing people and created some of the most genuine friendships. Currently I work full time at Sola and run my business. I started a blog this spring where I document living with a disability and my story. I can honestly say, good things come to those who work hard.

I am so blessed to have the family that I do. Nick is my rock. He has supported me in all of my work, even though it takes over our house, life and priorities. We both have big dreams and to have your spouse support those dreams is more than anyone could ever ask for. Although we went through some serious heart ache near the beginning of 2017 and learned to cope with losing someone so close to us, after 7 years of marriage we are still learning and we had to learn to lean on each other when we felt like we couldn't go on with life. I am so blessed to have Nick as a partner in life.  We have been dealing with infertility for over a year now. Although I would love another addition to our family, I am more than happy with Miss Alice and Alexei as our sweet girls. I'm still a Washington Capitals fan and part of our nightly agenda is watching the hockey games on t.v. (I'll just remind you that they beat the leafs last game and you still owe me for the bet... NICK... haha). 

I feel like 2017 was a year of hard work and building our future. Nick and I both have worked so hard and we have huge goals that we both want to crush in 2018.

 

Alexei:

Alexei turned 7 this year. She loves hockey and she plays for Davis County Wind. She is in Mini Mights and it is so cute to watch. She finished her first year of mini mights at the beginning of 2017 and she is currently in her second season of mini's. She sure loves it and her favorite celebration is skating on 1 foot with one arm in the air. She loves the Toronto Maple Leafs and Auston Matthews (She sure is following in Nicks footsteps!! haha) She is the cutest little hockey player.

Alexei lost her first 2 teeth this year with many more to come! 

Alexei started 1st grade this fall and she is continuing Chinese Immersion. I am so impressed with this little girl. She does math, reading and is getting more fluent in Chinese. She loves princess things and is definitely girly but she LOVES sports. She has expressed interest in Softball so we will let her try it this next season.

Alice:

Alice turned 3 this year and she had a Moana Birthday Party. Alice is such a girly girl. Alice is old enough to identify that she is named after Alice in Wonderland and she loves it! She is Alexei's little tag along and she loves to play with the "Big Kids". Alice is our little sweetheart. 90% of the time she will give you loves and although she is so sweet, she has a super FIERCE side. (Just like her momma haha) She looks just like her daddy but sure acts like me... we are sure in for a treat... haha. Alice loves the Anaheim Ducks and cheers them on each time they are playing on T.V.

Alice loves princesses, spaghetti O's, playing with her cousins/friends, dress up's but HATES getting dressed and doing her hair. haha.

This year we had to say goodbye to our first baby. In October our 8 year old Dachshund, Chewy got very lethargic and seemed really sick. After taking him to the animal ER we learned he had been battling pancreatic Cancer and it explained his weight gain, stomach problems and much more. We had to say goodbye and watching my 6 year old deal with the hurt of losing a pet was one of the hardest things I've had to do as a mother. Watching your child experience heartbreak of losing something so close is not an easy task. Immediately our girls started to ask for a new puppy for christmas. Santa brought us a new addition to our family and we like to think chewy sent him our way. Kylo is the same breed as chewy was, a long haired Dachshund, just different colors. Kylo has the same white stripe down his chest as chewy did and the same exact temperament. Chewy was such a good pup, Kylo has some big shoes to fill! 

THANK YOU all for being a part of 2017, We have made many memories and new friendships.

We are looking forward to 2018 and I can not wait to see what this year brings.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

with love,

The Van Komen's

 

Happy 25th Birthday Cyle!

Happy 25th Birthday Cyle!

1st Day of 1st Grade

1st Day of 1st Grade

Walter the Whale- Written and Illustrated by my cute husband, Nicholas. 

Walter the Whale- Written and Illustrated by my cute husband, Nicholas. 

Hockey Practice Fall 2017- Mini Mights for DC Wind

Hockey Practice Fall 2017- Mini Mights for DC Wind

This year I did many boutiques/expos with my business for marketing reasons. 

This year I did many boutiques/expos with my business for marketing reasons. 

Remembering Cyle 1 year later.

Remembering Cyle 1 year later.

Chewy's last time sitting pretty about 4 days before passing away. 

Chewy's last time sitting pretty about 4 days before passing away. 

Our new baby and head of the house, Kylo (yes we had to stick with the star wars themed pet names.... haha)

Our new baby and head of the house, Kylo (yes we had to stick with the star wars themed pet names.... haha)