Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve Day - 17 years ago

I was moving into a new rental. I was transferring to a new college and was renting a room in a house where I knew no one. Three other college students lived in the off-campus house. Because of logistics, New Year's Eve Day was the day I arrived with my belongings and moved in. Because it was New Years Eve Day and the other residents were college students, they were preparing for a huge New Years Eve Party. One of the roommates best friend from high school was visiting. Now we're roommates and so much more :) Happy (non-wedding) anniversary Husband :) Wow. 17 years.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

There's No Place Like Home

We are home from the holiday family visit. It was filled with cheer, good times and good ole family psychodrama (because, after all, would we be an American family if we didn't have all 3?). Son did great!!! He really remembered some of his coping strategies and used them.
More details later. Right now, I fall down and go boom. In my own bed :)

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas with Autism

Christmas day is over. Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. I love seeing family and friends. I love eating. But I don't love the extra changes in schedules, the extra transitions, the extra excitement. Or rather I don't like the effect it has on Son.

He's a kid. He gets excited. He gets wound up. He has his highs and lows. But they are EXHAUSTING.

I made a calendar for him using Boardmaker. I LOVE this program. Enough that when I stopped teaching we purchased it so I could still use it for the Son. We've got a lot going on. Having a visual for him of where we are going each day really helps.
And visuals are always easier to process than reading. For anyone (think of when you go to McDonalds - do you read the menu or look at the pictures of the combo's?). And when you're escalated, pictures are easier to process to help deescalate.

When there is change, one of Son's side effects is to not eat. He get extremely picky about smells and textues, despite being on the GFCF diet which has eliminated so many of these issues. And when he doesn't eat, he gets moody and irrational. And crashes. And then it gets taken out on us. I've been trying to feed him his absolute favorites, but sometimes even that fails.

Christmas excitement is a test of patience for both children and adults. I'm ready for that test to be over. But first we are taking a 4 day trip to New England to see my half of the family.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Stove Isn't Just For Cooking Anymore

So, as you may recall, our house is on the market. We don't get many visitors during the week, especially this time of year. So, during the week we may get a little 'lax'. Dishes in the sink, beds unmade. That sort of stuff.

Today, a real estate agent called at 1:28 saying he would be showing the house between 1:30 and 2:00. One quick look around the house and I panicked. Let's me also not forget to mention that I had just gone grocery shopping and a trip to Target from yesterday still had bags on the kitchen floor and I'm making a bingo game for Son's school holiday party that was all over the floor.

So, what did I do?

I threw most of the stuff into a storage container which is in the family room for that very purpose. I quickly made the beds and picked up Son's underwear in the bathroom.

And then I put the dirty dishes in the stove. Because inside the dishwasher were clean ones waiting to be put in the cabinets.

After all, a stove isn't' just for cooking anymore :)

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Can Christmas Be Over Yet?

Seriously. My kid just can't handle it. Waiting is too hard for him. Excitement and change is too hard for him. The unknown is too hard for him. He's truly been trying his hardest. Can't we just move Christmas up this year?
He's been in tears for 2 days now. He's miserable. He is too caught up in the excitement. The kids at school are all feeling the excitement. Consequences are being given (gentle, but consequences none-the-less) so that the teachers can try to keep teaching right up to the holiday party on Friday. But my kid is miserable.
He loves the holiday season. Right up to the week before. Then he just can't take it anymore. The focusing, the sensory stimulation, the excitement. He's on overload and he knows it and he's miserable.
OK. I'm done whining now. Y'all can move on to the next blog now.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Life Could Get Interesting

Hubby has a sore throat and can't talk. But he can walk.
I have sprained/twisted my ankle and can't walk. But I can talk.
Son must be loving his parents being partially out of commission.
Oh the mischief he can get into!

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Monday, December 17, 2007

A Day Off

Holiday season brings out the stress in adults. But it also brings out the stress in children. They just manifest it differently. Son has been handling the holiday activities pretty well this year. But he is more rigid and is stemming more. We're back to written schedules and LOTS of advanced warnings.

Yesterday we went down to see Hubby's grandmother and a good friend of our family. Son did great in the car ride (about 2 hours), the visits, and the ride back. But, we got in late. Real late. And he was really tired this morning. So I let him stay home today. In this county every Monday is an early release day anyways.

He slept in a little. He played some Play Station. I made him (ie: cooked something) breakfast. We did his homework and worked on his science project and a reading project. And he's back to chilling in front of the TV.

Sometimes you just need a day to chill. A day to relax. A day to forget all the craziness of the holiday schedule and excitement.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Where To Put The Christmas Presents

I remember one year I just couldn't wait until Christmas. Just. Couldn't. Wait. I needed to know what I was going to be getting! Would it be exactly what I wanted and asked for? Would it be a great new toy I didn't even think of? So, this particular year I found the hiding spot. And I found the Christmas List my Mom had. I knew and saw what everyone was getting. Including myself. I was excited. I was nervous I'd get caught. I felt like I had the best secret in the whole world.

Then Christmas morning came. And you know what?

It just wasn't fun. The most excitement I had was trying to figure out which package contained which toy. Because I already knew the toys that would be opened. I had to fake my surprise. And I'm not a good actress.

Last year my son found where we had hidden his presents. He saw one before it was wrapped. He admitted it wasn't fun knowing what it would be.

And still, this year he has asked if we have hid his presents again this year. He has been looking. He can't find them yet - we haven't bought them yet. This year we told him they were being kept at his aunts house so he couldn't look at them. That kept him quiet for a few days. But he knows eventually they have to be brought back to our house. He's been staking out places we might put them.

Tonight husband and I have a date. To go shopping for his presents. Now I really need a place to hid them.

He knows we buy the presents, but I want them to be a surprise for Christmas morning. I don't want him to have learn the hard way the pretending of surprise on Christmas morning (like I did). Because, as parents that's what we want to do. Make life easier for our children. Even down to hiding the presents in the best, hardest to find place we can think of.

I'd better start finding a spot fast!

Cross-posted over at DCMetroMoms.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dear Bird

Dear Bird,

I understand we are of different species and we do things the other doesn't understand. However, for the life of me I can't understand why you insist on crashing into my bedroom window most mornings.

In the spring time it was wonderful to see all the baby birds nibbling on bugs on the budding leaves outside my window - you included. But then you started flying into the window. You would do this in the family room window and then move up to my bedroom window.

At first we were concerned you'd hurt yourself. We left the blinds closed thinking you thought you could fly through the house. Yet you still crashed, continuously.

Then spring turned into summer. And then fall. You apparently do not migrate south as you are still here, crashing away for 2-4 hours every morning.

I'm glad you have learned crashing into the family room window is getting you no where as you don't do that nearly as often. However, and especially on the weekends when we are trying to sleep in, can't you try to sleep in a little too?

Why? Seriously! Why do you do this?

Yours truly,
Person trying patiently to understand you.

This post was not brought to you by Wordless Wednesday. If you'd like to see pics without letters from confusing bloggers, head over there and check them out.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Middle Place

Head over to Yup-Another Review Blog for review of The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan.
You're gonna love this book too!

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Vaccination Book

I recently recieved a copy of The Vacine Book by Dr. Sears. Head over to Yup-Another Review Blog for my review.

And, in related news, check out this article in today's

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Friday Haiku

The first snow arrived
A white blanket on the ground
And pillows on trees.

It all looks so soft
Oh, but don't you be fooled now,
A snowball can hurt!

Come join in on the Haiku Fun over at A Mommy Story!

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Looky, Looky!

Looky Looky!!

Look what the wonderful Toni presented me with!

My very first award!!

I feel like I've been completely initiated into the blogging world now. Like I've passed the pledging test.

And, I also want to thank you, my readers, for reading me! So far it's been a fun journey!

I haven't posted much this week, because I actually have some stuff to post, but I just can't organize them all in my head. So check back soon for some more meanderings from my mind and life.

BTW - head over to A Tale of Two Kiddies, and check Toni out for yourself!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Microsoft Student

This review is cross-posted from my other blog Yup-Another Review Blog.

Through MotherTalk and Microsoft , and Mom Central I was asked to review Microsoft Student on my blog. Sure, I got a copy for free, but I'm not being paid to write the blog. I was only asked to write it by a certain date (which of course I am waiting until the last minute to do!). So, I can be honest with you about it.

I LOVE it! Seriously. I really do. It's organized (unlike me). It's easy to use. And best of all, my Son likes it. Which is a good thing, because he is the one who is supposed to doing the homework.
I've spent a few days getting familiar with it. But I'll warn you, just like surfing the net, it's easy to surf this and get lost in time. Even if it is academics, it is. My Son realized this too.

I'll start with how it's organized. There are 3 sections to pick from: Homework, Projects and Discover & Learn.

The Homework Section contains math, foreign language and search tools. The math section is good, but I think meant for more middle/high school. My son is currently learning a lot of the topics (5th grade math), but the way the text is written it's pretty straight forward. Math is also not my strength, so I especially find this section helpful. It's a review for me of math concepts (by topic) so that I can explain to my son. It's also got some neat stuff like calculator (which we can never seem to find when we need one), conversion charts, and formulas.

To be honest I didn't spend too much time in the foreign language section as that simply doesn't apply to our current homework needs.

The search tools is neat. You can find articles, photos, maps, dictionary, thesaurus - quickly. For when you need that quick reference and don't want to spend time searching through web page after web page reading and looking for that one fact.

The Project Section contains papers & reports, presentations, and charts & graphs. Any type of writing - it's there. You get a template and a side bar with hints and how-to's for the writing process for that type of writing. From pre-writing, drafting editing and revising. It's got writing tutorials and various writing tools also.

The presentation section was also well put together. It's got how to's (which I actually find easier to read that the one's written for adults - I just may yet figure out how to put together Power Point presentations!). There is also templates for different types of presentations kids have to do. And, for quick reference, the writing tools are here too (dictionary, citation help, etc).

The last section is the Discover & Learn. This is the dangerous part. Make sure you have time on your hand when you go here. There are once again 3 sections: explore Encarta by subject, college & career and games & fun stuff.

Under explore by subject is every subject imaginable -history, people, science, geography, arts and then subcategories within those. Then, when you find the topic you need, there are articles, websites, artwork, further reading, audio clips and video clips. AND there is Encarta Kids, which is easier reading level of topics.

Like the foreign language section, I didn't spend much time at all in the college and career section.

Games and fun section is last. Once again, a wide variety of topics with little games to test your knowledge as well as teach. Another great place to explore topics of interest.

So, I do have to admit - it's a great resource. My son NEVER has any excuse for not being able to find an answer on how to do something, what to write. Even if he forgets his textbooks at school. He also feels a sense of independence having a computer help him instead of Mom. It makes him feel more grown-up/big-kid-like. The easy to use point and click encourages him to explore topics of interest. I'd much rather him be surfing this than his PlayStation games!
When he was younger he used to play the JumpStart games, but he finds those childish now. He looks to this as a fun way to learn, but not feeling babied.

So, a huge thanks to Microsoft Student. You get an 'A' in my grade book.

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Some Elf Magic

Ahh, Christmas is really near now. Holiday parties filling up the calendar. Holiday cards to write and send out. Holiday cards beginning to arrive. Lists of gifts to buy for family and friends slowly getting crossed off.

Kids do not have to do any of the organizing and planning. They get to sit back, relax. And get EXCITED. How many times have you said, "Better not do that, Santa is watching you!" Year after year it starts to wear off a little, doesn't it?

When my son was younger, and still believed in the power of magic, not only did he think Santa was watching him, but also Santa's Elf. Why you ask?

Because Santa wrote my son a letter:

Dear (child's name),

I am writing to ask you and your parents to once again host one of my Elves during this Christmas Season. Due to recent budget constraints I have had to reduce the number of Elves assigned to families, but I know that your home would be a good home for any of my Elves.

There are several rules of Elf protocol that I must ask you to follow. Elves are very shy and quiet creatures, and may be easily frightened.

-Please never touch an Elf.
-Even though Elves can hear, they will never talk to you directly. But if you have a question you may write it on a piece of paper and he will answer you in writing. Or you can have your Mommy and Daddy write it down for you.
-Elves like to move around your house. They may move several times a day or just once a week. -Elves do not like to hear: whining, fussing, fighting, complaining, or teasing.
-Elves to like to hear: please, thank you, I love you, can I help? and I am sorry.
-Each Elf has several names. Your family can decide what to call the Elf assigned to your home.
-Our Elves have developed a new piece of magic. Each Elf now has the ability to turn back to a toy state upon sensing a human in the vicinity. This may mean that you may occasionally find your Elf on the floor or some other odd place at times. Do not panic! This just means that your Elf was working and, when it sensed your arrival, dropped into the toy state of being again. Simply get and adults to move the Elf to a safe spot and go about your business.

Please take good care of your Elf. Remember, your Elf will be leaving a day or two before Christmas. The Elf will then report back to me on who has been naughty and who has been nice.

I look forward to visiting you on Christmas Eve. In the mean time, please be good and be on the lookout for the arrival of your guest!

Love, Santa

Now, of course - you control the Elf. You put him around the house. You write answers back to your child.

Son LOVED having Red (what he named ours) visit. He would write letters to him. He would talk to him. He would tell him the good choices he was doing. And, we used it as total leverage to get unwanted activities accomplished the month of December(who said bribery doesn't work?!?).

Throughout the year, we'd occasionally bring Red up in conversation. Remember when Red saw you clean up after I asked you too? I wonder if Red can see you know? I wonder if Santa will let him come back next year?

Our son actually stopped believing in Santa, but then he knew that would mean Red also didn't exist. But he hadn't quite figured out that his parents were also Red. So, it made him wonder if Santa was real a little longer too.

Now that he knows Santa and Red were all the works of his parents, we still have Red. Son will gently move him around the house and tell him about his good choices. He knows it's just a stuffed toy elf, but there's still a touch of magic. Because, that's part of what Christmas is all about after all.

Cross posted to DCMetroMoms.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007


What is it about gold? It's the reflections of the sun - both bright summer days and muted winter evenings - the mesmerizing twinkle of stars, the warm tones of autumn, my daughter's hair, the love embedded in my rings, that element of luxury. It's also my husband's mineral of choice, with a past in the mines and at least part of our future in their stocks.

It started over twelve years ago, with my engagement to the mining engineer and the band of gold that holds my solitary diamond. We went up north, to his job at one of the gold mines and found more gold in the night sky's stars and northern lights: a warmth at -40 Celsius. And how can I not mention the dog with a red-gold coat and the cat with golden eyes - both of whom are still living with us? We then found gold coming south, in the rich fall weather and more opportunities for us both. And, though it took until our 10th anniversary vacation to the golden beaches and sunsets in Cuba, we now have a little girl with gold in her hair.

There is luxury in gold, and I could always wish for more of the metal itself [preferably in the form of jewellery, though I'm not picky], but when I remember how much golden warmth there already is around me, especially in the Christmas season of bigger and better gifts, I get over it. Really, how cozy is that 42" TV? [okay, so, maybe your watching the yule log channel and, yes, that would be a little warm and cozy...ish]

So, I now have my new motto: forget rose coloured glasses, these gold tinted ones suit me much better.


This post was written by Jenn for the December Blog Exchange. Jenn usually writes at Quarter Rest and goes on about the golden haired daughter, the husband, the dog, the cat and whatever else strikes her fancy. But, today, Robin's post about Silver and/or Gold will be appearing over there, so make sure to click over and have a read!

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Friday, November 30, 2007

The Gift Of Time

The gift of time? How can time be a gift? What is a gift of time? Sit back and I'll tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a wife and mother. She had a special needs child as well as was a special education teacher. She threw herself into motherhood and teaching with passion and energy. However, after a decade she was simply burnt out. Nothing really inparticular, just burnt out. But what does one do with an education degree if one isn't teaching?

In steps our other character.

Her husband. He suggested that the wife take a year off. Don't worry about the paycheck. We can get by with a year off. We've got some money saved up. We just finished paying off the credit cards. Now is the year to do it.

But then I won't be contributing to the household finances she said.
But then I won't be using my degree that I worked so hard for she said.
But then I won't be teaching she said.
But we'll have to do without the extras she said.

But you need a break he said.
You need a year off he said.
You have stack of books you haven't read he said.
You have ideas that you don't have time to develop he said.
You have hobbies you don't have time for he said.
You've always wanted to volunteer he said.

Really she asked.
You'd be OK with the loss of my income she asked.

You'll be happier he said.
I love you and I want you to be happy he said.
Enjoy your gift of time he said.

That gift of time has allowed the wife to better balance her life goals, catch up hobbies, volunteer at her son's school and start her own part-time business. The gift of time has reduced the wife's stress and allowed her to find again her balance in life.

That gift of time was given out of unconditional love from a husband to a wife.
That wife though, had already received the best gift of all. It wasn't the gift of time. It was finding her husband.

Husband - if you are reading this, I love you more than you'll ever know!

This post has been brought to you by The Parent Bloggers Network and Excitations - give the unexpected.

What has been the most memorable gift you have received? Why was it memorable?

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Thursday, November 29, 2007


There, I said the B word. I bet that got your attention. Good. Now that I have it, read on. Cuz I have something to say today. I had a few posts in mind for this week. But when I read this, and this, and this I got pretty agitated. I mean really. I. Just. Don't. Get. The. Big. Deal. Over. Breastfeeding. I really, really don't.

We see much worse on TV, movies, and simply hanging out at a mall on a weekend night. And it's not just adults that dress provocatively. It's young children too.

So, how is it, in our society, that that is OK, however, seeing someone nourish their child is not?

I just don't get it. I never have.

I breastfed my son. I was miserable during my pregnancy. Throwing up at least once a day for 8 months and then every other day for the last 4 weeks. I had terrible acne all over my face, chest and back. I was put on some light restrictions. As much as I loved having a child, I hated being pregnant. (and yes, I do completely realize it could have been much worse, but I was miserable).

I remember after my csec recover (oh, yea, to top off the pregnancy, Son turned breech a week before my due date AFTER I had been 4 cm dilated for 2 weeks), the nurse handed me my Son. I immediately asked if I could breastfeed him. The nurse said sure. I latched him on, perfectly the first try and he began sucking away. The nurse had to ask if this was my first because it all happened so naturally. All those yucky 9 months were so quickly pushed to the back of my head. This was what it was all for. To have my son and to be able to nourish him.

I went back to teaching when he was 3 1/2 months old. I pumped, and pumped, and pumped. We had about a 6 month supply of milk in our freezer. And, although I wasn't spending my days with him, I had complete trust and faith in his daycare and he was still having a part of me even though I wasn't there.

There was something about breastfeeding that just worked for me. I absolutely loved it. I kept it up until Son was 11 months old.

Did I go around flashing my boobs to the world when Son was hungry. Well, at home I did. But in public I just put a blanket over us. It's easy to do. And I do realize that some people do not want to see my boobs. That's OK.

But for society to have a problem with women breastfeeding - that's just wrong. Yea, it's a boob, but when you are breastfeeding, it's for nourishment, not to arouse the person next to you. That's what watching TV, movies or hanging out at a mall on a weekend night is for.

So, if you too are agitated, please join me, along with bunches of other breastfeeding Moms, in this Internet, Mom-blogging protest. If we don't' fight for the right to feed our own children, who will?!?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Ummmm. You'd think I'd have something to say after the long Thanksgiving weekend. Nope. Pretty typical. Family visiting. Eating. Good times had. Which is all well and good, but nothing noteworthy.

Ummmm. Thanksgiving is over. Time to gear up for Christmas. Did 90% of the shopping on Sunday. Just about done with the homemade holiday cards. Winter stuff up around the house. Still need to put up the tree. Weekends slowly getting filled with holiday stuff.

Ummm. Work options slowly picking up in the right direction.

Ummm. House still on market, but getting visitors in a slow, but steady steam.

Ummm. Umm. Ummm. Just not good at thinking up anything exciting and noteworthy today. Guess it's a ummmm kinda day.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

This would be the back yard that was completely raked 1 day ago.
Want to play too? Head over here to join in on the fun!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007


So, I'm rather bored today. Not much to do with any of my part-time jobs today. I've been surfing the net most the morning checking out some of my favorite blogs that I read. I headed over to Stimeyland. She got tagged by Magneto Bold Too! to do a Meme of Eight.

Instead of tagging eight specific people, she tagged 'you'. Yea, pretty sneaky!

So, here goes my eight:

8 Things I Am Passionate About
-my family
-being happy
-being the best parent and spouse I can be

8 Things I Say Often-Son's name
-Husband's name
-What should we have for dinner?
-Do your homework!
-I love you
-Yup, ok. Wait, what did I just say yes too?!?
-I'm too tired tonight

8 Books I Have Read Recently
-The Other Mother by Gwendolen Gross
-101 Activiies for Kids in Tight Spaces by Carol Stock Kranowitz
-The Secret Fan by Lisa See
-Inside Aspergers: One Man's Tale - Look Me In The Eye by John Elder Robison
-The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
-Louder Than Words by Jenny McCarthy
-Our Dumb World Atlas of The Planet Earth by the ONION
-Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

8 Things I Want To Do Before I Die
-watch my son grow up
-watch a sunrise with my husband (which would also imply that perhaps I wasn't too tired and we had been up all night long!)
-write a book - fiction
-write a book - nonfiction
-start a successful business
-go to Disney World
-eat better

8 Songs I Could Listen To Over And Over
-Hotel California - Eagles
-Christmas Eve in Sarajevo - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
-Christmas Cannon Rock - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
-Don't Stop Believing - Journey
-When You're Goen - Avril Lavigne
Landslide - Fleetwood Mac
-1812 Overture - Tchaikovsky
-Beethoven's 5th Symphony

8 Things That Attract Me To My Best Friends
-things in common
-will listen to me babble nonstop
-love my blog :)

And now - the first eight readers of this are tagged! Leave a comment so I can go and read your Eight :)

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving Stress & Traditions

Holidays. The stress. The preparations The family from out of town. The traditions. And the togetherness and happiness shared. Such a mix of it all!

But how to keep all the stress in pespective with the family traditions of the holiday? How to keep the meanign of the holildays when you are trying to figure out how big a turkey to buy and which side dishes to cook for the picky eaters? Family Fun has some great holiday ideas for the family. Kraft Foods always has some fun recipes to try. I'll be trying the maple-glazed baby carrots this year.

But seriously, how do you kep the meaning of Thanksgiving alive in your family?

When my son was a preschooler I came across this idea from some parenting magazine (I wish I could rememer which one it was). I bought a light colored table cloth - plain and some permanent markers. Every year we use this table cloth only at Thanksgiving time. After we eat and the table is cleared everyone writes what they have been thankful for during the past year, sign it with their name and the year. Then we read 'posts' from years back. This tablecloth has turned into a documentation of our family history.

This sets the stage for a discussion of what Thanksgiving is really all about. It's about family and begin thankful for what we have and sharing with each other.

My son loves this tradition. Each year about a week before my parents come into town he asks - Mom do you know where the Thanksgiving tablecloth is? We need to get it ready!

This year my niece will be joining us. She is 21 months old. Her scribbles will join my sons from years past. And she too will start to be part of this family tradition.

What will your family be doing this year?

Cross-posted at
DC Metro Moms.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Haiku

Bloggers In NYC

Do you like to blog?
Do you live in NYC?
Then please contact me.

A blog sister site
Is looking for more bloggers
Do you want to join?


Gray, rainy and cold
Leaves have fallen off the trees
Fall is really here.

And here is the rest of it.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

The State of Things

The state of things has been very, very quiet. Son has been doing his homework, which in the recent past was a huge issue. After analyzing and reanalyzing and a 1st quarter conference with his teacher we decided it was time to up his meds. Son has gained 10 pounds in the last year. He was on the lowest dose of ADHD meds. Demands in 4th grade definitely focus on a lot of multi-tasking and independence. More so than ever before. His homework meltdowns were a result of the fact his brain was done for the day. It had reached maximum capacity for focusing. He also shared with us that he's been reciting commercials during work time. Like, saying a line and repeating it over and over again. He said it sorta helps him to focus, but bothers those around him. Watching him do his homework was painful, not only because of the arguing, but because of the energy it took us to keep him focused.

So we upped the meds one notch. Still, a very small dose in all reality.

And it's been a very, very quiet 2 weeks. No tantrums other than what one would expect from a 9 year old. Stuff brought home from school is being remembered 90% of the time again. No battles for homework. In fact, we get home and he simply does it and then moves on with his day. He's also been able to break down longer term assignments on his own and stick to his own schedule. Clothes are once again ending up in the hamper as are dishes and cups.

There is so much controversy with medicating your child. We don't use medication as a band aid. We use it to make him more available to learning strategies. Just every now and then he needs a boost to make himself more available.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

ARK Sundays

Don't worry - you're right. It's not Sunday. It's Monday. But this post was supposed to go out on Sunday. But I was too lazy on Sunday. So, while you are reading this, pretend it's Sunday.

Miss has started ARK Sundays. ARK is an Acts of Random Kindness. To join in it's real simple - just post about your random act of kindness that you did in the previous week!

Here's mine:

Want to put a smile on a strangers face? Here's something I do. When you are shopping, don't wait for the clerk to say, "Have a good day." at the end of your purchase. Initiate it - say it and mean it. Can you imagine how they must feel purchase after purchase of saying that rote phrase and getting no response? Tell them to have a good day. It'll put a smile on their face. It'll make them smile for the next customer. It'll put a smile on the next customer. It'll create a cycle of friendliness.

Remember in the 'old times' when you would go to the village store and every one knew everyone? Most of only see that on TV. Just because the person behind the checkout counter is a stranger, doesn't mean we can't be polite and courteous.

Don't make it random - purposely be kind to a stranger. It'll put a smile on your face and theirs!

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Are We Really Old Now?

Once a month the Son's TKD studio has a Parents Night Out. Hubby and I live for these. A night out with no child? The child having immense fun with his friends in a familiar place? So last night was PNO. Hubby and I had a nice dinner out with adult conversation. Then we went to Best Buy to look at some video games and music Cd's. I picked up Foo Fighters latest CD. Hubby has been a fan of them since they started. I don't mind them. Son LOVES them.

At the check out the teenage boy had the nerve to ask us which one of us the CD was for. I almost said it's for our son. But I didn't. It was for all of us. I like that we all like the same music. So I said, "Well, both of us actually." He clearly looked surprised as if he was expecting us to say it was for a kid. So I looked at hubby and him and said, "Is that OK, do we look that old?!?" He turned red and said, "Umm, no. I guess not."

I guess not?!?

Then we headed to Barnes and Noble. My favorite store of all. On the way to the car with our goody bag I was telling Hubby about this book I had found for Son and that I might even want to read it myself. So I'm telling him what its about. He stops me and says, "Is it (name of book)?" It was! I comment, "So, you've heard of this book?" "Umm, yea, we already have it and the rest of the trilogy at home!" So back into the store to return that one. The checkout clerk (not a teenager) was amused.

So, in one night we found out we were too old to be buying the music we did, and that the book I bought for our son we already have.

When did we become old enough to have a child that was old enough to share our music and reading interests?!?

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Get The Lead Out!!

My son is 9 years old and no longer puts toys in his mouth. So, I could easily look the other way with all the recent headlines regarding lead and other substances being found in toys for children.
But I’m not. And whether you have a child or not, and regardless of how old that child is, you shouldn’t either.

My son has 5 cousins – from toddlers to 8 years old. My Mother and I have NO IDEA what to get them for Holiday Season. You know – that over commercialized, buy-every-toy-to-see-the joy in your child’s face in the wee hours of Christmas morning? The sales and commercials targeting the desires of the little ones? My Mother said all the grandkids are getting gift certificates this year. Wow – how exciting for the little ones to open that and play with that all day!

But that doesn’t solve the problem. Now their parents get to figure out how to spend that certificate. How can we and other Mothers trust the products out there?

We all know the issue of toy safety is out there. But where can we get safe toys? How can we get toys to be safe?

Check out Consumer Union (a nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports).

They are an organization trying to help us sort all this out, while at the same time raising awareness with our government to make toys safe to begin with.

The Parent Bloggers Network is teaming up with Consumers Union to increase awareness. Won't you come join them in their crusade to make toys safe for all children, like it used to be for us when we were growing up?

Cross posted to DC Metro Moms.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Animal School

Today LawyerMama from DC Metro Moms suggested us "Moms" talk about education. No problem! Who doesn't have something to say about that! As a special education teacher and a parent, surely I can come up with something! Well, I've been staring at this screen for way to long. Should I write about No Child Left Behind and testing? Should I talk about reading? Should I talk about parental involvement? Should I talk about special education or gifted education? What about year-round school? Then I remembered a video a friend sent me a few weeks back. Click on it, and then click the purple box. Sit back, relax, and watch wait. I'll wait for you.....

Makes you think, doesn't it? What animal is your child?

Cross-posted at DC Metro Moms.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ohhh That Screen

If your house is anything like mine, the screen is always on. We define 'the screen' as TV, PlayStation, computer and movie. It's the never ending battle with "the boys" to turn it off. We've tried rationing the time. X amount of hours per week, X amount of hours per day, only screen time on the weekend. But it's hard to enforce. It's such a motivator (most of the time) and gives parents that 10 minute break to regather the energy our children suck out of us.

Have you ever heard of BOB?

The sister sites I write for, SV Moms Blog and Chicago Moms Blogs are hosting a give away right now. The lucky winner gets a BOB.

The best thing is that you can use it to control more than 1 person in your house. Above, when I mentioned 'the boys' in my house, that included my husband as well as my son. Yup - you can use it on your hubby's too :)

If you want to participate, don't respond here - be sure to click over to The SV Moms Blog or Chicago Mom's Blog site and leave a comment there.

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Monday, November 5, 2007

The Brain Is Coated

So, last Thursday and Friday were pretty rough days over here. Thursday I chalked up to the coming down of Halloween high. But Friday was just as tough. We threatened Military School to fix his attitude. Then around dinner time we noticed his ears were red.

"What have you been eating that you shouldn't have been?" we demanded. He tried giving us a convincing nothing. However, Saturday morning he ran to the bathroom. Didn't quite make it either, with the runs. He couldn't hid it anymore. There was no denying. His stomach was bothering him. His ears were red on and off all night. He finally fessed up. He did eat something that had both gluten and casein in it (wheat and dairy).

Slowly over the course of Saturday we got him back. Sunday he seemed to be back 100%. The glazed look in his eye was gone. He was having give-and-take conversations with us again and not only on topics of his choice.

Last night when I was tucking him into bed I asked him what was going on in his body Thursday and Friday compared to Sunday - how it felt, etc. He responded with something that really made me think. He said, "Mommy, my brain felt like it was coated in something. It just wasn't clear. But then on Saturday afternoon the coating started cracking. And I realized things were getting easier. So I pretended I was a spy person and I tried to crack the code. When the code was all cracked, the coating was gone and my brain was back."

Sometimes it amazed me how much of an effect food does have on his body. But sometimes it amazes me even more how articulate he can be about the whole process.

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Friday, November 2, 2007

The Other Mother

I’m speechless. I have too much to say. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know where to begin. But there is so much to say.

The book was amazing. I almost always read the last chapter when I’m a few chapters in. I like figuring out how it’s all going to end, while knowing the ending. I didn’t with this book. I wanted to rush through it to see how it ended. I didn’t want to rush through it because I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to be down yesterday. I wanted life to keep me from reading it so it would take longer.

Quick summary for those of you who have not heard of this book yet: 2 Mom’s. A SAHM with 3 kids and a Working Home with a newborn. The WM moves in next door right before her baby is born. The WM asks the SAHM to take care of her baby. It doesn’t work out. Instead it opens the door to so many insecurities each has about their decision. It opens up jealousy and competition. It ends their friendship. There are twists and turns I wasn’t expecting. You’ll need to read the book for those details.

Let me back up some. As you know, I also post at DC Metro Moms. We were invited to read Gwendolen Gross’ new book "The Other Mother". I got to exchange emails with her! Our sister site Chicago Moms Blog is having an on-line book club.

In the beginning of the book Thea, the SAHM mentions a neighbor who uses a leaf blower to shovel the snow off his driveway. He also uses a chain saw to weed. If I needed any more convincing of how much I would enjoy the book (which I didn’t BTW) this was it. MY HUSBAND HAS DONE THIS!!!! (But all that is for another post another day.)

As the story continues we truly get to know both Moms. OMG – I loved them both. I hated them both. I wanted to hug them both. I wanted to shake them both. I wanted to crawl into the pages and bang THEIR heads together. There was so much of ME in both of them.

You see, I used to work – full time. Well, most people don’t think teachers work full time – but we do. We pull in way more than 40 hours a week. But then we have 2 weeks off during the year and 8 weeks off in the summer. I always felt I never belonged to either camp. In the summer I would get to hang out with all the SAHM at the pool. But never felt comfortable and that I belonged in their group. I never felt I belonged in the WM camp either. They work till 5 or 6 and also worked throughout the summer. They had to deal with before/after school care and summer camps. I didn’t.

Now I work part-time. Kinda of. I’m doing some in-home behavior therapy for families with children on the Autism Spectrum. I’m hoping to do some home-bound teaching (but no one has gotten expelled yet). I’ve started up my own business, but it hasn’t started yet. I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I have found the right balance, for me, for right now.

But I still don’t ‘fit’ in either camp. I’m still somewhere in that ‘gray’ area. But there is something else I came to terms with sooo long ago. There is no right. There is only what works for you. For my family this works. For my family me teaching worked at the time until it didn’t work. For the 2 Mom’s in the book each works for them. What so many Mom’s don’t realize and/or forget to realize is that there is not a one-size-fits-all for parenting and finding life’s balances. We all have the same goal – to be the best that we can and to raise the best kids that we can. Instead of judging each other for our decisions we should be supporting each other. Being proud that we can all make it work in our own way.

This one is an absolute must read!!! Don't forget to join the discussion over at the Book Club too!!

Thank you Ms. Gross :)

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Friday Haiku

It's that time of month
crankiness and ickiness
cravings and cramping.

Luckily for me
our house has lots of chocolate
it's perfect timing.

Come join the rest of us over at A Mommy Story for some more Haiku fun!

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Another Letter To Retailers

Dear Retailers,

This is a followup to an earlier request. I was very glad to see that some of you had actually listened to my request and only displayed Halloween items. So, imagine my disappointment when yesterday I went to the grocery store to buy Halloween candy to pass out. I know, I bought it last minute. But, if I had bought it any earlier I would have simply eaten it myself and had to buy again anyways. You had a wonderful display at the front of the store. I grabbed some bags and then wandered into the seasonal aisle to see the rest of the selection.

However, upon turning the corner I came across your stacker's opening boxes and putting items on the shelf. CHRISTMAS items. If you had waited this long to put out Christmas items, couldn't you have waited just 24 more hours till Halloween was actually over?!? Did you really have significant sales of Christmas items yesterday? I know I didn't buy any - I was too busy trying to stock up for the current holidays supplies. But, I bet people are at your store to get Halloween candy on sale and are now ready to think about the next holiday. I bet today you'll get some good sales. But yesterday?!?

I understand Thanksgiving isn't much of a 'lets go out and buy stuff' holiday'. I understand that Christmas is less than 2 months away. But really, couldn't it have waited just another 24 hours?

Still someone who would like to enjoy and get all caught up in the holidays, ONE holiday at a time.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pete and Pam Wright

Last week I attended a conference by Pete and Pam Wright of Wrightslaw. Wow. It was amazing!

As speakers they are phenomenal. Very engaging. I do not like sitting still. I did not have any problems sitting all day (minus the well spaced breaks) and listening to them. I could have done it for days!

As providers of information for parents with special needs kids - they are the experts.

The format was not as I expected. In the past when I have attended conferences I've gotten PowerPoint handouts and the speakers read and added to those. There were no handouts. I was nervous. What am I going to do for 8 hours if I have nothing to look at, doodle on and record my thoughts so I don't forget them?!? Instead, there was an agenda. Pete and Pam used power points to go thru their presentation, but we actively used the 2 books that were given to us. (Which by the way were Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition and Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition). Both these books are extremely resourceful and they showed us not only what was in them, but HOW to use the information. And, I truly felt I walked away having absorbed their message without having handouts to jot down notes on.

I wish I could only have a day to sit down with them and really talk to them. They are so knowledgeable about this field, so approachable, so real-life. They make parents feel like they CAN fight for their child. And they are right. We can. We just need cheerleaders like them to guide us along.

Kari over at The Karianna Spectrum and Silicon Metro Moms has mentioned them coming to her area next spring. If anyone else has them coming near to them they should plan on attending. It is most definitely worth hearing them and learning from them. They are exactly the resource parents of special needs kids need.

Thank you Pete and Pam Wright

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Monday, October 29, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

Toni over at A Tale of Two Kiddies tagged me a meme:

7 Unique Things

Wow – my first meme – I feel all important-like and liked :)

So, here goes:

1. I’ve only got 1 kid, he’s 9 and I STILL get asked if we are having more.

2. I love red wine and chocolate ice cream as a meal.

3. My son turned into the breech position 4 days before his due date and after I had been 4 cm dilated for 2 weeks. I knew he would be trouble then!

4. When I was in 4th grade I had a dream that President Reagan was riding a motorcycle in the desert and some cowboys on horses came up behind him and shot him. Now, remember, I was 10 and grew up in New England. My concept of California was that it was ‘out West’ hence deserts and cowboys. The next day at school my principal announced that President Reagan was shot.

5. I love to kick box and ride a bike, but find it hard to motivate myself. I feel like a kid at bath time – I never want to take one, but once in, I never want to get out!

6. I’m glad there is only 1 more random/weird thing to think of!

7. I have stared at this computer screen for entirely too long trying to think up a last comment and wonder if others do the same or if they can rattle off 7 comments with the snap of their fingers.....

And there you go! Instead of tagging 7 people, I’m opening this up for anyone who’s game.

Rules are simple:

-Link to your tagger and post rules.
-Share 7 facts about yourself, some random and some weird
-Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names/blogs
-Don’t forget to let them know they were tagged by a comment on their blog!

Have fun!

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Shhhh..... Don't Tell My Son

I put carrots in his brownies. Why did I do such a thing? Because he does not eat many vegetables. He eats 3: corn, spaghetti sauce and ketchup.

He used to be an extremely picky eater. And I mean extremely picky. Down to the brand. For a couple of years he had about 5 foods, all brand specific he would eat. While this made grocery shopping quite easy, it made meal time quite the battle.

He is also on the Autism Spectrum Disorders. Picky eating and sensory issues are very common with kids on the spectrum. I had tried sneaking a variety of nutritious foods into his foods before, but the kid knew. He knew as soon as he smelled it. He knew as soon as his tongue was an inch away. Last year, as many of you know, we put him on the GFCF diet. His willingness to try foods increased immensely. He began eating a huge variety of breads, pastas, cereal, meats, dairy (well, substituted dairy) and fruits. He doubled his vegetable intake to 2 – form corn to corn and spaghetti sauce. But he’s still very hesitant to try other vegetables and won’t eat them.

I have heard much about Jessica Seinfeld’s new book Deceptively Delicious. So I decided to give it a try. Why not? What have I got to loose? His tastes are slowly becoming braver. Maybe the taste of vegetables won’t be so over powering in foods he likes now.

So, I gave him the brownie. “Uh, Mom, this brownie tastes different.” No, keep the creative ideas coming, it can still work! “Well, ummm, probably because I put more chocolate chips in it than usual – it might be, umm, more chocolately.” He takes another bite and thinks. “Yea, that might be it.” Then he finishes it and asks for another one.

VICTORY!!! My son has been tricked. He has eaten carrots and is still living. There has been no tantrum. No tears involved. And maybe over time from the slight taste of carrots in brownies he’ll grow a tolerance to the taste if I give him some on his plate.

Ummm. I wonder what other vegetables I can put in his foods without him knowing :)

Brought to you by The Parent Bloggers Network’s contest promoting Deceptively Delicious. Visit PBN to see how you can participate!

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I Won't Give It Up

What won't I give up you ask? This sweatshirt.

It's just not any ole gray hooded, front pocketed thermal-on-the-inside you see. It's one just like my Dad used to wear. For work. For the 25 years he did construction/concrete foundations. In New England. In the freezing cold. From 5:30am till 6pm if not later. For 6 days a week.

My Dad missed A LOT by working this schedule. But it allowed my Mom to stay at home with us 4 kids, in a town with a superb school district. It allowed all 4 of us kids to take 2 extra curricular activities each growing up (a sports and a musical instrument). It allowed us to have vacations to show us other parts of the country. It allowed for trips to the movie theater for those rainy afternoons and dinner out on lazy Sunday evenings. Mom was always at our school for school plays and classroom parties. And all this was because of the long, hard hours my Dad, who didn't have a college education, put in, to make a better life for his kids.

In the summers, and sometimes on spring or fall Saturdays my brother and I would go to work with him. We'd get up before the sun was, eat breakfast, bundle up in warm clothes, get in the truck and drive on the dark highways. But when we got to the job site and the sun was up we had the best sandbox a kid could ask for. We got to eat lunch out of the big cooler my Dad had. We got to play with our cousins who tagged along with our uncle (Dad and his brother worked together). We got to get dirty. And we got to spend time with Dad.

I've had this sweatshirt for about 20 years. It was the last sweatshirt I had when I stopped going to work with my Dad. I was a teenager and had my own part time job and friends to hang out with. But I've never given up this sweatshirt. I don't wear it anymore. It would be like making new memories and erasing old ones. So, it sits in my closet under all my other sweatshirts. But I also can't give it up. It has too many memories about my Dad, about my family, about my childhood in it.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Horrors of Homework

My son has lost it. And not his homework. He has lost IT. His ability to function. His ability to speak nicely. His ability to set a goal and achieve it peacefully. His ability to get his homework done.

Monday - 4.45 hours of battling
Tuesday 2.45 hours of battling
Wednesday 1.45 hours of battling

His homework should/is designed to take him 45 minutes.

Do you see the pattern though? When I tried praising him on Tuesday for at least making an improvement in how much less time he spent arguing and he was in the right direction (hey - gotta look for the positive where ever you can find it, right?!?) he noticed the pattern - cut in half. So today he was bound and determined to take an hour extra. Because now it's about patterns and completing the pattern. Ugh.

But these meltdowns. I don't want to do homework. My hand hurts. I don't like homework. It's too hard. I want to play outside. I want PlayStation. You're mean. You're not fair. The yelling, the throwing things. The stomping. The excessive fidgeting and wiggling. The increased stemming and echolia when not arguing, having a meltdown or actually doing his homework.

I am so worn out by the time it's bedtime (although I wish it were the same for him!)!
Some of this is age, some developmental, some power battle/seeing what he can get away with, some Asperger. Such a complicated mix.

I won the contest over at Discussing Autism and received the Self-Calming Cards. I need to introduce them first. Teaching a new strategy isn't usually the best in the moment of escalation. It'll only lead to more frustration. But we were busy this past weekend and I didn't have time. But tonight he was fairly calm after finishing his homework, Tae Kwon Do and a nice, long shower. We started working on the cards. He likes them. It'll take some practice to use them without prompting. They're exactly what we needed - some new tricks to put in our bag of tricks.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Warm and Fuzzies

My son has to write a story for class. He has a title page with title (apparently it's going to be a series, Book I, The Castle of Morca). But that's not the warm and fuzzy part. The warm and fussy part is the next page - the dedication page:

For my mother
who is always there to help me

It doesn't get much warmer and fuzzier than that now, does it?

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Friday, October 19, 2007

A New Purse?!?

I had a dream last night that I bought a new purse. And I loved it. And I loved having the chance to go out shopping for the purse. I went to several different stores and searched and searched until I found THE perfect purse.

What's extremely odd is that I HATE shopping. Like, I really, really, really hate it. And I also do not need a new purse.

So, what the heck was that dream supposed to mean?!?

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Autism Video Glossary

Autism Speaks has just released a Video Glossary.

It’s free of charge (you do have do join, but it’s free to join).

It’s got over a hundred video clips. The clips cover everything – overviews, developmental milestones, screening and diagnosis, parent reflections, social interactions, communications, repetitive behaviors and restricted interests, sensory issues, treatments.

It compares ‘normal developing kids’ to those at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders and those already diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Wow do I wish I had this resource when Son was younger. I don’t suppose it really would have changed much; I had already started doing my own interventions long before he was diagnosed. But I SEE him in A LOT of the videos. Just subtle stuff, but it really was there when he was a toddler. It would have validated my concerns as real and legitimate when the doctor, family and friend and family dismissed them.

We knew he had quirks, but we came up for an explanation for everything. Yea, he sorted and examined instead of pretend play – but maybe it’s a sign he’d be an engineer or computer person. Yea, sometimes he spun tires and lined things up, but look at the concentration and attention it took! Nothing wrong with that! And he was happy! No one can dispute that fact.

But still, there was just SOMETHING there that no one listened too.

Because of attention and funding, researchers can now go even earlier in development to spot red flags that will allow children even earlier intervention. There is so much we are finding out about Autism Spectrum Disorders, but still so far to go.

Cross posted to DC Metro Moms

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Monday, October 15, 2007

What's 7 Minutes In The Realm Of Things?

The other day Son was put on restriction for something he had done. He had 7 minutes left until his freedom came back.

Son, “So, Mom, am I off restriction yet? It’s almost 4pm.”

Me, “No, you’ll be off restriction right at 4pm.”

Son, “Aww Mom, what’s 7 minutes in the realm of things?”

P.S. – I stuck my ground and he wasn’t free until 4pm but I did have to leave the room so he wouldn’t see me chuckling at his creativity.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Echolia, Wiggles and More Echolia

One way Son shows stress is stimming. Stimming is when a person does a repetitive behavior over and over again. Like taping a foot or a pencil. But with children on the Autism Spectrum it’s much more obvious. With Son, he recites lines from a song, movie, TV show or commercial over and over (and over and over) again. Or he paces or does laps or spins around the house. Most of the time he doesn’t seem aware of it. But it is his way of telling us that he is out-of-sync or anxious about something. Sometimes he just needs to do this for a few minutes and get it out of his system. Other times he gets stuck and the stimming doesn’t decrease the stress, but he doesn’t mind the stimming either so he keeps doing it (and doing it and doing it). Since the house has gone on the market we’ve noticed a lot of verbal stimming and some wiggling stimming too.

Over on there is a giveaway from Therapy Shoppe – a set of Self-Calming Cards. They look wonderful! They look perfect! They look easy to use! They look convenient! And I want them! I want them because I’m always looking for new tricks to put in my bag. And I want them because I can use them with my clients too. So, you can’t enter to get them (well, I suppose you could, but I really, really want them!), but you can head over to their website and check out their new catalog. I’m going to.

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Friday Haiku Time

Fall is finally here
Cooler weather yeah, raa, raa
Bring out the sweaters!

Leaves are falling down
Orange, brown, red and yellow
Covering the grass

Bring out the pumpkins
Colorful pansies and mums
Harvest time is here

Don’t take out the rake
Let’s enjoy all the colors
And leaves hide dead grass!

I sure do love fall
So, what’s your favorite season?
Is it also fall?

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tag - You're It!

Amalah over at Mom’s Daily Dose ( is tagging her readers to a meme:

8 Random Things In My Kitchen Meme

1. Container to hold cooking utensils.

2. Wood thingy to hold sharp knives.

3 & 4. Hammer & package of nails that husband thinks he has put away properly, because doesn’t everything belong on the kitchen counter?

5. Candle – pumpkin spice – I LOVE fall candle scents. And even though it is freaking 80 degrees outside in October, it smells like fall inside.

6. Some remains of birthday cake that we’ve been munching on.

7. Banana chocolate bread I baked (from scratch even).

8. Me, blog surfing at the kitchen table, instead of doing what stuff that really needs to get done.

So, what's in your kitchen?
Tag – you’re it!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Drum Roll.........

Here's my big announcement I promised was coming last week:

I have been asked to contribute to DC Metro Moms!!!!

I am so honored and excited about this opportunity. If any of you haven't checked them out, do so (as well as their sister sites over in Silicon Valley and Chicago).

Hop on over!

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Family, Fun and Meltdowns

The weekend was nonstop action with family in town. Family included Nana, Papa, Uncle, his 17 month old Son, and his Girlfriend. My Sister, her Husband and their 20 month old Daughter live close by so they were with us all weekend too. So Saturday morning, after Husband and I looked at a couple of houses (and no thank you to those BTW), we headed to the local playground. Fun was had by ALL. Back home for burgers and dogs on the grill. And then we topped the evening off with a delayed birthday celebration for Son and Papa (birthdays are 5 days apart at the end of September).

Sunday we all awoke to head into the city. We walked all the way down the Mall seeing the memorials and sites along the way. A short trip into the Natural History Museum was had, but it was so very crowded and it’s hard to move thru there when you’re in a large group yourself, so we headed back home. I dug out Son’s old toddler toys and Sister and Brother divided them out for their kids. Woo Hoo – less stuff to move around now!!

We all absolutely loved watching the 3 kids play together. I absolutely loved getting to know my brothers Girlfriend better. And a visit from Nana and Papa is always welcomed.

Son did amazingly well with all the people in the house. We made sure to give him his sensory breaks on a regular basis to help keep him in-sync.

However, if anyone was on the corner right by the Natural History Museum on Sunday, they may have noticed us. Son refused to eat his lunch that we had packed. He doesn’t eat much when we have house guests. He was getting ready to melt down mostly due to lack of food. We were sitting on a bench waiting for him to agree to eat when he jumps up, arms flapping and shouting, “Someone call the hospital! Someone call the hospital! Quick! I’m going to crash!” While attempting to calm him down, Husband and I notice people are looking at us, but from a distance as they walk around our bench to give us more room. We got him calmed down and then he started again with, “Call 911! Someone call 911!” After calming him down again he agreed to eat. By then it was too late. He lost everything he ate right there on the sidewalk he had himself so worked up. What ended up calming him down was his breathing he learned at Tae Kwon Do (slow mediating like).

I’m glad no one called 911. We’ve all witnessed children melting down in public. It’s sometimes a tough call for a stranger to decide to intervene or not.

As soon as they all left on Monday Son ate and ate and ate and enjoyed the rest of the day in a very quiet house.

House Update: Our house did not quite pass our realtor’s inspection. She had a few more small things that she wanted us to take care of. So, we have the post on our front lawn, but no MLS yet. That should be up for sure end of this week. Then, let the fun of having a clean-as-possible-while-still-living-in-it-house begin!

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Busy Friday (this seems to be a pattern for Fridays)

Project due today
Family coming in to town
House up on market

Project due today
Final is next Saturday
Then the class is done

Family visiting
Brother, nephew and girlfriend
Nana and Papa

House up on market
Must finish tidying up
Please, please sell quickly

Oh, and one more thing
Big announcement coming soon
So, stay tuned next week!

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Say Cheese

Today is picture day at school. Son freaked out this morning. Said he couldn't go to school. Said he didn't want to go to school. Stomping/jumping on the bottom stair, arms flapping (which we haven't seen in months). "I just can't do it. There is no way we will be able to get everything done today because of pictures. The day will be DIFFERENT!"

OK, breathe Mom. Yes, Son is melting down. Two choices - get moving, we don't have time for this; which will ensue a bigger meltdown and not effectively solve the problem OR stop, breathe, model for Son, and ask what is really bothering him. Be a good Mom. Pick 2nd option.

"Yes, the day will be different."

"I don't like different. We have a lot of different at home now."

"Yes, we do. And now it will be different today at school too. But tomorrow will be back to the regular schedule at school." Begin some sensory deep pressure, make sure voice is quiet. Validate his feelings.

Son is stressed. He didn't do well on a math test and he is upset about that. I started my part-time job and Dad had him yesterday afternoon. Oh - and we are moving. Did I forget to mention that? Not far - just a few neighborhoods over. But we've been looking at houses. We've been packing up and fixing a few things around our house trying to get the house up on the market for this weekend. My big research paper was due last week. Yea, it's been hectic around here. We've noticed A LOT of verbal stemming and sensory bouncing. I've gone back to giving agenda's verbally. I've gone back to making sure he gets his swinging on the tire swing, jumping on the trampoline. He needs them right now. He's under stress. Who wouldn't be. But he deals with stress differently.

Someone on a board I'm on linked this:

It's very well done. Everyone has stress. Everyone has to deal with it. My son is only 9. He's still learning tools to cope with stress. And he deals with stress differently from most kids. It's my job to teach him how to deal with life and what it hands you. He's under stress right now. Who wouldn't be.

Just because he deals with stress differently does not mean he can't be successful. It's my job to help him become successful. When dropping him off at school this morning he thanked me for helping him solve his problem. I think he's going to be just fine.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

It's Done!!

my paper is done
ten whole pages are written
my brain is sore now

literacy and
the factors that impede it
in the preschool years

now to print it out
turn it in at class tonight
a day early too!

noon on a Friday
all school work is completed
what shall I do now?

cook some mac-n-cheese
eat and catch up on some blogs
they're so addicting!

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Haiku Friday

Catch up on blogs or
Write paper due tomorrow
Choices, ugh, choices

I don’t like papers
I must motivate myself
Write, write, write, write, write

It will soon be done
Then I can enjoy my day
And catch up on blogs

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Thursday, September 27, 2007


Dear Retailers,

Is it asking too much that we get thru at least September before we start seeing Christmas stuff up on the shelves? Can we have, umm, I dunno, Halloween stuff staring us in the face when we walk in since, umm, I dunno, that's the next holiday to get excited about?

Someone who would like to enjoy and get all caught up in the holidays, ONE holiday at a time

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, My Baby

Today my Son is 9. Wow. 9 years old.

He has informed me that as of today I can no longer call him My Baby. But no matter how old he is he'll always by my baby.

For each day for 9 years (and 9 months before that) I have kissed, loved, held and nurtured him. I find it truly amazing how each day is so perfectly wonderful, yet each day is more perfectly wonderful than the one before as he continues to grow into an amazing person.

Happy 9th Birthday, My Baby

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Friday, September 21, 2007

To Clean Or Not To Clean, That Is The Question.....

I have a house to clean. I have a 10 page paper to write. I have some baking to do. I have clutter to organize. There are loads of laundry to do. And you know what? I do not feel like doing one bit of it. I want to curl up and watch TV (what is it about TLC that is so addicting?!?) or read a book or surf the net. But then I feel guilty. I have stuff that NEEDS to get done. But I just can't motivate myself to do it. But I should get it all done. Then I can enjoy my weekend with no 'chores'. Then I won't be trying to work on a 10 page paper while also starting a new job next week. But I just don't feel like getting off the couch today.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Got It

The job. The one I really, really, really wanted. It was confirmed this morning. I was pretty sure I got it. The interview started with 'Well, you are everything we are looking for!" But I didn't want to jinx it. I'm basically Super Nanny for families with a child on the Autism Spectrum. I'll go into their homes and help them out with whatever help they need - behavior plans, schedules, strategies, etc. I'll also be participating in any school meetings. I'm the parents cheerleader and advocate. I'm the child's advocate. Just because you have a child on the spectrum doesn't mean you get the handbook to go with it. I can't think of anything more rewarding than helping families to be families. Enjoy going to the park. Being able to run to the grocery store for that one item you ran out off and it just can't wait till the next day. Being able to sit down and have dinner. Most of the work will be from my house with weekly visits to in their home to model. Hours are set by me, and I can pick up as many or as few families as I want at a time.
I'm sooo excited right now!!!

In other news Son had a playdate this past Monday. It went great. Lots of give and take. Both boys had fun. But then it took Son 5 hours to do his 40 minutes of homework, eat dinner, shower, and feed the Gecko. Will have to work on post-playdate stuff now.

And yes, we did have a night to ourselves. Son had the best time at my sisters. He and my brother-in-law stayed up till 1am playing videogames. And me - I missed him. A lot. It just wasn't the same not having him tucked in his bed at the end of the hall. I had 2 dreams that I had lost him while we were out in public. Maybe now that I know he had a good time I'll be better the next time.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pointers For An Interview

Pointers from Son for my interview this morning:

Son, "Mom, you do know what the two most important things are, right?"
Me, "No, what do you think they are?"
Son, "Well, first of all, be polite. And second of all, remember your eye contact."
Me, "Thanks. You're right - those are both very important. I'll be sure to remember those!"

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rain Can Be A Good Thing Sometimes

I have an interview folks!! And I really, really, really hope it goes well, because it's for something I think I'd really enjoy doing. There is a private school for special ed kids (it's mostly for contract services - the county pays the tuition) but also some parents elect to send their kids there on their own and foot the bill. They are looking for an Autism Spectrum Specialist to provide in-home consultation. It's part time - I pick up as many families/cases as I want and set my own hours with the families. Part of the school is a large home support component, however their social workers do not have much experience in autism, which is a growing population in their school.

And, while I was on the phone with the lady from the school, another job prospect called. I had applied for Educational Coordinator at the Children's Hospital (psych unit). Basically coordinating IEP's of kids coming (short term or long term) into or out of the hospital with their base school. But unfortunately job sharing isn't an option, and the hours are 7:30-4:30 so I would need daycare before and after school. Not an option. But that person said he would keep my resume on file and get back to me if something else came up or if by luck someone else wanted to job share along with me.

Both positions would great - totally in my field of experience and totally out of the classroom doing direct teaching.

And, last night at Back to School Night, Son's teacher didn't need to talk to me about anything with son!!!

And, I signed up to be Room Mother. I'm already chairing one of the PTA committees (see why part time AND flexible is needed?).

Wow, when it rains, it pours. And speaking off, it is. Which means although my grass won't be yellow anymore, I"ll need to cut it soon :(

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Umm, opps....

Oops. It's been a while. Oops. Really didn't mean for that to happen. Son started school last week. Figured that would make for a good post. But nope. Not really. He likes school, or rather he loves school. He's in the best mood in the morning and when I pick him up. He gets his homework done right away (4th grade seems to be a completely different ball game - reading, math and writing assignments from day 1!!). No major meltdowns (where is some wood to knock on?!?). Now, don't get me wrong it hasn't been absolutely perfect. But it sure has been nice. Best start to a school year we've had so far.

On the 3rd morning he said he didn't want to go because it was all so overwhelming to be with so many people. And I thought about it. He's right. He's stuck in a room for 6ish hours with 25 other people right next to him being told what to do all day long. When he does leave the room there are other groups of 25ish people walking around in the hallways with him. Recess - the whole grade - probably 150 kids. Lunch - the same thing. For all that working people complain of having cubicles instead of offices, at least they have SPACE - even if it's not much, it's still space. That got me to pondering about how we expect kids to function like this and learn. No major thoughts on it - but got me to pondering about it.

The afternoons have been pretty good. We stop at the playground across the street from the school before heading home. There is a tire swing (he loves a good long spin) and the thing where you hang on this thing with your hands and you're feet don't touch the ground and it glides you across. At home we're seeing a lot more stemming. He repeats things a lot more and for longer times. He spends more time in the basement (which has a ball pool, trampoline, futon music, loud music of his choice and some other sensory stuff). He's tried playing a few times with the neighborhood kids, but hasn't been that interested and has been a little moody with them. But he says he thinks he'll be ready for some play dates in the afternoon next week. Weekend was nice - he played with neighborhood kids, slept in, played Playstation, read, took some Tae Kwon Do classes and played with his cousin. Normal kid stuff :)

I have no idea how he has been doing at school - academically or socially. Tonight is Back To School night. Although not a time for conferencing hopefully I'll get a chance to ask for a quick update. On the other hand, his teacher hasn't contacted me, so no news is good news right?

As for me, I'm just chugging along with my assignments for class. It's a full 3 credit grad level class, but it's 8 weeks long instead of 16. I'm taking 2 this semester, but because it is 8 weeks, there is only 1 class at a time. And wow is it moving at a fast pace! But I'm loving it. A lot. House projects that have been put on hold for way too long are getting done. Cleaned out our storage area and found some boxes that haven't been opened since we moved here (um, like 5 years ago?). I do need to say it's been really weird not doing work. I've never not worked - started in high school, put myself thru college and have continued ever since. I miss it because of the money (lets be honest) and the adult interaction. But on the other hand, it's been really really quiet here during the day and I'm not minding the free time to read, surf the net and just get caught up on things. Son and Husband are loving that it's just me after 3:30 - no planning, grading, making stuff for school (most curriculum for low incidence students is hand made). I too, am really enjoying it. I feel spoiled. I feel guilty.

On a completely different topic I think Husband and I are going to finally have a night on our own. For various reasons we've just haven't done this yet. But I think I'm ready. Actually that's not true. Twice last year Son went to sleep over. But I didn't sleep all night wondering how he was, if we were going to get a call, etc. So, I don't really count that as a night on our own. Yea it was, but we certainly didn't take advantage of it like we should have. But I think this weekend we are. My sister who lives in the area now has a kid of her own. She has offered to take my Son for a night. And I'm surprisingly ok with it. And Son is ok with it. He loves hanging out with my brother-in-law playing video games. Husband has been ok with it for quite a while. So I think this weekend we are going to take her up on the offer and send him there and have a real night alone. A movie out. A nice dinner out. Back home to a kid-free house. Some parents do this often, some never. My sister has spent quite a few nights away from my niece (some social out of town stuff, some business). It's amazed me how she was able to do this from the start. If you've ever had a night without your child, how did you come to the decision? Was it a tough one or a no-brainer?

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Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Time For Reflection

I was never one for making New Year's Resolutions and reflecting on the past year on New Years. It never made sense to me. Yea, it was a new calendar year, but nothing else was beginning new. To me, the week before school starts is a time of reflection. As a teacher and parent, that to me is a new beginning. A time to reflect on how much my son has grown over the past year, to wonder again where the time has gone.

School starts for Son on Tuesday, so this past weekend I've been doing a lot of reflecting. A lot has changed in the past year. Last year was the best school year for him academically and socially. This past summer was the best summer for him socially and maturity. For him, he loves school now. He can't wait to go back to learn, and get this - to see his friends! We went to Open House on Friday. He did well. He likes his teacher (and she is the one I was hoping for). He knows the kids in his class - by face and name. Last year was the first time he could name all the kids in his class by face. (Unlike 2 summers ago when he went to Mad Science camp and was utterly amazed that on the last day of camp when the kids all said goodbye to him - by using his name. In the car he asked how they knew his name. I told him because he had just spent 2 weeks with them and didn't he know their names? No - why would I need to know their names Mom?)

Unfortunately when we came home he paced the house for a full 30 minutes. Through the living room, dining room, kitchen, down the hallway, up to his room and back down. Repeat. 30 minutes. But after that he was fine. Husband and I need to remember that during times of transitions, or whatever he perceives as stressful it takes more for him to stay in-sync. We need to remember to give him time to pace, bounce, whatever it takes. We try not to put extra demands on him, stay calm and patient - model it. I'm noticing more sensory issues this weekend, but so far he isn't regressing big time - just little stuff here and there. I need to remember the first week or two of school he's going to need his space and time here and there. But, if he has a successful transition he'll remember it as such. Next September he'll still be anxious, but hopefully not as much.

This year has been a huge 2 steps forward with small steps backwards. I'm so proud of him. I'm proud of my husband and I for working together to help him be successful. He's definitely on the Spectrum. He'll always be. But unlike previous years, this weekend of reflection has been peaceful and positive. Here's to another year (even though it's not New Years)!

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Sunday, August 26, 2007


It is really strange feeling to not be going back to work tomorrow. Teachers go back one week before the kids do in this county. It's a good strange. Usually by the end of the summer I'm very ready to get back to work - the welcome back meetings, excitement of new kids and new dreams to touch the lives of a new set of kids. It's not bothering me at all that I'm not going back. Not one bit. This is only confirming to me how much I needed a break. But it is strange to not be loading all my teaching stuff in my trunk and hauling it off, not be looking thru a new set of IEP's, etc. It's a little bit of a lost, but happy feeling. the unknown.

On the other hand my grad class started Saturday morning. I LOVE taking classes. I guess it's the geek in me.

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