Thursday, November 5, 2009

Do You Know The Story About The Boy Who Cried Wolf?

I'm beginning to feel like that boy.
I'm busy, but I'll post. But then no post.
I'm still busy, but I'll post. But then no post.

But, I really am busy. Busy enjoying life as it is. And it's different from last year.

Working full time is kicking my butt. Teaching the Adapted TKD is kicking my butt. Being on my son's school PTA Board is kicking my butt. But I love it all.

And why, if all this is kicking my butt did I find myself checking out the PhD programs at GMU and UMD again, for the umpteenth time? Especially when I post on Facebook that there is just not enough time and where does it go?

In other news, hubby and I had 2 new firsts for us.
Adam's teacher conference - NO ISSUES!! Well, spelling and grammar are weak, but that's what spell and grammar check are for as far as I'm concerned. No behavior issues, no social issues. Grades are at an all time high since kindergarten and 1st grade. The few times he didn't have his homework he went on his own to her and told her so and then told her she could expect it the next day. If it gets loud in the room or he's being easily distracted he asks to finish his work in the hallway. She says she sees NO Aspie stuff at all (ADHD yes, but no spectrum).

And

His annual at the pediatrician - no issues to talk. Just a refill for the low dose of meds he is on and a check of tummy, throat, etc. Shortest nicest visit ever.

All this only confirms his ADOS testing in the spring where he tested off the spectrum. Is he really 'recovered'? Or are we just in a really, really good spot thanks to tons of behavioral interventions and 2 parents working together?

But, regardless, I'm just really enjoying life right now. And this new 'phase' Adam has been in. Such a different, but at the same time the same child he's always been.

Next post I'll be sharing how we're entering the world of GIRLS (or rather, how Adam is).
Just hopefully, I won't keep you in suspense very long!

Read more!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Waving a Small Hand Hello (again)....

Umm. Hello out there (waves hand). If there is anyone out there still....

I'm still here, although I know it's hard to believe with all this lack of posting. But it's a good lack of posting. Not a too-much-to-say, lost-at-words, stuff-I-can't/shouldn't-write-about lack of posting. It's more like a I'm-busier-than-ever, but it's all-OK-busy.

  • Loving my job - which I knew I would as I subbed this position 3/4 time last school year. Switching to full time has been everything I expected - loving the challenge and hating trying to find that right balance.
  • I'm on the PTA Board at Adam's school. One of my (main) duties is writing the monthly newsletter. Which doesn't sound like a difficult job, but wow is it way more time consuming than I thought it would be! It doesn't help that our newsletter has won the state's PTA newsletter award a few times in the past few years, so I've got big shoes to fill.
  • The Adapted Tae Kwon Do program is going strong. Really strong. And we continue to have students transition successfully into the regular TKD program too. It's been so incredible to see so many kids with disabilities succeed at TKD, the joy on the parents faces, and the reaction from the other parents and students at TKD that yes, even if you have a disability, you can participate and have fun and make progress in a sport. So much appreciation to our Master for letting us try this program a year and a half ago!
  • Missed the cut-off for the BCBA exam by one day and also 80 hours (I need 1500 hours of supervision). So I'll be waiting till March. But I'll have more time to study too (in theory at least!).
  • Adam is starting the year off flying to the moon. He (for the most part) has finally learned that if he takes a 10 minute break after getting home, then does his homework and focus on it then wow, hey, there is time to play!!!! before dinner and bed!!!! As opposed to arguing about said homework for 2 hours, still having to do it, dinner and bed. He usually has ONE math worksheet on Fridays - a whooping 20 minutes, but since it's Friday, he hasn't made the connection that the same principal applies on this day too. Always a work in progress. His teacher is amazing and has had many positive things to say about him (which, unfortunately we aren't always used to due to his weaknesses taking front and center stage so often). I could really get used to this (as I find some wood to knock on)!
  • And speaking of math - he's in the GT (gifted and talented) Center, which I knew meant math was one grade level above the actual grade he is in. But what I didn't know was that 6th graders learn 7th AND 8th grade math so that if they do well they go to Algebra I in 7th grade. My little 11 year old is learning Pre-Algebra!! And he's loving it! I think it fits his black and white mind so well. He's been hanging his tests on the fridge after each unit.

So, overall, life is pretty damn good right now. And instead of blogging about it, I've just been enjoying it. But I should be back soon. That balance between working full time and everything else has got a light at the end of the tunnel, and I think its the sun, not a train heading towards me.

To keep you busy in the meantime, though, head over to Every Day I Write the Book. I just finished reading the October EDIWTB book club selection - Cost by Roxana Robinson - a definite must to put on your to-read-list!

Read more!

Friday, September 11, 2009

On Monday

I start my new job. After several interviews with no offers, teachers reporting back to work, and kids going back to school, I finally got an offer.

The best part - it's a position that I did last year but now I'm contracted. A position I absolutely loved. A position that uses everything I learned in the ABA/BCBA coursework from the past 2 years.

Summer may be over, but I'm not sad. I'm excited to start this new adventure :)

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

The End Of Summer

I haven't been around much this summer.

At least here on this blog.

But maybe in real life too.

It's been a long summer. Happy, stressed, frustrating, upsetting, relaxing, learning, and hopeful times.

I think I'll be ready to start writing again soon.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

"The Dangerous Days of Daniel X: Watch The Skies"



Once again, MotherTalk has offered me (well, actually Adam) a book to enjoy. Adam loved The Dangerous Days of Daniel X, and now James Patterson has written the second novel in the series.

And here's the scoop from Adam:

What did you think of the book?
I thought it was a really good book and it had a really interesting plot to it. I think that Number Five sounded really cool and I really want to have the powers and surgical operations that he had.

Who was your favorite character?
Daniel X - because he is so awesome at crime fighting and he knows all these martial arts and rocket launchers.

What was your favorite part of the book?
My favorite part was when Daniel X's Dad turns the minivan into a big giant computer tech crime fighting place. I also liked the part when he destroyed Number Five.

Compare the first book to the second book?
I think the second book was a little bit better because I was introduced to more characters. There is a lot more action and fighting too. I also liked the second book because it had a plot that caught my interest more.

Would you be interested in the series continuing?
Yes, I would love the series to continue.

What do you think will happen to Daniel X in the next book?
I think he will fight the vicious villain Number Four and work his way down to Number One.

Thanks MotherTalk & James Patterson for allowing Adam to review this book. Head over here to see what others are saying!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Obligatory Pre-Blogher Post

Around the blogosphere are lots of posts about getting ready to go to Blogher. So I suppose I should do one too.

Except I'm not going. No particular reason. Just not going.

So - you all have fun, share stories, and have a few drinks for me. OK?

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Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm Right Here, You're Right Here

Right where we both belong. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Bumps in the road? Yup. Who doesn't? Do we flatten those bumps out? Yup. Are some bumps bigger than others? Yup. Sometimes the bumps pile up faster and faster, but we always flatten them somehow.

Last night we were sitting in a restaurant. I was talking about yet another friend who is getting a divorce. Adam commented that it seems like a new trend. What with both is aunts leaving their husbands this year and some other friends of ours splitting. You answered that you had no desire to join that trend. I immediately agreed. Adam smiled.

Marriage is work. But that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. Somehow the concept of work brings negative thoughts. But you love your job - it's work, but you love it. Same here. And our marriage, our family? It's a job. It's work. But we love what we have built. We love what we have.

I'm right here, you're right here. Right where we both belong. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

This post has been inspired by Michael Miller's book What Happened to the Girl I Married? the July book club for the SV Moms Group. Michael writes about staying at home to learn what it's like for his wife. And by doing so, falls in love all over again with his wife and finds out what happened to the girl he married, as well as what happened to the husband he became.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What's In A Name?

Three years ago we put Adam in a Mad Science Camp. He loves science. He need Help with his social skills. So, I thought, putting him in a camp where he had a huge interest in the topic might help him converse easier with the other kids. He went for 2 weeks. He loved it. He talked about the science experiments. He talked about the science topics. He never talked about the other kids. Unless it was because he escorted them to the bathroom or to get a drink of water. (The counselors allowed him this special privilege because he was also known as the 'Police Officer' and 'Mini-Bill Gates' - who better a kid to make sure they got back?)

On the last day of camp we said goodbye to the counselors and the other kids. Most of them all said, "Bye Adam." He just said, "Bye."

When we got to the car he asked me how they all knew his name. He was truly surprised that they had known it. I said, "Adam, you just spent 2 weeks with them. Don't you know their names?" He looked confused. "Why would I? I was there to do science."

The past 2 years he has made tremendous progress. We decided to give camp another try this summer. This time we enrolled him in TechAdventure Camp. Another topic of interest, hoping it would be easier to converse with the other kids, and that with the improved social skills he WOULD converse with the other kids.

I picked him up yesterday - the first day of camp.

"So, how was it?" I asked.

"We all got pedometers. And in photo shop they took pictures of us and we played around with them with some picture program. And during break I made a new friend. His name is Aiden. And he's in the same grade as me. And he's going to the same middle school as me in 2 years!" he said with a smile.

Today they shot elastics at each other during lunch. And he met a couple more kids.

What's in a name? So much.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Delurking?

Hi all!
Just delurking to say hi.
Can the writer of her own blog technically delurk?

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What I love about bedtime

is that my just-about-done-with-5th-grade son still comes downstairs after he's brushed his teeth and insists that I come up and tuck him into bed.

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Wounded by School?

I'm over here talking about school wounds.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

And This Time I Mean It

Really. I really mean it this time.

This time I am going to exercise and eat better and stick with it.
I mean, seriously. Twenty - thirty minutes a day. Slightly smaller amounts of food at meals. Fruits for snacking.
How hard can it be? It's not.
And it works. I've seen the results.
And I like the results. I like how I look. How I feel. The increase energy. The happier moods.

But life. It gets in the way. Food is yummy. Sitting around is easy.

But then I gain back the weight I lose. I start not liking how I look. I start not liking how I feel.

But this time I am serious. This time I mean it. This time I am going to start up again and stick with it.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

When Divorce Hits Home

I'm over at DC Metro Mom's talking about divorce.
Whether a celebrity, a friend, or a family member, divorce is sad.

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Can't Get Much Better Than This

Adam was supposed to participate in a study at Kennedy Krieger Institute.

There were a few phases before he got his turn. We easily passed each phase to continue in the study.

Yesterday was Adam's turn. He was to have the ADOS, an IQ test, a lunch break and then a practice MRI to get ready for the MRI/social skills component today.

After 3 hours the tester came out with him and told me they would be ending at lunch time.
Adam doesn't qualify for the study.

Because when they gave him the ADOS, he scored outside the range for being anywhere on the Autism Spectrum. The tester saw NOTHING. Absolutely nothing.
I was speechless.
I know he's been doing well. I've even wondered if he is still on the spectrum. So many good weeks in a row. So many social and behavioral milestones met. So much hard work over the years with behavioral treatments.

Although it's not official - he'd need a comprehensive workup to rule out Aspergers/PDD, and he'd probably end up with ADHD and/or anxiety, it's real. He's really, truly is making huge gains.

We've been lucky. I was a special ed teacher working with kids on the spectrum before we had Adam. I've been able to take grad classes to help him. I've been able to take time off of work to focus on him. I've had time to read and research. There is so much to be said for knowledge and early intervention.

Which is why I was so saddened to see this article in the Washington Post yesterday.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

More Books!

I really wasn't kidding when I said I had been busy reading books since my grad classes ended. Or rather switched from assigned chapters to leisure reading.

Here's some more:
20 Boy Summer

and

Surviving High Society

Read more!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

More Things that suck

Being on strong steroids and antibiotics for systemic poison ivy.

Read more!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Things that suck

Right now systemic poison ivy is right up there at the top of that list.

Read more!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

I have about 10 books to review. Yup. I've been really busy reading since my grad classes have ended 4 weeks ago. But I've also had extra time to read. Adam has been home for the last 2 weeks. And a few days missed 2 weeks before that too

Reviews and the story of why he's missed so much school will be coming shortly.

Until then, I'll leave you with this (from the lovely lady who provides me with books to read) as a preview of one of the books I'll be reviewing real soon:

HELP! I've Been Working Out Like Crazy, Eating Right and STILL Can't Lose Weight
A Do-Now, 4-Step Guide to Kick Starting Summer Weight Loss
By Wendy Chant,
Author of Conquer the Fat-Loss Code

Few things in this life are as frustrating as working hard to look better, firm up or slim down and, after a few weeks -- or a few months -- of eating right and exercising STILL having nothing to show for it! But take heart; often it's just the few, simple things we do to "kick start" our program that can make all the difference.
And let's not forget: progress shows up on the inside first and the outside second! All that hard work and effort is creating a healthier, heartier, stronger you, even if you can't see it right away. With spring nearly over and beach weather almost here, sometimes we just need a pre-summer "booster shot" to make sure that our outside catches up in time for bikini season.
The following 4-Step Guide will help you find the hidden saboteurs in your current diet and fitness plan and help you overcome the spring plateau to find you facing summer with a brand new you -- inside AND out:
  • Step 1 – Hit the "Reset" Button: When something isn't working, it's insanity to keep doing what isn't paying off. If the scale isn't budging, if your pants still feel the same around the middle, if you know you've been trying your hardest and nothing is simply working, stop beating your head against the same brick wall and start all over again. That's right; hit the "reset" button. Treat tomorrow like the first day -- not the 101st -- and use this time to reexamine how you're approaching whatever system you've been using. Don't see it as a failure but as a new opportunity to reinvigorate and reexamine your current plan for cracks and leaks to see what might be going wrong.
  • Step 2 – Write it Down: The best way to start from scratch is to go back and start writing down everything you put in your mouth for a few days. You may or may not have done this at the beginning of your program but, if so, do it again. Oftentimes we work so hard at the basics -- setting the alarm, exercising, cutting out one food group, etc. -- that we let other bad habits slip in, forgetting that our after-work out smoothie has more fat grams, sugar and calories than breakfast and lunch combined. It is often these systematic saboteurs that can derail an otherwise healthy fitness plan and the only way to properly identify them is to see them, in black and white, in a Food Diary.
  • Step 3 – Give it Up: If, thanks to Step 2, you notice that those granola bars you've been nibbling on for breakfast are packing a whopping 340-calories and 16 grams of fat, not to mention 23 grams of sugar, try something else for a week and see if you notice a difference in either your weight or the fit of your pants. If you do everything the same and, one-by-one eliminate or replace one item at a time, like a sugary-sweet "healthy" granola bar or a calorie and fat-packed "health" smoothie, you have probably just identified your plateau culprit and by eliminating or replacing it you will see more and more progress as the weeks go by.
  • Step 4 – Switch It Around: Lastly, the body doesn't respond well to routine. By that I mean the Law of Adaptation states that if you do the same thing, at the same pace, at the same time, for the same length of time every single day, even if it's something absolutely great for you like walking around the block six times or riding your bike for 35-minutes, your body WILL adapt and the exercise won't be as effective. It's always good to keep your body, and the Law of Adaptation, on their toes by switching up your workouts, your pace, your duration, even your mealtimes to keep the body active, your metabolism perky and your diet and fitness goals on track.

As you can see, as hard as you work, if you're not paying attention to those little details they can easily sneak up and derail all your hard work and effort. But fear not; now you have the tools -- four of them to be exact -- to be alert and vigilant for these fitness foes and diet disasters to look and feel great anytime of the year.

©2009 Wendy Chant, author of Conquer the Fat-Loss Code

Author Bio
Wendy Chant, author of Conquer the Fat-Loss Code, is a certified personal trainer and a specialist in performance nutrition. She holds a bachelor of science degree in medical science and nutrition science. A champion bodybuilder, she opened her own training center, ForeverFit® , in 1998.

For more information please visit http://www.joinforeverfit.com/

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sick?

Tuesday Adam went home sick from school. It wasn't too much of a surprise. He woke up with a runny nose, but I made him go because he had a science quiz. I told him he had to take it and could go to the nurse afterwards if he wasn't feeling better. So, he took his quiz and went to the nurses office.

Tuesday night he started a low grade fever, so I kept him home Wednesday. Wednesday he woke up with a low grade fever, but it was gone by lunch and hasn't returned. But I kept him home today in case it did. Cuz I'm an awesome Mom that listens to the 24-hour-free-fever-rule.

Well, that and tonight my last project is due and it's also my final. So I really didn't mind missing work. Gives me some time to study more, and spend time with Adam more (since he has definitely been neglected some this semester).

I thought he was feeling better today. But then he went and cleaned out his backpack ON HIS OWN. He threw out tons of papers, and sorted those that were left into their proper notebooks.

THEN he took a paperbag from the grocery store and made a mask out of it. An art project. My son does not do art projects. At all. And all the while telling me how much better paper is than plastic. Not just for the environment, but for mask making. Because, you know Mom, it's really not easy or a good idea to make masks out of plastic bags.

He has no fever. His runny nose is just about gone. He's not really sick anymore. But I can't say he's acting normal either!

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Moms and Food

Thanks to Devra and Sarah, the DC Metro Moms enjoyed a lovely night out at The Good Stuff Eatery. Eating. Talking. Meeting Spike from Top Chef.

This blogging thing brought us all together. We are all moms. We all come from different walks of life, have different opinions, are parenting children of many different ages and needs, yet this doesn't put up dividers in our ability to be friends. Because we are all Moms. The sisterhood of moms.

And as we approach Mother's Day, what a better way to celebrate than to recognize the sisterhood of moms.

Quaker kindly sponsored our evening, But more importantly also made a donation to the Capital Area Food Bank (which Devra, Sarah, and Spike are also involved in). The Food Bank is always in need of donations. With the economy in the state it is, people are turning to community services and public assistance and more than ever.

I remember as an elementary and middle school child going with my Mom into New Haven to help serve dinners to homeless Moms and their children. My Mom always reminded me that it wouldn't take much for us to be on the other side of the serving table. I could easily be that child never knowing where my next meal would be.

That message that it doesn't take much to be on the other side has always stayed with me. And despite having a job and some money saved up, I know that it wouldn't take too many series of unfortunate events to end up there. And as a mother, struggling to feed her child, I would be grateful to companies like Quaker who are taking a role in helping those in need.

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Why we're looking into social skills groups now

Adam doesn't have an IEP. He does have a 504 Plan. And for the most part, it really is all he needs. Because he's in the GT program, it's hard to show where the educational impact of Aspergers comes in. Because, for him, academics are not the issue.

For him, his area of weakness is social skills and organization. He can greet and have conversations, and in several settings appear typical to an untrained eye. But he definitely has his moments.

One of them was this week. He came home very upset. As in got his stuffed animal and rocked (I've never seen this reaction before). Seems at the end of lunch while his class was waiting for the teacher to pick them up from the cafeteria he went over to a peer and the peer pinched and pushed him away. Adam left, but then returned and was once again pushed. He left and returned for a third time to which the peer told him to go away.

I asked him why he kept going back if he was getting pushed. Adam told me it was because he wanted to talk with some of the kids that were congregated. He told me after the 2nd time it occurred to him that maybe if he stopped singing the others wouldn't mind him being there.

"Wait, you were singing Adam?"

"Yes"

"What were you singing?"

"The National Anthem"

"Ummm, why?"

"I just wanted to see if I still remembered all the words. Then I thought that was why they didn't want me there. Because maybe they didn't want to hear that song."


Adam's been having more interactions with peers this year that start off OK (well, OK, this one was doomed from the start), but after the initial conversation Adam has difficulty reading others cues, or when there is more than 2 kids with Adam in the conversation.

We alsy happened to have a doctor's appointment this week. For the first time his pediatrician recommended social skills groups, and I'm thinking he might be right.

But here is my concern with social skills groups: you stick a bunch of atypical kids in a room to learn and practice contrived situations. And then you send them home. There is no one to monitor the child practicing to give corrective feedback or praise in the natural setting. Which is why we've never signed him up for them before. And because there is no educational impact he doesn't get special services in school (and honestly, to work on this particular skill, in a natural setting without a teacher making it look obvious to the peers would be VERY difficult).

I've always worked on the skills with Adam 1:1 with a rationale, model, and practice; and then worked on them with him with play dates. And it's worked. But he's getting older. He doesn't always want me with his play dates. And he hangs outside more with the neighborhood kids. It's getting harder for me to do this.

It just may be time to try a social skills group.

*the student pushing him did have a consequence of having to eat in the principals office the next day.

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Then Came Thursday. Again.

I started the week off great - losing only 1 pound, but noticing I was CONSTANTLY pulling my pants up because they were too loose in the waist!

This week I stuck with:
- Jillian Michael's No More Trouble Zones
OR
-bike riding for 45 minutes and Shred Level 1

I REALLY wanted to get some running in, but it was either way to hot or raining. It needs to stop raining (for about a week now, with about 4 more days forecasted) so I can start the 5K in 6 weeks program. I can already run for 30 min straight, but I have no idea if I'm running 1 mile or 5. I need to track it and then set a goal to raise it.

But back to this week, I was doing great with one of the options Sun - Wed then came Thursday (I have grad class) and Friday (I'm wiped from the week) and Saturday (busy with errands and stuff). My final is this Thursday and my goal is to somehow come up with a plan to keep exercising at the end of the week. I'm great at sticking to it Sun - Wed, but fall apart Thurs - Sat. I see results Sun - Wed, and plateau Thurs - Sat. You'd think it'd be motivation to workout Thurs - Sat, but it's not yet.

Ideas fellow shredders?

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Embarrassing

This week the SV Mom's Group is talking about Suzanne Guillette's book Much to Your Chagrin: A Memoir of Embarrassment.

This book has lots of stories about people's embarrassing moments and other Mom's are blogging about theirs.

So, what's mine you ask?

Not gonna say. Weird, uh? Here I am blogging to the world about this and that, yet I don't feel comfortable sharing an embarrassing moment with you.

Maybe because although I blog, in real life I am extremely shy. Extremely. Shy. And because something may be embarrassing to me, maybe you'll think it's stupid or silly. And because I'm shy I'll take it extra personally. Or something. I dunno.

Or maybe it's because I've tucked them all away in my mind. I mean, who WANTS to remember embarrassing moments!
I did enjoy the book. Honestly, though, not at first. The second person tone kinda turned me off at first. But as I got into the story the story hooked me.
This post was inspired by the Silicon Valley Moms Blog book club selection, Much to Your Chagrin by Suzanne Guillette. Other people may be much more braver than I in sharing their embarrassing moments.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Human Yo-Yo

Yo-yo  (as defined by Dictionary.com)
1 .a spool like toy consisting of two thick wooden, plastic, or metal disks connected by a dowel pin in the center to which a string is attached, one end being looped around the player's finger so that the toy can be spun out and reeled in by wrist motion.
2. something that fluctuates or moves up and down, esp. suddenly or repeatedly.

Human Yo-yo (as defined by me)
1. A human that fluctuates or moves up and down, especially suddenly or repeatedly in the area of weight gain and loss

How To Create A Human Yo-yo:
1. Shred and lose 8 pounds
2. Have a birthday and luck out with THREE NIGHTS IN A ROW OF DATES with your husband. Which were spent dining out. Because, hello?!? Three nights of eating and talking with an adult?!?
3. Gain 5 pounds from said birthday fun.
4. Spring weather and motivation - lose 3 pounds from running and trying out other Jillian Michael's programs on On Demand.
5. Lose 3 pounds from motivation.
6. Gain 4 pounds in 36 hours. WTF?!? Where did that come from? Dude, I know I ate a lot the weekend before, but I worked out, ate better and lost most of it!
7. Wake up the next day with cramps and realize it's not really weight gain - it's bloatedness. Yup - you can guess what it's from.
8. Continue to exercise and eat well and unbloat.
9. Lose 4 pounds.
10. Continue to exercise and eat well.
11. Lose another 2 pounds.
12. Net loss of 8 pounds.

Hence, I have become the Human Yo-yo.

I have definitely noticed improved endurance. Before I'd run for 30 -45 minutes, but it was really run for a song, walk for half a song, run for a song or two, walk for a song. For the past 2 weeks I've been able to run for 30 minutes with NO stopping!

And I've decided that I really like Jillian Michael's. I have been trying out some other exercise programs on On Demand. I keep returning to Jillian Michael's. It's something about the way she motivates that really works for me. And her pointers on keeping form - belly button to the ground, toes pointed that really help me get the most of her workouts. Team Jillian it is for me.

Stay tuned for what this Human Yo-yo does next!

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Break

It's spring break.

Despite the snow flurries we had yesterday. Which, along with the wind and cloudiness is not putting me in the mood to work on the yard. Which was one of my goals for Spring Break.

Another goal - to keep shredding. Not happening. Last weekend was my birthday and hubby and I managed to go out to dinner Friday, Saturday AND Sunday! Friday Adam had TKD class, a weapons class and Demo Team practice - so a mini-date it was for us. On Saturday Adam had a 2 hour bday party at dinner time - so, we went out to dinner. And Sunday, not expecting our Friday and Saturday treats, we had booked a babysitter a while back. Movie and a dinner it was for us! Which means I have LOTS of shredding to do. Lots. But I'm just not motivated to right now. Not sure why - I was doing so good keeping up a stable exercise plan and eating right.

Another goal - to catch up on school work - that has been happening - lots of reading and papers are being written.

Another goal - to have fun with Adam - that has been happening. He's been having a blast playing with the neighborhood kids and watching lots of TV. Interestingly, no Nick or Disney or whatever channel it is that shows Zoey 101 and Carly and those other preteen shows. He's been watching Discovery, Smithsonian and National Geographic and not getting enough of them!

So, although we aren't going anywhere fancy, we sure have been having some fun just hanging out!

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Shred, Shred and more Shredding

Well, maybe not that much shredding. But, progress none the less!

This week I stayed at Level 1 again. I need to move up because although Level 1 isn't easy, it certainly has become comfortable to do and I really like the flow of Level 1.

I was able to go for two 30 minute runs and do the Shred 3 times this week. No change on the scale,

BUT (drum role........)

this morning I was able to fit into a size 4 pants I haven't been able to in over a year. I had actually tried this pair a little more than a week ago and couldn't get them past my mid-thighs. Two months ago - I had to buy a size 10 pants!

Definitely seeing decreased size/toning in the stomach, thighs and arms.

So, despite no movement on the scale, this morning was certainly a huge motivator to keep going!

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Spring (and 3 days)!

Signs of spring are sprouting up around the yard!



And spring wouldn't be complete without a Momma Bird making a nest....

for her new little baby bird!


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Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome to theShredheads

So. Lots of my blogging friends have joined I'll Stop the World and Shred With You.

I actually joined them about 2 months ago, but they didn't know. I guess I'm sorta coming out of the closet. Or rather finally getting around to officially join them.

Here's some of the basic Shredhead info:

1. Pics - not motivated enough to take them, download them and post them. You'll have to use your imagination here.

2. Tag Line - MyLossAsItIs @ MyLifeAsItIs

3. Weight - started at 130. Which probably sounds like a decent weight. Except I'm only 5 feet all. And before I got pregnant I was 118, which was slightly more than when I got married. I only gained 25 pounds with Adam, and was extremely fortunate that all but 5 pounds was gone by his 5 day check up. Those last 5 pounds were easily lost. And that was 10 years ago. And, in fact, 2 years ago I was down to 112. After lots of running and kickboxing. I felt the best I had in years. Then I found out I had extremely high cholesterol. And because I was already fit and eating right it was straight to meds for me. Then I gained 1o pounds in one month. Stopped meds. Plateaued. Tried a different med. Gained another 10 pounds. Stopped meds. Plateaued. Which put me up to 132 this past Christmas, with high cholesterol and a poor response to meds. I weighed more than I did when I came home from the hospital with a newborn!

4. Goal - to get back down to 112. Yup. 20 pounds.

5. Diet Plan - to increase fruits and veges - especially on the days I don't Shred. And decrease portions of food for all meals.

6. Personal Rules - to do my best.

7. Shred Plan - I started this back at the end of January. And I'm proud to say I've already lost 7 pounds! I don't do it every day. I wish I could. But I simply don't have the time, despite it being only a 20 minute workout. I try to get in 3-4 times a week of Shredding.

I started on Level 1 for about 2 weeks and moved to Level 2. It was OK. It was a lot of up and down. And with a heart condition the up and down was making me dizzy. So I moved to Level 3. I like that one a lot. But some days I ride the bike for 20 minutes before shredding and on those days I do Level 1. I like Level 1. I like the flow and the workout.

I know I could probably lose more if I did it more than 3-4 times a week, but that is what I comfortably have time for. And so far I've been happy with the weight loss as well as the slimming of the stomach and arms, and the looser feel of the clothes.

It's motivation to keep me going.

Do you want to join in on the fun too?

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

To Have Gluten or Not, That Is The Question, Part III

And slowly, that question is getting answered (for a quick recap, see Part I and Part II).

Adam had the blood tests - no Celiacs Disease :) Which means it's just an intolerance. So much easier to monitor. And what a relief for Adam! We've already replaced cereal and snacks to gluten free versions. It always amazes me how much gluten free food there is popping up. And because it's not a true allergy, very small traces are acceptable. The upside to gluten free foods is that there often organic and have no added junk to them. As Hubby pointed out, we all eat better when he's on the gluten diet.

In just a week his head banging at bedtime is starting to decrease. Random noises are turning into repeated phrases (which are easier to fade out). He's had 2 successful playdates this weekend.

Last night we sprung an outing to an Irish Restaurant with live music. We had mentioned we might go there this weekend. He was able to handle it with just a little bit of whining (we did leave in the middle of Sponge Bob), but once there he had a great time.

Two steps forward, one step back. And the journey of life continues.

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Your Child's Strengths


The kind folks over at FSB Associates have once again asked me to review a book for them. Your Child's Strengths - A Guide for Parents and Teachers is writen by Jenifer Fox.

I'll admit, at first my motives were selfish - I'd read the book, write a review and apply the strategies with my son. And I do plan on doing so.

However, I wasn't expecting to agree so much with Ms. Fox! Her focus is that schools are negative - focusing on the weakness of its students. We put labels on kids. We focus on their errors. And, as an educator, I've got to agree with her!

Instead, she focus on identifying children's stengths based on 3 areas (activity, relationship and learning) and nurting them. In her book she shares with the readers how to identify those strengths, and then how to make them even stronger. She include a practical workbook to practice these skills. Ending the book is an outline for the Affinities curriculum (Ms. Fox has implemented this in her school with positive results).

Her approach is easy. Her writing is simple. Her method is built on positive strategies. What more could you ask for?

See for yourself, here is an excerpt from her book:

The Strengths Code
by Jenifer Fox,
Author of Your Child's Strengths: A Guide for Parents and Teachers

In the early years, parents can do four things to set the stage for a child's self-discovery:
-Record observations of preferences, quirks, and choices
-Stimulate imagination through creative play
-Create rich memories with tradition and ritual
-Model positive attitudes and positive approaches to life

It's never too early for you to begin molding your child's memories and his imaginations. A positive environment will give your child a sense of security and confidence, and your child will appreciate your observations -- even if he disagrees with them.

Remember, strengths are not talents or skills, or what your children are good at. All those things are open to evaluation and criticism. Strengths are far more personal -- they are the activities that make someone feel strong. Your child may be good at doing math problems, but unless she feels energized by that activity, a course of study or a career choice that has a heavy focus on solving mathematical problems will probably not yield a passion for the work or a happy life. Children begin life with a strong desire to please, but they don't go through adolescence that way. Beware: a child may abandon the pursuit of a true strength if he believes you chose it for him or it is something you are attempting to impose. When I was in fifth grade, my mother dragged me to an acting class, insisting I would love acting. At that time in my life, I was reluctant to do or try anything she suggested. The more she insisted acting was my true calling in life, the more I resisted. Years later, after I interviewed for my first teaching job, the principal called, offering me the position of high school drama teacher. I told him he must have made a mistake, I had interviewed for the English teaching job. He said he thought I would make a great drama teacher and asked if I would give it a try, which I did. I loved teaching acting, which led to my own acting with a community theater. Later on in this chapter I will give you suggestions about how to encourage without pushing so you don't accidentally steer a child away from a strength.

Your role in the development of your young child's strengths should be more like a personal assistant than a boss. You can think of this relationship in the same way Michelangelo thought of his sculptures. He saw a slab of stone and knew that a masterpiece was inside it, begging to come out. His job was to see it and release it. The strengths are already in your child. Your job is to help your child see and release them.

The above is an excerpt from the book Your Child's Strengths: A Guide for Parents and Teachers by Jenifer Fox. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Reprinted by arrangement with Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from Your Child's StrengthsCopyright © Jenifer Fox, 2009

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Friday, March 6, 2009

It's just not you I'm ignoring

It's my son now too.
As an autism behavior resource teacher I travel to a lot of schools. And my cell phone doesn't always work in all of them.
So today I missed the call from my son's school nurse that he had vomited and needed to be picked up.
My husband didn't miss his call so he got him. And took him home.
Me - I was busy at work and didn't even notice the phone message until 4 hours later. By the time I had gotten home he had also started a fever. He's now napping after being given some Tylenol.
I feel like I won The Worst Mother Of The Year Award today.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

To Have Gluten Or Not, That Is The Question, Part II

A while back, I posted Part 1 of To Have Gluten Or Not, That Is The Question. That weekly point sheet he had in school? He failed it in January and February. It kept track of him completing work and interacting positively with his peers for each academic subject. The 3 weeks before Christmas break and no gluten? B, B+ and A. After Christmas break and on gluten? B, C, C-, D, F, F, C. His teacher was not told he was eating foods with gluten.

So, Monday we head back to the doctor for a consult to discuss the stomach issues. Hubby and I have seen a huge increase in rigidity, needing agendas, difficulty with change, low tolerance to social situations and changes in routines, head banging to go to sleep, during the night and while he's waking up, red ears, bumps on his upper arms and lots of sitting on the toilet for long amounts of times.

Ya know, when I am talking with other parents it is so easy to give them good, practical advice that works for their kids. When I go into a classroom I can quickly access an issue and come up with a solution for the teacher to implement to teach a pro-social behavior to a student and decrease an inappropriate behavior. I can help them foster communication and social skills with their students. And its easy. So very easy for me.

But Adam. This stuff is so hard when it's your own. Whether we find a medical reason or not, it's becoming very clear he simply can not handle being on gluten. Meeting his behavioral needs is taking up so much energy. The constant agenda's he needs. The meltdowns if someone can't play with him. The rigidity that things must.be.done. this.way or a meltdown. If something is changed a meltdown. Oh, the metldowns. It's so painful to be him right now. And so painful to parent him right now. Because inside I hurt so much too. My heart hurts so much for him. I truly hate that life is so hard for him and that I can't kiss him and make it better.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bedtime

It's only 9:30, but I'm way too tired to write my paper, or read the few chapters and articles I still have left for Thursdays classes. I'm even too tired to play around on Facebook and Twitter.

I really miss the days of undergrad (and even grad school) when I could work a full day, attend classes, get some studying done and then head out for a night of fun.

When did getting old happen?

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Life Moments With A Child On The Spectrum #9

Today Adam had a math worksheet on comparing numbers using percents.

One problem read:
If Jay has $20 and Mitchell has $80, what percent of Mitchell's money does Jay have?

Adam's answer:
Jay doesn't have any of Mitchell's money.

And this is a perfect example of how his literalness interferes with his education.
He had no problem with the other examples.
(What percent of a yard is a foot, If Carlos makes $480 a month and spends $120 a month for rent, what percent of his income does he spend on rent).

Had he put his answer to Jay's money on a test it surely would have been wrong. And his teacher may not have seen the humor in it either.

He can do the work. Heck, he had solved all the math problems in his head correctly before I had finished reading the problem. But only if they couldn't be taken literally.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Psst

I'm over here today, pondering New Years Resolutions.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pre and Post 9/11

Tonight the Prez (per CNN), "He discussed the attacks of September 11, 2001, saying, "As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11. But I never did."



I don't know about you, but as I was reading the headlines of a plane down in the Hudson River tonight, my first thoughts were 9/11 and was this the beginning of something similar happening again. I think he underestimates how much 9/11 changed more than him.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Time

At bedtime last night:

Me: Adam, speed it up - put the toys away so you can get into bed.
Adam: Cleaning up takes some time. You can't speed up time Mom.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

To Have Gluten Or Not, That Is The Question

A little more than 2 years ago we put Adam on the Gluten Free Casein Free (GFCF)diet. He was allowed no gluten (wheat, barely, rye) or dairy. None. Zip. Luckily we live in an area where finding alternative foods was easy. We soon found there really was nothing he couldn't have - just had to be a GFCF version.

We did this because in the Autism Community there is a lot of talk of improvement with this diet. My thought was hey - I'm not putting something in him, so it can't hurt. And it didn't. And we noticed improvements. Within 3 weeks. Small things - like he stopped chewing on his shirts. He sat when doing classwork. He reduced his random noises big time. He reduced his focus/preoccupation on nontraditional/developmental appropriate objects. He started asking for playdates. And he knew every one's name in his class for the first time. Little things that impeded his communication, social development and behavior faded away. His teacher noticed a difference too. There were a few days I'd give him something he shouldn't have had and not told his teacher. Sure enough those days she came by my room to let me know he had been 'off' that day.

As much as we believed the diet was leading to this significant and positive outcomes, I always questioned it. I mean really. You take out gluten and casein and autism 'symptoms' go away? And why?

The rational behind the diet is Leaky Gut Syndrome. Basically it means that your stomach has holes, and that because of the holes, nutrients - the protein from gluten and casein - leak into the bloodstream when they shouldn't. This then causes an opiate effect on the person. There are studies that show this with mice. Lots of folks think its the vaccinations that are tearing up the insides of these kids stomachs. I remembered that Adam had 2 of 3 shots of a Rotovirus vaccination that was recalled before he got the 3rd one due to stomach obtrusion in some kids. He also had Cdiff when he was 6 months and on his first round of antibiotics.

So it made sense that his stomach was torn up and needed healing. But I always thought, if gluten and casein proteins go through the holes, wouldn't other stuff and wouldn't that also have some kind of effect? Yet, on the other hand, he was doing well. Really, really well. And we hadn't changed anything else medication, educationally or behaviorally.

Every 6 months we'd let him cheat to see how he reacted. And within 45 min his ears were bright red, and he was acted more 'autistic' for the next day or so. But the last cheat, last spring, the ears were only red for 30 min and the behavior effects only lasted about 2 hours. Yea, I noticed something, but not much different than when a kid goes to a birthday party and has a lot of sugar.

Over the summer we decided to do some medical investigation. We took him to a Ped Gast who we liked immediately. He didn't dispute that kids on the spectrum often have stomach/bowel issues. But he didn't know why either. The scientific evidence just simply isn't there (yet). With the testing we found out he had the gene for Celiacs. But so do a lot of people. The only true way to find out if he had Celiacs would be to dump gluten in him, wait for a reaction and scope him. Something we really aren't willing to put him through.

But on the other hand, I really (and Adam) wanted to know if he would always have to be on this diet. So we let him having dairy - slowly at first. Maybe it was Celiacs and dairy would b fine. There were no negative reactions. He stayed the same behaviorally. So maybe it was just the gluten I thought. Maybe he really does have Celiacs, and because of the Aspergers, it exhibits a little different behaviorally than in others.

Before Christmas we were out of town at a holiday party. I forgot to pack breakfast for him. So he had regular cereal at our friends house. I didn't tell hubby because I knew I would be looking for a reaction, but he didn't know he was supposed to be. And there was no reaction. Neither of us noticed anything. (and yes I did tell him later that day).

So, we started letting him have gluten. Really slowly. Like cereals that only had a trace of it. Then a small portion of something gluten based. And we still haven't seen a reaction.

So. Now I'm wondering. Did he have Leaky Gut Syndrome and it has healed (websites report it takes about 2 years to heal). Did I fall victim to a fad diet? Am I wishfully thinking that all is fine now? Or, over the next few months as the gluten continues to pass through his stomach will we start seeing regression in his behavior and/or bowels.

I know that while he was on it he made significant progress in so many areas that were deficits due to Aspergers. I don't know if it was because of the diet. And I don't know what the future has in store for his eating.

Right now he is on a point system at school. He's been having problems focusing. I'm not attributing it to dairy. I'm attributing it to the fact that this year he is one of 32 in a trailer. His teacher has little experience with Aspergers. He was an organizational mess, not completing assignments and classwork, and a drop in his grades. He puzzled his teacher because when she asked him something he always knew the answer. His pretest scores on district tests aimed at the entire year of curriculum were a 97. On topics he hadn't been taught yet. So why did he have a few C's? So we put him on a point system more so I knew SHE was monitoring him more. She doesn't know that he is having gluten right now. We've been doing the point system for the 3 weeks before break. I'm really curious what this and next weeks points are going to look like.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Going Pink

One of my New Year's resolutions it to help others more. Whether it's holding a door for a stranger behind me, going greener to help us all live in our environment or helping a cause that is important to my friends and myself.

Yesterday we decided that the vacuum cleaner we had died. We could no longer be in denial. It was dead. It was time for a new one. So off to Target I went.

I'm not really picky about vacuum cleaners. This time I ended up with a Dyson. And it's pink. It's pink because Dyson is contributing a portion of the sales to help fight Breast Cancer. And you know what? I feel like I've already made a difference this year. A small difference, but a difference none the least.

And I chose to go pink because of my friend WhyMommy and all the great stuff she's doing to raise awareness. I don't like to vacuum. Who does really?!? But now when I am vacuuming with my pink vacuum I am hopeful that someone else is also able to vacuum because they too are a survivor thanks to awareness and research. And the fact that someone else IS vacuuming because they are survivor is something to be very thankful for. Because if they are vacuuming, they are also living.

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