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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