Friday, August 29, 2008

Crayola Product Review

My co-writer at the SVMom's Group asked if any of us wanted to try out some new Crayola products. Crayola? You're never to old for Crayola!! So I said yes.

We got to try the No Drip Paint Brush Pens and Pip-Squeaks Mix'ems Markers.

Adam, although nearly 10 and not too much of an art fan was immediately interested after seeing the big Crayola crayon box the items were shipped in.
After checking out the 2 new items he called his friend over from next door and headed outside to the porch with some paper. The kids had a blast!

They both liked the No Drip Paint Brush Pens, because they weren't messy and drippy, however, they had a tendency to treat it like a marker which you can't, you still have to use brush strokes.

The Pip-Squeak Mix 'Em Markers were by far the favorite of the 2. Each marker is actually 2. You snap them together, push the button on the end and the colors match. You can even see this happening in the clear window! Then color away. Depending on what angle you hold the marker depends on how much or little of both colors you get. And you can mix and match the color - since I'm not a math person I can't tell you how many combinations there are, but let's just say it's lots and lots!

Adam's response when asked if he liked them "Well, I still won't like doing school projects, but they'll look a lot cooler with these markers and paintbrushes to add in special effects."

Thanks to Crayola for allowing us to try these!!

Be sure to check out the other new items when you're shopping for back-to-school supplies!

Cross-posted at Yup - Another Review Blog.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is it in color?

This past weekend we joined the swarms of parents and kids to get school supplies at the local Target. We also ended up buying "Stand By Me". It was on the end of the checkout aisle. (You know, that last chance for the store to suck all of your money out of your account) And I figured I'd already spent a fortune in school supplies, new sneakers and the very new and cool Shawn White T-shirts, so what was another $7.50.

While reading the back description to Adam I also mentioned that the movie came out when I was in high school and how much I liked it. Adam asks "Is it in color then?" Just how old does he think his Mom is?!?

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

What To Wear, What To Wear....

Once upon a time there was a boy that had lots of sensory issues, didn't really care to socialize all that much and didn't like change. This carried over into what he wore. Sweats and t-shirts. Never shirts with collars or buttons. Very rarely jeans. Just sweatpants/shorts, t-shirts and sweatshirts. Anything else truly bothered him.

Something started happening 2ish years ago. He started to wear jeans. He started learning the names of a few kids in his class. He even tried wearing shirts with collars. And he found out that when he stepped out from his own world, the rest of the world could be fun on his terms. He started to notice that some things were just not cool to wear each day (like sweat pants). He started to learn that he could have fun interacting with his peers, especially if he learned their names.

Fast forward to yesterday. We went to Target to get school supplies. As we were walking by the boys clothing we saw a new line of clothing - Shawn White skateboarder. I've never heard of him. But boy has Adam. He NEEDED to have a tshirt by him. He WANTED to have a tshirt by him. All the cool kids would be, and so that included him. He didn't care that it had tags or anything else on it. What mattered was that others would be wearing them and hey - they are from a skateboarder!

I thought back to the screams and tantrums when clothes that looked and felt OK to me didn't touch him the right way. I never thought I'd be so happy that he was into fashion!

This post brought to you by The Parent Bloggers Network and Hanes.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

To Clean Or Not To Clean - That Is The Question

One reason why it's been easy to read around here is because all I have to do is plop myself down on the couch. It's a lot safer and less aggravating than this.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Unwordless Wednesday

I have no picture for Wordless Wednesday. Because I'm in bed trying to sleep instead of wake up. Because for 2 nights now (and days) I've been having, umm, 'stomach issues related to a virus of some kind'. And while my stomach has calmed somewhat, I can not sleep because of a Certain Bird. This bird in fact. So, if you can all imagine this picture, but with blooming Crepe Myrtle flowers on the branches, but the SAME Certain Bird who is STILL with us, that would be my picture right now.

You'll have to excuse me for a while. I have to go set up some contraption of a shoelace to the blinds to the bed so I can flick the blinds without getting out of bed when Certain Bird keeps flying back. And hope the good germs (yes, there is a story behind this but that is for another day) Adam gave me kick in soon.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

And would you like some dairy with that?

That is the new question around here for Adam.

After just about 2 years of no gluten and casein (minus a cheat every 6 months) we are giving him casein. And so far, knock on wood, please.don', all is going OK.

In the past, when we've let Adam cheat to see how he reacts we've always given him gluten and casein. And there's been a reaction. So, we go back to none of either.

This past summer I decided to peel another layer of the onion and we went to a Pediatric Gastrenterologist. Who did a lot of blood work - as in FIVE viles (poor Adam, he was such a trooper). And everything came back just fine. Except the Celiac Genetic Marker Test. There are 2 genetic markers. You need one of them to get Celiacs. He's got 1 of the markers. But so does 3o% of the population. So. We got to thinking. With Adam's history of ear infections and an amazing amount of antibiotics (the first round causing C-diff at 6 months old) and with a marker for Celiacs maybe he does have either Celiac or a true intolerance to gluten. Actually. We know he has an intolerance. That was confirmed by the doctor. You can't make your body react the way his does - it's not just a behavioral reaction. But we aren't willing at this point to scope him. We know staying off gluten is a good thing for him still. With an intolerance there is still hope he'll be able to have it one day.

But casein. Well, the gluten and casein proteins react very similarly - especially when you are looking at it from a Leaky Gut Syndrome perspective. But what if all along it was just gluten?

Only one way to find out.
Here's a bowl of ice cream Adam.
Two days later - here's a taco with real sour cream (not tofu based).
Two days later - here's some carmel sauce for your apple slices.
And all has been fine.
And my Mom has been visiting us for 6 days.
And all has been fine.
No extra hyperness, persevering and rigidness.
No bumps or red ears.

We're still going to take it slowly. But wow. Being able to have dairy changes things SOOO much. Even if it's just here and there (like cheese slices, dairy toppings on stuff) a couple times a week.

We'll maybe try gluten next summer. Maybe it was just Leaky Gut and his stomach is healing. Maybe it's Celiacs. To do more testing for Celiac's there has to be gluten in his system. They look at IGA reaction and a biopsy. But right now it's great to know that all his systems are looking normal, if there ever was damage due to gluten it's gone, and (keep fingers crossed, knock on wood) he can tolerate casein.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Besides being over at MotherTalk talking about the Dangerous Days of Daniel X, I'm also over at DCMetroMoms venting about drivers who don't slow down.

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The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

MotherTalk has once again allowed me to review one of their promotions: The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson.

I think most of us are familiar with books by Mr. Patterson for adults, but this one is also for kids. Specifically boys. Of which I have one. He and I will be reviewing this one together.

"I love that Daniel hunts aliens down. And I really really like the plot in the story that he wants to get revenge on an alien that killed his parents who were also alien hunters. I think Daniel's parents would be very proud of Daniel for continuing his battle.
I like Daniel and I think its really cool that he can recreate the energy in the universe and can make it into things. I wish I could do that. If I could met Daniel I'd ask him if I could help him on his next adventure.
I'm also actually glad my Mom reviewed this book with me because now I can go read some of his other books before school starts back up and I have homework to do again."

I can not say enough about this book. Any book that captures Adam's interest is a good book for me. There was a time when Adam would pour through books. We couldn't get enough for him. And in the past year he's slowed down in his reading. Not his love for reading, but the amount. Because he's finding it harder and harder to find fiction books that he enjoys. And after searching through the bookstores I can see why. Most young adult books do tend to be more marketed towards girls. Which is fine. But there just doesn't seem to be as much out there for boys Adam's age.

Adam was hooked by the end of the first page. Mr. Patterson does a great job of telling a mature story for older kids/young adults at an appropriate reading level. The structures is simple, yet descriptive. You can not help but root for Daniel in his quest to fight the aliens. Even if you're not a 10 year old boy!

I'm not generally a fan of this genre, but this book at me hooked too. I plan on reading some other books by Mr. Patterson now too. And, after seeing this book on our kitchen table, my two high school sitters have also started reading this book and are also enjoying it.

Head over to MotherTalk to see what other's are saying about The Dangerous Days of Daniel X.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Will We Ever Win?

Going out to dinner with Adam is always risky. He has lots of picky eater habits as part of his Asperger Syndrome. When he was a toddler we'd pack his food and go. We thought it would get easier as he got older and would start eating the kids menu.

Nope. As a preschooler he'd:
-eat pizza, but only from Papa Johns.
-eat chicken nuggets, but only from McDonald's.
And although Papa John and McDonald's do count as a night free of cooking, we yearned for being able to eat out at a sit down, take your order family restaurant.

We'd give them tries. On the few times we were able to get Adam to eat even just some of a kids meal at Olive Garden, Don Pablo's or TGIFridays we'd feel like we hit the lottery. But within a few visits Adam would declare that kids meal just wasn't any good anymore. And then we'd be paying for a meal he didn't eat, arguing with him to eat and it was simply not enjoyable even if I didn't have to cook it.

We started date nights at home. On Saturdays we'd feed him dinner and put him to bed. Then we'd order takeout and pop in a movie and open a bottle of wine. It was the closest we could get to a real night out of not cooking, but not having to be fast food. But we still missed actually being able to go out.

I can remember one weekend we headed into the city and packed a picnic lunch. But Adam wouldn't eat it because we were at a different place. Not his home or the school cafeteria that he was used to. Adam refused to eat his lunch that we had packed. 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.

I’m glad no one called 911. We’ve all witnessed children melting down in public. But it's especially not fun when it's your very own.

It really puts a damper on our plans to do outings as a family when he won't eat out or even food from home brought somewhere else.

Luckily all that has really been changing in the last year. We've started a new diet and he has gradually learned to try new foods and to his amazement likes them! Now we can enjoy eating out as a family - except for his food restrictions - no gluten and no casein - have turned eating out into a different challenge. Will we ever win!?!

Luckily for us Red Robin has a gluten/casein free kids meal with free refills. They have become one of our new favorite restaurants to go to. Burger King has also been a new favorite fast food for us - plain hamburger, take off the bun and either apple fries or real fries.

We've been waiting a long time, but we can finally go out to dinner with Adam, and enjoy it.

This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by Burger King Corp.

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Private and Public Lives

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Edwards cheated on his wife now. I did stay up to watch his interview with Nightline Friday night. I think he had some good points to say. I liked how he didn't have Elizabeth there next to him because it was his issue, his fault. I like that he said he has nothing else to say on the matter. But I can't believe him like I used to.

Adam was watching it with me and we got to talking about it. Adam brought up some interesting points. If Edwards talked so positively about the importance of family values/morals, and he lied to us in letting us think his family was so strong, etc, then is he crying wolf right now? But what if his family really is strong other than the one mistake he made? But then again, does what matter in his private life have any effect on his ability to hold a political job? And maybe he really does belief in all that he said, he just couldn't (obviously) lead the life he so much preached about. We talked about the importance of being truthful to those you love and working through problems. We talked about how hard it must have been for Elizabeth and his children. We talked about how does a parent rebuild trust after making a mistake, and how does a family heal. And we talked a lot about how much the public should know about celebrities and public people private lives and what private activities effect your job.

Don't get me wrong. What he did was wrong. So incredibly wrong. But, just because he is a politician does not mean he is perfect. And as his wife said just because others have also made this mistake does not make it any easier for her. In a very weird, possibly wrong way I actually do admire John for trying to keep it a private issue out of respect for his wife.

If this issue occurred in my marriage what would I do - would I want to try to rebuild? Would I want a divorce? I don't know. It would depend on so much. Either way, how much would I tell people, whether friends or family? And what would I want my husband to go around telling people? I'd want him to keep it private.
The question that keeps coming back to me regarding this is exactly how much of one's private life should be public. And exactly how much of one's private life effects your job.

On a much different level, as a teacher I am supposed to be a role model for kids. What if I see a student in the grocery store and I have beer in my shopping cart? Or what if a student sees a teacher out at a park and that teacher is smoking, or with their children yelling or giving their child a tap on their hand for not listening? But in school teachers tell kids hitting, smoking and drinking are not good for your body. Or what if a teacher has a same-sex partner? Are they not supposed to go out in public in fear of a student seeing them holding hands?

Where does one cross the line between what the public should know about your private life? And to what extent should they know about your private activities?

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Friday, August 8, 2008

I just can't get myself to wake up today. The list of stuff that has to be done, should be done, and I'd like to be done is long. And I can't motivate myself to tackle it.

I'm also in a dry spell for writing. I've started a few posts, but they just don't go anywhere, and sit staring at me in the draft folder.

So, instead I'm going to lead you to some other places.

BabyBunching is a new site that a co-writer of DC Metro Mom's and her BF have just started. Although I only have one child, I was a nanny for 2 Orthodox Jewish families in college. These 2 families had BabyBunching mastered. BabyBunching is also written by Moms - so even if you only have 1 child, or more than 2 but not 'bunched' you'll be able to relate to a lot of the posts. It's a fun website - you should check it out.

And, if you not like me, and in fact have something on your mind today, head over to Bridges - it's True View Friday. This new website is brought to you by Stirrup Queen.

But please do keep checking in here. I'm sure I'll be over my blah writing spell sometime soon!

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

This would be an orange shoelace weaved through the stair rails.

Mom: Did you do this?

Adam: Yeah

Mom: Why - what's it for?

Adam: Plucking.

Mom: Plucking?

Adam: Yea, plucking. You never know when you might want to pluck. Now I'm prepared.

Mom: Do you think you might want to pluck?

Adam: No. But you never know. So, can we leave it there? Just in case?

Mom: Um. sure. I suppose so.

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Look What's Here!

No. I don't mean here on my blog. I mean over here, here and here!

Bridges is a new concept from Stirrup Queen, connecting, educating and supporting us bloggers. I'm one of the co-editors of the Parenting Children with Special Needs (along with my fellow DC Metro Moms Toddler Planet who is over at the Cancer category).

Be sure to check out Alltop if you're looking for resources/blogs related to ADHD and Down Syndrome too!

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Adam is very much into Spy stuff - spy gear, spy mission, history of spies. He recently got the Spy Gear Ultimate Spy Watch. On the way home from the store he read me the description on the back of the package: "A spy watch for the 21st Century! Sate-of-the-art electronic gadgets, world time, even a motion alarm and a decoder screen, all protected by locking armor. Everything you need for any mission!"

"So, Adam, that means if you are wearing the watch and I tell you you're mission is to clean your room, you'll be able to do it now." I told him.

Adam thinks for a minute. "Yea! I think so." he answered.

This may be the best 5 bucks I've spent in a long time.
Except it only lasted 5 minutes.

His response to why - "mission aborted"

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