Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Mommy Kudos/SmallBoy Update

Ok, if I keep this to myself, I will just about bust. If I tell you, I know what I'll hear back,
"See, I told you!"

Well, I can't keep it in. PC and I were sitting in the office of the neuropsychologist on Friday, listening to her explain how SmallBoy did on his tests from the previous few days. First of all, she told me that she was confirming my informal diagnosis of Asperger's and that I was right on the money. I was very proud of myself, but I also knew that my Mommy-diagnosis came from almost a year of research and reading everything possible about AS. But the best was still to come.

After talking about his results, we began discussing what kinds of things will help him succeed in life. She said that he will need behavioral therapy to help him develop coping mechanisms which will, ultimately, get him past meltdowns and teach him how to deal with his anxiety and stress. She said that he will most definitely need a social skills group to help him learn all of those societal rules that we take for granted - the unwritten rules, interaction with peers, sarcasm, "breaking" rules, etc....She also told us that he will need some physical and occupational therapy to help him with his gross motor clumsiness.

We then went on to talk about what sets him so far apart from others on the autism spectrum, specifically others with AS, and it is his ability to feel emotions himself and to be able to read and interpret the emotions of others. The neuropsych attributed it, in large part, to the fact that we are such a lovey family and that he's never experienced any time without love in his life. She said that his brother and sister obviously show him great affection and do not see him as a burden. Certainly, there is still some work to be done for him to be able to read others' social cues to emotions, but this is probably the most wonderful thing that I have heard.

I guess that when a parent, specifically a mom, gets a compliment from a psychologist about the way that a child is raised, that it's a really really big deal! So, I will momentarily, humbly, and modestly, pat myself on the back, and simultaneously pat my own mother on the back for raising me to be a loving mom, just like her. Kudos to you, Mama!

Back to Reality

This is what an escape from reality feels like Posted by Hello

This was back on New Year's Eve at my wedding. We had a blast! What a total break from the world for a while. We took a week honeymoon and were able to actually feel like newlyweds with no kids or other responsibilities. Then we came home. Back to reality.

We experienced the same feeling this weekend. After a long, stressful week of taking SmallBoy for testing, stressing over the ridiculous cost and how to manage to keep the bill collectors at bay for a while until the insurance check come in, getting a real diagnosis of Asperger's for SmallBoy, stressing over what it is going to cost to get SmallBoy the help that he will need to succeed in life, missing Girl's softball tournament ::exhale::, PC and I took off for the weekend to help his parents open up their summer home in Michigan. It was wonderful. We planted flowers, went to a fancy schmancy party, hung out at a beach fire until 4 in the morning (and we were clearly at least 10 yrs older than anyone on the beach), shopped and people watched with PC's cousins...we just had an all out great time.

Then we came home.

Today was back into the swing of things. Thank GOD yesterday was Memorial Day and no one had to find school uniforms or get up early for work. Today....well....in the office by 7, running around not getting caught up because I was doing all of the HR paperwork for our summer help, at work til 5, at Girl's recital by 6, just now settling down. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll be able to sneak in a shower!!!!

Oh how I long for those little breaks! Can I bribe anyone to watch Dog and feed Furrballs this weekend...we need to get away again!!! We're actually looking into services that will come and walk the dog, play with the dog & cats, a couple times a day. GREAT idea. Unfortunately, that mixes the escape right back with reality. Why? MONEY!!! Well, I suppose I should feed the children. PC is at work tonight which means I have to cook - Hmmph!

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Good grief! As I read back over that last post I was floored by my terrible writing. I suppose, however, that comes with trying to write while trying to do three days worth of work in one eight hour period. Holy Cow! Readers - I KNOW that you all understand, but I just felt the need to explain myself.

Gearing up for tomorrow's big trip to SmallBoy's neuropsych to find out exactly what I can do to make his life better has me a bit loopy. It will be fine, though. Girl is also coming with so that she can hear from someone, other than me, why we have to do things a bit differently for him and, so that she can get a better understanding of her brother. I am so lucky that I have a family that genuinely loves and cares for every member within it.

Ok, now, really, I must get back to work. It's after 3 and I've got less than 90 minutes to accomplish a thousand things - no, seriously, 1000 things! And THEN, after that, the kids and I will be travelling to A Galaxy Far, Far, Away!!!!! I can't wait!!!!!!!!

Catch Up (or is it Catsup?)

In this case, I don't care. This is my last day at work before the long weekend. I've had a delightfully short week at work and a long week, and some woman on the phone just told me that I was "so pleasant" (and not in a good way) because I was screening her call to be sure she wasn't a telemarketer. Anyway, I've been trying to catch up all week. I was off Monday and caught up with Monday's work on Tuesday. Off Wed, trying to make up Wed's work and Friday's work - which is ungodly insane - all before 4:30. I will be off tomorrow to get the final results of SmallBoy's evaluation and after that, I have a feeling I will be needing a beverage - a stiff beverage, especially if SmallBoy's father joins us.

Just wanted to let y'all know that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, just missing for a while.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Oooh! One MORE Thing

Ooooooh!!!!! I almost forgot. Our band, Code West, received big Big BIG news this weekend! We will be playing at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn on June 25th! Keep checking here and the band's website for details. I will fill them in as they become available. Keep the date cleared and keep checking back for time and details! We can't wait to see you all there!

Team SmallBoy Off & Running

We took SmallBoy for the first day of his two day neuropsych eval to formally diagnose his Asperger's. The neuropsych was wonderful with him. She came out and chatted with him for a while so he felt comfortable with him. Instead of telling him that they would be doing tests and other icky things, she told him that they would be doing a bunch of things to find out what he's really good at. He seemed to be very pleased with that. She told him today they would be doing some math, reading, and spelling. She let him know that some of the questions would be so easy that he would ask, "Why are you asking me? I already know that." She then told him that some things she would ask of him would be very hard and that it would be perfectly fine if he didn't know the answers, that most of the kids don't know all of the answers. That made him feel a whole lot better.

Apparently I was more nervous than SmallBoy, as I wasn't very at ease until today was over. He was just fine. He was most excited when it was over and the dr. let him pick from her prize can. He thought that was really really cool.

We go back for part two on Wednesday and then on Friday for follow up discussion of his results with the doctor. I am nervous about that, too, but I'm a mom. I'm also a worrywort. I'm excited, though, because now Team SmallBoy is truly at work. We are working towards finding out exactly what it is that we need to do to help him be just like the rest of the kids. That pleases me. He is so incredibly smart and he can absolutely sense now that he is different from the rest of the kids in his class. We work our strategies at being okay with things and being flexible, but now we're on the road to getting the support we need.

Well, best be on my way. Off from work, but way too much to be doing at home to be sitting here on the computer.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Personality Defects

Thanks to Bad Mama for this! Would you believe this of ME???
Capitalist Pig You are 57% Rational, 57% Extroverted, 57% Brutal, and 14% Arrogant.
You are the Capitalist Pig! This means that you are less emotional than most, focusing more on logic. You are also more selfish, greedy, and care very little for the well-being of others, hence you probably hold capitalistic political views. You are also an extrovert, like most of the people in the hallmark capitalistic country of America. Despite these traits, you are surprisingly not very arrogant, tending to view yourself as equal to others. Which seems strange given that you are so mean and brutal to others at times. In conclusion, your personality defect is that you are a bit too logical, rather unemotional, way too extroverted, and also very brutal in regards to others. You may even be a bit insecure about yourself, little piggy. So stop being so selfish and calculating and learn to see people as people, man!

To put it less negatively:

1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.

2. You are more EXTROVERTED than introverted.

3. You are more BRUTAL than gentle.

4. You are more HUMBLE than arrogant.


Your exact opposite is the Starving Artist.

Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Smartass, the Braggart, and the Spiteful Loner.



If you scored near fifty percent for a certain trait (42%-58%), you could very well go either way. For example, someone with 42% Extroversion is slightly leaning towards being an introvert, but is close enough to being an extrovert to be classified that way as well. Below is a list of the other personality types so that you can determine which other possible categories you may fill if you scored near fifty percent for certain traits.

The other personality types:

The Emo Kid: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Starving Artist: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Bitch-Slap: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Brute: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hippie: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Televangelist: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Schoolyard Bully: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Class Clown: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Robot: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Haughty Intellectual: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Spiteful Loner: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Sociopath: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hand-Raiser: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Braggart: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Capitalist Pig: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Smartass: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 20% on Rationality
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You scored higher than 63% on Extroversion
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You scored higher than 75% on Brutality
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You scored higher than 5% on Arrogance
Link: The Personality Defect Test written by saint_gasoline on Ok Cupid

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Still No Chocolate Pudding

Remembering my no-lunch-money debaucle from yesterday, I begged my adoring husband to make me a peanut butter & Fluff sandwich for lunch today - oh BOY, did he ever! This thing was so sticky and fat! I'm lucky that I didn't have to answer the phone while I was eating it or it wouldn't have sounded very professional.

Well, I couldn't make it til my 1:00 lunch time; I hadn't eaten breakfast - again. Around 11:30 or so, I broke into my sandwich leaving nothing for lunch. Oh no...lunch money is still at home. Hmmmmmmmmmmm....I was BAAAAAAAAAD. I took my life in my hands and walked across the currently de-constructed street full of heavy trucks and machinery raking the life and the skin off of the avenue. Why on Earth would I do this? Because there's a store which specializes in very very fattening Frozen Dairy Delights...it starts with an "O". Yup. That's the place. Got myself a big ol' Cappucino, chocolate, cinnamon, ice cream thing. Still haven't finished it...can't get it through the straw. But ooooooooooooh is it yummo!

A Lesson in Flexibility

In our every day attempts to work with SmallBoy's Asperger's, we try to teach him about flexibility - being okay with things, that change happens, that sometimes you have to bend a little. We had the perfect opportunity last night at his T-ball game.

It was a beautiful evening for a baseball game and SmallBoy's team was winning BIG. It was finally his turn to bat. He made a great hit, right to the shortstop, who had a great throw and beat him to the plate. The runner on third came in to score and SmallBoy was out, but had the R.B.I. This is his 4th year in t-ball since we fudged his birthdate so he could start early. He has been in this situation before and watched other team mates in this situation. He knows that it's ok to be out at first. He knows the importance of the R.B.I. Last night, none of that mattered. He was crushed that he wasn't on base. He wanted to score. The team was on a roll and he had the winning energy to keep moving. When this happened, it brought everything to a halt.

SmallBoy came over in need of a hug. I gave him one and then told him to go back and sit on the bench with his teammates and congratulated him on the R.B.I. Well, he wasn't about to go away. He wanted me to make everything ok again, so we talked about how he needed to be ok with not being on base. We talked about how sometimes it is important that the batter gets thrown out so that the runner on third can score. We talked about how the shortstop had the choice to throw him out at first or the runner out at home and he, the shortstop, had to be flexible to allow the run in to stop another baserunner. We went over this time and time again, until he could repeat it back to me, until I was sure that he was okay with it. He went back to the bench and his team went on to win by slaughter! I LOVEt-ball!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I Forgot My Lunch Money

How ironic. I nag my children to death about remembering their lunches. Girl holds the record for most forgotten lunches in one school year....I believe she's currently at 30 or 32. This morning I got up in a rush. I stayed up after watching the Country Music Awards, and then stayed up just a little too late after that before finally knocking off into dreamland. This morning I ran through the list of morning routine with SmallBoy, as we do every day to keep him on task. As I was running out the door, late, of course, I realized I hadn't grabbed anything to eat for lunch. Ok, no big deal, I still have a few bucks in my wallet til payday. I can run next door and grab a salad...and some tapioca...and some chocolate pudding.....ahhhhhhhh...it was shaping up to be a particularly pleasant lunch for this working mama.

NOPE......not today. It turns out that I took Girl and her friends to their weekly One Tree Hill party and on the way, stopped at Walgreens to let her run in and buy some tape for her finger. She gave me back my change and I shoved it in the back pocket of my jeans.....where it still rests.

There will be no tapioca for me. There will be no chocolate pudding for me. Not today. Boo hoo. I will have a PB & Fluff sandwich delivered to me with love and care by my Darling PC. I won't starve. But I must pout now....at least until tomorrow.....when I get the CHOCOLATE PUDDING!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Sick Mama Update

I really never thought that one person could have so much snot! I have finally managed to get it all out of my chest and lungs, but now it's back in my head, manifesting itself as a sinus infection. It is just WRONG....doesn't my body know that I have three children and a husband that I'd like to spend time with? Preferably in a conscious state? Geez O Petes!

The weekend was crazy with pretty much no downtime. Friday night, right from work, PC and I went to the rehearsal & dinner for his cousin's wedding, Saturday was the wedding..somehow, I did manage to sing, and they thought it was good, so I won't argue. After the wedding, we visited with some of my husband's friends from out of town and didn't feel the comforting coolness of my sheets until well after 2a.m. Sunday, Oh, Sunday...slept the morning away, met with my sister to pick out bridesmaids' dresses ( I get to be her M.O.H!!!), all while hocking up a lung, possibly two. Managed to make it home before my head completely exploded and helped PC with our new sofa...at least as much as I was able. Changed for 5:00 mass where I had to sing with each note reverberating off of my eardrums and echoing through my sinus cavities. Picked the kids up from their dad's house on the way back from mass and, such is life on Sunday night during school.....

I feel miserable tonight and stuffed and just genearally yicky, so I'm going to bed as soon as I finish this post. SmallBoy and Girl are both in bed, and I can hear LargeBoy's X-Box in the basement. I think Girl has to be at school extra early tomorrow morning, so I think that means I have to leave early in the morning. Unfortunately, feeling this rotten has caused me to have to take a pass on going out with my wonderful husband on his birthday. We were supposed to meet up with his Evil Twin (aka ET) and his fiancee to celebrate. Tonight, sadly, I stayed behind and sent PC on his way, because I knew that had I gone with, I would have been cranky and miserable and a general pain in the ass by 10:15 and a big ol' party pooper...which would have made him feel bad for taking me out. Soooooooooo....I made him go without me, about which he was understanding, but not amused. On any other night...let me rephrase that, on any healthy night, I could do that, AND somehow stay awake at work the next day. Right now, when I wake up, my body is so exhausted, that all I can do is count the hours until I can crawl back in and go to sleep.

It's now time for this sick mama to get her butt to bed. Until tomorrow.....

Happy Birthday, Prince Charming....

My Dearest PC,

Do you remember your birthday last year when I sang to you at that place where we used to play? When I wished you a happy birthday a la Marilyn? You know that it was just a matter of time until we started our life together. It's not every man that I sing that rendition to....LOL

Aside from the picture with your brother and Papa, and the BEACH BOYS TICKETS, I wanted to give you another gift for your birthday by sharing with you the top 10 reasons why I am so ecstatic to be spending your birthday, and every birthday, with you from now until the end of time. Here is my list for you, in no particular order:

1.) You don't let me lift a finger even when I want to...ok, occasionally you let me help, but you'd prefer that the precious delicate flower that I am does nothing extra (teee heee....I couldn't resist).

2.) You make me laugh everyday, even when I'm feeling terrible, or having my worst Mommy Guilt day.

3.) You make me feel beautiful. 'nuff said.

4.).....and you'll have to fight with my parents for this one, but you're my biggest fan.

5.) You read to me (how many husbands can that be said for?).

6.) You love and understand my children.

7.) You stand out in the rain while I struggle with my umbrella.

8.) Hot Compresses!!!!!!!

9.) Cappuccino

10.) Because I couldn't imagine spending the rest of my life without you.

Happy Birthday, My Love. Isn't he great? And he's Mine! ALL MINE!!!!!!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Open Post to My MIL (aka "Milly")

Good Morning Milly -

I just wanted to drop you a note to tell you how absolutely wonderful your son is - of course, you already know that, but....

This horrid cold has now taken ahold of my head and has turned into what I believe to be a sinus infection. I had the most GOD AWFUL headache last night. I truly thought that I was going to die from the pain and pressure between my eyes and down the sides of my face and nose. Well,my adoring, sweet, caring, loving husband sat put me to bed, put menthol on my face to help break up the sinus yuck and then sat for a LONG time putting hot compresses on my head, bringing a fresh one every time the one on my head even began to get the slightest bit cool.

He is so good to me. Spoils me rotten. Can I keep him? LOL

Love ya


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Laundry from Hell

I am a working mom. I do not have an "Alice" or a "Hazel". Lord knows I wish I did. I do, however, have three children. Wonderful as they are, they clutter my laundry room, bury the floor, block the way to the cats' litterbox, and the result is a laundry hill with a base as wide as my laundry room floor and a peak of about 2 1/2 ft. This is INSANE! My children wear uniforms to school. How can they have THAT MANY DIRTY CLOTHES??? I just don't get it. LargeBoy wears his school pants all day, no matter how much I ask him to change, so it's not like he's dirtying up his jeans. Girl changes after school, but it's usually into another uniform for sports, and then, from there, into her jammies. SmallBoy changes eventually out of his uniform into regular play clothes and then jammies. Ok, so they all change multiple times, but what is on my floor is much much more than a few changes of clothes.

Try as I might, much as I threaten, ground, take away TV, make them wear their dirty clothes because they haven't stepped up to the plate, I cannot make my children wash their own laundry. When they were younger, I stayed home. I ran a daycare from my home. I was able to do laundry...plus, they were little, they couldn't be expected to do laundry at 4 and 6 years old. They are now 14 1/2, 12 1/2, & 8 1/2. I think they can handle it. I have seen them do it. They listen to me rant and rave about how I can't walk through the laundry room to do MY laundry because their laundry is all over the place. They listen to me holler when they're complaining to me, "MOM! I have no socks!" or

"MOM! I have no clean uniform!"or

"MOM! I can't find my t-ball pants!"or, the best of the best, "MOM!!!! I have NO UNDERWEAR!"

I have gone so far as to go on strike. Fat lot of good that did! I've told them, "Tough, you'll just have to be naked." HA! I've given them laundry days. If they miss their day, oh well! And THEN...when the laundry manages to actually get done, it sits in the basket until it's so wrinkled, even an entire can of starch won't fix it and it has to get washed again.

This is CRAZY!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

STILL Sick and Need Help!

No kids in this one. Just me. Me, ME, ME! I am sick. No, not again, but still and it just totally sucks. I'm no longer mostly dead, I am recovering - perhaps only slightly dead now. I am terribly sick of being sick. The coughing mostly. The congestion I can deal with as needed, but the coughing is just a bear. It's probably bronchitis, but I'm too stubborn, nor do I have time, to visit the dr. PC's cousin is getting married on Saturday. Not only would I like to feel better, but I am singing at her wedding. It's very difficult to sing the Ave Maria when you're hacking or sniffling or wiping snot off of your nose all the way through the song. Dear Readers, please help. I've tried all of my typical I'm-sick-&-I've-got-to-sing-soon remedies and none have worked. I will also re-emphasize, I do not have time to go to the doctor. This will get better, that much I know. I just need something that will make me feel better for Saturday. I have rehearsal with our band tomorrow night, I'm assuming, but that I can kick back and sing from the sofa, or have a couple of margaritas and then sing. But for Saturday, I don't think that will fly. HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLP!

For a Good Chuckle, Click Here

Check out this article on Amkeli's World on why it's funny to live in Great Britain! Citations, I know you'll get a kick out of this one. Check out the whole blogsite too!

Mama SEALs

This article by Urban Mama is absolutely right on! She talks about how after watching a program on Navy SEAL training, she decided there should be a training program for Mamas, with all of the criteria for passing training and becoming a Mama SEAL! You MUST check it out. Click on the link for now. When I'm not on a stupid computer, I will update so that you can click on "Urban Mama". Also, check her out on my favorites list!

That is SOOOOOOOO Not Fair!

I have the good fortune to live only 7 minutes, by car, from my office. On most days, that is an absolutely wonderful thing, especially when you consider that I start work at 7:30 am. It is also particularly lovely thing at 4:30 when I'm walking out of the office knowing that I still have plenty of time to get to my child's 5:00 game. Those are some serious advantages! But not today.

The Great Midwest Thunderstorm rolled through our area between 6:30 & 7:30 this morning. The sky was black as night, making it incredibly difficult to get myself and the children out of bed. SmallBoy even said to me, "Mommy, it's the middle of the night. It's not time to get up." As the sky darkened into a very disturbing shade of grey, almost granite-like, the wind picked up, the shaken sheet metal thunder became crashes and booms and bangs (big thesaurus words this morning, eh?), and the clouds would be split in two as the lightning cut a straight path to some unfortunate point on the ground. The street lamps which had turned off for the day were slowly flickering back on. It was very eerie. I'm not one who is easily scared by thunderstorms, but this one had me worried. PC turned on the television to watch the weather report while I rounded up the children and attempted to get ready for work, all the while praying for a power outage. As we were preparing to walk out the door, the lights flickered and flashed...but only some. For example, my kitchen overhead lamp went out, but my microwave and my light over my sink stayed on. I should have taken this as some kind of a sign.

As I drove down the dark and empty streets towards my office, I sensed that something wasn't as it should be. The traffic lights were all functioning properly, but the apartments and businesses, usually glowing with light at that obscene hour of the morning, seemed dank and dark, almost vacant. I thought it strange, but attributed it to the weirdness of the atmosphere from the storm....until I passed the White Hen. It was dark. No light, no bright coffee signs, the White Hen was out. No power. This gave me a shred of hope that perhaps my office, too, would be powerless. Sadly, that was not the case. I am here at my desk, avoiding work by whining about the weather.

With the morning started, my students, of course, were all coming in late - stuck in traffic, stop lights that were out, people driving slowly, alarms that didn't go off. I expected all of that. I did not expect the phone call at 8:10 from Girl telling me that they were all back at home because there was no power at school! GRRRRRRRRRRR.....Somewhere in the little land area between my house and my office, the town lost power. My children are home. Free morning off! I'm at work with a pounding headache, bronchitis, and something funky going on with my eyes. They're home. The wretches. Ok, I'll take that back. The snots! In theory, the school will re-open at 10, so that makes me feel a bit better, but I'm still going to whine. NO FAIR!!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

For the "Pun" of It

Thanks to my fabulous Mother-In-Law (methinks we shall redub her "Milly") for this. It's a whole mess of bad puns, but oh boy, don't we all need a good groaner from time to time?



Those who jump off a bridge in Paris are in Seine.

A backward poet writes inverse.

A man's home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.

Dijon vu - the same mustard as before.

Practice safe eating - always use condiments.

Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.

A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.

A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

Reading while sunbathing makes you well red.

When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.

A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two tired.

What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway.)

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your count votes.

A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

If you don't pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.

With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.

You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

Local Area Network in Australia: the LAN down under.

He often broke into song because he couldn't find the key.

Every calendar's days are numbered.

A lot of money is tainted - It taint yours and it taint mine.

A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory that was never developed.

A plateau is a high form of flattery.

Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

Once you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.

Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture is a jab well done.

Conquering the Mommy Guilt

Attention Moms!!! IT CAN BE DONE!! Last night I was presented with the opportunity to exercise some control over the Mommy Guilt. I would truly appreciate any comments, thoughts, critiques, suggestions, that you, My Dear Reader, has after reading my "technique".

Home from work, finish SmallBoy's homework, t-ball practice for SmallBoy, softball practice for Girl, squeeze in some dinner, pick up kids from practice, fight over showers, make lunches, clean up after dinner, try to sneak in some laundry, and so on, and so on....Does this sound familiar to anyone? It sounds like a typical weekday evening in most households. In our house we factor in SmallBoy's Asperger's Syndrome which can magnify any one of those seemingly mundane, yet necessary, tasks. Last night was not so different from the every night, except that we were meeting up with my mother at the music store to upsize Girl's viola. Fortunately, Girl did not have softball practice last night, but SmallBoy did. The timing worked out beautifully and everyone got where they needed to be, picked up and home before the rain fell. We had a fend-for-yourself-dinner, quite popular at our house during sports seasons, and the evening proceeded on around that.

If you've been following along with my blog, you know that my sister is planning to get married at the end of the summer and that we are trying to find her the absolute perfect location. I convinced Mom to come by for a bit after we picked up the new viola, so that we could do some more research for my sister. The night went on and it was getting time for SmallBoy to get to bed and Mom was ready to go home. Under average circumstances, this is not such a big deal, but last night, SmallBoy was embroiled in a video game and was not ready to be told to turn it off and get ready for bed. He had a long day from start to finish yesterday and it had all caught up with him and overloaded his circuits. Needless to say, he started to melt when I had him make his lunch and quit the game. Then he found out that Grandma (GR) was leaving and that upset him some more. I managed to talk to him and get him through his funk long enough to see my mom off. I took a deep breath and relaxed. I told myself that this was going to be easy, I saw the meltdown coming and took steps to help keep it from running into the next stage. I was very proud of myself.

When I came back in the house I was met by a very upset LargeBoy. It seems that sometime between when I was seeing my mother off and SmallBoy was making his lunch, he must have gone back to his brother's room and tried to play with the Lego Milennium Falcon that Santa had brought for LargeBoy and PC, the Lego Milennium Falcon that took two long evenings on the hardwood floor to put together, the Lego Milennium Falcon with a gazillion little pieces. Well, you can guess what had happened. No, no, no...not that bad, he hadn't dropped it or shattered it, but he had broken off the top panels, the legs and a handful of other small pieces. This, in and of itself, was enough to have upset the LargeBoy. However, the previous night, LargeBoy had sat down to watch a couple of his DVDs and found them terribly scratched and unplayable...SmallBoy had been playing them in the laptop computer the day before that. I'm sure it's quite clear how LargeBoy was feeling. He was not amused.

LargeBoy is graduating from 8th grade in a few weeks and is finally starting to feel like he has his own place to hang out in his room. He has the basement to himself, complete with computer, foozball table, dartboard, bass guitar, tv, a couple of game systems that he purchased himself. He's got himself a nice little bachelor pad. He was busy cleaning and rearranging his room when all of this Milennium Falcon business happened. He had already realized that he was going to be up relatively late getting his room organized enough where it would be in a decent state before he went to sleep. When the crash of the Falcon happened, it automatically tacked on about 2 more hours in repair time before he could finish what he was doing, at least in his upset mind it did.

While LargeBoy was working on this new addition to his project, I took SmallBoy upstairs to get him ready for bed and to discuss what had happened. I am well aware of the fact that my older two sometimes feel that SmallBoy gets special treatment or different consequences due to his AS. They are very understanding and very loving and supportive, but they are also kids. I was feeling terrible and full of mommy guilt because I saw SmallBoy melting and didn't cave to him to have GR stay and put him to bed (but that was just what he wanted me to do, and no reason for mommy guilt) I was feeling terrible and full of mommy guilt at this point because I hadn't handled the situation with the DVDs right away, which may have prevented the destruction of the Falcon. The ironic part is that when we were discussing the DVDs we had mentioned that the worst thing would be if he got his hands on the Falcon. I was feeling horrible. I had a headache, was stressed by work, was stressed by the fact that the kids refuse to help with the housework and expect PC & me to do all of it.

STOP! I told myself to chill out, that none of those other pieces had anything to do with what I need to take care of right now. I told myself that I needed to address the issue at hand with SmallBoy and that he needed to be treated like his brother and sister would have, only with a little more explanation and discussion. I sat down with him in his room; that's his "safe" place, where he goes to feel better and calm down. I asked him questions about how he feels when others use his things without asking, how he feels when his things are returned to him broken, and how he thinks others feel when he does that to them. We repeatedly discussed how it feels to have your things taken and broken, until I was sure that he grasped this concept and before we moved on to what he needs to do in the future. We talked about how to ask before taking and that if the answer is "no" that he needs to do something else. We then moved on to consequences. We discussed the reason to have consequences. He was not happy with the plan we came up with, to use some of his First Communion money to replace the scratched DVDs, but he understood it. I made him go down and apologize to his brother and explain how he was planning to remedy the DVD situation. I had him practice asking to use something and handling his own reaction when told "no". We went back upstairs, did our bedtime ritual and that was that.

I talked with LargeBoy when all was said and done. I explained to him what I had talked about with his brother and asked if that solution was acceptable to him. Honestly, I think he was surprised that I came up with that. I helped him a bit with his room, more because I didn't want him up late since he had a rope climbing field trip today and needed sleep, than out of mommy guilt. I think the moral of the story is that by getting over the mommy guilt - regardless of whether or not I should have HAD mommy guilt -, I was able to deal with what needed to be done. I've also come to the conclusion that dealing with mommy guilt has to be done each time you feel it, instead of trying to wipe it out altogether. I'm feeling better about it today. I'm glad.

Monday, May 09, 2005

The "Ex" Factor

As I sit to write this article, I'm taken aback by the fact that I haven't written more on this topic...of course, that would be it's own blog.

SmallBoy had a t-ball game on Saturday morning. It was a brisk morning, but the sun was out. PC had stopped and picked up a coffee and a donut for the two of us for breakfast, and for warming our hands and tummies). The game was awesome! SmallBoy's team won the game and beat one of the "unbeatable" teams. He was ecstatic! At the post-game wrap-up, the coach reminded parents and players that order forms and money for the Little League outing to Comiskey Park - no, I will NOT call it Cell Phone Field - were due and that he would like them turned in at Monday's practice. The light bulb went on in my head and signaled to some filing cabinet deep in my brain that I had, several weeks earlier, received the order sheets and hadn't even given them a thought since the due date seemed so far off. Second light bulb went on signaling an even more remote filing cabinet that I would need to ask the father of my children, let's just call him Ex, if he would be planning on going and, if so, how many tickets would he need now that he is married and with family. Mental note: Call Ex later and find out.

"Later" became a trip to a ridiculously remote suburb to watch my daughter's softball tournament, which then became a trip to church where my bronchitis and I attempted to sing in front of the entire congregation, which then became a trip to my in-laws for a visit with some out of town guests, which then became good-night Irene, which then became Mother's Day, which then rolled into today. Needless to say, Ex did not receive a call. Girl was planning on speaking with her father today so I asked her to find out if he was planning on attending the Sox game and if so, how many tickets he would like for me to reserve for him. Well, Ex was not amused that I did not call him the second I received the order sheet. I'm expecting a ranting and raving call later this evening. What can I do, but tell him, hey, things get busy, I work, I was sick, get over it! Right?!? At least I didn't go ahead and order and not bother to include him at all.

What to Wear, what to wear....

My Dear Youngest Sis has asked me what I am wearing to my father's wedding. Hmmmmmmm....haven't given it much thought. Hmmmmmmmmm......I have a wedding THIS weekend too...what am I going to wear to that????? Haven't given THAT much thought either. OOPS! I have a little black dress, but I bought it a couple of years ago when I was terribly sick and had shed entirely too many pounds to be healthy. I haven't even tried it on yet and the wedding is SATURDAY!!!!

OH KR! What a dilemma you have stirred up! Of course, it would have stirred itself up sooner or later...OH MY! I don't know I don't know I don't know! I know what SHOES I'm wearing. Good grief, Charlie Brown! Hmmmm....Well, KR, to answer your question: Nope, I have no clue what I'm wearing. If my little black dress fits, I'll wear that. If not, I will be begging and pleading (Citations, HELP) with friends for clothing!

Now that I have been of absolutely NO help to you, my sis, except to tell you what shoes I might or might not wear, I'm going to go take a couple of Advil and try to destress myself from this fashion nightmare I'm having.

Happy Belated Mother's Day

I hope that each of you had a wonderful Mother's Day. I woke up at 5:00am to a hacking chest cough (mine), and at 7:00 to a dog that desperately needed to go outside. I went back to sleep, and was woken up at about 9:30 by my wonderful children and my fabulous husband to a beautiful boquet of roses and breakfast in bed...the standard mother's day breakfast, and now my annual request: scrambled eggs - this year with garlic (YUM), toast, bacon, and a cup of Earl Grey tea. I received more than any mother could ask for in the hugs, smiles, snuggles, and homemade cards that my children gave me. Yesterday was one of those days when mommy guilt disappears. We spent the day with my mother and my mother-in-law. The weather was beautiful, our mother's were wonderful, as always, and the children were lovely.

Mother's Day is now over and life has returned to normal; scrambling for school uniforms at the last minute, finishing homework, signing permission slips, doing the laundry, going back to work....UGH, but I wouldn't trade my life as a mother for anything in the entire world. I am thankful every day for my mother who taught me how to be the mother that I am. I am thankful every day that I was lucky enough to be chosen as the mother of my children...wow did I ever get lucky! I am thankful everyday that I have a phenomenal mother-in-law - how many people can say THAT?

In a post-Mother's Day celebration of motherhood, I leave you the following, courtesy of an email from my mother-in-law. Thanks Mimi!


Mom and Dad were watching TV when Mom said,"I'm tired, and it's getting late. I think I'll go to bed."

She went to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the next day's lunches, rinsed out the popcorn bowls, took meat out of the freezer for supper the following evening, checked the cereal box levels, filled the sugar container, put spoons and bowls on the table and started the coffee pot for brewing the next morning.

She then put some wet clothes in the dryer, put a load of clothes into the washer, ironed a shirt and secured a loose button. She picked up the game pieces left on the table, put the phone back on the charger and put the telephone book into the drawer. She watered the plants, emptied a wastebasket and hung up a towel to dry. She yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom. She stopped by the desk and wrote a note to the teacher, counted out some cash for the field trip, and pulled a text book out from hiding under the chair. She signed a birthday card for a friend, addressed and stamped the envelope and wrote a quick note for the grocery store. She put both near her purse. Mom then washed her face with 3 in 1 cleanser, put on her Night solution & age fighting moisturizer, brushed and flossed her teeth and filed her nails.

Dad called out, "I thought you were going to bed."

"I'm on my way," she said. She put some water into the dog's dish and put the cat outside, then made sure the doors were locked and the patio light was on. She looked in on each of the kids and turned out their bedside lamps and TV's, hung up a shirt, threw some dirty socks into the hamper, and had a brief conversation with the one still up doing homework. In her own room, she set the alarm; laid out clothing for the next day, straightened up the shoe rack. She added three things to her 6 most important things to do list. She said her prayers, and visualized the accomplishment of her goals.

About that time, Dad turned off the TV and announced to no one in particular. "I'm going to bed."

And he did...without another thought. Anything extraordinary here?

Wonder why women live longer...? 'CAUSE WE ARE MADE FOR THE LONG HAUL......

(and we can't die sooner, we still have things to do!!!!)

Friday, May 06, 2005

Because I'm a Mom and a Child of the Star Wars Era

Thank you so much to Frequent Citations for turning us on to this site. Growing up as a child of the Star Wars era and having children in the new Star Wars era, I thought this was absolutely a wonderful site. You MUST visit. It, essentially, is Darth Vader's blog and his thoughts, ponderings, and meanderings about HIS world and life through his eyes. Particularly the article on parenting. And I thought I had guilt...LOL. I have linked it on the side bar as one of my favorite sites. Check it out!

Have a nice weekend and Happy Mother's Day to all.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Location, Location, Location

Changing topics today. Today I am acting as a big sister instead of a mommy. My mission is to find the perfect wedding spot for my sister. She will be getting married this August, so, as you see, we need to find THE perfect spot NOW. She really really would like to get married on a beach. We wanted to incorporate that Michigan commercial - you know, the one with the little girl reciting a poem she wrote:

Sand between my toes,
.....oh sand between my toes

................I miss you, whoa whoa whoa

. Last year I brought her a bag of sand from the beach in Michigan and poured it on her toes and I thought she was going to die laughing.

Ok, back to the subject. I need to help her find just the right spot. She would prefer a quiet location, on a beach somewhere, no further than a drive of an hour or two. We had a location in mind, but it was a little too complicated, so we decided to find another spot. She does not want your typical banquet style wedding reception that is so stuffy and hoity toity, she wants something fun. It doesn't necessarily have to be a beach, that's just her ideal location.

My husband and I were married in a barn. It was souped up to hold dog shows, parties, line dancing nights, etc...but it was a barn, nonetheless. We were able to have a horse with us for pictures, there were games for the kids, the guests didn't feel that it was necessary to get all fancy-schmancy unless they desired to do so, the food was served buffet style. It was FUN. The kids didn't have to be bored. They were able to play video games, pop-a-shot, or a shooting gallery type of game. There were animals outside, it was wonderful.

My sis and I are very much the same in that we like things to be a little different than the ordinary. I am taking any suggestions you may have as to locations and fun things. Please, oh please, oh please, leave me your suggestions. I will be forever thankful to you!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


I gripe and whine a lot - ok, more than a lot, about my mommy guilt, about not having things that I want (quiet time, a clean house, more time with my children, etc...). I can see you all shaking your head in agreement. Everything was put into perspective for me this weekend, though. Let me tell you about it.

SmallBoy made his First Communion this past weekend. Between balancing work, sports schedules, homework time, shuttling Girl around for her One Tree Hill-a-thons, shopping, and cleaning for the party, most of my time was spent just trying to figure out where I had last left my head. I was in a tizzy, not knowing if I was coming or going. Thankfully, PC had the sense to keep giving me back my head, as he always knew where I had set it down last.

The big day arrived. We managed to get to church relatively free of pet hair, and were all sitting in the second pew at church, squished in like sardines - SmallBoy on the end, followed by PC, me, SmallBoy's father & stepmother, stepsister, and then the grandparents. Poor Mimi ended up in the pew in front of us, but she was actually in a better seat than we were. The teachers came and took each First Communicant from the pews and brought them to the back to process in ever so sweetly. The children ended their procession encircling the main altar, and then returning to their families after shaking hands with our wonderful pastor. The mass proceeded on and the children, of course, began to get anxioius. Finally all of the "stuff" was done - that would be the readings, etc...where the kids were supposed to pay attention, and it was time for Father to give his homily.

Father is known for giving excellent, yet LONG, homilies, so he promised to keep this one light and "fun". He began by reflecting on his First Communion and the foods he had at his celebration. One by one, he went around to all of the children and asked them what kind of food would be served at their parties. The children responded with everything from "Papa's pasta" to "chicken salad" (that was SmallBoy's answer). Then he spoke about how receiving communion is like a gift, being given something special and meaningful. The question posed to the students this time was centered around the best thing anyone had ever done for them or the most wonderful gift they had ever received. SmallBoy's answer was second. If you know me, you understand that I will cry at anything, so you'll not be surprised when I started just dropping the big raindrop tears when SmallBoy said, "When my mommy hugs me." Yes, it truly was worth it. Somehow, they always manage to get you when you need it the most. Instinctively, and without looking, I knewthat my mother and my mother-in-law were also being blessed with the watery eyes. The sincerity in his answer, the genuineness of his answer, the fact that he was the second to answer and wasn't trying to show up anyone with his answer, all of that combined with the sheer fact that I know how much my son loves me just made it all worth it.

The rest of the service continued on as normal. He received his first communion like the handsome young man that he is and, get this, he didn't make any faces or exclaim "EEEEEEEEUUUUUUUUWWWWW" at the taste of the wine. No, that doesn't mean he likes the wine. He told me when we got back to the pew that he had only taken a teensy sip and didn't want to really taste it, but that he knew it was important. It was a most memorable occasion and a wonderful party that followed.

The best thing, in my opinion, about his pronouncement about his mommy's hugs, is that children on the autistic scale are not necessarily able to feel emotion for others or sense other's feelings. I know that with SmallBoy, we have always shown him love and, perhaps, that is why he is able to feel it and send it back. This, however, proved to me that he knows what love is and that he knows how much we ALL love him. Again, I say, it was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo worth it!

Being a Mom

This was forwarded me in an email from my mother-in-law. I have seen it many many times, as I 'm sure have most of you. It says something, though, that we all, as moms, moms-to-be, those who are still dreaming of someday having children, biological moms, adoptive moms, step-moms, and a thousand others, can always relate to and feel deep within us. Thanks Mimi

Being A Mom

We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family."

"We're taking a survey," she says half-joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

"I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations."

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her.

I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.

I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her! ! that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?"

That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her!

That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub.

That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a souffle or her best crystal without a moment's hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood.

She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby's sweet smell.

She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine.

That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma.

That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.

However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.

That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child.

That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.

My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks.

I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child.

I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike.

I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat ! ! for the first time.

I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes.

"You'll never regret it," I finally say.

Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.

Please share this with a Mom that you know or all of your girlfriends who may someday be Moms.

May you always have in your arms the one who is in your heart.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

From the Sick Ward

All of the children are back at school. SmallBoy still has that telltale cough that keeps me on edge worrying about his asthma, but we've kept that relatively controlled with his inhaler. I am back at work today. My stomach has settled, but now the head cold that plagued everyone else has set up residency inside my noggin and I feel worse than I did yesterday. I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to go home...but I have way to much to catch up on here today. PC's back and shoulder are feeling a bit better. He is still experiencing discomfort, but the pain is diminishing, which makes me feel better. The head cold still has him down, but he's a day or two ahead of me, so I can see the light at the end of my tunnel.

On the bright side, it's Tuesday!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Party Aftermath

We made it through another weekend filled with family parties and softball tournaments. Absolutely crazy, though. Girl ended up getting a softball to the face at practice on Friday evening, PC ended up hurting his back lifting a box to help me out -don't worry, MIL, I've got him under control - PC & I are both sick today, but the kids are all better and off at school.

The party was wonderful. Family filled our home, some came early, some stayed later. LargeBoy almost grossed enough just from this party to purchase the video camera that he desperately desires, and SmallBoy did well enough that we put some into his college fund and left him some to spend as he desires. I'm very proud of my boys at such milestones. As I am under the weather and home sick today, my "writing brain" is not really up to snuff, so I don't know how much I'll get written today, or, how well it will be written. For now, though, I think I'm going to make a cup of tea, check on PC, kick the OCF off of my side of the bed, and crawl back in with a good movie. I've brought a variety to the bedroom...western, extreme comedy, and tearjerker. I'll probably fall asleep during any given one, since that's my nature...oooh, wait, I also have a TV show up here that I can watch!!! I can't make decisions this morning, I'll just grab whatever is on top.

Yes, Mother, I'm going to bed now. I promise. Citations, if I can manage to get my car out of the garage, I will try to get over there this evening or tomorrow to pick those planters up. My garage door opener decided not to work yesterday...the main one in the garage, so it's all up and down with the door....ICK.

Ok friends and fam, I'm off to sleep. Nighty Night.