Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Am I Crazy or Am I Needing Motivation? (oh yes, and I need HELP!)

Yup. I'm crazy. I haven't been writing much lately, so, with a good swift kick in the pants in the form of a nice little challenge, and a little encouragement from Kyra and my family, I've decided to participate in NaBloPoMo this month. For those of you unfamiliar, it is a challenge to post on your blog every single day for the month of November. It doesn't have to be anything profound, it can be simple, short, or you can babble on and on, which, I find, I have no trouble doing. I don't think I'll have too much difficulty with the posting part, it's the uploading of the logo that is challenging me.

I'm not certain if it's me or if it's blogger or if it's a little of both...it took me all day just to get the photo into THIS post...and I KNOW how to do THAT. Well tonight we trick or treat, tomorrow we embark on the post. In the meantime, I need HELP!!!!! Kyra and I have been, as she put it, the blind leading the blind when it comes to figuring out how to get our friend Yoda, here, into the sidebar. There are many logos for the NaBloPoMo challenge on the page. This is the one I chose to use. However, I am terribly challenged in the area of doing anything to the blog except actually posting. If you know anything about adding these little tags to blogger, any knowledge you'd like to share with me would be MUCH appreciated! Send it through my email - in my profile! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Preparing for Halloweenies!

Halloween is only a few days off and Girl has no costume, and we JUST picked out SmallBoy's. We drove all over creation and out to BFE for pumpkins. This year's crop was nasty. I don't know if it was just here in Illinois or across the country, but there was some nasty fungus that attacked the pumpkin crop. It was extremely difficult to find one, let alone three, that were not smushy or moldy or "hol-e-y", but we did it! Here they are!

Princess & the Not-So-SmallBoy digging out the pumpkin guts! Such fun. I'm not sure if Princess was posing, blocking the shot, or trying to show us her totally gooped up hands and forearm!

Ah...Girl & Snood, they're very rarely apart, she's like my second daughter. I think, in this picture, they were attempting to reattach Jack's eyeball with a couple of toothpicks. It was a group effort. A lot of blood and elbow grease went into this pumpkin, as Girl broke one of the tiny little carving knives that come with the pumpkin kit AND one of my steak knives!

And speaking of knives......Would you believe we actually took this one twice because he didn't look crazed enough the first time? Gotta love the LargeBoy. I really enjoy that he hasn't outgrown the fun of these kinds of holidays. He will not go out trick-or-treating (he had a bad experience a few years ago), but is more than happy to be the door guy - on the porch with all the creepy decorations, scaring the bigger kids and having fun. He LOVES to decorate, LOVES to do pumpkins...do you see the Jim Carrey in him? Oh I do!

And last, but not least, PC's pumpkin - carved and aglow with the tealight. This seemingly simple stencil design took him forever. I'm amazed at the amount of patience my lovely husband has. He had fun, we had fun and all of our pumpkins will be on display tomorrow night. Hopefully I'll be able to get a really good picture.

Oh, and Mom, I'm not doing seeds this year, but thanks for the recipe. I'll hang on to it til next year!

Remind me, in my next post, to tell you about the earthshattering event that happened this weekend. Oh, screw it, I'll tell you now. It was a weekend for the kids to be at Ex's. PC and I were attending the auction for Girl & SmallBoy's school, so I told Ex that I would need Girl to come home Saturday night and babysit. In return I would make sure she got to her softball practice on Sunday while the rest of them attended a family party. Well shut my mouth when all of a sudden, he calls back, talks to Girl and says that he'll keep SmallBoy overnight!

Now now, don't get excited, I'm certain it's not the beginning of any major breakthroughs or anything. I guess they were planning on attending a Halloween event at the zoo, so he just decided it would be "easier" on him if plans were done that way. However, I will usually hear from Girl & LargeBoy if there was any unpleasantness during the stay at their father's house. Nada. Nothing. Not even a hint of meltdown or anything....of course, I'm not pressing for information, either. But hey, it could be nothing, it could be something. Probably nothing, though. Thought I'd share.

Alright all...take lots of pictures tomorrow. I want to see! Personally, I will be wearing my pajamas to work with my fuzzy slippers. One of my absolute favorites! Perhaps ponytails too!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Confirmation Pics

It's not very often that I post a good picture of Girl - mainly because she's just so damn beautiful that I don't want her face all over the net looked at by weirdos. YOU, however, are not weirdos. You are friends & family. I'll just keep the anonymity thing up through the blog.

As I said in the post below, Girl's Confirmation was 10/21. I have some pics of Girl, the bishop, and her sponsor (who, coincidentally is Ex's divorce attorney - she's really a real estate attorney, she's the godmother of New Baby, however she is a very GOOD and very REAL person, if you know what I mean, and I applaud Girl for choosing her as her sponsor), and a great pic of the boys at the dinner...looking like they're deep in conversation after throwing back a few beers (which, of course, they did not). So, here ya go!

Yes, yes, love them love them!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Signs of Life

Hi all! I am, indeed, still alive. I've been terribly busy and just haven't had the time or the motivation to write lately.

Way back on the 11th, Meem, GR, PC & I had the opportunity to attend a lecture given by Dr. Jed Baker on Social Skills and Frustration Management in Children on the Spectrum, most specificially Asperger's. I was hoping to have been the good little student and have translated and shared all of my notes with you by now. Well, I didn't. Oops. However, I must say that, as a result, we've taken a couple of Dr. Baker's ideas and made them work for us. We now use our dry erase board to help our Not-So-Smallboy keep track of the STARS that he earns. He can earn stars by helping us out with a chore, by doing a chore, by avoiding a meltdown, by remembering all of the necessary materials for his homework, by finding a solution to a problem he's having, by getting ready for school on time, etc.... Each star is worth 5 minutes of computer or video game time (see how I killed two birds with one stone?)

So, on the board we have his stars, we let him draw and erase them. We also keep a "bank log" so that he sees #Stars = x, Time = y, so that he can easily determine how much he has available. The challenges that we've found with this system really involve his accountability once he gets ON the games: "So, SmallBoy, how long have you been playing Star Wars?"

"10 minutes."

This is when LargeBoy or Girl interject with, "Um, I don't think so. It's been more like 1/2 an hour."

Our solution was to have SmallBoy "log in" on the dry erase board when he began using his stars. Ideally, that would give HIM the visual when he argued how long he had been online or playing games on the Xbox. We would be able to say,

"SmallBoy, you logged in at 4:40. It's now 5:10. You've been playing for 30minutes. That's 6 stars."

"But...but...but...it only felt like 2 stars!"

Then we can show him the clock. He doesn't like that the time flies so quickly, but he understands better when he sees the visual. Then he reluctantly erases his stars. The BEST part, though, is that he has a constant goal. He ALWAYS wants more time, so, more often than not, he's willing to do something to earn stars. I have found that this is an extremely helpful tool when trying to get him to pull out of a meltdown...or to avoid one.

Girl made her confirmation this past Saturday. If you're familiar with the Catholic church, you know that this is one of THE LONGEST services...regular mass, but with all of the confirmands (in this case I believe there were about 60 or so) receiving the sacrament after the homily. Then everyone still has to go up for Communion. Realistically, this is about a 2hour mass. Currently, our gorgeous church is undergoing some major renovations. The confirmands were graced with the Holy Scaffolding around the altar for decorations and, in the true Catholic tradition of patience, penitence, & guilt, we were sitting on metal folding chairs because all fo the pews were being replaced. You can imagine what kinds of ASD triggers these are going to be....long mass, more-uncomfortable-than-normal seating, crowded church so no one can see, big ugly scaffolding, and a LOT of stuff going on.

So, we prepped our Not-So-SmallBoy. He didn't want to go - and anyone can understand. I mean, church, to children, is boring as a rule and he knew he was going to be sitting through a long one. So, we put the carrot in front of the proverbial horse and dangled the Stars! I offered him stars for making it through the mass (he wasn't sitting with me as I was a sponsor for S, Girl's best friend), and then we offered him stars for making it through the dinner afterwards (with Ex, New Wife, GR, Meem, Poppy, S's family in a VERY crowded and VERY LOUD restaurant - he was amazing), and then because he did SO well, PC tacked on another bonus star.

See where I'm going with this? We've found something that works for us. We also found a new trick. You know how when our darling ASD-ers get so frustrated that they "yell" back at us in response to something we say? Dr. Baker used the example of saying, "Are you yelling at me?" or "Are you raising your voice at me?" Yes, the kids are frustrated, but this helps them check HOW they're using their voices. I've only remembered to use it with SmallBoy a couple of times, but it's proven effective, as he realizes that he is, in fact, talking to us in a manner that he doesn't like and that it's because he's frustrated. That, then, helped him to realize what the problem was and voice it appropriately.

There were so many wonderful aspects of this day with Dr. Baker and I promise I will, ultimately, get all of the notes translated for you. In the meantime, I hope that my two big "breakthroughs" can be of use to YOU! I'll post some pics from Girl's confirmation soon (she looked so beautiful - and she took my Grandmother's name as her confirmation name).

Friday, October 13, 2006

Because I'm at Work and I'm Bored

This is too weird - and eerie, but SO true, especially my power month (PC's birthmonth). Working on the notes from the conference. I'll have them for you soon.

Your Birthdate: November 23
You're not good at any one thing, and that's the problem. You're good at so much - you never know what to do. Change is in your blood, and you don't stick to much for long. You are destined for a life of travel and fun. Your strength: Your likeability. Your weakness: You never feel satisfied. Your power color: Bright yellow. Your power symbol: Asterisk. Your power month: May

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Ok, so maybe for boys it's not "sweet" 16, but still....

Here's a funny Birth Day story for you. Imagine, or remember, if you will, lying on the table in the OR/Delivery room with your abdomen exposed to the world and your guts lying about, yet not feeling a bit of pain. Envision the "screen" that separates the rest of your body from your field of vision so that you're not totally grossed out at that scene. Then, as the second hand hits 8:02 on an early October morning in 1990, you hear the little wahhhh of the new life being scooped out of your body and raised high for all to see (kind of like Simba....heh heh heh). The emotions flood over you - part hormones, part epidural, part elation,part - thank GOD this pregnancy is over, part "my guts are all over the place." In the midst of trying to discern which emotion to feel, and whether to laugh or cry, the precious new child takes his first pee...right on the doctor who has just wrested him from his snuggly womb. How's that for poetic justice?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LARGEBOY! May the next 16 be as, well, YOU, as the past 16! (and don't complain about the pic, LargeBoy. It was this one or "BLEH!")

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Matter of Perspective

SmallBoy had OT last night, and it was much needed, as his engine has been revved pretty high the last week. One of the things J, The Fabulous OT, has him do is design an obstacle course. Part of last night's course included this swing.

On the swing was one of those foamy puzzles, you know with the interlocking blocks and the puzzle piece inside that comes out. This one was left there from the previous client and was a letter/number puzzle. He wanted to use the removal and replacing of the pieces as part of the course. So, instead of his usual routine of thinking of a random word for every letter that goes back into the puzzle, J had him think of words that described him.

My Not-So-SmallBoy was having a great time with this exercise. Some of the words he came up with absolutely were NOT describing words, but it wasn't because he didn't know what to do...he was just being a goof, but most of the time he was on target. One of the letters he chose was "L".

J The Fabulous OT: "So, SmallBoy, what can you think of to describe yourself with the letter 'L'?"

NSSB (after giving it many giggles and much thought): "Lucky!"

J The Fabulous OT: "That's awesome SmallBoy! You sure are lucky! Why is it that you're lucky?"

NSSB (without missing a beat): Because I have Asperger's and I know all about it and I can help people.

MG (after exchanging glances with J & PC): Sniff sniff, wipe away the tear.

J The Fabulous OT: "Absolutely, SmallBoy. What a GREAT thing to be lucky for!" Looking into the lobby and PC & me, "What about those people out there?"

NSSB (not quite getting that she was referring to PC AND me): "Oh yeah! I'm lucky because I have two dads!"

J The Fabulous OT ( who is perfectly aware of the situation with Ex, and while I hold back the tears and squeeze PC's hand): "Oh yes, SmallBoy. You are VERY lucky about that! I only have ONE dad!"

I had waterfalls for the rest of OT. It was mostly because I love it when he recognizes PC as Dad...because he is most definitely the father figure in his life, and he LOVES that NSSB SO much! Part of it was seeing the perspective that SmallBoy was coming from, though...I've never looked at it that way - both the 2 dads thing and being lucky for having Asperger's (which I thought was INCREDIBLY cool!)

Oh my Not-So-SmallBoy...we've come a long way, my love. PC & I are SO unbelievably proud of you!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sunday at GR's

I mentioned before that we spent Sunday evening at my mother's baking again. Here are the pics. There are some really goofy ones of Girl and some silly ones of the Not-So-SmallBoy! Here we go!

I let LargeBoy drive the last couple of miles to my mother's house. It was a straightaway, for the most part, but a street that involved going 40mph, AND on a highway divided only by the double yellow line, a first for the LargeBoy. We were going to wash MY car when we got there, but Mom's was first in, so SmallBoy took it upon himself to take care of GR's car...sadly, the Acura is NOT mine, I drive a wagon.

After the car washing, SmallBoy was soaked. He took off his shirt and rolled up his pants. Here he is hugging my Chica while sporting the Huck Finn look! It was so cute!

20minutes he ran on GR's treadmill. He went on his own, set the speed and ran the entire 20minutes. They say he loves to do this when he visits. Go figure. If we had a treadmill, it would turn into a clothes rack, as was the fate of the Nordic Trak I once owned. Good for SmallBoy, though! I don't think I could do 20minutes on a treadmill if you paid me!

Moe, Larry, and Curly at their best. Oh yes, they were most definitely posing...what gave it away? Can you guess what we had for dinner?

Oh she's going to be so pissed that I posted this picture! Baby Goowah being her royal dorkness while forming her loaf for the pan!

Girl & GR...I love photos like this. These are the classics. I wish I had more pics like this with my grandma. Instead I have them permanently burned into my memory...not a bad place to be.

Girl & Chica - gee, I wonder where she gets her weirdness. I tell you, it skipped me, went right to my sister who used my kids as a human shield when Mom uttered the words to The Mother's Curse, "I hope someday YOUR kids act JUST LIKE YOU!"

Girl and me. We had a flour fight. Guess who won. I made the mistake of wearing my glasses that day. It took FOREVER to get them clean! The flour clung to my hair like sand. It took me two washes to get it all out! I swear my hair is permanently changed to a much duller color now.

Remember "Miss Susie Had a Steamboat?" This was SO not that! The new one is "Gawn Girl" (translated 'Go On Girl'). This was the easy part. It was the complicated moves that were the most hysterical. GR caught on though, and by the end she had the claps, the slaps, and the snaps all in the right places!

We were supposed to be demonstrating the newest exercise ball thing that we had learned at OT, but someone's engine was WAY too high. The Not-So-SmallBoy was bouncing off the walls and rolling across the living room, still looking like Huck Finn.

We had a blast! Thanks Mama, for letting us invade...oh yes, and for feeding us. It's so much more fun than making our OWN dinner! Love you lady! Hope you feel better soon!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY GOO-WAH ("Girl" in cute baby talk)

...because when she's being cute that's how she says it. She'll kill me for posting this pic, but I love it! I have more to post later from Sunday night at GR's (we baked again), but this is her happy birthday post. 14 today. This morning she woke up to her birthday sign, which I had made with markers and nail polish (I'll take a picture of her room so you can understand), cranked up "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile," from Annie, and danced around the living room like when she was little, then put on "I Think About You," by Colin Raye (HER song from when she really was a baby goo-wah) and was happy as a clam. PC stopped to get her a mocha (her favorite), but they took so long this morning, that she had to put it in the fridge for later, and then they took off to school with a million angel food cupcakes for class treats, and a cake pan of angel food cake for treats at her soccer game. I'm hoping for rain so that the cake comes home!

Her friends threw her a surprise party on Saturday. She had NO clue and was thrilled to pieces. We had a gig, so I didn't get to experience the surprise, but I'm holding out for pictures.

To the first of my October Babies,


You will always be my Baby Goo-wah.