Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I have Many

Many picture taken of me that should never be posted on line. These are two of them: Lord have mercy! Why would I DO that to myself? Well, here is the thing... I'm going to be 30 this year. While this number generally doesn't bother me at all (seriously, I could care less about age in the grand scheme of things) the knowledge that certain things start slowing down and not taking care of themselves so well after such numbers DOES worry me. It's not like I have ever been a thin girl. Or even a fantastically fit girl. I was an athlete and very active all while I was growing up, but I was never one to lift weights or run or eat anything in particular to increase my chances of weighing less. I never really cared. I think it came down to the fact that I have always been well endowed. Really well endowed. "Wear-two-tight-fitting-super-support-sports-bras-while-playing-soccer-to-control-hideous-bouncing" really endowed. You get the idea. So moving on. Because of said lumps I have oddly kind of felt it all sort of ... balanced out. Can you imagine have (natural) DD's and weighing 120lbs? That would be obscene. So 145-150 is fine in my books. I think I wear it well. However, I weigh ... more than that now. I am honestly not even sure how much. I just know a significant more because I can no longer wear size 10 jeans or 12 for that matter ... and some days not even 14. Some days, girlfriends, I just wear a skirt. I throw in the towel and say,"You've beaten me today, waist. But tomorrow is a new day." However, lately there have been less and less new days. There have been too many skirt days. Too many clothing concessions altogether. So I've decided, in honor of my 30th birthday and my never-existent-and-quickly-fading-even-more metabolism that I am going to start my own fitness regime. I'm still working it through in my head what I want it to include. All I know is I want it to be something I know I will stick to, get results from, and feel good about doing for my almost 30 year old body. Happy birthday me, almost, nearly, will be in less than 2 months. We're going to be a frickin' fabulous 30. Just you wait and see.

Christmas Chaos

Oh my. Errr, where to start? When did I post last? Oh yes, about my sweet sweet Ryan (yes, he is MINE, I just share him with Scarlett. I'm cool like that.)
My mom and her husband Rod flew in on the 23rd at 12:42am.
They go their luggage all messed up, along with half of the rest of the passengers. So after a couple hours of mass confusion we left with low hopes of seeing their luggage later that day.
The 23rd and 24th seem to have passed with much shopping involved. Though they are all kind of jumbled together so I am not REALLY sure what ACTUALLY happened those two days.
"Santa" went last minute on the kids gift (after I spent DAYS driving around to different places looking for it and HOURS on the phone calling even MORE places) and found a Wii at 10:30pm on the 24th from a guy on Craigslist. I admit I was a wee bit apprehensive about "Santas" shenanigans and the manner in which he got the item (the exchange took place in the parking lot of a Walmart ... very shady in my books). But thus far it has provided several hours and many many many matches fun. So I guess it was all above board.
The kids had a fabulous time opening all thier gifts. I'll have to send a special thanks some how, some way to Jerry's sister in law Wenda for sending Ms. R a pallet of make up. Oh yes, Wenda, yours is coming to you. I promise you, this will not be forgotten.
Both the kids were spoiled delightfully and got pretty much everything they asked for, save a few things that I really didn't want them to have anyway ;)
My "big" gift this year is laser hair removal. I've only had one treatment of the 5 thus far. It hurts like a booger. But seriously, I WAX and that doesn't hurt very much less. And this is PERMANENT. Oh yeah, baby. Mama's going to town. (Does anyone know WHERE town is? How you get there? What the purpose of going to said town IS? I've often wondered these things in my spare "I have too much alone time" time.)
As my one good deed for the year I had the missionaries over for dinner. Though with Rod here, I'm not to sure it was such a good deed as torture treatments for the Elders. Haha. I kid, it was acutally a really nice meal with a lot of laughter, joking, story telling, fact swaping and food partaken.
The 26th found us ... oh yeah. Shopping. At the mall. Oh. Horrors. I don't think I actually bought anything I was so traumatized by the sheer size of the lines.
On the 27th I took the kids out to Quitman to spend some time with his two younger brothers, both of whom Ms. R adores. She's still not sure who she loves more, she leans towards Brian. But Michael C. is just so darn cuddly.
I took Jerry's mom and my mom to the Broadway production of Annie at Bass Hall (I have to include the fact that Dawn paid for half of my mom's ticket) on the 28th. It was sen-sa-tion-al. I swear to you, the songs sounded even sweeter, crisper and more harmonized than they are in the original movie. The lead girl Kelsey Lee Smith thrilled me to my toes. Her voice was sooo fabulous. I cannot say enough about how well put together the production was. I would so get season tickets to all the Bass Hall productions if I could find a "theatre buddy".
Yesterday ... we shopped again. Seriously, it's some sort of sick Canadian addiction. These punks can't enough when they come down to visit me! Even with the exchange crumby, they are still getting a good deal - so we're out there hitting it hard. Alright, THEY are hitting it hard, I'm just a handy chaufer.
Today we headed out to a few outlining communities for my mom and Rod to check out what the land, people, prices, blah blah blah were like. They are looking into being Texas snow birds for a couple/few months of the year. They (read:SHE) wants to be close enough to me to spend lots of time together, but far enough out they don't have to worry about big city traffic and what not. I think we found a few contenders. I guess we'll see what happens next winter when the snows hit Alberta where they are planted - here or there.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I watched this movie last night ... okay really really really early this morning and ABSOLUTELY loved it! It was cute, funny and had Ryan Reynolds. Am I the only one who is completely in love with Ryan Reynolds? What beats a cute guy with a kickin' sense of humor? I'll tell you what - NOTHING.

It hurts

Something that makes me a little odd: When I am tired and my kids skin touches my skin ... it physically hurts. I don't think it's because we share the same genes because my mom, dad, brother and sister can all touch me when I am beyond tired and it doesn't set my skin into a frenzy.
If anyone can give me any insights as to why it literally makes me want to tear off my skin when my kids touch me when I'm tired ... let me know.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'll think about it

I have no idea where the curiosity has come from or why it's coming now, but I've had several inquiries about the "dog incident" that occurred 6 years ago next month. I'll consider sharing it. It pulls up a lot of emotions and memories out that generally I like to keep buried deep in my subconscious. Rearing it's ugly head from time to time, only to be beaten ruthlessly back down.
I'll think about sharing it. We'll see.
In other news Jerry has been sick for the last week. Anyone else notice how men handle being sick WAY worse than kids do? Seriously, it's absurd.
We went out a couple weeks ago to The Dump and found the perfect couch/chair/ottoman combo for the TV room and what Jerry considered the perfect leather couch for his office. I'm still not sure why we didn't just buy it that day. It's not like The Dump is one of those places that you can order it in if you don't find it there. They either have it or it's gone. Well, Jerry went in the following weekend while I was out of town hoping to surprise me with them when I got home. Much to his dismay both the set and the single were GONE. We went back in today and found nothing we liked. The search resumes. (Half hearted on my part, I'll admit)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

B-Man was diggin' Santa and the Mrs. this year.
Ms. R on the other hand
didn't want anything to do with them.
Claimed she'd had bad dreams about them.
B-man was kind enough
to snag an extra candy cane for her,
he's all heart that kid.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

99 Things

Brogan is sick and Rhiannon is at a sleepover/party so I have time on my hands ...
I stole this from Jasmine's blog ... the ones in bold I have done, the ones in italics I want to do .... forget it, blogger is driving me insane. The only thing you can REALLY tell by this list is the bold things. Stupid blogger.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightening storm at sea
14. Taught yourself art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch Hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Run a marathon
27. Gone skinny dipping
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruiseBold33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birth place of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung Karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported by ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Been snorkeling or SCUBA diving
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Time Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire bible
86. Visited the White House
Killed a prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chicken pox
89. Saved someones life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt LakeItalic97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I know, I am a couple weeks late. But I figure if I post it late, I don't feel like I HAVE TO make a post about being thankful because it's Thanksgiving. I'm doing it because I REALLY AM thankful. Not that those who did it on Thanksgiving aren't ...
Oh never mind, I'll just go gnaw on the foot I have stuck in my mouth for a while.

I am thankful for ...

Two children I truly like. Whom I more often than not think of as my friends and feel a connection to them that makes me aware I knew them before we came here. I may not believe in destiny, but I do believe somethings are pre-destined.

The state I live in. I cannot stress enough how glad I am to live somewhere that it is only mildly cold 2-3 months of the year.

The school district Jerry and I stumbled upon when we bought this house. This house may be a lot of crappy things, but the school district we are in is exemplary.

My health. I am glad that in general, I'm rarely sick.

For a house to live in. I may gripe about it, but we may have been on the street a few times in the past years without it.

For a husband who works hard to try to provide the things we need (and maybe, someday - simply want).

For a mother I know I can tell anything to.

For a sister who will tell it to me straight and still love me when I disappoint and hurt her.

For a brother who has learned that the world is not infact black and white, but has vast patches of gray.

For in laws who accept, love and appreciate me.

For a dad who tries hard to see everyone's point of view, even when he has no idea what he's talking about.

For the Gospel and the steadying influence it's had in my life.

For the emotional strength to deal with all I do and not have a break down ... mostly.

For B-man's continual improvements.

For Ms. R's ever loving sweetness.

For my truck. I'd be miserable without transportation. Even if I do always dream of something newer, sleeker, better.

For my sense of humor. It saves me a lot of tears.

For the freedoms I enjoy because of what others have sacrificed.

For small comforts, like fuzzy socks.

For running, HOT water.

For a steady source of food.


Live Nativity and a (possible) Drunk Driver

Monday is Wayne's birthday, so when he called up earlier this week telling me they were heading to Waxahachie today to see the live Nativity several church groups in the area put on there I volunteered us to go down and meet them there. Jerry thought it was a pretty hokey idea, but agreed to come because it is his dad's birthday.
We met them at the church it was set up behind and proceeded to wander through the tiny Town of Bethlehem that had been erected. I thought it was very well done. The actors all did their "busy work" relatively believably, they had the kids interact with the characters as often as possible, even with a huge crush of people the scene around The Stable was relatively reverent. With a few less people it would have been more enjoyable, but that's not really something they can control. So I took it for what it was. A free (donations gladly accepted!) presentation of the town Jesus was born in.

Jerry said something that had my hopes raised then dashed, "I have this list of fun things I'd like to do," (long pause, in which I thought, "REALLY?!?!? ME TOO! We should compare and start doing them!") THIS is not on it." He really doesn't have a list. Bugger.
As we were driving away, he re-enforced his opinion, "He (meaning his dad) couldn't have really thought that was a good time." From me ... loooong pause.
Him, startled, "You did?"
So I told him, yeah - other than the huge crowd of people, I enjoyed it for what it was. Thought it was presented well and didn't regret the hour drive down there. *silence*
Then as we were driving home we got behind a woman who was doing a lot of "wandering" and "weaving". This made both Jerry and I nervous, so we decided to follow her for a while, then called 911 when she nearly ran into a Suburban. I reported what we were witnessing, the car description, licence plate ID, the womans general description (between Jerry and I, were kick butt witnesses), explained our location, my trucks description and gave my name. The operator asked us if we'd mind following the car for a bit. We had nothing to better to do. So we followed. 820, 30, Henderson, Jacksboro ... All the while, giving cross streets, reporting her erratic driving (ooooh, she just hit a curb ... driving 35 in a 50 ... straddling the white line ... ) and WAITING for a cruiser to come along. At one point the operator said, "I have no idea what is taking them so long, pretty soon she's going to be out of our jurisdiction" Oh great. So we've just dilly dallied behind this chick for ... how long and it may be for naught? Oh no? You'll just transfer us to another operator. Oh, fan-frickin-tastic. The cruiser finally pulled up beside us, gave me the inquiring eye, I gave her the finger (not THAT finger!), he gave me "the nod" and we pulled off to get back on track.
Interesting side note - once you've called 911 on a Sprint Instinctit goes into "Emergency" mode and will not mute or hang up. The only one who can sever the connection is the operator. On one hand I really appreciate that feature if you're actually, really in a jam. But what happens if you're kid accidentally dials it? Hmmm.


... isn't really punishment when a child takes it REALLY well and is so ... accepting of it, even diligent about it. Seriously, Ms. R is taking the no TV punishment better than Jerry is. He hates not having the TV in the main room on 24/7 (that, by no means, is an exaggeration). I on the other hand have found not having the TV on between after school and bedtime almost fun. And relaxing. And quiet.
It's provoked MANY discussions on things Ms. R generally doesn't talk much about till she's just about asleep then pops and and says, "Mom, you know what I was thinking ... "
and I have to reply, "No, I don't. But you'll have to wait to tell me tomorrow, because now it's time for sleep." Then it never comes up again.
We've played more games together in the last week than we have in months.
We've figured out how to play an impossible game on her DS2.
We've talked.
We've cleaned.
We've talked.
We've baked.
We've talked.
She's play rolled with her brother.
They've played more games of "catch me and tackle me" (GENTLY) then can be counted.
We've talked.
We've been gawkers of an accident that happened over our back fence and talked about how THAT is what happens when you don't pay attention.
If she comes into our bedroom (where his TV watching has been relegated to while the kids are out of bed) while Jerry is watching a program she studiously avoids looking at the screen; if she happens to catch a glimpse, she's apologetic. It's absurd how well she takes punishment.

Some days it overwhelms me by how blessed I have been with my children.
Yeah, she's stretching her "imagination" wings or what the crap ever and trying my patience with her "stories".
Yeah, he can be a pestie that works on my last nerve.
But I like 'em.
They're pretty great.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Will Never Be

...a skinny girl. Or even a thin girl. Or even a girl that other girls look at and wonder, "what's she doing to look like that?"
I'm just not.
And here is one of the reasons why:
Candied Mixed Nuts

1-2 Cups of you favorite nut/s

ABOUT 1/4 c of butter (it was pointed out to me by Dawn that sticks of butter aren't sold in Canada, sorry my fellow citizens, let me correct that error)

1/2-3/4 cups- light brown sugar
1-2 Tbs.- Corn syrup (light/dark)
A tsp. each of your favorite spice- ei: cinnamon,nutmeg,clove,etc.

First Put the nuts in a good skillet pan and toast for about 5 min. over Med. heat. Once they've warmed up a bit add the brown sugar and the corn syrup. Bring up the temperature a little, allow the sugar to melt and coat the nuts. After a few minutes the syrup should start to bubble, at this point slowly incorporate the butter into the pan then reduce heat to low. As soon as you finish blending the butter add your spices, stirring constantly for even distribution. Finally transfer the mixture to a baking sheet lined with wax/parchment paper and allow to cool. Or don't, I eat them warm ...
B-man agrees, he thinks they're delicious!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

She LIED to us

So, lately Ms. R has taken to "making up stories" at school, with her teacher and speech path. When I see them, they are more than likely to ask me things like, "Are you planning on going to Hawaii?", or "Is your family volunteering at animal shelters?", "Did you make that sweater Ms. R's wearing?". First of all, yes, Jerry and I have talked about going to Hawaii, some day. Maybe. Hopefully. We'll see how the next 5 years goes financially. We surely haven't said anything to Ms. R about it. I passed that one off as her confusing Illinois and Hawaii. Trying to give her the benefit of the doubt.
The animal shelter thing I kind of understood, as I'd taken B-man and Ms. R to a number of local animal shelters when we were looking for a new cat. Maybe her story got confused or the teacher didn't understand exactly what she was trying to convey. These are the excuses I gave the teacher and myself.
Made a sweater? Hahahahhahaha. That one is the most laughable of all. Right. Pearl one, knit two.
Last week I mentioned to Jerry that it was odd that Ms. R hadn't passed off the level she has been working on at math, as she gets all the questions right every time when we're working on them at home, but always misses at least one at school. So he sat her down and asked her about it and she confessed she was scared of passing this level because the next would be hard. I then brought home a copy of one of the next levels work sheets and had her do it with out telling her it was from the next level. Once again, she got all of the equations right. After pointing this out to her, I encouraged her to work harder and pass this level so she could move forward. Jerry raised the stakes by telling her that if she didn't start getting 100% on work we KNOW she can do, her TV privileges would be taken away (her favorite thing in the whole world to do, like father like daughter). I was unable to monitor her progress on this front because he set these rules down the night before I was to start attending the Autism conference, but took faith in the fact that she knows what 100% is and could tell us. Two nights in a row after returning from the conference she proudly told me she'd earned 100% on the math work sheets and we did the happy dance, high fived and generally carried on like she was fantastic.
Yesterday afternoon, upon returning to my regular routine of volunteering in her class I was confronted with a horrible reality. She had lied to us. Twice. I was angry beyond words. So what did I do? Reprimanded her in front of her teacher and set down the law - I am going to triple the punishment time, then add a day just for good measure. That's right, 7 days of no TV. Ms. R's nightmare come to life. Don't mess with me, I'm a mad mom.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Random Thought

So, as mentioned previously, I like watching non-information channels like MTV, HGTV, E! after 10pm. This useless show watching always has me thinking up ridiculous things, such as, Here's a show I'd like to see: (both from MTV) "Date My Mom" transition into "Parental Control". If you've never heard of either of these shows ... the thought is wasted on you.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Side Note

I went out for lunch and supper a couple times while I was down in Arlington for the conference. I was all adventurous and tried out two new Restaurants. Both with trepidation because both foods can go VERY wrong.
The first place I went was Piranha Killer Sushi. So, so, so, so (should I put one more so on to make a point? No, point made? Okay.) delicious. The wait staff were prompt, friendly, knowledgeable and actually added nicely to the atmosphere. I ordered their Birthday Roll (shrimp tempura, eel, masago, scallions and cream cheese topped with avocado ... ohhhh mama). It was fabulous. I was tempted to try out a few more dishes - if only they weren't $8-$10 a plate each. The amount on the place offered was enough to make me feel content but not full, very nicely done. If I ever make friends, I am taking a few of them down there so we can order a variety of plates and share. Friends? Hello? I'm buying the first dish ...
The other place I am going to mention is Tandoor Indian Restaurant. My first gauge as to if this place was worth sitting down in? The "ethnic" people far out numbered the Caucasians. And four of the 6 other whities in the restaurant spoke with English accents. For some reason, I've always thought English people had good taste in East Indian food. I can't help it ... I have strange ideas. I ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala with a side of Naan (fresh off the pan, Lord bless us everyone) it came with seasoned rice. I shouldn't have done this. I should have known I was dooming myself. Now I just have a greater craving for East Indian food and know exactly where to find it. The service here was also pleasant, prompt and non-intrusive. I stuffed myself and still had left overs for about $13. Not bad for supper.

Notes from Texas Autism Conference

Keys to Successful Inclusion of Students with ASD:
Joint Attention - Used on younger children. Wants to share something with you in a purposeful manner - not use you as a vehicle to get something.
Struggling with Life - an ABC news special
Teach them how to articulate the need to have a beak without the drama.
ALWAYS have high expectations
Support lessons with visuals. Auditory goes in one ear and out the other.
They are concrete, literal thinkers.
To eliminate rearranging of picture schedules, take away pictures that are not options at that moment (or day).
Knowing how to read a schedule is not something kids automatically know how to do. It's something that must be taught, just as math, science, ect.
Horizontal Picture Schedule - This is a helpful way to teach kids the correct way to read, prepping them for true reading in the future.
Transition Markers - these are helpful in teaching a child how to transition. "Activities over, time to check schedule."
Can be simple as a Popsicle stick to small toys of child's favorite image(dinosaurs, cars, ect)
To help kids who do not deal with "surprises" to their schedule, include "surprises" in their schedule. First fun things, then things that are not so fun. Move around when the surprises happen to make it a change, but not too unexpected.
Make "communication tickets". Give them a # of tickets, allowing them to talk about the specific (their favorite) topic for a certain amount of times. They may talk about their topic all the would like during "free time", but not structured time.
Teach them idioms - but understand the will not get why it's not actually (ie) raining cats and dogs.
The use of hula hoops helps teach kids the distance appropriate for personal space. Not too close, not too far.
I was REALLY tired by the time the TAC gave it's update ... at 5:30 Thursday evening. My handwriting is generally not the tidiest - but not THIS bad. Now I'm trying to figure out what I was saying, "Residential ..." whatchamawhochas?Liane Holliday Willey:
Language first, THEN social skills.
Test for heavy metals
Water or Hippo therapies or both
Meta cognition - help them think about how they think
Get a "peer helper". Someone who can help your student understand what is socially acceptable.
Work with your teachers
Listen to your kids body
Try Tai Chi/Yoga - for the kids!
Navigating the Maze: Age Three and Kindy Transitions:
Persistence pays
Try to develop a Child Profile
Risk Management, Law Enforcement, Emergency Response and Autism
How do we build skills so they can become independent
Use simple and direct instructions
May need to repeat and rephrase questions
Resist impulse to act quickly
Calm Creates Calm
say things over and over quietly and calmly
911 dispatch telecommunicator training - Flag with key data about your household
My Child has Autism card
Drowning is the leading cause of death of people with Autism
Introduce your child to fire and police. Up close. So they are not freaked out if a real situation occurs and they need their help
Get your child a medical alert bracelet.
Teach Life Skills to Children with ASD - PLEASE!
Put them in a lot of situations, a lot of cross walks, a lot of stop signs, a lot of choices - so they do not delegate that specific place to that thing.
Persistence is key.
Figure out the rules the kids NEED.
Have kids start doing independent things EARLY
-Order own food
-Sort own laundry
There is no failure- only data.
Visual examples are great
Give your kids power, show them how to do things themselves
You MUST show them how to communicate in every day situations
Communication is POWER
Dogs are good Autistic children
Teach them their phone # and address
Exploit every opportunity
Give them chance to succeed
Teach kids to SHOP ON A BUDGET
Give them chores at grocery stores
-pick out ...
Chores build skills
Use Sports Illustrated for facial expressions
Give them an alternate to hitting "If you're angry, here's what you can do."
Do not force his to eat anything - id he doesn't like what's for supper - PB sandwiches
Time alone heals from the stress of life
Develop parameters for AUTISTIC tendencies - locate, do not destroy
-develop USEFUL stims
-teach a variety so they have a choice - acceptable ones
Life skills overcome barriers
Parents Panel:
get on Medicaid waiver program waiting list
H.I.P. Program
If claims are denied - call CUSTOMER SERVICE and ask for a supervisor.
Advocacy, Inc
Easter Seals
Parent Resource Center
Behavior Intervention Plan
Keep Your Head and Arms in the Ride at all Times:
Biomedical Conferences
Autism cruises ... or cruise lines that make allowance for such situations - CARNIVAL has special needs department
Respite for special needs kids
find dog park
miniature littlefield sheepdogs
natural parent

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Autism Summit - Arlington

Today started a three day Autism conference in Arlington, TX. I was given a stipend by my school district to attend as a parent of a child with Autism. $135 I didn't have to pay. Woohoo!
I am already over loaded with information and am so excited for what's coming tomorrow. It's unbelievable how many resources there are out there and how much humor there is to be found in the Autistic/Asperger's community.
My brain is fried ... I'll probably have to give you a run down on Sunday. Tonight I am just way beyond done.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cactus Cuties

Two bars in, I was in tears. These girls are AMAZING.

Could YOU Resist This Little Booger?

Almost the Same

Jenie makes the most delicious Butter Chicken with a sauce she buys at the Superstore in Whitecourt and I have been scouring markets high and low in my area trying to find something similar this is what I found the other day Not EXACTLY the same, but close. Now to find some decent Naan. The East Indian market down the way sells it, if you don't mind it frozen with freezer burn and ice crystals. Yuck. We ate it with Pita Pockets. As before, not exactly the same ... but we made do.
They both have beds. Queen sized beds. Yet, this is how they sleep...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dodge Journey: A review

No, I'm not an actual car reviewer type person. Not that I wouldn't be, oh, I would be in a minute. There is a free kids publication that comes out once a month listing things to do in the area, articles on parenting and my favorite thing of all - my coveted job, a review of a family friendly-ish vehicle. I seriously want to know how you get that job and go hunt up the editor and beg for it. As is, whenever I go on road trips I basically con Jerry into renting me something. I come up with a lot of bizarre road trips.
Any who.
As previously stated we rented a Dodge Journey for our trip up to my cousin Kari's reception up in Quincy, Il. I dug around the Enterprise website a little and found out if we rented it for a week we got 1500 miles for out of pre-destined states, which was perfect. I got a different car for a week and a legitimate reason to have to for more than 4 days.
I had originally requested a GMC Acadia, as I have rented one of those before and know that I love it. With the knowledge I was driving at least 30 hours in said rented vehicle I felt more comfortable with a car I knew I loved over trying my hand at a new brand - at least for this trip. However, upon arrival I was told they no longer had any in and wouldn't be getting any Acadia's in till after Thanksgiving. My options were a Jeep Commander, Ford Explorer or the Dodge Journey. With the Jeep and Ford getting maybe 18 mpg, they weren't my likely choices. So the Journey it was.
Things I liked: Leather interior made any spills a breeze to wipe up, the V6 gave the heavier vehicle nice pick up and I was never worried about being run over by a truck driver who assumed he had the right of way, the power sunroof though never opened was a nice touch, in dash 6 CD player/Sat radio/iPod connection, automatic dimming rear view mirrors, three zone climate control, 2nd row slide forward and backward, there was a third row though we never used it, three power points (is that what the plug in's are called?) and one regular power plug in, power drivers seat, cruise control, volume and station controls on steering wheel, a place on the dash board to put two 12 oz sodas - and it keeps them cold! The center console was deep enough for me to keep 7 DVD's, two packs of gum and my drivers licence in it, the second row floor had cargo area
Things I did not like: Massive blind spots in rear corners, it feels small inside - my family of four would not be comfortable on a long drive, the rear cargo is smaller than my current vehicle - I couldn't pack much to go very far, the seat wasn't heated - on long drives my hips begin to ache and I find if I have heated seats I can turn it on and it eases the pain, the gear shifter seems like they are trying to be high class and just becomes a jumble, if you're sitting in a comfortable position you can not see the entire instrument panel, the volume on the stereo doesn't decrease and increase with speed - a little extra I appreciate

Based solely on the blind spots, interior space and rear cargo space alone I'd have to pass this vehicle up, even if I didn't have all those other qualities I disliked.

So over all, not impressed. Next time I'll request something else.

So We Went to Illinois for a Couple Hours

Here's a quick catch-ya-up, minus the pictures. Forgive me, dear readers - I had my camera with me but for some reason I wasn't inspired to take pictures at any given moment. So we'll just have to suffer with a blow by blow instead.
Jerry rented me an SUV on Monday because I was headed up to Illinois on Thursday and there was no way I was taking my truck with the alternator on the fritz and no cruise control. I'll give you a run down of the pros and cons of the Dodge Journey (which I certainly did not request) in a different post cause I know you're just DYING for one.
The kids didn't have school on Wednesday so we headed out early, dropped by Costco and got the ridiculously long list of things Linda just couldn't do without this Thanksgiving, then made our way out to Quitman (aka Nowhere, Texas). That evening Linda and Wayne had a few of their friends and Waynes mom, Erma, come join us for some "rousing" games (dude ... the youngest person besides myself was 65) of Pictionary. I love old people. I swear I do. All the word strips were movie titles, easily identified, if not easy to draw. Erma ... oh my Erma. She was a lost cause. For instance, one of her word strips was "Around the World in 80 Days". What did she draw? A circle with a couple squiggles in it. That was it. Then she just sat there, regally staring us all down, waiting for us to come up with it. Lord love her.
Thursday morning was all about cooking and table arrangements for Linda and myself. Jerry and Wayne took the kids fishing till just before the feast was served, which was their favorite part of the day. Linda makes most traditional dishes a lot different from how my mom (therefore myself also) makes them, so I guess fortunately for me, I ate sparingly. After a brief rest, I packed up the car, the kids and myself and headed off for Illinois. We made it to Searcy, AR and buckled down there for the night.
Friday was a long day of "adventure". Somewhere around St. Louis I pulled in for gas and as we were pulling out some punk came swerving into the lane I was exiting so I pulled over a bit and went over a curb. A little hard. A lot hard, apparently. I immediately noticed the alignment was off, so I used the handy dandy function on my Sprint Instinct and found the closest Firestone. They informed me the alignment was thrown off to the point that they would not feel comfortable with me driving the SUV back to Texas. Awe-frickin-some. They didn't come to this conclusion till 11 minutes after all the Enterprise rental locations in the area were closed. Wonder-frickin-ful. I was informed, however, that Enterprise had a rental agency in the town we were headed to and they'd be open the next morning at 9. Great. Fantastic. Moving on. We finished the 13 hour trip on a less than triumphant note.
Saturday morning I first called up the originating rental location, explained the issue and got permission to exchange the vehicle. Took the SUV almost literally across the street and found out they had no rentals available. The young man there was more than helpful, he called all the other locations within a 40 mile radius and found out no one had any extras available... the St. Louis airport location did however. *grinds teeth, sets bright smile* Two hours, twenty minutes later the kids and I pull up, introduce myself as the woman who called for the exchange and was shown to a Kia Sportage. Not impressed with the down step, but accept it as it is still sort of in the same class as the Journey. I noticed a faint smokey odor but was resolved to not make too much of a fuss - I had a cousin in Quincy I had to go make an appearance for! Five minutes later I have to pull over because the odor is causing my head to throb and my stomach to rebel. Take the kids to a late lunch and consider what I really want to do in this case. I call Jerry and ask his opinion. He agrees, take the stinky thing back. As I am driving back to the agency I open a compartment in the center console and find a used cigarette lighter and ashes. I didn't even realize car makers installed those anymore. We trade out, again, after I file a formal complaint about the vehicle and receive *gulp* a Dodge Avenger. At this point, I am pretty sure they are trying to hurt my feelings. My very sensitive snotty vehicle feelings. They, however, will not upgrade as the vehicle is a trade out, leaving the state and will not be returned. We drive the 2 hours and 20 minutes back up to Quincy and head over to Kari's shin dig - the purpose of the whole trip.
We really did have a good time at that point. The kids danced. I got introduced to half of Quincy, most of whom seem to be related to the groom. Ate some good food, found out Maid Rites are sloppy joes. Then B-Man bit one of the grooms uncles ... and I figured that was our queue to exit. We stopped by a store on the way back to the hotel hoping to find swim suits I'd failed to pack for the kids and discovered stores country wide don't carry swim suits year round. Odd. I let the kids swim in their under wear ... cause I'm just that kind of mom and no one seemed offended.
Sunday morning we woke up to snow falling from the sky and accumulating on the ground. My kids were utterly enchanted. I let them frolick around in it while I loaded up the car, then headed out. B-man become more and more agitated the further south we drove, "Where's the snow? Where's it go?" You try explaining the further south you go the closer you get to the sun, hence to warm for snow flakes to an Autistic 5 year old. Go ahead, try it. Eventually I gave up and told him the snow flakes had all decided to go home and they don't live in the same place we do. He totally accepted that. We arrived home close to mid night. Made good time, really. Hardly speeding more than 5 over the limit all the way, a new record.
And that ... is the end of the Illinois incident. Though I wish we hadn't had the issue with the vehicle and it was a ridiculous mess ... I'd do it again. Kari was genuinely happy to see another Jones at an all Trewelp affair. Just knowing being there made her feel a little less overwhelmed and a little more love ... that was enough for me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

*Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons*

I officially have a new favorite book and this is it. The librarian at Ms. R's school suggested this book to me the other day as we were working the book fair together. Considering she's also the person who told me to read "Lost Boys", I was a wee bit skeptical. However, a long drive up to Illinois for my cousin Kari's wedding reception was on the horizon; so I gave in, requested the audiobook from my library and set to listening to it in Arkansas. I laughed, I cried (not so much of a good idea when you're driving, by the way), I listened intently, I felt for the ladies, I yearned to be their friend, I heard so many good lines I wanted to quote I'll have to go out and buy this book ... it was so touching and wonderful. This book made the hours of driving fly by. I'm still not sure which lady I love the most. All I know is the author wrote me into thier lives and I felt thier pain, thier joy, thier triumphs. What an awesome book.

Book Tag

Pick up the nearest book to you, open to page 56, write out the 5th sentence along with the next 2 sentences. THE CLOSEST BOOK, NOT YOUR FAVORITE, OR MOST INTELLECTUAL...

Life of Pi
Yann Martel

Page 56; sentence 5
Love, said Father Martin.
I'll stick too my Krishna, thank you very much. I find his divinity utterly compelling.

Tag: Becka, Mandy, Dawn, Jenie, Lump, Angela