Monday, December 8, 2008

Thought about telling you all about our weekend but, I don't have pictures ready, instead you get a me-me that I read over here and decided, shoot....if she can meme herself, so can I. Besides, I'm feelin' kind of lazy this morning. Pics tomorrow...promise!

1. Five names you go by
a) Grace b) Gracie c) Shawne d) Mom e) honey
2. Three things you are wearing right now:
a) dark grey docker type pants b) make up c) grey patterned top
3. Two things you want very badly at the moment:
a) a NAP b) for my stupid panic attacks to take a frickin' hike already
4. Three people whom I would like to see fill this out:
Anyone who reads this! Just take the meme and run with it.
5. Two things you did last night:
a) Watched 88 Minutes w/ hubby b) Laid in bed with Lil Man and watched cartoons til we fell asleep
6. Two things you ate today:
a) Yogurt b) a Pepsi? Srsly, I haven't had any other's only 9am!
7. Two people you last talked to on the phone:
a) My doctor's office b) My husband
8. Two things you are going to do tomorrow:
a) Work b) Get Bubby's meds refilled
9. Two longest car rides (I’m interpreting this as road trips and I can't remember road trips from childhood):
a) From KC to TN on our honeymoon b) KC to Branson
10. Two of your favorite beverages:
a) Pepsi b) Peach flavored tea

Pick a color for the things that you have done. Mine are in bold letters.I have…
1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped (and I never will)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill-but Lil Man was sick, does that count?
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Skied a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run (OK, so it was in a game with small children)
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself 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 geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my 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. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (documentary)
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
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving (and I never will)
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 Times 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 (I've been published IN a book...does that count?)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s 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 Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant

Good Lord but I'm a boring and deprived person LOL........ I can't believe how many of those things I haven't done!!! Granted, some I wouldn't *want* to do, ie....rock climbing, bungee jumping etc......but some of the others, I'd love to do---go to Paris, see the Alamo, visit the White House, go to Disneyland......

So.....what about you??

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Of turkeys and men....

Yeah, that's about as creative as I feel today. Sigh. We've been so slammed here at work, I didn't even get to wish anyone a happy Thanksgiving, belated tho it is, Happy Thanksgiving! We spent it at my parents house (my mother in law is out of town til tomorrow) and my brother came in from L.A. .....and couldn't wait to hop his hiney on a plane back there after the cold and snow we had over the past weekend, LOL. It was a good time.....all the usual food trappings etc etc and visiting with family etc etc......ate too much etc etc......

I didn't step one foot in any department store on Black Friday. Hell no. Not even going there. Besides, we did end up getting the majority of our shopping done a couple of weeks ago......a couple of gift cards are all that's left.

Other than that? We've all been sick ('cept for Bubby....I don't know how the hell the kid does it, but he never gets sick) with something. Lil Man has strep throat, lovely. I swear to the heavens that Randy has bronchitis.....and I'm pretty sure mine's just your garden variety cold....blech. We lazed around all weekend, watched movies..... were very boring overall.

But, when I came in this morning and was catching up on my blog reading....I came across an entry that just said everything that I've wanted to say re: autism and Aspergers and high functioning and low functioning and bad parenting ....and all that other stuff. Here.... go read this and then come back and let me know what you think. She's one of my very favorite bloggers.....straight up honest, silly, funny and a damn good writer..... I'm hella jealous ;-) Seriously I'll wait.

Back? So, what'd you think? Probably everything I've wanted to say about Dennis Leary and his sorry assed book (or, for that matter, anyone who is as delusional and misinformed as he is about autism and ASD), she said it better than I could ever imagine.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Almost Only Counts in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades....

......Sigh...... We werethisclose to having all of Friday night and most of Saturday sans kiddos. We were totally hyped and ready to go out for dinner where we could actually talk to one another without being interrupted eleventy billion times with "Mom?" or "Dad" or "No no no no no" -that one is courtesy of Lil Man. We were looking forward to spending most of Saturday getting our Christmas shopping done..... ok, maybe "looking forward" is a little grossly overstated, but you know what I mean...the shopping would actually BE DONE. None of that running around a week (ok, 2 days) before Christmas searching for that one certain thing that we just have to have for that one certain person. Lord but I was looking forward to that. The boys were going to spend the night at D's house (this is Lil Man's caregiver during the week, and an occasional weekend etc. He has watched him since Lil Man was 8 wks old) on Friday night, watch a movie, eat popcorn etc. Then Saturday D and his wife were going to take the kids to a movie and Chuck E Cheese (gah!) and we'd pick them up sometime early evening on Saturday. When D suggested it, I was all over that in a heartbeat "Heck yeah, you bet it's ok". And then I called my mom. She burst my bubble in about half a heartbeat, I swear it. I offered to provide the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner this, not "cook" it, just provide it.....Thanksgiving is at Mom and Dad's this year so she's cooking the turkey, I'm just providing it to be cooked. ANYhow.....I called and asked if we could just bring it over on Saturday...... to which she says "Oh, you mean bring it to Ali-bug's birthday party?" (Ali-bug being my one of my sister's oldest daughter...she'll be 4). And I was struck stupid for a minute (shut up, quit laughing) and then I replied, with a HUGE sigh "OH HELL. I totally forgot about the party.....and I just frickin' talked to R last night about it and what Ali-bug wanted. CRAP CRAP CRAP!!" and looked down just in time to see/hear Lil Man say "Cwap?" OH HELL. Not only had I forgotten the birthday party, I just taught my almost 3 yr old a semi-swear word.......gah, definitely on a roll.'s hoping we can get the Christmas shopping (and Ali-bug's birthday present, damn it...don't forget the present!!!) all done on Friday evening. Quit laughing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

4th Grade Expectations the beginning of the school year, the 4th grade students had to write a short essay on "4th Grade Expectations". I want to share Bubby's with you:

"I have a hard time paying attention for reading. I will try harder to stop reading too much here and more at home. I will try to have self-control by not getting mad. I will particpate in Math. I will respect others the way I want to be treated. I will follow directions so that I won't be in trouble. I'll take responsibility to be good. I'll enjoy each other to make friends."

I love this. For so many reasons, but I just absolutely love this and the fact that Bubby came up with it on his own. Some of them make sense (reading too much at school ....he races thru his assignments so that he can read) .... "I will follow directions so that I won't be in trouble" -this is a big thing for him as it really stresses him if rules are broken so he tries really hard to follow directions/rules. But some of them have me absolutely scratching my head and sayin' ...."Wha????" "I will try to have self-control by not getting mad" .....outside of getting mad at me or his dad for discipline (ie, grounding from the PS2 etc) I have never seen this child get "mad" ....or anything even closely resembling "mad". And even his "mad" at being grounded or whatever has never gone beyond a slammed bedroom door. "I will particpate in Math." -I'm not sure what to make of this one. He's stated that Math is his least favorite subject....yet, it's his highest grade, A-. And I love "I'll take responsibility to be good" - this is something for him...a big something. We've been working really hard for...well, for forever... on getting him to take responsibility for his actions etc. His favorite "excuse" is "maybe my medicine isn't working." or "But I didn't take my pill today" (he's on Concerta for his ADHD) .....and we always respond that he has to be responsible for his actions, not his pill...all the pill does is help him concentrate/focus more but that ultimately, he's responsible for his behavior. The last expectation that he lists just breaks my heart.....even with a word or two left out. "I'll enjoy each other to make friends" it's just so damn hard for him to make friends..... but you know what? The ones he does make, he keeps and they're really good friends.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The hell??????

Well, alrighty then. I'm a little peeved at this point. I had a post all done up, went to add the pictures and my words disappeared. As in gone. As in, damnit I don't have the time to retype all of that!!!!
Hell, I guess what you get instead (because there's a ton of you reading right? You're just all quiet and lurking? Right??? .....sigh.....) is the pictures of the crocheting that I'm doing for my co-worker who is having a baby girl come February. The smaller of the two pictures is the start of the bunting I posted about earlier, and the other is the sweater/cap I'm going to do up--but will be in a coral color instead of pink.
In short, we've all been sick at my house. Work is busy. Randy's work is in a hiring freeze and letting people go (hopefully not Randy). Bubby is adjusting to his new schedule and activities at school that allows for his IEP implementations--but at the sacrifice of his eyelashes (anxiety/stress causes him to pull them out). Little Man apparently is on a hunger strike that includes anything that would be "normal" dinner food.....even cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, spaghetti or anything else I put in front of him that is not a fruit cup or fruit related. *roll eyes* I guess I should just be grateful he's eating fruit right?
Off to enjoy (not) another quiet (not) weekend. Randy is on-call which means I'll probably spend most of my weekend solo parenting. Oh joy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ahhhh....Family Time.......

The weekend was actually really good. Mainly quiet - or, as quiet as you can get with a 2.5 yr old and 10 yr old. No place to be at any certain time.....nothing that *had* to be done. We got new tires on my car ($245 cripes!!) and had lunch out at Logan's Roadhouse....yum! Rented a couple of Blockbuster movies and spent the evening quietly at home. One of the movies we watched was Kung Fu Panda......freakin' hilarious!! Both boys thoroughly enjoyed it and Little Man laughed even when he didn't know what he was laughing at :-) Went to church Sunday morning, the preschool choir performed-they were soooo cute! Then, another quiet (some would say boring) afternoon at home. I absolutely LOVED it. I worked on a crocheting project.....a co-worker here is having a baby girl come February and I'm making her several items. The one I'm working on now is this bunting I love this's a simple repeat so I can work on it while watching tv, yet the stitches are interesting enough to not bore me to tears. Also, I'm not doing it in pastel pink, but rather it will look like this. Well hell, looks like my cell phone and email aren't going to play nice today. Maybe I'll be able to add them later. Now, as for last night? Oh my was not good. For the past 3 months or so, Little Man has developed a terror for bathtime. I don't know what brought it on or why he's scared but holy jebus, the screaming and crying and red-faced, shaking toddler that used to LOVE bathtime.....not so much anymore. All we have to do is mention the word bath, and he starts sniffling and fussing. Start the bathwater and he stays as far away as possible, crying. Bring him in the bathroom and he's full out bawling and crying "no, no, no" while waving his little hand towards the tub. Actually put him IN the tub? Oh Lord have mercy.....full out crying, screaming, flailing his hands and whole body shaking like a leaf on a tree in a windstorm. Take that times 2 when you go to wash his hair. He won't sit in the tub.....that would take a miracle from up above. And while I have no doubt that such miracles *can* happen? They ain't happenin' in the bathtub at our house. After no nap on Sunday afternoon, and the fit at bathtime, LM fell asleep pretty damn quick--all cuddled up in my lap--which totally negated the fact that while I was trying to rinse his hair he called me "mean mama!!" in the midst of all the wailing.

Sigh....if anyone reads this and has any ideas on how to make bathtime less traumatic? I'm listenin'..........

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Elections and IEP's and Baseball, Oh My!!

Wow.....what a historic moment for our country. Absolutely incredible and awesome.... and that's all I'll say here on that subject ;-)

We had Bubby's IEP meeting last week. It went so incredibly smoothly. It was everything we'd hoped for, and then some. Bubby has 5 academic goals to work on and there are some additional goals for social skills that are being added..... the final copy should come home in the next 2 weeks or so. After it was all over, it was like a huge HUGE weight came off my shoulders....I was so relieved. Relieved that it was over (the whole dreaded "first meeting" thing) and relieved that it went so well. The team had some fantastic goals in place and accommodations set up that we hadn't even thought of! With his handwriting being as bad as it is, it of course figures into his goals (2 of them as a matter of fact).....what we didn't anticipate was the accommodation he has been given. Whenever he has an assignment, classwork or homework, that is more than 3 written sentences.....he's been provided with an Alpha Smart to do his work. It's awesome.....his teachers can hook it right up to their computers and download his work to be graded! When he has state/district wide assessments that are all handwritten, the school will provide someone to scribe his answers for him, or, if no one is available, he can use the Alpha Smart. They are doing something called a Sensory Diet (great site and info). Now, I'd never heard of something like this before.... they explained that they will be doing joint compression for Proprioceptive input, brushing (using a brush like a fingernail scrub brush) lightly up and down his arms and some kind of physical activity ie, wheelbarrow walk, carrying books from one room to another etc..... He does the Sensory Diet every day, 2X's a day-morning and afternoon. This should help him become more aware of where his body is in space--he has no concept of other people's personal space because he isn't aware of his own body's space. It so hard to explain sometimes!!!

Something else that's hard to explain? My feelings last Sunday afternoon when I was watching my dad play baseball with Bubby. Bubby doesn't like physical activities/sports etc because he lacks the coordination and other skills to do them. But, for whatever reason, Bubby wanted to and so out they went to the backyard with an aluminum bat and tennis ball to play. Mom and the rest of us went too (Randy and I and Little Man) ....we played with Loki Baby (mom and dad's Rottweiler) and Little Man played on the swing set. But what caught my attention was Dad and Bubby. Dad was pitching to him and he would actually hit the ball a time or two, then miss a few..... Dad went out and helped him adjust his hold on the bat -showing him how to hold it so when he swings it doesn't arc up but rather straight out. After Dad showed him that, he went back and threw a pitch....and Bubby hit it, and he hit it good. The LOOK on Bubby's was a look of PURE JOY. A spontaneous reaction to something in his environment.....those moments are so few and far between.....I can't even begin to tell you how it felt to me. I literally had to turn away because I started crying. I wish, oh how I wish, that I'd had my camera out there and ready. Instead, I grabbed that moment and I will hold it close to my heart. Like I said, few and far between. At least for now.....

Monday, November 3, 2008

On the road to mending.....

Let's see.....when I last posted, I had what I considered a major breakthrough in my panic attack triggers. One would think the attacks would abate somewhat at that point, yes? Not so much. I had a kind of bad one and the next day made an appt to go back to Dr. K and talk some more. Apparently, I have issues.... lol..... I mean, it's not really funny, but then kind of is. I can't just have one issue, I have to have a "set" of issues. Ugh. With all that's been going on with Bubby's IEP and Aspergers etc etc, I've been having hella issues with Lil Man. He throws a fit when I change his diaper, put his clothes on/off, brush his teeth ...... he will do any of those things for any(every)one else, except me. There were a few times that I thought to myself " little boy does NOT like me" .....and I let him run rough-shod over me by not really dealing with those issues as they happened. More often than not, I'd ask Randy to do it......and Lil Man would happily trot over to Daddy and do exactly what he *wouldn't* do for me. I really lost alot of my confidence in my parenting abilities.....a LOT. When we hit on this during the session, Dr. K told me I have got to reassert my authority as "mom" ..... and we talked about how I should do this. I just wanted to hit myself in the forehead...."DUH"......plain and simple, basic parenting things. Yes I know these things, but being so focused on the other issue, I totally lost things for a while.

I am happy to say that I am reasserting myself, and Lil Man *has* taken notice. The very first morning after my session w/ Dr. K, I went to change LM's diaper and get him dressed to go to the sitters and he started to rant and rave and kick and thrash......I loudly, and firmly, told him that "I *am* going to change your diaper, and get you dressed and if you don't stop this nonsense, you will sit in timeout". We've used timeout before a little, and that, along with my tone of voice stopped LM in his thrashing tracks....he looked at me like "Who are you? Where's mommy?" but, I did change his diaper and got him dressed and he did NOT have to sit in time out. And it's pretty much played that way since then too......the only exception being if he's really tired.....and that's understandable, I'm pretty damn cranky when I'm tired too.

Breakthrough (Part Deux)

Well, for whatever reason (certainly unknown to me), my original blog has in it's out there to read, but I can't update it. Grrrrr........after trying for a week to get some help in restoring it, I've just decided to go ahead and create a new one - just start over from square one. Except on a different date....yeah, there is that.....ugh. Oh well.....can't be helped I suppose.

Never a better time to start a diary or, rather, a blog, than when you have a major breakthrough in your life, yes?For the last few weeks I've been having some really, really bad panic attacks. Not that any panic attack would be good, but these have been exceptionally bad. This isn't my first go-round with them either ('nother story, 'nother day....maybe) but this is the first time that I hadn't a clue as to what was triggering them. So, off to the dr for meds again....Zoloft-it is my friend; Xanax -an even better friend (but don't tell the Zoloft, 'kay?). The attacks have ranged from "meh.....I can breathe thru this" to "ohmigodIcan'tbreatheIcan'tstopbeingsickIcan'tkeeptheXanaxdowntakemetotheER"......yeah, *that* one was fun. Not. Some of the smaller ones have happened at work, but, my boss is a saint. When the attacks first started I was upfront with her about what was going on and she's been exceptional.....truly. Perhaps before I go any further into the breakthrough on the attacks, I should introduce myself and my family? My name is Gracie....I'm in my late 30's, married for 12 years to a wonderful man, Randy, and we have 2 awesome boys....Bubby and Lil Man ...obviously not their real names, we're not *that* mean ;-) Bubby is our oldest, having just turned 10 (!!) . He is a "mini-me" down to his little bones.....our birthdays are only 10 days (and oh so many years!) apart and we couldn't be more alike. Well, except he's incredibly intelligent, loving, gentle, polite.... He loves him some Star Wars (ask him anything about it, he'll have the answer) and he's an awesome big brother, a book-worm and a non-stop talking, rule follower. He also has Asperger's Syndrome. And he's just perfect in his own quirky, loving way. AS is an Autism Spectrum Disorder.....a form of autism if you will. he is exceptionally high-functioning, if a little quirky and eccentric. This is a fairly new diagnosis for us, maybe in the last 8 months or so...... I'm sure the topic will show up alot here.Then there's Lil Man.....he's almost 3 yrs old (will be in March). LM is a wild, rough 'n tumble, cars 'n dirt lovin' little boy. He keeps us on our toes with his inquisitive and rambunctious ways.....he's also a "mini-me" of his daddy......oh lordy help us all LOL. He's talking up a storm (LM, not daddy...altho, he has his days too) but if you're lucky, you'll understand about 50% of what he says....and only then if you're already familiar with his vernacular. Up to the last couple of weeks I've even had to translate for daddy. We had a speech evaluation done but for right now, the powers that be in the evaluation world, don't seem to be too concerned. He knows all his colors and can point them out, loves to jump and hop and play with his cars and draw on paper (and sometimes himself) with pens and crayons.....The both of them are handsome little tow-headed boys with gorgeous blue eyes and eyelashes any girl would love to have...... I, however, could be a little biased in my opinion LOL...... Also sharing our humble abode with us are 3 furbabies....2 of the canine persuasion, Rascal and Sissy, and one of the feline, that would be Marcus. Rascal is the oldest at 12 yrs, then Sissy at 8 yrs and Marcus is a little over a year old. Love them one and all, most of the time LOL. Ok....niceties out of the way....back to the attacks and the breakthrough. We went to counseling last Thursday night (normally Bubby is with us as we're learning about his AS and things we can do to help him), just hubby and I. As soon as we walked in Dr. K says "Something has happened- What's going on?" I started explaining about the panic attacks....he asked if I did my breathing exercises.....I told him I tried but nothing was working and that I'd gone to my primary care dr and gotten back on Zoloft and Xanax. So we started talking, mostly Dr. K was talking, trying to pinpoint what was going on. And wouldn't you know it, we started talking about Bubby and the upcoming IEP meeting and I broke down.....totally lost it and cried for a good 15 minutes. What it boils down to is I'm afraid that I'm not adequate enough to advocate for my son.....that I will fail him if I don't do everything absolutely perfectly right at this (our very first!!) IEP meeting, I've taken on the full responsibility to learn anything and everything I can about AS and ASD's and special needs and the schools and the laws and accommodations for IEP's and I'm afraid that I'm going to miss something critical that would be so helpful for him...and....and...and.....HELLO? Breakdown much? Yeah, totally....right into panic attacks.I really do have alot of fears about missing something.... I mean, hell, he's 10 yrs old now, and we're JUST finding out about having Asperger's?? Are you kidding me?? Observant much mom and dad???? Never mind that he has ADHD as well and that disorder has masked alot of his Asperger's. We always just thought he's our quirky kid....our little bounce off the walls/can't sit still go boy go! Our little "smarty" pants because he's just that damn smart.....our shy little guy that couldn't look you in your eyes for more than 2 seconds if his life depended on it.......our little bookworm who would rather read than know, BOY things like ride bikes and play in the dirt and climb trees....... But you know what? He's ours.....he's perfect in our eyes and we love him dearly.........