Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Story of Michael, Part 18

Wow - almost caught up! Just one grade away.
For those of you just joining in, I am writing about my son Michael. Michael has Asperger's Syndrome which is a high functioning form of autism. He is part of the autism epidemic. What does that mean? Think what you want - I don't wish to debate. I just know that there are too many kids on the spectrum these days. I won't begin to pretend to understand why.
I went back and read the first entry today and guess what? I said I would finish it by April. April of 2008. Whoops!

Last entry was wrapping up 2nd grade.

The summer after second grade, Michael went to his first day camp.

One of the families I was working with through our state's autism pilot program told me about a camp offered through our parks system called DDA. The DDA camp was designed for kids with special needs but can function somewhat independently. For Michael, this was perfect. He wasn't in to sports which ruled out most day camps. Definitely made him not fit in with his peers. Most boys by this age are really into at least one sport and starting to get fairly good at it!

I couldn't trust that camp counselors would really understand Michael and know how to work with him.
This camp was different! Some of the people running the camp were Special Education teachers. They had experience matched with a passion for caring about kids who don't fit the norm.

Michael attended for three weeks that summer and had a great time!
I finally found a place that Michael could go and I wouldn't worry.

Unfortunately, camp may not be an option for him this year. Maybe I'll write more about that later, maybe I won't. It all comes down to cutbacks.

When summer wrapped up, it was time to worry about school again. Same scenario.
Who would his teacher be? Which kids would be in his class?

Third grade is a bit challenging because kids are expected to act a little more grown-up. The bar is raised, so to speak. Work is a little tougher. More time spent at your desk. Kids are starting to be more and more aware of being "cool."
Why worry?

A couple of weeks before school started, I went to see the principal. I was convinced that Michael needed a para-professional to assist him throughout the day. He had struggled with anxiety in 2nd grade. He was easily distracted and starting to not complete his work.

We agreed to see how he did once school started. The principal also reassured me that Michael had been placed in good hands.

We showed up at Meet the Teacher and I introduced Michael. I had not been able to talk with the teacher before this day. I asked if we could meet and briefly explained the situation.

I think I really scared her! In fact, I know I did. She had that "deer in the headlights" look.

The next day I was able to meet with her. The special education teacher joined us. Michael had a new SpEd teacher overseeing his I.E.P. this year. Michael also had a new speech teacher, new counselor - basically a whole new team. I handed over some resources and tried to do my best "Everything you need to know about Michael" speech in 30 minutes.

Turns out, this teacher was another perfect fit. She's one of those people who doesn't pick unnecessary battles. She doesn't get her feathers ruffled. And (yahoo!) wiggliness doesn't bother her. Kudos to her on that one. As a 5th grade teacher - it made me CRAZY! I would probably be a whole different teacher now than I was then. I'm a lot more aware of differences and how you can work with them. I wasn't intolerant, but I did lack an understanding of how important it was for these kids to move.
As calm as this teacher was, she was no pushover. She made him get his work done. She stood firm when she needed to. I hope she is still teaching when Jacob makes it to 3rd grade. He's going to need her! A rare combination in deed.
With the success of the buddy program from the year before, it was decided that we would continue it. The whole class participated! They didn't even question "why." They were all eager to have their turn being the special playground buddy.



Want to know my favorite part of that school year?
Want to hear what changed everything?
You'll have to catch the next installment.

Friday, February 27, 2009

All In The Family

You know I love you tube. Strangely, I just found out I have family on there.

My cousin and her friend a few years ago made a video that my aunt just posted (no, Sheridan doesn't know). Apparently this was at 2 or 3 in the morning and they woke the folks!

Sheridan is the one on the right (most of it) in the blond wig.
Dig the outfits, girls.

And the dancing (?) is top notch.
Watch the end when her step dad comes in and she sneaks to the camera to turn it on him.





I told my aunt this video was like West Side Story meets Pink Floyd's Wall.
Weird stuff, dude.
If Sheridan ever reads my blog, she will kill me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Deflated

I'm a woman living on the edge.
Please don't think I'm joking.

I'm having problems with my wheels. Literally.
A while back I had 4 flat tires in a row. We knew this was because all of my neighbors were getting new roofs (with one more to be done - eek!). I'm a regular at the tire store.
After three nights of Doc promising to air up my tires, Betsy's husband took my car while we worked on Kappa stuff for the meeting this weekend. This of course followed a debate between the Doc and I about was the tire flat (my opinion) or just needing air because of all of the weather changes (Doc's opinion). Almost a week later I pull out of the garage to run Jacob's carpool for preschool and a different tire is flat. Completely flat. This would be Monday.
That's not my actual tire, by the way.
Fortunately for me, friend Shannon had just left my house. She came back and rescued us! We dropped the boys off to school and she dropped me where I was supposed to be. Thanks, Shannon!

My friend Jen & I grabbed sandwiches and headed back to my place to meet the roadside service peeps.
And by peeps I mean "peep show."
Not to sound incredibly ungrateful for the tire change, but my recommendation for you folks who have to crouch for your job would be a belt.
I know I shouldn't have taken the pic and I was horrified when I heard the click. I was pretending to use my phone at the time which explains the horrible picture quality. I would have loved to have used my real camera, but I didn't want to be rude.
Oops - too late.
With the spare on, I had 45 minutes to get my car dropped off before time to pick up kids. I had to call in reinforcements (Doc's folks - boy do I owe them this week!) in order to pick them up and get Michael to the orthodontist appointment.

I'm gonna stop here to tell you that I had to be home quickly because Doc and I were headed to Norman for the OU/KU basketball game (that's another story). Doc's parents were taking the boys for us and keeping them at their place overnight since we would be getting home so late.

Turns out my tire is fairly new and not carried everywhere. I dragged the kids' suitcase and crap in to the tire store thinking I would be leaving my car there overnight and my MIL (mother-in-law) was picking me up. After asking me if I was "running away" they told me that they could get that tire for me in 5 days. FIVE DAYS!
I moved out of the tire store - suitcase and all - and headed to the dealership. Thank goodness they had my tire in and my MIL picked me up there. I dragged my suitcase through the service area and in to her car. I was beginning to feel like a hobo! Everything turned out just fine and everyone made it to where they needed to be, but my stress level was elevating anyway. You know how it gets when everything starts off all wrong?

Tuesday, my MIL dropped me off at the dealership to pick up my car. I was slightly annoyed that my free car wash and vacuum hadn't been done - but hey... can't have it all. After a 30 minute search for my car keys I found out that I had one new tire and was promised that the rest were fine. I had them check because of the low tire the previous week, you know. I drove home happy to have wheels again... until...

I left the house that evening to take Michael to social skills class and the previously "low" tire had 15 pounds of pressure in it.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAck!
At this point, I have lost my temper. I made the Doc change cars with me. I tried to make it his problem.

But just like a boomerang, trouble always returns. To me, anyway. Doc left Wednesday morning at 6:15 - but not before he woke me up (couldn't he just leave a note?) to tell me that my tire had not lost any air overnight and he was leaving for work.

I took my car to a tire store nearby where they checked for escaping air. An hour later I find out that I have wasted more of my precious time to find out that I'm insane. The tire is "fine."

But the saga continues.
Throughout the day my very "fine" tire has lost 9 more pounds of pressure so far. This dumb blond isn't that dumb. Feels good to be right most of the time but today I would have liked to have been wrong.
At this point, the tire guys all know me when I walk through the door.
Where is the nearest insane asylum?

In case you are wondering, I haven't lost all perspective. I'm going to add a little note here to tell you that I understand that my frustration, anger and downright loss of patience is insignificant compared to the horrors others around me are experiencing this week. One friend has a daughter who is very ill, awaiting diagnosis and needs surgery. Another friend lost her baby daughter 3 days before the scheduled c-section.
Those are real problems.
Please keep them in your prayers - God will know who you're talking about.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pick A Winner!

In a very methodical and scientific way, a t-shirt winner has been selected. It was almost as genius as Michael buckling himself to... himself.

If you really care to know the process, it involved writing names on slips of paper mixing them up and having Jacob pull from a bowl of folded papers.

In fact... TWO t-shirt winners were selected.
I know. My generosity is overwhelming!
If I had enough shirts I would have given one to each and every one of you. Especially since there were only 10. But I don't have 10. I have two. So I'm giving away all that I have.
Enough already.

The winners are...
&
ANNIE (Having a Ball).

HOORAY FOR YOU!
I know it's a nosepicker shirt but, hey... it's always fun to win isn't it?

And here is today's little laugh.

One more thing that I think is hysterical. You may not find it funny but I do.
This email arrived in my inbox from a neighbor.
Greetings: Thursday night someone deposited a self propelled push mower behind one of the columns on our side of the bridge. Noticed it first thing Friday a.m. from view from kitchen window Thought was weird and left it there all day thinking someone was going to use it for mowing around the creek. Decided to confiscate it since no one came to fetch it and is in my possession. Fairly new mower and seems to be in good shape. Won't describe more fully for obvious reasons. We put up a sign on the post at the bridge in case someone did leave it there with a purpose in mind, but now phone calls over the weekend. Assume someone stole it and stashed it there to pick up Friday night????? Hummmmm. At any rate if any of you know of a garage break in last Thurs. night let me know. All they have to do is describe the mower, brand, etc. Can we post a notice on the Website? Guess I will have to put on my marshal's badge and start packing again.
Here's the response (the part that made me laugh out loud) that showed up in my email inbox as well:
I have not received any phone calls or emails with regard to a missing mower. Good find and like a lost dog has a new owner. Pet it and give it gas ...you’ve got friend for life.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's a Date... DUH.

Geez Louise. Did I forget to tell you the date of the run?
Blond.
Blond.
And more blond.

Oh - and just plain busy.

May 9th.
Day before Mother's Day.

If you feel "torn" between teams and want to support each, you can always pay your runner's fee for one team and give a minimal amount (there is no minimum donation) to the other teams. Any amount of a donation makes you a team member.

Each team has a "hero" who is a kiddo on the spectrum. Each hero is recognized at the event with a trophy (at least they have given trophies in the past).

It's really fun to see how excited they are about being a hero!

Team PokéMichael

It's time for READY... SET... RUN!
Believe it or not, it is pronounced Pokey-Michael (like Pokémon for those of you who are familiar). Michael picked his team name this year because his was "boring." I tried to get him to change it to Michael's PokéRunners but he didn't think that was funny.

This is the third year for us to run. In 2007, we had a gigantic team. I was so amazed by the support it brought tears to my eyes. Even more amazing is that these are the ones who showed up at 7 a.m. on their Saturday morning when it was 34 degrees outside... and sleeting. That is just plain love, folks. There aren't a lot of people in this world that I would do that for!

It was also the year that Callie and I ran the 5K together. My first and last 5K in case you are wondering? My joints ached for weeks and weeks afterwards. I am now officially a walker!
Needless to say, the next year wasn't much better in the weather category. There wasn't any sleet (yahoo!). But, it was very cold with winds that carried away small children. We had to hold them down with weights.

Here is our 2008 team photo (missing quite a few). Notice Doc is talking on the phone. I was a little miffed about that if you really wanna know.

Here is Michael with his good friend "SuperPizzaBoy" holding their team signs. SuperPizzaBoy belongs to my blog friend Yogi!
This isn't all of them, but these are some of the 5K racers from last year. Yup, Doc had to take over representing the fam for the run.

This precious gal showed up with her mom and brother in support of Michael. They were classmates last year.
After the run, Michael danced with my cousin Marty to some Radio Disney tunes!
I'm hoping that any of you in the Tulsa area who want to be a part of our team will join us! There is a 5K and a 1 mile fun run (which means walk, actually).
  • To be a part of Team PokéMichael, just click here.
  • If you simply wish to donate but not be there the day of the event you should click where it says "Sponsor Me Now."
  • If you plan to run or walk with us, click just above where it lists the "online sponsors to date" box where it says "if you want to register for this event click here."
Be sure to select Team PokéMichael when you donate or register for our team so that we can track who joins our team!

You may have noticed that our team has t-shirts. If you want to run/walk with us and don't have a team shirt, I am happy to get one for you! Just send an email to thatsbaloney@gmail.com to let me know that you need one and what size. You must be already registered for the run if you want me to get you a shirt. There are Autism Center of Tulsa shirts in the race packet for all participants as well.

I hope that you will join our team if you are able. The support Michael sees and that Doc and I feel at this event really lifts our spirits! And your support goes to provide services in my (our) community for families with children on the spectrum.

As with all A.C.T. events, the run is very family friendly. Notice there is a post race party at 10:15 so the kids will want to stay and play.
Kids 5 and under run/walk for free. All paying participants receive a packet with an A.C.T. t-shirt and the eternal thanks of a mom.
A couple of my blogworld friends will be forming teams as well, so I will totally understand if you join theirs instead. Would just love to see you out there!

Here are the major details you need to know:
2009 Ready...Set...Run! 5K/Fun Run
May 9th, 2009
Race Day Registration 7 a.m.
5K 8 a.m.
Fun Run 10 a.m.
Post Race Party 10:15 a.m.
Hunter Park, 5804 E. 91st St., Tulsa
I can only promise you two things:
1. The weather is going to suck. It's tradition. The run has been moved a month later in hopes for better weather, but let's face it. This run is cursed and it's springtime in Oklahoma. No promises.
2. I will be forever grateful for your support.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I Hear Ya

There's a lot of truth in this one. Every man is trained for this from an early age. Or maybe it is part of their genetic code. Take, for instance, Michael. I can't tell you how many times he has looked at me and said, "All I hear is blah, blah, blah."

This kind of statement does not go over to well with me. It also never goes unpunished - but that doesn't stop him from trying again another day.

And yet, he is just being truthful. His dad feels the same way but would never say it out loud. He's so very kind that way.
Just for this one moment, you can laugh about it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Did

And by that title I mean I got married over 13 years ago.

Weddings always make me feel a little sentimental. My very favorite part of every wedding is watching the grooms face as their bride walks up the aisle. I love it! You don't often see that kind of emotion on a man's face but the adoration is always so obvious!One of my favorite high school pals got married last weekend. Doc and I drove up to Fort Worth with another high school pal and his wife to attend. I'm sure Doc wasn't looking forward to all of the remember whens but it was a whole lot of fun for me!Lots of old memories and lots of old jokes. And somehow they are still funny (to us). It's so much fun to stay in touch with people who were like family to me and really still are. We reminisced over snotbubbles, Soccer Sunday, naps, cars, jobs, breasts (of chicken), notes - all the fun stuff high school was made of. You guys have snotbubble stories too - right?
This is Kim and Jana (I'm in the middle - obviously).

Here I am with Sean, the groom. I could list all of the amazing things about him but I'm just going to give you one. He's the best whale noise maker that I know. Seriously.
No rival exists!
Our group photo (sans groom) with most of us and spouses.
And not that I would ever choose favorites, but these 3 are among my favorites. Somehow we've managed to stay in touch all these years. Of course, they graduated the year before me and abandoned me. The nerve!!
Here are Kim and I. We've been very close friends for a long, long time. She's one of my high school besties. We became friends as locker neighbors for all 4 years of high school!
But Baloney's friends can be equally silly. Why else would I be interested in hanging out with them?

Here are Sean and Chas on wedding eve.
Chas showing us how to eat cake while Craig looks on.

Some ate more than their fair share of cake. Of course I photographed the evidence!
So many pictures. So many cameras. Where to look?
Some found their own new ride.


And here is Jana's attempt for a new Facebook profile pic.Don't know why she didn't use it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Revelations of a Non Biblical Sort

Sorry for the delayed post (for those of you who count on the 7 a.m. daily -- Yogi). I know your day has been incomplete up until this very minute.
Like I said yesterday... my brain is fried. I had something set to go at 7 a.m. but just now checked in and saw that I put another date on it instead. Ha. Feeling blonder by the minute!

A week ago I made plans to get my nails done with my good friend Caci. After the week I've had this was a nice little scheduled break. Caci called yesterday to say that she had to meet in the morning instead.

This presents a pickle for me since Jacob is only in school from 1 to 3:30! But I took a chance today and I brought my sidekick with me to the nail salon. I talked him into it by promising that he could play his Nintendo DS the whole time.

We were there really early this morning so the place wasn't crowded - hallelujah! They let Jacob sit in a chair and have the good ol' electronic massage. {Side note: I don't like those!}
He didn't leave his chair the whole time. I'm not sure if it was the DS or the massage chair but I'm thinking chair. I swear to you this kid is almost never still!

At one point Caci and I looked over and laughed to see my kiddo focused intensely on a game while shaking violently from the motion of the chair. Like playing in an earthquake!
This video will give you an idea but I did not catch the supersonic seizure mode that we saw.
video

So I left there today with a few life altering thoughts.

  • Motion calms Jacob.
  • He couldn't possibly be this good twice. I've burned up my one time to get away with it.
  • Cute toenails DO bring happiness.

Knowing what I know now, I checked into the massage chairs. Maybe when Jacob is crazy and out of control I can just stick him in the chair?

But there are just two problems.


1. This thing is ugly. I mean - REALLY ugly (no offense intended to those who own one). I will not put this in any regularly used room of my house and therefore it would never be used.

2. It costs $5799 before tax and shipping.

Never mind.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Brain Fried

Too many commitments, too little time.
Began putting almost 200 bookmarks together with my friend Betsy tonight.
Someone put us in charge of decorations and gifts for a regional sorority meeting.
But we have fun. Here is evidence from our November shopping venture.
Yeah. Them are gym clothes.
That's just one of the three major projects I must accomplish in the next two weeks.


Feeling stressed here in Baloney-land this week.


Explains my current motto:
And the kids have been particularly helpful.
Sometimes you just can't win.

Like last night at dinner when Michael figured out I had a pattern (not intended) and knew I would choose ROCK. In fact, he knew every time I was choosing anything (but the Rock is/was my ROCK if you know what I mean).
Which combined can only explain this.

But when I needed a laugh, I wasn't let down.
Who says advertising is random?
So Happy Thursday to you.

You're never fully dressed without a smile.
If you see this guy, tell him I know a great dentist.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It was a dark stormy day

Or maybe a lot of them. The skies were grey and the snow was coming down without a break.

Finally, I have my montage of pictures done from our ski trip.
I know you all want to waste 5 minutes of your life on my vacation photos. And truthfully, my favorite pictures are the ones at the end.
Although, I will admit that Doc and I chuckle every time we see the pic dubbed "ski ninjas". It was so-named the moment it was taken of Jeramie and I. What can I say... it was COLD outside! And in case you are wondering, we were smiling underneath our face masks. Old habits never die.

So here they are.
Enjoy!

...or take the day off from this here blog. I will understand.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You Know You Want One

It's my 1 Year Blog-a-versary!
Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday to me...


If you want to see the first post, here it is.
Just finished a ski trip and my first post was about one!

I can't believe it's been a year since I started this crazy thing. Thanks for reading, thanks for pretending that I'm interesting and mostly thanks for being a part of my life! I really love you friends in the blogosphere!!

To celebrate a full year of Baloney, I'm giving away a nosepicker t-shirt. I have one Large and one XL. So maybe I will give away two - depends on how many responses I get.

I think I found the inspiration for Michael's drawing right here:

AND...

I sure can pick 'em.

So if you want a nosepicker tshirt (and you know you sooooo DO!) leave your name in the comments. If you have a blog, give us the addy so we can visit! If I don't have contact info for you leave your email or wait until I post the winner.

Deadline is midnight (central time) on Friday, February 20th. I'll announce the winner on Saturday.

Good luck!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ski Report

Ever since I can remember, my family went on ski trips. I think I started skiing at the age of 4? Sounds impressive until you put it in to perspective. For the last 15 years I have probably skied 3 days a year? Boy. I must be GREAT!

I do love to ski. I hate the cold. Funny combo. I've always been somewhat cautious and so I don't ski stuff that I might actually fall on. I stick to mostly blue runs (intermediate for you non-skiers) and cruise 'em. The last time I skied a lot of black diamonds was on a high school church trip -trying to keep up with the Senior boys. Talk about motivation! I would ski anything they told me to.

My current system is what I dub "cruise and perch". That means ski a little, take a break, ski a little more. I usually pretend my boot is messed up or something so I have an excuse to stop - especially as I get older. I do have a long no-fall streak. I think the last time I fell was in high school when a skier ran in to me!

That being said... I hope my kids have great memories from family ski trips. This was Michael's 4th year to ski and 1st year at a new mountain. He skied with the National Ability Center at Park City, UT. Loved it! He was amazing out there! It was Jacob's first year on the mountain and he did great, too. Of all things, they are working on gaining speed for Jacob. Who'd have guessed that? It was a shock to us!

We only had two glitches this trip. That's a record for us! Michael's ski bibs broke the first day of skiing. I'm pretty sure that is a new one -- 2 hours? Doc just tied the straps in a knot and life went on. The other was minor but annoying. When we checked in, we lugged our bags all the way to our room. Lots of bags... lots of stairs. Immediately started unpacking so we could get the boys to bed. Almost finished before I noticed our paperwork from the room had another family's name on it.

Doc went back to the front desk and after a big fiasco of "are you sure this is where you are supposed to be staying" and finally found out that we had a different room, same condos. Repacked. Moved. Voila! New room. Re-unpack.

It snowed most of each and every day that we were there. The last afternoon we saw the sun shining for the first time. Almost a shock to the system after days of skiing through clouds and snow. See?? The sun came out.

I dream of a "seamless" vacation but at least we didn't have flight issues this time. No highways or roads shut down this year to keep us from getting to the slopes. We will call this success!

We had a ton of fun with the Halverson family (Jeramie is a high school buddy) on the tubing hill and the slopes! Met some college friends of Doc's for dinner in town one night (loved seeing them and meeting their kiddos). And just really enjoyed hanging out with our little family of 4 on the slopes.

If you are wondering, Utah is very friendly. For that reason alone I adored skiing there. Also, I highly recommend the Icebreaker top paired with Hot Chillys. Best way to keep warm. Since Doc watches the thermostat around here so closely, I may have to wear that Icebreaker shirt daily just to stay warm.

I'm posting pics soon. For now? You can enjoy these videos.

This first one is my favorite! Apparently, Doc told Michael to throw a snowball at me when he started filming. This was the result:
video

This one is Doc's favorites. He thinks it proves I'm a mean mom.

But Michael learned to quit sitting down in the middle of the mountain. Lovingly taught by his mom. It's dangerous to lay down in the middle of a ski run, you know. A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do. And I might have enjoyed it a little bit.
video

Here is a picture of Doc and Michael when Michael fell. You can see what Michael is about to do...Might explain this evidence of the Doc rubbing the snow into Michael's neck here.
And there you have it.
Video highlights. I have a million more - so just be glad I only posted two.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Flat Baloney Visits Antarctica

Flat Baloney gets around. I'm just sayin'.
She stowed away on a trip with my parents to Buenos Aires -- Argentina!
But first, Baloney had to convince her mom to let her come along. She doesn't share my quirky humor so it was not an easy conversation.
BUT -- how many opportunities will Flat Baloney have to hop on a ship to... Antarctica?!
Yeah, you heard me. All the way to the South Pole.

Here she is at the beginning of the trip.

This here on the left is a glacier. I got to see lots of pictures of glaciers from their trip!

And just below? We will call it "Lost in South America" because I don't know where they are (shhhhh... don't tell).

I'm sure these are out of my parents' intended order - but this is Elephant Island.This is my parents dressed up for dinner on the ship.
Don't they look swell?! I thought this was cute.

Somebody should have drawn me a coat!
And here we are. Antarctica!
Amazing.
Check out that water. It's like glass!
And here are the last pictures from their trip with Flat Baloney. Somewhere in South America - that's all I got. I do believe the last picture is Ushuaia or something like that. The town at the southernmost tip of South America.
So there you have it. Flat Baloney has been to the end of the world.

Autism Links - Educate Yourself

  • www.aspergermomnetwork.com
  • http://www.udel.edu/bkirby/asperger/
  • http://www.autism-society.org
  • http://www.okautism.org/homepage/
  • http://www.aspect.org.au/publications/Thinking%20and%20Learning%20in%20Autism.pdf
  • www.autismtulsa.org
  • http://www.oklahomadisabilitylaw.org/
  • http://www.asperger.net/index.htm
  • http://www.rdiconnect.com/
  • http://embracingaspergers.com/

But Who's Counting...