Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
In teaching my kids to pray I have worked a different format. They start with, "Thank you God for my day and..." Usually there is a long list of family names following. It is so sweet to hear them. I love when a random name pops on to the list. It is a great way to wrap up their day.
I've always thought my childhood prayer was a little scary and morbid. When I came across this I knew I had to share. I couldn't get this one to embed, so just go here.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Get it? Because he's so old?!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
How do the homeowners from 5 different houses end up on one lawn in fits of laughter?
It's really quite simple.
It starts with this neighbor right here.
Can you see the reason for all the excitement?
Quit looking at Summer. I know she's gorgeous. But you will need to look a little closer.
The way you get the attention of everyone on the block is to post this picture and caption on your Facebook page:
I know. Real mature, aren't we?
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
In the meantime, I googled my own name just to see what came up. Just curious, you know. More on those findings tomorrow. For now, I actually came up with something that (I think) is important.
I had no idea that Seeking Sitters had summarized my December presentation on autism and put it on a blog. Kudos to you S.S.! Not the part about my presentation but the autism awareness part. They put some very important details in there and really got the gist of what I was trying to tell them.
I know there are some families out there with kiddos on the spectrum who read my blog. Some of you are hesitant to hire babysitters. Be confident that you really can find watchful and compassionate sitters out there. I promise they exist. If you are in the Tulsa area and don't know who to call, then you could call Seeking Sitters and talk to them. Seeking Sitters has also franchised to some other cities and maybe yours is on there? They might be more than you are willing to pay on a regular basis, but a night out with peace of mind can be priceless and a marriage saver to boot. Sometimes you have to invest a little more than your time.
Prepare your babysitter for your special needs child. I think that is the biggest mistake parents like me make. We are so worried about scaring our sitters away that we neglect to give them the tools for success. If you don't give someone a reason to understand, they will rarely arrive there on their own.
And if it helps, lead them to this post and maybe you can give them some valuable information (and even add your own specifics) about working with children on the autism spectrum. Maybe this list can be a springboard for your own list.
Or if you are just curious you can pop on over to the blog post and read it. With statistics being as high as they are, you probably know a family who is affected directly by autism or some other special needs disorder. Your friends will really appreciate you when you have an understanding of their child.
So... I'm thinking it is a good guideline for teachers and friends as well.
Well done, Baloney, well done...
(pats self on back)
Monday, August 24, 2009
I've told you before and I'll tell you again - the statistics are not in our favor. Only 2% of people with autism live independently of others' care. This includes the brainiacs with Asperger's. The one thing tied to their success is their ability to develop (or at least fake) an interest in other people.
I'm not giving up, I'm just being realistic. Michael has great potential to be in that 2% but I'm not going to take it for granted. This will require practice and perseverance. It is what it is, and we will give it our best shot.
I haven't pestered Michael too much about friendships yet and this particular evening seemed like a good night to plant some goals into his busy little head. While tucking him in to bed, I asked who he was sitting next to in class and playing on the playground with and if he even knew the names of any kids in his class. He doesn't know. Not one new name.
He sees where this discussion is going and he doesn't like it.
He starts fake sleeping.
So I "wake him up" and continue our little talk. Kids with autism tend to have sensory issues. Since Michael is calmed by touch, I start massaging his arms and hands while I talk to him.
I ask Michael to learn about one new friend at school the next day. I tell him to find out what the other kids are interested in and attempt to carry on a conversation with them on their favorite topics. I think this rocked Michael's world to even consider wasting time on such frivolities. Why would he care about other people's interests?
Here is how the rest of our inspiring talk went:
B: Why don't we pretend I'm one of your classmates. You can practice talking to me.
M: Why don't I go to sleep instead. (more fake snoring)
B: Michael, I'm serious.
M: Good night.
B: Hi. I'm Baloney.
M: I'm Michael. Good Night. (more snoring)
M: You'd better cover your nose.
~ Baloney stands and begins to exit the room ~
M: Hi, I'm Michael. (farts loudly)
B: Good night, Michael. (walks even faster)
M: YAY! I win!! I'm going to sleep!
I go to tell Doc about his son. Doc is watching TV and can't be bothered.
He tells me I'd better cover my nose.
And I leave him alone too.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
These quizzes are so darn accurate (sarcasm) - at least this one was! I'm talking more about the answer "fall" than my "personal description" that is offered after.
My favorite time of year is just around the corner. I love the mix of warm and cool days. The opportunity to wear jackets. To eat soup. To stand outside without breaking a sweat. I really, really love it.
I'm not much of an outdoors person, but this is the one time of year that I look for opportunities to be outside.
So... here's to FALL.
And, ummmm, whatever season you get as well. Let me know what you get too?
Your Soul Is Connected to the Fall
You are a somewhat sensitive soul with a tough exterior. You are street smart and wise about the world.
You have the heart of a poet, but you're not too eager to let anyone else see it.
You are very creative and deeply talented. You are still looking for the perfect outlet for your expression.
You embrace change and think the cycles of life are beautiful. You don't shrink away from the darker elements of life.
Friday, August 21, 2009
When I learned to drive there were lots of bits of advice passed down to me from my mother. The one that has stuck with me the most was to never, EVER let your tank be less than 1/4 full. I think that should be the cardinal rule for everyone but especially females.
The Doc has dubbed me the "Gas Tank Nazi" because of my watchful eye. I can't tell you how many times I started his car and saw the warning light for the gas tank shining in my face. He loves the lecture that ensues. Or not.
I have been driving for 21 years (officially) now and today was the first time I have ever run out of gas. Before you laugh too hard and call me a dumb blond, I will explain.
I was driving on a very busy street when I realized that my car no longer had power. It is at this time that I realize the importance of power steering. Using all of my muscles and positioning my tongue just right, I was able to crank the car off of the road before it stopped altogether. And there it dies in the middle of one of the entrances to Sonic.
This would be the part when Jacob tells me that I need a new car.
Cars keep pulling up behind mine and seem completely unaware of what hazard lights mean. I wave them around explaining my predicament. They look confused and drive around me. While I was on the phone with roadside assistance, I tolerated the glaring eyes of strangers as they drove around me. Apparently, they thought I was stopping there just to make a phone call. Really, people -- really?
The tow truck is expected in an hour and they suspect there is an alternator problem. I'm suspicious that I could be out of gas. You see, I remembered that my gas tank was between the 1/4 and "E" so I decided to check the panel. The panel says I have 16 miles until empty - which really doesn't jive with what the gauge was saying.
At the suggestion of my husband, I called the dealership to let them know my issue. They ask which car I drive, then laugh, and then they tell me that I'm out of gas. And by the way - there is a recall on the gas gauge that isn't really working. They let me know that I should make an appointment to get it fixed. You think?
I called my mother-in-law to see about bringing gas or at least getting Jacob. Since she doesn't know about getting gas cans & such I end up calling my neighbor Lisa. If any woman would know about these things it would be this momma of 3 boys.
And Lisa saved my day. Too bad we didn't get a picture because the Keystone Cops couldn't have looked any funnier than we did. After we managed to get a few gallons into the tank I could finally move my car. Yippee! And at this point, I have received some words of encouragement from Momma Amma via Facebook that "maybe that nice bus driver will take me home."
Let me impart some words of wisdom to you:
- Never let your car go below 1/4 tank
- If your gas gauge isn't moving towards "E" after driving around for a few days it doesn't mean you are getting really good gas mileage. That means it is broken.
- If you are stuck on the side of the road, call Lisa.
One last thing, Happy Birthday to my dear friend and neighbor Lisa.
You are a BLESSING to me!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Like my sister says, it is my own personal soap opera around here lately. Let's just say that there is stuff going on that I can't really share right now (but I will when the time is right). And let's just add that my blood is boiling more and more each and every day. And I haven't been feeling so great, either.
Before you worry, my family is just fine. I just gave you that background so that you can know that now would be a really bad time to tick me off. A HORRIBLE TIME to do such a thing. I am already in defense mode. I am armed and ready for war. Just think what will happen when the PMS hits.
For three years the bus stop has been at the end of our cul-de-sac. We were told there wouldn't be any bus changes this year so the assumption was that we would still be using the same corner for pick up and drop off as the previous years. That's usually how that works.
I'm just standing there. Staring.
So the cul-de-sac mommies are all pretty peeved by now. We start going through our bus manual and we call Transportation. The person on the other end won't even listen to the story. She just tells us the bus stop will not be moved. Never has a reason been stated for the case on either end of the phone. Their reasoning is just like your mom always said - it is because I said so. We have all asked for the director to call us back. No calls have been returned. Apparently the boss doesn't want to talk to us.
This gives us more time for research! Not only do we have a list of reasons for why the new location is unsafe, but we now have found their own state guidelines which tell us that a block equals 300 feet. This means the bus stop can be up to 600 feet away.
And we would tell them these things if they would talk to us.
- They should know they are breaking the law.
- Along with the fact that people don't even slow down for the stop sign there (police records can easily confirm this). Saw 4 people run it in 10 minutes while standing there with our kids 2 mornings ago. They don't even slow down!
- It backs up to the woods. We have confirmed sightings of snakes, coyotes and a bobcat. There are real live animals hanging out in there. Poison ivy, too.
- The cars driving past are training for NASCAR.
- Some little girls got lost when the creek froze over around this very spot last year.
- It is a very remote spot in the neighborhood.
- Not to mention the white passenger van with no windows that drives by slowly each morning. Pedophile alert!
- Or the number of random (and probably illegally in our country) workers passing by. Most of them can't read S-T-O-P or Speed Limit 25, either.
Oh, I have more but that's enough for now - don't you think?
I appreciate you listening.
Would you mind telling the transportation director for me? He seems to be in meetings 24 hours a day for 7 days a week.
He will call you back soon.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Can you tell what we are working on?
Do you know why?
More details tomorrow because today I'm going to tell you about something else.
There is an interesting review on this site. I'm sure Yogi will post something with an interesting perspective.It is about a young man with Asperger's Syndrome who struggles to navigate on his own. He is a 29 year old man whose dad has just passed away. He has never been on his own. His dad helped him find a job (he is an electrical engineer). He still lived with his dad and shared responsibilities in their apartment. He has been left in the world on his own.
It is a story with ups and downs of a socially stunted man who meets a girl, loses a job and loves astronomy. He talks endlessly about space when given the chance. He says socially awkward things. He has anxiety over interviewing for jobs. He has meltdowns when he gets overwhelmed.
And here is what I think...
I loved it. Sure there is a little stereotyping. I think it is a realistic portrayal of what a high functioning Aspergian might experience in the real world. Keep in mind that autism is a spectrum disorder. Since Aspergers is a high functioning form of autism, this would be on a spectrum as well. Just a reminder - that means that each and every individual has completely different strengths and weaknesses. No two folks are alike, just like snowflakes and thumbprints.This movie shows the innocence of Aspergerians and how pure and sweet their nature can be. It shows how inappropriate they can be and how others will misunderstand them. You can see the fragility of their lives entertwined with ours. It shows how alone they can be whether they want to or not. You can also see that they are alone even when they have someone who cares for them. It demonstrates theory of mind that they lack - meaning that they don't have the ability to read people to know how they might be thinking or feeling (based on body language, etc.).
For the outsider, it gives a pretty decent perspective for the NT (neurotypical) individual to see what a person with Asperger's Syndrome might be going through in life.
I say - it is surprisingly well done.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I was raised with dogs. My dad's mom was a dog breeder and trainer. It's in the blood to have canines.
Even though the Dood has now reached a whoppin' 90+ pounds, he is still an inside dog. I love my dogs and they love me.
The problem with rainy days is this:
Please let us in...
The Dood starts to cry...
And just so you know, this particular day required 4 showers for each of them.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Doc told me to start making our scrapbook, so I did. We also had some paperwork to fill out and autobiographies to write. EeeGads! The paperwork was easy (kind of) but the personal history was hard. Your whole life on paper and viewable by book. Is that really possible?
When you put together your life story, it is hard to know what to include. How deep do I go? For the Doc it probably wasn't so hard. His upbringing was as typical as you can get.
For me it was different. My childhood was shattered by the loss of my dad. There is a step dad after him who might as well be Voldemort (he-who-must-not-be-named). What pieces remained of my heart after losing my dad were tossed in to the shredder after that one. Maybe someday I will tell you why, but for now you can know that it was just bad. I'm going to mention here that my mom is incredible. She was strong and brave and still provided a home full of love. But we were all changed by the cirumstances. You can't survive these things without being changed. I have a wonderful step dad now but how does a man enter a family following all of that? So when I think of my past, it isn't really what I think anyone wants to read.
I don't remember how my autobiography shaped up but I'm pretty sure I left out the darkest years. Most of the girls checking it out could probably identify with that stage of my life but I just couldn't let it take over as part of my story.
Think about it for a second. If you had to write your life story what would you say? Which moments would you chose to share?
In our case, we were writing our life story in hopes to be chosen as a family for another woman's baby. This would be a girl or woman who is pregnant and for her own personal reasons (each story is different) will not be raising the baby as her own. Do not discount how much they care for this baby just because they are choosing another home for them. The sacrifice they are looking to make shows love beyond what most of us are capable of. It is a selflessness beyond understanding.
After the autobiographies were typed, I went through piles and piles of pictures. I had to borrow some from Doc's folks of their family when he was growing up. I already had albums that my mom had given me.
When it came to the photo album, I was a little nervous. I am not a crafty person. I know how to scrapbook, yes. But I don't. I love having photo albums. I love looking through the fancy and creative ones. I do not love making them.
I knew that Cheryl (CPO director) prays over each and every family book she receives and it occurred to me that I should do the same. I prayed over my empty album. I prayed that I would include the pictures that I needed to. I prayed that we would be chosen by someone who would be the right fit for our family. I prayed for the child we hoped to receive. And I prayed for the mom who would be expecting that child.
I started with a double page spread of Doc growing up, then me growing up. I did a page or two of Doc and I during the years we dated. I included a spread of wedding pictures. It was all pretty simple until I got to Michael's pages. I believe this part was divinely inspired.
Michael has red hair. Maybe you've noticed? When he was younger it was bright red. When I was picking out pictures of Michael it became very important to me to find the ones that showed off his red hair the most. I had no idea why this mattered but it did.
The rest of my book had pictures of us with Michael. All of the pictures showed off his beautiful crown of red hair. I knew that red hair was significant.
And soon you will see why.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Today I'm going to use one of my all-time favorite pictures of my boys. I get in trouble if I don't add that my Aunt Lori took this picture at Thanksgiving.
I was behind her yelling at them to behave and yet - there were some really great and funny pictures taken that morning. Funny how things can turn out different from what you expect.
So, please join us if you would like.
Create your own perfect pairing of picture and bible verse in celebration of Sunday and our Lord.
Just leave us a link to your post in the comments so we can all take a peek.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Michael tossed the catalog back and said, "I'm not really sure."
At this point, I started looking through the catalog and decided I agreed.
Let me show you what I am finding in the catalogs... and let me give full credit to Lillian Vernon for the pictures you are about to see.
When your kids are really little, you get to pick whatever cutesy little thing they might wear - such as:
That is cute.
But then they get older and opinionated.
When they do, here are your options:
Autism Links - Educate Yourself