My mom is in AZ and needs a new home for her dog Kiki. They have moved to a location that is not ideal space for Kiki. She would make a really great Christmas gift! She is Greyhound/ Queensland Healer mix. She is 53 pounds. She is 9 years old. She has all her shots and will not need them again for 3 years. She is healthy and house trained to use a dog door (and fixed). Good with cats and dogs.
I will only reject Filliberto's employees and Amanda's mom. All other dog inquiries feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a new respite/ habilitation provider for Zane! It's her second week and it is as though she has known Zane his whole life. She is a mother of 3 and a natural at teaching creatively. They get along very well and have a lot of fun together. She is constantly teaching him new things that he is soaking up like a sponge. Watching them reminds me of the time I used to be able to spend with him when it was only us during the day. Oh how I wish I had 4 hours a day with each of my children to only play and teach them 1 on 1.
We are feeling so lucky to have her in our home helping Zane.
I have picked up some more reading materials and on-line research time related to causes and treatments for Autism. It's making me put to use all those hours I spent in the ASU library analyzing scholarly journals, digging change out of my bag for photocopies, using my yellow highlighers until they were empty, organizing note cards, sorting data in my head into different categories and making of it what I believe makes the most sense. I have this strong urge to write my own paper about my research.
It feels good to be thinking again and looking at both sides of an arguement. Genetic? Envirornmental causation? Vaccines? Antibiotics? Leaky gut? Biomedical approach? There is a lot to read and think about. It feels good to be on the other end of it - the end of acceptance, understanding, and moving on. Last year was a really overwhelming December that was wrapped up with a big red bow of depression and anxiety that isn't here this season! I am so happy to be well, putting red bows on presents for my kids instead. Strategizing a game plan for the Autism treatment in our life at a manageable pace.
Things my boys turn each other into when they play magic:
1) a poopy diaper
2) a beeeeeeeeeeeautiful princess
3) a poptart. with frosting.
You know how people have tumors removed and sometimes it will have teeth or hair it in? That's sort of how the clean laundry pile goes at our house. By the time I sit down to sort and fold the mass of cloth that has taken over half of my bedroom, I never know what treasures will surface. Today's findings:
1) one chopstick
2) one drumstick (for my drums, not food)
3) one blue flip flop that has been missing for at least a month
4) toy bullet train
5) the back door to Mr. Potato Head
6) a princess
7) a sock monkey I don't think I've seen for........about 4 months
Sylvia is home from church with me as she has a goopy nose. While she naps I could:
a) fold the mountain of laundy that's been building for over a week b) do the dishes that are overflowing c) make sugar cookies for the kids to decorate when they get home from church d) prepare a fabulous dinner! e) wrap Santa's presents f) organize the scattered toys g) none of the above.
Obviously I am choosing little g (Big G, R.S.V.P., I'm throwing at your window can you see me, hear me?). Name that tune.
* I also love her DIY wreath project. I am SO making those next year! Scan her archives for this bad boy.
* I love the simplicity of this holiday DIY decoration idea from You Are My Fave.
* Free printable holiday gift tags I love found here.
* My friend Tania's amazing list of holiday books to collect and brilliant tradition of giving each of her children a new one each year for their own collection.
* My friend Jen's blog always exlodes with inspiration. I love her snowless snowball fight using huge marshmallows. Totally borrowing that idea for FHE this month!
* I also love her gift party. Everyone brings the same gift for everyone else of their favorite thing under $6 each. So you leave the party with a big stash of your friends' favorites! If I did it this year I would have chosen Sprinkles cupcakes in the milk chocolate variety- 2 for everyone! Maybe this would be a fun January girls night party? You in?
I always pictured myself as the mom heavily involved in my children's school activities and a regular in the classroom assisting the teacher. In this vision I imagined my child sitting in an old fashioned desk and chair focused on an assigment as a light beamed down and I smiled lovingly and peacefully. Observing with a pleasant feeling and working in the corner of the room while the teacher leads the children in a lesson.
Reality: I don't go often because Zane's behavior is far worse when I am there and then he cries a lot when I have to leave. Which makes the teacher's job (and Zane's lack of control) 10 times more challenging than usual.
When I do attend it's usually for an activity or field trip where I can take him home with me afterwards. It's going a little better each time.
This week when I went for Read and Munch I stood eagerly in the empty class waiting for the children to arrive. I love that moment when he sees me at school for the first time that day. His million dollar smile stretching across his face. And then you never know which part of Zane you are going to get next.
There were not a lot of other parents, which sort of made me feel relieved. It usually feels as though all adult eyes are on us when there is a party and my son is the only one acting up over and over again. He often sticks out like a sore thumb in a lot of ways and it's always at school that I am reminded of this most fiercely. I am so used to Zane and the way he is, I don't realize what typical first graders are capable of until I observe at school. And then I see it immediately and it sits like a brick in my stomach and makes me want to run into the hallway and throw up. Ill at the reminder that he has to be different and things can't be common for him. And then I want to pull my hair out as I run the million dollar question through my mind no one else can answer or find but me (what am I supposed to do to help him?!).
It makes me sad for him to think of how other students flocked to me to tell me how his card was turned to red today and how the he makes this certain face when he gets in trouble with the teacher and how he 'always' does this and that. They act like I don't live with him. I KNOW HE DOES THESE THINGS! IT'S JUST WHO HE IS! WE ARE WORKING WITH HIM ON IT! And then I want to protect him from people and criticism and the notion that one day he will realize he is pretty different. He doesn't see it so much now, but I do. The gap between him and his peers in a school setting is huge. And it's not until I enter the class that I see it. A far cry from how I imagined it to be for him.
From across the hall I scanned the board under his teacher's name in the hallway. I quickly identified his letter to Santa and it made me smile. I love to see him able to participate in part of a big group of typical kids. It makes me hopeful one day he will just blend in. Sometimes he does. Just not easily at school. I can tell on this piece he tried very hard and took his time. He used capital letters and punctuation properly. He did well with controlling the size of his lower case letters. He pressed hard with his pencil and had trouble erasing, but I am glad to see he was correcting his work! I am so proud of him I want to gobble it up and keep that moment in my heart forever. I wish I could have watched him create this masterpiece in person.
Then I stepped back and look at the entire wall. The rest of the class- they must all be so advanced! Letters were like that from a typewriter! Well spaced and even on the line. Regular pencil pressure and long sentences. Odd how advanced they all were with their writing! Then the brick dropped. O crap. It's not them being ahead, it's him and his little gap. His difference. His sore spot- writing. I hoped when he looks at the board he sees it as I first did and feels proud at his measure of success for him and his own progress. Not measuring himself against others. Sometimes I have to remind myself of how much more healthy it is to put my blinders back on and remember he is on his own scale and to measure him from where he was before in a skill or behavior instead of comparing him to typical children.
I did good behavior stamps at the end of the day. Zane didn't get one, his card was turned to red. Everyone else got one. Zane has had about 1 stamp per week. It broke my heart to see everyone else's stamp charts filled up. He's clearly having a hard time and I need to be working more closely with the teacher to understand why and how to help him (and her) out.
Today they sold jingle bells at school. I sent Zane with money to buy one from his piggy bank. He was really excited. At the end of the day I heard about how Zane lost his money and was crying and very upset because he could not buy a jingle bell. Then a friend in his class gave him his own. WHAT a sweetheart! I am so glad that boy made such a good decision to be kind and giving to Zane. Even though things are different for Zane, sometimes I wonder if our Heavenly Father allows for these sorts of challenges in people (why can't kids be totally healthy?!) so those around them get to learn and try to be better people. Zane's little meltdown gave this boy the opportunity to be Christlike and everyone in the class got to see!
This wasn't the year for the perfect family photo. My kids just didn't have it in them to sit and look in one direction at the same time. Ever. So here are some fun shots Alicia took that I do love, but will not be the one in the card. She did a great job!
Several years ago I remember pulling into San Francisco via subway and soaking in the brand new ads for the debut of Gap's Skinny Jeans. Audrey Hepburn was all over the place and it looked good- the ads, the jeans, the idea. But not for me and my curves. So I sat back in my chair and watched the fashion trend explode around me. Just waiting patiently for it to die. Along with Ugg boots. And. It didn't. Neither one.
But! I tried the jeans on and they actually look good (in my not-so-humble-opinion). Specifically the Black Modern Skinny Pant from Loft. Sometimes their jeans are too long, but petite solves that issue right up.
Today we started phase one of our luxurious rendition of The Wal*Mart Gingerbread House. Nine dolla make you holla! And then read a Christmas story.
In other news, one of my very best friends I met in New York (Lindsey Johnson) has started her food blog back up again. It is called Cafe Johnsonia .
Blogging was so meant for Lindsey. She is a witty writer, so smart. An amazing cook/ baker/ ice cream maker. She is a foodie. Big time. She takes amazing photographs and all of these things are enjoyable to her! I am happy to see her getting back into the swing of her hobby again.
I often find myself chewing on the computer screen when viewing photos of her food. We've gone through four monitors now. It's going to be a problem.
Tonight we sang Christmas carols with a jingle bell by twinkle light.
Each day we are going to do something special related to the holiday.
I like how Jordan put them into an advent calendar (photo from her site).
Things we will do somewhere in the month: temple lights, Christmas movie, bring someone a meal, bake goodies for friends, make a gingerbread house, watch a church video about Christ, reinact The Christmas Story as a family, make sugar cookies, send letters to Santa, get and decorate a tree, visit Mike's grandparents, and give an anonymous giftcard to a needy family. Just to name a few.
Each year I find it a challenge to balance well the commercial and spiritual activities of Christmas. I will try to lean heavy on the Christ side of things and call it good.