Friday, June 29, 2007

Big Weekend

The July long weekend always seem to mark the beginning of summer for me. I know that the official first day was June 21, but that was in the middle of th eek, and we still had work and kids in school and all that jazz. So, school is now out, I feel like summer has 'begun'.

Of course the July long weekend has multiple OTHER reason to celebrate. Namely, Canada Day (the 1st) Coram's birthday (the 2nd) and Steve's birthday (the 3rd). Add that there is an extra day off work, and we have reason to party.

This year we will probably check out the festivities at Mount Pleasant Pool. Thanks to the good people at yoyomama, we know that there will be multiple bouncy castles present, and both boys adore a good bounce in a castle. We are also looking at having a barbecue with Steve's family on Sunday evening, provided our propane doesn't run out.

I haven't checked the weather report, but I am assuming it will be more of what it has been: rain, thunder, maybe even some hail. Business as usual, right? And you thought global warming was a myth.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Last Day of School

Coram's last day of school was yesterday, and Lucas's was today. They are both moving to different schools next year, so the last day is that much more final. Coram had no real reaction, which is not unusual as he doesn't seem to express those kinds of emotions – he has two emotional states, and they are 'just fine' and 'totally freaked out'. So, the end of the school year wasn't enough to cause a freak out, so he was fine.

Lucas was pretty sad. He had a little cry in the car on the way home, sad that he would never see Queen Elizabeth Annex again. I reminded him we can go and have a visit on a day where his new school has a professional day but the Annex doesn't. He seemed to like that. They had an assembly where they showed a nice sideshow of the year in pictures, and Lucas found that made him a bit sad.

Both boys are anxious about going to Nightingale. I'm anxious to get into the summer swing of things. I don't do well with transitions and shake ups (gee, maybe that's where my kids get it from?) I want to be settled into our summer routine so I can relax. The long weekend will be nice, but I'll be happy to settle into the weekly camp routine.

Maybe we'll fire up the barbecue this weekend. That is, of course, providing the weather can stay nice for more than an hour at a time. Barbecued chicken. Yum.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wrapped Around Their Fingers

What makes you weak at the knees? If you have a good, crooning singing voice, and can write meaningful music, I am yours. Which is why The Police have me completely wrapped around their fingers. Too bad I didn't get my fingers wrapped around any of their concert tickets:(

I'm not sure the details, but I seem to remember that concert sold out in record time. And why wouldn't it? The Police appeal across so many generations. Their music is timeless, really. And I don't doubt fans are hoping that Sting will do some of his independent stuff, too. I'm not sure what the 'ethics' are surrounding playing independent material when your band reunites, but I think that with the band together they could do some really good takes on some of Sting's stuff. Oh, to be a fly on the wall, or better yet, a person on a seat (or off it, dancing the night away).

I'll have to make do with playing a CD really loud and dancing around my living room.

To cheer me up, there is a new double disk compilation Police CD. It came out on June 5, and includes a wicked-cool vintage Police poster. Here's the track listing:



Disc 01
01 Fall Out
02 Can't Stand Losing You
03 Next To You
04 Roxanne
05 Truth Hits Everybody
06 Hole In My Life
07 So Lonely
08 Message In A Bottle
09 Reggatta de Blanc
10 Bring On The Night
11 Walking On The Moon
12 The Bed's Too Big Without You
13 Don't Stand So Close To Me
14 Driven To Tears
15 Canary In A Coalmine
 
Disc 02
01 De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
02 Voices Inside My Head
03 Invisible Sun
04 Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
05 Spirits In The Material World
06 Demolition Man
07 Rehumanize Yourself
08 Every Breath You Take
09 Synchronicity I
10 Wrapped Around Your Finger
11 Walking In Your Footsteps
12 Synchronicity II
13 King Of Pain
14 Murder By Numbers
15 Tea In The Sahara


And here's a really cool television clip from the UK:



So are any of my readers fans of The Police? Was anyone lucky enough to catch concert tickets? Do tell.

This is a sponsored post.





Sunday, June 24, 2007

Did You Notice the Mohawk?

If you look through some of my blog photos, you'll notice that the kids had pretty long hair. I wasn't allowed to cut it. Now, before you do the whole 'Who is the parent?' routine on me, let me just say, I choose my battles, and the hair one wasn't worth fighting.

So, with the onset of summer, and a recurring lice issue at school, I really, really wanted the kids to get short hair. So, I bought some clippers, and put an offer on the table: ten dollars for each boy who let me shave his head.

Lucas, being the wheeler and dealer he is, quickly countered with fifteen dollars. Honestly, I was expecting a big protest and refusal to cut the hair, so I jumped at the $15 offer. And off we went.

Lucas asked if he could have a mohawk, so I said we'd do one, and see how we all liked it. We could buzz it off afterwards if need be. You can see from the picture of me, Lucas, Coram, and Maya, that we opted to keep the mohawk. We all think it goes well with his feisty, mischievous character.

Coram has a little bit of a fringe on his bangs, and Steve just got completely buzz. All three boys seem to like having less hair to take care of.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Introducing



I am so happy to welcome to the world the newest member of our family – my niece Maya!

Maya was born at 3:30 on Monday the 18th. We got out to see her on Tuesday evening, and she is cute as a button.






The boys were tickled pink at their new little cousin. They wanted to see her right away, to welcome her to the family. Coram wanted to touch her hair and her cheeks. She was so soft.


The birth story is not mine to tell, but I will say that Donna looks amazing for one day post birth. Sato couldn't stop saying how cute his new baby was!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Feeling Glum Today

I'm not really sure why, but today I am feeling blue.

I have been super busy these past two weeks, with no time to think at al. It may just be that with some down time today, I am at a loss for what to do, so I feel glum.

Or it may be the impending end of school for the boys. Both boys are leaving their current schools, which is in many ways the end of an era. Though there are some things I have been unhappy with at each school, overall I will miss both places.

Lucas has been with his school for 4 years. It's a big chapter in his life. Many of the teachers treat him like family, and I know it will be a loss to not have them in our lives.

Corams' school, though with us only a year and a half, has had such a positive impact on his life, it's hard to imagine saying goodbye. His teachers and support staff have been committed to helping him, and have made huge progress. To me, they have been like friends on this journey with my special boy.

Similarly, the psychologist who did Lucas's assessment, as well as the help surrounding the surgery anxieties and some upcoming training with decision making, will be finished her internship at the end of July, and will vanish into the ether.

So, I guess it's a lot of goodbyes. I do look forward to the new relationships we will develop at the new school. I am very excited about walking them to and from school, and being freed from two hours a day in the car. I am sure there will be some very special teachers and friends for us there, too.

Still, endings are always hard.

More Addictive Television (Just What I Need)

More Addictive Television (Just What I Need)

It wasn't so long ago that summer televisions was boring, consisting of all reruns and old movies. For the last few years, they have started some new series for the summer seasons, which I appreciate.

I'm not a huge television watcher, but I do like to zone out in front of the television for an hour or so after the kids are in bed, and I appreciate a good series to follow.

So I was pleased to See this new series 'Burn Notice'. It looks like it's loosely modeled after the Bourne movies, where a spy uses the knowledge he gained on his job for the government to evade the government. A 'Burn Notice' is what your spy agency does when you have been 'fired', per say. You don't get fired, your government leaks information that you are no longer trustworthy – and then you better watch out, because your life is likely at stake.

I don't know what I'd do if I were stranded like this – no money, no safe friends you could turn to for help. Nowhere to live or eat. I think I'd have a hard time staying within the limits of the law, really.

It will be interesting to see how the story plays out this summer on USA Network's Burn Notice.



This is a sponsored post.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Who Shops Online?

Do any of you shop online? I have been doing more and more of this. Who wants to go to a store, find parking, then stand in line, when you can do it all without leaving the house (or even getting dressed, if you aren't up to it, though I suggest you get dressed, we all feel better after we change from our PJ's...but that's a different post).

I found some cool coupons for shopping online. Like, these Best Buy coupons. So you can go get the New Release of Welcome Back Cotter on DVD. No, I'm not kidding, they really did just release it. It's in the New release section. Go check.

There's coupons for lots of other stores, too. You may want to bookmark this site,CouponChief.com, and check it before you do any online shopping, just to make sure you are getting your maximum coupon-osity. Yay I created a new word.

This is a sponsored post.

Visitors

Apparently two support staff worker's from Coram's new school dropped by his class on Tuesday. It was his new SEA and a support teacher.

I gather that his current teachers knew about it, but neglected to tell me. I understand that they are really busy. It is the end of the year, and they have a few kids who are transitioning in to new schools. Plus, they have new kids who are going through the interview process to move into the class for next year.

Still, I am a bit annoyed that I wasn't told in advance about this visit. The teacher apologized profusely, and said she should have told me but it slipped her mind. Hey, I'm human too and we all make mistakes. But, I'm still annoyed.

I'm also annoyed that the new school has hired the SEA and sent her to meet Coram without even contacting me.

I have no idea how these things normally proceed. I have been told that the support staff is not required to go to Coram's present class, and that they did so on their own accord, which is a good sign. They met with Coram's current teachers to discuss strategies and things that work for him. I can see that if they are taking this kind of proactive role, they will likely be a good team for him.

I just don't like being left out of the loop like this. Coram's teacher sent home an, 'Oh ya, by the way...' note, indicating this might be why Coram's behaviour has been poor lately, that it might be the anxiety from the visit.

Um, yah, DUH.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Yoyomama

For those of you who don't know, I work Saturdays at a local baby shop, which used to be called Discount Diapers and has recently been renamed KG Kids.

I have worked there for about four years now. It's hard to believe that much time has passed, but it has. Over those years, I have made some really good friends. These are people who came in when pregnant with their first child, and are now parenting their second or further children. I really think of time passing when I see a three year old whom I 'met' while she was in utero.

In truth, the main reason I keep that job is for the friendships I make there. I love spending time with other moms, and I like to think I may have some good 'been there, done that' advice to offer along the way.

One of my customer-come-friends moved to a townhouse just at the end of our block. Since then, she has had her second baby, written a book, and launched a website. Her name is Annemarie, and she is a truly amazing woman, one of the most committed parents I know. She literally devours parenting books on all topics, and is an excellent resource.

Recently she approached me about a second website she has launched, called Yoyomama. From the site:

'At yoyomama we know mums are not a renewable resource so we’re making your life less yoyo-like with weekday hits of helpful, hip info delivered directly to your inbox.'

Annemarie writes with an engaging, conversational voice that makes you feel like you just sat down to coffee and a biscuit with her and are shooting the breeze. Yet, she offers excellent information along the way.

I encourage any and all of you to check out Yoyomama, and join the list. You'll see me poking around there a bit, too.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sleepy Voice (Reprise)

There was a series of months where I got screamed at for my 'sleepy voice'. I understand now that it's not ME who is sleepy at this time, it's Coram. His tolerance is way down because he's completely maxed out, and he can't stand my voice at all. So, he screams at me to 'stop talking in your sleepy voice!'

Lately, I get a less specific, 'Stop talking in THAT voice!' I think this one is because I am congested and sound a bit different.

I can't remember who it was, either my wicked smart mother or my very apt psychiatrist (or both) that suggested that Coram may not like it when my voice is different because it causes him some anxiety that I might not be OK. Alternatively, it may just be an extension of his extreme need for routine and consistency.

Whatever the reason, this is one of my wonderful special son's traits that I have a VERY hard time with.

My voice is my voice, after all. It feels like a bit of a slap in the face when someone screams at me to stop talking in the only voice I have. I know it's not personal, very little of his behaviour is, but my knee jerk reaction is to be hurt.

I have so few knee jerk reactions any more. I have learned to step back, evaluate the situation, and make a guess to what is really going on, before I react. This helps me when my child is screaming, grunting, rocking, or (more often than I care to admit) throwing things and hitting. I know now that there is often something over stimulating him or causing him anxiety. Rather than immediately react to the behaviour, I need to look at the situation.

Most of the time, if I react to the behaviour it means introducing consequences or removing privileges. This can really make the situation worse if there is something in the environment I am missing, because Coram is unable to stop the behaviour, and has not lost a privilege and is more upset.

So, over time, I have learned to stop, think, and check. And if I can't get an immediate handle on whats upsetting Coram, I just hold him tightly until he either calms down, or I figure out what the problem was in the first place.

You just threw your cereal? Hmmmm.... must be that the milk isn't cold, or the table looks dirty, and you are upset. You need me to fix those things before you can calm down. Then, we can address you helping me clean it up. (As opposed to OH MY GOD YOU THREW CEREAL AT ME!!!)

I told you it's time to leave, and you won't move, or look up from the ground. Hmmm...something about what we are leaving for is upsetting you. I need to explain to you in simple terms where we are going and what you can expect, so you can relax. (As opposed to HELLO?? I SAID WE NEED TO GO!)

I'm sure that it's not just parents of Autistic kids who need to repress their knee jerk reactions. Most kids have some reason for their behaviour, other than simple non-compliance. I just get a lot more of the behaviour on a day to day basis than parents of neurologically typical kids.

But, as much as I have learned patience, understanding, and acceptance, I can't seem to stop feeling hurt when my child screams at mt to stop talking in the only voice I have.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Summer Learning?

Lucas continues to do really well. He has a headache every day when he gets home, but the cough is mostly gone. I remember when I had pneumonia when I was 21, and it took me months to fully have my energy back. Lucas seems to be doing better than I was two weeks into it. Kids bounce back so well.

Lucas has now missed well over 6 weeks of school, what with surgery, pneumonia, and all the cleft-related appointments he's had lately. I'm really worried about what next year will be like. I'm looking into some educational summer camps. I want one that's so much fun he doesn't realize he's learning. Someone recommended these Math Tutors. Anyone have experience with them?

If you have advice about tutoring or summer learning camps, I'm listening:)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Taking a Real Look at the Sky

Yesterday I was up at moms, and she had an old plastic telescope she wasn't using. It really wasn't strong enough or designed right to aim up at the sky (not surprising given the low price). It did get me thinking again that I'd like to get a telescope for the boys.

So, I did a little research online today. I found this cool gadget at meade telescopes that is a telescope and SO much more. It has an LCD screen, which you can point and 'shoot' at the stars and it will identify them for you. It's called the Meade My Sky Personal Video Planetarium. To me it's more like a personal Astronomy professor.

I remember my step dad used to have a telescope. Beside it he had stacks of books, and when he saw something interesting, he would have to go and reference all the books to try to find a name for it, and learn about it. Interesting, true, but very time consuming. You tend to lose interest because it requires so much effort.

I'm completely sure that if I had this point and click telescope, I'd be fascinated with the stars, and would spend hours with the kids learning about them.

Too cool.

This post has been sponsored.

So much....

The last couple of weeks have gone super fast, and there is so much going on, it's hard to know where to start.

We wrapped up Lucas's psycho-educational assessment and had the feedback meeting. They diagnosed him with a written output disorder, and made all sorts of great recommendations. I can't wait to get the official written report and start working with the teachers.

The kids both got Fifth's Disease from school, which is relatively minor unless your immunes system is compromised. Which, apparently, being two months post bone graft counts, and Lucas got really sick with brings me to my next point...

Lucas has pneumonia. He is doing much better this week than last week, but I am very amazed at how sick he really was. He could barely walk, and he had huge dark circles under his eyes, and his cough was this deep, gurgly rumble. Now he sounds better, but he is very easily tired. The doctor said that the lungs still sounds pretty sick, but that his energy is up which is good. I gather we can expect this to take a long time to heal. He went back to school today with an inhaler and cough drops and instructions to take it easy on him in gym class.

My childcare job is going well. I really love being around babies again. Today I had baby Christopher and his three year old sister. It was her first day here, and she was so good. I am going to love having these two little ones around.

My other new job, merchandising, starts tomorrow. I have done about three full days of training, have my handheld unit ready to go, and am still sure I'll fall flat on my face tomorrow. The good thing is, the boss expects that, too, and will help me get back up on my feet.


I think that's it. I'll try to update in more detail soon.