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The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Day of Aggrevation

What a day, my daughter turned five today. I have been looking so forward to this day. I had her gift picked out for weeks now. She has been so cute counting the days until her birthday. She knows it is after Christmas. She was exited about Christmas, but her birthday was really what she was looking forward to. As a friend has said, she is a whole hand old now.

I ran out of my depression meds the day before Christmas. I thought I had more but I was wrong. I called my doctor to get more but he never called me back. I am not happy about him letting me be off meds for any length of time. When I am off my meds everything can irritate me. I get dizzy and my temper flares. I hate myself when I am off my meds. I can't stop being a mom because I am moody. So I just keep going.

Today was the day I snapped being off my meds. The day started bad, De let me sleep in, but he went to the store to order B's cake. He left the kids home with me sleeping. I woke up to find the kids playing in the living room with no supervision. That really got me upset. When he got home he acted like it was no big deal, after all I was home. How do I get him to understand that if I am sleeping I cannot supervise the children? This has happened before and he still thinks it is no big deal.

We went out to lunch, B wanted chinese food. We got all the way to the buffet, and it was closed. So we went to the Original Pancake house. What a disaster that turned out to be. We are seated and given two menus, there are four of us. I see there is one kids item on the menu. So since we didn't have any other kids menu assumed that was the only selection. We order and the waitress finally takes my drink order. She took P's first. Came back and took B's. Then came back and took D's. Before I could tell her what I wanted she was gone again. How irritating.

So we finally order and the kids are getting restless. I recall they mentioned crayons wen we walked in and none were brought to us. I asked for them again hoping they would occupy the kids. Well, crayons, coloring pages and KIDS MENUES were brought to us. It turns out they had a pretty nice selection including chocolate chip pancakes. Now the kids want chocolate chip pancakes. I am ready to blow because we got the kids menus AFTER we ordered.

The waitress is nowhere to be seen, another waitress asks me if everything is okay, she obviously heard me complaining. She got the manager involved. Well, here is the best part. When our waitress finally reappears she tells me it was a miscommunication. How can it be a miscommunication? If you see kids at the table, bring kids menus. It seems pretty simple to me.

So, I am off my meds and irritated so I am doing all I can to not snap. If I do I know it will be bad. My hubby knows I off my meds. Does he try to make me feel better? Nope, he actually is irritated at me. I am over reacting and have no reason to be upset.

I need to calm down so I ask to stop at a store. No problem he says. On the highway I remind him I want to stop at the store. When we exit I remind him again. He still forgot to stop. In the store while I am checking out I ask hi to put the cart away for me. He was right next to where the carts are and he rolls his eyes and seriously asks me why can't I do it. More often then not if I ask him to do something for me that is the response I get. Then he walks out of the store with the kids while I am still in line.

Everything seems small and petty but everything is also magnified because I am off my meds (my fault I know). I am so mad, mad enough to walk home. I didn't because it was raining. So I go in another store alone just so I have a chance to calm down so I don't flip out in front of the kids. That helped.

We get home and I finally have my refill, now we find out that Dennis' medical insurance doesn't cover my meds unless I meet a $3000.00 deductible. I am freaking out now. I know the plan changes in January and I know the prescription coverage is much better next year. I have six days before that plans kicks in. How am I going to make it? I have reached my breaking point and I snap. He got mad at me. I was yelling for no reason and was being unreasonable he said. He should try being off these meds for two days and have the same symptoms I was having. He would snap too, earlier too I think.

Luckily my pharmacy let me buy a weeks worth of meds, it came to almost $35.00. Thankfully I was given a gift card for Walgreens yesterday. It paid for most of the meds.

It is B's birthday and I am acting horrible and now am snapping at everything. I feel like a horrible mommy and wife. What is worse is I know what is next? When I get this upset, when I snap like this it drains me to the point that I just crash. I get emotionally and physically exhausted and will end up falling asleep.

I tried to stay awake, but after I finally took my meds I did fall asleep and missed the birthday cake. I did get to give her the gift I picked out at least. D didn't know where it was. I ended up sleeping for almost four hours and when I woke up I was feeling better. B told me she had a nice birthday anyway and she loved the present I gave her the best.

Oh, where is D now? Well, a friend called and he went out. This happens every weekend. He works nights all week and when he finally is home on the weekend he goes out, leaving me home and lonely again. I keep trying to reconnect with me, but it is hard when he is never home when we have alone time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Case of the Missing Word Ring

One of the things my son's reading teacher does for him is to make a new word card ring. It is basically cards with a hole punched in them on a ring. Each card has a new word on it. He lost it about a month ago and the reading teacher just hadn't gotten around to making a new one. We had some new cards with a hole punched in them, just no ring to add them to. We go over these new words and no mention of the missing ring has taken place.

I don't know if the teacher mentioned something about it today or what made my son focus on the missing cards. All I know is one page into reading, maybe he saw a word that was on the cards, he focused on his ring being missing and was determined to find it. When I saw determined I mean so focused that any attempt to get him back on track was meant with so much resistance and was causing him to panic.

To make it even more chaotic Daddy called home to wish the kids good night. Of course my son was in tears explaining to daddy how he was missing the ring (remember it has been missing for at least a month) and he had to find it. Tears are rolling down my sons face and his voice is cracking from all the crying. He really was very upset about his ring being missing and no matter what we said or did nothing was making it better.

No, my son looks in one more spot, he finds the ring under my bed. This is a scary spot to look. I make no claims to being a neat and tidy mom. Under my bed is not a place I clean up often. I can't really recall when I did it last. Obviously it is due to be cleaned again. But somehow my son reached under the bed at the perfect spot. He found his precious ring and we all were happier than I ever thought we could be about finding a ring with about 10 words hooked onto it.

You would think this is the end of the story and everything was fine then, but unfortunately my tale does not end here. We opened up that ring to put the new cards on and the hole to put them on the ring was punched in the wrong corner. I may not be the best housekeeper but my son and I have to have things line up the same way.

We both were trying to figure out how to put these cards on so the words would all go in the same direction. Finally we had to but the new set of cards on backwards and I must admit that is bothering me more than it should right now. I want to get a hole punch and cards and redo the new cards so they will face the same direction as the other cards. He too was troubled by the cards facing different directions, though I have to say he is handling it much better than I am.

So the case of the missing word ring was solved today. I have no idea why it had to be found today, nor how exactly he did find it. We both are calm and he is supposed to be going to bed. He won't let go of the ring so I hope we don't have to search for it again in the morning. Sweet dreams my love, hold tight to that ring.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Children Are Giving Back

Today I found out that the SPCA is always looking for donations of stuffed animals. Finally I can encourage the kids to part with some of their stuffed animals and they don't have to be tossed. I was thrilled. The kids stuffies are loved beyond the give away to another boy or girl. I just hated the idea of throwing away all those memories.

I still remember when they got many of these stuffies. I remember how they wouldn't let them go when they were new. The images of sleeping faces with a smile on them while they clung tightly onto their new friends. Oh how they love these stuffed animals.

Even now, sometimes years after they received these wonderful friends they still are overly attached. Many of them are battered and torn. Some are dirtier than I like, even after several washings. I have suggested we go through the piles of stuffies to make room for new fluffy friends and have always been shut down by sad faces and sometimes tears rolling down cheeks.

Each one had some stuffies that no matter how battered they were they just couldn't give away. P saved one from going into the bag because he had "baby memories" of it. B had many that went in the save pile. She is so attached to them that I thought she would never give any away.

So today I talked to them about the SPCA. We go there often to visit with the pets. In the summer we go to the petting farm and we learn about all the different animals they have there. We watch Animal Cops on TV and see all the important work that the SPCA does. It is a charity that my kids can understand and now they can help too.

Well, no sooner had I told them about how they need stuffed animals for the animals looking for a home. First P ran to the kitchen and pulled out a garbage bag from were we keep them. Then B started gathering stuffies. Together they picked almost two full garbage bags of their precious stuffies to give to the SPCA. They talked about how the dogs and cats will be so happy when they get the stuffies. They were having so much fun and I was so proud of them.

So, tomorrow when they get home from school we are taking the bags to the SPCA and hopefully I can encourage them to find some more to join them. It is how my kids are giving back.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Today Was a Good Day

Today was a good day. Earlier in the evening we had a conversation about his school day. I don't know if it is because of his asperger's or him just being a typical child, but I can never get him to tell me about his school day. He shuts down if I point blank ask him about his day. He always answers with "I don't remember". So I use different ways to find out. I use different questions to get him to talk about the day. I might ask "What did you today that you were good at?" or "What did you learn today?". One of my favorites is "Is there anything you want to talk to me about, anything that makes you happy, mad, sad or glad?" We will talk about the days special class, art, music, gym or library.

Today we talked about gym. It is one of his favorite special in school and he was beaming when he was talking to me about it. Now I have heard of my different versions of tag, but this one was new to me. It makes me wonder if it really happened or is it something he made up. He told me they were playing toilet tag. If you got tagged you had to squat and have a hand up like a flusher. He had to stay that way until someone flushed you.

It was terribly funny to watch him explain the game to me. He is so expressive with his hands and facial expressions. If he really gets into talking about a subject he will bounce with excitement. He might even flap his arm's which is our cue that he is so happy and excited about that is happening. He was do all of these when he was talking about toilet tag.

Later we spent some quality time snuggling. Technically it was after bedtime but there is no school tomorrow and I take advantage of these precious times when I can. I was watching The Biggest Loser - where are they now and he couldn't find his teddy bear Bobby Oor. He is very attached to that bear and I knew he was upset that he couldn't find him. So he came into my bedroom and snuggled up to me. Yes, I was a sucker and loved that he was being all cuddly so I let him stay up with me.

He let me hug him while we watched TV. He is usually so ticklish that I can't touch him for any real length of time so I was surprised that I could put my arm around him a hug him for a long time. I was good I fought the urge to tickle him, he has such a cute laugh and the twinkle in his eye when he is laughing is priceless. He doesn't hate it, he usually will find a way to get you to tickle him again. When he has had enough he lets you know.

So here I am about to go to bed myself. I am smiling as I recall the special time with him. Tomorrow (yikes actually today) is Thanksgiving and he will be all wound up. He will run around the circle of rooms at his grandparents house, even though he knows he isn't allowed to do and will get in trouble. He will barely eat anything on his plate so he can play with the fun toys grandma has. He will be loud and be told may times to keep his voice level at 2, an inside voice. The same thing will happen on Friday at his other grandparent's house. When I want to scream at him tomorrow and Friday I will have to remember that there are good times and that today was a good day.

Friday, November 20, 2009

When Their Dreams Come True

This year I can't wait until Christmas. The "secret" gift exchange that I loved is gone, replaced by donations to a charity I have no attachment to. That is no longer something I look forward to. I never get any gifts from my husband, even though I tell him exactly what I would like he never can find anything to buy me and we really don't have much extra money for gifts for us anyway. I know what my parents are giving us, I gave my mom the list. None of this is making Christmas exciting for me this year.

This year I have found the perfect gifts for my children. I have managed to get them nice gifts in past years. I saw the joy of Christmas on their faces but I was never able to get them "THE GIFT". I never could get them the gifts that they wanted. They would ask and we just couldn't get them. This year is different. I don't know how I did it, but when I could afford a large gift, well before Christmas, before they were even asking Santa for this and that and don't forget that over there I managed to pick out what they wanted.

First was P's gift. I had wanted to get him a train table for years now. He has played on them and I saw how much he enjoyed using them. I was looking for one that he could also use for his cars. Well The Christmas Tree Shop had one with in my price range so I bought it. I didn't even consult D and I should have because he isn't as in love with this gift as I am. I have it hidden out of our house so P won't find it. Now That is all P is asking for. He calls it a Car Table, and every chance he gets he asks us for it for Christmas.

For B I bought the Doll House pictured above. My father gave me a doll house when I was a teenager because I loved to collect miniatures. He stayed up many nights building it for me. I think it a parents dream with a daughter to get them a doll house. I saw a four foot high doll house for her to play Barbies in. I knew that was the one. I had it put on Lay A Way at Toys R Us. She saw it while were at the store a few days later and she fell in love with it. Now all she asks for is the doll house that I already bought for her.

I can't wait for Christmas this year because I can't wait to see the look on their faces when they see their gifts on Christmas morning. I can't wait to play cars on P's Car table. I am looking forward to playing Barbies with my daughter in her four foot high doll house. I don't care about any gifts that might be mine. I only want to see their faces when their dreams come true.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Have Lit a Candle

I had a neighbor once that I just did not get along with. Oh I tried and we were like oil and water. Well, right now she is going through something horrible and I wish I could reach out to her and help her through it. I am afraid to reach out to her, it can go so wrong. So I stay back and know that what she is going through right now is something I don't think I could handle.

I light a candle for her and her family tonight knowing she will probably never know I did this. You may not know who she is, but please send out as much positive energy you can to her, it will find her. We may have not gotten along when we were neighbors, and I am pretty sure we still don't but she is still human, a wife and mother and needs all the support she can get right now for her and her family.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chocolate After Bedtime

Sunday bedtime is always an adventure. After two days of later bedtimes the return to bedtime at eight can be the cause of tension between the kids and I. Tonight was another night of "I don't wanna go to bed now" from P and B. I finally read to B, and P read to both of us. Snacks were eaten. I tucked each one in after I asked our night time question. "Is there anything you want to talk about, anything that makes you happy, mad, sad or glad." Every night I get some fun answers to that one.

Well, tonight we went through it all. I finally turn the TV on to watch my shows that I don't watch while they are awake. I am on my bed because the shows are DVRed on the bedroom Tv and The kids rooms are right next to my open door. The hall light is off and I am watching the Amazing Race. All of a sudden I see movement. I see my son walking back to his room from the kitchen. He knows he is busted so he tries to sneak into the bathroom. I guess he was going to say that is why he is out of bed.

Uhm, no I see that he is clearly coming out of the kitchen and he has that look on his face. All parents know the look. It is the smile they use that is so darn cute to try to save them from being yelled at because they know they did something wrong and maybe you won't be able to figure it out. Yes, that is the look on his face, as he gets closer I see dirt on his face. Now I smell chocolate. I put two and two together and I know he was eating hot chocolate mix.

Next I don't even have to look, but I know there is chocolate on the floor in the kitchen. Is there a mess in the kitchen and I love the answer he gave me. "No, well not a big one. Well, it isn't on the stove, or the counter. I need a broom mommy!!" Finally the mess is clean and now it is almost 10 pm at night and I look at my son, covered on chocolate powder and the sad conclusion is he needs a bath.

So I don't know how he managed to sneak past me originally, but I might have to rethink the hall light being off at bedtime. I now have found a new hopefully well hidden spot for the hot chocolate mix and hopefully this will be the last chocolate at bedtime adventure for a while.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Wild Things Birthday

This weekend I turned 42. Not a milestone but I can't help but notice that I am creeping towards 50. So how did I celebrate growing older? I went to Build A Bear and my family bought me a teddy Bear. My daughter was in charge of stuffing the bear and picked out just the right heart to put inside. Both kids also picked out sounds to add to their bears, Bobby Ore and Pink A Dot. I love going into Buld A bear. Even all grown up I can't help but love a fluffy soft squishy stuffed animal.

On Saturday we went to watch "Where the Wild Things Are". I am a huge fan of the book and now I am a huge fan of the movie. I was worried about how they would stretch it into a movie. They added a nice storyline to the movie. We also got some backstory to Max. We went to a Sensory Friendly showing of the movie so the lights were up and the audience could make noise and walk around. This is such a nice way to watch movies with children. It really gives them the freedom they need to enjoy a movie.

The kids had a parade going around the theater while the movie was playing. I watched my children meet other children and mingle with them. They would sit down in different parts of the theater to see how the movie looked from that location. While doing all this they were following the movie and we had a great conversation about it.

Before we went to the movie we read the book and made predictions of what would happen in the movie. Some of what my kids thought would happen did happen in the movie and we talked about that on the way home. We also talked about what the Wild Things did when Max left. It is fun listening to them use their imaginations. They really got a lot out of the movie.

I also managed to take a nap on Saturday. I woke up to a beautifully decorated Birthday cake and my family sang "Happy Birthday" to me. I cut the cake and B took the knife out since she has the next birthday in my family. My parents called to wish me a happy birthday and said they would buy me the DVD of "Where the Wild Things Are" when it is released.

So I guess I celebrated my growing older with a journey back to my youth. It was a wonderful birthday and I hope the year will be as good if not better.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Terror and Dread: My Visit to the Dentist

I absolutely am terrified of going to the dentist. I don't mean the normal dread that other people tell me about. I mean terror. I try to avoid going to the extent that I know better and really should go more often.

It was at the end of August when I bit into a hot dog at a picnic and broke one of my teeth off at the bottom. Luckily I had a root canal done on that tooth previously and it really didn't bother me, so of course I avoided calling the dentist.

Two years ago I had a wisdom tooth pulled. Well, They tried and couldn't do it so they sent me to a surgeon. The cost was more than I could afford and the tooth stayed with me. It didn't really bother me. Until about two weeks ago that is.

Oh even better our dental insurance is canceled as of tomorrow. So I had a deadline. I knew I had to call and get my teeth checked before October and I finally did on Monday, September 28th. Somehow they managed to get me looked at on Monday and as I suspected both teeth needed to come out. The Wisdom tooth was infected pretty badly and I had to get antibiotics for it. I was getting a low grade fever from it and knew it had to come out.

So the appointment was made for today. Because of the time frame I couldn't be sedated. I was terrified.

I walked into the office at noon. My breathing started to get faster and my heart was beating fast. Yikes this was before the actual appointment. They called me in and I told the nurse that I was terrified and she assured me it would be fine.

The doctor came in and checked the teeth out and went right into extraction mode. I jumped up and retrieved my iTouch so I could listen to music.

Why do dentist tell us that it won't hurt? Even the usual "just a little pinch" is a lie. That Novocain shot is a horrible experience. I don't know how many shots of Novocain I had today but it was more than six. There was a lot of Novocain pain today.

Then he says to me if I feel something let him know, I should only feel some pressure. LIES!!!!! I can't describe the feeling but it was more than "SOME" and pressure isn't even close to the feeling I had. So I made a noise to let him know it hurt, he kept tugging and yanking. I made more noise, he didn't stop so I screamed. He stopped and yelled at me.

Apparently screaming was an inappropriate response and "this wasn't a cartoon" so I had to stop screaming. I explained that it hurt a lot. So more Novocain was injected. I was physically shaking and quivering from the pain and tears were flowing down my face. Luckily the last injection of Novocain was enough and soon it was over.

They wouldn't let me leave just yet. I had to calm down and stop shaking. When I finally left I had two less teeth and more reason to dread going to the dentist. I am all about sedation from now on. I go to be a good example for the children. I hope they don't grow up with the same terror and dread I have from going to the dentist.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fuel for the Fire

Today was new scout orientation for my district. I brought my camera and was one of two "official" photographers for the event. This was strange for me because usually I am with my son at scouting events that involve the boys, today though he went to see "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" so I was on my own.

I have to say in the year since I attended the New Scout Orientation with P when we were new to the program so much has changed. I was one of the people who were running the program this year. It has just been one year and my role in scouting has drastically altered. I was a Tiger parent last year, now I am Wood Badge trained leader working on my ticket. I am one of the people who answer the questions now.

Tomorrow is the first meeting of the year and I already have ideas of what to do this year. I am anxiuos to the other parents ideas and get our program flowing. I want to plan hikes and camping. Get the boys out and about. Oh I am looking forward to this year.

I remember playing in creeks and catching fireflies when I was in Campfire Girls. We hiked on the Red White and Blue trail and climbed down a "cliff" to get to the creek. We dug in clay banks. We caught minnows and pollywogs. I remember a camp out where a raccoon invaded our campsite and wouldn't leave. We used buddy burners and wax burners with a smell so awful it still makes me cringe when I think of it. Oh those were the days.

Now I can bring that experience to my son and others like him. One year in Cub Scouts and I have high hopes and dreams. New Scout Orientation like last year gives me some fuel for the fire.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Only Until The Street Lights Pop On.

When I was growing up there was one rule that was so ingrained that I still find myself following it. We could play with our friends on the block, but when the street lights came on we had to go home. My children finally have playmates who live on our block and they all seem to get along. They are too far for me to just yell for them to come home. So the street light rule popped in my head. I know that P has impulse control issues but I thought I would try it out.

I told them both they could go play with their friends but when the street lights pop on they have to come home. It was hard for me to let him go down the street to play without me watching him, but I knew there was parental supervision. I kept looking out the window for the street lights and I am happy to say that once the street lights came on they came right home. I was so proud of them.

So now I guess the trick is to make sure they keep following this rule. I am heating up an apple pie for snack tonight because they have been so good with the rules today. Maybe that will help remind them to follow the rules and come inside when the street lights pop on.

How Long Does It Take Hot Dogs to Turn Black in the Microwave?

Last night I was helping my son with his homework. I like to do that on my bed because I usually have a clear view down the hallway and the entrance to the kitchen. That way I can keep tables on what is going on. Well, he was getting frustrated because I was asking him to do things differently than he thought his teacher wanted it done. He was so upset, then he was hungry — ugh upset and hungry is no fun so I let him take a snack break.

I am guessing that since I was dealing with an asperger crisis I missed my daughter going into the kitchen and putting a hot dog in the microwave. I also missed that the hot dog was cooking for a while.

P all of a sudden yells "Mommy, Mommy come quick!" So I run to the kitchen, I hear my daughter screaming and my son still yelling for me. Now my hallway is short, so it doesn't take much time at all for me to see and then smell the smoke. B is not even really screaming, I would call it a screech with squeal added for effect and pointing at the microwave. In that smoke filled microwave is a very black hot dog.

In one motion I stopped the microwave, opened it up, and swung around to open the back door to our house to air the kitchen out. I put the useless vent over my stove on full blast hoping it would aid in pushing the smoke out of my house. Then I scoop up my daughter who is just so upset about causing all this chaos and smoke. She is now crying and her face is just covered in tears.

She knows how to put a hot dog in the microwave for 30 seconds, but that is usually (I say this assuming I have missed a couple of these sneak hot dog microwave sessions) with me in the kitchen. I can now say that it takes about five minutes to turn a hot dog black to the core in my microwave on full power.

P and I finished his homework with B curled up on my lap. She was so upset that the house filled with smoke and insisted that we needed more fresh air in our house. I explained I had the door open and the windows too then P grabbed and empty Sobe bottle and ran towards the kitchen. I heard the backdoor open and was about to yell when he ran back in. He brought the bottle to B and opened it saying that he brought her fresh air from outside.

He continued to do this over and over again and B was feeling better. I wonder how it would have progressed if it wasn't bedtime? So the chaotic evening ended with giggles and fresh air. Both children went to sleep easily too. Hmmmm, I wonder if burnt hot dog is a sedative?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Getting Ready for Job Interviews Already

Next week I start observing in a classroom in a school in Niagara Falls. I know what school, I know what day I don't know what grade or who the teacher is yet. It is like getting an early Christmas gift and knowing you can't open it until Christmas Morning. I am looking forward to it, but am a little fearful of it too. Maybe it is because there is still so many unknowns about my placement.

I will have to keep a journal about my experiences. Plus several of my classes have projects based on our learn & serve placement. This semester I will have at least 75 hours of classroom experience. I also will have about 20 hours of tutoring to put on my resume.

I also found out today that when I go to Thailand 20 hours will be added to my Learn & Serve time, which will also look good on my resume. It looks like we will have a chance to teach at one of the local school there. I am really looking forward to going to Thailand. One of the places we visit will be where the Tsunami hit. B was born on the same day as the Tsunami and maybe that is one of the reason's I am drawn to what happened that day halfway around the world. All those lost lives on the day I was adding a life to the world.

One of the things I love about this Master's program is everything builds on everything else to help us get a better job. Our major projects will be showpieces of what we are capable of to bring along to a job interview. We participated in a webfrence which is an online conference. This one was about new ideas of how to better teach our students to read.

We are not even three weeks into the semester and already we are focusing on job interview and things we can do to prepare ourselves for the teaching job market. I have been to two different colleges and neither one spent any time on really preparing us for the job market as much as Niagara seems to be doing.

I can only hope that as I continue through the program I continue to get experience so in a little over a year when I start hitting the job market I will stand out as one of the better candidates out there for the teaching jobs that are available.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

One Week of Graduate School

I am so happy that I made the decision to go back to school for my master's degree in education. This evening I finished my first week of graduate school and I had a blast. I have met some great people from all walks of life. People that I have spent the week with and now many feel like old friends. I have learned more about Canada in this last week than I ever have before. Most of my class is from Canada and we of course talk about their country too since they will be teaching there.

My brain feels used this week. I fond myself striving in class to participate and make sure that I am challenged. Because we only have one class in each course each week our first day is a full day. We learned simple things like a better way to support a folded in half piece of paper name plate. We covered difficult topics like racism and sexism. We even discussed gangs. I loved every minute of each class.

I decided to go to Thailand in the summer and still audit the multicultural class so I don't miss out on topics that will effect me when I teach. Three weeks away from my children seems like something I would never do. This is the one opportunity I have to go to Thailand and it is something that is within my reach financially with the aid of student loans. In figuring out repayments the extra amount didn't change my payments more than we could manage so I am going.

I am tying my trip to Thailand together with my Wood Badge Scouting Project so my son's Cub Scout Pack during the year will correspond with students who are Cub Scouts in Thailand and learn more about their culture through letters. They will also make something for the Pack in Thailand that is Scouting oriented. I am looking forward to starting this multicultural program with my Cubs. This will be a year full of fun and excitement.

I am looking forward to next Tuesday when classes resume for me. Tomorrow I buy my books and I will have a heart attack at the prices. Then I can start my reading. I have homework already and am loving it. Maybe the fun will wear off soon. We have a lot of group papers to write and a new writing style to learn. Everything has to be cited and written APA style and I learned MLE style. That is the only thing that has me nervous. I can do it though.

This semester I will be placed with a school. We have 75 hours to complete in schools this semester. Next semester will be another 75 hours and we will have to write lesson plans and teach them. Then of course will be student teaching. By the time I graduate I will have a lot of experience and have worked in several school districts. There is noting slow about this program. We are going to be teachers when we graduate but we will have taught for hours before we graduate.

One week of graduate school is over. The countdown for this semester's end date has already begun. There is no time to pause, we all are going full steam ahead.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy Birthday My Baby Boy

Seven years ago I met you my sweet baby boy. I have such vivid memories of that night. When you first heard my voice you turned your head to find me. I couldn't wait to hold you. I was so jealous that your father got to hold you first. The agonizing few moments it took you to cry, I was so worried about you.

Today we celebrated that miracle event. You have been waiting anxiously for this day I think since the day you turned six. I remember when I was a child and the days leading up to my birthday seemed to go so slow and then the magic day came and it was over so fast. I think that happened to you today. I felt so bad that bedtime came and all you wanted to do was play with your new toys. I hated having to make you put them away.

My dear, P, tonight we snuggled and talked about your birth and how happy I am that you are my son. You sat on my lap and snuggled with me while we talked. It was such a nice way to end the day. You even let me give you a hug and kiss. I dread the day that I can't just sweep you up in my arms and hug and kiss you. Since you were a baby you would sometimes pull away from me, now I know that is because of the asperger's. Funny how somedays I get tons of kisses and hugs and somedays I am lucky to get a smile.

Now you are sleeping and I can't help but to watch you. I can see how much you have grown this year. I can see how you have matured when you are awake. You are growing up so fast and all I want to do is press pause so I can enjoy you as a child longer than I can. Today you are seven and you age growing up so fast. Having you in my life has made life so much better. I love you so much P and this year will be another wonderful year that we will celebrate. Happy Birthday my baby boy!!!

Off to Thailand

I am about to make a huge decision. Should I go to Thailand next summer? At orientation yesterday two of the professors spoke about a University led trip to Thailand. We would have to move our Multicultural Studies class from this semester to next summer and we would take that class while we tour schools and universities in Thailand. It is a three week trip and would cost more than the regular class of course.

I wasn't sure if I would even mention it to D. I thought he would refuse to let me be gone for three weeks. Especially with the issues we have been having. But both times I spoke to him about it he seemed fine with the idea. We both worry how the kids will react. I do worry about how I will be away from them for three weeks but I think I can handle it. I contacted my mom to see if she could help Den with the kids while I am gone. She said she would and encouraged me to sign up for the trip.

How can I pass up an opportunity like this? I can be pretty sure that a trip like this won't fall on my doorstep again. So tomorrow I go to the Financial Aid office to make sure I can get the money to pay for this trip. If I can then I am off to Thailand.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Double the Beginnings

This is definitely a week of new beginnings for me. Over the weekend I started working on my Wood Badge in Boy Scouts. It will end up being close to an 18 month process. Today I went to Orientation for my graduate school program in elementary education. Oddly enough that will also take close to 18 months. So here I am starting two programs that take a lot of hard work and time consuming projects at the same time.

I have been made a member of the Bear Patrol in Wood Badge and have a wonderful group of patrol members who will be going through this process with me. We have quickly bonded and I know we will work well together on our Patrol project. We decided to do it on the history of Boy Scout Uniforms over the 100 years of Scouting. I am trilled that I found an author of a book on exactly that subject that I am in communication with. We have less than three weeks to get that project done.

It reminds me of the ACCEL Program that I went through to get my Undergrad degree. My study group was my lifeline through that time and they were the reason I made it through the program. We all made each other stronger. When one person needed help we were all there for them. I really find that learning with a team or cohort is the best way.

That is why I picked the graduate program that I did. It is cohort learning and I will be with the same group of people from beginning to end. So even though I am starting two intensive programs at the same time I know that I can handle it because I will have a good group of people around me in both programs. I met many of the people in the graduate program with me and found some fast friends.

Right now I know I should be feeling overwhelmed but I actually feel okay. Next week I get the syllabi from the classes so maybe it will kick in then. Oddly I find I thrive in situations like this. I have ideas buzzing through my head. I have a list of contacts I need to make and I am only one weekend into double the beginnings.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our Date at the Fair

D and I spent the afternoon and evening at the Fair today. I have never had such a good time with just the two of us. I have to say the day was amazing. There was definitely a connection between us again. I honestly was apprehensive about the day because we usually fight at the Fair.

One of the first things he did was buy me a necklace I have been eyeing for the last couple years. I have only seen it at the Fair, it is a pendant with a moon phase on it. I was born under a full moon so he bought me a pendant with the full moon on it. The next couple years if they are still at the Fair I will get the children's moon phase pendants too. That was my anniversary gift.

We meandered through the Fair eating from this stand and that stand. I had stuffed banana peppers, a fried Resses Peanut Butter Cup (it was amazing by the way), Green Corn soup from the indian village, pizza and a wonderful peach wine. In fact the wine village was a nice addition that was added this year. D and I took time to sit and talk while we both had a glass of wine. Since we were at the Fair without children (thanks to D's mom for spending her day with them) we could take time to sit down and talk.

I really think spending time alone together is helping our marriage. We have been setting aside more time alone together than we used to. It is something that was always recommended but we found ourselves just falling into a pattern where we were with P and B almost all the time. Spending time alone together was something we would plan but often just didn't happen.

Today was wonderful, of course I am still full from all the food and my feet hurt from the walking. Overall it was just a great day with my husband. Dates are definitely something that we will be doing more often.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Time to Shine

This is my last week of ease. This weekend I start more Cub Scout Leader training. Woodbadge, two weekends of camping and 18 months of work. Then of course next week I start graduate school. What am I thinking starting two intensive programs at the same time? Then the week after that school starts for the kids. It is a new year, new school and new principal. That is a lot of new things for P all at once.

I have gathered most of the back to school items for the kids and now I have things I need to get for me. Including things I need for Woodbadge. I bought myself new sneakers for the first time in a few years. I need to buy binders and notebooks for me. I might even get some back to school clothes for me in the next few weeks.

It is hard to put myself in me mode after years of doing everything for the kids. This summer I bought myself some new shirts. I have to start classes at the same time both my children start new school. Hopefully seeing me face a new school at the same that they are will help them out. We all are starting at new schools at teh same time.

I hope my teachers will click with me and I hope P gets a teacher as good as last years teacher. Hopefully she will understand about asperger's and work with us. B I am not as worried about. She is going to be in the same building as her brother and she is so excited about that. She was a delight in nursery school according to her teachers. I have to think she will carry that into pre-kindergarten with her.

So my whole world is about to change, I signed up for the changes so I had better be able follow through with them all. I know I will be able to handle it. I have been preparing for this for years now. It is my time to shine.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's Not a Real Cow?

Today was our yearly trip to the Erie County Fair with the kids. I was all excited because I thought we would be able to milk a real cow. That is something I have wanted to do with the children for a long time.
NEW! Try milking a cow at the "Milkable Mabel's Stable."
I guess I should have paid more attention to the quotation marks. We found the stable and I was looking forward to the experience with the family. Well, Mabel was a large plastic cow with what looked like fingers from a rubber glove as the teets. I was so upset, especially since I had been talking about it so much with P and B.

Well, at least the pay one price for the fair rides was correct. For $26.00 both kids got three hours of riding any ride they wanted. It was comical to see them getting off a ride then they would circle around and get right back on it. Some of these rides were 4 or 5 tickets usually to ride. I figure with the amount of rides they went on we saved at least a hundred dollars. They had three hours of rides and still when 7 PM came and the ride special ended they were upset. They wanted to go on more rides. Daddy and I were worn out from all the rides. Chasing them around was exhausting.

B and I went on a last ride together on the big ferris wheel at the fair. I have never been so nervose on a ride before. There was no door, just a flimsy chain to keep us from falling out. B would lean forward ever so slowly and look down at the fairgrounds below. I was right there with my hands on her because if she leaned to far forward I am not sure if that would keep her from falling. Luckily she listened to my pleas and was extra careful. We both managed to walk off the ride with no real trauma, just some frazzled nerves for mommy,

Somehow in the middle of al this we managed to eat lunch, oddly this year we managed to all pick food from booths that were close together. B ate a whole corn-dog, she never eats that much. I was surprised by how much she ate. I had some BBQ ribs. Oh they were fantastic. I could have eaten double, but was good. Pizza was the rest of the clans choice. Somehow pizza at the fair always tastes better.

The sights, smells and sounds at the fair were as intoxicating as always - Italian sausage, chicken wings, sweet potato fries, ribbon fries, Chivetta's Chicken, ribs, onion rings, pizza, corn on the cob, tacos in a bag, funnel cakes, fried oreos, corn-dogs, and steamed clams. We saw people on stilts, cows, calfs and pigs, so many games and rides all over the place. Lights were flashing and people we walking all over the place. We heard people shouting "I Got It" including P. There was music from speakers all over the place from rides and games.

By the time we were ready to go home my feet ached and I had pains all over from lifting, chasing and keeping up with P and B. P chose ice cream as his snack, B picked corn on the cob. That's right corn for snack. She also put back a creme puff at a picnic once to pick up and eat broccoli. What can I say, my daughter loves her veggies. D had his traditional baked potato and I had my usual taco in a bag for the ride home.

My loot for the day was various spices, various maple sugar items, corn chowder mix, P and I got new "crocs. B had a new pink stuffed cat. D and I are going back just the two of us next week. Then we have a whole year to pass for our next trip to the fair. Though I still wish the cow had been real.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tiny Fingers and the Car Door

D is taking both children to the pool for their swim lessons. I have a half hour of peace before I need to pick up B. I just settled down to watch some TV when I hear screaming. It is B and this is a OMG I am hurt kind of cry. D comes running into the house with her in his arms. She is screaming so loud that I am concerned something major happened to her. Somehow in the chaos I find out that P accidently shut the car door on B's fingers.

D gathers a few Band-Aids and we finally get a look at her hand. It isn't as bad as it sounds. She can move all her fingers and they all seem to be in one piece. He manages to get two bandages on the worst of it and B announces she is not going swimming. She clings onto me and won't let go.

I manage to get her to take some tylenol, I know from experience fingers in the door HURT. Then we snuggle on the bed. She is crying and obviously in pain. I cover her up in mommy's blanket and she is makes sure my arms are holding her tight. Somehow her eyes close and she drifts off into sleep.

Part of me wants to wake her up, because it is late and I want her to go to sleep at bedtime. Another part of me knows she needs that nap, the trauma of getting your fingers closed in a car door can be huge especially when you only have cute little fingers. All that crying exhausted her and well she is adorable when she sleeps.

Finally Daddy and P come home I find out that he finally put his face into the water and passed Swimming Level 1 (it only took two summers). Daddy put B into her bed we were hoping she would sleep through the night. Of course that didn't happen. When she woke up she was back to herself. She didn't baby her hand and was roughhousing with P as if nothing had happened.

At bedtime her fingers started to hurt so she got some more tylenol. I was right she of course is still awake and slowly trying to sneak around the house. She may have had a huge trauma today but she sure doesn't show it now. I bet she keeps her fingers far from car doors for a while now.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Going to the Drive-In Movies

There is just one drive-in movie theater left in our area. Add to that the decrease of rated G movies or even PG movies that are okay for four year olds to see and the result is we just don't get to the drive-in movies that often. When I was growing up we went to the drive-in often and I always had a fun time there. Dad would carry me into the house when we got home. It is such a good memory from growing up that we want to share with our children.

Usually we can get there at least once every season. Last night was the night we managed to get there this season. We watched G-Force, which is a PG movie, but reviews made it seem okay for the kids to see. After that Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was played. Since it started so late I thought the kids would be asleep by then.

Of course we got there before the movies started. The kids wanted to play in the playground and play miniature golf. I had badly twisted my ankle before we left so I waited in the car. The last thing I wanted to do was chase one or both of them around. My ankle was throbbing when I was just siting down minding my own business.

When it was almost time for the movie to begin the kids camped on top of our car. That didn't last too long because of course they took advantage of it.
Next they tried to sit on the hood. That might of worked if they had remembered I was in the car and would want to see the movies too.

When G-Force ended P went right to sleep. B however was stubborn and would not sleep. A couple times during the movie I made sure D carried her into the snack bar so she would not see the images o the screen. Especially near the end. She was still wide awake when we pulled out of the parking lot.

The rain held off until the end. As we left the lot the rain started. B finally fell asleep a few minutes after we left. Our excitement was not over yet, however. On the way home my husband decided to try a different way home. While on this route we came across a family of deer. They sprinted across the road and Dennis tried to stop. The last deer, luckily for our car a small deer, was clipped by the left front end of our car. It got up and ran away like nothing happened, we also continued on our way. I don't think we will be taking that route home from the Drive-In again. Bonus this encounter woke P up.

We finally made it home, No trace of our wildlife encounter was revealed when we looked over the car. P walked into the house and Daddy carried a finally sound asleep B to her bed. Our night at the Drive-In was over and we all went to sleep with smiles on our faces from our night of family fun.

Friday, July 31, 2009

I Was Accepted

Dear L :

Congratulations! You have just been accepted to Niagara University for August 2009!

An official acceptance packet will be on the way, but I just wanted to let you know so that you can plan accordingly.

I just turned in my application late in the day on Tuesday. Three days later I am accepted. I just finished school supply shopping for the kids and now I have to shop for me. I actually might need a backpack. I can't remember the last time I used a backpack. I have less than a month until orientation and classes start.

I just might panic. Not really but I can feel the butterflies in my stomach. I managed to do well at business school and graduate near the top of my class, I know I can do it. I know I have what it takes to do well in school.

Oh no I have to buy books too. I had forgotten about that horror. I wonder if the store at Niagara is more student friendly than the one from Buff State.

Okay so I am not going to over think this and I won't panic, at least not until classes start.

My Night at the Beauty Salon

Last night I received the royal treatment from my children. We were all snuggled on my bed, watching tv and just having fun. First I picked up the brush I leave near my bed and to be funny brushed P's short hair. Both found this funny and soon we were all giggling loudly. Near the brush was a pink nail file. P saw it and picked it, he asked what it was.

I told him it was for my nails, like sandpaper on wood, this fixes rough spots on my nails. So naturally he then starts doing his nails. Oh I bit my tongue and watched him carefully check his nails and make sure they all were nice and smooth. B now had the brush and was brushing her hair. Then P asked if he could do my nails. B announced that she was going to do my hair. Oh oh I was in trouble now.

P is filing my nails one at a time and talking to me about his day. B is acting like a hair dresser and tilting my head just so, so she could style my hair. I had to look down and look to the side. P meanwhile moved on to my other hand and is really studying my nails. He announces that one nail is done and moves on to the next one.

B has moved to the other side of my head and I can feel my hair going in all sorts of directions. P now naturally moves on to my toes. I was not expecting that. Luckily he must have thought my toes needed less work because he zipped right through them. Both children proudly announced I was done. I praised their work and we all went back to snuggles and tv.

My nails are filed diagonally and flat. Not one was spared this fate. Before P went to bed he touched each and every nail and asked if I liked them and without telling a lie I proudly said that I did love them just the way they were. As I type this my nails still are diagonal and flat and they will stay like that for a while longer. I loved my night at the salon and couldn't ask for a better beauty treatment ever.

The Agony of Swim Class

The weather this summer has been a little chilly. Of course I have both P and B signed up in swim class. Well, the pool water is not as warm as it could be. Today was swim class and the sky even looked cold.

B did well. She started moving around the pool on her own. She was in her swim vest and holding onto a pool noodle. After she realized it was fun there was no stopping her. Her lesson ended and she was so excited that she was "swimming".

Next was P's lesson. He has a private lesson with a lifeguard and now I get in the water to help if he freaks out. Right after he gets in he starts shivering, his teeth are chattering and you can see the goose bumps on his skin. I know it is going to be a long swim lesson. He is doing okay but the cold is getting to him. I don't know if it the asperger's that makes him so sensitive to the cold in the water? All I know is he is plotting anyway possible to get out of the pool.

He is fast too. He can just climb out of the pool faster than I can catch him. I feel bad making him get back into the water, though I don't find it nearly as cold as he does. Of course he is all skin and v=bones and I definitely have some extra layers to me. I also am moving around much more in the water while he is doing all he can to not participate.

He is crying and the expression on his face is heartbreaking. I feel like a horrible parent. Why am I keeping him the water? I want him to be able to swim, but I don't want him to hate swimming. Why can't the weather be warmer so he can enjoy swim class. I hate seeing this expression on his face and we do manage to get some things accomplished in swim class.

Finally we are near the end of class. I see the desperation in his eyes, he need the class to be over and I relent. He is out of the water in a flash and is soon surrounded by the warmth of his towel. We only have more week of swim classes left, one more week this year. He is slowly figuring things out. He would be doing so much better if the water was warm. I think we might be looking for an indoor pool soon. I don't want him to lose any of the comfort he is getting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Thorn in my Side

Today I went to Niagara University and turned in my application for graduate school. I could have mailed it, but I chose to walk it in. While I was there they reviewed my transcripts and recommendations. I had everything I needed and they told me I should hear from them within a week.

The woman going through all my documents seemed to indicate to me that I would be accepted. Orientation is in less than a month. I am so looking forward to going back to school. Almost everyone, including my husband is encouraging me and are excited for me.

Sadly my mother in law is the one thorn in my side. She is already saying I won't be able to get a job and I haven't even started school year. I have to say it really bothers me that she is always trying to talk Dennis into not supporting me and she wants him to talk me out of it.

I fear that this will be a huge issue between us. I will be going to school for 15 - 18 months. I am not going to let her discourage me. Still every chance she gets she complains to Dennis about me going back to school. I am doing this to better prepare myself for the job market. When both children are in school full time I want to go back to work and I need to know I can support myself if it comes to that.

I know I can do this and I will get this degree with or without my Mother-In-Laws encouragement. She may not have faith in me, but I do and so does D.

Friday, July 24, 2009

No More Golf in the Backyard

Crash, followed by the sound of breaking glass. You know the sound it makes your shoulders bunch up and propels you towards the source. Is someone hurt? Will I find a child covered in blood as I turn into the room? Is someone breaking in? These are some of the thoughts that ran through my head.

The next sound I hear before I even get to the bathroom (which is where the ominous sound originated) is a scream and crying from outside. It is getting louder and is identifiable, it is P. What happened, though I can now cross a break in off my list. He comes running in and I look into the bathroom. The window is broken. In the center of the break is a suspicious circular pattern, It looks like a ball was thrown through our bathroom window.

So far there is no blood. P comes running in and he is hysterical. All he can say is he broke the window. I can see he is uninjured and I go into mommy mode. D is on site and is starting to clean up all the glass. The glass is all over the bathroom and into our hallway. That must have been some throw.

P and I move into my bedroom where he just wants to be comforted. Now B is upset because P is upset. It is a crying chain reaction. Both children are scared and P is just beside himself. He is so upset that he broke the window.

D is still picking up glass and P finally calms down to tell us what happened.

Earlier in the day D took the kids to the driving range. P absolutely loves to hit golf balls and is pretty good at it too. He hardly ever misses and the balls go far. We are (were) toying with the idea of getting him some golf clubs because it is something that he really enjoys. Well, they ran out of balls at the driving range and P was so upset. They came home and P still wanted to play golf.

I am still a little fuzzy about this part of the story. I am not sure if D let him use his driver and a practice ball or if P just took it upon himself to use Daddy's clubs. But he managed to shoot a lightweight practice ball at the bathroom window with Daddy's oversized right handed golf club (P golf's left handed). The result was a huge hole in our bathroom window.

There was some silver lining to this. P knew he did something wrong and let us know he did it. He didn't make up a story, he didn't try to get out of it. He owned up to his actions. I was so proud of him for telling us the truth. Even hours later he was upset and wanted to know if Grandma (she is our landlord) would be mad at him for breaking the window. We assured him that she wouldn't.

Tonight the window is taped up with duct tape. I have no idea how to take it down so we can get the glass replaced. I am sure there is a way. The golf ball bounced off the window as it broke and we have no idea where it is. I suspect that we will be going to the driving range a lot this summer. There is no more golf allowed in the backyard.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Reclaiming a Room

This week is the week I am hoping to take back my kitchen. It has been months since we have eaten in there and I have done all I can to avoid the room. I haven't really done much complicated cooking, nothing like I used to do. I used to make meals from scratch all the time. Now I just open a box and heat it up in the microwave.

Last week I acquired a dishwasher and have found myself doing more dishes willingly than I ever have before. Today my brother came over and assembled my corner bench for the kitchen. Finally I have a table and chairs in my kitchen that I like. Because the bench is in the corner the table is out of the way, but still easily usable by the family.

Tomorrow I will have the drill charged and I can hand up the wall pot holder. It will let me move the pots and pans out of a cupboard and hang them from the wall. Then The cupboard can be used to store some of the things that didn't have a home before. My goal is to get the kitchen organized by the end of the week.

I am getting the urge to cook again. I have found myself buying ingredients that I haven't used in months. I watch the cooking shows and have started gathering recipes that I want to try. I walk into Wal-Mart and find myself in the cleaning section of the store.

This happens to me every so often, I all of a sudden get a cleaning urge and start cleaning. Then the urge goes away and the job isn't done then it just gets worse. This time I am somehow going to work past the urge and get one room done. I want my kitchen back.

When we moved into this house the kitchen was the selling point. It was huge. I knew I would finally have a room that I could cook in without being cramped for space. In the beginning I managed to keep up with it. I don't know when I lost control, but I did. I found myself having a kitchen that I was ashamed to let people see. Now I am going to have a kitchen that I can be proud to show off through my back door.

I figure that I will start with the one room and once I can keep it nice and clean I will branch out to a different room in the house. I will have people over to visit soon. I just need to reclaim one room at a time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Dishwashing History

This is a fantastic day for me. I finally have a dishwasher that works. It has been about 15 years since I lived somewhere that had a dishwasher. Back then I hated doing the dishes. I hated loading and unloading the dishwasher. I lived at home with my parents and it was something that was forced upon me. I resented the chore and I was focused on obtaining my freedom.

Well, I got my freedom and I moved into a house with no dishwasher. At first washing dishes by hand was a novelty and I gladly did it. Lets just say that didn't last long. My loathing of doing the dishes allowed them to slowly pile up. It was the beginning of a huge issue between Dennis and I. Neither one of us wanted to do dishes. But who really wants to do them. It was always something that we did grudgingly and only what needed to be done.

I am ashamed to say that sometimes I would just throw away a dish that was just not going to get cleaned. There were months we used paper plates so we wouldn't have to do many dishes. In short we took any short cut to lessen the chore of washing dishes and putting them away.

We have gotten a portable dishwasher as a gift many years ago, when we lived in our old house and Dennis would find excuse after excuse to not use it. I used it but it was a tight fit in our small kitchen and it soon stopped working. About four years ago we got another one for free, it leaked. For the last three years I have been begging for one every year at income tax time. It was something we could afford with our tax refund. Every year something else was put in front of it. It was becoming a quest for me. I was growing up, I wanted a dishwasher. And I wanted it NOW!

Finally this week things were going my way. We went looking at prices of new portable dishwashers as I expected they were too highly priced for our budget. We looked at a used appliance store and the portable dishwasher's there were not in the best shape. That night I found two dishwashers on craigslist that seemed like good ones. We managed to see them both without the kids and even managed to have some much needed talking between us.

I don't think we ever actually agreed to buy a dishwasher between the two of us. I can only hope that he too saw the wisdom of the purchase. We did put a deposit on one of the dishwashers
"TouchTap controls provide a modern look and are easy-to-clean. A 4-level PowerScrub wash system with PowerShower directs water precisely for a quiet, efficient clean. The 100% triple water filtration system maintains clean water for clean dishes. And the Piranha™ hard food disposal grinds leftover food into small particles that are easily washed away. Pots and Pans cycle - tough food stains are scrubbed and scoured clean. Deluxe silverware basket - basket holds multiple pieces of silverware for thorough cleaning. Woodgrain laminate top - attractive surface provides a durable work area"
and we picked it up today. I couldn't wait to use it.

Yes, I was excited to do the dishes. The same job I would dread while living at my parents house. I loaded that first load with glee. My daughter helped and she too was excited. We filled up the machine and hooked it up to the faucet. We had a couple errors and the water would shoot all over the kitchen. B and I giggled and cleaned up our mess, then it happened again. Finally we got it hooked up right and working. The dishes were getting clean and B and I watched a movie.

The too of us unloaded the dishwasher when the cycles ended. The dishes were put away and we put pots and pans in next. I finally had a working dishwasher and I was starting to get my kitchen back. One step at a time and eventually the house will be ready for company. Dennis is not happy with the dishwasher. I can see that for now it will be me who uses it. I can accept that. After fifteen years of hand washing dishes I am ready for the machine. I embrace the machine and I have it all ready for the next load.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

*Warning, Warning* This about a Four Year Old Who Loves Her Tarantula


It all started two Halloweens ago. My daughter, who was not yet three at the time fell in love with spiders. I know, I was surprised at first. She found stuffed spiders at our local dollar store. They went with her every where she did. The crossing guard at my son's school still remembers how protective she was with her precious stuffed spiders. She still has them and still plays with them.

At first I thought it was just the stuffed spiders, but soon she would see spiders on TV and we just had to watch them. I learned more about spiders that winter than I ever had before. By the spring we would find spiders in the yard and garage. We would watch them build their webs and admire how pretty the webs looked.

Then we went to the zoo. Nothing special we go to the zoo all the time, this time we found a children's play room. It was set up for the kids to play, explore and learn. In the room was a Hexagonal tank that housed the zoo's tarantula. Her name was proudly displayed for all to read. Her name was (still is) Madonna. B fell in love with this spider. She announced that she wanted to bring Madonna home with us.

Some little girls go to the zoo and love the tigers, monkeys, maybe even the zebra's. Not my daughter she goes to the zoo and wants a pet spider. Of course I had to break her heart and explain that Madonna lives at the zoo and the workers at the zoo would be very sad if she went home with my daughter. This worked for a couple visits.

B meanwhile must have been watching secret spider shows on TV. She still insisted that she wanted a tarantula for a pet. If you haven't heard a two year old ask for a pet tarantula it is just too darn cute. That little voice saying such a big word. She knew that some people had spiders at pets and for months she kept bugging us for a tarantula.

Now I try to be a cool mom, I am willing to get dirty with the kids and I let them get dirty. I try to be open about letting them try new things and experiences. I even arranged a tour of a water treatment plant when my son (who was three at the time) wanted to know what happened after the toilet was flushed. He just had to know where the pipes under the ground went and how they cleaned the water. So after about eight months of pleading for a pet spider (almost a third of her life) I started finding out more about people and pet tarantulas.

I found out they were pretty good pets. Some species of tarantula were more docile than others and made very good pets. They rarely bit people, often giving plenty of warning before they would lash out. I was warming up to the idea. I know, what was I thinking? So I figured it would be a while before I would get one for her, then I walked into a pet store. Yes, they had tarantulas and they took one out and let her see it up close.

Oh the joy on her face, the giggles were priceless. She was so happy. Then I noticed the price just $12.95 so being the impulsive mommy I am bought one, with cage and set up. I swear I made her lifetime that day. She couldn't wait to get home and hold her spider.

I still was a bit hesitant about letting my daughter old hold a spider so I picked up Hannah Montana (B named her) first. She was soft and fuzzy, no weight to her at all. The tips of her feet kind of reminded me of velcro. She explored my had and arm slowly and not once was aggressive or fast. I then let B hold her spider (the photo is above) and she loved it. I think she would have kissed the spider had I let her.

We have had Hannah for almost a year. B takes good care of her. She makes sure that Hannah has water and food. She feeds Hannah live crickets and has no problem grabbing the crickets to put in Hannah's habitat. She handles her spider occasionally with adult supervision of course. She is a fantastic mommy to Hannah.

Today we went out to buy the crickets. We came home and went to Hannah's habitat and we saw what looked like Hannah in a tight ball and motionless. B was horrified. She was crying, she thought her beloved pet had died. I had to take a double take, I was expecting this. Hannah, like all spiders molt. They shed their skin as they grow. Hannah was alive and well on the other side of the habitat.

It took a few minutes for B to calm down, and it took a few hours for her to really understand what happened. We explained as Hannah got a new outfit to wear.

This is the top view of the Molt

Top View hannah's Molt

This is the bottom view, If you look close you might see her fangs. They are near the red coloring.

Bottom View Hannah's Molt 7-15-2009

The spider literally pops out of her old skin revealing a nice shiny new skin. This is a very stressful time for a spider and they are very vulnerable so we can't feed her for about a week. So I guess this was an eventful stressful day for both peat and owner. We have saved the molt so B can bring it to school for show and tell in the fall. I am sure the teacher will like that more than the real live spider (which B did take to show and tell last year with permission from her teacher, that was a great show and tell, lol).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Little Pieces of Joy


I hated going to Junior High. It was two years of torture. I was the picked on kid and had few friends at the school. One of the things I remember from that time was stopping at a local deli we called "Joe's". I am sure it had an entirely different name, but we called it "Joe's". There was always a variety of candy to pick from and I loved talking with the cashier and picking put my candy. The candy that was my usual choice was Zotz.

This was a hard candy with a tangy fizzy center. I loved the sensation of the fizz in my mouth as I ate this candy. Is it sad that one of my only good memories of going to Junior High is a candy that I would buy on the way home?

That was 25 years ago. Zotz was a candy of the 80's. Now there are sour patch kids and other sour candies of choice. It has been years since I have thought of Zotz or had them as a treat. I guess I would casually look for them when I saw a store carrying retro candies. Once about 6 years ago I found them at a local theme park. Ah the memories.

Today we went to "The Cracker Barrel" for lunch. The food is always fantastic and they have a small store to occupy us while we waited for our food. As we were about to leave we browsed the store one last time and I browsed the wall of candy that they had on display. I looked down and then I saw them, ZOTZ. More then one flavor, I believe there were four flavors, lemon, watermelon, grape and cherry. I bought four strips of cherry.

Usually I spend a few dollars on a useless trinket at the store, today I bought four strips of memories. I remember shopping at "Joe's" and how these candies were a little piece of joy in an otherwise dreary day.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

She Does Not Like to Play Soccer

For months this last year our daughter announced that she wanted to play soccer. She was looking forward to being on the same team as her brother. Every time we signed P up for a team we had to tell her that she was too young. The crocodile tears would well up in her eyes and she would be inconsolable.

This year she was finally old enough. When I signed her up she jumped up and down and gave me a huge hug. She would practice her kicking skills in the back yard with her brother. She was so happy when she found out that she would be on the same team as her brother. When we got to her first practice she was literally jumping up and down from the excitement.

Well, that has all changed now. She might play one shift in a game now. She has no desire to play. If the weather is a bit chilly or uncomfortable she divas out on us and will mope, whine, and cry. She absolutely wants almost nothing to do with the game now.

Today she had to be picked up by Daddy (who was the substitute coach) and placed on the field for a couple shifts because they didn't have enough players. She would curl up into a ball on the field and just stay there until her shift was over. At times I was worried that the players would fall over her because she wouldn't move.

She did finally participate and might have even had some fun while she was playing.

Yes, she is a diva and no, we will not be signing her up for soccer again. Luckily she really seems to like her dance class. She showed up some of the steps she learned today. We have learned one thing for sure, she does not like playing soccer.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Penguin Feet

Peaking through the door to see what they are doing in class

Today my daughter started dance lessons and she is in love with them. I was so trilled that she wants to dance. I wanted to dance so much when I was a little girl and know I took many classes. I have seen the photos of me in the cutest costumes — bunnies and bears and a china doll. I just never was good at it. I would get my left and right mixed up and I found it hard to remember the choreography. So I am living vicariously through my daughter I guess.

I am being so good and making sure that I am not making her dance because I want her too. Daddy wanted P to play hockey and he has really focused on soccer instead. I had B in another class last year and she liked it but her eyes sparkled when she saw Irish Step Dancing so I found her a class in that. A sport is a sport and dancing is dancing. Of course B had to pick a dance style that has costumes that can cost in the thousands of dollars.

The first thing they learned was they need to have penguin feet. Heels together and feet turned outwards. B once she got home had to practice her penguin feet. She also showed her swim teacher and daddy and at least a half dozen people at the pool.

The first clue I had that she was liking the class is she participated in the class. When she plays soccer (she begged us to let her play soccer like her older brother) she puts her head down and refuses to participate. Her first game she wouldn't let go of daddy's hand and he ended up being on the field for part of the game.

The moms had to leave the room and B didn't reach for me or cry or freak out. She was perfectly okay at the lesson and she gladly participated. I know because I peaked. Some of the moms camped out in the hall outside of the room they had class in. We would take turns holding the door open a crack and spying on the girls. We even took a couple photos. The teacher caught us too, oops.

B was following the instructions to the letter. She was having so much fun and I was glad to see the biggest smile on her face when they started putting a couple steps together. She has homework this wee and I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot of dancing, listening to a lot of irish music and seeing a lot of penguin feet.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Case of the Missing Wallet

It is close to dinner time and I admit it I am in the mood for pizza. Not just any pizza I want a nice thin crust pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms. Only one pizzeria will do and I am so focused on my craving that I almost miss what is going on with Dennis. He is agitated and I when I do finally notice it I thought he just didn't want to spend the money.

I was wrong. He is frantically looking for his wallet. I then made the mistake of trying to help. I should know better when he is in this mood he is so focused on what he is doing he doesn't want the distraction of someone else butting in with help.

So now he is mad and frantic, not a good mix of emotions. I still try to help by finding a timeline hoping to narrow down the places that it could be. He lost it after swimming so I ask him where the towels and suits are. MAybe the wallet is there. WOW! He is not happy with the questions and he explodes. He yells and you can see the aggravation pouring off of him.

I decided to look in places he has been (but places he is not near at the moment). I need to look for it too. He has a lot of necessary cards and ID not to mention the money in it.

Finally he starts to calm down, he is accepting defeat. The wallet is just gone he announces and he walks over to where he left the towels. He puts his hand on the towels (remember I asked him about the towels a while ago) and looks down to see his wallet. It must have fallen when he put the towels down and it fell into a bin. The mystery is solved and I learned that I need to let him be in times like this. He is not going to change. He is loud and like a volcano when upset. You don't know what will trigger the explosion but eventually the pressure will build enough for him to erupt and then he calms back down again.

We did end getting the pizza I craved and he even apologized to me about how abrasive he was while looking for the wallet. Of course it helped that the wallet was where I originally suggested that he look for it. The rest of the evening was nice and we spent it together as a family.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fun, Family, and Fireworks


Yesterday was the Fourth of July. Of course we spent the later part of the day at a family picnic. On the menu was the usual hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and macaroni salad. Luckily I had been craving grilled hot dogs so I was trilled. The kids had a relatively new audience. These were family members that we hadn't seen since Christmas. P showed off his soccer skills.


B at first wouldn't talk to anyone. It is funny that my drama queen gets so shy around new people. It took her a little while to warm up to her godmother and al the other "new" relatives. Once she figured out that they were okay people she would move from lap to lap and would prance from person to person. It was nice not having her hang on me all day for a change. She was too funny at times especially when the camera would focus on her. She would strike a pose. I think she was the source of much of the laughter last night.


Of course the big even of the night was fireworks. We were talking so much that firework time just snuck up on us. The kids had their hearts set on the fireworks near our house. Of course it was 9:30 p.m. and we were no where near our house. So we all went out to the black yard to watch the fireworks surrounding us.

Anyway we looked we could see fireworks. The children were trilled. P was running from person to person looking for the best view. He finally settled on the deck to the pool (I agree it was a great view).


B is a cuddler so she settled on a lap all snuggled and warm. It wasn't mine, and I missed holding on to her and snuggling while the fireworks were exploding in the air.


Finally the majority of the fireworks ended, the children were both sleepy and we started our journey home. By the time we pulled in the driveway P was down for the count. B however was still looking skyward for the rare firework display. As we set her in her bed to go to sleep she reminded us that "it was the states birthday" and she wants fireworks on her birthday too. I reminded her that Santa visits the day before her birthday and that is probably special enough. Happy birthday to The United States of America 233 years strong,

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Swim Suits, Swim Classes and Mocha - Oh My

What to do on a day that has on and off rain? Well, you sign your children up for swim class of course. Not only sign them up but the first class is today. Even better you find out two hours before the class starts that your son's bathing suit is broken. So begins my frazzled evening of swimming and rain.

We signed P up for private swim lessons this year. Last year he was just overwhelmed in his large class because of his asperger's. Luckily I found out that our city offers private lessons for the same cost. We bought his resident pass and paid for the swim class, then we found out classes were starting in just a few hours.

Off we went home and tried on his bathing suit, it still fit but the zipper was broken. He loved that bathing suit and would wear it last year all day long if let we him. He has even slept over night in them (the sneak would change into them after we sent him to bed). He said he was okay with the zipper being broken and he wanted to swim in it. I figured well one class and this weekend we would shop for a new one. After all we only had a couple hours before class started.

So we decided to do some errands. The drug store was first. Daddy's prescription wasn't ready but I found bathing suits. I know who goes bathing suit shopping at a drug store? Unfortunately the suits were too small for P.  But I could see he was uncomfortable with the zipper being broken. No matter what he said we knew that he needed a new suit sooner rather than later.

We still had some time before the lessons, poor P was in tears because he couldn't be in the pool NOW. The pool shut down in the late afternoon for a couple hours. His mind was set on being in his broken swim suit and go swimming before his lesson started. There was no consoling him, unfortunately his tears and mourning of his swim suit combined with him not being able to swim was too much for Daddy and he started to get upset. Another case of when asperger's clash.

It took some calm talking to convince the men in my life to go suit shopping. How do you get a boy to pick out a new swim suit when he only has eyes for the one he was wearing? The one with the broken zipper that is unzipped to his tummy. Let me tell you it takes some clever thinking.

Of course he needs to fall in love with a new suit and I relied on his old suit to help us pick out his new one. His swim suit is a one piece that covers his upper body as well as the traditional truck area. Luckily they had swim shirts and swim trunks. "Look P, they have swim shirts so you still can have your chest covered." This hooked him, but he still wasn't reeled in. Then I saw that one of the swim shirts has a hood attached. Please don't ask me why. I can only report that it was a black and yellow swim hoodie, who knew?

So we managed to get both children a new bathing suit today. B was easier, if it is pink she wold love it. Mommy of course can't find her suit so I think this week end it is the dreaded swim suit shopping trip for me.

Now swim class was at 6:30. There was a nip in the air okay a nip for July, if this was in early spring we would have been tickled pink. Both kids wanted to get to the wading pool (It reopened a half hour before his class) early to try out the new suits. B had a floaty with hers and she wanted to see if she would float in it. We got there and the clouds started to get darker.

It has been on and off rain for the last couple days and simply put the water was not warm. In fact I think it is safe to say that the water was COLD. Swim class was about to start so he got out of the cold water in the wading pool only to wait in the cool air (in a wet suit) for the lesson to start. Then he had to stretch before he could get back into the water. He was cold.

Of course it gets better, once he gets in the pool it starts to rain. B is out of the water and we walk over to the big pool to watch P's lesson. I felt bad for him, he was shivering and after about 20 minutes he wanted to quit. Nothing would motivate him so I told him if he finished the lesson I would buy him a mocha. That motivated him, he started to do what his teacher asked him to do.

By the end of the lesson we were all cold and wet (remember its raining) and were ready to go home. All P wanted was a nice hot bath. So we went home to warm him up and Daddy went to fetch the promised mocha. P meanwhile started his bath and jumped in (still in his swim suit) the tub to warm up.

He has accepted his new suit (though has insisted we keep his beloved red swim suit). His teacher is the same teacher as last year so he is trilled about that. We all are warm, dry and cozy tonight. The day may have been chaotic but we spent it together as a family. Who could ask for anything more