Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tortilla Soup

It has started to be a tradition that I make Tortilla soup for lunch on Christmas Day or another time around the holidays. It is a hearty, thick, almost stew like, soup.
I'd like to have it recorded for family-so I include it today.
It is a modified version of the recipe from the cookbook One Dish Meals from the Food and Wine book series.

Tortilla Soup
serves 4 to 6

6 T cooking oil
8 6-inch corn tortillas, halved and cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 onion chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, smashed
1 T paprika
2 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 t chili powder
1/4 t cayenne
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth (for strict vegetarian soup use veggie broth)
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes in thick puree (or 3 cups)
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 t salt
1/4 cup fresh, lightly packed cilantro plus 3 T chopped (optional)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can chili beans, not drained
1 avocado cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/4 pound cheddar, grated
lime wedges (optional)
sour cream (optional)

1. Heat oil in large heavy pot over moderately high heat. Add half the tortilla strips and cook, stirring until pale golden, about 1 min. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips.

2. In separate pot (or the same one after you drain majority of oil) turn heat to moderately low and add onion, garlic and spices. Cook, stirring fro 5 min. Add broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, cilantro (if using), and 1/3 of tortilla strips.
Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 30 min. Remove bay leaves.

3. In blender or food processor, puree soup in batches and return to pot. Add black beans, corn and chili beans and return to a simmer for 10 minutes.

4. To serve, place tortilla strips in bowls, top with cheddar. Pour in the soup. Sprinkle on diced avocado and cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream if using. Serve with lime wedges.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Kids up at 6:30 am or so. Java noses the covers and climbs under them with her head by my feet and her body snuggled against mine on one side and Pops on the other. We snuggle for an hour or so and then pops gets up and later I do.
Pops makes toast and scrambled eggs for all.
Pops and Al go to Costco and then Safewayy and run into lots of other Daddies out shopping.
Ki and I bathe and I vow that today, we are getting those 2 fist sized tangles out of her hair. She says matter of factly, "You say that everyday."
I continue with my seemingly endless gift wrapping.
Ki and I clean house a bit so it doesn't look like it should be condemned.
I remember I need to send a fax for work ASAP. Ki and i take the fax, treats and Lucy and Jakes gift and head to Jennyalice's. We get to chat for 10 min and then head home as Tanyo, a dear family friend from when I was 7, has come over and Pops is home from the store.
Tanyo, Granny and I head out for a lunch of Mediterranean food. I had a panini made of lamb and pita bread with garlic fries. Yummy.
Home for a second and get a quick drive-by from Squid and kids.
Pops main gift was just dropped off by UPS. Yeah!
Over to my office with Tonya so El can pick up gifts she wrapped at my office last week. Aj joins us and we bring home more wrapped gifts. We exchange gifts with Tonya and I wrap gifts for Jane.
Jennyalcie stops by and drops off a pumpkin pie she made from scratch. She doesn't believe me when I tell her I have never made a pie crust.
We get all dressed and head to church. See some friends from Roy Cloud and lovely Mer that I use to work with. Mid-mass Aj leans over to me and says, "Can you eat a scorpion?" He later participates and sings a bit. He leans over to the bowl of holy water and dips his hand in a crosses himself. I am vigilant as I am unsure if the next move he'll make will be seeing how big a splash he can make.
We head home and Pops makes dinner of frozen pizza and lasagna. Perfect. I did NOT want to cook tonight.
I begin making tortilla soup and the fried tortillas that go in it. This is lunch for 10 tomorrow.
I bake potatoes that will become twice-baked potatoes for Xmas dinner.
We have our usual dinner at the coffee table watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.
I finish making soup.
I make a batch of white chocolate covered chex mix.
Dishes, dishes. Granny helps with the dishes.
Pops has Ki call NORAD. There you can take to an Elf who will tell you where Santa is currently at in the world and when he will be at your house.
We put it on speaker phone and hear a lovely gentleman elf asking Ki where she lives and then asking her if she is going to leave a snack out for Santa. He tells her he has been working really hard all night and will be quite hungry.
"Oh, yes, we are leaving a snack out for him."
He then says that Santa will be at our house in an hour it is about 8:30. Aj's eyes widen and he runs throw his unfinished ice cream into the sink. I tell him it is okay, he has time to finish his dessert. He continues standing and rifles spoonfuls of ice cream into his mouth. He then darts into the bathroom and brushes his teeth. He cannot get into bed soon enough. I agonize him by asking him to pick out a snack for Santa. He chooses a tangerine and Ki chooses a banana.
They go to bed and I work a bit more in the kitchen.
Pops heads into the dining room to wrap gifts and emerges over an hour later.
I sit here and write and watch TV and am flanked by labs.
Now I am off to make the twice baked potatoes, finish wrapping stocking gifts and clean the dining room with Pops. Christmas is fun, also exhausting.
Peace to you all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Me at 45

Forty five has felt like a bigger birthday. You know, a time-to-check-a-new-box on forms type birthday. A time to reflect on the past and consider the future.

My day:
At 6:30 am I rolled over and mumbled, "Have a good day Pops."
"Happy Birthday Jude." Oh yeah, thanks!
I snuggled in with my two brown labs and went back to sleep.
Ki drew a pic of the family and gave it me while I was still mostly asleep.
Morning card from the kids with a huge sticker "#1 Mom"
Calls, texts, emails and cards from friends.
A trip to the zoo with kids and friends. The zoo was uncrowded and the animals were ready to show themselves.
Home to find a card in the mail from a friend that I had parted ways with a few years ago. I have known her for over 30 years. Our lives are different now, she has no kids, but our history is shared. She is interested in reconnecting, and I am too. She only lives a few miles away.
Granny asked about 10 times, "Whose birthday?"
A nap!
Out to dinner with kids, Granny and Pops. Great food.
Great gifts from Pops, kids and Granny. New pajamas, a high-end pencil sharpener that will sharpen any sized pencil, pastel drawing pencils and paper, earrings, necklace with kids initials, tickets for the family to go see the production Wicked.
On the couch to watch Tuesday night tv and cuddle kids, Pops and puppies.
I am grateful for the people in my life.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I am coffee

This was posted by ML williams, author unknown.


A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how
things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to
make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and
struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water
and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the
first, she placed carrots, in the second, she placed eggs, and in the
last, she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil,
without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the
carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and
placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it
in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asks, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She
did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter
to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she
observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter
smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What
does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same
adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went
in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to
the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been
fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but
after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the
boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" She asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on
your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee
bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but
with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my
strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the
heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a break-up, a
financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and
stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and
tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot
water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water
gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the
bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the
situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are
their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level.

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make
you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make
you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything;
they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The
brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't
go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and
heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was
smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling
and everyone around you is crying.

As I look into the dawning of my 45th birthday in 15 minutes-I think the last sentence sums up how I want my life, and children's lives, to be summarized. For the most part, I am pretty content with it so far.

Granny's Physical

This week I finally took Granny in for her physical.
It is always interesting to hear her interact with other people. Similar to how it is to listen to your own kids interact with others. What is she going to say in response to that question? Does she know the answer to that?
I hear the vague, content free comments and answers I recall from patients I've worked with in the past.
She is "cute " now. What I mean is that she sounds sweet, tries to be funny, is endearing. I remember saying to other adults in the past, "Your Mom is so cute!".
The thing is, my Mom was not a "cute" type of person. She was the one who was smart, coo and had a fabulous wit. But not "cute". That is not my Mom.
Docs and others are so dense about short term memory impairments. I told him she was having pain in her left shoulder. While he examined her she kept saying, "I don't remember my shoulder bothering me." Directly following that he asked her other questions. How was her stomach? Any difficulty with bowel movements? Any skin lesions? Now why would you ask her and expect her to be a reliable historian when she has no recall of her shoulder bothering her.
He then went ahead with the standard mini-mental exam.
Q: Do you know what year we are in?
A: 2000 something (she had just written twice, 10 minutes earlier with my cuing).

Q: Where do you live?
A: Well, with her (pointing to me). Just temporarily.

Q: Do you know Judy's address?
A: Redwood City. (I said "Good job Mom!")
Q: Do You know the street?
A: No.
Q: Do you know the phone number?
A: No. Well I never call there. (A good point, who calls themselves. But I am 90% sure she also would not have been able to come up with my cell phone.)

Q: Do you know the name of the recently elected President?
A: It was the guy. (I again gave her credit for that. A very good cover of an answer.)

I also know she could not have provided the month or day or approximate time of day.

But she also played with Ki tonight as Ki directed her as the new employee in her make believe restaurant. She snuggled and tickled and chatted with Aj. She played along with Wheel of Fortune, and she still does pretty well. She played fetch with Java 350 times. (Okay, it just felt like it was that often.) She washed, dried and folded laundry. She was worried when she realized I have birthday upon us, that she had no gift. She did the dishes. She did the cross word puzzle from the Chronicle. She played solitaire with her cards.
I once worked with an amazing neuropsychologist and he told me that individuals with dementia who are kept in the same environment and routine can do amazingly well, because it is all so hard wired in.

This is what it is right now. I am not so sad at this moment. Just reporting. A couple weeks ago when I wrote about her I found myself in an abyss. I lost a whole day and ended up cancelling a bunch of clients and exhausted myself crying.
Part of the journey I guess.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Birthday Party for Aj

For the last 2 or 3 years I have not had a birthday party for Aj. It just felt too scarey. What if kids wouldn't come? What if Aj unhinged and became wacko guy at the party. What if the kids said unkind things about him? This year I told myself I had to do it.
Aj is at his best when playing a sport. He suggested bowling. Great! He even had a good idea. So I carefully hand selected a group of boys that seem to enjoy Aj. I also invited a boy that Ki is good friends with who has also played a bit with Aj. That way Ki would have a partner. A total of 10 kids came (mine included). Pops was an absolute champ and managed to hold down 2 bowling games going at the same time. To stand back and look, you'd never had known my guy had any issues. It was the most "typical" and uneventful party for a 10 year old boy. It was fabulous. Aj had a great time, as did his guests.
I am so pleased. No maybe I should have a playdate again for him.....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A good day

WORK:
Two new boys, both under three. Darling, beautiful boys. One a returning family I adore (I saw the older brother). The other a new family with a Mom I really like. I like all the Moms I work with. But some I would want to, you know, be Facebook friends with, or go out to coffee with. Another little guy also under 3. We did a facilitated play date with him and a "typical" peer and it went really well.
And one little guy has met all his goals and this was his last day. He is a very smart 4 year old. I printed out a certificate for him. He LOVES my laminator, so together we laminated it for him. It's always a bit sad parting ways with the kiddos when they reach their goals and discharge or end their GGRC time. Kind of like moving to a nearby town. You know they are close, but you also know you won't really see them anymore.

Diane Levinthal of Social Strides spoke this evening at SEPTAR. She spoke and showed a film about educating upper elementary kids about their peers who have social challenges. It was all so well done.
She is a great clinician-I highly recommend her for evaluating and treating social skills. www.socailstrides.com

This week I also had the chance to get to know a couple of Moms better. We shared tears and joy and hope and visions for the future.
This night as I prepare to crawl into bed, I feel grateful to have met and been involved with so many amazing women.
Peace to you all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Book Fair

This week is the book fair at school. Pops took the kids after he picked them up.
Aj too distracted to pick out a book.
Ki picked out one:

IRONMAN & HULK special edition comic

It even comes with a poster

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weekend on the Eve of 45

Spent the weekend at a condo on the beach in Pajaro Dunes with some of my bestest buddies who were celebrating my upcoming 45th birthday. All of us Mommies and all of us know what IEP stands for. A much needed break for all of us. Some brief reports of weekend events.

Friday: drive over, dinner out, grocery shopping and fire side time with SH.,
SH., SH., full of grace. She is grace embodied.

Sat morning greeted us with 80 degree heat in mid-November. Needless to say we had packed for the usual November beach weather of fog and cold.

After roasting on the sun beaten deck. SH. finally excused herself and commented, "I am going to go put on my bathing suit top now. You know, the one that looks shockingly like my bra." She returned with her "bathing suit top" on and was much cooler. Later she took the kitchen scissors and crafted a pair of shorts from her jeans.

Dear JE. continues in her Martha Stewart groove. She arrived with fudge made that morning and lemonade made from her own fresh lemons and simple syrup.

BE. arrived. But her bag did not. Evidently remained on the sidewalk at home. So no Advil or pajamas or toothbrush or clean underwear for her.

SA., thankfully, did arrive. She thought she might not as she spent the morning in the Urgent Care with one of her sons who had stuck a Tic Tac in his ear and needed to have it extracted. (Evidently, one is not supposed to stick the kids head in warm bath water and melt it out as I would've thought). Tic Tac Jack lives on.


We waited, but Patty never did arrive. I'd still like to meet her.

SH. and I each got 1 hour long massages. mmmmmmmmmmm. so nice

Wine was opened and shared by guests starting at 1;30. Later, me, the designated non-drinker out buying Champagne. Not the best situation as I don't drink and have no idea what to buy.

Wednesday and Saturday is a twice weekly schedule for some.

JE, and BE enjoyed the sunset then went skinny dipping in the pacific.

BE. found her ex boyfriend on Facebook.

SA told others, wrote on Facebook and still thought she was in Carmel. We informed her that she was in Watsonville, not Carmel However, since that is not nearly as great sounding as Carmel, we told her she should leave her Facebook entry as is.

Sh couldn't find the Advil on Sunday.

Cheese fondue for dinner.

Firelight warmth at night.

I proudly doned my Birthday Princess tiarra.

JE left at sunrise on Sun. We shared a moment in the orange glow before she headed for home and my head hit the pillow again. The view of the beach and estuary from the master bedroom is a joy for me. I sleep with all the blinds up so I can awaken at various times in the night and morning and take in the vast view.

Yummy egg scrambles for breakfast. Good coffee, too.

Time to read 2 magazines, finish a chapter in my book, listen to good music, sleep and walk on the beach.

Love ya gals, thanks for the love, laughter and peace.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Beautiful Boy


My big boy turned 10 yesterday. Here is at dinner with pops and Ki. Granny and I were on the other side of the table.

Aj had a soccer game at 8 am. While his team has never won a game-today while playing half back he scored his third goal of the season. Oh joy!

Pops and I shopped last week and found a great Warriors jersey for him, a CAL sweatshirt and a Warren Sapp Raiders jersey. Aj likes his jerseys and pro sports teams. Warren Sapp is retired now, but he is currently on Dancing with the Stars. Aj loves that show-so jersey was a big hit. The Warriors jersey included pretend tickets to a game. Pops and the kids and I will go to a game in the end of Dec. Aj is already planning which route to drive and what transportation options to consider. And the CAl sweatshirt-he loves CAL. We had Granny give him an alarm clock that looks like a pro football score board. Also 2 remote control cars.

For dinner we went to Sneakers. Aj got to watch the CAL and USC game on a TV at our individual table. He got to eat his bacon-cheese burger and cookies & cream milkshake.

I love that little boy.

My puppy is well



A pic of her when she was SO sick. She's herself now.

New vocabulary

jennyalice and squid both have tremendous vocabularies. But I taught jennyalice a new word. Squid, you'll have to let me know if I have bulked your vocabulary with this one.

FARTLEK: pronunciation: fartlick. I am not sure if that is how the Swedish pronounce it. But that's how we pronounce it. 'Cause it's a fun word to say.
definition: when Aj runs from repeatedly from one end of the house to the other. Or from one end of the cul-de-sac to the other.

For a more reliable source see copy of Wikipedia below.

Fartlek:
Fartlek, which means "speed play" in Swedish, is a form of conditioning which puts stress mainly on the aerobic energy system due to the continuous nature of the exercise. The difference between this type of training and continuous training is that the intensity or speed of the exercise varies, meaning that aerobic and anaerobic systems can be put under stress. Most fartlek sessions last a minimum of 45 minutes and can vary from aerobic walking to anaerobic sprinting. Fartlek training is generally associated with running, but can include almost any kind of exercise.

Hence, Aj is in excellent condition.

FYI:it is also not in the spell check for blogger

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sad about Mom

My Mom's dementia continues to worsen.
I think she may be lonely, bored and possibly depressed.
The following is a minimally edited flow of my disjointed thoughts.
My intelligent, captivating, humorous, Mom is faded. She is unknowingly annoying and trying. She works to be helpful to the family and still is able to do so by doing laundry and the dishes, with occasional mishaps. She makes the same inquiries every few minutes. I don't even try and converse with her. It is too difficult as she can't undertsand the point I am trying to make or has no ability to recall prior information into the conversation. The kids both enjoy and resent her presence. I am left to mediate between her often well intentioned comments and behavior and the rude and sometimes angry responses of my kids and husband. I am horribly ashamed to admit that I, too, am often short and rude with her. Something she never was with me.

I don't think anyone who reads this ever really knew the beauty of her.
Mom was a new near genius intellect. She never completed college and yet she was one of the most intelligent women I know. She worked as a budget analyst. Before retiring she was the Budget Analyst for the entire naval air station of Miramar in San Diego. No small feat. She was quick witted and thoughtful. She lived all over the country as well as in Japan and France. She loved to travel. Her support and her home were a haven for a few of my teen friends who lacked such warmth in their own homes. Until she moved up here a few years ago, she was still the house little kids wanted to go to play. She has a wonderful way with kids of all ages. Something I clearly inherited from her. She was independent an swore she never wanted to be a burden to anyone. She put me thru college and graduate school. She postponed retiring until 67 or 68 in order to do so. My Dad has never given me a penny. (With the exception of a nice sum of money to help with my wedding.) She can still do the New York Times crossword puzzle in a heartbeat. She use to knit beautiful, intricate sweaters for me. She loves her animals. She loves me and my kids and would go to the end of the earth for us. She taught me I could do anything I wanted to and I believed her. She gave me unending support and love. She was humble. Maybe too much so. She had friends who were educated, undeducated, gay, straight and a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Impressive really, for a women who is 83.

So I know it easy to look at her now and my crazy life and think I need to put her in a home. But now you may better understand how hard that is.

And how painful my own and my families frustration with her is. How guilty I feel.
Professionally and spiritually I know that in terms of being with her it is about enjoying the moment you are in. This feels hard when it I don't make the time to just be with her in her moment and space. I need to recognize that it will be the same comments it always is. Not to cringe at the repetition of her comments about how pretty the flowers are, the nice color that car is, or how unusual the clouds.

She was the Mom most women wished they had. I am who I am because of her.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The 44th Presidental Election from the kids view

At 3:00 I picked up Ki from school and she informed me that Marack (with an M) Obama had won. Evidently, her friend Ryan told her. So I knew the results long before the rest of ya.
My kids are enamored with President Elect Barack Obama. I am not sure how this came about exactly, but I love they way they lean and that they are paying attention.
Ki told Pops she likes Marack (see prior) because he has a cool name. "It has ROCK in it."
Aj wanted to know what the ballot said exactly.
"Does it say 'Go Barack' or 'Obama for a change'."
He worked to sort out that Barack was to become president.
"So George Bush retires and Barack Obama starts on New Years Day?"
He climbed into bed and sighed, "I love Barack".
I just remembered I have an Obama shirt that is too small for big ol' me. But I bet Aj would love to wear it!
This is an amazing and hopeful day in world history.

Java Dog

After having an IV for an additional full day, Java came home from the vet tonight. Pops brought her home and my anorexic puppy gingerly loped in wagging her tail and sniffing for food. She is on 3 medications-2 antibiotics and 1 anti-diarrheal. We'll never know what she ate. At $1,000.00 this was an investment-but we are all glad she is home. Pet lovers beware of the always eating retrievers!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Java update

Poor Java. She spent the day at the vet getting IV's and then Pops picked her up to bring her home for the night and then he takes her back to vet when it opens in the am. She has an IV line in her paw that she was chewing on. So, the poor dear came home with a funnel around her head (Queen Ann collar). Still no eating or drinking allowed. I can hear her gut churning and she has bouts of diarrhea. A very tired, sad and sick doggie. Love you Javie, be well.

My Puppy is sick



A picture of Java the dog playing with The Dog Whisperer, Bob. Bob LOVES the dogs. She looks like her happy, perky, goofy self here. But she is not well now.

Java dog was up with non-stop vomiting in the middle of the night. Pops drove her to the all night emergency vet. She has pancreatitis. Which means she ate something not meant for dogs and we are unsure what. This is not a surprise given she is the typical non-discriminatory eating lab. Pops brought her home for a few hours last night after she got meds for pain and nausea. This am back to the vet for IV fluids all day. Currently she is not critical, but she needs to respond well to fluids and have her body right itself or we could be in trouble. Such a sad and very sick dog this am. Pasted below is some info on pancreatitis in dogs.


Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas caused by leakage of active digestive enzymes into the pancreatic tissue. This causes various clinical signs but most pets affected by acute pancreatitis have abdominal pain, depression and decreased appetite or lack of appetite. Vomiting and diarrhea occur in many dogs with pancreatitis. In severe cases of pancreatitis there may be signs of shock or total collapse

Most dogs with pancreatitis benefit from fluid therapy designed to keep their electrolytes within normal ranges. Low potassium levels are a common problem in dogs with pancreatitis but high potassium levels can also occur and are more dangerous for the dog. Keeping a dog well hydrated makes him or her more comfortable and aids in the recovery from pancreatitis, as well.

Send warm and healthy wishes for Java.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween Fun







Me and Bea

Mali as butterfly

Lucy as a penguin

Aj as Iron Man

Ki as a red Power Ranger

Thanks for taking the pics jennyalice

Election Time

Last week the kids and I burst out of the car to run to school before the bell rang. Suddenly Aj jumped into someones front yard and began kicking a MCCAIN/PALIN sign and yelled, "I hate John McCain!". I quickly tried to squelch his aggressive protest. Evidently they have been discussing the election quite a bit at school. As well, Aj is obsessed with watching the news and is very current for a delayed 10 year old. Now I know he is a democrat.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

He's a good egg, a golden egg even

This week Pops is out of town on a trip to Canada where he is bird hunting with his father, brother and a friend.
Tonight was the SEPTAR support group, at my clinic. I can't leave my kids at home with Granny and no kids at the support group-yet it was at MY clinic. Earlier today I spoke with jennyalice and while I was preparing to ask her if she could take my darlings for a couple of hours tonight, she reminded me that she and squid were speaking tonight at a different school district. MMMMMM.

Jennyalice boldly offered to... "tell Decartes (her husband) that he is taking care of them tonight."
I offered, "How about if you ASK him."
So she did. But he is no dummy and pretty much knew this was a rhetorical question.
So the poor guy came home from work and while he had help getting Jake to bed, he then had my two, plus his own chatty 2 year old, Lucy, for the evening. Okay, so he also got cheap pizza for dinner.
I swore in my head that I would be back at 8:45. Yeah right.
10 pm I roll in. The only good thing was that I beat wife number one (jennyalice) home. My kids were happy, fed and cross eyed with fatigue on the couch.
Good ol' Decartes. He is a good egg.

SEPTAR Update

Tonight was the first support group of the year for SEPTAR. A WONDERFUL MFT, named Ilana, offered to facilitate these groups for the year, free of charge. So very generous of her. As the VP of Outreach and support, Mama Bea set up and organized the groups. The thing about these groups and meetings for SEPTAR is that we never know how may people are coming.
Tonight was great! The meeting was held at my new clinic, which was special for me to be able to share that space. There were 11 of us, counting Ilana. The meeting itself was great and I anticipate people will return and that the number of attendees will increase. A few people talked about how finding SEPTAR and knowing there was such a group with pre-scheduled presentations and support groups felt like a life line for them.
I felt so touched. One of the dreams and goals in my life of having a PTA and support group for special needs families has been realized.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Grade School Vocabulary

I dumped a shoe on the sofa and it bounced into Aj's crotch.

"Ouch! You hit me!"

"Sorry buddy, I didn't mean to!"

"You know Mom big kids don't say 'penis' they say 'balls and weenie'."

Laughing I could only mutter an "Oh!"

"And when you are in 5th grade you can say the 'C' word."

"Oh, and what (pray tell) is the 'C' word?"

"Crap."

Well, that is preferable to the other 'C' words that my dirty mind generated.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Skunk

Driving on Woodside RD 3 pm a low slung car comes from behind, swerves into the lane beside me and slowly passes. The windows are down, music is on. I turn in time to see the passenger:
~ takin' a drag on a very small cig
or
~ suckin' the butt of a doobie
or
~ finishing off the mary jane
and finally
~now holding his breathe and wildly eyeing the Jack In the Box drive thru

Suddenly Aj yells, "Yuck, it smells like a skunk."

I don't correct him.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saint Carlos Street Fair

Ki and I headed out last Sunday to the Saint Carlos Street Fair. Just she and I. She wasn't much for shopping at the artsy booths, which is fine as I didn't have excess cash to drop. Instead we enjoyed freshly made strawberry lemonade and a hot funnel cake. We headed over to the Radio Disneey booth. We waited in line with the other pre-adolescent girls to spin the wheel for a prize. Spaces on the wheel included:
green= High School musical poster
orange= High School musical stickers
red= Hannah Montana poster
blue= SF zoo tickets
purple= Radio Disneey shirt
white= your choice of the above

Ki spun white and chose...
tickets to the SF zoo.
She will watch the Disney Channel and also cartoons designed for much younger kids, but the typical pre-teen gaga just isn't her.
This is another way that she feels like such an old soul to me. At times (note, I say "at times") she can not be bothered with the more trivial things.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

October Sunday Morning

Clear, crisp, windy day
Pumpkins on the porch await autopsy
Kids at Sunday school,wanting to also go to mass
It's Donut Sunday

Me on the couch flanked by sleeping brown labs
Laptop with kiddy-sticky keys and mouse
KFOG acoustic warms my ears
Oat bran pancakes ala Pops

Refrigerator burps with contentment
A vat of fresh harvest soup
Vegetarian chili adds a kick

Need to make a shopping list
I will clean today
We will all clean the house
The paths and spots of empty on floors and counters are nearly extinct

Pops dressed and ready for church
Handsome in his pine colored Levi's and golden shirt
Tis Mommy is heading to the shower

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Is it just me

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the cleaning pad on a Swifffer Picker Uppper mop looks exactly like a maternity ward issue maxi pad? I'm thinking necessity was the mother of invention here and some gal tied a maxi pad on her worn out mop and she is now rich.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Am I awake or Dreaming?

I have always wanted another child, a trio. But Pops and I started late and piled up a number of high risk issues. So we decided against it. But I still think about it once in awhile.
The other night I was sleeping on my side. And I could feel it. I could feel a baby kicking. Strong, big kicks. How could I have not noticed that I was so very pregnant? The kicks continued and I slowly woke up more and more. It was then that I realized that the body cuddling my legs and hips was not that of my husband, but my dog, Java. She had wedged between the two of us and with her rear paws was chasing down a rabbit in her dreams, right on top of my belly.

Moving Out and Dinner Out

We did it!
Pops and I went out, at night, together, with no children. It has been about 5 months. The last time was the reading of Can I Sit With You, which was fun-but we were not alone. In the last year we have probably been out at night without kids
3 times, maybe 4.

It is difficult because of Granny. We can no longer leave the kids alone with her in the evenings for more than under an hour. Usually in situations where I prep dinner then head out and then Pops comes home from work 30 to 45 min later and serves dinner. The kids and Granny can be like gas and fire. (Okay it is not a lot different when I am one of the components.) I am afraid to leave any one else alone with all this madness as I might be charged with torturing another human being.

Allie was kind enough to take both kids Sat night. They had pizza, a movie, popcorn and rootbeer floats. We picked them up late Sat night. It was a good arranagement!
Pops and I had dinner at The Melting Pot in San MAteoo. A fondue place. We had a cheddar cheese and Lager fondue (bread and veggies)
Southwestern cobb salad
a white wine and herb fondue with chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, lobster & veggies served with 8 or 9 different dipping sauces
Dessert was a Flaming Turtle fondue of milk chocolate, caramel and nuts
served with brownie, rice krispie treat, cheesecake, banana, strawberry, pound cake, oreo covered marshmellows and graham cracker covered marshmellows.
The manageer also surprised us with 2 glasses of champagne with floating strawberries.

PS I think it is the 1st Wed of the month they have ladies night where a similar dinner is only $35.00!!!!

We ate and ate and were there from 6:30 to 9. We then went for a walk then drove and picked up kids. Great time!!

On Moving Out
Our commune has reorganized!
For anyone not in the know-we have a 3 bedroom house. Granny has a bedroom and a bedroom was my office (before I moved into my clinic space 3 weeks ago). So that left...Pops and I sharing our room with kids. It is a huge room, so fitting the 3 beds in was not a problem, but our home has been bursting with belongings and my work stuff. Not to mention the obvious privacy issue.
We bought a cool set of bunkbeds from my girlfriend and they have been sitting out on the back porch. As of Sunday night we now have Granny in the room that was the office, with just her things and not half of the kids things, too. The bunk beds are up in the other bedroom, the beds are made and the kids are asleep in them!! We still, amazingly have junk everywhere as we clear it out of one room into the living room and then sort some more. Very slowly we are thinning down and getting organized.
I'll miss feeling the presence of my little ones. But they do come cuddle every morning. Plus, we still have 2 dogs and a cat that will be part of the snoring symphony at our end of the house.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Player of the Game

Last Saturday. Aj had another tremendous soccer game.
The reason this is so great is that as a toddler GGRC wanted him to attend a program that worked on motor skills. In school he qualified for adaptive p.e. therapy until last year when he was discharged for no longer needing services. Motor skills were never awful, but they were never great. he was the kid that was usually one the bench for a part of each baseball, soccer and basketball game.
Until now.
He is Mr. Soccer. He is clearly a very good player. He plays half back like a champ and is a team bonus by being left footed. He can run nonstop like a marathoner. He is fearless and agressive. Last week he did all this and scored a goal!

For the 1st time ever Aj was awarded "Player of the Game" not because he was a ranting quirky kid, but because he actually deserved it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Twelve Years in Review

Pops and I have been married 12 years as of today.

This is for you Pops. A record of our time together. We can read this again and again in the future. Aj and Ki will be able to read this record and get the details and emotions of our time together.

We met 18 years ago. I had just moved to the Bay Area and coincidentally ended up with a physical therapist as a roommate. She took me to the holiday party of one of her co-workers. It was at Pops apartment and that was the night I met him. I remember being stunned by the beauty of his striking green eyes.
We dated for a long time. One summer we drove up and stayed at a friends home outside of Yosemite. The next day Pops and I climbed Half Dome. Pops had come up with an amazing plan. He would propose to me at the top of Half Dome. We made it to the top-but on the way up he talked himself out of it. We were staying at our girlfriend's house that night and it would be odd to share such a special time with a third person. To this day he swears it wasn't that he got cold feet. I still give him a hard time that it would have made the last half of the Half Dome near-death march a hell of a lot easier. He later proposed to me on my 32nd birthday, November 25th of 1995. He took me out to dinner to Bella Vista and when we returned to my place we lit a fire and he asked me to marry him. I said, "Yes. Now get in the car." I had him drive us down the street to Printers Inc book store where I bought 5 bridal magazines.

In August my father and his wife had a shower for us in San Diego. Three of our friends got together and surprised us with a puppy. We had talked of getting chocolate lab. Pops grew up with them and I am also a dog lover. The 10 week old chocolate lab with puppy-green eyes and razor sharp teeth was our favorite gift. She flew home in a carrier under my seat. At the moment she is asleep on the floor.

In September of 1996 we married.
We had our rehearsal dinner at Manka's in Pt Reyes. Manka's is an old hunting lodge and well known restaurant. The resident 120 pound yellow lab, Louie, greeted the guests. Pops spent the night in one of the cabins at Manka's. I spent the night at The Olema Inn and shared the room with one of my favorite girlfriends.
We were married in Nicassio, CA around noon. Nicassio has a little league field, a cowboy bar and a tiny church. An unpretentious church for an unpretentious couple. St Mary's Catholic Church was built in the early 1900's. Our 120 guests filled the church. I was late for the wedding. My girlfriend was driving and we got lost. When we got to the church my dress had some wardrobe malfunction issues. Outside, I stood on the steps while bridesmaids fluttered about trying to mend it. Inside, the multi-talented Priest played Pac a Bells Canon on the electric key board he'd brought. He played it again, and again and again. Pops finally sent out one of the groomsmen to see what was going on. We eventually made it in and all went well.

We had a reception with a late sit down lunch at the Olema Inn. The Olema Inn is an old place that at one time served as housing for military troops. Guests had a choice of pasta, chicken or salmon. The cake was from a local wacky baker and the flowers from a local wacky florist. Our first dance was to "Takes My Breath Away" as sung by Tuck and Patty on their 1988 album Tears of Joy.


Takes My Breath Away
(Claire Hamill)
© Ackee Music, Inc. (ASCAP)

Sometimes it amazes me, how strong the power of love can be, and sometimes you just take my breath away. You've watched my love grow like a child, sometimes gentle and sometimes wild, and sometimes you just take my breath away.

Chorus:
It's too good to slip by, it's too good to lose, too good to be there just to use. Gonna stand on a mountain top and tell the news, that you take my breath away.

Your beauty is there in all I see, and when I feel your eyes on me, ooh don't you know you just take my breath away. My life is yours, my heart will be, singing for you eternally, oh don't you know you just take my breath away.

Chorus


After the wedding we went back to the tiny log cabin at Manka's and . And after that we slept a sound sleep. We had planned to go to dinner at Manka's. Instead we ditched the reservation and went and hung out with our out of town guests who had rented out a really cool house in Pt Reyes. In the morning we had a breakfast for those who were still in town. More time to chat and a chance to open wedding gifts.
Later Sunday afternoon we packed the gifts into our friends van. It was then that we discovered the baskets from the church. They had held the wedding programs during the ceremony. Unfortunately, they were the collection baskets from the churhc, and mass had ended a few hours previously. There was no resident priest at St. Mary's, so we left the baskets with the bar tender at the bar next door.

Pops and I drove up to Mendicino for a 2 night stay at a bed and breakfast. We then returned home for 2 weeks before heading out to the Cook Islands for a 2 week honeymoon. We stayed on the islands of Aitutaki and Roratonga. We fell in love with kind nature of the Maori people. They exchanged the greeting "Kia orana" with warm eyes and cheerful faces. Pops and I talked of one day having a baby girl and naming her Kia in memory of the culture and people we fell in love with. Of course we were a bit worried that it sounded like a cheap car.

Before and after our wedding Pops and I were busy moving up the ladder in our careers. Pops became a manager over many clinics with Health South and I became a manger in the Rehab Department at Stanford Hospital.

In March of 1997 we purchased our first and current home for under half a million. It's value has now doubled. But so has the value of every other home around us.

A month later my mother informed me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, again. In her late 30's, when I was 2 or 3, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a radical mastectomy on her left side. This time she had known for a few months, but had not wanted worry me and had planned to go through the surgery alone. I, of course, flew down to be with her. That weekend it also became clear how significant my father's COPD was. I remember experiencing significant anxiety over how I could care for both of my aging parents. Mom had chosen to get a mastectomy versus a lumpectomy. Mom's surgery went well and she bounced back like the incredibly strong person she has always been. Test results from near by lymph nodes revealed no cancer.

Around that time we were overjoyed to find that were pregnant. Thanks to ovulation predictor tests, we are clear that we conceived on Holly St in South Lake Tahoe while we were up skiing. At about 8 weeks into the pregnancy Pops and I went for my first exam with our obstetrician. A couple weeks earlier on April fools I had tried to get Pops with the joke that I was pregnant with triplets. So when the doctor announced I was carrying twins, Pops had trouble initially believing it. My "advanced" age of 34 was the only reason. Evidently, I am very good at ovulating. For 10 weeks we marveled at the fact that we were having twins. What sex they were would be a surprise. No matter what sex they were, we would not dress them alike. Should we get one crib or two? At an ultrasound at 18 weeks we baffled and devastated to hear that one of our twins didn't look good. Another ultrasound a week later confirmed that "baby b", a girl, had multi-cystic kidneys and would not survive. It was recommended that I carry the pregnancy with both babies, knowing that the girl would not survive and hoping that the boy would. The fear was that Baby B would pass-on and throw me into premature delivery. It was the heaviest pain either Pops or I had ever experienced. I felt like a medical text case on bizarre pregnancies. Could this really be happening to us??

At 28 weeks I began contracting too much and too often and was told to go on bed rest. A couple tests at Stanford each week. A few more stints in the hospital with pre-term labor that, thankfully, never progressed beyond just that. With the aid of dear friends, Pops and I began to appreciate Baby B for the soul who was sent to be Baby A's guardian angel and soul mate. At 38 weeks of gestation I was induced and had a complicated, horrific, vaginal delivery. At approximately 8 pm on November
8th, 1998 it was with great joy and and great sorrow that the twins were born. Baby A, Aj, was delivered and promptly taken to the NICU. Baby B, whom we named Mary, was incredibly strong and lived through the delivery. I held her as Pops held me and she died on our arms. We never saw her eyes open. That was okay with me, I already felt like I knew her soul. She had a fairly full head of dark hair. Aj had a round golden head. A beautiful head gifted by angels. He was immediately put on a ventilator and IV antibiotics. Finally, Pops was able to take me in a wheelchair to see Aj. In an exhausted state like nothing I have ever known, I asked what his status was. The doctor told us it was "guarded". A week later we brought a now healthy Aj home and had funeral for baby Mary. Pops came up wit the name Mary. When I was born I was premature and weighed only 3 pounds 7 ounces. So 45 years ago, that was a pretty tiny baby. My Mom was fearful I would die and she wanted to hold off on naming me. They did decide to have me baptised. The Catholic nuns insisted on a name. And not surprisingly they bestowed me with Mary. Hence, Pops wanting that name. OF NOTE: You may have realized that I do not still carry that name. The reason being, according to my Mom, is that "Mary McCrary" sounded too much like an Irish lullaby. Instead she later named me Judith after St Jude, the saint of hopeless cases.
Through out all of that Pops and I felt so supported and loved by one another and so very much so by friends and family. Seven months later I returned to work at Stanford Hospital as a part-time employee.
When Aj was a baby we were able to have 4 generations in Pops family together. Grandma Christine (pops grandmother), Pops Mom Lena, Pops and baby Aj. An amazing spread of years. Grandma Christine was blind by then, a bit hearing impaired and probably had some dementia. But when she held that baby boy and fed him his bottle she was real clear on what was going on.

Maybe 18 months later we experienced a first trimester miscarriage. Pops and I weathered it well. A few months later I was pregnant again and we were thrilled. When Aj was 18 months old we travelled to Kauai, HA. I was a few months pregnant by then and felt great. One day on the beach I heard a family call their daughter over, "KIANNA!".

Sometime during the pregnancy with Ki, it became apparent that at 21 months of age, Aj was not developing typically. He had been monitored closely, but the motor milestones were behind and he had only a limited number of simple syllable productions and no words. He was evaluated by an SLP I vaguely knew and she insensitively confirmed by biggest fear. A significant delay. He was evaluated by and qualified for GGRC early intervention services. We were off and running.

At 22 weeks into my pregnancy, the amnio confirmed a healthy baby girl. A follow up ultrasound a few weeks later was significant for what they thought was a low weight baby. So once again I was brought in a few times a week for testing on the baby inside me. The fear and anxiety from the first pregnancy resurfaced and Pops and I worked hard to keep it at bay. My unmedicated depression felt very large at times, however, I was determined to not take antidepressants while pregnant. Pops and I were feeling cursed by all of these painful things that kept happening.

We entertained ourselves by trying to come up with a name. We seriously considered Gisella and Sabina (or Sabine. I remembered the little girl's name I had heard on the beach. Myself, my mother, my grandmother, my cousin and Pops grandmother all had "Anne" as a first or middle name. The combination of KIA from the Cook Island greeting and the family name of Anne seemed perfectly melded in Kianna. Not to mention that it was then that I dug out the guide book from our honeymoon and looked up "Kia Orana" and found that translated it meant "May you live well". Her middle name "Marie" was in memory of the baby who would have been her older sister. Our dear friend Sandrini was present for Ki's birth. I was induced at 41 weeks and just missed having Ki have the bday of 1.1.01. Instead she was born on 1.2.01 following an uncomplicated and relatively easy delivery. Pops, Sandrini and I were not surprised to see her head of dark hair, just like baby Mary. There is a definite soul connection there. Ki came home a healthy baby, and she was not low birth weight. All the extra worry and testing had been unnecessary.

Still need to do some editing for this, but I will post it now.
More later-goodnight. Love ya Pops. Happy Anniversary.
It has been quite journey.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Obama

Hey,

Want an Obama T-shirt? MoveOn's giving them out if you make a small donation to their young-voter registration program, aimed at registering half a million young voters in swing states. I just got mine, and wanted to share the opportunity with you.
Click this link to get your Obama T-shirt:
http://pol.moveon.org/newobamatshirts/index13.html?id=-8476834-zzDn2.x

Thanks!

My family of 8

Today a friend of mine had to drive to Sacramento and take a licensing exam, she needed her husband to go and be her "subject". With her other main buddies out of town, at weddings etc she had no one to take care of her 3 kids. I was happy to take them. Mateo is the closest thing to a friend that Alex has. Liza is in the 1st grade and Ki will sometimes tolerate being kind and play with her (though she prefers to play with Aj and Mateo, of course). Ange rounds out the bunch at 3 years of age. All three have light eyes, and 2 are blond. The girls looked like a progressive set of mini-Me's

I am an only child, Pops has one brother and NO cousins. I have a few cousins, but they never lived near by and many were quite a bit older. We only vacationed with cousins 3 times and never spent holidays together. Currently, my kids are quirky and my hubby pretty shy. So there are not a lot play dates for kids or families at our house. So a big family gatherings with lots of kids and families are somewhat of a novelty to me.

I told Alllie to bring her kiddos over in the am unfed. Pops and I cranked out an impressive pile of pancakes for the gang. They are lovely children and so very well behaved. There was TV and video games and outdoor games. Lots of guinea pig feeding, petting and adoring and lots of fetch and chase with Java. We dragged them along with us to our kids soccer games. Pops took the boys and I took the girls (including Granny). Back home for lunch of mac and cheese, pb and j, grilled cheese and left over spaghetti. A low cost cupboard cleaning event. More playing. Occasional outbursts from my kids.

At 2:20 I stuffed the five kids in the van and headed to the movies. Granny wanted to go "to help". I declined and I know she was a bit miffed, but she unknowingly often adds to or creates chaos. I told Pops I didn't need his help, he could work on something at home or go for a run. We filled half a theater row for the Igor movie. I doled out contra ban soda cans and licorice from home and divied up theater popcorn. The movie went great.

We were at the theater off of 101. As we were walking out I looked over to see three year old Ange kneeling on the edge of the fountain.
I called out from 20 feet away, "Ange, careful that's a bit dangerous, you might..."
SPLASH
It was then that the ticket buyers gasped as they saw Old Mother Hubbard loose one ass-over-tea-kettle into the fountain. I scooped out what resembled a shocked wet kitten and wrapped her up in my coat. She was unhurt but may now be reconsidering any plans for a future in synchronized swimming.
I gave Ange a bath in our big tub and dressed her in Ki's too-small pink Power Puff Girls underwear and a set of Stitch pajamas.

I've always wanted a big family and it has never come to be. It was fun. I had a nice day being Old Mother Hubbard.

Annual IEP

We had Aj's anual IEP yesterday. Spent about 1 1/2 there and there was:
nice things said about Aj
no tension
no recommendations to decrease services
no crying
no crappy written goals
no near-psychotic breaks on my part

The inclusion specialist really does his job well! He gets what we need to work on and writes goals accordingly. He is open to ideas. It seems like we are off to a great start.

Monday, September 15, 2008

This brought tears to my eyes

Today I received this evite for a client of mine. First I was touched to have both myself AND my somewhat wacky family included. Then I kept reading...

Your family is invited to help B. celebrate his third birthday with a roaring game of bowling. Please join us at 1:30 and then afterwards at our house for cake. No gifts please. If you feel compelled to do something to recognize Ben's big day, please make contributions to the Special Ed PTA of Redwood City in honor of Judy McCrary Koeppen, Ben's pal and speech therapist extraordinaire. (http://www.septar.org/Fundraising.html) Hope to see you there! xo

First Day in My New Space

It felt great. This space is me. It's colors, layout, kitchen table, coffee brewing, snacks for my buddies kids. It is a clinic space that is as close to the warmth of being in my home, without the chaos of home.
I used my "I'm a friend of Leelo's" mug that has a pic of Leelo and was designed by squid of www.squidalicious.com with proceeds going to autism research. I adore both squid and Leelo and I think Leelo will like the space, too.
Some of my buddies stopped by today, so nice to share it all with them and have them share in my joy. Jennyalice's 2 kids thought they'd died and gone to heaven. I even worked a bit and saw 2 clients!
I have a sign out sheet for a book loaning program in the waiting room so parents can borrow books/materials about ASD, apraxia, the picky eater, etc. If you've got any books to donate-let me know!
I'm going to have the SEPTAR evening support groups use this space also.
It is gonna be a great thing.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Clinic Paint job

I still stutter while typing or saying "clinic" as in "my clinic".
I don't think it is pretentious. But it feels that way.

Acapulco Aqua and purple moon are bright!!

Today Aj asked me...

"What does retard mean?"

New logo



Please don't tell me that you see breasts or other personal body parts!
Thanks to jennyalice for her help with this

Monday, September 08, 2008

The new law

Talking on the phone while in the car must now be a hands free event

While driving down Alameda, I blindly pawed through the outer pocket of my purse in search of my Blue Tooth.
I then desperately tried to wrestle it in and around my ear.
Not too quickly, I discovered that "blue" is the only thing in common between a blue lego and a Blue Tooth.

Colors

My clinic gets painted tomorrow!

Purple moon
Acapulco Aqua
Iced teal
Violet vista
Liberty
Vanilla view
Cotton white

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Friends

Java the dog sits in a dining room chair.
On her left, the window for gazing out onto the street.
In front of her, a crossword puzzle and pen laid out on the table.
Beside her, Granny in her own dining room chair.
Granny has her puzzle and pen and is avialable for frequent pets, random compliments and impromptu games of fetch.

FLASH

Where have I been? Not writing much lately. Thoughts and updates as they randomly stream out of my brain:
-I think the republicans could win. People seem enamored with Palin. Who needs that stress

-School started. So far so good.

-Aj has a male aide, teacher, inclusion specialist and principal. SLP remains his favorite and skilled young woman. Should present a very different dynamic.

-Aj played goalie for a qtr at his soccer game and was absolutely incredible. A good spot for a guy with SI and fair safety awareness. One gets to dive on the ground on top of a ball, and if your lucky you'll inadvertently knock someone over who will land on top of you. You get to stick your arms and head in swarms of kicking feet. But since you have a high pain tolerance and are not fearful, it is all good. How nice it was to hear acquaintances and friends cheering,"Alright Aj!"

-Ki continues to be my very beautiful girl who loves all things boy. I feel sad that she seems stuck.

-Clinic space is a go. I signed a lease. I chose paint.I get it this week and am planning to be "open" on Monday. yet I am unsure how that is all going to come about.

-My Dad and his wife will be nearby for an event and so are also visiting and staying in hotel nearby on Th and Fri in order to visit. Of course it is the same time I am trying to move into clinic and Aj is his volatile self, Ki is whiney. He and his wife, Atta, are both very fond of my Mom. They will be shocked to see how she has declined.

-I need more clients

-lots of things feel/are "pressing"

- tired-more emotionally then physically

Monday, August 18, 2008

Update

FYI: Fellow Hot Mama, MB. Still in the hosptial and now 31 weeks along!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Aj went flying

A friend told me about his great program Kids Take Flight-see it at
I signed up Aj and Ki and I got to go along on the flight in the 4 seater plane. We flew out of a small airport in San Jose.
I gave Alex the camera to take pics. We got one or two of the view. But mostly we got...AJ's self portraits.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Kitchen" Remodel

We have lived in this house for eleven years. Pops and I have been saying for a number of years -"We'll fix that when we remodel the kitchen." Our kitchen is outdated, the sinking of the tiled counter was an impetuous to seriously consider a remodel. That and the oven. The oven brand is "Roper". Oh you haven't heard of that brand? It's because it was made before you were born. It's functional and all, it heats to all the desired temperatures. Unfortunately, the variety of temperatures often occur at the same, creating a series of with-in oven micro climates and unprecedented baking results.

Pops had a patient who is a contractor. He came out and we talked about updating the kitchen and adding a space appox 6 X 10 to the kitchen area. This would be accomplished by building into a space between the kitchen and garage that is now an outdoor space.

Next Mr Contractor invited his colleague the Mr. Architect over to draw up some plans. He pointed out the numerous flow issues Pops and I have. Yep, lots of flow issues here. One can't flow in the front door and into the dining room area because the open front door occludes the space between living room and dining room. Can't flow from dining room to family room b/c it is a narrow passage. And no continuous flow in and out of the kitchen, as the refridge door opens and smacks into the counter. This precludes anyone from entering/exiting the kitchen if someone is in the fridge. And you can hardly get the drawers/shelves out of fridge to clean them.
So I am now obsessively annoyed by my flow issues. They are exacerbated by Granny who is stunned motionless when confronted by another mid-passage.

So I looked forward to the ideas Mr. Architect had about how to remodel the kitchen. Now I knew this would also involve the connected family room and possibly the adjacent dinning room. Last week I received an email and draft plans from him. Much of the email from him is below:

"I am attaching the first pass at designing your new kitchen. After great deliberation, I laid out a plan that addresses the wish list you gave me and also addresses circulation and livability issues that we discussed. First, you probably notice that the existing fireplace is gone. By moving the fireplace to the wall between the living room and bedroom 1, I was able to achieve several things. The depth of the new fireplace at that wall provides the same depth as the new closet in bedroom 1. The fireplace could be flanked by built in bookshelves. A new fireplace will be more energy efficient and could actually act as the heating unit for that part of the house. By reducing the depth of the existing closet at bedroom 1, it creates more space in the living room. I have also removed the boxed corner on the other side of the door in the living room. This will create a bigger living space in the living room and allow for circulation options depending on your furniture lay out. I think the ceiling in the living room should be left the way it is as a semi-vaulted space. Removing the existing fireplace also allowed for a central circulation space that helps to define one end of the new kitchen and creates a visual connection between the family room and the living room. Visually, this will create an axis the entire length of the house and out through two new French doors to the courtyard.

The new kitchen has been moved to the center of the house back to part of the original house where I suspect the original kitchen was located. The island between the kitchen and dining room is almost 10 feet long and will provide for ample seating on the dining room side. I envision the island to be two levels with the dining room side being higher to achieve a bit of a visual separation between the family room/dining room and the work side of the island. The kitchen layout is straight forward but should provide ample storage and work surfaces. Please note that a full height pantry is located between the built-in desk and the dining room.

By orienting the kitchen in this way, the addition to the house made more sense as utility space. In this case, the powder room and the laundry room are moved to an area that don't detract from active living spaces. I also like the proximity of the laundry room to the master bedroom and garage. Please note that by placing the powder room and laundry room in the breezeway area eliminated the need to raise the floor to match the floor height at the new dining room."


Okay WOW! This is not your average kitchen remodel. Pretty much the majority of the existing walls, floor, and rooms have been sucked up by a creative tornado and spit back down in the same footprint (plus the 6 X 10 ft space). All rooms in that half of the house are modified in some way. EXCEPT ONE. The one room that would remain untouched is the bathroom between the 2 bedrooms. If you haven't been to my house you have to appreciate the irony here. This bathroom still has the wooden toilet seat placed there by the previous owners. It has tile on the floor, around the tub and on every wall from floor to ceiling. You could pretty much put a drain in the center of the room and shower there. But the piece de resistance (sp?) is the lovely brown and orange star burst tiles randomly included for that nice artistic touch.

So the plans LOOK great. More later on whether we feel prepared to take that on financially. I have no idea what the cost could possibly be. This is our first question. Guesses? Advice?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The one day she really looked like a little girl


Picture day at preschool. Ki was 3. I bought and dressed her in a cute dress and white sandals. I washed and carefully brushed and blow dried her long hair. That was the last time for that. And that is okay. She is going to be one hell of a woman. Thought you might enjoyt the trip back in time.

My Girl and why there is no more long hair


Ki was born with an astounding amount of very dark hair, especially when considering that Pops and I are fair haired. It never fell out it just kept growing and the dark hair grew out and was replaced by blond hair. Making her look like a bad, upside down dye job.
By the age of 3 she had very long hair. The problem was she didn't want it brushed and would not tolerate any clip, barrette, pony tail etc. So it was impossible to keep tidy. She usually looked like white-trash girl.
So at 3 1/2 I had her hair wacked off in a bob, and it has been shorter ever since.

"Is that your son by the fountain?"

I heard a man say behind me.
"Yes, it is." I responded and then tensely waited for one of a variety of anticipated responses:
"he's drinking the fountain water", "he's throwing trash in the fountain", or perhaps, "he just spit into the fountain."
But it wasn't that, instead it was.
"I have the greatest picture of him from the Pet Parade Day. He was standing in the middle of the green doing the macarana. Can I email it to you?"

How heart warming it was to have a stranger recognize and capture his joyful, innocent dance. Aj dances for the joy it brings him, not for an audience. I am sorry I didn't see him myself. I hope I get the picture.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

logo




That's my new log. Or I think it is. It was time to change it as the other one didn't quite fit. It was an ancient symbol of wisdom. But only I knew that and jennyalice thought it looked like I'd be burning incense and talking about how your kids chakras were causing their communication deficits.
In the new logo I see 3 people in a circle of communication. In Pops mind he sees a Big Breasted Betty. Thoughts?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sometimes it's better not to share

This evening I think it is probably good I didn't disclose to the realtor why I was late in returning his call. The conversation I did not have, but could have, would've gone like this.
"Oh, Kris, I am sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I am home with my kids who were on their fourth hour of tv while Granny, who has Alzheimer's, was on her second glass of sherry. Aunt Dolly from Boisee called. I last spoke to her 10 years ago. She is married to Granny's brother who is in his late 80's and is much further along in his Alzheimer's. I guess he only eats purreed food now and doesn't recognize anybody or talk. Seems she called to find out how Granny was doing. and bla bla bla. Dolly had a lot to say. Anyway, I guess Uncle James (the youngest of the 4 siblings) was up visiting and he couldn't remember or keep straight any facts about how my Mom is. Seems his Alzheimer's is also progressing quickly. She asked if my Mom was still talking and moving around. I assured her she was, but that her memory was quite impaired. Dolly asked to speak to Mom. So I put her on, only to see Mom become quite confused by a blast of bla bla bla. Evidently Dolly was relaying to her about how cousin Bobby (James son who lives in Boisee) had been charged with child molestation and had violated his parole. When Uncle James came up to take Cousin Bobby back to CA, he was not able to do so because of this recent violation. She wasn't sure if he had just violated parole or committed a new offense. I reminded her that he did have a mental illnes diagnosis, not tht it made any of this okay. bla bla She was the only one Cousin Bobby could call ..... I took the phone back from Granny and I got the whole story. Then it just got loud at home as Granny and my son, who has special needs, started arguing in the background about the tv. Thank goodness for cordless, because I could still run to the living room and motion wildly for Granny to just leave the room occupied by my grouchy son. Of course he had a right to be grouchy as I guess he got into a fight at camp today. Then the 2 labs started barking to try and get Granny to take them out to play fetch. Dolly didn't seem to notice the rukus and just kept talking bla bla bla. I tried a warmly worded parting. But Dolly just continued. Granny put the dogs out front so it would be quiet. Java proceeded to wildly scratch the front door. In an effort to save the paint on the front door, I waved wildly at Granny to let the dogs back in. I tried again to wind up the conversation. After about 20 efforts to end the conversation, Aunt Dolly blessed me for taking care of my mother with Alzheimer's and 2 youngish kids. I was gonna tell her that one has special needs and that I work. But I thought that might be TMI for her. Anyway, when I got off the phone, Granny couldn't remember exactly who I was talking to or how they were related to her. The kids did get in the tub okay-but they didn't make it through with out the obligatory screaming fight. Anyway, so Kris, that is why I am late in returning your call. How are you? Now that you know all about me and my family, do you still want to rent to me?"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The big leap

I spoke to realtor again tonight. Pops and I have talked and crunched numbers and decided to go ahead with renting the office space I have been looking at. We have gone back and forth with the realtor and owner on price and carpet the pay for, carpet we pay for bla bla bla. And we are jsut about settled. Plan is I "commence" renting (which sounds like graduating to me) on Sept 1. I get free rent one week priorto that to allow me to move in. Works out perfect as I took off the last 2 weeks of Aug. I told kids today that I would be moving my office out of the house. "What do you think we should do with that empty room??" I asked them.
Ki said, "It can be my room!" (remember the 2 kids have been in our room for 2 years since Granny moved in and took the 3rd bedroom).
"What about Aj? CAn he share the room with you" I queried.
Ki, "Yeah, I guess?"
"How about we get some bunk beds?"
"YEAH! We can go to Ikeaa!"
"Well actually, I have soemone we are going to get them from."
"Doubletrouble?" asked Aj.
"Well no-the boys are still sleeping in those. But when Leslie and her family move we are going to buy Zen's bunkbeds."
Ki, "Are they cool?"
"Oh yeah!"
"Can I sleep on top?"

So later tonight I relayed to Pops that I had spoken to the realtor and confirmed our plans. I then relayed the conversation above. Poor Pops is experiencing Renters Remorse. He asked me, "Please tell me we are not renting that space just so you can get those bunk beds that are available in August."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Its a beautiful day in the neighborhood

I am having a great day!
PART ONE:
I looked at an office space this am with Pops. It is PERFECT for my business. Close by, close to a store, beautifully newly painted, will have new carpet. It is in a building that has priamrilly medical, so good fit. Waiting area, reception area, storage and 3 small offices for therapy. Location is GREAT. For the locals-Woodside at Alameda adjacent to Woodside Plaza. Okay-so the Lucky's nearby has a Starbucks in it.
It is a space I would like to grow into (by adding staff). But it will be a big financial commitment to take this on. Anyone out there interested, or know someone, who might want to sublease one of the small offices???

PART TWO:
I had my intitial treatment session with a 6 year old who I am seeing for feeding issues. He has a limited self-selected diet often characterized by preference of one particular brand for foods. ex he will eat chips, but they have to be Tostito's white corn chips.
Well today was my 1st session with this darling, anxious little guy.
I got him to eat a new food!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He ate some Pirate Cannon Balls (like a big round, white CHeeto). AND he he was excited to take his new "surprise food" home to share with his family. Is that not cool??!!
I am using the Food Chaining approach. This is an approach created by an SLP, OT and dietician. Most of all the SLP seems to be a fabulous Mom, which is priceless in terms of creative thinking. You can check out website of same name.

PART THREE:
Off to have dinner with the Hot Mama who is in the hospital on bedrest, as her twins have been trying to make an early escape. Good news is she is still holding on.

AJ having a rough time of it, but I will not let that interfer with the joy of this post.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Aj ism

"Aj you keep going to the bathroom. Do you feel okay?"

"My bottom keeps throwing up."

I need to get that definition of diarrhea into wikipedia.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

"Positive Shooting"

That is the title of the book Pops was reading at our local community pool run by an extreme right wing church (AKA Satan's pool by Squid). I am sure that got some looks. Especially when in combination with the Disneyland baseball hat he wore.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Zoo Zoo Zoo

Spent the weekend cleaning the house. I mean hours. We rearranged the dining room and family room furniture so we would have more room to replace our TV in. That's right, I told Pops he doesn't have to have a tv that only fits within the 32" space of the entertainment center. He is a happy guy. He has been drooling over the flat screens. But we couldn't justify replacing a working TV. OH ya baby.

So that meant cleaning out the side broad and the entertainment center, which lead to cleaning the counter which led to cleaning the explosive toy pile etc. Pops helped too. But my goodness. Junk everywhere. It looks only slightly better-but if you open those drawers involved, they do look better.

Went to the zoo today with the kids and Granny. We had a nice time.
Tomorrow kids and I drive up to Napa to stay with my dear friends, and Ki's God mother and her family. Kids are beside themselves with excitement. Aj has been studying maps and reviewing various route options. What a good time. I could take Granny and stay at a motel up there. But I just can't do it. It is too wacky. We have been leaving her home more and more. It just gets to be too much with the whole wacky gang. Especially in a less familiar environment. I feel guilty about that.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

ya, I want one of those


Now here is an invention that I need for my own personal use. This pic is from a Oaklandd A's night game. That, my fellow coffee drinking friends, is a man carrying a coffee keg (for lack of a better name). Yep, volumes of coffee strapped on his back in an insulated container. There is a hose that comes off it with a spout allowing him to serve up hot java right from his hip. While I am in awe of this tremendous invention, I am also a bit surprised that I didn't think of it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Kids first live musical production


For Pops birthday I gave him tickets for the four of us (he, the kids & I) to see the production Hairspray in SF. I rented the movie a month ago and the kids seemed to enjoy it. So today we went to the performance. We drove part way and then took BART into the city. A fine lunch at Burger Kingg, and then over to the Orpheum Theater. Aj particularly enjoyed it. He clapped and cheered after each song. He pointed out to Pops and I, "Those two are punks!" in reference to the character and her daughter who were unkind to fat Tracy and in favor of segregation. We bought the CD after the show. I was pleased with myself for exposing them to performing arts and that Aj seemed to enjoy it so.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hey a picture!


I figured out how to post a pic! Yeah!
Well check this one out-
There is nothing more touching than a man snuggling a baby. A close second has got to be a Daddy carrying his hurt boy on his back in the woods.

Wed June 18th still in Tahoe



Well Aj's splinted foot changes how we approach this vacation. We decide to drive over to Emerald Bay. So very beautiful. We go thru a couple park and view vista places. Then we park at Eagle Falls. Pops carries Aj on his back (piggy back) and Ki, Granny and I followed with lunch stuff. Turned out to be a great time. We hiked down (VERY short distance) to the edge of a waterfall and had lunch and hung out and took lots of pics. Aj was pretty happy sitting in the sun and throwing rocks and twigs into the water and watching them catch the current and disappear.
Reading, watching the lake, video games, a movie and dinner back at the house.

Tues June 17th

In the am Aj jumped off the half-way point from the stairs in the house here at Tahoe. Of course he was not wearing socks, because a few years ago he was running in our house in socks and slipped and fell and broke his arm. So he was safely barefoot. Now I had told him not to jump from this spot previously-turns out I was just spittin' in the wind.
So he says his foot hurts. Well I was half asleep and a bit pissed that he was bounding around like a tiger. Finally, Kurt looks at his foot and says he thinks AJ might have hurt one of the metatarsals (bones) in his foot. mmmmm
We decide to go ahead with our plans for the day and keep tabs on him over time. We all pile in the car and head off to the glorious Cabela's store some 40 minutes away.
Now most likely you may not know what Cabela's is. It is a store for "sportsmen" (and women). They carry everything related to hunting, fishing and the outdoors that you ever needed or dreamed of. And then some. But I am married to Pops who hunts and fishes and back packs. So going to see this recently opened mega-store was like a trip to Disneyland.
The store is an experience in itself. Huge collections of taxidermied animals from everywhere in the world (tiger, rhino, hippo etc), a room-sized fish tank and a large section in the store simply labelled "CAMO".
While there, Kurt had a Buffalo Burger for lunch and I had cheese curds (a throw back from my Wisconsin days).
On the way home we dug out the name and location of the hospital in Truckee. We thought we should get Aj's foot checked out. So we head in and it is dead quiet so Ki, Granny and I wait while Pops goes back with Aj. And results of the Xray show...drumroll....

A fracture to a metatarsal in the right foot, on the growth plate.
Pops was, unfortunately correct in his diagnosis. Aj still is in a little pain, but doing well. They splint his foot and give him crutches. Pops defers having them call to Physical Therapist to come and do crutch training, as he is a PT. The MD had deferred casting or putting on a walking boot at the time as he was concerned there might be swelling. The short if it-no weight bearing for 4 to 6 weeks.
The long of it:
I have a kid with ADHD and SID who is supposed to sit on his butt for a month. HAH

I have a kid with ADHD and PDD who is a wild-ass on crutches

I have a kid who can weight bear on his foot if he puts it on the ground, & he does

I have a broken-footed kid signed up for sports camps over the summer while I work, Uhoh

I have a kid who is not in pain. That is good. I keep putting his crutches 10 feet away from him so he can't get up. Then he says, "You always forget to put the crutches where I can reach them!"
"Yeah, I seem to have a tough time remembering that."

Lake Tahoe Arriving and Day 1

I am catching up on posts and dividing them out.
School finished Fri July 13. We went and saw Kung Fu Panda. Very cute. I wish I had seen it with Bea and the boys. She, too, laughs out loud and often in movies as I do. So she is fun to enjoy a movie with.

Sun June 15
Sunday at noonish we loaded kids and Granny in the car and headed to Lake Tahoe. My dear friend, Brook, very generously lent us her recently purchased home for a 5 night stay. What a gift this turned out to be. The home is directly on the water with a 30 second walk to the water itself. The home itself is as beautifully appointed inside as is it's location. The essence of peace and beauty inside and out.

Mon June 16
Monday morning we walk along the lake and are joined by a Golden Retriever named Chico. It is dog heaven here. Later we drive to do a 1/2 mile flat nature walk at state line. Incredible views of the entire lake. Lunch out and home to play in the water, for only 5 minutes as it is snow melt. Then TV, movies, games, walk and razor rides to a park, a nap, reading and left over pizza. Of course a few melt downs here and there, but all in all a great day.

Ki and me

Ki ended her 1st grade year and did well. She has come out of her shell a bit and will greet classmates when she sees them. She did the same last year. I hope there is not the same extended ramp up time next year. Summer for her is a number of camps. Most with Aj or one of the boys she enjoys playing with.

Kids and I attended a bday party last week. There were 3 other kids there. The one who was not family was the mother and son we knew. She and I are much more alike then the host family. The parents and grandparents of the bday boy are VERY conservative in their views and HYPER cautious. No running, bouncing, dirt or loud noises in any excess, if at all. Kids are home schooled and protected from the realities of the real world. As we sat around the table none of the kids were talking. So I engaged them in a conversation about pets. My friends son announces at the top of his voice,
"We use to have 2 rabbits, but one died. It kept humping the cat and the cat scratched it."
Audible gasps from the host parents and grandparents.
Then my darling Ki, not wanting to be out done chimes in,
"We went to my Grandpa's duck club and he shot a duck and he killed it in one shot!"
At this point I am fairly certain I am going to need to resuscitate the host family. But they are on there own as my friend and I are boiling over with laughter but trying not show it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Last Game of the Season

I've moaned about Aj and baseball (little league) before. Last Sat was his last game. Like the school play, he is always in the outfield and the first to be rotated out. But again, I seem to notice more than him.
His coaches have been tremendous with him. Three men and the team Mom. They work with him to calm him when he melts or explodes and talk to and treat him respectfully and expect the same of his team mates. An experience I could have never imagined could go so well.
But then there was Aj's regular striking out at bat. It broke my heart and I could tell, Pops too. Pops would practice with Aj and Ki on his day off. Pops was a good ball player himself, having played catcher on his UC Davis team in college.
Last Sat was Aj's last game. My boy was up 5 times and he hit that ball 5 times.
One of them was even a double! Now 2 of those hits resulted in the guy getting out at second, so technically it was 3 hits.
But I am not a technical score keeper.
My guy was 5 for 5 and got a double in his last game. I am so proud. And so is he. Pops might still say he was 3 for 5. But he would have that half-squint, watery-eyed look he gets only when he talks about tender moments for the ones he loves.

Concertaa

Aj has been on this medication for 1 week at 1/2 the recommended dose. His attention is pretty good. Better yet he is not so agitated. Don't get me wrong, he still has melt downs and ragers, but seems better in general now that he is off of Focalin. He has also had 3 sessions with an SLP at www.socialstrides.com She and I met ahead of time and planned to have these initial sessions really focus on anger and emotion management and understanding how his emotions/reactions effect others. He really seemed to carry info over from one session to the next and was able to integrate his own experiences. When she talked to him about brainstorming, he correctly drew, explained and used the model his classroom teacher had taught him about brainstorming for ideas when you were working on writing a paper!
So I think all of this has helped. Also, he is probably ready for a break from school. He is excited about summer camps.

Celebrate

Lots to report. But I will back track first and divide out entries.

AJ UPDATE
Aj's teacher had his class do a musical
Celebrate You and Me - Helping Kids Build Self-Esteem (Musical)
. It is a great 30 min musical designed to promote kids' self esteem. It also promoted acknowledging each others differences. Which of course I noted. Aj knew all the words and hand movements for the songs. She gave him a small, one line role. And he delivered it perfectly. At first all I could think of was how he was in the back and, of course, didn't have much of a role. But later I thought back about how great he did. No one but those "in the know" knew that he was the included kid. His teacher from last year and ki's teacher from this year both commented to me on how wonderful he did. And he did, and he had fun. I don't think he had higher expectations or wished for more spoken lines. That was my thing. To him and most everyone else, he was just one of the regular kids.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Day off

I had a day off today!
I spent time with Granny in the am and then was alone from 1 to 6!
In am took Granny to bank, farmers market and store. I picked up Aj's prescription of Concerta.
Then I went and had a pedicure. Purple- "deep amethyst" with white flowers on my big toes. Then I went and bought some new Clinique on a Nordstrom's gift card-and got the free gift! B-day gifts for friends at the Disney store. A skirt at Macy's on a gift card. Finally, iced vanilla latte and toffee bar from Starbucks, on a gift card. A very cheap shopping trip.
At 7ish Signora Blog joined me at home and we walked to Mom's Margarita party a couple blocks away. It was all Mom's from the school our kids go to. A fun time. Nice to hang out and catch up.
Pops and kids left this am to go to the annual Marsh Party. A bunch of duck hunters labs and such. There is a duck calling contest. I got the word that in the 6 to 11 year old age group Ki was one of the 5 or 6 finalists of 50 kids. Pops must be so proud. She took a duck call into school on Fri for sharing. I asked her how it went and she said, "they went wild!"
I'm off to sleep.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Fri am

I am "off" for most of Fri. Unfortunately I didn't make any plans in advance and was left with no social outlet. I am still feeling overcome. The thought of actually being productive and doing some of the millions of things I need to do left me frozen. Frozen for a 4 hour nap and now dawdling on the computer.

House feels heavy in my mind with all of the crap everywhere in and out.

Work is busier, which is good, but lots of evals this week to pull together and others to write up and plan further for: artic with autism, plain ol' artic, picky eater feeding eval, feeding eval write up, likely language processing diagnosis that needs further research and write up, beginning a PECS system, form creation, lamination and labelling of picture icons. Oh, and I need to bill so I can get paid. The good news is I like my work. Both the actual contact and the above.

Ki has Brownie ceremony today. I never put her patches on her vest. I can hardly sew on a button. And now I can't find her vest for the ceremony, even without the badges. So she will be vestless. Loss of mommy points, I feel bad.

Update on Aj.
Every am there is a fight about getting him dressed. Yelling every morning. I hate it.
Yesterday He had to miss recess for kicking a girl on purpose. I thought he might go crazy at school about losing that. But it worked out fine. He did some other stuff with his aide was okay.
TH am his class did a play-mostly songs. He did great singing and swaying with the songs and executed his 1 line perfectly. And he enjoyed it. I was still feeling particularly black at the time, but in hindsight. My quirky kid was right in there and great. You couldn't tell he was the "special one".
Th afternoon we had appt with developmental ped. I had Aj stay with me and we talked that Aj has difficulty with managing anger and emotions, but that lately it seemed to be daily and often very big issues. Also, I think he started biting his nails. Pops and I were ready to take Aj off of Focalin (med for ADHD). MD agreed that there was likely a correlation between the two.
While Daytrana had worked great (attention was good, no other mood issues) it ate the skin on his butt. So we are going to try Concerta. It lasts up to 12 hours. So a common side effect is that kids may have trouble falling asleep. I am going to turn it in to the pharmacy today. I am sure all of his yelling etc is not going away, but hopefully some of it will fade away with the absence of Focalin.
I am off to pick up Aj run to the store then back for Ki's Brownie ceremony then off the meet Bea and the boys at Maddux to play and eat pizza. Ki is very excited.

Granny wants to go pick up Aj to get out of house and I already feel tense. She has asked me 5 times "When do the kids get out of school?". She wants to go to the store because she is out of wine to drink. Having all 3 of them (or just Aj and her) can be such a nightmare. Off to check the garage for wine and sherry stock for Granny.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tonight I feel sad

In the last week or so and especially today I just can’t keep pushing it all away. It is there and big and in my face. Things are hard and sad here at home.

Aj has been so volatile lately. Pretty much daily episodes of screaming or raging. Some episodes worse then others, some days with a few.
Last week at basketball with Park and Rec he was distressed that his team lost and threw a bottle of gatoradie across the gym. When confronted by myself and someone from the gym to clean it up he just unhinged. Screaming, crying, trying to run away from me. I ended up wrestling with him on the gym floor while others looked on in shock. Fri night at a local church carnival the guy who was in charge of a jumpy-house thing told Aj to get out because he had jumped over a small wall. Aj went ballistic and ran screaming thru the fair and continued to yell as we walked him out tightly grasping his arm. It sounds like we have beaten him or are threatening to.

Now things are also happening at school. That use to be our safe zone-he was always the good kid that everyone enjoyed working with. He has pushed kids. Today he supposedly kicked a girl during soccer. He denies it was on purpose and is distressed because he said his aide doesn’t believe him. He was taken to the office and told no recess tomorrow. Pops said some kid said to him on the way out "Aj that was really mean". There is more to the story , but that is the gist.

He is a quirky guy. I was told that in third grade was when the other kids really notice. It is true.

Today I asked him what friend he would like to take to visit our friend Officer Bob. He said, "Ki."
I said, "Yeah, she'll go, but who did you want to bring?"
Aj, "No, I meant I'll bring Ki. She is my friend."

But really, it is because he has no friends. And now he really knows it. You see that is the definition of a "high level kid". It is a kid who can do lots of stuff but is aware that others don't want to play with them and that they are mocked and teased.

Most the time I am just pissy about Aj being so difficult to live with and how my Mom makes me crazy. Ki talked about how awful it was being here tonight with Granny, that she asks them the same silly questions over and over and she can't remember anything. Then she asked my why Granny can't remember anything. They have never asked that question. WE talk about that she has trouble remembering, but not why. Aj is obsessed lately with illness and death and so I chose not to talk to her about how Granny has dementia. It makes my heart scream out that this wonderful woman who is my mother is now a kooky old lady. That they will not truly know her witty, loving soul. Most of all I am sad for Aj because he needs all the love he can get and this is his only dotting grandparent and she is fading and he is only nine.

guilt, sadness, anger, self pity, over whelmed, despair, tears and snot