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ArmyWifeToddlerMom



Day to day diary of a 40 year old working mother. Recipes, ocassional attempts at humor, family photos.



Updated: 2017-11-28T23:54:28.204-06:00

 



Remembering Ramzi Doany 10 years later

2011-09-11T20:09:14.781-05:00

Years ago I originally had posted this, remembering Ramzi Doany. His sister and I exchanged e-mails that evening after she found my entry......I think of Doany's family today, and hope they are well and have some sort of peace. But I know the pain of losing such a cheerful, and loving spirit on September 11th, must make this day a painful one.My prayers continue to be with Doany's family...On The morning of of September 11th, Ramzi Doany, 35, arrived on the 100th floor of North Tower of The World Trade Center. Ramzi, worked for Marsh and Mclennon as an auditor. We know, Ramzi logged into his computer that morning, and had sent a couple of e-mails out announcing his return to his office after being away on business....We also know, he called his Mother , upon his return to his home in Bayonne, New Jersey the night before....What I have learned about Ramzi Doany, through the written accounts of his life, I have certainly enjoyed.Ramzi Doany, was born to Palestinian parents in Amman, Jordan. His Mother reports, him being a likeable and popular kid. When she would pick him up from school, he would be surrounded by a group of his peers, and he would be, telling them stories and making them laugh.His Sister told the following story in an interview with a Jordanian news publication.“As a child, Ramzi once dug a hole in our backyard for a terrible report card he had received and placed a headstone on top,”“When our parents asked for the report card, Ramzi explained to them that, “it was dead and buried!”Ramzi Doany , attended high school in a London boarding school before coming to Milwaukee as an international student at age 19. With the goal of a career in international business, and earned a bachelor's degree in accounting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1992. After working in a local accounting firm he moved on to a firm in Philadelphia. That firm was purchased by Marsh & McLennan, and Doany was assigned to their New York office.His family and friends also give several accounts of his kind and generous spirit.Ramzi, amassed friends. He amassed them with acts of kindness, like tutoring a woman with lupus, two children and no husband, to get her though college, or letting his college roommate and the roommate's wife live in his condo for two years so they could save money for a down payment on a home.His Sister says, her brother never had trouble making friends.“One conversation with our next door neighbors and Ramzi was instantly at ease,” she noted.Ramzi Doany, loved family events and would take her children to play golf and soccer. "He also loved to cook for us whenever he came for a visit,” his Sister added. "He loved cooking for family, and even took to cooking Thanksgiving turkeys and had great pride in preparation, (even if they were a bit dry)."Ramzi, also loved reading, and particularly enjoyed the works of Charles Dickens.In one interview with his Sister, she reports Ramzi, was an adventurist, and Ramzi had put a down payment on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.“It was to have been delivered in April or May of this year,” his sister said.Ramzi, was one of the persons killed in the attacks on September 11th.His body was never recovered.In a interview with a journalist, Ramzi's Mother stated....“He always kept in touch,” she said. “If a week went by without a call from him I would always worry, I'm going to miss that presence and energy”.Friends and family remembered Ramzi Doany in two separate services of Memorial.One at Milwaukee's St. George Melkite Catholic Church, and another at Al Fadi Anglican Church in Amman.Ramzi, May you rest in peace, and may your family find comfort in the sweet memories of you....A note to the Family. I am sure if you are looking for a tribute, or memory of your Son at some time, you might find this site. I truly wanted to honor your Son, and Brother. If there is information that is not correct, or inaccurate, please let me know, and I will change it. If you would like the photos removed, or would like to add photos, I will oblige. If there is any [...]



And she'll have fun fun fun till her Daddy takes her t-bird away

2011-06-16T00:18:57.658-05:00

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OK, my DH is gone. My biggest fear of going away was media attention, and I have no idea, but then it came true. Awesomeness...you can read about that HERE. I was also afraid of keeping my poor daughters heart from breaking. Impossible, her Dad is gone, she is carrying on, but it is hard. We all miss him so.

This was the year I was going to be gracious and calm, 2 traits I do not possess, I grew up in a "now house", a "words not minced house". Honestly the most gracious persons I knew are either dead, or church mentors. I have one go getter gracious person I know, and I have watched her for years wondering how on EARTH, she does that. I have been trying to no avail, this year I feel like what was my graciousness was my downfall at school, and now at the above event. However I want gracious children, so will continue with my pursuit. Those of you who have met me know this is not an innate skill. I have to blend my feist with grace? Is that possible?

My Mother in Law has now been living with us for a year. Right now I can say thank God and praise Jesus, I would not be managing a full time job, and the children without her massive assistance.

Henry has started ABA, and extinction type therapies....right at the transition of end of school, Dad gone, and home for summer....here is a blog entry from another blog and she nails it... we are currently in "the burst". It is horrid to watch him struggle for all of us.








And more

2011-06-05T23:37:36.354-05:00

Luau, every shot of the dancers did not turn out well, very entertaining.


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The family in front of the USS Battleship Missouri



Hiking Diamond Head, lots and lots of stairs. PN complained more than I did, which would be hard. SR, not a peep. He was trail leader.
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DH enjoying a drink poolside...very relaxing.
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I told you Diamond Head had a lot of stairs!
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a few months in pictures

2011-06-05T23:45:24.696-05:00

Luau, SR photographer. The children are finally old enough to take a picture, so it does not look like I am the personal photographer and do not exist.SR was fascinated by the submarine, submarine museum, and the nukesWe spent about 7 hours here, and could have spent the entire day.SR fresh off of the flight, a 12 hour long flight. He thought traveling to the place he always has dreamed of visiting was surreal. PN on her first plane trip she can actually remember. 12 hours, she faired well.[...]



Seriously thrilled the school year has almost concluded.

2011-05-19T22:52:09.852-05:00

OK I made a mistake this year, I left my son in a class, with a woman I should not have. She was clearly not trained to deal with him, having one child in 27 years with Asperger's in your class, does not make you an expert. There is a saying in the Autistic community, "you know one person with Autism, you only know that autism." Hence the reason they call it a spectrum disorder. When I take SR to therapy, there is the nonverbal, severely affected child that lies on the floor screaming, he twists, and turns, and it appears that his input is not managed by his brain. That child breaks my heart when I see him, and his family. There is the 19 year old, that is Aspergian, that is angry and violent, lives with his parents, and will never be employable, there is the child that has his DS, and that is all I know about him. He has black hair, never makes eye contact, and loves his DS. There is the child that is similar to SR, but needs to be out of classroom because he is hyperarrousable, and melts down 3 times per week, even with medication. So, I am unsure what this teacher thought she knew, but I can guess. I should have removed him. I did not because I thought eventually she would get him. She did not want to or try, despite the dx, the hours of building an IEP, the hours spent at school meetings with a team of at least a dozen people, heck I had even brought our Dr. I also thought, if she did not understand him, she would at least be charmed by him, frankly he is very popular with most other teachers and office staff, and when I see people outside of school, I hear how much progress he has made, and how they adore him. There was no charming this teacher. I did not get one positive report from her. Not one. The dx of dysgraphia was ignored this year, and this child WROTE WROTE, and WROTE, despite qualifying for speech to text software. He worked hard. She also did not differentiate his material, as they are legally obligated to do. He did the work, all of it. By himself, I had to cheer lead through hours and hours of homework, because frankly it takes him that long to process, narrow, etc especially the writing assignments. Some of his topics were turned down. ( I spoke with the vice principal about this, and she was unsure why). The stress of EXTRA homework was ridiculous. Most teachers I know call for 10 minutes of homework multiplied by the grade, which would equal 30 minutes of homework. There were nights we had 2-3 hours. When we left for Hawaii, the teacher handed us a damn packet the last day before we left, although they all knew we were going, and why. Guess what, the night before we leave I am handed a packet with worksheets (ridiculous busy work and not educational, 2 full book reports one on Sounder, and the other about a blind dog, a narrative about our vacation, and 7 sheets of repetitive cursive words. This took us 2 weeks to complete, after having him in school all day, working 2-3 hours a night. He did finish it, and when it was complete, I went and spoke to the VP about never wanting to deal with this particular teacher again, I have wasted my entire year negotiating with a woman who did not bend, or try. The VP was quick to show me her disappointment in this teacher, and said teacher was thrown under the bus. (as she should have been). However I have learned a lesson, because ya know I am a slow learner I guess. Never waste a year with one of these types of teachers. She had cornered him at the beginning of the year, and did not follow our behavior plans, she was simply mean on several occasions. You want to know something, I never ever said a mean word about any of this woman's shenanigans, and sent SR to her room encouraging him to respect her and listen to her. She did not do the same. In interesting news, she is the gifted classroom teacher, which means since PN has been IQ tested and performing well at school, this teacher would be PN's in 2 years. No thanks. [...]



What bothered me about labeling?

2011-04-04T23:01:28.765-05:00

A short post, I am beat. I had DH tell PN and SR the news about his upcoming deployment. He had some photos of his last trip, and DH used those to tell the story. The kids were zapped, so they seemed ok with the news. We will see how it processes.


Summer activities for gifted kids. There are none if you have a dx of Asperger's. Sure you can pay for camp, and send child, but if the child requires help, or steps out of line. WHAP you are DONE, your money is kept, and boom OVER. If I had extra $$$ to try it, I would, but I do not. I even offered to send an adult with him, to make sure all is well....No.

There is a space camp, but holy crap, it is 1 week days only and almost a $1000. Uh, yeah.

I made several calls to camps. I started feeling like that Peanut's cartoon where snoopy keeps getting thrown out of places. "NO ASPERGER'S ALLOWED". Ughh. If he can behave normally, he can come. I wish I could gaurentee he would not flip out when it got loud, bright noisy...it does not happen often any longer, but I cannot gaurentee it.(I do not understand how I am supposed to teach him normal without him existing in normall?) He qualifies for Easter Seals, they do not have anything for him, he also qualifies for "reading recovery" since he has an IEP. He does not need reading recovery. His woodcock johnson scores, rated him at age 18 for his reading level.

I tried to be charming, I offered to send Grandma with him. Seriously tried. Like any good Momma Bear I got angry, and decided to take a different route. In good news SR's science mentor will be helping me make it through summer, he is now on the AWTM payroll. I am considering having the mentor help train him for a childrens triathalon as well as cobtinue with his science studies.

I am going to try a combo of robotics camp (pray to God he can hold it together, or I loose $$), it is one week, and 2 fun outdoor camps (which we could loose our $$ again) It is what it is, I am trying to get him to learn what normal looks and acts like, and he needs to be around it, to understand people, expectations, etc.

PN wants cooking camp, I found 2.

The kids will both have swim lessons, and piano. I need to keep providing new and interesting things for them.

I was so frustrated about the lack of service and will try my darndest to supplement and provide what he needs. A daunting process considering he is already better at Chemistry and genetics.

I have lined up a private tour of a foundry, his math mentor has a farm, and I am hoping to send the children out one day to help with chores. Perhaps they will learn a lot of amazing things.

I am still trying to find businesses that will give the children a private tour, of things I really think might amaze them.

Hawaii IS AROUND the corner.



List oh crap to do

2011-03-30T21:31:46.698-05:00

plethora of thank yous to write and send.

swim shoes, or sandals for the kiddos.

start packing.

contact summer program again, I spent about 30 minutes on the phone trying to do this today. Trying to get SR approved to moved up to grade 6 activities for summer.

call refuse people and tell them, I have not mowed the lawn yet, so there was no way they could have picked up lawn refuse from me, I refuse to pay $114, for a service I did not do.

get new military ID

get a new big binder for SR's school stuff, it is huge.



Pretty bad when I have to reread things to figure out what has been going on..

2011-03-29T23:19:21.306-05:00

OK, let me see. My Father's fiancee continues to be in a rehab facility, both arms are out of casts, she is still doing PT for a large portion of her day, her left leg looks rough. I am sure it is an infection, but unsure of her medication regime etc...((It has been hard, but I decided when this happened, she has 4 children, she is not immediate family, and I would keep my mouth shut) This is this families business, so I backed out. I go to visit, and offer support. I do not need to be in the middle of this. My Father, whom has adult onset diabetes, 7 stents sitting in his chest cavity is with her most days and some nights, sleeping in her recliner in her room. (Been there done that with my own mother, and it wiped me out financially, emotionally etc) So I am worried about him, but this is his business as well, he is a big boy. DH has just returned from a month long trip to Afghanistan. The trip was to familiarize himself with the current conditions, mission etc. He will return soon for a year. The month was long, and lonely...and full of anxiety and insomnia. Which frankly is making me dread the year ahead of us. His homecoming has been nice, being missed is good. SR did better than PN . SR does not overthink people situations, it is what it is (the Aspergers works in my favor here). PN on the other hand has also been having insomnia, bad dreams, grinding her teeth, and has a nasty case of TMJ at age 7. Ughh...PN missed her Daddy something fierce, and just seemed out of sorts for the month. Unsure how I can help her cope better.DH's broken right radial head is healing slowly but surely. He REALLY missed the kids while away, this time is different for us, there is a relationship between him and both children...the last 2 times we did this...the kids were itty, no explanation required. I thought this was hard when they were teeny, this trumps that. I assure you. SR just got character student of the week in ART, yes the same teacher who really was confused by him last year. Things are looking up. PE , the one thing I really thought would be a problem area this year, due to games, scorekeeping, the noise, and nature of 3rd grade gym, is awesome. SR has 2 PE teachers, both good, but one has really connected with him, and they get along just fine. SR just maxed out his PE test for the year, and scored in the top 4 of of 150 in his sex and age group in cardio. Pretty amazing for a bookish child, who would rather read than run. I will credit DH with this, as the 2 of them rode over 200 miles last year on bikes. All accounts of SR in classroom are good. God is Good. His IEP is in place, he has a para to help him through the day gets sensory breaks, does not have to eat in the cafeteria. He studies in the afternoon with his mentors, one in science, and one in math. He loves algebra, struggled a but with geometry.PN is doing well, and enjoys her advanced reading and math group. She like school, and loves the social aspect of it, she continues to keep busy with her art, and is now reading Junie B. Jones books, and likes them. I am proud of er for keeping an eye out for SR at school. She also wants piano and art lessons. She is my organized and internally motivated child.I am good, working about 38 hours a week, and learning a lot. We just installed a TMS machine, and I am really hoping to see success with it. They are currently working with TMS, in older Aspergians, experimenting, trying to engage the parts of the brain that do not seem to be engaged. I am always excited to hear about new treatments and research for autism...it has been ignored for too long. I need to spring clean, get living room carpets cleaned, paint PN's room, and get motivated. I loathed winter...loathed it, hated it. We are headed to Hawaii soon, DH, the kids, and I. We are actually going to get a long break on the beach, sun on[...]



spring snow

2011-02-23T23:04:55.355-06:00

Since I last posted, my Father's fiancee has been moved to a rehabilitation facility. She is suffering now with rehab, and has grown a little depressed. Getting smashed up by a truck would do that. However my Father says she is progressing nicely. We have not been to see her since her move.

PN and I fell ill with influenza A, PN with both influenza A, and bronchitis. It was a horrid bout of coughing, running nose, horrid fevers, and body aches for both. DH decided to take advantage of the warmer temps and rode his bicycle to work, only to crash after hitting a spot of ice, and fractured the head of his right radius. He then spent at least 24 hours total trying to get an authorization for an ortho Dr., which tricare saw fit to wait about 5 days. Seriously a fractured arm is non urgent? Who knew? Gotta love government health care. Ick.

In other news, we had a family catch up session at SR psychologist last night after school, but before scouts. DH and I thought we needed to come together, evaluate progress, and come up with a new plan. He seems to be doing better at school, and adjusting to his diagnosis. School seems to be respecting him, and he them. I am unsure if he will be needing weekly therapy sessions at this time. The dr. would like to try a social skill group with SR and another child to see if they can learn some social rules etc. SR still continues to have a terrible time with perfectionism, and his competitive streak gets old. He seriously thinks he NEEDS to be the best at everything, and when he is not his world falls apart....oye.

PN is now preparing to get an IQ test as well, she is growing bored with school. Which is a shame. Hoping it helps. They moved her to a different math, and reading group, and I am hoping it helps.

We as a family are also planning a trip to Hawaii for April, we are celebrating 20 years of marriage, and DH and I thought it would be nice to have some serious family time before his departure to Afghanistan. We still have not told the children, and I still think it is too early. I need to give them enough time to process the information, but not enough to over think it. Too much notification of a deployment is almost worse than than none in my personal experience. Hawaii will be nice, we need some beach time, and fun time.



Can we just do 2010 over?

2011-02-10T22:22:55.223-06:00

Let me see, where to begin?

My Father's fiance was involved in an auto accident. Her jeep was hit my a semi carrying rebar. You can see photo here. The rebar broke through the straps, her car was totaled, her legs smashed, broken to pieces, knees included. Both of her arms are broken, her collar bone broken. She was lucid enough to call my father from the accident, and he went down and helped 911 remove her from the car, you can see him in a red coat in the photo. When the airbag deployed, and she saw the smoke from it, she thought the car was going to start on fire (she watched her husband burn to death in a welding accident 16 years ago. ) She has been through about 18 hours of surgeries in 2 weeks....amazingly she is alive, and without head trauma.

Still not good, the pain meds are helping her make it through without screaming, but she is talking out of her head, and has no appetite, has lost a great deal of blood, and is weak as a kitten.
My Dad is exhausted, he is going back and forth from Omaha to home, and staying with her often, he is worried. We are all worried. They have been dating for about 5 years now, and even wear engagement rings, wanting to get married. Very sad for me to see 2 loving people who have found one another have to go through so much. My father has been helping care for her, put on her makeup, and put lotion on her, trying to feed her and keep her spirits up.

No other important news at this time......trying to visit them when time allows, and running a home, and praying



Where the Wild things are?

2011-01-23T13:16:31.169-06:00

They are here roosting.

This week was another exciting week @ Casa De dust.

I managed to work during my last Dr. appointment times, so I had to reschedule. Ughh...no small feat since i work when they work. I managed to get before work, and after work appointments. this week dentist, gynocological surgeon, and plastic surgeon (no boob job, a out of control mole that is making its way into my children's artwork).

Must make appointment for PN to go in for a weird skin thing this week.

Both children were ill this week with small head colds, but managed to truck through with little in the way of complaining.

SR has therapy every week, and he made it for that, even with our health insurance those visits to the Pyschologist are $51.00 per visit, and that price was not the same during the plethera of testing, and family appointments during the time he was being tested for Asperger's. So far our share has been more thatn I had ever anticipated. I only hope it is money well spent. We continue to like our therapists, and school seems to be going well.

SR also managed to win third place out of 63 pinewood derby cars at Scouts. Pretty good, and he was pleased and a good sport, and encouraging to those around him. This was huge.

PN "the artist", is currently working on drawing potraits of all of the Presidents, this is keeping her busy, and she is already a much better artist than I. She is also learning how to crochet, and is currently wrapped up in an Afghan in front of the fireplace crocheting. I took her to a coworker's spouses art show this week, and she loved it, she was intrigued with the possibility of having her own show. I must find some art classes for her.

OK the deployment is pending and not happening for months, this does not mean we are not busy trying to get paperwork, tasks, and honeydos done. The list seems to get longer instead of shorter. It will be for approx a year. This is doable for me, but now I am dealing with different aged children, and I am unsure how they will handle a separation from Dad. They do not know yet, and do not need too, there would be far too much time to contend with the emotions re: a separation. This news will wait until I think they can deal, heck until we can ALL deal.

I managed to get my car in the shop yesterday, after a collision that took place with an unlicensed uninsured driver who got out of his car, screamed at me, called me every name in the book, and then took off. He had no brake lights, or back window and I ran into him, with both kids in the car. It was scary, but I kept calm, and the kids kept calm, no one get hurt, and the damage to the car was nominal, the car wrecked pretty nice.

Girl Scout cookie orders have been turned in thank GOD. I am done selling popcorn and cookies for a while....fried out on keeping track of such things. "Where is the bag with the order paperwork?" "I don't know"...etc. It is maddening. The fact the we had to see cookies during blizzard conditions was no help. ICK. We are done for at least 7 months with selling things.

I am still trying to knock things out on my list, it is quite a process. I have come to a small stand still, but am going to muck through. Next project is cleaning my room. Otherwise I am grounded. How a grown woman manages to have a messy room is beyond me. I need to get a few things organized.



I am really ok

2011-01-16T21:23:58.052-06:00

Things are going well here, and was reminded of this today at church.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (King James Version)

Ecclesiastes 3

1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.


I am remembering this today for several reasons.

A couple of weeks ago we attended a wedding service for friends back in Arkansas, it was a beautiful wedding for a beautiful couple. The following day we went to church service at our church we miss so much.

I have mentioned several times here, how much we miss that Pastor, and that giving church family. I was reminded what God does with people. I will continue to listen, and remeber to take advantage of all circumstances even the uncomfortable ones.






This week several things accomplished

2011-01-14T21:37:28.495-06:00

Dr. appointment with referral to plastic surgeon for a mole that is growing out of control on my eye. Referral to a surgical gyno for female problems that plague me. Dental appointment made with a whitening tx.

Plumber fixed a litany of problems, $289.00 worth.

Electrician came and repaired a light.

My husband will be in Afghanistan at some point in the near future. Exotic locale. My heart is sad.



And 2011 begins

2011-01-14T21:34:03.024-06:00

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We survived 7 family birthdays, and 3 major holidays, a wedding out of state, 3 minor illness, 4 therapy sessions, 3 birthday parties (including a at home just dance "80's" party for my daughter), a minor car accident, a home refinance, school, and work, and a death in the family since I was here last.

My anxiety has gotten better even with all of that. I will blame the holidays, and wanting everything perfect. When will I learn? The holidays went swimmingly, the food and company were loverly, and I adore being able to spend them with all of my family. It is nice to have a sweet baby around, and a close in age niece for PN to play with. It is also nice to have family here to visit, as I think I am able to relax knowing SR is on home turf, can escape or not when overwhelmed. He typically does not escape when family is here, he enjoys them.

I still have to have a celebration here for all of the January birthdays, as we were away in Little Rock (our former home to attend a beautiful wedding for friends). A birthday party is in the makes!

School seems to be going well for both children. PN is as smart as a whip, and doing well, there are no complaints, she is eager to do homework, and enjoys school. I recieved an email from the leader of the IEP team for SR the other day saying all is well, and they think there are big improvements. Praise God.

Goals for 2011 will be discussed here in brief, because I need to be accountable.

Do something to organize, or complete a project every single day.
-yesterday I organized all of my gift bags and paper for all seasons into totes.
-today I made health appointments for myself.

Loose weight already woman.
-funny thing about being thin for so many years, it makes you dysmorphic, so I think I look ok, until I saw photos of myself from the wedding I went to, I look pregnant. Although I adore my yoga there is no time currently, nor will there be any in the near future. I think I will start by doing Just dance on the Wii with PN everyday for 30 minutes and see how it goes. (that way I can play with her and excercise. It is too damn cold to walk right now, and a membership to any gym is not in my cards.

Get rid of some debt.
-I am paranoid about the collapse of the economy, and am really trying to get rid of small debts I have. There is not much, so this should be easy if my appliances stop hating me.

Get some much needed decorating of the house done.
-includes repainting the main bath, thought I would like the color and I do not.
-paint PN's room, and redecorate for her, she informed me Disney princesses are sooo child like. (ordered new bedding she picked tonight) She wants the kelly green paint too, which makes me nervous.
-paint Master bath, and ceiling.
-need curtains.

Complete several home projects, and fix its.
-garage door repaired
-master toilet driving me bonkers
-basement storage room complete
-need a lot of shelving for books
-have living room carpets cleaned
-make sure SR gets some sort of work space

Organize photos into boxes.






So what can I do?

2010-11-26T06:54:46.627-06:00

just keep swimming, just keep swimming....I will manage wonderfully I am sure.The anxiety, occurred to me about 1 1/2 weeks ago. The part that flummuxes me "I have been in far more stressful situations than this, what gives?" I am still unsure. I have been reading my Beth Moore Out of The Pit, book.Still flummuxed. At least my eye is not twitchy, normally if I flip out I have an eye twitch. Tomorrow will help, nothing beats kitchen therapy. I have my 4 pies made, 2 pumpkin, 2 custard. I have my relishes ready to go. OK it is morning, my turkeys are in, the 25 pounder is in my roaster, the 14.5 pound is in the oven. Giblets, and necks are on the stovetop with broth, chopped onion, garlic, parsley, celery and butter. I only need to peel sweet potatoes, and russets. The dog just ate my basting brush....The big thing I have left is cleaning paw prints off of the carpet from when the dog came running in the house last night....see a trend? I am hoping Thanksgiving does not end in the dog consuming one of the entire turkeys ala Christmas Story. I doubt if my Dad would like Chinese food today.Yesterday we spent the holiday with DH's family, lots of people around 30, most of which SR does not spend a lot of time with....he was not thrilled for 2 hours, and then settled down. thank God, for the first 2 hours, he spent his time trying to create order, in what he felt was chaotic....trying to write rules for tag, trying to figure out why all of the noise etc. I went and ate with him in the basement, and he seemed fine. He joined the rest of us later. I will be fine, no need to circle the nervous hospital vans, and a little white jacket with snazzy sleeves, at least yet. I am so Thankful for my job, you have no idea, they are understanding, and the time I have missed because of Pyschologist appointments, IEPS, Hawaii has virtually been ignored. I worked as a nurse for years, which meant I worked almost every single holiday for almost 15 years, and sure you got time and a half, but I recall longing for my family. It is nice working 9-to mostly 3 to 5, leaving my job at work, and having every single weekend off, holidays, etc. I am also thankful for my MIL being in my home, and having someone here who adores my little family. When I am able to work extra hours, have to go to a meeting, she is able to haul, and organize the collective. I will also mention I have not had to do laundry for about 9 months...that RULES. I am thankful my Father, and his girlfriend have seemed to turn the corner as far as there health concerns, and I have not had to visit anyone in a hospital for almost 4 months? I am thankful to have wonderful, and understanding friends, who have tolerated me, during one of my most "this is all consuming and not fair" mood of the year. I hate that I feel both of those ways, but I have felt that way....and I know let go and let God, I also know life is not fair. So I know better, and they tolerated my crying and gnashing over the phone, and they have extended a hand and pulled me to my feet gently, never once saying "hey lady, things could be worse, grow up, get your eggs in a basket and carry on"....I am thankful my Husband got a promotion, seems fulfilled at work, and has been helping with the Collective, all of SR concerns, and plugged in. He seems happier, and at peace, I have not seen him so content in a long time. I am going to finish cooking this morning, and meditate on these things, we are blessed.Hebrews 12:28Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:[...]



Anxiety is not my friend...

2010-11-24T23:09:23.064-06:00

In not so good news I am in perimenapause, it is the slowest, most ickiest train ride ever...thank you.

In other news, I am now noting I am having a lot of anxiety that is affecting my mood, and my normal reaction to joyful events, my joy is short lived, my energy is down. I will take responsibility for it.

I am not taking tremendous care of myself, I have not done yoga in AGES. Which is what was helping me keep centered, and giving me time out of my head.

There is a lot going on around here, much of which I cannot write about at the current time, but will share when I can. What is going on around me is making me anxious.

I am spending tremendous energy trying to look cool as a cucumber, when I actually want to run screaming.....not that it would help. My goal for the day is to remain calm, keep it even, have appropropriate conversations, and respond appropriately when spoken to. Really that is my goal, make it through the day appearing too be normal.

I have had anxiety issues before, mostly situational, high stress situations, which frankly if they did not cause anxiety, you would think I was made of stone....

So I am here to recognize it, I need out of my head.

the explanation will come soon, and it will be understood...but for now pray for peace of mind please



I am home, playing catch up

2010-11-14T00:33:09.849-06:00

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Here are a couple of photos from the SpouseBuzz Live event. I am so lucky to be part of SpouseBuzz, and blessed to have these strong and resilient women in my corner.

I must add here, that at the last SpouseBuzz in Idaho, I found out one of the other SpouseBuzz authors was in the process of getting her son tested for an Autistic spectrum disorder as well. I am impressed with how she is moving forward, and trusting her Mom instincts, and I am glad to have her as company in this journey.

I am also glad to have a nice group of strong women to listen to, and who listen to me. They are my friends, and I admire each of them. Let me also mention I laughed and laughed for my entire trip. (Except for the flights). I laughed so much I had to know where the bathroom was every single place I went. (Hate turning 40, and yes I do my excercises).

We spent a lot of time on the beach with the sun on our skin, and sand under our toes. I needed this, for many reasons. I am rested and ready to move forward.



unplugged

2010-11-05T23:18:42.825-05:00

Headed to Hawaii for SpouseBuzz Live event. Unplugged for a few days.

Going to sit in the sand, and pray.

Have some reading to do, and movies to watch....going to care for myself for a few days.

PN unhappy about my departure and cried tonight....she is better now, I explained most of my trip would be spent in airports. She wants to come with. Who can blame her?

IEP meeting one took place, as well as the rest of our feedback session.



Halloween made me cry

2010-11-01T07:09:32.517-05:00

SR now knows he has Asperger's, he does not know all of the details, who does? There is such a variance on the spectrum. We had our feedback session at the psychologist the other day, and he asked to go, I called the Dr. making sure it was ok. So DH and I did not get our entire feedback session, re: all of the testing yet. SR had a lot of questions, was fidgety, and did not like the word autistic. After the session was done he told me he felt "lighter". Mission accomplished.

SR has been doing so well, that Halloween seemed like it should be ok. He chose to go as sodium chloride, PN went as a hula girl. We have a great neighborhood for trick or treating, so I decided to have company. We had 11 folks here. He avoided the crowd, and idle chitter chatter for the most part. Too much blah, blah, not enough discussion about chemistry, or biology. Too much talking, too many people. Too many social expectations that do not make sense to his wiring.

He ended up in sensory overload, needing to touch people, and smash into them, being too excited at one point when the kids were playing in the basement. He pushed his Sister when out trick or treating.

So why was I such a wuss? He has not done this in a while, I felt bad for putting him in an awkward position. Seeing a "normal" 8 year old, in the same house. It put me in some weird state of blinking orange light overload. After the lights went down, and the house got quiet, I had a moment. DH and MIL trying to comfort me over "at least he knew when to go to your bedroom and be alone and watch cartoons etc.....". I am an extrovert, as is DH and PN. Even SR is extroverted, and enjoys people, so it makes holiday time a curse of sorts. As much as he adores people, he really cannot stand the chaos of company for very long. Which means the Holidays are just hard. I cried because there are moments this syndrome seems sooo unfair, like the most cruel thing to place on a child. It makes me angry.

I have tried to explain to many people over the years, the anxiety of having a child like this. It is like being in a tornado watch all of the time. My Motherhood light blinks all of the time. Most of the time it blinks yellow, but when it blinks orange or yellow for excessive amounts of time......not fun. With PN, my light does not blink all day, it rarely turns yellow. SR's Mom light is on all of the time, going from 70% yellow, 10% red, and 20% orange. The orange, and red places are not fun.



Feedback session...

2010-10-27T22:50:05.213-05:00

Tomorrow we have our feedback session at the psychologist. SR has said he would like to attend, he has a lot of questions for her. I will bring him. DH, SR and I, on a trip that is sure to echo in my mind for the rest of my days. The fall has been glorious here, leaves gorgeous. PERFECT. Last weekend my Sister was here, we packed the collective, MIL, my Sissy up and we drove to a local large park and hiked, and enjoyed the sun on our faces, and the leaves. We spent 3 hours walking . A wonderful day. I do wish we would have spent 8 out there though, because today....BRRRR. The wind is vicious, and biting. Farmer's almanac says BEWARE rough winter. This means 6 months on some sort of lock down. This is a shame as DH and SR have been going on very long bike rides. DH riding his bike to work and back, which is 26 miles a day. This has been a good time for him to excercise and center himself. When he gets home, he and SR go on 3-9.5 mile rides. SR is strong, and is loving the alone "guy time", and the freedom that comes with riding a bike. He can choose his path, and it is quiet, he is out of doors which he loves. The biking has been a cool life saver for DH and SR, and has given them a very healthy outlet. With winter coming, they are going to get our YMCA membership back, and start swimming. I have been talking to SR about a possible kids triathalon this year. He thinks it sounds cool. Now that his physical skills are finally at his age, and he frustrates less, the vestibular issues better I need to find things that will challenge him. How we will long for the sun. Time to purchase snow bibs, and boots. I have waited just in case feet grow. I also think flannel sheets are in order, and fuzzy jammies. I loathe the winter.PN is wonderful, all reports from school went well, she is reading, writing, spelling, and getting along with ALL students. ART is her passion. I am not artsy, or craftsy so this has been a challenge. MIL is artistic and crafty, thank goodness. PN has been decorating the entire house for our HAlloween party this week. She has made centerpieces, gifts for guests, she made a bunny out of a pumpkin. The girl wakes for art, and sleeps art. I am glad she creative, and loves what keeps her little hands busy. She has a great eye for color and detail, something I do not have. I have had a couple of comments lately, I went ahead and published them, but doubt if I will do so in the future. Knowing a person that happens to have children that are not mine, do not make you an expert. I have mulled every possible option in the last 5 years. Seriously, I have. We even changed our physical address after much research. Our mission now, is to try to help SR understand how he works, how is sympathetic and parasympathic systems are responding and how to get though it. This is not the same child I dealt with 3 years ago, he is figuring it out. He has been making great progress, especially for a child . He managed fine through kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades. He has had mentors since his arrival here @ this school, his IQ tests allowed for that. The problems now is frankly SR's asynchratic developement is REALLY showing up this year. His teachers in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd loved him, and he was little in the way of "teaching", because he had all of those skills. 3rd grade is a challenging year for a lot of these kiddos. 8 is not an uncommon age for a diagnosis. Anyway, suggestions I do not mind. Calling me CRUEL, that is mean, trollish, and not productive. Those [...]



It is official, and no surprise

2010-10-24T23:09:34.056-05:00

SR received his official diagnosis Friday. The moment is frozen in my mind, even if it was no surprise to my Husband or I. It is done.First off how much does the family loves SR's psychologist? We adore her, and I have been thanking God for her for weeks. Funny how God puts you on a path that is winding and confusing, and places such people in your path. She is a blessing. She has made none of this as scary or as painful as I thought it would be. She has made it what it is, and we will try and help SR navigate his way.Our team met at school, as we always do, with a cooperative spirit. A lot of DH pep talking me, telling me to breath and smile, because I am tired. DH is diplomatic, and quite frankly my fire and his diplomacy makes us a great team. I do not cut loose at these meetings, or accuse people of anything. SR is hard, he does require EXTRA help SOME of the time. I know teachers are strapped for time, I understand all of this. DH are on PTO, so we can advocate for OUR teachers, and OUR children.The meeting was large, lots of staff present, his science and math mentors, OT, ST, councilors, and anyone in the school we allowed to test him. In good news, our Dr. reported his expressive, and receptive vocabulary were in 99.9%. His fine motor within normal high for age, and is gross motor! This was a surprise to me, and I was expecting his fine motor to be lagging, but it is not. His handwriting is the most beautiful in class, when he is in a good place. When he cannot make an inference or settle his thinking down......shwoop he goes into the sensory place and fast. His stress re: his writing disorder is causing him to hit hyperarrousal fast, and at the beginning of the year we were having him identify his stress and leave the room, recollect and return, then the teacher thought the hyperarrousal, sensory stuff was hoooey so she made him stay in the room. This caused an entire group of new behaviors btw.... All agreed this has been WRONG way to handle this.So now we are working on an IEP, with several professionals specializing in sensory issues. SR has most difficulty understanding where he is in space @ times, stims, craves pressure, and deep hugs, and of course the SOUNDS, SMELLS, and SIGHTS at school, can be a bit much. When he gets breaks through the day, it seems as though it helps. He has some difficulty in social situations at times, but WOW has he come far. He will also be getting assistance with social learning with others. He will not have to go to the gymnasium in the morning with hundreds of other children because it is overwhelmingly noisy. He can choose to eat in the office with friends as opposed to the cafeteria. DH and I had already arranged his mentors for the end of his day because he was so tired that last year the regular classroom drove him nuts in the afternoon. The mentors in science and math come now @ the end of his day for 60 minutes each. I am thrilled he is learning science and math 1:1 at his level in the afternoon. He enjoys working at his level, and is learning a great deal. He is also building wonderful relationships with his mentors. He will also get to use technology when writing is too much. So there is more planning to come. I hope the homeroom teacher is on board now. It is very difficult for people to understand SR behaviors and problems when intellectually he seems capable. It is also very hard to understand that anything is wrong or different, because he does adapt so well MOST of the time.We will cont[...]



the closest thing I have seen that resembles his life...minus the cows

2010-10-18T22:30:50.385-05:00

A dear friend of my husbands recently put a bug in our ears about the Temple Grandin movie

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I recall watching 20/20, or 60 minutes in the 1980's and Temple Grandin was being interveiwed, I was probably 14 or so, and the only thing I recall is her explaining how she felt better in the cattle holding device. I recall her awkward speech, and volume...and recall thinking how awful. The only other exposure I had to Autism at that time was an article I had seen in a Life magazine, that a relative had collected. It was from 1965, and it frightened me.

When SR was born, I noted he was not typical of normal babies, he startled easily, he cried often, he liked spinning fans, and watching the mechanics of his swings...some of it is documented here....and some things have improved, others have not. I read, and read, and pondered, and read, and thought. SR never fit the criteria that is asked on paper, there always seemed to be answer that included "well it depends". He spoke early, nothing highly reciprical, mostly to communicate his interests or needs, he could identify expressions on faces, he read early, he could reason through some things well above his age.

This week, the words will appear on paper, loosely handed to me. My son will have some sort of autism spectrum disorder. None of the disorders are the same, each child different. There are people that long for these children to get this label, so they can start fixing them. The problem is they are all different, and there is no cure.

It is going to be a long week, and as much as I love my son, and his eccentricities. There are moments I want a wand, or to wake from this dream. Not that autism is a death sentence, it is simply that when you wait for 10 or so years to get pregnant, your goal is not to have an autistic child. That is me being honest. The past 8 years have been hard, and I see no letting up, or break. By the looks of the paperwork, including legal school paperwork, Dr.s paperwork, the myriad of testing forms that have been filled out, the PTO committees, the Tri-care jumping through hoops health insurance paperwork, the exhausting effort of advocating. All of it frustrates me to no end. It takes time.

I just want him to be fullfilled and happy.....



Fail

2010-10-14T22:24:40.217-05:00

I have not had a very good week, between parent teacher conferences and the pending diagnosis, and a learning disability....fearing for the future and emotional well-being of my son. Not a good place. My inner Mother bear has kicked in. I have been angry before, but now I am angrier.

The other night while at parent teacher conferences I found out that his homeroom teacher is failing him in all subjects she is teaching him. ALL. This is the first time this has happened. I am not telling SR no WAY no HOW. He is fragile after being in her class this year. The meeting with her, was as cordial as I could make it, because I had to send my child back into her room.

Tonight we met with Art, P.E., music, and the computer teacher. He has moments, but minor. They all enjoy him. Yes even the art teacher, who last year was not on board. She is on board now, and said he enjoys the art part of class, she said he is creative, and participates in class.

I called his coordinator, and she was actually shocked at the various problems his homeroom teacher is having. His coordinator and I have had a rocky relationship, but guess what, she gets it now. I think she understands my frustration, SR frustration, and they get along sooo well. She understands how he functions, and she has had few problems with him this year. She is thrilled he is older and can identify his needs.

This is a teacher problem now. SR's psychologist is mortified by the teachers handling of him, and is making a trip to school (even though she has not done this in 2 years). She herself has high functioning Asperger's, and is married to an Aspergian, and they have 2 children with high functioning Asperger's Syndrome. She is coming in to educate this teacher, and the rest of the staff that has to have contact with him.

Let me add here, SR requires little in the way of intervention, he normally just wants to know what to expect with his day. He does not like surprises. He does not like routine disrupted, but will do fine if you warn him. Most kids can go with the flow with stuff like that, some adults can. I like warnings before my schedule gets nutty. He does not like people breathing down his neck, or pointing out to entire room that he is disobediant, defiant, or lazy. It embarasses him. He is anxious at all times around her, he is on the defensive all of the time.



Appealing to her as a Mother

2010-10-13T07:26:40.708-05:00

Parent Teacher conferences for SR last night.

A complete wash if you ask me.

We told her about chemistry day. She said "was it too loud for him there?"

I answered her "no".

And then she pretty much folded her arms, and implied, that the sensory issues we are claiming to have is false, and only when he isn't doing what he wants to do.....

Seriously? Seriously?

I explained hyperarrousal again, and again...I took it apart for her.

I could see her face, and body language.

She thinks she is simply dealing with a child who has a problem with authority and defiance. She also thinks he is being lazy.

I do not understand why she cannot see this.....



Why chemistry day was soooo important, and needed.

2010-10-11T22:28:41.197-05:00

So far this year, SR has heard little encouragement. Long story that I might delve into in this post, forgive me if it seems disjointed.I asked him to blog on his blog re: Saturday, and this is ALL he wrote. A few days before this was posted (you can see that, right?), I got 2nd place (vs 1st) on the QuizBowl, threw a fit, but I did not know that I would get something more than 2x as expensive as the prize,a IPod Nano. I was extremely happy. That made me sad, because he did not see the entire picture only that he got 2nd place. Also let me add, when he found out he got second, DH had to escort him out for a moment, because SR was VERY upset. (HE HATES loosing, beyond normal "I hate to loose". ) He is a perfectionist of the worst kind. Think John McEnroe style meltdown to the 10th. We have tried and tried most everything re: loosing. DH and I tried to explain him that these other kids were at least 10 years older than him, and they had studied for longer, they all knew what a quiz bowl was...etc. I mean the kid walked in there cold. He had never sat in a lecture, let alone an entire day of lectures. It did not matter, he was upset he did not get 1st place, and then he was upset that he melted down. The melt downs embarrass him. We almost had them under control until the school year began. Let me add here, he as a rule, does not melt down at all for us any longer. I cannot think of the last time. I just asked DH, and he couldn't think of any either. However, since 3rd grade, is all about "writing", and because he has what either is dysgraphia or an expressive writing disability the melt downs are almost daily. Since SR has sensory issues , it seems as though they worsen when he is feeling anxious or pressure. Last year we worked out a system, were if he felt he was going into hyper arousal mode, he would show the teacher a yellow card. The yellow card allowed him to leave the room, go to an adult in an office, calm himself, and he would return. This year the teacher decided the yellow card was a bad idea. She thought it was rewarding him for leaving class. She made him a table in the corner of the room, and told him he could go there. So now when he is getting ready to meltdown, and to hyper arousal town, he has to do this in front of his classmates. VERY embarrassing for him. He does not want the meltdowns. His teacher think he melts down to get out of work, this is not the case. His sensory issues cause him to HEAR pencil on paper, he will tell me, it is the worst high pitched screeching sound. (Watch the Temple Grandin movie, and watch the first 40 minutes, listen to people writing, dishes being put on a table ) He also has to concentrate SOOOOO hard on the act of writing it is ridiculous to him, he has trouble picking the direction of content, and wants to present the PERFECT and best assignment. I have him being assessed at school right now by the sensory people, and OT staff. We are aslo addressing this with his Pyshcologist who has Asperger's herself. Every time SR goes to tell her "not good, yellow", she tends to give him a speech about how he is being disobediant, defiant and disrespectful (in front of his class), this makes the meltdown worse, and then the teacher is left with an 8 year old mess of a child. If you hear you are defiant daily, what happens to your behavior? I have begged them to let him have a safe place to melt down. A[...]