Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Not healthy, to be sure, but definately new and not dry, or neat, or bland.
Cannolis. That's funny stuff.
(And where does one find a cannoli in Utah?)
Update: Grandma R. says Kneaders has Cannoli. I think we might let him try some.
Monday, October 27, 2008
My phone-a-friend. Hey Kathryn, can ya call me? (Or can I reach you at the same number from when you guys were in the ward? I might still have an old list.)
Basically, it hit me tonight--hence the sitting up posting at 4 am--that I think Michael is having a big regression. He's doing wonderfully in school and is considered a model student there both in academics and with befriending his peers, but at home there have been struggles. He is still the kind, wonderful, loving, amazing boy that he always is, but everything seems harder for him. Things that used to be no big deal are a really big deal lately.
Getting past compulsions and reasoning with Michael has been harder. He wants to understand, but yet, he is easily upset and has a hard time seeing that he's not alone in his struggles. He is wandering away a lot more, but it almost seems like he's surprised by it too. I don't even know how to explain it. It doesn't seem like it is a conscious choice on his part. He just seems really disconnected in a lot of ways. This is just a small sampling.
And the big one--the one I think is causing all of this--his food aversions. He has almost nothing he'll eat lately. Things that we used to rely on for basic nourishment are just off the table, so to speak. Even foods he'll eat one day are refused the next with amazing vigor. I'm literally at my wit's end on this one. Food has always, always been a major issue with him. It has taken all my creativity, and yet, I feel like I am failing. Big time. As he stood up there with his church class, he was almost a head shorter than some of the boys. He was in the upper-90th percentile as a baby and toddler! And now he is so small and skinny. I know it is because he just is not consuming the nutrients he needs. And yet, never has the old adage "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" rung SO true to me. I can prepare all the food in the world and I can tempt him all I want, but in the end, he has to eat it himself. Lately, it is happening less and less. I know I can't make it a battleground, because he would happily starve if I made that an option, but at this rate, it all feels like it's going to that end anyway.
Its not all doom and gloom. He's an excellent brother. He and Hannah are really best buddies and he watches out for McKay and likes to try and be a good example and almost a mentor for him. He is so kind and protective of Ella and Garrett and plays with them such a lot. They both gain so much for his attention. He has friends from his school class that have been coming over to play and those have been really successful interactions. He loves Scouts. He did amazingly in the Primary Program yesterday. He does great in school. He wants to succeed. All of those can't be discounted. But for some reason, it all seems so much harder for him right now. I mean things are always harder for him than the average bear. Its a little like he's always riding a bike up a hill when his peers are going on flat ground. But lately it is like riding up a hill backwards with his eyes shut. I also really want to reitterate that it is not a defiant thing. He seems just as bewildered as the rest of us.
I'm just feeling so defeated tonight. I need some Alix stories and your insight, Kathryn, on this whole "growing up Autistic and successful" business. I'm spinning my wheels. I don't know what to do to help right now. If anything, my frusteration is creeping to the surface and that won't help anything. My creativity is exhausted and I'm out of good ideas for the moment, and yet I can't fail right now. Michael really needs me.
And actually this Lifeline request goes to any of you who have any ideas. I know a lot of you have experience with Michael and see him in different facets of his life and know how he's doing probably better than I do in those areas. I don't see him while he's in primary, or at scouts, or playing at your house, etc.
Oh, and if I win the million dollars, I'll split it with you all, ok?
Friday, October 24, 2008
Me: How do you spell Yellow?
Me: How do you spell Blue?
Me: How do you spell Purple?
(Since we were doing so well, I decided to change tactics along the same theme.)
Me: What do you get when you mix Red and Blue?
McKay: A bath!!
I called another neighbor today because I forgot to put Hannah's lunch in her backpack before she got on the bus. (Lunch is not the norm for Kindergarteners, but it was a walking field trip today where they looked for signs of fall and collected leaves and ate a sack lunch.) I called a neighbor I knew was driving her daughter who was in Hannah's class and asked if her daughter could run the lunch in to Hannah, since I didn't want to wake the sick Garrett or Ella. She was totally so sweet about it and came and picked up the lunch and took it to Hannah.
Another neighbor has brought over clothes her daughters grew out of for Hannah (and now Ella is wearing some of them too!) We joke that Hannah shops at "Lily's Boutique." She always looks so stylin'.
I know I have only mentioned a few of the awesome and amazing things our sweet neighbors have done to make our lives just that much sweeter, but we really are blessed to live in a wonderful area.
(And Jenny, you should go into business! Mmmm. The bread is lovely.)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
The second we got there the kids hopped out of the car, crossed the bridge and started climbing all over the mountian. It was running from there on out! It was extremely humorous to watch Garrett climb up the mountian and then sliiiiiiiiiiide back down on his belly. McKay and Michael were fearless. Hannah was a little more cautious, but warmed up. We also brought some snacks and drinks for a picnic.
I also brought my camera thinking, "Hey, maybe I can get a couple cute pictures of the kids in the canyon..." HA! They never stopped moving and the light was pretty harsh at the beginning. Just when the light got AMAZING...Michael wandered off.
I was putting Ella in the stroller and was going to round up the hyper Garrett, and Darwin called back (literally a minute later), "Where's Michael?" I had JUST called to him to stand by the stroller--Darwin was getting Hannah and McKay down from the mountian--and I was sure he was still standing in the clearing, not seven feet away. But I went back and he was not there.
The problem was there was the hill he could have climbed up and he could be on the bike path up there, there was the bridge to the parking lot and he could have gone over it, and then there was the path going both ways. I was pretty sure he had not passed me. So I went and looked down the bridge quickly and didn't see him then went back to get on the bike path, and Darwin ran further down the walking path.
Well, 40 minutes later...still no Michael. So both Darwin and I started towards the van in the parking lot about a half mile away. (Unbeknownst to each other.) We both had plans to get the cell phone and call the police for help, since it was getting dark and would surely be pretty cold by the nighttime.
As I reached the halfway point to the van, I saw Darwin coming with Michael. I had the stroller of 3 kids and was a little slower. Michael had crossed the bridge and walked the half mile to the van while we all searched for him.
Needless to say, we had a talk about how lots of things are very very fun when kids stay together with their families, but they can get VERY dangerous if kids wander away from their families and get lost. Hopefully this curbs Michael's wandering adventures of the last few days. He's usually very good about staying close.
This was the best family picture I got. I THOUGHT I'd get another chance for pictures...but no. Still, I halfway toyed with posting all of the attempts at getting everyone looking the same way. I was literally falling over laughing by the end. Everyone was SO determined to look anywhere but me. It was totally funny.
The kids were totally THRILLED with everything like this in the canyon. There are lots and lots of hatches and doors and cement "cabins" (I don't know what to call them) all over. Some are from the WPA years when they did a lot of work on the canyon. Some are newer. The kids climbed all over them and explored. I laughed when they found this hatch and tried to get in over and over. It reminded me of Lost.
Overall it was fun until the very end. The kids got a lot of energy out climbing all over the lower part of the mountian. The end was a bit scary, but it all turned out ok.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Grandma R is a docent at the This Is the Place Park and they are doing their Haunted Village. It is a village with real pioneer houses and buildings all set up as a historic village. It is decorated for Halloween for October. It also has lots of Halloween-themed crafts and activities and some treats for the kids. The kids also got to dress up.
We went with Grandma R, Auntie Alison and her kids and Auntie Caisa and her kids. There were a lot of kids. :D This was our best shot at a picture with all of the kids. There are 10 kids, minus Ella. (That half of a head of a little boy and the pink dress girl don't belong to us.)
This was the beginning of the day on the little train that rides around the park. ALL the kids loved the train, but McKay and Garrett were huge fans. Once, McKay wandered off and we were looking and looking and thankfully Caisa noticed at the LAST second that he was sitting on the train. We literally grabbed him as the train started to drive off. It had to stop for us as we unloaded him.
This was just another shot of the town. It really is a big park with lots of buildings (and lots to do and see inside and around each building) and lots to do. This is really just a tiny fraction of all that is there.
The kids asked to go back this morning! I think they had a lot of fun.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Suddenly, there is a new kitty hanging around. I would guess it is probably between 6-9 months old. Not a brand new kitty, but not full-grown. It is hanging around more and more. It comes and eats McGonagall's food (but it is not the big cat that keeps picking on McGonagall.) Then it stays to play with McGonagall. It will jump and flip and climb all the trees and generally make a pest of itself to McGonagall. McGonagall will give it an old cat "look" and then it will flop over on it's back and play nice.
So the first question is..does anyone from the 'hood know if this guy belongs to anyone? He's very sweet. The kids are all falling in love with him and even McGonagall seems to be tolerating him.
The next question is, how likely do you think it is that we end up with another kitty if this one doesn't belong to anyone? I'm such a sucker. But gosh, winter's coming.
P.S. If I thought it was hard to chase babies, toddlers, and kids with autism for pictures...they ain't got nothin' on a kitten.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
And I admit, I got more than one. I got the traditional red AND the cute brown and pink. Dressing little girls is so so fun. Here is Hannah modelling her adorable red Costco dress. I am sure there will be pictures of the brown and pink ones sooner or later.
YAY Costco. Does anyone notice a theme here? I really DO love Costco. Don't you think I should get an advertising kickback or something? Or a free camera? Hey, Costco people! No, honestly it is a great store.
But all of the Christmas stuff out makes me feel a little panicky. I know Christmas is coming, but now I am feeling a lot of pressure to get going on it. (Hey, fam! Are we doing a gift exchange this year? ) I know I am a crazily early shopper, but if I am not done before Thanksgiving, I just get too overwhelmed. I hate shopping in crowds. I think part of that is due to having to bring a cartload of kids with me. And all of the toys out in every aisle. And the aforementioned cartful of kids being enticed by the above-mentioned toys, thus leading to "I've changed my mind. I don't want X for Christmas anymore. I want Y." Now they are always very happy once they get X, but it's easier to not even bring up that there IS a Y. (Wow, was that clear as mud or what?)
Everyone says Michael looks just like a mini-Darwin. They are, of course, right. But he is not just mini-Darwin in looks only.
Lately Michael is on a quest to "experiment." Our kitchen is his lab of choice. Last night he was taking paper bowls and coloring with red marker in the bottom and then testing what he thought might get the marks out and recording his results on a little chart he made. (I need to find the chart and add that picture, because it is pretty cool.)
So, he tried baking soda and water, vinegar, cold water and soap, hot water and soap, and plain water. His hypothesis was that the hot water and soap would do the best job. Actually none of them got the marker off. With a little help from mom and dad, we're ammending the testing procedure and tonight we'll see what happens if we scrub with each. We'll see if that helps.
Since watching Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman, he's also been talking about how oils are hydrophobic unless you use a detergent. Then they are more hydrophyllic and will bond with the water. Wow, who said TV was dumbing down America?? I think it is also a pinch amusing that he is SO interested in chemistry for cleaning. I mean, cleaning? I need to figure out how to use this to my advantage. "Hey, Michael, let's experiment and see which toilet bowl cleaner works best and theorize about which ingredient might be causing the differences!"
I also want to point out his safety glasses. (Mr. Wizard would be proud!)
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Hannah, coincidentally, has been very interested in being a cheerleader, so we thought it only fitting to teach her the Cougar Fight Song and the words. It's a work in progress, but she sure had the Rah, Rah, Rah Rah Rah Rah bit down! We'll get it on video when she has the song perfected.
But for all of you wanting to join in on learning--or relearning--the Cougar Fight Song, here ya go!
I feel a little bad saying I didn't know, but I didn't. She would always say, "It's too haaaaaard," when I'd ask her what something said, so I didn't push it. But last night she was sitting by me as I was typing on the laptop and she pointed at the word Google and said, "Is that...goggle?"
I about choked.
I told her it was Google (showed her the two Os and the sound those make and we talked about vowels again for a minute.) Then she pointed at the Internet Explorer toolbar and said, "Does this say 'Tools'?"
"Is this 'help'?"
"Is this 'blog'?"
Then as we went upstairs to bed she said, "Do you spell cat "K-A-T?" I was impressed at the phonetical spelling and told her it was a tricky C that sometimes sounded like a K, but that it was a great try. I asked her how she thought dog was spelled. "D-O-G." Then she went nuts spelling anything she could think of, breaking it down. That C is tricky, and it got her a couple of times, but her phonics were amazing. We both fell asleep going back and forth with spelling.
She's always been good with letter sounds and recognition, but she never seemed to care to push beyond that, but suddenly, with the start of school, it's cool. She wants to do it. And suddenly, it's all there. The spelling, the reading, the desire to put it all together.
By jove, I think she's got it!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
This is the smallest any of my children's feet have been. (1 in some shoes, 2 in a few at 7 months.) With the coming of cold weather, I felt like I needed to get her some shoes too and gee, aparantly I am having a little too much fun. They're awfully cute though, aren't they?
The crib shoes (with the bears on them) and the crocs stay on wonderfully well. Just FYI.
To-Die-For Pot Roast
1 pot roast
1 packet of Ranch dressing
1 packet of Italian dressing
1 packet of brown gravy
1.5 cups of water.
Put them all in the crock pot in the order listed. Cook for 6-8 hours.
I serve it with potatoes or rice, broccoli and a fruit.
It is SO tasty, but SO easy. It really ought to be illegal, ya know?
2. Dancing with the Stars
(After this, they are not shows I watch regularly, so I am kinda sketchy.)
3. Pushing Daisies
4. The Office
5. Jeopardy (heh, I'm a nerd, yes.)
6. Fetch, with Ruff Ruffman
7. Sid, the Science Kid
8. Word Girl
Eight favorite Restaurants
1. Cafe Rio
3. Olive Garden
(And again, after this, there are not many restraunts I go to, so it is a little more of me stretching.)
6. BYU Creamery (Mmm, I like their veggie sandwiches. And, of course, the ranch dressing.)
7. Costco Snack Bar (Mmm, the pizza. Mmmm, the salads.)
8. Panda Express (when I am pregnant, I always seem to crave Chow Mein.)
Eight things I did yesterday
1. Went with Darwin to the ChemE Homecoming Dinner
2. Played with Garrett and Ella all morning
3. Lots of laundry
7. Tried to compress the video I'd take of McKay (unsuccessfully.)
8. Read a few chapters for Book Club (my house, Oct. 16th, 8:30...We're reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.)
Eight things I love about fall
1. The colors
2. The kids playing in ALLLLLLL of our leaves
3. The cooler weather
4. No lawn mowing!
5. Cute kids' clothes. Sweaters, jeans, fleece, rain boots, and the like.
6. Driving in the canyon to see the pretty leaves
7. The thrill of rain or snow. (It's still thrilling in the fall. Much less so by March.)
8. All of the fun Fall activities the kids do for school. The cornmaze, dressing up for Halloween, the Fall Carnival...
Eight things I look forward to (I am in an odd state lately, where I am trying to not "look forward" as much, and sort of enjoy the moment...so this is tricky.)
1. A family trip next summer. Probably Disneyland.
2. The kids at Christmas, that's always fun.
3. Going to Costco. I always love Costco.
4. Taking the kids to BYU and showing them around. The littlest 2 have not been yet.
5. BYU game days
6. Dressing the kids on Sundays. I love the chance to get them all dressed up.
7. My fruit trees being mature enough to bear more fruit.
8. Funny things the kids say. (I totally am always looking for the next funny thing. In fact, McKay recently told me, "Our conversation is over." Well, ok then.)
Eight things on my wish list
1. More speech therapy and OT for McKay and OT for Michael
2. Either a house with bigger bedrooms or the basement finished
3. A Canon 40D and the 70-200mm telephoto lens and probably a macro too. (Yes, this is a BIG wish.)
4. Photoshop CS3
5. New kitchen cabinets and countertop
6. New presidential candidates
7. More patience
8. A maid!
Eight people I tag: (Sorry, couldn't keep it to 8)
4. Kim (so you are double tagged, by Jenny and I.)
5. Kathryn (same with you.)
6. Nancy (you too)
11. Mary (both Marys)
Friday, October 10, 2008
What did we do? Oh, are you ready for this?
We headed down to the B.Y.U and attended the CHEMICAL ENGINEERING BANQUET!
Hey! What's that eye-rolling about? Don't you LIKE hearing about McCabe-Thiele graphs and distillation columns over dinner? No?
Well, actually that part was only a tiny fraction of the evening. Lots of it was chatting with old friends and teachers (hey Sarah, I totally loved seeing your mom and dad. It's a highlight of my year to see them at the dinner each year), listening to fabulous talks by church leaders, and eating a REALLY nice dinner catered by BYU. (Hey, I'd just go for the BYU Ranch dressing, really, but they have even better prime rib.) We sat by old friends Erik and Gianna and chatted much of the night away.
So, yes, even though you don't realize it, you all should want to go to the chemical engineering homecoming dinner. Odd as it sounds, it is a really fun evening.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Actually, this is McKay's favorite song and he likes to sing it all the time. I thought I'd try and catch it on video. He was a little distracted, but he did pretty darn well. I think he's quite the miracle himself.
This is what he likes to watch and sing to.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
This is from our fun day at the fair last month. Awww, isn't he a cutie? The kids all loved watching the Veggie Tales live show. I would totally reccomend it to anyone out there with little Veggie fans. We cheered and sang along until we were hoarse and the kids danced in the aisles.
I tag everyone reading this. (And hey, I check your blogs...so I'll know if you don't. Then I'll cry.)
(Yep, we like Sid the Science Kid here.)
And for your reading pleasure, yet another Overheard from yesterday. We were a-laugh-a-minute, I tell ya.
McKay (as visitor came into the house): What's your name? (He does know her name, but was just asking.)
K (the visitor): My name is K, how are you today McKay?
McKay: It was nice to meet you, now go away.
Now, at the time I very quickly told McKay that was not a polite thing to say. I kept a very serious face and instructed him that he should say, "Please come in and have a seat."
But here on my blog I can chuckle a little.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
She was just overjoyed at the whole thing. She did find the tap shoes a little slippery, but overall she was very attentive and worked hard for the whole hour. Sometimes her attention can wander, so I was pleased that she was so focused.
I am also happy because there is a dance carpool going on too, so that makes it a bit easier.
However, so add drama to our story, I had to bring Garrett and Ella along to sign Hannah up and we stayed to watch, since parents are only allowed to watch on the 1st Tues. of the month. But Garrett started getting restless at about the 40 minute mark. Really, I am proud that a 2-year-old boy lasted THAT long just sitting and watching. But to prevent a distraction to the dancers, I rounded up Garrett and Ella and was going to wait in the van with them for the last bit. But Garrett was having none of it. All of his 40 minutes of patience had been exhausted. So while I held his hand, the baby carrier, my camera and all its gear, my planner, the papers from the dance studio, and my keys, Garrett decided to play "Garrett-the-amazing-boneless-toddler" and go limp. So, before I knew it he was dangling from my hand. His arm popped and he started SHRIEKING. I knew he had a nursemaid's elbow--where the elbow dislocates--and it common among the toddler set.
I made a hasty escape from the studio and put Ella in the van and emptied my arms and surveyed the scene. It looked pretty bad. Garrett was holding his arm and wailing, "You hurt my arm!! You hurt my arm!!" (Can I admit I was not enthused at the idea of taking him to the ER with him wailing, "You hurt my arm!!!"? Yeah, I wasn't. But I AM admitting that openly in cyberspace. Hmmm.) Anyway, the nursemaid's elbow happened to Michael about 6 times. Half of the time it popped back in before we got to the doctor and the other half they just twisted it gently. So, I tried. I very gently rotated Garrett's forearm inwards and felt it all slip back into place. The crying stopped immediately and he said, "You say sorry for hurting my arm, mom." I was sorry. Once I apologized that he had been hurt, all was well with the world again.
So that is the exciting first day of Hannah's dance education. I do hope the rest are less dramatic.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
And they are even looking my way--mostly. I'll take it!
I got my settings down a little better as I tried for a few more shots, but by that point the kids were d.o.n.e. Oh, well. I got all 5 in ONE picture! Yay!
And as a bonus Michael stayed still and let me take a couple pictures of him. This is SO big to me. He is very unsure of the camera. He hates the flash, and usually when I ask him to let me take his picture, he says, "I'm to sleepy (busy, too much homework, etc.)", so this has me jumping up and down!
Isn't he a handsome fella?
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Come what may and love it. This may have been our family's motto--just without us knowing it.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Normally, I'd be all nice and say, "I went to a certain store today...and I had a bad experience", but honestly, I'm grumpy. So, yeah.
Walmart is just on my bad list lately.
First, on Sunday morning VERY early, Hannah woke up vomiting violently. So after getting things somewhat under control, Darwin ventured off to pick up some soda for Hannah to sip. It was about 4 am.
Darwin walked towards the store and two of the employees were on their break, smoking in the front of the store, and they yelled at him, "Go back to your cardboard box!!" I guess he might have looked untidy as he was roused from sound sleep at about 3 am to help his vomiting daughter and then proceeded to go get soda to help her stay hydrated without passing Go or getting a shower or fresh clothes. But come on...it's 4 am!
Besides, if homeless people can't go buy food or whatever at Walmart, where SHOULD they go? Rude.
Then today I stopped by there because I needed some food items AND non-food items and I was short on time. So I stopped by Walmart. Ugh.
Hannah wanted to spend some of her birthday money and Garrett was also getting a toy for filling up his check list.
The toy aisle had NO toys! Well, ok they had SOME. But they were all over $20. Almost no Little People. Hardly any Barbies. Only expensive, noisy ones. But, to add to the fun experience, there were ads on the ends of the aisles that were so loud. Ella was asleep and we walked by one and it started growling, and singing and just...being loud. She woke up promptly.
And finally, I WAS pondering buying a new CF card and SD card for my cameras...but they had locked them onto the racks, and when I asked the Walmart person at the camera counter how to get one to buy, he told me he had to unlock them, but he couldn't because he was busy. So, nevermind, I'll get them elsewhere. (They aren't that fast anyway, so he probably saved me from being frusterated in the end...)
So, I know I am usually cheerful. But gosh, Walmart sure put a damper on it for me. (And poor Darwin, I know he needs a haircut...but homeless?)