29 June 2011

Weight Loss Support

LilySlim Weight loss tickers

After what I've been through, it drives me crazy to see weight loss blogs and "tips" on how to lose weight from people who are in, um, no position to give advice.

A long time ago, I was really smokin' it with the weight loss and I think then I went from about 220-something to 165 (I'm far bigger than 220 now, so don't ask). Now, you might think that 165 sounds kinda chubby still, but no. I was in the teeny size five things (size 5, for my height, is teeny) and people would tell me to QUIT IT ALREADY. I was, by the weight chart, exactly ONE pound overweight. One. I was exercising six miles a day and eating 1500 calories and I was one pound overweight.

Discouraging, a bit, but after speaking with my physician he said he was soooo not worried about it, ok?

Anyway, during that process (and it was a process that took about a year), I was on a weight-loss board. Those people eventually drove me NUTS and I left. The people who were doing the most talking were actually the largest. I'd check in every day or so, sometimes twice. You really get to know people on these things after a time. But yeah, every now and then I felt like telling these ladies to back away from the computer and get on the treadmill already.

But eventually I did speak out about the "culture" on this board. There were exercise contests and here I was going my six miles and it took me a little over two hours. I'd log two hours. Meanwhile, some other people counted activities like "going to the mall" as exercise and log six hours of exercise. And I went, sorry. That does NOT qualify as "exercise." SURE, it's more active than sitting there eating a bag of Doritos, but let's not fool ourselves, ok? That is not six freaking hours of exercise.

Well, I got told off. Who am *I* to say what qualifies as exercise anyway? And soon other people chimed in with things that are not usually considered exercise, but should be considered exercise for the purposes of this board. Things like vacuuming the house, doing the dishes, planting a garden, bla bla bla and *sex.*

Yes. Someone calculated how many calories she (allegedly) burnt during "yummy exercise" and logged that. Um. Then other people started joining in and giving time "exercised" in great detail. TMI, folks. Man.

I keep looking back and thinking, was I just a sour apple because I'd lose the exercise contest each and every week? Maybe. And there is a weight loss contest each week. I would lose maybe a pound or two each week. Other people in the 400's or so would lose ten pounds. I can't compete against that. Note: these folks usually gained most or more than all of that weight back in subsequent weeks. And sometimes we'd see people admit they fudged the figures and then whoops. Oh well, we support you no matter what, is what other folks on the board would say.

And I like support like that. And maybe I shouldn't grouse because it's all about support whilst losing weight. I lost the weight. So far as I know, only one other person on that board did.

I know weight loss is an intensely personal and difficult journey. I've done it before and I can do it again. Anyone who wants to join me, please feel free! I will try to post every Wednesday about my progress (or lack thereof!) and I'd love, love, LOVE to read your comments. I know the closer one gets to the weight loss "goal," the less weight comes off. Folks in the 400's are simply going to lose more starting out. It's a personal journey but we can share a little encouragement every now and then. :)

28 June 2011

The Dish Snob

Ok, so I'm getting the kid his plastic plate and he asks for "poyits pawyyery." He is now insisting on using Polish pottery at every meal. The kid has maybe 50 words, but two of them are "poyits pawyyery," I guess. At least he hasn't figured out how to ask for the catalogue so he can pick his own set of dishes as some other boys have. The unhappy face, as near as I can figure, is from his back teeth bothering him. He is getting some four-year molars and tells me it hurts. I'm very grateful that he can show me where his owies are. That was one of my big fears, that he would be hurt and not be able to tell us what is bothering him. We at least can get "hurt" and a location. :)

27 June 2011

"I Not Wau-ra."

Dad really needs to quit teasing the kid and calling her Laura Ingalls. Not pictured? The pink flowered prairie skirt. No bonnet. :)

Stolen From Facebook!

Yep, on with the joke. But first, a word from our sponsor. Emperor went through the temperature-taking, hot compresses, baking soda and band-aid routine until yesterday when he...

Reacted badly to Band-Aid tape! Yes, he did!

SO, he had a big mucky red mess with trackmarks all over his arm and then... then... to top it all off the rash spread up his arm. Doctor says it's a fungal infection of some kind (didn't specify what) and has prescribed a cream! So all y'all who said "ringworm" get the special "I told you so" prize. In case you were wondering, the prize is that you can say, "I told you so!" in the comment section. :)

In other news, Emperor has lost four pounds. The doctor is unconcerned. Um. I didn't think tiny people were supposed to lose weight like that but ok. I told the doctor he gets fed well and I didn't understand it. OF COURSE Emperor then complains about not having enough time for seconds at the breakfast table. He is WORRIED about getting behind in math. Bah. Way to make Mom look like a slave-drivin' crazy person, but *whateva.*

And now... the offensive joke from facebook! Stolen from a friend!

"What do you get when you cross an atheist with a Jehovah's Witness?" (Go ahead and guess. Hmmm...)

"Someone who knocks on your door for no apparent reason."

Yeah, ok, that was mildly funny. But did it make you mad? Fuming? Feeling like you want to write something all snotty on the jokester's wall? Would you write this:

"Now as an ahrteist i am offended by that prejudice, got any comments for that christians???? (Writer of Joke Name) knows i have some very offensive language for u all prejudice people, enjoy what u choose be supportive of one another and don't hurt anyone even Atheist's!!!"

OK. That was a serious comment. So I'm laughing at the dopey-ness (dopiness? facebook people confuse my spelling after a time) of it all. One of those things I would have just ignored and maybe deleted later. Or deleted the "friend." But no. The original writer responds, "(Offended Person Name), Sorry, but why are you offended ? It's not like I attacked your faith. Right?"

And then in a not-so-funny turn of events, other folks join the pig pile. (Offended Person), On what moral grounds do you condem this joke? Accordin to atheism, there is no moral law giver, thus no moral law, thus no basis for decrying this "offensive" joke Huh. I thought there were no absolutes, turns out there is a line for everyone. I would say (Offended Person) is justified but that would make no sense without justice, an absolute. Sorry.

???

Moral lesson: don't make fun of religions that don't exist. Anyway, I *guess* that is the moral lesson. :)

25 June 2011

Not Lyme Disease.



Well, it looked like it to me. But based on a phone conversation through the nurseline our insurance company provides, the conclusion reached is that Emperor can be helped through "home care." Warm compresses and baking soda/water compresses every four hours. Taking temperature frequently. Emperor JUST got finished with a round of oral antibiotics from his LAST bug bite. Nurseline recommends using the antibiotic ointment he got then (for a bug bite on his knee) for this bite (on his arm). Put dots around the border of the bite in Sharpie marker. Bandage. Call if it gets worse or he develops a low grade fever.

*

Watch him carefully.

*

By the way, the nurse on the line told me, Emperor is SO articulate! She has never heard a child of this age with such a vocabulary, and this polite as well. She is surprised he is homeschooled (um, I distinctly heard Emperor tell her during the interview that she was getting "a bit off topic" when the subject came up) but whatever we are doing with him, we should keep it up. Here's hoping he gets better soon; the child rarely EVER goes outside, but when he does, it seems he swells up somewhere a couple days later.

24 June 2011

Arg.

So. We could have gone to the license bureau and paid $6 for a permit renewal. But no. SOMEONE let his stuff expire two weeks ago, so that means gathering every paper known to Man and going to the "testing center" wayyyyyy across town, taking a test, paying more money, going BACK to the license bureau, paying more money, blah blah blah.

For *so* wanting to get out of this house, some people aren't really getting proactive about things. Blehhh.

Ok, ok. I kept hearing from him that he would be a bum after college for the longest time. He had this idea in his head that he would buy camping gear and "live off the land" somewhere like a homeless Grizzly Adams or something. Bit by bit, I think he is starting to realize some common sense.

He is even talking of applying to colleges or something. Yay! But I'm just a bit exasperated that my young man didn't have a definitive plan for "save for college and get out of the house" on his 14th birthday. Because we've been talking about this eventuality since he was 12 or 13. Well, before that as well, but on a more specific and serious note.

Can you believe I now have a high school SENIOR in the house? He wants to go to prom next year, but I told him it would sort of put a damper on the evening if Mommy and Daddy had to drive him and his date, you know?

He's growing up, and it's time. I guess I'm off to gather those papers. :)

21 June 2011

Please. Just Charge Me More!



It seems that companies are whittling down their package contents little by little, but leaving the boxes and packaging almost identical. I understand prices are going up. I don't like paying more for the same stuff, but looks like I have no choice about doing it. What isn't right is decreasing the number of ounces in a jar, but allowing the jar to look the same on the outside. The jars are frequently hollowed out weird on inside, making it harder for me to get the measly portions inside. Come on, people. Jelly is the worst in this regard.

*

I can't say that it's exactly dishonest in the legal sense as it IS clearly labelled; there are only 129 diapers in the more recently-purchased box as opposed to 144. But still. Just charge more and be done with it. I don't want to be running to the store constantly to pick up a 2-pack of diapers in a mega box...

Carnival of Homeschooling!

The Carnival of Homeschooling is hosted this week at Carletta's. Pop on over and read a selection of very varied posts on homeschooling. :)

20 June 2011

Please Help Darren

Darren is a math teacher in California who had a horrible skiing accident earlier this year. He'd like to take a refund on the trip he prepaid to Iceland. He's not even able to walk yet; recovery is still several months away. I think he is only barely able to sit up in the car instead of lying... no way he can fly yet. Will you help him by asking folks politely to please give him a refund?

His original post is here. Thanks. :)

Blondee's Giveaway!

Have you ever priced American Girl dolls? Well, nevermind. Visit Blondee's blog and take a look at her giveaway! One super-cute Colonial outfit that would fit an 18-inch doll. :)

19 June 2011

Homeschool Home Help?

Question: do you want your curriculum provider to give you advice on how to run your home?

I'm just wondering. I've noticed that quite a few curriculum providers either offer newsletters with advice on how to run the household, or forums on how to get it all done/how much they love the curriculum.

I was remarking the other day that it bothered me that so many of the conference topics at the latest local homeschool convention were about Godly lifestyles, Godly parenting, time management, and that sort of thing. It irked me because while I understand that homeschooling is a lifestyle CHOICE, it's also (mostly) about the education of my child. Which means I'd want to see more about "how to keep a plan book" or how to do a workbox system or even a chat from XYZ Curriculum about "How to Teach XYZ."

Alpha Omega has a very helpful little section in the beginning of the teacher manuals about how to structure a "school" day and what they recommend for a grading system and how to keep track of that. I know I've read some sample schedules from Bob Jones about how they recommend parents teach their curriculum. I appreciate that they don't tell me, specifically, how to make sure the laundry gets done.

Am I the only one who gets insulted by such advice from a business? It's one thing if I'm doodling on the blogs and talking about what a lax parent I am IRL and somebody gives a shout in the comments about "get up at 3 a.m. and you will have enough time for it all." But seriously. Do you think at the public school Teacher Inservice Days that they instruct the (mostly female) teachers on how to run their homes? They'd be mad, and likely the administration would receive many complaints about how that's a line that shouldn't be crossed.

But homeschoolers? It almost seems as though many of them WANT this advice from businesses in a "forum" section or even advice in a newsletter. I think I must be the only one who doesn't appreciate that. I'd like to hear what YOU think, though.

Look at Me GO! :)

LilySlim - (FlOn)

Please welcome my Lily Slim ticker. I also posted it on my sidebar. Look how hard I am working! I refuse to post starting/ending weights. Juuust trust me that I will still be overweight when I lose the 80 pounds. BUT this is my goal for now. It might not be updated this week, but ordinarily I will update it every Wednesday. Do feel free to notice the numbers and leave encouraging comments.

16 June 2011

Sunshine!

Laura from Day by Day in Our World has thrown a Sunshine Award my way! Thanks, Laura! The rules are to tell seven things about yourself and link to some other bloggers so that they can do the same! Sometimes I've made new bloggy friends by following links or popping over to someone's blog after they've made a comment on mine or a friend's.

And now, the seven things... but I will hit the shift key instead of the number for extra fun.

!. Ok. First thing. I've GOT to get things out of my brain, and the things I have to tell you aren't all about me, so you are stuck reading some random dribblings. Well, or clicking away. But then you would miss out.

@. I am not pregnant. I just thought I'd let you know that. Thank you for asking me when the baby is due and then when I tell you I'm not pregnant? Thanks for letting me know I waddle when I walk and you thought the baby dropped. You suck.

#. In unrelated news, I am now on a diet. Yeah, I spent a few weeks gorging on pizza, crying and getting even fatter after that little remark but whateva. It's not even that this person was trying to hurt me so much as she's old and has no guard over her mouth anymore. I started yesterday and still haven't lost anything. I gained a pound. I checked. Maybe I will quit next week if this is the sort of "result" I'm going to get from going hungry. I am somewhere between 160 and 465 pounds and I would like to lose... realistically, about 40 pounds and be 40 pounds overweight. Just enough so that I'm not asked about twins. :(

$. I miss butter. Butter goes with everything. You can even microwave a bit of butter (not icky margarine) add some brown sugar and cinnamon and yum. WHY bother with the bread part of the cinnamon roll when you can just eat this? Caveat: if you eat an entire bowl, you might feel a little sick and then your husband might tell you he is not feeling sorry for you anymore because you didn't learn your lesson last time.

%. Ok. Onto religion because everyone knows that's a topic for polite conversation. Something I don't get. WHY do some really conservative Protestants get really nasty about Catholics for obeying the Pope all the time, but then listen to total crackpots with "biblical authority" who think there are RFID chips in the swine flu vaccine and that Obama is trying to convert everyone to Islam? Or follow the father of the home, no matter how STUPID he is? Dang, at least the Pope was vetted, yo. And yes. I get the husbandly authority thing. I do. And I agree with it. I just think some people carry this concept so far that... well... they're wack.

^. I know some folks are prolly pretty lax in their homeschool. Mine over the summer looks like, "Here's a book. Read a chapter." BUT at the chess club last night all the other homeschool moms were planning their days, blocking SCHEDULES and cracking the textbooks. Does anyone else out there just sort of *feeeeel* it's a History day, or is it just me?

&. One thing that makes me very happy are people who can forgive. I am soo ditzy on stuff and have tried to help plan a party and fell on my face. You know it's sad when the person for whom the party is planned has to help out. Still in the RSVP stages and then how much food to get based on RSVP's? What if tons of people never RSVP and then show up? What then? How do other people plan "casual get-togethers" and not run out of food or have WAY TOO MUCH food/leftovers for 2 months? But... other people are working with me and kicking my hiney in the right direction. And they are forgiving. *whew* That means a lot.

Now I'm passing on the award!

Andrea Hermitt is one of those people who has homeschooled for about forever. She's homeschooling her children all the way through high school and she has a series of YouTube videos as well. That's how I got to "know" her. She's started those up again and I can't wait to see what she's going to say next.

Sue is blogging from Japan. She is such a lovely person and her photos are works of art. I've been reading her for a while and am surprised she does not have a super-large following. :)

Mommy Kerrie is just stinkin' hilarious. Go say hi and you won't be disappointed.

Emperor is cute and would appreciate visitors.

Elf is (apparently) not cute but would also appreciate visitors.

Happy blog-hopping! Winners, you DO NOT have to participate. It isn't sunshine-y to have yet another obligation dumped in your lap. I'm just passing on some linky luv to you and hope it brightens your day.

15 June 2011

News Roundup!

Half of the people "euthanized" in Belgium are really murdered. That's what I'd call killing someone or allowing them to die without their consent. It's ok, though: those people have realllly good organs. Why wait around for some young kid to die in a car accident and bother with consent and all that blah blah blah. What a pain. Easier to just have a team of organ transplant people standing by while you kill somebody.

Just think of all the advantages! You know the blood type, size, weight, age and ethnicity of the deceased... before they're even deceased! That means you can line up your transplantees ahead of time. They don't have to wait for that phone call in the middle of the night; they can be allll ready at the hospital, waiting for their special moment. They're paying, so it's their organ, you know. It's all about the money.

Please ignore my opinion - and the opinion of many people in the world - that organ donation is supposed to be a last gift to the people of the world who are still living. Part of a sweet and selfless good-bye. No. That's old-fashioned and unscientific. Just wheel 'em in, chop 'em up piecemeal, and dump the remains somewhere factory-style. You watch and see if more science about how best to harvest organs for transplant and related science stories don't come right out of Belgium. These people are so advanced and civilized. Seriously, you watch.

On a lighter note, I figured out that it is NOT incorrect for me to say "learnt" and similar words. They are called "variants" on this website about how to conjugate about any verb you could imagine. And dude, this isn't on the website, but "whilst" isn't formal English. It's just English. I'm not playing Queen of England if I say it.

I can be the president if I want to be in this game. I thought I'd share it with you as it seems to be for children upper elementary and beyond. It teaches what the president does and which department carries out which sorts of laws. I know the president doesn't really ferry the legislation over himself, but the point is to teach the children which department does what. It isn't very nuanced politically (understatement) but it's a cute starting point for discussion, I think. Let me know if you try it what you think about it.

And finally, a story about some guy spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment is trying to go fishing - for bin Laden's body. I had no idea that having doubts about bin Laden's death made one a "scary conservative," but apparently so. Or that some anonymous dude who has a Russian girlfriend would know all about what people "in intelligence circles" in Russia really think about anything. I have a husband who is a computer programmer, but I can't tell you what the latest gadget from Apple is gonna be. Bad journalism. But an interesting thought: if the sea in which the body were dumped is public information, and bin Laden is buried in a 200-pound weight sealed bag, it stands to reason that the body is not only recoverable but largely undamaged. I'm left wondering, "Is this a real story? Or some guy with a boat who wanted to be on the news?"

Post edited because I SPELT "euthanized" incorrectly. Wow, "spelt" is the only correct form, but it is never used here. Almost never... everyone says "spelled." :)

13 June 2011

All About Woodjie

Something has happened to Woodjie. I would no longer classify him as non-verbal at all. SURE, he calls a skunk a "padda-bear," (why, I do not know) but he can get across what he needs to for the most part. Unfortunately not the "I need to go potty now" idea. But hey.

Now mind you, he's still autistic and doesn't get some of those obvious social cues. Sometimes this is an absolute riot. One day, we were waiting at the doctor's office and Woodjie was bouncing around and trying to tap the window where the office workers were manning the front desk. One of the ladies slid the window over and ask, "Can I help you?"

"Hep!" he said, boucing about and squeeeealing. And here he did that huge arms out and hand flapping thing he does when he's reallly happy.

"Ok," she asked. "HOW can I help you?"

"Ries?" he asked. She looked quizzical. "I eat a RIES? Crabby Patty? 'Leese?"

"Oh, you want FRIES?"

UH- HUH! (jump jump) "Ries! I have it ries!"

"Well, I don't have any fries."

"Ries?" No, no fries.

"App-ol?" Finally, the ladies gave the little children fruit snacks. Very sweet.

Today there was an older fellow Woodjie was bugging. He had a penguin squeeze toy and told the man it was a duck that said "quack quack" and "Here. You have it. See. Ee a duck. Wook." And of course Woodjie was jumping and flapping.

The old guy didn't seem to notice. He told me this was the most social and kind child he'd come across in a long time. And hey little fellow, want to come home with me? Uh-huh, and Woodjie was following him for a bit before we all laughed at how cute he was.

"Well," he said, "I can take you home for a little bit but when you become a teenager, you'll have to go home to your mom. My wife says no more teens in the house." He gave Woodjie a pet on the head and went on his way.

12 June 2011

Elfie's Birthday



We went out to lunch and looked for tadpoles in the local creek. And look! Elf has a new shirt. :)

11 June 2011

Are You a REAL Homeschooler?

Some parents feel that in order to teach their children at home, they absolutely must know a given subject inside and out. Others may have a certain level of competence, but rely heavily on the answer key or have their children complete courses online or with a little outside tutoring and lesson review to make sure everything's on track.

Most parents, however, will simply send for the yellow bus when they feel the time is right -- about when they have to start grading essays. :)

It seems sometimes as though there is a pecking order among homeschooling families. People who send their kids off to "government schools" after having them home are viewed askance as though they weren't committed enough. And why would you ever do that to your child, and having protected him this long, are you REALLY going to send him into that drug-infested cesspool to learn about how to wear baggy trousers and bad haircuts?

Are you committed enough? Do you love your kids enough? What's wrong with you, you second-class homeschool failure?

This is a thought that comes into play particularly for those parents whose homeschoolers are junior high or high-schoolers, because most of us don't run into major problems along the lines of "Do I know this stuff well enough to teach it?" in the first grade. Nowhere on the homeschooling blogs do I read about parents who are not *quite* sure how that addition thing works, at least, unless it's a parody of some kind. I've seen some nasty ones and I'm not linking.

Let's be honest, though. Homeschooling through high school takes a certain level of organization and credit planning that "let's glue macaroni noodles over the letter M" doesn't require. A good plenty of *excellent* teachers of younger grades find themselves popping their kids online for classes or otherwise at least partially delegating the teaching.

Sometimes even if it "looks" wrong to your homeschooling peeps, you just have to do the right thing by your child. I'm sending Elf to school next year, but I've been in contact with HSLDA and the second I'm not happy? He can come home. I have an email and a printed withdrawal form. The very second I'm not happy, the pen will fly on that thing.

So from my perspective, the "debate" over whether parents who want to homeschool only for a given number of years are real homeschoolers is a silly one. And I think that every parent who's homeschooled - even if it wound up only lasting a year - comes away with a different idea about the way things could be. They might enroll their child in school and truly appreciate the programs and extras the schools are able to do, or it might just make them better advocates for their children. Knowing your child's academic strengths and weaknesses - not just having them relayed at report card time - makes for more effective advocacy right there.

I think every parent who homeschooled and has sent their children into school later is also another number, another statistic, another proof that homeschooling works for almost every child. Teachers will get to know more homeschoolers and other kids' parents will see that we keep our third eye nicely covered under our bangs most of the time.

The Potty Post

Strange things make me wonder. When I last flew several years ago, it seemed that all the old folks in wheelchairs and walkers and the whole shebang were loaded up first. It took them over 10 minutes to load six people and I wondered if there were a fire, would anybody make it out? I'm hardly a "survival of the fittest" kind of person, but I question the wisdom of allowing so many physically handicapped people to use a plane at once if there aren't good ways to get them in and out of the plane QUICKLY. It's a safety issue. (I'm not saying no handicapped people should fly. Just maybe not so many on one flight! Or have a few rows without standard seats in which you bolt the chairs to the floor like they do on the handicap busses, and wider aisles so you can just scoot these folks out fast! Just askin' for some common sense.)

Now I'm wondering how they would EVER be able to use the potty. The wheelchair doesn't even go up the aisles, so people who can't take a few steps can't get on the plane in the first place unless someone carries them. I guess people in wheelchairs don't have families to travel to and never need to use the restroom. Well, good for them! :)

No, seriously, planes are an extreme example, but almost no business has accessable anything. Try clothes shopping sometime at a department store. Could you imagine getting between the clothes racks and looking around? Even stores built within the last few years allow for practically zero room between the racks. Aisles that are carefully constructed to allow wheelchairs to go through are clogged with rolling sales racks. And the bathroom, you have to open a really heavy door to get in WHILE you are going round a corner. Imagine yourself unable to move from the waist down and sitting in a chair. You can't open the door and get in, can you?

I don't know that I agree with forcing businesses to make things "handicap accessible" and spending zoodles of dollars, especially if it does no blinking good for people who really need the chair to get around. By the way, I weigh something like 468 pounds (well, maybe 458 but am using the upper end of my weight to make a point) and I cannot get into the stall, turn and shut the door. I have to use the handicap stall or I won't be able to fit without getting toilet water on my hiney when I stand up. By the way, automatic flushers are JUST WRONG! You can't stand and get away in time without getting splashed in the small stalls! And too bad for you if you don't like seeing me hold my skirts around my stomach when I exit; I am not letting my skirts touch the potty, so I will hold them next to my body until I clear the stall AND the splash area. Man. Who needs Sea World when I can get splashed every day at Wal-Mart for free? Eew.

As noted in the previous paragraph, I am fat. Deal with it or I will squash you. But I must say it is absolutely WRONG of some of these folks to use the Wal-Mart automated chairs IN the restroom! If you're that stinkin' handicapped, you should have a chair of your own that doesn't take up six feet by three feet. Wal-Mart (God bless 'em) is providing those chairs as a COURTESY because their store is so large, and they know some people get tired of walking all that way. Please have the COURTESY not to take them into the restroom and run over the toddlers there. It's 20 steps. You took at least that getting into the building before plunking your fat self on the chair. Courtesy, people.

I dunno. I think we can ask for some courtesy in the design of these businesses, too. Does anybody actually use the tiny stalls if there isn't a line and a real need to go?

10 June 2011

Fancy Plates...

Emperor chose the Blue Horizon plate set and is enjoying hot dogs on bread, fancy-style. Yep, I let him use his stuff early because why not. :)

09 June 2011

Happy Birthday, Elf!



It's coming up soon, and together with the check Nana and Grandpa sent, we were able to buy him two four-piece sets of Polish pottery from Blue Rose Pottery! Not pictured are the dessert plates, which are simply smaller than the large plates. Elf will now be able to eat every meal on his very own Polish Pottery. It is what *every boy wants* for his birthday and Christmas. Elf picked this out himself; it is his favourite design. Emperor has picked out a very intricate ($$!) set for his birthday, so he will get only one set. D says when the boys are older and leave the house, they can take their dishes with them. OK. So I need to get them interested in towels and flatware next? And can you believe the tiny Elf will be 11 this weekend? And that he doesn't want to be called Elfie McMelfie any more in public? He even says he is *not an elf at all.* I know. It's shocking.

07 June 2011

Going Out With Woodjie

Sad to say, he'd never been to a restaurant before. Ever. I might have taken him along when he was in the baby carrier, but that doesn't count. So last night, I got brave.

Well, not TOO brave. I took him to a buffet and paid first so I could scoot if I needed to. No sooner had we gotten in the door when Woodjie asked, "Ot dah MELL?" (What's that SMELL?) He's a polite one, he is. I guess Chinese food smells funny to him.

Brought him over to get a plate but he took off running. "ISH!!" he hollered. "Wook A ISH!!" Had to have the waiter move our table so that Woodjie and I would be near the fish. He spent most of the meal stimming and commenting on the behaviour of the various fish in the tank, what they were eating and what their names were.

Woodjie loved serving himself fries and other foods from the buffet. Just this once, I didn't worry about his allergies, though I knew better than to outright give him pudding or ice cream. He kept asking to try all these really outlandish foods, I think one of each. Of course he didn't believe me when I told him he wouldn't like it. (And, he didn't. But he ate plenty of fries and tiny donut holes.)

I just thought I would tell you that Jell-O? Is great. It's awesome. It's fun. But put it near Woodjie's MOUTH, and it becomes frightening! Surely I don't really mean for him to eat it. It's for playing!

Well, he was pretty cute and didn't cause too much of a commotion, and at this age, people still humour his saying HIIIII to them or asking "what doing?" Though at one point he DID try to figure out how the fish tank worked so that he could get in there with his fork for dinner. Okayy, he won't eat Jell-O, but he seemed pretty willing to go fishing with his silverware. Sorry, dude.

Eventually, it was time to go. But first, off to the potty.

"No," he said. "Not yet." Not yet? Never heard that before. Waited around a while several times and asked again. I kept getting "not yet." Finally it was one more minute, then done. He cried on the way to the bathroom, but nothing too awful. He calmed in the hallway before we got to the potty. Here we go into the stall.

"Eew," he told me. "Ee-yucky."

Woodjie, it's just a potty. Sure, it's really grubby in here and the place needs a remodel, but you are a BOY. Boys do not care about things like "cleanliness," especially when they're peeing. So let's go potty.

"No," he told me. "You on't do at." You don't do that, or... in other words... do NOT even try it.

Well. I learned something. This child doesn't say THANKS for the clean bathroom each day, but at least I know he appreciates it AND that he has some standards. Odd that he would classify the bathroom at the Chinese place as too dirty to pee in, but there you go.

06 June 2011

Money Makin' Idea

You know those cute little "chubby board books" for tiny hands? There's nothing like snuzzling with a milk- and baby shampoo-smellin' tot and telling him, "Oh, lookit the BEAR. Big brown bear! Bear says, 'Roar!'"

Too tame for today's kids though. The stuff in the "Young Adult" section is amazingly horrid now (OH MY GOODNESS, you've been warned, but here's the link). You know it's going to trickle down to the toddlers soon enough. It won't be long before babies learn about incest, rape, and how Joey has two daddies and a sperm donor.

Ok, seriously? It's already started to happen. Can you imagine reading this book and telling your preschooler to get the F to sleep? No, really. Amazon sells it. Is there anything Amazon does NOT sell?

05 June 2011

The Ugly Truth












(Pictures: two sets of rock garden before/after shots.) When I tell people that I have several autistic children, they somehow seem to think that I am some walking marvel who can magically get everything done. The reality is that I cannot.

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My yard is overgrown and the poison ivy and small wild trees are literally five feet tall in some places. I cannot "just" go outside with the children and get things finished. I cannot "just" schedule my own medical appointments. I have to wait until summertime and then decide whether it's worth asking Patrick to take on a paid babysitting job. My husband is already "just" taking all the time off from work he can so that I can attend at least some dopey IEP meetings during the school year without ALLLLL the smaller children and he can get the dopey medical appointments done for certain children downtown or we can get cars serviced, or he takes days off when big things come up, etc. (nevermind vacations... they do not happen). The reality is that my basement is stacked full of crap almost five feet high (six to seven in some places) because I cannot, I do not, "just" have the time to sort through my things.

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I'm very exasperated almost all the time.

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I don't know where to put my stuff or my anger. I feel left behind by all of life. As it stands, I had to pay Patrick $10 so that I could have the honour of digging around outside today. I'm very sore and for some reason my elbows hurt from pulling weeds. Soon, I will be paying him $10 for the honour of getting my teeth cleaned and having the pearly-white toothed hygenist ask me whether I ever even brush my teeth and show me on the model how to floss. Insulting.

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And my weight. I "just" don't have time to cook good meals for myself and have eaten an entire bag of goldfish this afternoon. Not bad, you think? It is if you shop at Sam's Club. That's the sort of dinner I eat around these parts, but I have at least weaned myself off of the Oreos. I had one today, for the first time in about two weeks. And I stopped at one. So I am heartened that I do have some self-control.

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So I just want to tell you that... SOMEDAY, I'm going to be ok. SOMEDAY I will find a place to put all this anger. SOMEDAY I will stop screaming all the time. SOMEDAY my house is going to be organized. I don't mean perfect. I just mean I'm going to be all right. I am having a very hard time figuring out how on earth to live from day to day, but someday I'm going to be all right.

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I just don't know how to get there.

04 June 2011

Gangsta Pants Tutorial









I bought the shorts in the first picture at the thrift store simply because I thought they were kewl. After Emperor began wearing them, G said they were "Gangsta." Apparently "Gangsta" is a good thing clothing-wise. Emperor had some ripped up jeans and I thought it would be a fun project to make our own sort of "Gangsta" pants. Emperor drew Hello Kitty, a vacuum flower Pokemon, and some chess pieces on his shorts. That's Gangsta (I guess). I sewed all over the shorts... hmm... I will need to use contrasting thread next time and maybe some dye. Or maybe we can gussy this up later by adding a different colour marker.

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Of course, Elf wanted his own "Gangsta" shorts as well. So I let him doodle on his new shorts. Why not. His are decorated with Pokemon. We had a lot of fun making these and they'll be used all summer long.

02 June 2011

The End. Of School. For the Year.

I let Elf attend the end-of-year fifth grade party last week. I figured he'd want that extra few hours to say goodbye to friends, eat snacks and listen to the DJ music/whatever the kids do. So happens D took the day off work, so I decided I'd pop by with my camera to take some pictures and help out.

Do you see any pictures in this post? Me neither. There's a reason for that, though...

I found Elf in the corner just standing there, looking at his shoes. Everyone else was running back and forth all over the gym or dancing, or giggling in little groups. Asked Elf what was wrong.

Nothing.

Ok... nothing is wrong, but you are standing here doing nothing and not off with your friends.

That's right. And more than that, he's starting to get MAD AT EVERYONE because his friends keep asking him to dance or play and he doesn't wanna. But in answer to my question, NO. He doesn't want to leave.

Ok...

So I'm letting that sink in a minute. Hm. You know, Elf, your friends are probably thinking you're acting like a jerk because they want you to have fun with them and you are saying no. Maybe you should apologize.

I kept trying to prompt him to go see his friends. He wanted me to go with him... so I went. Then he suddenly hid behind me and asked me to talk. Sorry! Maybe I just looked like the most foolish mom ever just then, but sorry! If Elf has something to say, he needs to say it. He clammed up.

Back to the corner again for a huddle. Elf doesn't want to leave. But he doesn't want to dance, either.

Hmm...

Elf, how about you talk with this group of kids over here? They're your friends. No, he told me. And he seemed to be fighting the urge to cry. It just is not appropriate on the very last day of school to have a party, he told me.

Ohhh, so... you know that when you leave here, you can't come back ever again. As a student, anyway. Elf nodded.

Aww. Took the guy out of the gym and we said goodbye to the office staff. And then Elf DID cry. Started to walk out and saw one of the ladies who tested Elf before he came to school. Then *I* cried.

*sniff* I just love the staff at Oak Tree Elementary. I love them as much as I detested the staff at Famous Explorers Elementary. Just their kindness has brought a lot of healing to Elf. And to me.

In Elf's papers, I found a report card. He got an A in reading, B in Language Arts, B in Mathematics, B in Science and Social Studies, and an S (satisfactory) in Art, Music and PE. And there was a note:

"Elf has been such a welcome addition to our classroom! He arrived ready, willing, and able to take on any challenge! He has truly excelled in the 23 days that he has been with us. Of note, his desire-- and ability -- to read independently is truly amazing. Also, Elf displays great life skills, i.e., 'Please,' 'Thank you,' 'Excuse me,' etc. What a kind, compassionate child he is! One suggestion: Continue to work on listening and organizational skills! Elf is a conscientious student who will use his determination to do grand and glorious things in life!"

Thank you, Mr. McC. I see you have already done grand and glorious things with yours. God bless you.

01 June 2011

How Young is TOO Young for facebook?

I was intrigued by this article, of course posted by a friend on facebook, asking how young is "too" young. I'm thinking that if the rules say you have to be 14, then you're too young if you're 13 years, 11 months and 29 days old. Sorry, you just are.

NOBODY really follows the rules, though, and people sign up all over the place with crazy names like Happy-Elf Homeschool and stuff. There's no real way of knowing if the person you're playing YoVille with is really a 84-year-old or just turned 10. The internet is the internet, and it really shouldn't matter. Let the parents decide whether their kids get online...

So. I don't get why the facebook people make it theoretically impossible for children under 14 to get an account. I would care less so long as the parents give permission. How to verify that, I have no clue. I don't know how cars work, either, but I do have an opinion on the use of safety belts. :)

This is interesting, though. Could you imagine how embarrassed this child will be by "her" old postings? "Look! My first pooooop!" in the photo archive? At least when my parents FILMED me at age three peeing in the doctor's office in a cup, it was on film. As in, the reels? Probably gone to the dustbin of history by now and thank God for that.

Anybody else out there old like me, and also grateful that our teenage mistakes and embarrassing moments are NOT posted online? Yeah.

Star Trek Roller Skating!

Woodjie LOVES the audience.  I made these little outfits for the children and they danced to the Star Trek: Next Generation theme...