Sunday, August 10, 2008


I am listening right now to crickets. It's been a peaceful evening. James' older sister is sleeping over at Nana & Apu's. James got lots of extra attention from daddy & mommy, and he ate it up more than his dinner.

James eating watermelon
He played the harmonica & encouraged us to sing the A-B-C song in between harmonica choruses. He wrassled with his daddy. He got bath time and extra loving from his mommy at bedtime. He is one happy camper. OMG, I remember the first two years with my daughter, when night times were still peaceful because there was only one child to put to bed. It makes a nice change of pace from the normal zoo-like bedtime routine.

James likes to read The Rainbow Frogs; Caps for Sale; Little Quack; and The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear at bedtime.

After reading to him, I turn out the lights and pick him up so I can hug and sing to him. He *loves* this. I start with Springtime in the Rockies and Come My Love, Come ... and usually finish with Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Tonight he also got sings like I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles and I've Been Floating Down That Old Green River. (When he is not feeling well, I sit with him in the rocker and sing the theme song to The Rocky Horror Picture Show -- it's worked like a charm with him since he was three months old.)

I love the way he snuggles up to me, sighs, and puts his head sideways on my shoulder when I start to sing. He is getting so big now it's a tight fit. But we'll keep it up as long as we can!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Five Cents for Life

This morning I was reading Mindy on The Mommy Blog and her push to help prevent mother and infant deaths from tetanus by making donations online. Five cents is all it takes to help get a mother or her child vaccinated. Here is her first-hand account of meeting with the people who created this program. Please consider donating and/or spreading the word. I am donating my budgeted coffee, etc. money for this week. It's not much, but what a way to use it. I will also try and get the widget in the sidebar here.


What does this have to do with James? I sat in a room full of people just last week who were committed to helping their children with special needs as much as they could. I see parents and their children every day. I love my children so much. I see their eyes light up when they see me.

Pass it on.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Word Wealth

James has been talking to/with the Baby Einstein videos this morning. He's been shouting out the colours, shapes, and animals that he sees on the TV. I think he also finds the music, rather than spoken words, soothing.

So now the TV is off, and he's doing his best to charm me into putting in more. Nice try, buddy! We're going out to DO things today!


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Word Beads

James is starting to talk in sentences!

True, his most commonly used one is currently: "I ... wan' ... boo ... pease!" = "I want blue, please!" Blue= the Baby Einstein videos ... whose tape guard flaps are blue. But this is a big breakthrough -- hooray!!!

He is sleeping more again and having vivid dreams. I think he is growing again too. A few nights ago he curled up on the sofa and conked out as I was making dinner.

growing is hard work!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Special Exposure Wednesday

And yes, it's still Wednesday.

Here is a picture of James from last Wednesday. He got bored & quietly opened some kitchen cabinets. The cotton balls in the egg carton that bored him to tears in May is a hit in July!
For James: Special Exposure Wednesday

Oh, I am so proud of how far he's come in the past year! When I see him like this, enjoying life and quietly pursuing more, I just want to hug him and give him what I can for his shot at a happy life.

For more about Special Edition Wednesday, check out their page.

5 Minutes for Special Needs

Welcome to CATS

And it's not the musical.

James and our family have been accepted into the Collaborative Autism Training & Support (CATS) program at Sonoma State University. I and the kids attended the orientation meeting today. I loved seeing the campus. There is something joyous for me about being on a university campus -- especially if there are lots of trees. I can smell the possibilities in the air.

The program's mission statement:
To enrich the loves of families of children with autistic spectrum disorders by:
* Training service providers to implement effective interventions
* Providing free respite and family support
* Raising local and broader awareness of autism

Right now I have a binder full of information to sort through. It looks as though we will have a full schedule again for James this Fall.

Despite James being a bit disruptive by wandering around a room and vocalizing very long sessions of "Eeeeeeeee, eeeheeeeee!", I found the meeting to be informative. I was also happy to meet with and listen to other parents. Other parents like us, who love their kids, and want to fight for the best lives for them. How little we know and how much we want to learn!

Here is a link to an article that describes the program, and also features the program's director.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Our day at the Fair

My mom came and picked up I & the kids after 10 this morning and we parked early and got in the gates for the Sonoma County Fair before any lines formed. The exhibit halls were not yet open so we went and checked out the animals. We saw cows, goats, and horses. We stopped at the wildlife rescue tables (birds and animals) and checked out the poultry & rabbit cages. They even had a few guinea pigs on display too.

By this time, James wanted to run around, and the llama arena was ideal for that. They had a covered coral/pen area with a little grand stand area (also covered) set up in front of it. So James went around the stands in a circle for about half an hour while my mom & his sister made friends with Lakota, a sweetie of a llama who also sported a nifty hat w/ cutouts for his ears.

We learned lots of things about llamas, like they have no lanolin so their wool is not greasy. Their hairs are hollow on the inside, so even though they have a ton of it, the weight doesn't crush down. People who are allergic to sheep wool are not allergic to llama wool. Llamas have two toes in front and behind that is like a dog's paw. There are many, many, many llamas named "Kuzco." They have to complete an obstacle course while competing at the Nationals; the hair on their backs and torsos are also often shaved for the Nationals, to better show their lines. Americans are breeding llamas to be taller. The National Championships this year will be held in Nebraska (known for it's llamas ... not). While all this knowledge was being absorbed, James inhaled a whole PB&J "samich" and polished off a bottle of water.

Off we went to see the Flower Hall. James had a great time making animal sounds as we went. The theme for this year's Hall of Flowers was a weird one: Red, White, and Blue/Fall in a New England Garden. Yeah .... right. Those two go together like .... never mind. But somehow, it worked, and I ended up liking this the most of the several years I can remember!

I took eeeexactly a gazillion pics and ran down my battery. Some groupings of flowers were amazing -- I could see the fireworks star-burst patterns in the plantings. Others paired rust orange, purple, & golden yellows with the red, white and blue theme. And it worked. I am still trying to understand that. Instead of building up the framework for all the garden displays (fake mountains, pagoda, and buildings everywhere), the feeling was light and airy in the hall, which contributed to a glowing effects all the flowers had (which I adore).

Most of the faux buildings were right up against the hall walls. The exception was a huge covered bridge that crossed over a large, man-made pond and a lighthouse (complete with cottage and garden) on the far end of the pond. I was charmed.

Some of the gardens looked like they could have been sets at Disneyland (high praise indeed) and one went totally bonzo with a winter wonderland (complete w/ Santa sleigh, penguins, snowman, and fake snow and sparkly ice all over).

If you're a SoCo local and haven't seen it, I'd recommend going. That alone was worth $7 for me and I think we were in there with the kids for over half an hour.

Then we got cotton candy for & a snow cone for the kids. My mom went to go check out the amazing kinetic sculpture of San Francisco while they munched. She was so impressed I had to take a look -- it was AWESOME! And the guy who made it was talking about how he did it, while rolling ping-pong balls through it. Check out this video. I love people who make things like this!

And man I was bummed I'd zapped my battery by this time because it was an awesome piece of art!

So then we left about 1pm, and all the lines had formed to get tickets and in the gates. Our parking lot was almost full. There was no traffic going home. OMG, the perfect outing. Now the kids are napping and I am out in the back with Meow (the backyard cat) and coffee (and you). My husband is happy because he had most of yesterday to relax and today to wrassle with the garage; he is napping too.