Friday, June 26, 2009

Lazy Days Ahead

Last day of summer school today for James. He will have programs this summer, but for now his mornings and afternoons have lightened up quite a bit.

Time to stop and smell the popsickes!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Special Exp. Wednesday: Bowling for Autism

5 Minutes for Special Needs

Yesterday James and his classmates walked from their school, across lots, to the local bowling alley. There they enjoyed an hour of bowling in a nearly deserted building. Bumpers were set up, to eliminate gutter balls and increase the scores. A tubular ramp was brought out so all the kids had to do was hoist the ball to the top and help it roll down the ramp.

At the bowling alley!

Everyone bowls!

James on deck

Seven little boys shrieked with glee and played for almost an hour. They took turns, they brought the two bowling balls to their pals. They helped push the ramp from lane 1 to lane 2 and back again. They learned a new word: "spare." They cheered, jumped, and ran. By the end of the session, they were taking each others' turns and bowling in whichever of the two lanes took their fancy.

Heck, some even decided they didn't need the ramp anymore and gave the ball a push, after which it s-l-o-w-l-y meandered down the lane, lazily careening off a bumper or two, until (just as the adults gave up hope) it would give a last gasp and knock over 6 pins at the end of the lane.

New to me: The world's cutest little bowling shoes (size 10):
size 10 kids' bowling shoes

Little boys and bowling: perfect!

Come Out And Play

New dilemma this morning -- make food for those headed off to school & work, or go out back and play per James' invitation?

Unfortunately, I chose the food prep. But I *wanted* to be outside! This is the first time James has gone out to play in the morning and come back to ask me with good words to come out and play.

I think I will make the food ahead tonight for tomorrow, in case he wants to play again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Now We're Popping!

We are loving our summer: drawing on the sidewalk with chalk, swimming, playing in the back yard, and later bed times. I love watching the kids crowd as much as they can into these sun-filled days.

summer picnic

What I love too is that I get reminded of how simple things can be for big-time enjoyment. Popcorn + water + picnic table at the playground = happy memories.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers' Day!

James was feeling playful this morning. He stole his Daddy's hat off his head and ran away down the hall, laughing his fiendish little laugh. We could hear his bare feet pitter-pattering on the floor and it was like hearing more laughter.

So. Cute.

This year, James made his own Fathers' Day card and picture. Both featured his hand print. On his card, he traced a heart, and I helped him write his letters to say "Happy Fathers Day, love James." His picture used his hand print to create an elephant, and his SHAPE person helped him draw a jungle background.

His latest obsession is watching the Baby Galileo tape. We are getting him to watch it less and less. He is focussed, though. I tried distracting him this morning by prompting him to say "good morning, Mommy." He gave me a roguish Look and came right back with: "good morning ...... Galileo!" Hahahahahahaha!!

Thank yewwwww!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

SOOC Saturday: Woo-hoo!

I'd like to crop out the top and right for better effect, but it's

SOOC Saturday

... so I won't.

James, having a "Woo-hoo!" moment:

sooc James going Woo-hoo!

I also like this picture because I see it as a symbol of James willing to let go and try new things. Lately he's been exhibiting lots of OCD-type behaviours, so letting go and having a Woo-hoo! moment is good. Very good!

For more on SOOC Saturday, or to participate, head on over to Slurping Life.

Summer is Here!

We have had a cool last month. Normally we are in the 80s and 90s and instead we've been having mostly grey skies and were stuck in the 60s with some 70s. The end of this week, however, things finally heated up.

Yesterday afternoon I took the kids swimming. Man, they had a blast! Big Sis got James to wear a "floatie," which is her word for a small inflatable pool tube, and they were both out there paddling by themselves (with me hovering close by) in the middle of a crowded, splashing pool. A first!

Big Sis was a very good coach. She loved it too. I wish I could have taken a zillion pictures, but safety first!

Then when we got home, we found that Dad made it back early from work. He wanted to take us all out to dinner at our local family diner, so we did. We ate outside on the patio, and it was a lovely summer evening. James pretty much sat with us at the table (it's hard to get him to sit still) and our daughter was able to use the bathroom by herself. More firsts!

I feel like summer is finally here!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Starting the Day Right

I am teaching James to throw up his arms and say "Woo-hoooo!!!" So far, he sounds like a cute little owl. He is so tickled to be saying it

This morning he woke me up by banging his rocking chair against the wall. He tried talking to me, but it came out as babble speak. At school and in SHAPE, we've been working to ask him "What do you want James?", which is his cue to speak in a complete sentence.

So I did that this morning and he said "I want a diaper change, please."

Which is why I threw up my arms and said "Woo-hooooo!!!" And got him started on a morning of woo-hooing. There is a big grin on my face.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Know It's Thursday, But ...

I forgot to post this yesterday!

For Special Exposure Wednesday

Apple should give us a call ... we'd be interested in partnering for an ad (and maybe an upgrade)!
kids with ibook

James' new favourite online game is actually a series: Curious George over on He really likes the Gnocchi one

A Walk in the Park

I volunteered to help chaperone James and his classmates on a walking field trip to a nearby park. The day was sunny & warm -- a nice change from the past few weeks.

I am trying to think about why I keep thinking about this morning's expedition. It was simple, yet satisfying. The teacher did a good job of making the walk from the school through the downtown district an exciting one. A walk under a series of awnings was a walk through a tunnel. A short march through a patch of dried grass and weeds in an odd sidewalk break became the trek through the jungle. We stopped to say good morning to the pleasant lady on the sidewalk who was watering her extensive forest of geraniums, and noticed all the colours blooming too.

At the park, the boys went delightedly monkey-crazy all over the playground equipment. James at first played by himself, and then joined his classmates. It was more simple, direct pleasure.

James of the Jungle Gym:
James of the jungle gym

Back for more:
James returns for more

Riding the dino (I could not get him to do this at all last year up through this Spring):
James rides a dino

Playing with his pals (there were days that I thought I'd never see this):
James plays with classmates

So now I am left with happy memories of a summer morning used well and enjoyed by many. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I got James up from his afternoon nap and his face lit up and he leaned in to hug me, then pulled pack and kissed me before hugging me again, patting me on the back.

He has never done this before. Awwww, James! I am a big melted Mommy puddle.

Hump Day Humour: Need Some Today

I had a wonderful night last night taking my daughter out with her friend to see Kung-Fu Panda last night. The movie was free, under the stars, and much better than I thought it would be. It was perfect for these two six year olds! But ... it ended late and this morning is also weekly garbage pick-up, which means a rushed morning on little sleep for me.

This morning bordered on ludicrous, and I felt I must share. I found this meme and I love it's theme, even if it's a bit outdated ... feel free to join along and share your Hump Day Humour stories!

The garbage truck & school bus arrived at the same time this morning. James ran out to greet the bus ... and the garbage truck scared him into a far corner of the garden and I had to get him out and then over to the bus. Meanwhile, the garbage truck was waiting in back of the school bus so it could move up and get our containers.

As I am taking James over to the bus, saying "it's okay, let's get on the bus," his 6 year-old sister comes flying out in her bare feet, carrying the phone: "Mommy, the phone is ringing!"

It would have been funnier if James had not been upset. He was not crying, but it was not his idea of a fun start to his day. Luckily, he loves riding the bus to school, so he still smiled and waved at me through the window. He definitely knows this is not part of his routine!

And the phone person did not leave a message.

I am recovering over coffee. Hot and strong. Mmmmmm!

What's your story?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday: Laundry!

In honour of Tackle It Tuesday -- Small victories: Laundry catch-up

Start: piles of laundry to sort, fold, hang, & put away

It gets bigger! I found more stuff to sort in the garage:

Getting better; there's a load in both the washer and the dryer -- trust me, they're there:


Not bad for an entire morning's work, eh? Well, morning's work with break to tend to the kids and al their "must do NOWWWW" needs.

James, you will have clean clothes to wear to school tomorrow, instead of scraping the bottom of the "what's left?" drawer!

Good Morning, Son-shine!

James got me up at 2 this morning with "Go potty, Mommy?"

He wears a diaper during the night, but he hates to wake up and find it messed. Okay so this is good in a way; we do the bathroom thing and I tuck him back in. He thinks if he's cute enough it will be morning. NO!!!! Took him over an hour to settle back down and this morning I had to wake him up.

That cracked me up because I went in to wake him up and asked him "Do you want to get up?" Usually he just about flies into my arms and yells "YES!!!" right in my ear. This time he rolled over, eyes tight shut, and smirked into the pillow "NO!"

He made the bus. He was so happy. I am so glad he has that attitude -- it will carry him through so many hard things.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Writing emails, Sending a Message

I opened this email just in time to fire off my message before the Town Hall meeting in Sacramento this evening. I am hoping this will go on for a while and give parents and educators time to make our voices heard:

Early Start/Lanterman Act on the Chopping Block . . . Governor's words are being acted upon!
The California Conference Committee is scheduled to meet Monday June 15th to hear the Department of Developmental Services proposals for $334million reductions to their budget.

Proposed Changes that need to be opposed:

(1) Early Start Eligibility high risk category is being eliminated. This represents about one in every six children in Early Start or about 11,373 will be deprived of needed services.
(2) Referrals to neighborhood preschools will be made instead of quality Early Intervention Services.
(3) Prevention Program block grant funding to Regional Centers - not defined is service coordination and appeal rights for families.
(4) Group behavioral training offered instead of in-home behavioral interventions.
(5) Parental choice regarding services will be altered.

If you are interested, please visit the state's Senate Majority Caucus web site

We also participated in Face the Children Campaign with letters and personal messages on the backs of photos.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flush With Success

Have I bragged lately about James' progress with potty training? We are now only resorting to diapers at nap and bed time. He hardly ever has an accident anymore.

I think he is motivated by getting to bear down on the handle:

... and getting to use the facilities like his big sister.

He does not even fuss at the noise of the whooshing water or the whirr of the bathroom fans. Atta boy, James!

Nap Time Is *Really* For Me

James welcomed today at 5:30am. That means that I had to do the same. A very bleary, slow-moving welcome.

I got a major pick up during my weekly run to Peets. It got me through the Farmers' Market with the kids and lunchtime. Now I am praying James goes down for his nap. He is cranky and fighting everyone & everything. And he yawned. So far, he is stalling. But at least he is in bed. I think.

His older sister is having a play date. Two older girls, having a tea party and painting their nails. The coffee is wearing off, and I wish I could have the nap!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

SOOC Saturday: Play-Doh

Inspired by Slurping Life and Everyday Adventures: Straight Out Of the Camera Saturday. James, with Plah-Doh.

James has gone from eating the Play-Doh to playing at the table with his sister. He will mash it, roll it, and use the cookie cutters. We still have to work on him cleaning up.

For more about SOOC Saturday, visit    

Oh So Sleepy

Well, Moms still make house calls in the middle of the night. James got me up with some tummy troubles a couple of times.

I wonder when this will end ... and then I remember I called out my mom at about 4am when I went into labour with James almost 5 years ago, so she could stay with our daughter while we went to the hospital.


Okay, going to get coffee first, then over myself second.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Bad Idea

Note to anyone putting James to bed: Do not put shape sorters into bed with him!

He will stay up later than normal, playing with all the pieces in the dark. He will cry as he gradually loses said pieces in his bed and call quite insistently for "Mommy!!! HEP!!!!!"

This will repeat throughout the night, as he rolls over in his sleep and encounters the scattered plastic shapes all over his person.

Exhibits: midnight, 2:30am, and 5am.

Yours sternly, very tired Mommy.

See this? No-no-no-no-no!!!!!! (in James' bed)


Monday, June 01, 2009

Who Really Pays?

I read this online article,entitled HMO Autism Services Drive Up Costs, and while the author raises some good questions and things to ponder, I have problems with his thinking.

My biggest sticking point is that no one knows what is causing autism, or why the number of children diagnosed has raised so drastically over just a few short years. Until this cause has been identified, how can anyone presume to know the methods for treating it effectively or preventing its cause?

From reading the article, I get the impression that the author is telling people that HMOs already cover any medical issues related to autism, and that "extensive educational and behavioral services for autistic children" should continue to not be covered because they are not medically related. How can he say this if we truly don't know the cause for autism, let alone effective ways to cope with it? And from personal experience, I can say that my HMO does not cover all medical costs associated with autism; I also resent reading the sentence "Families of autistic children will find ways to get covered by HMOs." No, they won't. Especially if they are already overwhelmed with trying to keep their families afloat with one (or more) less jobs and rising tax rates.

What if the cause for some cases of autism are the result of reactions to something in the environment, like asbestos or second-hand smoke? What if we stopped HMO coverage for cancer? And why does this person assume that one policy fits all for everyone affected by autism, because if there's one thing I've learned it's that autism affects everyone differently.

I understand the cause for concern. As the parent of a child on the spectrum, I know how high costs can quickly add up for services such as Occupational Therapy, Speech & Language, and Developmental Services. I have seen other families struggle with pure medical costs and additional health issues. Just imagine those costs going "cha-ching" every 20 seconds (the rate a child is diagnosed with autism) to an HMO CFO.

Mr Enthoven is concerned that "these burdens will not be spread evenly in California." Very true. How about we all try working together instead of pointing the finger at someone else and say "No, you pay for it"?

I think were all pretty hurting from our current and future economic outlook, especially here in California. I think working families are being made to bail out plenty corporations and bad planning from their governments. Speaking as a working class mom with a special needs child, I think we need some help for our children who are affected by something that is still being figured out. This is not only our future, it is our childrens' as well. Please don't make them pay for our bad behaviour and unwillingness to work together.