Sunday, January 29, 2012

SOOC Saturday: Roundup

Well, another busy, crazy week. Both kids enjoyed grabbing my camera and taking a few pics. Here's our Weekly Roundup, Straight Out Of Camera:
More early mornings at Bad Ass Coffee. Photo by James.
Love this serendipitous self portrait!

After school, we hit the library, where Big Sister got to read to a dog. Very well too, I might add.
She also got him to do a trick for a doggie treat.

Speaking of Big Sister, she made me some dynamite lemonade with honey and garden lavender.
She got a little creative with the rinds. Meet Lemon Man!

I cracked up with I saw this - I am sure she made t
he obligatory screaming noises when she took this photo.
Mustard in the vineyards, shot during our visit to the Chocolate Hill Road.
Attended the North Bay's first Autism Speaks Walkathon kickoff meeting.
We'll be walking again this year!
Back to the tropical fish store, to get the tank water tested.
Proof the store employees have a sense of humour.
Now it this Nemo and Dory, or Marlin and Dory?
"Who you callin' Nemo? Do you see any lucky fins here?!"
Cute little puffer fish.
Sunset on the way home last night. Love the Round Barn.

Nice to be a part of the SOOC hoe-down at Marvelous Mommy's blog.
Come on over to see more or join in!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Chocolate Hill Road

I picked James up after school as usual. He'd had a good day, overall, but was unfocused and tried to sneak games instead of lessons at computer time during class. So no more computer time for the rest of the day.

Which is probably why he wanted us to go visit our public library before picking up his sister. One of the library's computers is loaded with I Spy and Dora edutainment games that he loves to play. We were just there on Tuesday.

"Are you sure you want to go there, Honey?" I asked, a little desperately. "How about something else?" He looked at me with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes and a roguish smile lit up his face. "I want to go to the Chocolate Road!" he announced.


"The what, James?" "Chocolate Road, Mommy. Chocolate Hill Road!!" And then he pointed and I went "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh!" Because he was pointing uphill to:

as in:

So this is new and fun. Usually he just asks to go up the hill. I had no idea he knew the actual name of the road. He's certainly never said it -- until today. We had a lot of fun, saying the name of the road all kinds of ways. We looked for trains, cows, and horses. We passed bicyclists and enjoyed the rolling drive through vineyards and pastures, beside creeks and over small rivers, enjoying a lazy afternoon of patches of light and colour on a cloudy day.

So Chalk Hill Road now has a secret name I hope I will always remember: The Chocolate Hill Road.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Special Exposure / Wordless Weds: Fairies

Remember earlier this week when I posted that James' Big Sister got them going on some fabulous pretending and play time together?

This is what it looked like in our house this weekend:

James had started talking about flying and wings at bedtime, when his sister told him they were going to meet up in Dreamland. When she woke up the next morning, she had the wings ready for action.

James had to try his out while jumping on the trampoline:

Then his sister broke out the crowns and wands. They then started chanting "Abrahhhh-kaDAbra!!!" and enchanting everything in sight. They ran races to exercise their wings.

I love this last one, because James looks like Puck to me:

For more images that catch the eye and heart, or to share some of yours,
visit Special Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.
5 Minutes for Special Needs

               and ... Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Early Morning Coffee Stop

Our early schedule is crazy, but it works. We're getting our system down and it gets us all where we need to be on time or even (gasp) early!

Schedule revolves around needing to get James' Dad to a commute bus stop 20 minutes away (closest bus that does not leave at 4 or 5 am) by about 7:15 and getting both kids to school (back up to where we started) before 8:30. After trial and error, here's what I've hammered out. Pack lunches the night before (for my husband, that's packing lunch and dinner the night before). Send daughter to bed in school clothes for the next day. Bedtime strictly enforced.

I get up a little earlier than usual, make coffee, breakfasts, preheat the van, and wake the troops. Load backpacks into van when I go out to warm it. Make sure they're warmly dressed. Kids take their brekkies out to the van. Watch sunrise start to happen behind mountains as we race down the highway (yay, carpool!) Drop Daddy at bus station and wave. Head back up as sun rises.

Hang out at coffee shop near daughter's school, feasting on coffee, ice water, and a croissants. Finish eating, brush out daughter's long hair and style for the day. Keep kids from getting on each others' nerves. Tried the iPad and my smart phone with James to divert him and keep him from messing with the furniture, but it throws him off his morning I think. So I've settled on to a book or toy instead. Seems to work better.

This morning's toy? My camera. Here's what it looks like for us in the coffee shop on an early morning:
Mom's pic.

James, in a cosy corner chair.

James likes the neon.

What a neat shot - he got the neon's reflection on the tabletop!

This is where he starts to annoy his sister. Gleefully, I might add.

Big sister's turn at the camera.

She frames her pictures nicely. Unfortunately, James has
touched the lens again, so we get a universal halo effect.

One of our favourite places to supplement breakfast and hang. Righteous!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Theme Music

I forgot to note that James has added a new dimension to his scripting (also known as echolalia - scroll down the linked page to see a most excellent definition).

He now recites dialog for two people from movies and stories, because he is finally getting into play dates and socializing with his peers. He also likes to script movies when real life provides parrallels. Or just because.

This morning, for example, he had a phone conversation with his aide on an imaginary phone during our drive to his school. He did both parts of the conversation and I think this was part of his preparing himself for school. He scripts from Barney because I am sure he would dearly love to be part of that group in the mornings on weekends (shudder).  He might also be looking for a buddy, because he is scripting large exchanges between Buzz and Woody from the Toy Story sagas.

Max decoration that's going in his room.
He went through a couple of days of being mad (highly unusual for James) and recited huge portions of Where the Wild Things Are to me. Most notably "I'll eat you up!" And you know, it actually opened a bit of a dialog for us, so I could let him know I understood he was angry ... could he tell me more about why? Usually it had to do with me telling him "no" or enforcing bedtime. I could be wrong in my assessment of why he was scripting from that book, but I don't think so. It fits James' personality of being sweet, funny, and stubborn. I found this scripting endearing, as well as preferable to a sulky tantrum or swearing and throwing things.

Most recent and delightful to me: James has been humming the theme music to The Incredibles. Just before he takes off at a run. When he wears his beloved bear blanket. And the one that almost brought me to my knees with laughter: in the bathroom. That's right, taking a bath, toweling off after, successfully completing a toileting run, washing his hands ... duh-duh-DUH-da-dahhhhhh!

James, you are Mr. Incredible!


Wowee, the rain came down this weekend. Last night it poured as if to make up for 2 months of dryness at once. So after having the kids in the house for several days, it was good to pack them off to school and get them back on their routines.
Well okay. They did go out a couple of times
to go look for pet snails in the garden ...

Just in time for me to enjoy the Lull and sunshine.

Welcome, sun!

This was empty three mornings ago ...

This is part of how I survive the hecticness and constant juggling.  Moments like these are calming.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rainy Day Game Plan

Strangely, none of our plans include football this rainy Sunday.

This morning was taken up by Pretending with Wings and learning all about snails, courtesy of Big Sister. She is so awesome in her own right, and James is very lucky to have her as his Big Sister. This morning's session was so awesome that it deserves it's own separate post.

Then late-morning movie on the sofa: The Little Mermaid, by request, followed by lunch out with Dad at Micky D's. Then a solid hour of lolling.

Next up: A couple of hours at the gym's childcare. Both kids enjoy the board games, other kids, hoops, and crafts that are available. We'll finish off our rainy day with a visit to the local topical fish store, to get some tank water tested and (hopefully) purchase and bring home an aquatic snail.

I love it when good plans come together! What are your rain day plans?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sensory Update

Hygiene Victory Over Sensory Distress!

I've given another bath and shampoo session to James, and again, no yelling, screaming, crying, thrashing, or tears. He even sat still and let me do a big trim number on his hair.

After, I brushed his hair several times (which is usually hard to get him to sit still and allow). I even got to swipe the extra ear wax out of his outer ear.

He is still in a good mood.

Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!

SOOC Saturday: Morning Glory

definition - glory: resplendent beauty or magnificence

Morning after a huge rain storm (front, SOOC)

SOOC: wish the camera phone captured nuances better

Sunrise out back: glorious, even in SOOC

I look up overhead and watch layers of differently lit clouds waft by

And here are the same photos, boosted and/or cropped a little:

It feels good to be participating again in the SOOC action at Marvelous Mommy's blog. Come on over to see more or join in!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Magic Marker Monday: Red Journal

Just before Winter Break, James brought home his writing log, which he calls his Red Journal. Considering he had trouble getting 4 letters on 1 page of paper last year, this is a Magic Journal for me!

Baseline, from September:

We have our puzzling days:
I see his teacher and aide's names there ...
 ummmmmm ...
"At school, the lights were not on. I feel bored. I went to speech with Jack. We watch -- "
 er, um, cheeus cager goose? This will keep me awake at night.
The ones that make my heart ache a bit :

Although I have to take the "worried" with a grain of salt, because:
Even though he writes he's mad, he enjoys the spelling practice at home and this is his usual result for spelling tests:
I also know that James reverses his pronouns (mostly on purpose, I believe) and mispronounces his own last name. He gets a big kick out of that, go figure.

For more great masterpieces or to share some of your own,
visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs for more Magic Marker Monday.

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(and yes, I know it's Friday -- it's been a week)