Monday, December 31, 2012

I Need Some Peace... and Quiet!!

Big news in our house yesterday was we got a new printer!  I guess James has been desperate to print something because he patiently waited for his turn at the computer to create/ write a story and print it out.  As he sat at the computer, the rest of us chatted around him.  The TV was on and the cats were racing.  There are very few places you can go in this house for complete silence.  James turned to us and in a very authoritative tone declared, " I need some peace and quiet."  James is the loudest person in our house 98% if the time.  I looked at him and simply said, "Then stop talking."  He simply said, "Okay" and got back to his epic novel.  Enjoy....


Galaxy Pegasus can fly up in the sky , But if you are playing with this toy it will just go fast. The performance tip will make your Galaxy Pegasus go fast. This is the legend Beyblade.

The launcher has 4 buttons and a key shaped as a sword. You have to put the key in the hole on the launcher but 2 holes are in the launcher. First test both holes then when you find the correct hole put the key in the hole.

Chapter 3
If you got it then pull the key out of the hole.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Oh the Language of Autism...

One of the major characteristics of Autism is a delay in language.  Or kids are also black and white thinkers.  Idioms are difficult to understand because they don't make sense in the black and white world.  James is a "mean what you say and say what you mean" kind of guy.
While on vacation, we traveled south to visit family we hadn't seen in a long time.  James's Nana asked him what his favorite thing to do at school was.  I expected, recess or Saturday to be his answer, but he said Science.  James does love Science so she continued the conversation.  She asked what they were learning about and James thought for a while.  He said that they had been learning about how sometimes cities get flooded.  (Learning about natural disasters is important for 3rd grades to know about I guess so they can be scared every time it rains that their house will be underwater and all of their stuff will get ruined!) Nana said, "That is good." James looked at her and said, "Not of the people who live there!" Just another day and another precious "Autism quip!!"

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Awesome Archery and an A+ Early Christmas!!!

We did our Christmas early this year because of travel plans.  James was super excited this weekend because we finally had the archery party on Saturday for his birthday and we were celebrating Christmas with my husbands father today, Sunday.  Lots of excitement and opportunities for crazy behavior.
Quickly, the archery party was a total blast with the rain starting exactly on cue at 3:00 when the archery was beginning.  James hates to get wet but for this party, he wore a red knight tunic that we made and ran into the rain to collect his arrows when given the all clear.  It was AWESOME!!  As the rain pelted down, it eventually gave way to a beautiful rainbow which made James super happy!  Everyone had a wonderful time at the archery party and James got a fabulous bulls eye which made him extremely ready for more!
We got home a little moist from the rain, but happy and really tired!   Most of us got to bed early knowing that Sunday, today, would again be exciting for James and we had to gear up for the most horrific tantrum when he opened up the stuff that he didn't want.  I had a plan so I was more confident that we might have a great morning.  Or so I hoped as I drifted off to sleep.
Today, we got up around 7 and the kids dove into their stockings.  We all kept an eye on James trying to look for any signs of distress.  All was clear so we went onto the main event, the presents.  Before James started to open them, I gave him a firm warning... for every gift that he said sucked (like at his birthday birthday disaster here) I would take away one of the really cool ones!  I meant it and he knew it because every gift he opened he was appropriately receptive and thanked the giver.  It was awesome!!  He got some really cool stuff including a Mario chess set that he has wanted for years!  Later, he announced that everyone, even Santa got an A+ for Christmas this year.  Phew.... made it through!!!

Happy holidays everyone and I hope your celebrations will be merry and drama free!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Rain Makes a Rainbow!!

We have been so dry for a long time here in our little corner of Cali.  We have had more rain in the past month than in years.  Today as we drove we saw a beautiful rainbow.  James got so excited and named all of the colors with such pride.  After a short period of time the rainbow started to fade.  James got upset and stated... "The rainbow is fainting!"

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sad, Sorrow, All is Quiet

No matter how you celebrate Christmas this year,
make sure you hug your kids and remember
those families who can't

** this isn't a typical Laughter, Could be the Missing Piece Blog**
I grew up in New England, Massachusetts to be exact.  I love the beautiful scenery, distinct seasons, tiny towns and tree lined neighborhood streets.  I love the history, the culture just about everything about that part of the country.  I have been to or through 49 of the 50 states, lived for one year on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands (my senior year of high school) and have lived in Cali for the past 18 years.  I would move back to Massachusetts in a heartbeat on any day of the week except for yesterday (12/14/12).
The sorrow that reached us was likely defused a little by the distance but still it was heart stopping.  The senseless act broke the joy my kids were feeling about it being the last day of school for 2012.  My daughter was visibly shaken and I made a decision not to talk to James about it yet.  He doesn't understand a lot about violence involving children and for now, I would like to keep it that way.  We will talk to him about it soon but not right now.
Today, we all mourn for the families who are trying to pick up the pieces in that community.  Those who lost loved ones, those who have young children who will have to go on without best friends, siblings, teachers they loved.  I hope the community has an amazing mental health support system to help these elementary children now and for the years to come.  I hope that the families who lost their children so close to the holidays find peace in the season if not this year, then in the years to come.  They will have to make peace with the presents that won't be opened, the family vacations that may have to be cancelled, the start of school in the New Year that will likely be horribly difficult seeing the other kids in the neighborhood walk to school.
How does a whole community recover from such a terrible violent act?  By coming together and loving each other through the pain, the emptiness and the out of control feelings.  This was posted on  Facebook and it has amazing wisdom and advise from a gentle giant from my childhood...

As we go forward, we should try to remember that we need to look to the helpers around us.  Let us also look to those who help people who have violent tendencies, mental illness and uncontrollable violent thoughts.
PEACE to all from Laughter, Could be the Missing Piece!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Teacher Gifts with a Side of Autism

Front Cover

Okay, it is parent etiquette to give a teacher gift before leaving for the holidays.  James certainly added a little spice to the experience this year.   This year we gave James's teacher 3 books for the classroom.  One was about George Washington, another about Lincoln and the third, was about Benjamin Franklin.  OMG... James went into a complete meltdown last night!!  HE wanted the George Washington book, his teacher had never given him anything (except for 6 hours a day of quality education)... This certainly went on and on until he was in a great lather about everything he has ever felt was unjust!!
At that point, he stopped talking to us, stopped having affect, stopped being the James we know.  He woke up at 4 AM and insisted on finding the George Washington book.  My husband successfully got him back to sleep but in the morning he refused to talk to us, look at us or do anything we said.  I started in on my one sided conversation with him...
I see you are angry.
I know you are angry because you really want the George Washington book (first eye contact)
The one we got yesterday is for your teacher but we can get you one today so you will have your own copy (first smile)
Would you like us to get it before you get home or do you want to go with daddy after school (1 finger went up telling us the first option was correct)
Are you going to talk to us again? I love you mom!! Yeah, my Jamesie is back and we are going to learn a lot about George Washington.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Compound Word Love

James adores compound words!  He loves the way they look I guess.  He gets excited when he sees them and is more likely to want to spell them if they are on a spelling test.  This week, James missed his pretest for spelling so I didn't know if he was on the regular list or the alternative list.  His teacher told me to use the regular list so I did.  When we did it at home, he got 100% so I decided to go to the harder, alternative list.  I told him that there was a compound word on the list and he got excited. The compound word I meant was "sunlight" but James found another
POLELIGHT!  I stand corrected... 2 compound words! By the way... this was the only word he got wrong on the harder list.  Last grading period, James got a 2 for spelling which is below grade level.  This time, he will definitely be at or above grade level for sure!  Go James!!!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

What's Bugging You?

I just read a Facebook feed from another blogger (AutismDaddy) on what pet peeves we bloggers have about blogging.  I think my biggest blogging pet peeve is how few comments I get on my blogs.  I comment on every blog I read.  I feel it is almost good blogging etiquette to leave a little piece of our selves for those sharing with us.  Whether it is a simple ;) or a paragraph letting the other blogger know that you hear what they are saying. By the way... It isn't good blogging etiquette to ream the blogger out for having a personal opinion.  Blogging is a very personal experience and those of us who do it with our kids as the main event, we are just looking for a family environment who understands what we are going through.
SO... talk to me!  I am just a mom with a very funny son who does crazy things as part of his everyday life.  And he is super cute!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Used Car Shopping Autism Style

It has been a while since I have been here loosing myself in my blogging fun.  James is finally back to school and already has a new cold but transitioned back to school without any major blowouts.  His homework behaviorist has seen him at his best and worst so that is moving along.
What I have been spending my time doing has been looking for a new, used car for my husband.  The 1993 Honda Civic has finally died, it needs a new engine to work correctly again.  We have had many conversations about fixing the relic or to stop throwing roses at the pig and get another used car that he can drive.  He needs a great commute car because he drives 70 miles one way to work.  Anyway, we have spent a lot of time test driving and looking before we finally found the car that seemed to fit his criteria.
Yesterday, Bri, James and I went to a used car sale at our bank and after parking me and my wheelchair in the warmth of the building, they disappeared across the street with an attendant to help them look through 200+ cars.  Most were way out of our price range but one was found that warranted a test drive.  I guess Bri had given James his cell phone to keep him happy but I received 7 calls from that little man.  Here in brief is what transpired...
Call 1: Mom?  I want to hear you play my game.  James, I don't know how to play your game.  It is simple mom, (long explanation on how to play) random hangup
Call 2: Mom? Still me!  (giggle) random hangup
Call 3: Mom? random hangup
Call 4: Mom? When are we going to Papa's house?  Well Papa is meeting us here.  NO!!THAT ISN'T THE WAY IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE!!! random hangup
Call 5: MOM!!I am going to end the call on purpose this time.  purposefully hangup (slamming the phone down loses something without the 20 pound receiver my grandmother used to have!!)
Call 6: Mom? I'm walking over now by myself.  No you are not sure!  Give the phone to your dad.  hangup
Call 7: Bye Mom. hangup
New, used car was finally purchased and all is right in the Laughter house.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

22 Days of Thanks

I completely missed the blogging call for the days of thanks this month.  So today I am doing the 22 days of thanks.  Here goes in no particular order...

22  I am thankful for the smell of turkey and gingerbread in my house today
21  I am thankful for the weather in Cali this November, we finally have rain!!
20  I am thankful for the public schools in our town who have gone above and beyond with my kids
19  I am thankful for my new hospital bed that supports my medical needs at this time
18  I am thankful for my sons tennis racket because it makes him happy
17  I am thankful for my Broadway Twin who loves the shows as much as I do (I will miss her when she goes to college
16  I am thankful for my husband who has become a wonderful house husband during my time of need
15  I am thankful for our cat Astra who keeps my neck warm and often wet from happy cat drool
14  I am thankful for our cat Abra who sings when he wants to get picked up and cuddled
13  I am thankful for our cat Kiefer who takes time out of his busy sleep schedule to come and help me eat my supper every night
12  I am thankful for our cat Hobbit for having the cutest cat I have ever seen
11  I am thankful for my electric wheelchair that will hopefully be here before Christmas
10  I am thankful for my house that my husband and I thought we would never be able to buy
9    I am thankful for my education even though I am not using the knowledge now I still have it
8    I am thankful for music all kinds (except for some of the stuff that is questionably musical)
7    I am thankful for James's happy days and the harder ones that make the happy ones that much more special
6    I am thankful for doctors who work tirelessly to solve medical mysteries everyday even though my condition is still as mysterious as it was on 5/23/11
5    I am thankful for Prednisone!  I know it is an evil drug because of the side effects (many I have suffered from) It is the only medication that has given me hope for a life close to what I had before my disability started.
4    I am thankful for my whole family back East, who on this Thanksgiving Day, I miss more than any other time of year!
3    I am thankful for my family in the southern region of Cali who we were not able to visit this Thanksgiving holiday.  Again, this is the day that I miss them the most!
2    I am thankful for my husband who after 18 years of marriage is still willing to live with me no matter how much he would rather not have the insanity all around him
1    I am thankful for my kids who made me a mum the only job I have ever really wanted!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

911... I Need a New Babysitter

Oh heavens... where do I begin?  This was Charlotte's day.  She was to sing in the Regional Honor Choir which is quite a wonderful experience.  I had the babysitter all set up for James and when we left, they were happy decorating a large box.  Half an hour before concert was to begin, I received a call from the frantic babysitter.
James had be making a music video and at one point pulled down his pants.  She told him that he couldn't do that and he needed to erase it.  He got upset and then she said that until he did, he couldn't use his 3DS.  James disappeared upstairs and apparently grabbed the house phone and dialed the one number he knew 911.  James has been working on 911 for several years and has never gotten it correct.  As recent as 10/1/12 he still couldn't get the number correct >>click here<<  This time, he got it correct and when asked by the dispatcher what his emergency was he told her that he needed a new babysitter because this one was mean.
The police showed up an hour or so later at our house and the babysitter let them in.  James was really freaked out and ran screaming upstairs.  Eventually everything got figured out and the police left and James was able to get on with his time with his babysitter.  So what actually is considered an emergency?  Basically an emergency is something that must be stopped immediately because it may threaten physical well-being or property.  Well according to this definition, James may have felt that he was reporting an emergency.  He needed to stop his babysitter immediately from  taking away his property.  I guess there is still some refining we need to do on the concept of emergencies and when to call 911 for help.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Little Man!! Happy???

So today is Jamesie's 9th birthday and we have been celebrating all weekend!  I had spent last week coming up with great ideas to slow down present opening because in the past it has been a flurry of paper and no one got to see anything.  James adores the show "Minute to Win It" so I planned several games that I knew he would be able to do with a little help.  Enter his sister... Charlotte was excited about these games and was willing to do it all to see James's face light up as he opened his gifts.  So game one was done and James go to pick a gift....
Gift #1: Mario pajama pants just like the Ninjago ones he found a week before and loved to pieces.  The gift was opened and once he discovered what they were, they were whipped across the room with the exclamation, "That is a HORRIBLE gift!! I didn't ask for that!!!" Okay, I give him that clothing isn't the most exciting gift but they are terrifically soft and I knew they would be needed soon!!  (Sure enough, that night he specifically chose those pajama pants to wear because they were so soft!)    And so it went... down the line of unwanted gifts until Charlotte was left playing the games alone and we would call James down to get another unwanted gift that he would throw at us!
One of the happier moments opening his Ninjago
pens.  Until he couldn't open the box by himself,
and he tossed them down from the loft to the first
floor screaming, "Another HORRIBLE gift!"
I guess we should have stuck more closely to his birthday list that he had given us with hugely expensive games and things that won't be out until closer to Christmas.  What he doesn't know is that the more expensive gifts come from grandparents who send me money to appease the little hooligan for another year.
Anyway, today is the actual day of birth celebration and we are going to go and see "Wreck it Ralph".  Hope James sits through the movie!!  Love my Little Man but I am so happy that I have time before the next celebration on 12/22 for the much-wanted Archery Party.  Give me strength!!!! Oh, I forgot, James fired me from his birthday so maybe that will allow me be an outsider and someone else can take the reigns!
 Happy Birthday James!!!! See ya next year when the date will be 11/12/13 Awesome day for a 10th birthday.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

James Who is the President


It is voting day and as Americans, we all have the privilege to vote and have our voices heard.  I try to keep my kids informed about their impending rights and responsibilities as they hit different ages.  It occurred to  me as I placed my ballot in the ballot box, that the next presidential race will have a new eager voter... Charlotte!  Anyway, I digress...
I asked James who the president is now.  That little man thought about it for a minute and simply said, "Doesn't ring a bell!"  I really hope it is the Liberty Bell because then I at least have a starting place to help him understand why we vote and why the president is so important to our country.
James won't be able to vote until 2024 so I still have time.  It would be so much easier if I still lived on the East Coast with all of the history around every corner.  But at least I still have time.  If it were up to James today, Mario (from Super Mario Bros) would be the president.  Wouldn't that be fun!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why'd He Take It? 'Cause he is James!

Things periodically go missing in our house and after turning the whole house upside down, we finally decide to look in the most unlikely place... James's room.  James is a collector!  He collects so many things that his room is kind of messy!!  He generally has a process to his collections, they make sense if you know him.  Tonight he surprised us all.... It just didn't make sense.... until we found out why.
Charlotte is quite a bit older than James and is in the eleventh grade.  She is taking very difficult classes.  She takes very good notes so she is able to do the mounds of homework that is assigned.  Her physics notebook went missing overnight and it made sense that the cats likely knocked it off a pile and under something in her room.  She looked everywhere, my husband looked everywhere, both to no avail.  Finally James was questioned and he fessed up.... it was in his closet.  I asked my husband why he said he did it.  My husband just said, "'Cause he is James!"  Later when Charlotte went upstairs and talked to her brother, she got the real answer.  James took it because "he has a LOT to learn!"
I am so thrilled that James may be learning the big lesson of education... learning for the sake of learning, not just because someone tells him he needs to learn it!!

I certainly hope that when he does physics, his sister will be home from college, writing her second best seller and will have time to help him with this gobbledygook!!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pickles Anyone!!

We all know that idioms are very difficult for our kids on the spectrum.  They live in such a black and white world, how can it rain cats and dogs or how can someone die laughing?  James has spent a loooooong time working on this particular linguistic conundrum.  I judge his success by when he first uses the idiom seamlessly in his language.  It happened tonight during math.  The problem was  $17.98 X 8
He kept getting the wrong answer and try as he often as he did, he just couldn't figure this one out.  He kept at it and eventually, rubbed his head, took a deep breath, and stated, "This problem has me in a pickle!"  He eventually figured out what he did and math was finally over.  Just thought I would share before I go to bed.  Good night all!!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Good Feeling's Gone

I love shopping with just my husband!  Not that I don't love my kids but it is SOOOO much easier to get what I want when I don't have to worry about where James is!  Brian and I had such a wonderful time and we were super productive and I was beaming with the good feelings of being successful.  Just keep shopping, Just keep shopping, Just keep shopping, shopping, shopping.  We're going home with food, Yeah!  We're going home with food, Yeah!  Turned the corner and BAM!  Good Feeling's gone!  We were faced with the almost full moon that on 10/29 will turn James into the kid from, well, you know what I am talking about!!!!  Catch me on Monday, I will be the mom under the table clutching the magic weapon of pizza and chicken that I can throw at the beast until 10/30 finally arrives.  Scared of my kid, ah, maybe just a little, especially on those full moon afternoons and evenings.  Oh yea, and the frosting on this horrific cake is on Monday I am in charge of all of James's homework!  I may not make it to 10/30: it all depends on him ~ the One Who Must Not Be Named!

Friday, October 26, 2012

15 Words That is All It Took!!!

We have been having a lot of difficulty with spelling lately. James has either taken the wrong spelling test or he has misunderstood the word and his test scores have shown that. So we are always working very hard on spelling and this week I knew for sure he could get 100%. I e-mailed his teacher after I knew that he had taken the spelling test to see how he had done. His teacher told me that James had gotten 14 out of 14 which was odd because there are 15 spelling words. His teacher indicated that James had forgotten a word, that he would figure out which one, and ask him later.  When James got in the car after school I asked him about his spelling. James was very excited to tell me that he had gotten 100% and the word that he'd forgotten, "grassy," he had later spelled correctly.
James rattled on about his day, and how excited he had been to get the 100% on his spelling. I decided at that moment to put a reward system in place. I told him for every 100% he gets on his spelling we would be able to go to his favorite restaurant to get lunch. As I looked in the mirror at him I could see how excited he was. He wanted to know if EVERY time he got 100% he would be able to get his favorite lunch. I very quickly put a cap on it. I told him it needed to be 100% on the FRIDAY test at school. James has consistently been getting 100% on the spelling tests at home, so he thought that EVERY day he would be able to go to his favorite restaurant for lunch. THAT finally taken care of, I again looked back in the rearview mirror, and James had his hands locked behind his head, and he sighed and said "Ah, those were good times."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sometime People are just RAELLY Horrible Spellers

get it and without spell check I would probably be considered a bad speller.  I may be better than some but worse than others.  James just got his report card, and it is peppered appropriately with 3's ( grade level) a few 4's (above grade level~in Math) and one 2 (below grade level in~SPELLING).   I have tried to get him modifications for Spelling but the day he was observed, the little stinker got 100% so no modifications were recommended.
I was reading some of my favorite blogs this morning and saw one from Homestyle Mama (with a side of Autism) >>click here<<.  She is fighting with a much bigger problem than the tiddly spelling problem I am having.  But is sparked the desire in me to think about this again.  Do I fight for James to get the modifications he seems to need to do as well with spelling at school as he is doing at home?  Do I just let this one go and rejoiced that he is still on the baby honor roll with a 2 in spelling?  I think this one needs to simmer a little more.  I will see how he does on his test this Friday and then make the decision to put back on the gloves or not.

Friday, October 19, 2012

See, Grammar is Super Important!

James isn't a good eater at school.  And by that I really mean, HE DOESN'T EAT AT SCHOOL!!  I don't know how he keeps his energy up and focuses but he does.  We absolutely make sure he has a hearty breakfast every morning.  This morning he was very bouncy and excited and not very interested in food but finally started to eat.  I pulled a Jamesism on him and said, "hey James, do mom a solid and eat lunch today okay?" His response was, "mom, I AM eating." "Ah buddy, this is breakfast." "Okay I WILL eat then."
Okay, our tax dollars are really working hard in the public schools.  Verb tenses ROCK!!!!
Just in case you wanted to brush up on them, here you go...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

MOM!!! What are You doing in the CAR!!!!

It has been long enough since my surgery to voyage out to collect my kids from school.  The swelling on my eyelids is down and my eyes are opening up.  I felt confident enough for my husband to go to work after dropping the kids at school this morning.  I felt confident all morning even making a trip to Jamesie's school to drop off some paperwork.  I felt confident as I got into the car to go and get the kids.  As I drove, I felt less confident.  I couldn't tell movement in the shadows and it scared me.  I got to James's school fine and the first thing he shouted at me as he crossed the grass was, "Mom, you are supposed to be at home because you are BLIND!!"  Awesome confidence booster little man!! I got the kids home safely if you wanted to know!! Back to the ice mask!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Paging Dr. James

The past two days have been difficult for me medically.  On Monday, I had a repeat nerve biopsy because the first one that was done a week ago didn't have any nerve in the sample.  The one I had on Monday has left most of the top of my left foot without any feeling so I know we got the nerve this time.  Best part of the biopsy was when the surgeon took a step back and said, "Mrs. K... I don't find any nerve where I have made the incision."  I was devastated because I was done.  This was the last time I was doing this and it was going to be a failure.  As he started to close the incision, I let out a loud "OW!" "Found it!!" Glad to have that surgery out of the way!  Don't like the recovery  because instead of hurting, it burns like crazy!!!!!!
Yesterday, I had my much awaited eyelid lift surgery.  I had cataract surgery a few months ago on my right eye but haven't been able to see out of the eye because the lid on that eye is almost closed.  I was born with a droopy lid, but over the years it has gotten progressively worse.  In order to fix the the right lid, they also have to fix the left lid because once the brain gets the message that it doesn't have to work as hard to lift the droopy lid, it will stop working to keep the left one up.  I was awake for the surgery YUCK but made it through.  I was discharged a swollen mess full of stitches with a "beautiful" post boxing look (ah, I didn't win if you were wondering).  I was worried about what James would think when he saw me.  Brian caught him upstairs and gave him the rundown.  Mommy looks different, she is in pain, but okay.  when he saw me ~~~~ no reaction.  Good, mission accomplished   
Finishing homework last night he finally got a good look at me.  He stepped back and covered his mouth and gasped.  "OW Mom, what happened?" I told him.  He prescribed for me to stay in bed for 20 hours.  Sounds good to me. This morning he got up and I was already up and he said, "Mom, you were supposed to stay in bed for 20 hours and you are already up.  You said "OW" last night and when you say "OW" you need to stay in bed." Love my Doctor James!!!! 
I am ready for a day of icing my eyes and hopefully getting the swelling down and getting to see better.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Think He is Finally Is Starting to Understand!

Starting to understand difficult emotions
is tricky but he is making it happen in his way!
I was in a Johnny Depp mood yesterday (come on admit it... you have those days also!)  Score!!!! I found my favorite Johnny Depp movie of all times, What's Eating Gilbert Grape? on Netflix.  I settled in and started and then my daughter and husband came home so I had to start again, poor me!!
Anyway, back to the movie.  Great stuff, several similarities to our family, again, it is really great!  We made it to almost the end of the movie and James decided to join us for good.  He had been in and out for most of the movie but for some reason, this time he stayed.  He watched the mum labor to walk up the stairs, much like he has seen me do a thousand times, he watched her climb into bed and get comfy, just like he has seen me do every night.  He watched her sleep.  He watched her autistic son greet her in the morning with the exuberance James has when he greets me when I am still sleeping.  He watched the son try several times to rouse her without success.  He watched him cry.
Brian, Charlotte and I were all in tears and James just watched as they moved their personal belongings out of the house and lit it on fire to save their mum from the final humiliation of having to have the roof removed to get her out of the house with a crane.   James watched and finally said....."Mom, she died twice.  I will be so sad when you die one time." And then he was gone.  Back to the busy world he lives in.  I sat there for a moment and thought, He gets it.  He is starting to understand the fragility of life as he crashes through it.  
One day, he will face mortality and the finality of a dear one, and even though he may experience it differently than we would expect, he will still experience it.  And that is a good thing because it is typical and that is always our hope, that he will be typical.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

So Sorry in Advance!! Couldn't Help Myself

This little man had no language at all~ Our fondest
dream was for him to talk.  Wish granted!!
So it is Saturday and I was happily dozing on the couch listening to the Il Divo Pandora station on the TV.  James was quietly playing his 3DS on the chair across the room.  All of a sudden James screamed, "MOM, you can't have any erections!!!!"  I jolted awake from my peaceful place where I was listening to Sarah Brightman sing something from the Phantom.  "What James?" "Mom, you can't have any erections!!" Okay, I know my little man is only 8 and basic biology, not to mention human sexuality, is not part of his world yet so I didn't go down that road.  "What James?" "ERECTIONS.... ERUPTIONS MOM!"  Oh INTERRUPTIONS!! Got it. We have had many wifi issues during the past few days and his 3DS is still picking up interference I guess.  Oh the stuff this kid says!  Love him and will miss these little nuances as we help him with his language.

Guest Blogger!! James --- Don't Run!!!!!!

From Sarah's husband:

Meals in our house have settled into a sadly simple routine of late. Sarah had foot surgery recently and has to keep the limb elevated, so no more family meals around the table. Instead we have gone to Plan B, eating in the living room in front of the TV. TV meals used to mean watching one of James's favorites, "Phineas and Ferb," maybe, or a G-rated movie.
But lately his tastes have moved on to cartoons of less universal appeal, while the rest of us prefer more sophisticated fare. So the older family members eat in the living room with their thriller, or Food or Gameshow Network program, and James is up in his room with Pokemon, Spongebob or Ninjago. 
His limited tastes make planning his meal easy. Cook or reheat a pizza, microwave some chicken strips or corndogs, bake up some orange chicken -- those are the majors, with lemonade to wash it down and maybe some fruit if we can sneak it in. We used to mix lemonade by the half gallon and pour it into a straw-cup for him -- now we just combine small water bottles with single serving pouches of mix.

Lately I've prepared his meals before everyone else's to be ready for him when he comes down famished and demanding food RIGHT NOW. When he appears I just load him up with the booty, and dismiss him with it to his room. And off he'll go with his platter in his hands and his lemonade bottle stuffed in the pocket of his shorts. 
This morning I guess the bottle was a bit too heavy or the pants a bit too loose. "My pants are coming down!" he wailed. "Better walk fast, then," was my unsympathetic response. Exit James, chugging rapidly through the family room past Mommy's chair. "No running, James!" she admonished.
James's response: "I'm not running, Mom! I'm power walking!"
I want to give a big shout out to my loving husband for taking this one on today and living with the knowledge that this isn't over yet.  Unfortunately, I need to redo the surgery on Monday and then have another surgery scheduled on Tuesday so the Dynamic Daddy may need to fill in more than he wants as far as cooking etc... 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Homework Heaven!!!!

It has been a while since I have blogged about homework and for once this one will be positive and not me rambling about the horrors of having to have James do the small amount of homework sent home daily.  I am so thankful for his amazing team that helped us come up with the solution!  James now goes to the resource room 3 afternoons a week to do homework.  I prepare the homework packets but that is all I need to do.  At home we practice the weekly spelling list on the computer do the reading and writing.  James doesn't like to do the writing but he did it tonight!!

James insisted that we record his reading tonight (I insisted on at least a shirt!)

I am sooooo proud of my little man!! Oral reading is sooooo difficult for him but he just plugs along! He has also seen the amazing reason for doing his homework at school.  That means limited homework at home!!  He is very happy with his new afternoon schedule too.
Today as he left school, he was told that he didn't need to go to the resource room after school tomorrow if he went straight home and did his homework there.  He thought for a minute and stated, "I think I will go to Mrs. **'s room tomorrow to do my work because then I won't have to do it at home!" 
What an amazing change in my little man!! I am so happy that my happy James is back because now as he goes upstairs when we get home, he isn't stomping, he is saying "Mom... I love you!!!"  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I Never Thought I Would Recycle a Post...... But I Really Got Nothing!!!

If you have a viable dragon egg in your purse (back pocket for guys)............ you must be an Autism parent!  Ever have nightmares about Bob Barker (now Drew Carey)?  Does your heart stop the second you hear, "Let's Make a....."? It doesn't matter if the rest of that sentence is cake, reservation, dress, or voodoo doll, we always seem to go immediately to the dreaded DEAL!! Kids with Autism are genetically programmed with the "Let's Make a Deal" gene.

When they are little, thankfully it doesn't take much to seal the deal.  "OHHHHH, if you sit quietly in the shopping cart prison while mommy shops for the one food you will eat, you can hold my  (sigh) expired, useless gym card!  DEAL??" (you always need to preface each deal with the exaggerated parental, "OHHHHH" so they know how "special" the deal is) As they get older the deals naturally get bigger.  The trick is not to dig yourself into a hole that you don't want to be in with an out of control child!

If you sit at the table for 1 minute during supper, then you can have chocolate pudding for dessert.  DEAL?? (Please sit at the table for 1 minute because without your nightly chocolate pudding the rest of the night will be HELL!!) 

If you pee in the potty (or at least the potted plant, potty and potted at least have the same root!) instead of  in the dog bowl (thanks Bacon and Juice Boxes for that gem!) then you can have 15 extra minutes of watching the 16 second commercial that you like to watch over and over! DEAL?? (Please pee in the potty because I need to see the Mayhem guy pretend to be a toddler 60 more times to make my day complete! (to be completely honest ~ this one is my absolute favorite!!  you either will laugh or cry)

If you get to school on the bus without opening the back emergency door and jumping out (yes, my son actually did this more than once!  He was a Houdini with 5 point harness bus seat belt) then you can have a day free of an emergency room visit!  DEAL?? (please stay in your seat, the emergency room is going to start charging me rent)

And so it continues, day in and day out. The daily task of "I'll see your extra bag of chips in my lunch and raise you a new freakishly expensive power ranger toy that comes with 99 tiny parts~ that will immediately be scattered to all corners of the house~ that will end up inside the cat~ that be thrown up by said cat~ that you will slip on~ that will make you fall~ that will mean that you can't fix some "nasty" thing for supper that you know I won't eat so you will order my favorite take out! It is a win-win (well for me)  DEAL??"  

So the next time you are faced with the need to "Let's Make a Deal" to get your child to... well do just about anything, and you see their chubby little hand outstretched to seal the deal............. RUN for the nearest exit and don't look back  They likely would have done it eventually without the Porsche anyway!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

BIG SHOUT OUT to the EAGLES Girls Volleyball Team!!!!!!

James started cardio kickboxing today after school and he had a great time until he determined that he wanted to just have the music on and have free dance.  Anyway, while he was having the class, the girls volleyball team from his school started filing in for their game.  James decided that he needed to stay to "help" them play.  Okay, I was willing to see how this would go so I stayed put.  James was as happy as a puppy in the park chasing after every ball that went out of bounds.
The girls on the Eagles team "adopted" him (I'm not sure they had much of a choice, he was very persuasive) and volleyed with him as they were able.  My little man was so happy I thought he was going to bust!  He got super excited as the time got closer for the game to start.  As the other team started filing in, James decided to go up to their coach and talk to her about their practice techniques.  In his black and white ways of seeing the world, he told her up front that the Eagles were going to win because THEY were practicing with balls!  The visitor coach quickly got out the balls to even the field.
I don't know what team won (I had to leave to get my daughter), but I do know that James had an amazing time and he has a future in sports broadcasting!!
"Did you see that mom? That ball landed like an asteroid!"
"Come on visitors, you need to get the ball!"
I think we still have some work to do on sportsmanship!! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Stutttering Emergency

Okay, I know that James has a stutter, but this was too cute not to share.  Apparently there was an incident at school that was completely accidental.  James was very concerned that his friend got hurt and he told his friend that if he needed to he would call 9991 to get help!  I think we still have come work to do on emergency preparedness.  We also need to know what is an emergency and what can be solved with a bandage and a high-five.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Are You Kidding Me???!!!???

Okay people!  Who was supposed to remind me that the full moon was today?  Ah, I didn't get the memo and Autism kicked my butt today big time!!!!! So I made an innocent decision for my family to do something together that we all really like, go to the movies.  James giggles hysterically every time he sees the commercials for Hotel Transylvania so off we went.  James had an EPIC tantrum getting into the car, then an equally EPIC tantrum getting out of the car.  The one where he was trying to bolt across the parking lot took the prize because as my husband tackled him back to safety, James was screaming "BUT I DID EVERYTHING RIGHT!!!! I LOOKED BOTH WAYS TWICE!!"  We finally made it safely into the theater 3 minutes before the movie was about to start and SOLD OUT ~ Another Oscar winning performance!  We finally made it home but I was done!! I had nothing left!!!!
As we headed out later for a quick supper and a little shopping I saw the reason for James' horrific afternoon~ >>FULL MOON ALERT 2012-2013<<

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Love You More!!!

This is one of James' favorite conversations with me.  It goes something like this:
"I love you Mom!" (James)
"I love you more!" (Me)
"I love you the most!" (James)
"I love you more than the most!" (Me)
~and today he added this final little jab~
"I love you best of all!... well except for toys, I really like toys!"
So today as my husband and I celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary (that's porcelien, I know, I checked), I know that I am loved!! One boy (well man when I met him) I grew to love and one boy I have loved since the second I knew he potentially existed!  We are so blessed to have found each other.  Yea us!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our Budding Writer ~ FINALLY!!

Those of you who know the story behind how my husband and I named our children, just bare with me. For those of you who don't, here it is.  Our daughter Charlotte, was named for my favorite author, Charlotte Bronte.  I am very lucky to have a family name that is very near the last name of the lead character in my favorite book by her, Jane Eyre.  So Charlotte is Charlotte Ayres (to be perfectly honest, if I had my complete way with naming her she would have been Jane Ayres.  Didn't get that but we are super happy with Charlotte)... My husband got to name our son for his favorite author, Jane Austen soooooooo... James Austen.  Got it?  Good.  Now what does that have to do with today's blog?  Just a little back story so that you understand that our children really have no choice than to become writers not just mediocre writers, but iconic writers.  Charlotte started at a very early age (5) with her first book called The Flower Who Wrapped a Present.   She has since become a very accomplished young writer and hopes to make a living at it (I have tried to tell her that having a backup plan may be a good idea!)
Today, I got a wonderful email from James' teacher telling me that James wanted to write a story today and needed to be redirected back to the work he was supposed to do but if he finished the work he could write.  James came home with a horribly crumpled paper (which we found out later needed to happen so he could fit the page in his pocket) with the following story. He says it isn't finished yet but we enjoyed hearing it at supper!

The story of the Knight named James
              Chapter 1
Once upon a time a knight in gold walked up to the King. The King said "James I want you to go to the cave of the dragon." "I will do my best" said James. "And you will" said the King "you will win and take the sword of fire" said the King. So the Knight sent of the cave he found it and fighted the dragon he striked and got : the sword of fire.
          Chapter 2
James the Knight found Kevin the archer
Agan James walked in the forest and founed his friend Kevin they sent Of Jacob G. the house man they found Jacob G. and was going to see King Trenton but they had to fight a evil Knight They won and resqud the King.
          The End

James then wanted to cast us for the roles to do the movie over the weekend.  He is very strict and his casting following gender roles to the T.  Charlotte declared that she wanted to be the King.  James looked at her and stated that she couldn't be the king because she needed to follow the rules!  It all makes sense to him but she likes to shake things up a little.  To bad the queen doesn't come in until the 16th chapter!  I guess I will be silent this weekend! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rare Moment.........AWWWWWW Moment

Okay, it goes without saying, I LOVE my kids!  I don't always love how they act towards each other but siblings will be siblings.  James can be full of surprises and today was a wonderful one.  It is Charlotte's 16th birthday today and this is what he gave her:
It is a sibling coupon (that is what he calls it, a coupon) He was so sweet to give it to her and I made sure she thanked him even though I knew she was trying to figure out what "things" he meant.  Are the things her indoor skydiving she got for her birthday, her pre-cal homework, emptying the dishwasher?  What does he mean was her questioning glare my way when she got it.  I told her to accept it for what it is.  He is giving her something that on the face of it is amazingly sweet.  AWWWW, he really loves her and for the first time he gave of himself this year!

So today, my baby turns 16 and I am not sure how it happened! How did this gorgeous baby grow into this amazingly brilliant and beautiful young lady?  How could I be chosen to have such an awesome kid?  She is a true scholar and to this point (to my knowledge) hasn't tripped into the familiar teen territory of being a rebel.  Charlotte gave me the title of Mom and it has and will always be my favorite name of all time!

Today, I celebrate both of my kids and the amazing relationship they share.  My husband and I are truly blessed!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

James' Question of the Day...

"Mom, are flies ticklish?" (Okay, how do you answer a question like this one?)
"Ahhh, don't know buddy, but I know I get ticklish when they land on me."

Anyone out there know if flies are ticklish?  My little man wants to know!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The King of Negotiations is at it Again!!

James is the KING of negotiations and making deals.  I received a fabulous email from his teacher this morning that took me back to one of my first blog posts >>Remember this one? Click here<<.  I sent James to school today with what would be considered a lot of money for a little man.  The money is for the read-a-thon his class did last Friday to raise money for their class field trips this year.  I sent an email to his teacher letting him know that James had it in his backpack.  The email I received back was priceless (which is good because with a capitalist like James, "priceless" is about all I can afford these days!) In the email his teacher let me know that he got the precious envelope with the money but later James decided it might have been better as a birthday gift for him.
James is obsessed with his birthday this year and is already planning a HUGE event!  I keep telling him it is a few months away and I need to get through Charlotte's 16th birthday first (not to mention my birthday and an 18 year anniversary celebration~ they are all within 5 days of each other starting this Friday!)  Anyway, back to the email... Apparently James is trying to hit his teacher up for an IPad or cell phone.  He knows I won't get them for him because Charlotte didn't get her cell phone until she was 12 and he is going to be 9.    Someone please send extra strength to get me to and beyond November 12th!  Oh and just to add to the mayhem, this morning James started talking about Santa.
PLEASE                      HELP                  ME!!!!!!
>>I think there is a reason that this song has been one of his favorites forever!<<
I know I use this picture a lot but this is what we need to get all the
things that James feels he needs to survive in this computer age!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Guess IT Was HUNGRY!!!!!!

James constantly loses things!  I mean things that are super important to him like his favorite stuffed animal, DS, 3DS, favorite Wii games...  He spends a lot of his time running and screaming trying to find these things.  My husband and I have told him over and over that he is responsible for his things!  However, when he loses them, our lives become a living HELL!!  Just like I need a microchip embedded into James somewhere, I need microchips for his belongings.
His DS with his "FAVORITE" game in it had been missing for weeks!  We had looked absolutely everywhere!  Finally I told my husband to dump over the couch because things tend to go between the recliner portions of the couch.  He dumped over the couch, not only did he find enough dust to make an actual dust bunny (YUCK!), but there was the prodigal DS with the "FAVORITE" game still in it!  

Today, James was playing with his 3DS and don't know how he did it but somehow he lost it in the matter of 10 minutes!  Again, we looked everywhere.  Eventually, I looked at my husband again and told him to dump over the couch.  Wouldn't you know it.......... there was the 3DS!  I guess I need to feed that couch more!  From now on, if James loses anything, the first place we will be looking is under the quiet and comfy couch!
"Mom! I lost my watch."  "Dump over the couch!"
"Mom! I can't find Rodger (his favorite stuffed animal)" "Dump over the couch!"
"Mom! Can you help me find my.... "Just dump over the freakin' couch!"

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Timed anything for James is torture!  Timed math, never a good thing.  James hates doing this part of his homework.  We have tried me writing and him telling me what to write, we have tried not timing it, we have tried just about everything.  Today, was EPIC!!!! James was beside himself because I crossed out the top line on the page which has the answers.  Little man when ballistic!!!!
"James, you know all of the X3 facts, so I crossed out the answers."
"Sorry buddy, today is our timed practice test.  Do you want the timer or the stop watch?"
This went on for what seemed like an eternity!  Eventually, he said, "I will do it if you race me with the final division test." "Okay, lets go..." I finished my test slightly before he did but I pretended to still write until he finished his at 4 minutes 31 seconds!  SUCCESS!!
Don't really care if some numbers are hard to read because he did it and he was
wearing his Mario glove while doing it!! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Homework Revisited and Revised!

Because homework has become my nemesis, I have started a new tactic.  When we get home I ask James how long he needs.  He ALWAYS says 50 minutes.  When the 50 minutes are up, we settle in.  He is given his choice of what to do first.  Today was science because he adores science and he only gets it once a week.  Then we did our Rowley math race.  We sit so that he has the page upright and I am seeing it upside down, and then we race.  If I write the answer first, I win but if he says the answer first, he wins.  I think know he will be passing his X3's this week! Then we tackled math which was easy for him today (rounding and subtracting large numbers).  I started him off rounding the first 6 equations because for some reason he is morally opposed to estimation and rounding.  When we got to the ones I hadn't rounded, I started to help him when he looked like he was having difficulty.  He cocked his head and clearly stated, "Mom, I do have a brain in my head you know!"  Alright, I will stop trying to help.  Now we are taking a BIG break until after supper and then all he has is writing his spelling words 3 times and writing 3-4 sentences about what he learned reading the science today.  And VOILA... homework is complete, James and mom are happy but the process takes from the time we get home until he is tucked in for the night.  I guess for now it is better than the alternative!!
Rules are fun especially if James has some control in them.  Doing
homework is a rule in our house but now he has choices!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

He Doesn't Quite Get IT!

James "GO TO" car movie for the past several weeks has been Tarzan.  I love it but am a little tired of James watching the final battle between Tarzan and Clayton over and over again.  Honestly, I think he is trying to figure out exactly what is happening on a deeper level.  So today, we had a very long conversation about it on the way to pick Charlotte up from school.
"Mom... he (Clayton) got a lot of damage when he fell.  Did he die?"
"Yes James, Clayton dies when he falls."
"Why mom?  He had the branch around his neck so the damage shouldn't have been too bad cuz he was holding on."
"Well James, our necks are not meant to support all of our weight so when he fell, he broke his neck and didn't survive."
"Hmmmmm...." (Long pause)  "I guess next time he should hold the branch with his hands so he won't die from the damage."
Good plan little buddy!

Monday, September 10, 2012

TOOOOOOO Funny! Papa, I need money!!!

James class is doing a reading fundraiser to raise money for field trips and the like.  He was so excited when I told him we could call his Papa (paternal grandfather) after he finished his homework.  I heard my father-in-law answer the phone and the first thing James said was, "Papa, give me money!"  He then went on to explain about the program in his Jameslish.  It was very cute and when I got the phone, I filled in the pertinent details.  James hasn't quite mastered telephone etiquette but he certainly loves to talk on the phone and that is half the battle!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Drama 101

My kids have always been Dramatic, see the capital "D"!  Charlotte, because she is a girl and James, well his moods fluctuate with his whims!  My husband got this wonderful picture of the kids and it screamed DRAMA to me! Enjoy


Friday, September 7, 2012

The Word Police!

We are very careful with what we say around James.  He repeats everything!   We attempt to limit his exposure to words that can't be said in polite company.  On occasion, we watch movies with colorful words.  Tonight was one of those occasions.  James was neatly tucked up in his bedroom with the door closed so we felt safe to watch The Kings Speech.  The therapist in the movie has some well, unusual tactics to tackle the stammering problem.  One of them is stringing questionable words together in succession.  It worked for the king but unfortunately, James caught us just at that part.
"MOM,  why are you watching something with the "F" word.  It is the word that you said could never be used!" (James stuttered through this by the way) "Well, I am not using it, I don't use it and I don't want you to use it.  It is just part of the movie."  "Well turn it off and never watch it again!" Foiled again by Mr. My Way or the Highway!
Do you see the halo?  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

When He HAS to GO, I Gotta Get Creative!!

James is technically a camel.  He can drink and drink and only pee a few times a day.  Today, of all days, I needed to wait for Charlotte to make up a test in one of her classes after school.  About 20 minutes from when she might be done, James started to complain about having to pee.  Great!  "Sorry, little man, you are going to have to wait."  After about 10 minutes he got desperate!  "Mom, I really need to go!  Can't I just pee in the bushes?" "No, you can't pee in the bushes at your sisters school!" I looked around and grabbed an empty water bottle. I remembered my husbands stories about family vacations with the infamous mayonnaise jar.  Well, I didn't have a mayonnaise jar, I had water bottles.  The most traumatic thing about the whole experience for him was his shirt got wet and he hates wet shirts.  He was shirtless when his sister got to the car and she wondered why.  I decided her not knowing was the better part of valor.  Just another day in the wonderful world of JAMES!!
He wanted to keep his catch because gold is his
favorite color.  Looks like he needs to drink more!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

No News is Good News RIGHT???

try to believe that no news is good news, however, after a few weeks of almost daily emails from James's teacher outlining the day, today I am a little worried.  I usually get the email shortly after the homework email that is sent to the whole class.  Probably I have become dependent on them.  It is likely that James' teacher doesn't send 30 individual emails detailing each kids day.  James can't tell me what has reliably happened during his day so I count on the filler information.  Today NO EMAIL so should I worry or should I just try to relax and breathe and assure myself that I would get contacted if there was really something to chat about?  I like the daily emails!  It has a lot of really great information that I can share with James' behaviorist, neurologist, psychiatrist, and others on his team.  So today, I am at a loss with what happened today, I hope he had a good day.  Maybe I will get an email tomorrow.
I guess today is just a secret day.  James isn't sharing!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Phew... That is Much Better than...!!!

Okay, just a short visit today but this little quip was too good not to share.  One of the biggest troubles we have with James is he throws things at the TV.  Could be the reality and fantasy world mixing or something.  Anyway, today, he was flinging things at the family TV downstairs and I told him if he didn't stop the TV would get broken and I would sell him to the ..... (fill in your own politically correct/ incorrect group of people here).  He looked at me and exhaled deeply and said, "Phew... that is much better than replacing it with the TV from my bedroom!"
WHAT????? I would miss my baby if I had to sell him to the ..... But he is more concerned about his TV.  Just goes to show how kids on the spectrum think.  James is seriously connected to his stuff and I am connected to him!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue Moon Celebration


There is evidence that kids on the spectrum are affected by the moon. I read a article in Scientific American about this and there is a correlation between the brain being the moistest organ in our body and the tidal patterns during the full moon.  A full moon brings on behaviors that may seem unusual and huge.  James has been up since before 4AM today starting the celebration.  He had a great morning and I hope he gets through the school day without his behaviors take a turn for the worse.
Hope everyone has a wonderful Blue Moon day!!