Friday, December 30, 2005

I first of all want to apologize for being so neglectful of my blog. Things have been crazy. I know that I still need to upload birthday and Christmas pics..and I will try to get to that as soon as I can, but lots has been going on, so here it is in a nutshell.

Katie -- her ear infection came back and we had to increase her medication, but I think she is finally feeling better. She had a good Christmas and even did well at an extended family Christmas party -- which is usually a hard thing for her b/c she has to deal with a large group of people that she doesn't know. She also said "PaPa" for the first time (yesterday) and used it correctly as she addressed my dad with it twice. He is of course "smitten" as my mom said. We are thrilled for her that she is figuring out how to get these words out - and of course we are happy for "PaPa" as it is a real treat to get this "recognition" from Katie.

Mary - has finally recovered from the ear infection/pink eye thing -- and I think that we all safely escaped the pink-eye. She had a good Christmas and is now a big fan of her Leapster L-Max and has enjoyed staying up late over Christmas Break. She saw "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" with her Auntie on Tuesday and we have heard lots about that ever since.

Me - Well, I have taken a promotion with Kohls which is moving me to a larger store about 10 minutes further away than my present store. I'm excited and scared at the same time as this job will start on Monday (1/2). I'm wiped out from a busy Christmas retail season, but am thankful for my new job and the new opportunities it will bring.

Bill - is on a three week lay-off from work, but received a phone call that they have done some rearranging of staff and he has received a nice promotion. So now both of us are starting new jobs. We need to figure out some additional childcare for the girls as now it will be too much for my mom to handle on her own.

That is it in a nutshell.....I will try to be more consisitent -- maybe thta should be my New Years Resolution !!!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

The pictures are going to have to wait, sorry Susie. We ended up getting her a necklace -- it's really cute - sterling silver with a pink butterfly. She loves it. We also got her some books and a Christmas ornament (which she traditionally gets each year for her birthday). That was plenty b/c she gets tons of stuff from her grandparents and aunt -- and Christmas is only a week a way.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Today is Mary's 5th birthday. I'm blogging this morning b/c I probably won't have time later today with the party and all. Katie seems happy for Mary. She is "talking" so much these days. A lot of babble, with a few words mixed in. It is awesome for us to see her making such great progress. Both of the girls seem to be feeling better with the cocktail of antibiotics that they are downing each day... can we just stay healthy through Christmas?

If I have time I will try to upload some pics from Mary's party. This will be the second year of a princess theme for her.....too funny!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Thank-you, Emily for missing me. I want to blog more, I just can hardly find the time to see straight. It's been kind of a crazy week. Katie's ear infection is back, and Mary has both pink eye and an ear infection on the same side of her's not pretty. I'm a little stressed out about work --- and I'm trying to finish Christmas cards, finish Christmas shopping, wrap presents, get ready for Mary's birthday party on Sunday and let's see -- have some sort of normal life. Bill's work Christmas party was this afternoon -- I stayed for a few hours but I am home now -- trying to get some things done before having to be at work tomorrow am at 8. Bill is off work now for 3 weeks - so that will help a little bit. I just can never remember being so crazed the week before Christmas -- but the good news is that Katie is thriving in school. My mom picked her up at school today for me (b/c I was at the doctor with Mary) and she was so amazed at what she saw. School has been fantastic for Katie --a nd her progress is more than enough of a Christmas gift for me.

Well, -- Katie's starting to get into everything, so I guess I had better go......

Monday, December 12, 2005

Well this is my week to get into the Christmas Season. My schedule at work is light, and I don't have to close the store for a whole week -- so I may actually get some sleep this week. I need to do Christmas cards, shopping, wrapping and get ready for Mary's 5th birthday which is Sunday and which I haven't really done anything for yet! YIKES!

I need more coffee today though... I got home at about 1 am from work and b/c I was so wound up from work I couldn't get to sleep. I put away about 10 loads of laundry and finally fell asleep a little after 2... so now I am soooo tired. I dropped Katie off at school this morning and one of the teachers says, " Wow, Jill...are you okay? You look really tired!" I wanted to say , "why ever would you think I'm tired? I have two kids under the age of 5 - one with autism, I work full-time, try to run a house, pay bills with no money and you want me to look anything other than tired!" But I was nice and just said, "yeah, work is catching up with me -- I could just use a little more sleep."

I desperately need to spend some time on ebay, too to see if I can catch some good last minute deals for Christmas -- especially since I have hardly started shopping.... Any good ideas for a 5 year old girl that don't cost a fortune????

Friday, December 09, 2005

It's a snow day here --- yowsa! I guess that is a good thing since there is so much snow outside that I feel like I'm living in Alaska. I'm trying to clean the house seeing as I have to work tonight, tomorrow and Sunday until 12:30 am. My schedule next week is better -- but less hours -- so even though we could use the $, I am grateful that maybe I will be able to get some things done -- like Christmas cards, Christmas shopping, wrapping, etc. AND, Mary has her 5th birthday on the 18th and I haven't even started to prepare for that.

Mary's school program was last night -- how cute! She looked beautiful and sang so pretty! Bill video-taped it -- I can't wait to watch it.

Does anyone watch the Apprentice? I'm so excited that Randall is doing a benefit for "Autism Speaks." That is an awesome Autism Organization and they are doing some wonderful things to raise awareness and funds for Autism research.

Alright, my house is calling.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Well the days are just tracking along at quite a clip. It is snowing like crazy here -- I can't remember such a snowy December since 5 years ago when Mary was born and we had to drift-bus in the big Dodge pick-up to get me to the hospital to deliver. Yikes.

Here we are -- Katie is doing well in school this week. She is sitting at the table to eat her snack, but is still refusing to drink out of anything but a sippy cup. Mary is having a pretty good week, too. They have their Christmas program this Thursday night. I have to work 4pm - 12:30 am tonite and tomorrow night, and Fri, Sat & Sun ! YIKES! Sometimes I am not sure how I am doing this -- but we will survive.

I need to get working on my Christmas cards/letters -- I am really behind this year -- -guess I've been a little busy. :) Kohl's has an awesome sale tomorrow!!! Should be crazy!

Friday, December 02, 2005

What a week. I think that the girls are both getting healthy again. Katie seems to be recovering well from her double ear infection. How crazy. Work is nuts. Lots of hours and lots of drama. I found myself in tears yesterday -- not so much due to work itself but just my life -- how tired I am, how stressed I am, how I still can't figure out how people find the time for their families and their friends when they work full-time, have 2 kids to cart around to and from school - and all of the extra activities of the holidays including Christmas programs and parties and all of that good stuff. It's crazy.

My mom came over yesterday and helped me out for a few extra hours before she watched the kids while I went to work. That was a huge help. She put away my week's worth of folded laundry that has been sitting in the basket waiting to be put away. She also watched Katie so I could rest for an hour and get a few projects done that I can't do when I have to keep my eye on the little one. I am so thankful for my mom and all the help she does give us.

I don't work tonight and for that I am really thankful!!!I need some rest!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Today is going better. I kept Katie home from school b/c I felt she needed one more day to get feeling really good before I let her back into the classroom setting. She is doing well today -- she ate a whole grilled cheese sandwich for lunch -- a vast improvement over not eating anything for 3 days. I ran all of my errands this morning -- and now I have this messy house to clean up. I really wonder how people do it -- with both of us working full time and me carting the girls all over I am often left to wonder when I am supposed to get anything done. Mondays are typically my day off -- so I am enjoying that. We are getting crazy at work and there is a lot of stuff going on with people changing positions and stuff that has got my head spinning. As much as I love the holidays, I will be glad for the calm down of January. Well I had better get to the baskets of folded laundry that are staring at me wanting to be put away :)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

What a week -- I had good intentions of blogging -but to no avail. Mary came down with the stomach flu on Monday night complete with vomiting, etc. -- and was basically lethargic and non-mobile all day Tuesday. I put in 40 hours at work, and then last night I was at the emergency room with Katie who has a double ear infection -- and she is not doing well. She was running a 103 temp and was basically lethargic and cranky -- definitely not good. She has those numbing ear drops now, which seem to be helping and they put her on an antibiotic. If I could get some sleep we would be in good shape.

Thanksgiving was good -- pretty laid back and uneventful - just the way we like it.

I also had the grandson of a good friend of mine die over last weekend which was really hard. He was born a few weeks early -- they induced the labor because they saw a spot of blood on his brain and they didn't think a vaginal delivery would be a good option. When he was delivered they ran a bunch of tests and determined that it was a brain tumor that was rapidly growing. They rushed him to the hospital at the University of Michigan, but he slipped away the next day. So that situation has been weighty on my mind as well. It's been quite a week. I have an 8 hour shift tonight --- crazy. I hope to write more often this week.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Where does the time go? Is Thanksgiving really this week? Hard to believe. Things here are crazy. I am working a ton (which is not a new development) and there has been a lot of 'drama' at my Kohls recently. Not sure what's causing it -- but it's crazy. Bill's work is just the opposite -- winding down for the winter. The girls are both busy with school. Katie is thriving, making good progress each day. I continue to be really happy with her new aide, Amy - and I am so excited to see her participating in group projects and saying new words. It's so thrilling for us. Mary is preparing for her school Christmas program. We are trying to practice the songs each day. I feel like I will never be caught up with things at home. Thank goodness for my mother who came over on Saturday while I was at work (so my dad could watch the football game with Bill ) and she put away my baskets full of laundry that I had washed and folded but hadn't quite finished up. She even finished my wash. I am blessed by her. She is fabulous! And she knows how desperately I needed the help. I feel like with the 40 hours of work and carting the girls all over town that I can barely get the house picked up, let alone thoroughly cleaned. Plus my ebay has been really busy as of late -- must be the holidays or something, so I have been trying to keep up with that when I get home from Kohls in the wee hours of the morning.

Well, I had better run -- lots to do and never enough time...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I can't believe that I haven't "blogged" since Monday -- it's been a busy week. Katie has a wonderful aide named Amy. She is great! Katie has had an excellent week in school - no class tomorrow -- but she has said "all done" several times, she has colored, participated in craft projects, sat at circle time, and has been great! Bill and I are so thrilled that she is thriving in class.

It snowed here last night -- yowsa! The roads were straight ice on my way home from work. It snowed most of the day today as well. Of course that makes my Mary very happy -- except it was too cold for them to go out at recess (after I made a special trip back to school with her boots and snowpants.) Kohls has a big sale tomorrow and Saturday, too -- and with all of this snow we will be crazy busy!

I'll try to write more tomorrow. No school for either of the kids----

When are Bill and I going to find the time to go see "Goblet of Fire"? It is supposed to be awesome -- can't wait to see it -- it is by far my favorite book of the series.

Monday, November 14, 2005

As if things couldn't get any more crazy, I took Katie to class this morning and her newly hired aide has pneumonia! Yikes. So, there was a sub -- which is fine, I don't want someone with pneumonia coming into my child's classroom -- but it just seems par for the course at this point. Katie had a good day. Her well -child check-up was great -- she was happy and responsive and participated in the check-up which is more than she has ever done before. He wants to see her again in 6 months just to make sure that we are covering all of the bases with her and keeping ourselves from missing anything that would be beneficial to her. She did well in school today, too -- so overall a good day. Both of the girls have school tomorrow -- so I will get about 1 1/2 hours of free time (that is how long Katie is going to class -- we are stretching it out a little at a time) - I think I just want to have a big capuccino and snuggle up in my bed for an hour --- that sounds divine!!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Well, I am finished with day 7 of 7 in a row at Kohls. Thank-goodness! I am ready for a break. Katie has had a good weekend. She has her 3 year old well child check-up tomorrow. I'll be interested to see what her pediatrician has to say of her progress. He is a personal friend of ours. In some ways that is a big bonus -- he is easily accessible, but it can also be difficult because I think he doesn't always want to "tell it like it is" --that maybe I can't handle it. I know now that he knows I can deal with it. Hopefully the check-up will go well. She often cries through the whole thing ---- so we'll see.

Friday, November 11, 2005

It's Friday -- I'm slightly calmer. I don't know what we are going to do. I'm pretty sure that we are just going to let things be -- and not try to cause any more commotion. I feel like I need to do something to bring resolution to my heart though. I'm so torn up inside about how I was treated. I tend to personalize things like this -- and I have a hard time separating myself from it. It's a good thing that I work, because when I'm at work I'm able to be "Kohl's Jill" and not "mom Jill" or "Katie's advocate Jill " -- even though I still am those things, I am just able to pull myself apart from them and concentrate on somthing that doesn't take brain power. I know, I am rambling at this point -- I just feel like I'm in crazy mode or something. Well, I have to work in a few hours -- day 5 of 7 -- can it just be done?????

Katie has a cold again - Bill, too --- I have a feeling this is going to be a rough winter for illness.....Yikes!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Well I finally spoke to the Supt. of Schools and he basically told me that it was unfortunate that his secretary had to take my call on Monday morning as she was very emotionally unsettled due to being in the hospital for a week. Basically he told me that he was not going to be repremanding her, or disciplining her in any way and that I need to "move past it". He said that he was busy preparing for the school board meeting during the week she was out and that that was much more important than posting Katie's aide position. Basically he told me that I need to move on and get over it - and that he isn't going to do anything regardless. He said that he heard her side of the conversation because his desk is right next to hers and he was there when I called. He didn't even apologize for her --- nothing - I told him that I felt her response was inappropriate - and that as a parent in this school district I felt he needed to know that her behavior was unacceptable. HE DOESN'T CARE.

Bill and I have decided to proceed with the out of compliance report since it is dated prior to their posting of the job for Katie's aide. I also am considering filing a complaint against the Supt. and his secretary in regards to their unprofessionalism and I would submit this to the school board. I have to explore the options on this one -- more later....
Well believe it or not they have finally hired an aide for Katie and she will start on Monday. It is one of the gals who has subbed a few times in the ECCD classroom. I think it will be fine. I'm just glad that it is resolved.

The supt of schools finally called me back this morning but I wasn't home -- there is something wrong with Nextel around here and my phone is doing all kinds of weird things. I had called their customer support number and after a bunch of trouble shooting they told me it was my phone and I would need to take it in for service. As soon as I get there they tell me it is a problem with Nextel's towers and there is nothing they can do for me. "You're the tenth person to come in in the last 10 minutes with the same problem and it's not your phone! " Great! I hate Nextel right now - they are driving me crazy. I can't make any phone calls, or recieve any phone calls -- I think I'm going to call and request a credit for 100 minutes or something -- this is ridiculous.

If I'm able to talk to the Supt. I'll try to get back on and make a note about it. My house is so trashed - I really need to spend the afternoon cleaning before heading back to Kohl's. Day 4 of 7 in a row - Yee haw!!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Well I put a call in yesterday to the Supt of Schools to speak to him about the "conversation" that I had with his secretary - but he has yet to call me back. Maybe that is a good thing b/c it is only today that I have calmed myself down about the whole situation. The aide posting is still not on the website, but I am assured that there will be an aide in the classroom on a permanent basis for Katie on Monday. I'm not sure how I will react if there isn't. I'm also not sure how I will handle it if the the Supt. doesn't call me back today. I have a feeling that he wanted to talk to her first and find out what she thinks happened (which I already know to be different from what actually happened.)

Katie doesn't have school today or the rest of the week --- conferences. I asked Katie if she was getting taller this morning, (b/c her pants are getting shorter) and she looked at me and said, "Yes." How funny -- how happy that makes me. She is starting to answer simple questions. Does she really know that she is getting taller - doubtful, but she answered yes and that's a start. If I get a call from the Supt. I'll post about it -- but I work 3-11:30 tonight so it may be tomorrow before I'm able to update...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Well, I have decided not to file the out of compliance report unless there is no PERMANENT aide for Katie on Monday when school resumes (no school W, Th, F). They assure me there will be. I do, however, still have the issue of the secretary who decided to use me as a stomping mat. I called the supt. of schools today and left a message for him on his voicemail that I would like to speak to him about the "conversation" that I had with his secretary yesterday. I am told that he already has a heads up about this -- hopefully this doesn't become an issue of "she said v. she said" as I have already been told that the secretary claims that I was the one who was out of line. WHO IS SHE KIDDING? I never raised my voice one time -- and I was told to call her by the monitor of the whole county's education program. She's the one that told me I didn't have the right to bother her about it. Give me a break! (Can you tell that I am still a little worked up about this?) I really hope that the supt. decides to call me back sooner than later -- or else I may lose it. I am getting really tired of dealing with this.

Katie did have a great morning in school. Apparently they were having music time (in a semi-circle, sitting on the floor) and Katie decided she wanted to participate, so she pushed the kids aside to make a place for herself to sit! How awesome! She never wants to participate in group activities, let alone taking the initiative to make a spot for herself to sit. The teacher was thrilled. On Monday we are increasing her classtime by 15 minutes. We are trying to get up to 3 hours by the first of the year --- that may be a long shot though...we'll have to see.
Well, it's actually super late on Monday night, but it will show as Tuesday on the post because it's after midnight. What a disaster of a day. The posting wasn't on the website so I called the monitor/advocate first thing this morning. She asked me to call the superintendents office and confirm that the position was or wasn't posted. When I called I spoke to the supt's secretary who proceeded to royally reem me out. She had been in the hospital for 5 days and apparently she is the only person in the entire school district who knows how to post a job (not just to the internet, but simply just to put up a job posting --- unbelievable.) Anyway -- she proceeded to twist everything aroud to the point that I was bawling -- she told me that I was going to have to give her a week to get caught up and then I could find out if the position was posted. She wouldn't even let me get a word in edgewise. I was simply just trying to tell her that we were filing a complaint today and I needed to make sure that the position wasn't posted. After I hund up with her -- and I could hardly speak at this point - I called the monitor back and told her what had happened. At that point we decided we had no choice but to file the out of compliance and I made sure to include an entire paragraph on how rudely I was treated by the supt's secretary and how Bill and I have done nothing wrong - and how upset I was that she tried to twist this back on me. If the Special Ed. Sup. had posted the position when he was supposed to, it would have been done before the secretary went into the hospital and none of this would have been an issue. What a nightmare. I faxed over the official complaint this afternoon. I'm not completely sure what will happen now, but the good news is that the position has been posted and he has already interviewed two interested individuals, both of whom have a background with autisic children, so that is a huge bonus. Hopefully I will have some info on the progress of the out of compliance complaint later on Tuesday.....

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Well its Sunday, and I guess I'll be filing a complaint in the morning that the school district is out of compliance seeing as the posting for the aide is still not on the school district website. I really didn't want it to progress to this point. I had hoped that the "word of warning" from the advocate/monitor would be enough to prompt action, but apparently not.

It has been a pretty good weekend. Everyone is finally healthy, even though the weather this weekend has been yucky. I couldn't believe how hard it was raining this morning when we woke up. (And how cold it has gotten).

I have today and tomorrow off and then I have 6 days on in a row -- I can tell that I work retail and we are getting ever closer to the holidays. I can't believe we are this close to Thanksgiving already.

I did want to comment, mostly for my own future reference, that Katie has been eating so well as of late. I don't know if I had mentioned it before on this blog, but in general, autistic children, especially toddlers and preschools tend to be horrible eaters -- extremely picky and very finicky. One day they will eat something and the next they will throw it on the floor with no explanation as to why. Katie has always been a good "drinker", but solids are another story. She usually will only eat crunchy foods (like chips and pretzels), and her new favorite - OREO's, but yesterday she ate 6 chicken nuggets, and a bunch of fries (made at home, not McDonalds) for lunch, and then tonight she ate about that many chicken nuggets again. I think she has finally realized how hungry she actually is. She is growing, too. She has been wearing the same size clothes for almost a year now, but I can see it in her legs that she is getting taller and finally starting to grow -- that is exciting for me.

Well, I'm sure I'll have more tomorrow on the whole "out of compliance" issue.... Goodnight.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Well, it's Friday, November 4 and once again, Katie's aide position is still not posted. I called the monitor for the county and told her I wanted to begin the process of filing a formal complaint for being out of compliance with the IEP. She called the Special Ed Supt and told him that if the position wasn't posted by the end of the day today, we would be filing a complaint first thing on Monday am - and if they don't have an aide hired by next Friday and in the classroom on the following Monday, we will be filing a complaint. She is awesome --- I'm so pleased to have such a great advocate. As of this time tonight, the position is not posted on the school webpage, so it looks as though I'll be filing a complaint Monday Morning. This isn't really how I wanted things to shake down, but I feel as though we are running out of options.

School was good for Katie today. She loves it a lot. I found out that her new thing is trying to climb into the sand table. We have quite a large sand box in the back yard, and she doesn't seem to be able to figure out that the sand table isn't a sandbox, and you can't sit in it, or at least you shouldn't. So now they put sand in a dishpan and let her sit in that. It's pretty funny!

I worked tonite..and I'm tired. I'm feeling much better, but I'm still coughing a little.. not a lot of fun. But I have Sunday and Monday off before 5 days in a row, so that should help knock the cough out for good.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Anyone care to guess what today is? November 3rd and we are now 3 days out of compliance on Katie's IEP. I am starting to lose my grip on this one. Bill and I have decided to file a formal complaint against the school district for being out of compliance with the IEP. I really didn't want to have to go down this road, but unfortunately we feel like we have no other options left. I was able to speak with a wonderful parent who is also in my school district - who has two autistic children ( I can't even imagine) and who encouraged me to continue to be Katie's best advocate by pursuing this further with a formal complaint. She feels, as do I, that by filing a formal complaint, they will quickly resolve the situation by posting the aide position, so that they will again be in compliance with Katie's IEP. I called the special ed supt. again today, and again received no return phone call --- so this is where we are.

On a lighter note, Katie said "Please" today when they asked her if they could button up her OT vest (a weighted vest that she often wears during therapy). How exciting. It is great to finally see her use purposeful speech at the age of 3.

I don't have to work today, and I actually caught a nap this afternoon while Katie was napping --so from that aspect it has been a great day.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's NOVEMBER 2 and the school still has not posted the aide position yet. The aide was supposed to have been hired and in place by yesterday. I'm getting really frustrated. Katie was in class this morning and she actually said, "Hi, Jen" to one of her teachers in the hallway. It was awesome. It just shows me how important it is for her to be in class every day. She is doing so well -- and really showing daily improvements...but it bothers me that I have to fight just to get her IEP implemented.

I worked til 12:30 last night, and tonight again, too. I just bought some yummy French Vanilla Cappuccino at the store...I'll have to brew a gallon of it this afternoon to keep me going...but the good news is that I have tomorrow off. Hopefully I'll have some good news about Katie's aide today...I'm going to call the supt. right now!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Well it's Tuesday, NOVEMBER 1st, and Katie's IEP is supposed to be effective today. She did go to class this morning (and loved it) and there was a sub there, who seemed to be perfectly fine... and let me state that I have no problem with a substitute aide, my problem is that they were supposed to have a "permanent" person in place by today, and they don't. Katie said "all done" today and was really happy all morning. I'm so excited that she continues to excel in that environment. If they don't have a permanent fixture in place by next Monday I am going to have to see what our options are.

And, by the way, I didn't punch out of work til 2:20 AM last night, or should I say this morning, so I am once again wiped out. Plus, good 'ole Kohls is open until Midnight I should be good and tired tomorrow, too when I have to get up to take katie to school....thank goodness for coffee, b/c I am going to be living on it!!!!

Monday, October 31, 2005

So it's Halloween...yikes! What a day. What a weekend for that matter. I am feeling a bit better as I said in my last post, but I still have the horrid cough, and I'm tired. The teacher's of Katie's class decided it would be better for her not to go to class today -- I probably mentioned that already, too...but according to her IEP she is supposed to start going to class everyday starting tomorrow. I get a call from the Special Ed Superintendent this morning and he tells me that they have yet to post the position for the aide, but that should be done sometime today. Apparently he has been busy. He then proceeds to say that there isn't a qualified sub available because the only one they have is filling in for the aide who broke her ankle a few weeks ago. He then said that because of this Katie may have to wait another week or so to be able to attend class. When I hung up with him I was fuming. Her IEP says November 1 --- I'm sorry that he has been busy, but that isn't my problem. Katie needs to be in class. So, I called Katie's teacher and she said to go ahead and bring Katie in the morning. They will get a regular sub for the main teacher, and the main teacher will be Katie's aide. What a huge mess. I told her I was really sorry, and she just kept saying "you are Katie's best advocate and you have to stand up for her. She needs to be in class tomorrow." And I agree. She will be there, but all I have to say is, this had better be resolved by next week, or I am gong to have to start causing some commotion!

Well, I need to finish getting the laundry put away before we head off to Halloween Extreme...Mary is so excited . Our church has a huge party with inflatables and the works -- it's a lot of fun..

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I'm finally starting to feel better!!! YEAH!!!! It is nice to sound a little more like myself... and feel a little more like myself, too. I have now worked 4 closes in a row, but I have tomorrow off to hang out with the sickies and start to feel better -- and there is a Nascar Race, it should be a good day.

I'm told that while I was at work tonight Katie decided to jump off of pieces of furniture and "catipult" (to quote my mom) herself at the mini-tramp that we have for her in the front room. She uses the mini-tramp to "regulate" herself -meaning that when her sensory system gets overlaoded, she uses the tramp to get herself calmed down and organized. She has been really into jumping lately, though.. and it's dangerous.

My kids trick-or-treated at Meijer today -- okay, where have we gone to that our kids have to trick-or-treat at the grocery store.... too funny.

I'm looking forward to my extra hour of sleep tonight with "fall back" -- but I'm sure that means that Katie will be up at 6. :)

Friday, October 28, 2005

I am really tired of being sick... and I am working 4 closes in a row at work, so I am tired! I feel like my blog has been renamed, "I'm tired of everyone being sick" blog. Yikes. Hopefully we are on the road to recovery. This is day 7 for me, but I think I am on the upward swing. I just sound like a bullfrog....

I am really frustrated about Katie's situation with school. Her teacher called me yesterday to suggest that we not put Katie in class on Monday due to Halloween -- all the costumes might freak her out b/c autistic kids don't have a very good sense of what is real and what isn't. They don't do "make-believe" play at all. Well, after we finished talking about that (which I was totally in agreement with) she mentioned that the school still hasn't posted the position for Katie's aide, and she is supposed to start attending school every day next Tuesday. I put a call in to the Special Education superintendant , but he has yet to call me back. The school will be out of compliance with her IEP if she isn't able to start attending with an aide on Tuesday. I don't like to cause problems, but I am a little frustrated that in the past two weeks they haven't found 5 minutes to post the job. I need to call him back today and find out what is going on. I'm not sure why he didn't call back, unless it's because he doesn't have anything good to tell me and he knows I will be upset.

I have to work tonight...but at least I got a good night's sleep last night.. that was the first in awhile. Hopefully I'll have good news about Katie's situation later today.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I don't have much time b/c I am soooo tired, so I will write more tomorrow, but the Readers Digest Version is that Bill and Katie have bronchitis, Mary has a sinus infection, I have laryngitis, and I'm tired. Katie said "Little Joe" (from Veggie Tales) and "celery" (also Veggie Tales) yesterday while she was staying at my moms. Bill and I were out of town.

Happy Birthday, Emily.

More tomorrow.

Monday, October 24, 2005

This cold is kiling me, and now Katie has bronchitis. I took her to the doctor this morning. Actually I was really proud of her behavior. Usually the Dr.'s office is a disaster with her - because of a lot of her autistic issues, but today was good. She had to miss class this morning, which was a bummer, but she woke up with this horrible cough and she would put her hands to her chest each time she coughed as if to say --- This really hurts mom. That is the hard part about autistic kids being sick -- until they learn to speak, they have very little resource as to tell you how they are feeling. I just feel so badly for her -- hopefully the medicine will kick in and she will be doing better very soon.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I now have the cold that my husband and kids have had for the past two weeks. I am wiped out and sound like snufflelufogus! Mary went to church with grandma & papa today b/c there was no way I could go. Plus, Bill went to his slot-car racing tournament (I'm still not sure why they do that on Sundays) and I didn't want to try to deal with Katie going to church and screaming "DA, DA DA DA DA DA DA" and having no "DaDa" there to rescue her.

Work is crazy. I did an orientation yesterday -- they must have thought I was a freak because I had medicine head so bad that I didn't know what I was saying half of the time. It is nice to have today off -- I need to just veg. Emily and I ran to the grocery store this morning with Katie...that was funny. Emily got to witness the "Da da da da" first hand. I think I will just watch the race (YES, I am a huge Dale Earnhart, Jr. Fan, which I have yet to mention on my blog --- but be sure that will come out from time to time - go #8) and put away the zillion baskets of clean clothes that are stacked in my room.

Okay, I just have to add that while I was blogging Katie got really quiet. I thought she had wandered into the bathroom (remeber that she is not potty trained). She was sticking her hands into the toilet!!! Autism is so much fun!!!!! YIKES! Maybe Katie and I will just have to take a nap this afternoon until Mary gets home. I should have bought more coffee at the grocery store!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Emily and I went out last night -- oh my word -- I needed "girl talk" so bad -- it was very fun! I am always humored when I find people with whom I have a lot of things in common -- you know that you've had a good time when you are sitting in a car at 1 am laughing so hard that tears are rolling down your face.....yikes. But now, I am soooo tired. Of course my kid-zillas were up at the crack of dawn, and the countdown to Kohls is minus 3 hours and counting! I am doing an orientation this afternoon -- that is always interesting.

Katie and Mary are both pretty happy today. When I told Mary that I would be home for bedtime today she was pretty excited! So was I b/c it will be the first Saturday that I haven't closed at work in ages (sorry, Em.)

Well, I need to finish my Saturday cleaning and get the girls some lunch...and I definitely need another cup of coffee..then it's off to Kohl's for me. I'll try to update tonight...

Friday, October 21, 2005

What a horrible night. Bill woke up at 1 am and decided that he needed to go to the emergency room. He came home an hour later and told me he has bronchitis! Yikes. Then Mary (who also has been sick) wet her bed around 3 and then at 6 Katie was screaming. She, too, had totally soaked herself, through her diaper and her pj's and was screaming "da, da,da,da,da," at the top of her lungs. Of course, Bill was so sick from his trip to the ER that mommy -- who didn't get home til midnight from work - had to get up. I got Katie cleaned up and she decided she had had enough of her room and she wanted to wander. Do these kids ever sleep? Then, when Bill tried to leave for work Katie ran out into the garage without anyone noticing. (Very common for autistic kids to sneak out of their houses) Thank the Lord Bill realized it before he backed the car up. He carried her upstairs and put her on the bed with me and said ---- "she's yours" --- it's only 9:30 and I feel like I'm ready for a nap!!!!!
Because of my psycho work schedule at KOHLS - I am just now getting home, so this post is going to say Friday instead of Thursday --is it my fault that my blog clock can't get into sync with my body clock :) Anyway - I am tired! Kohls was crazy tonight. We are having this major sale and it was downright "zoo-ey". Daddy "Bill" was at home with the girls, but as per usual they were all sleeping when I walked in the door -so I havent' had a complete update on how the evening went. Everyone was pretty happy when I left -- except both of the girls still have colds (and Bill, ) Hopefully I'm not next. I hate being sick -- and I hate it when the kids and Bill are sick, too. Katie is especially difficult when she's sick. Imagine feeling horrible and not being able to tell anyone how to help you. It's lovely. I am hopefully that her "new" language skills will soon include "My ears hurt" or "my tummy hurts" etc. That will be a wonderful day.

Okay -- I'll try and post more tomorrow. No school for either of the kiddies tomorrow, so maybe we can sleep in a little --- and then I get to have a little "girls night" action tomorrow (or should I say today!) and I am very excited about that!!! Goodnight.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Katie said "I'm wet" this morning. How awesome! Two days in a row she has made a 2-word statement. For her that is a huge accomplishment. I still haven't heard anything from the school district regarding an aide for Katie -- I was hoping that they would resolve it this week so she could start attending school each day this coming Monday.

I need to clean my house -- I just put Katie down for a nap and Mary is not feeling well, so she is lying downstairs watching Nickelodean. I need to take advantage of the down time to get some things down -- and as per usual, I have to work tonight and we are open until 11!!!! Yikes!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

okay -- I am so tired, but I wanted to quick write about Katie's time at class this am. She did great, although she was wiped out when I picked her up. I could tell she was ready to go home. But she did say "All Done" today to the teacher when they were in the OT room and she was ready to be finished. That is huge for her. I'm trying not to be overly excited about the good progress she has shown this week -- but it is encouraging that maybe something is getting through to her.....

More tomorrow...
Today was pretty good. Mary had school so Katie and I had some time alone .... Katie is still fighting off a cold, which makes her really cranky. We went to the grocery store and then came home where she indulged herself in Dora and Diego for the rest of the morning! She has school again tomorrow. I'm hoping that they will tell me they have hired one of the substitute aides to go permanent for Katie and the ECCD classroom.

I worked, I'm tired....hopefully I'll have more news after Kate's class tomorrow...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Katie's IEP was a success. At least I believe it was. They have agreed to give her an aide 5 days a week -- both for her safety and for her benefit for being able to learn more easily. They have to find someone to fill the postition, so until then Katie can only attend class two days a week -- but they have promised to have the situation resolved by Nov. 1st . My hope is that by next week she will be in the class 5 days a week.

It is hard for me to make the transition to a classroom for Katie because all of her in-home therapies are now ending and I have made friends with all of the therapists -- so it is hard to have to let go a bit of those relationships. They are all great -- and I know that I could call any of them if I need anything. I know that the classroom will be great for Katie. Especially after I found out that she sat in a chair for 4 minutes and actually smiled at the teacher so they could take her picture while she was sitting. Is this really my Katie? I'm thrilled for her that she is showing such good signs of progress. Hard to believe she is 3 --- I guess in some ways she will always be my baby -- especially because she is still in diapers (cloth -- which is a topic for another day) and because in so many ways it is like caring for an infant. She has no sense of danger and you have to look out for her all of the time.

Well, its late and I'm tired -- and of course I need to check in on my ebay......
Monday, Monday. Katie's IEP is today. Thanks for your comments, Susie. I'm sorry to hear that Idaho doesn't have a good program for kids who need help. I am really thankful that we live in a good school district that has an excellent program for kids. It's not specifically an autism program, but she is in a really good speech and language impaired classroom and they do extra things to specifically help her with her autism. I'm hoping that the IEP goes well. There are some issues with getting her an aide 5 days a week (which I think I mentioned earlier), so hopefully we can get that straightened out today.

I don't have to work tonight (oh.. and the answer to where do I work is Kohl's department store.) I am hoping to get a good night's sleep. I need to stop drinking so much coffee, I think it is really messing with my sleep schedule.

Katie did go to school this morning. It went really well. She looked exhausted when I picked her up, but they said she actually sat down to have her drink/snack (which is a rule in the classroom -- but she doesn't like to sit still for anything). She stayed for 4 minutes -- they even took pictures of her sitting there because they were so excited (and they didn't think I would believe them :) )

I will definitely try to post some more tonight on how the IEP went, but for now, my messy house is calling me. Somedays I feel like the laundry never ends!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sundays are crazy. We did first service this morning -- I am so tired. I worked til 10:30 last night -- it actually was an exciting night as I got to actively participate in aprehending a shoplifter. But anyway, now I am home for a brief spell before going back to work for another wonderful afternoon. Sometimes I really wish I didn't need to work .. .that I could just spend more time at home with the girls. Hopefully Katie will be able to get transitioned into her class every day this week and with a little more time for myself, I may be able to overcome my stress about working so much. We have the final portion of her IEP tomorrow. They told me last week that they don't have an aide lined up for her 3 days a week -- and that perhaps I should not sign the IEP until they find someone. The only bad thing about that will be that Katie may have to wait another week or two before she can start going to school every day. I know that Bill and I are her best advocates, so we just have to pray about it and trust God that we are doing the right things for her. Well, I need to run .... work is calling.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Coffee...where would I be without it. I am so thankful that God allowed some man somewhere to figure out that coffee would be a magic substance for mankind!! I'm sipping my vanilla creme cappucino and it seems to somehow take away those headaches and the "sleepy-zilla's" that tend to haunt me on Saturday mornings. I'm still recovering from working til 1 am on Thursday night......and Katie's autism tends to cause her to be an early sleeping in isn't usually an option. Bill had to work this morning, it was mommy to the rescue. They say that bad sleep habits are pretty much consisitent across the board for kids with autism.... and I guess I'm used to it now after dealing with it for 3 years. But, as my body continues to age...(I'm 35 now) I have a much harder time dealing with no sleep than I did in my early 20's when I swear I went weeks with 5 hours of sleep total!!!Well, its time for a refill.....

Friday, October 14, 2005
Well, the birthday party is over. It went pretty well. Katie did great - no meltdowns. We kept the chaos to a minimum which is really important for her. Mary was actually much more crazy than Katie --- Only Bill's dad and my mom and dad came over -- so it was very calm.

For me it was actually nice to not have to go to work today. It seems like I've been working a lot of Fridays, so that was nice for a change. Maybe I'll spend some time on my ebay tonight.....and I'd like to check out some other blogs that I've been told about......

Here is a picture of Mary (left) Katie (middle) and my mom. They are trying to get Katie to blow out her candle. Posted by Picasa
Ask me again why a mother of two young children, and especially one with autism who requires lots of extra attention, is working til 1 am?Yikes! I came home to a house full of sleepy-zillas who don't even know that I have made an entrance! Katie was a crab this evening -- pretty typical of her when she is sick. Bill and I are hoping that her birthday goes well -- she'll probably sleep through her party!

Does anyone out there e-bay? I think I'm addicted. Just thought I'd throw that out there......It's funny when our 4 year old sees me logging on to the computer and says " are you going to do your e-bay mom?" I mostly sell, and I tell you it's a great way to get rid of all the clutter that we tend to accumulate. I try to use the money to do nice things for the girls. Katie requires a lot of special therapy toys for her OT/PT -- so that comes in handy.

Hopefully I'll be able to post some pics from Katie's birthday tomorrow.....

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Katie is in the process of transitioning into an ECCD - or speech and language impaired - classroom, as she turns 3 tomorrow and will be eligible to attend 5 days a week. This morning went fairly well, although she was crying when I went to pick her up after class. She doesn't like to have to do things "out of the box" -- she would rather just "free-play" all day. She did say "go home" while we were walking out to the car with her Occupational Therapist (OT) so that was encouraging. She is so tired.
Both she and Mary have been fighting bad colds - and they both have been cranky - which didn't help with her therapy this morning. Karen (the OT) said that she could tell Katie wasn't 100%. We have Katie's IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) final meeting on Monday to get her set up for her new classroom. We are praying that they will authorize an aide to be in the classroom 5 days a week with Katie. Right now they only have an aide for her on Mondays and Wednesdays, but we know that God will provide just the right person for Katie -- and hopefully by next week :)!
We are just planning a small birthday party for Katie -- she doens't really like all of the crazy-ness and loud noises. Just our parents and possibly Bill's sister and her husband. That will be plenty for her......

This is Katie --- our wonderful, autistic, daughter. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Being that this is my first post, I should probably give some basic background about who I am and where we are in "our life with autism". My hope is that this blog will be a place of journalling for me so that I can look back and see Katie's progress, and truly, our family's process.

We are a family of four. My husband, Bill and I , and our two daughters, Mary who is almost five, and Katie, who will be three on Friday. Katie was officially diagnosed with autism this past March.

Many people often ask how or when we first wondered about Katie's autism, and as her mother I would say that I have known something was wrong since the time she was about a year old. She never liked physical contact or social interaction like our older daughter did -- she didn't like being held, she often appeared deaf to others and she never responded to her name. I remember my grandmother visiting our home and banging tin pans together over Katie's head to see if she would turn toward the sound. She was about 18 months old at this time -- and she didn't turn towards the sound. We began having her evaluated for her speech delay -- or should I say, her complete absence of speech when she was 18 months old. By the time she was 30 months old, we had our official diagnosis, and our journey with autism was officially underway.

Katie's autism behavioral specialist has encouraged me to journal because it can be a great tool in helping you to see how far an autistic child has come. When a friend of mine suggested how much she enjoys her blog, I thought that it might be a great place for me to put down all of my feelings and perhaps be able to share them with others as well...