Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Return to Blogging...

So..yes, I'm still alive. December is notoriously a difficult month for me. I work retail, thus long (and very early this year) hours contribute to a lack of sleep. I also have Mary's birthday to handle the week before Christmas - and then of course, Christmas itself. January is usually a nice slow-down month for us...I am definitely hoping for that this year.

I will just highlight a few things from this past month ....

Build-a-Bear. My first official trip. Wow, why couldn't I have invented that place! A true windfall for sure...but my kids both (yes, even Katie...seemed to love it.) Here are the girls modeling their new Holly & Hal Moose "Bears".

We also have started doing the Special Olympics downhill skiing program. It is truly a highlight each week. The pics I have taken aren't great, so I will try and get some when we go this week. Both of the girls (and Bill & I) are able to ski and use the lifts at no charge - which is truly an amazing gift for us. Both of the girls are taking to it with rather amazing quickness...only a few tears so far - so we're doing well. The place we ski has a "magic carpet" which is basically a conveyor belt that the girls can ride up the "bunny" hills - this prevents them from having to learn the rope tow right away - and if you are a skiier - you know that the rope tow can actually be harder to master than most basic skiing skills!
Well - I guess that will do it for now. I need to go and get caught up on all of my favorite's been way too long.... See you soon!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The World in Which We Live...

Well it's been another week in our world....Gas is "cheap" 1.63 here. I can't even remember the last time gas was that price. That has definitely been the highlight of the news lately. It is nice to be able to drive around town without feeling guilty about "wasting" expensive gas.

We are getting ready to start Katie on a new med. We are also increasing her risperdal, so we'll see how that goes. There are concerns whenever we adjust Katies' prescriptions, so we're hanging on for the ride to see how things go. The risperdal is the one that gives her such terrible constipation, so we are a little concerned about how the dosage increase will affect her. The new med is commonly used for ADHD - we are giving it to her to try and decrease her OCD which has become completely out of control. ADHD meds aren't commonly used in autistic kids - because it's a different part of the brain - but for OCD this one is supposed to be helpful. I'll keep you all posted on how it goes. We are hoping to start it on Monday. Bill has the week off, so if we have any issues/side effects with the medicine, Bill will be around to help.

Well..not much else happening here. I have a busy weekend of work in the world of retail.....More later.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back to the Land of the "Blogging"

Wow, have I ever been out of it. I returned from Girl Scout Camp a week ago - sick -- very sick. Then the girls and Bill both became sick -- and it just turned into a sicko week. So no blogging for me. I did take some really cute pics at Girl Scout Camp - so I wanted to post those..and we also have now had our first "real" snow of the season - complete with icy roads and a snowman in the back yard - so I wanted to get the snow pics up too. I had to laugh because when I was uploading my pics, I realized that I hadn't even finished uploading the girls Halloween (70 degree Halloween :) pictures - so I guess I'll post some of those too -- so hang on- because I have no idea how many pictures I am going to post :)

This is the Halloween pic that I love. The crazy snow-white and the tom-boy. Too cute with their pumpkins. The warm weather made for an awesome trick-or-treating night.

This is Katie enjoying her PBJ before trick-or-treating...I couldn't sit like that and eat even if you paid me the big bucks!

They made pumpkin pie from scratch at Girl Scout Camp.

First attempt of the year at a snowman. Too funny :)
So that is it...the week I missed in the blogging world. Now I need to get caught up on the happenings of all my friends....They are forcasting more snow for this week....some good pictures could lie ahead. Have a great week!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Sick & Tired - Literally

Yes, I'm getting sick. I've had a relatively healthy Fall - even the kids for the most part other than a random ear infection and Katie's whole issues with the toilet -- but otherwise, it's been good. However, I woke up today feeling that horrible "I'm getting sick" feeling..the scratchy throat, runny nose, wishing you could crawl back into bed and never get out" feeling. (especially at 4:30 in the morning.) The extra bad part of it is that Mary and I are leaving for girl scout camp tonight. Nothing like sleeping in a cabin on a mattress on the floor with 25 girls to help you feel better :) I'm trying to be positive about it - as I know Mary will have a blast - but I am exhausted. This is actually a special camp where the girls are going to prepare a Thanksgiving feast for all of us to eat Saturday night. I know it will be fun -- I just pray that my body can hang in there. I'll try to take some cute pics. Last year Girl Scout camp provided this entertainment :

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Blonde Snow White

The girls don't have school tomorrow - so they celebrated Halloween today. (By the way, Halloween was the bonus spelling word in Mary's class this week :) Anyway, I hardly recognized my own child once we got the wig & make-up on...she was one interesting Snow White -- not exactly meek and mild - she's a little too outgoing for that. Katie did not "do" Halloween at school this year - after last year's disaster - when I determined that autism and Halloween don't mix very well - we decided to let her party with the kids in her room, but to not dress her up and not have her walk in the 30 minute parade around town. Yes, the whole school parades around town in their costumes -- it's a treat :)
More later - need to go nighty night. ..but as a quick note, Mary and I went to see High School Musical 3: Senior Year tonight. It was cheesy - but that's another post. I know Mary will be trying out the new dance moves soon....if you have young girls it is definitely a must see, but I'm prediciting "Beyond High School Musical : the Wedding" in about a year or so :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dancing with the ???

I saw this on a blog I enjoy reading when I visited this morning. Just thought it might make you smile as big as I did. Too funny...any thoughts?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wow...lots to update...

Well, first I must apologize for my absence from blogging -- or only brief blogs - the past two weeks have flown by. I'm now sitting at the computer as Mary lies in our bed reading "Judy Moody Gets Famous" to me. I am amazed that I am old enough to have a child who lies in bed and reads to me. It's funny. When she's done I will read this to her. A chapter a night and we are making good progress. I am so thankful that we took her to get glasses. It has helped her in so many ways. She has always been a good reader, but with her glasses she can read longer without headaches and it provides a good opportunity for she and I to spend time together each night. :)

If you are a facebook friend of mine, you are probably aware that we have had some issues with Katie's health --let's just summarize by saying that autism and toileting don't always go very well together -- and if something doesn't change we may end up with a child in the hospital at some point. We are praying for some long term solutions to her ongoing issues in hope that we will somehow be able to teach her the importance of being able to go "#2" :) So if you are a praying person, please pray for her that somehow, someway we would find a long term fix for this.

Bill & I are both very busy at work -- October is always crazy for us. We are hoping to take Mary to Cedar Point for a Halloweekend visit soon -- we bought buy one day get one free tickets earlier in the season and haven't used the second day yet. We're hoping the weather co-operates.

Much more to tell, but I'll save it for another post...Narnia is calling. Goodnight :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gotta Love Fall

What a nice Fall we're having..and gas is 2.68 that makes it even better.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Addicted to Craig's List

Well, here it new "addiction" -- Craig's List I know it's not a "new" thing - but I have that same giddy-ness that I had when I first found e-bay. I still love e-bay...but e-bay costs money - and often takes a long time to sell things. On Craig's list I have had things sell within a few hours -- and usually the person lives close-by and you can just arrange to meet and swap or pick up the item. Much more convenient. Now that my ten-shift-in-a-row work marathon is over I was able to spend a little time on my favorite new website...and it was fun.

We have a busy weekend planned. Mary's last soccer game of the Fall is tomorrow morning - followed by traditional last-game-ice cream at the best local Ice Creamery (which is open until 10/31 --so we can get the yummy pumpkin flavored ice cream -- it is amazing!) Special Olympics swimming follows. That went "swimmingly" :) last week, so I am looking forward to seeing how tomorrow goes. Bill is able to come along tomorrow - so that should make things even a little easier on everyone.

I'll try to update more after tomorrow is in the record books - and I definitely need to get some new I'll do my best...Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Birhtday Katie-Bug

Yes, today is Katie's 6th birthday -- hard to believe..... We're having a bacon & eggs party for dinner tonight. That's what she wants (well, we think that is what she wants). I'll post pictures later...but HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATIE -- WE LOVE YOU!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's late and I'm tired. NASCAR is on in the background and I'm not happy because Dale Jr. crashed early...but that's typical as of late. Everyone (even the pets) is/are sleeping except me..but that is okay. I'm just wound up. I had to work tonight (that happens every now and then on a Saturday night) and I can 't just come hope and fall right asleep. My body doesn't work that way.

We did have a great day. The weather was beautiful (70 degrees) and Mary had a soccer game. Then we went to Katie's Special Olympics swimming for the first time. This is actually a new program that Special Olympics is working on where they partner a special child with a college graduate student who is working on a Masters Degree in some Special Education related area. The student partners with the child for 10 weeks. Katie was able to swim for an hour - with no cost to us - and Mary was also able to swim - so that was a big bonus. Bill & I can swim, too - but Bill wasn't there - and I took the "pass" option this week. Katie is a very good/strong swimmer for a soon to be 6 year old -- she really doesn't need someone "on" her - just someone to watch her. Her student partner was great with her. She is a gym teacher who is working on her Masters Degree. She was great with Katie -- and we got to talk a lot about autism - so that was great, too.

It's been a busy week and the next one looks to be just the same. I'm not sure what it is about October, but it always seems like such a crazy month. Monday is Katies' IEP (Individualized Education Plan) which is a legal requirement in the state of Michigan for all Special Education students. I am not anticipating any problems this year - which is new for us. We have always had issues - but the new teacher has made our life MUCH easier this year. We are thrilled. (Katie - with the help of a sentence strip - actually said "I - See - Bat" this week - on several occasions). In case you are wondering why she would say that she saw a bat - her teacher has a surprise box with halloween items in it - and the item Katie picked just happened to be a fuzzy little bat - which was actually kind of cute. Monday is also Bible Study Fellowship - which Mary and I both attend - and (of course) I have to work during the day - so that ought to be a nice full day.

Tuesday is Katie's 6th birthday -- words cannot express my feelings about that. I am hoping to get my brain together and do a special post for her birthday.

Wednesday is just another busy day with work, music makers and more miscellaneous activities .

Thursday - can I even think that far ahead. Soccer practice - work (both morning and night for me -- I don't want to talk about how I was "suckered" into doing that......)

Friday - my first day off after 9 days of work in around (or 10 shifts in a row if you count my double on Thursday) I should be in great shape by then ;)

I could go on, but I'll spare everyone the details! Have a great end to the weekend...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Well, it's October and life is busy - and I thought that perhaps my blog needed a facelift - so I'm trying out a few new looks - don't be surprised if I change things up for awhile until I'm completely happy - but hopefully this "new look" will spur me on to more consistent blogging! Enjoy - and let me know if you see anything that you like -- input is always welcome. :)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Mary's Glasses

Yep, Mary now has I told her I would post her beautiful face here. Katie was "jealous" so I am posting a pic of her in her "glasses" -- which are actually one of my great Dollar Store deals! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Well with the beginning of October, cold weather has descended upon Michigan. That makes life a little more complicated for us. No more outdoor swimming for Katie -- she was still "swimming" as of last week -- it was still in the high 70's here - even though our pool has been down for several weeks now. It also means that Katie has to wear socks -- which is on her list of "dislikes" - but she is becoming more tolerant of them as she gets older. They fly off of her feet the second she gets in the house after school! Cold weather also means that these are not a good option for her - even though they are her favorite.. She likes to wear them all winter -- but we often get weird looks for that! (and no, I don't buy the brand name ones, Family Dollar has great ones for 2.99 -- and sometimes Meijer has them for 4.00 - so that is usually my preference -- HELLO! we're on a budget people! Although I must say that now that gas has come down under 3.50 a gallon here - our budget is much improved !!!

Not too much else to report. The girls have a big walk at school tomorrow - it's the fundraiser for the parents club, of which I am the Sr. Co-chair, so I'll probably be spending a few hours at school tomorrow. I'll try to take some new pics -- it's been awhile -- and I need a new profile pic for my facebook page, too!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend Update...

Well the weekend has flown by...and I have a few updates, so here goes.

Katie is doing much better. Her mouth has healed up nicely and her ears seem to be feeling better - so I'm hopeful for an "event-free" week of school. We were going to start Special Olympics swimming this weekend - but we postponed it for one week to make sure she is feeling 100 percent. I'll try to do a post on that next weekend after we go. We're very excited about getting involved with Special Olympics.

Mary had an awesome soccer game on Saturday. She has two games this week. Her coaches cancelled practice - for which I am thankful. Once again we are in a "something is happening every night" week - so that will help a bit. She is continuing to do very well in school. We are a little concerned about her vision. I need to call tomorrow and get her an appointment to have her eyes checked. We have been noticing that she has been sitting closer and closer to the TV when she watches it - and when she reads she holds the book/paper right in front of her face. Bill has "eye issues" - and so does my Dad - so we figure we better check it out just to be safe.

On a "Jill" note - I have enjoyed the first week of "new TV". I'm so thankful to have a DVR so that I can watch the good shows whenever I have the time - even if that means 3 days after they were originally on. Bill & I all skate to Survivor & Amazing Race - but everything else is a singles skate for the most part. Knight Rider and the Sarah Connor Chronicles could end up on the couples only list too - but I don't have enough time right now for all of those.....I did watch the first episode of the final season of ER - and I have to tell you - if you missed it - it was amazing! I used to watch that show years ago --(12 years ago to be exact - when Bill & I were dating) and we both loved it. I have watched it off and on since then - but I must say that it is shaping up to be an incredible final season. So, if you used to watch it, you might want to think about coming back for the final season. (and no, NBC is not paying me --it's free advertising :)

As not to leave him out, Bill is good - but catching his annual Fall cold. His work will start getting busy here in a week or two -- usually when the weather turns colder, which is supposed to be this Tuesday here - so we'll see. He and I are planning our annual Chicago business trip for his work for the end of the month - I'm looking forward to that -- it's always nice to get away. My mom watched the girls for us - so it's a nice mini-vacation.

Well, I probably should think about bed for the night. All of the other members of this house - even the animals - are sleeping - and it's not even 10 pm -- so we're doing very well tonight!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Too much to tell...

Wow - a week since my last post, it must be the school year. No new pics - or if I do have them I haven't uploaded in awhile. Things have just been crazy here. Mondays are BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) for both Mary and I. Tuesday is Girl Scouts. Wednesday is Music Makers for Mary (school aged after school music program). Thursday is soccer practice and speech therapy for Katie. Friday might be the only weekday that we don't have a regular commitment. Saturday is soccer and soon starting will be Special Olympics swimming. (I'm really looking forward to that for both of the girls, as Mary will also get to participate in the practices). Sunday is church day and then we start all over. Yikes!

Anyway -- what a day today was. Katie had a small accident at school today. Thankfully I was in the building when it happened -- she had a tantrum in class. She was tired. She had speech therapy first thing in the morning and then we went to school. She didn't want to go to school. After therapy she usually just wants to check out for the day. I had gone down to the office to speak with the principal when I was "summoned" back to the classroom. Katie had thrown a "tantrum" if you want to call it that. She was standing at the sink to wash her hands for lunch when she whipped her head back and then slammed her face into the counter. Blood was everywhere. She ripped the piece of skin inside her mouth which connects your lip to your gums. She also shoved one of her top front baby teeth up into her gum a bit -- but those teeth were already loose - so that isn't a big concern. It took 30 minutes to get the bleeding to stop. We ended up going to the pediatricians office in the afternoon just so they could check her. They said those injuries usually heal fine if the lip can be left alone (hello, this is Katie we're talking about). She also had a slight infection in both ears - so that combined with the need to keep her mouth from becoming infected demanded amoxicillin (sp?) (free at Meijer - big bonus) - hopefully she will be doing much better tomorrow.
Well - that's it for now. Did I mention that good T.V. starts this week? Not like I have time to watch it :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tag, You're It!

My friend Merri tagged me on her here it is....

1. Four Places that I go over & over - The kids school, work, home, the store.

2. Four people who email me regularly - (I'm counting facebook contacts in this one) - Julli, My Dad, Joy, TS

3. Four of my favorite places to eat - Qdoba, McDonalds, Red Lobster, Giordanno's

4. Four places I would rather be - Chicago, Chicago, Chicago, Chicago (Okay, maybe Disney World).

5. Four people I tag- Alice, Alysa, Connie, Jen P.

6.Four TV shows I watch - Biggest Loser, Survivor, Amazing Race, Flashpoint


Busy, Busy

I can tell school's in session. "Busy Busy" is my slogan as of late. It's the third week of school already - that is hard to believe. Katie's class is going exceptionally well, so for that I am thankful. God is good - prayers are being answered. I can't wait to see where she is at at the end of the school year. I have a meeting with Katie's teacher tomorrow to prepare for her IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) which is due next month. I'm excited for what lies ahead for her this year.

Did I mention that I am the "President of the PTA" this year? That isn't what it's called at my girls' school - but that is essentially what I am. It's a huge commitment...I must have had too much coffee when I made that decision - but it's a good thing. It's just another "BUSY BUSY" part of my life. I spent the better part of this afternoon tracking down popcorn supplies and lemonade mix for the school's open house on Thursday. I'm tired...have I mentioned that ???

We also have AYSO Soccer, Girl Scouts, Bible Study Fellowship (Mary gets to come with me this year), Music Makers, Speech Therapy, and did I forget to mention WORK!!! and just being a mom. Nope, I"m not busy!

Well -- off to soccer practice....gotta go

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Fair

One of the coolest things about where we live is the fair. We have one of the best fairs in the State of Michigan not too far from our home. The best part is that this fair offers something really awesome to all the kids in the county who have something in common with our Katie - they are disabled in some way. All children in the county who are classified as "disabled" are able to attend the fair for free each year. They have a special day (which is always the same day that the Veterans are honored at the fair) where all of these special kids come to the fair. They get free rides for 2 hours in the afternoon (before the rides open to the public) and they get to tour all the animal barns and exhibits for free. This is the fourth year that Katie has been able to come to the fair... Wow, has she come a long way! When we went just before her third birthday we couldn't get her to go into any barns or get near any animals. She was completely disturbed by the smells, sounds, and everything that goes along with the fair. Today...this was Katie.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Do you remember...

...that scene from E.T. where E.T. is hiding in the closet and blends in with all of the stuffed animals....

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day of School

Hard to believe ...but I am now the parent of a second grader -- and of course, our special Katie. The new header picture is my favorite...Katie getting ready to leave the house for school. Here are some of our other "traditional" first day of school pics...

Overall it was a great day. Katie had a little trouble adjusting first thing, but seemed to calm down into a great day. I still like the new that's good. Mary loves her first "boy teacher" as she calls him. He' s all about manners - so I love will be good reinforcement for her. :)
Well...the hectic school pace is already setting in, but I love it. Back to the routine that makes us will be good.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Summer Wind-down

I can't believe that we're less than 36 hours from the start of school..and yes, I'm ready. I am sad to see the Summer doesn't feel like it's going anywhere. It was 90 today - and is supposed to be 90 the next four or five days.... funny, considering we've only had 2 90 degree days all summer before today :)

Anyway, Katie did something funny tonight while I was at work and her daddy was watching her, and I had to share. She has a "beloved Dora couch" that stays in her room - and many nights she actually sleeps on the Dora couch which she puts on top of her bed. Well, daddy was watching TV -- or doing something in the front room. He got up to go check on Katie, and this is what he found...

Yep, this is Katie with her Dora couch on the counter. Funny, I would have thought she would have turned it around to watch the TV....but regardless, this is pretty funny :)

Tomorrow is family day -- finalizing things for school - early bedtimes for the girls (which we have been doing for several nights, and it's actually working well). Maybe a little swimming - yes, the pool is still up. We usually take it down before school starts, but with the hot forecast, we weren't quite ready to take it down.

I am really looking forward to our family getting back into a regular routine. Regular sleeping habits, daily habits (school, sports practices, Girl Scouts, etc.)...and regular work for me... life seems to flow a lot smoother at this house when we are all on a good schedule! So farewell friend Summer..... Fall, here we come!

Friday, August 29, 2008


Well, we got our "home" visit (it wasn't at home, it was at school) on Wednesday...and let me tell you what...I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR FOR KATIE.... We met the new teacher and she is awesome. I really think she is going to be a great fit for this classroom. She "gets" these kids - and if you know or love someone with autism, you realize that is the key -- you have to "get"them - understand how they operate. That was really missing last year.

Katie and I went to school on Wednesday afternoon (Mary went out with Grand-moo). We got to the school and all of the aides and therapists were "ooh-ing" and "aww-ing" all over her - and she loved it. They commented on her "newly blonde" hair -- and once again we got the "where did you take her to have her hair highlighted" questions, which still crack me up. She only "complained" once when we pulled into the school parking lot, but other than that there wasn't a whole lot of screaming or crying -- and we had anticipated a lot of opposition - considering that as of last week, she was still screaming every time we headed down the road that leads to their school.... So, YEA!!! I can't wait for Tuesday. I'm really excited to see what lies ahead for Katie this year.

Monday, August 25, 2008

How Time Flies

I can't believe a week has flown by since my last post. Bill was on vacation all week - so we stayed pretty busy. We spent a lot of time out at the lake where Bill's Dad lives...with Katie learning to swim and jump off the diving board we had a great time.

We went here on Wednesday. It was loads of fun as it always is. We try to go once in the summer and then back on a Saturday in the Fall for Halloweekends. We left Katie with my mom this time..and that seemed to work out better for everyone, Katie included.

School finally starts a week from tomorrow. I think that 13 weeks is far too long of a break...especially for kids like Katie. They lose so much in that time. I'm actually already in my "advocate"mode. There is a new teacher in her classroom this year. If you follow my blog or know me personally, you know that we had far too many problems last year with Katie's school situation. I'm hopeful that this year will be much better. We were promised that the kids would have the opportunity to either have a home-visit by the teacher prior to the start of school, or at least would have the chance to meet the teacher at school prior to the first day -- but it's not looking promising. Katie still cries everytime we drive down the road towards her school - so I'm trying to remain positive - but next week could be a little trying - so keep us in your prayers.

Well, I'm off to soccer practice for Mary and then work.... more later.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Katie lost her first tooth yesterday. She also proved to us that she can swim in deep water (she's only 5) and she can jump (over and over again) off of the diving board. It was a big day for her. Don't laugh too much at the picture -- that was the only way we could make sure you'd be able to see her teeth ;)


If you know me, you know I love NASCAR..and especially Dale Jr. He's it for me! (Bill knows, and he's okay with it :)....
Well, a dear college friend of mine who has been involved with MRO was able to call in a favor and get Bill & I passes for the pits and the garage area of the Nationwide race at Michigan this past weekend. My mom and dad watched the girls so that we could go -- and let me just tell you, it was amazing. We had a great time, the weather was great - and I got to see so many cool things and people. It was one of the best days of my life -- and I think that is saying a lot.
The only thing that would have made it even better is if my Moody friend could have come out from Phoenix and gone to the race with us...... Thanks for everything, Tony. We had a blast!

Friday, August 15, 2008


Yep, convicted. That's really how I felt last night. I had worked long early days on Wed & Thurs. (up at 4:30 am) and by last night I was really tired. Mary has going to VBS all week - and it has been obvious that she has been having a fabulous time. Last night was family night and she had been begging at least one of us to take her - knowing that we wouldn't all go because Katie wouldn't be able to handle it. I hemmed & hawed and tried desperately to get out of it....but finally at 5 minutes to 7 she convinced me (in my extremely disheveled state) to walk out the door and take her. We were 10 minutes late - which is totally not I was a little off from the start...but you know was awesome. The kids sang all of their songs. It was very cool. They showed slides and talked about what they had been learning. 12 children had already made salvation decisions and 2 reassurances of salvation - AWESOME. I was feeling really awesome by the time we left.
Mary was given a CD with all the songs from the week on it - she loves to sing so she did a mini-concert for Bill when we got home because he was not able to go. We also found out that Mary had made a salvation decision this week --so great!!! She did ask Jesus into her heart on her 4th birthday -- but I think she was just so young then...she told us last night that she knew she had asked Jesus into her heart then, but because she didn't actually "remember it, she wanted to do it so she could remember it -- and I was like -- that is just fine! How great!!!! We were thrilled to hear that she had done it independently. Today is the last day of VBS - and if I don't get moving she'll be late...but I just wanted to share .....

Bill & I are going to the race at MIS tomorrow -- so I'll have more later.. Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Skinny Dipping....

Okay, no pictures with this post, but I don't know what it is lately. Katie is obsessed with swimming (no secret) the nude. She gets out in the pool and strips all of her clothes, swimsuit, (whatever she is wearing ) off. She might be in the backyard to play -- in clothes, and she whips her clothes off, and there she nudist. Thank-goodness we have a 6 foot wooden privacy fence -- but still. As soon as I see her I make her come in and put a suit on...but usually, it's off within a few minutes. She did this a few times last summer...right towards the end of summer (kind of like right now). I don't know if it's just that she swims so much she gets tired of wearing a suit...or what.....

Well that's my thought for today. If you have any suggestions on how I can keep a swimsuit on her....suggestions are welcome...and no, I don't think duct tape will work :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summer Synopsis... week-long absence from posting has not been intentional...but summer is flying along. I worked 5 days last week, which I haven't done all summer. So, as a result I haven't had much time to do anything on the computer. Katie is at respite today and Mary is at another VBS - so I have a little time to get caught up on housework and spend a little time blogging and surfing....

Last week was good - just a little crazy. Work always adds to the mix. Bill has been continuing to work long hours as well -- he is on vacation starting this Friday and I can't wait. We have some fun things planned for next week including the Carfax 250 at MIS. We are so thrilled to have all-access passes thanks to a great friend of mine from Moody who has connections. My parents are going to watch the girls and we are hoping to have a wonderful day. We didn't get to do anything major for our anniversary in July - so this will make up for that :).

The girls are doing well. Katie continues to swim daily - I told Bill that I wonder if she could ever become as good as this amazing swimmer whom I just love watching every day on the Olympics. Bill & stayed up way too late last night watching the relay....AWESOME..that's all I can say :) Mary was thrilled to be able to do a second VBS this summer... Outrigger Island if you are familiar with VBS formats.

Mary also had her first Build-a-Bear experience yesterday. I'll try to get a picture of her when she gets home from VBS. She & the bear hav matching shirts --- it's cute. Yes, it's a High School Musical Build-a-bear. What will they think of next?

All right - lots to do, so I had better go. More later - and hopefully some pics too :)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Monday Update.... or a collection of random Monday thoughts.

Well, I'm overdue for this post--

We did finish Mary's room. I had posted pics on my facebook page but realized I didn't put them on the blog, so here they are. The one is really dark..but the other two will give you a pretty good idea of how pink it really is. It's like walking into the inside of a piece of Hubba Bubba.

She loves the room - I'm just glad it's done & clean. And..she is feeling much better after 4 days on antibiotics....Thanks Dr. Tom. :) I was just thankful that I was able to get her into the Dr. on such short notice.

She appears to have loved camp. They went horseback riding in addition to cleaning, grooming and feeding their horses. She was able to go to Lake Michigan every day -- what a treat. I'm so glad she was able to go, just wish she wouldn't have been feeling so badly. We are hoping to do it again next year...and now she knows that it's okay to let an adult know if your sick --especially if you're at camp.

Katie had respite care today and Mary & I went and saw this movie today. Even though the critics have really given this movie poor reviews - (and I was dreading having to go see it) it was actually very cute. We came home and I took on the project of cleaning out the girls closets and dressers so that I know what they need for school. Yikes -- what a job. If you know anyone that needs a ton of nice girls size 12 or ladies small clothes, let me know....I have tons of it -- and most of it is in excellent condition.

Well, I guess that's it for tonight. I don't know why Blogger won't let me upload pics, but I'll try in the morning so you can see Mary's room. School starts 4 weeks from tomorrow - so it looks as though I'm actually going to survive the summer :)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Busy Thursday

Well I'm pretty sure I'm over my strep throat - or at least the antibiotics have kicked into high gear and I'm feeling much better. A week and good medicine can make a world of difference.

Today was crazy. I had to work at 6 for the second day in a row - so yes, I'm tired. My mom watched Katie as Mary is still at camp. She'll be home early tomorrow....and a big surprise awaits her. My mom & I redecorated her room. I felt like we were on "Extreme Makeover - Mary's room edition." My hair, legs, feet and arms are all "Pretty in Pink" Pink. It's a Disney color - and if I wasn't so tired I'd probably look up the link for you -- maybe I will tomorrow, but at this point I'm simply struggling to keep my eyes open :) I couldn't take a pic of the room tonight because I want to take it with sunlight in the window. It's a really nicely lit room with a morning sun I'll try to take some pics in the morning before Mary gets home. The pink is almost overwhelming - but that's what she wanted. They say pink is a relaxing color. We'll see if that works.
I am so happy that gas has dropped to 3.65 here that I couldn't even wait for a "weekend update" post to share. Not sure how or why that has happened, but my mini-van and my budget are not complaining at all :)

On Tuesday night we were able to go down to St. Joe and visit Mary. We spent some time at the beach which was awesome and we also got to eat some of the most amazing Mexican food I've ever had (better than anything I had while I lived in Chicago, so that is saying a lot.) Mary was so tired that she fell asleep (picture) on the 5 minute drive from the beach to the restaurant. It was quite the evening.

Well, I'm sure I'll have much more as the weekend develops, but for now sleep is calling. Good-night.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

American Girl Doll Camp

This is Mary with Mia & Nicki - they are getting ready to load up and head off to American Girl Camp. I already miss her -- and she's only been gone 2 nights. I spoke with her this morning and she was so tired already. They are going horseback riding today, so she was very excited. She has never been horseback riding before :)
Because it is a day camp and she is staying with Pat (my father-in-law's girlfriend) it is cool because she can call us and tell us all the fun things she is doing. She was too tired to talk this morning (and that says a lot, because just as her mother (me) she usually likes to talk :). Anyway - we are possibly going to drive down there tonight and see how she's doing and maybe hit the beach for a little bit....if so, I'll take pics. But otherwise it's mommy & Katie week. I'm drinking lots of coffee and at present we are watching a lot of Veggie Tales. So far, so good!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Land of Strep

Sorry for the brief hiatus from posting...

On Thursday I ended up at the doctor's office after crying through Katie's entire speech therapy session. I was so sick that I felt like doing nothing but cry. So, I made a doctor's appointment for that afternoon . I had to bring Katie with me (which is never a good option - she hates Dr.'s offices). As soon as they called my name to come back she sprinted for the door and headed to the parking lot. By the time we finally got back in so that I could have my blood pressure taken, I told the nurse, "this might not be good". I was crying again. Katie then proceeded to fall off of her chair and onto the nurses foot while she tried to take my blood pressure. My BP ended up being fine (surprise), but I looked & felt a mess... When the doctor came in she asked me how I was doing, and yes, I started crying again. She checked me out and told me that I had strep and that my ear drum was very close to bursting. Lovely. No wonder I had been crying all day. We also had a really good conversation about parenting autistic children and how it's not always easy (especially when you feel like dog doo-doo and all you want to do is curl up in a ball and go to sleep!) She actually gave me a big hug, an entire box of Kleenex (the good brand-name stuff) and a couple of prescriptions for some good meds to help me feel better. The bummer is that it is now Saturday night (almost Sunday) and I am just now starting to feel a little bit better. Antibiotics help, but in this case they definitely did not work overnight. I actually felt worse on Friday than I did on Thursday. Thank goodness that I have wonderful parents who live close-by and have been a huge help while Bill has been working. It can be very hard to watch Katie when you are sick...especially as sick as I have been . I don't know what it is about strep, but it always kicks my butt. I used to get it a lot in college - and I would dread it because it seemed to take forever to get over. I am doing a little better tonight. My glands are still very swollen -- and my ear is still hurting, but my throat has improved a lot. I've been trying to get Mary packed for American Girl Doll Camp - she leaves tomorrow afternoon -- and that has taken about all of the energy that I have. Her suitcase is packed and her dolls are I'll have more about that later I'm sure. But for now, this sick-o is going to bed. Good Night.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quick Post

This is becoming a crazy week, but I wanted to do a quick update. I have some cute new pics of the girls...if I have time I will try to add them to the post when I get home from work tonight. Yes, work is starting to get busier. That is an answer to prayer -- for as much as I love being able to be home with the girls, the extra income that my job provides is a necessary part of our life. So if you think of it...pray that my hours would continue to increase. Only 5 weeks til school starts :)

The girls are good. Katie is fighting a cold - her schedule is completely out of whack this week. She fell asleep before 7 last night and then spent half of the night playing and "talking to herself" in her room...yikes. Mary is getting ready for American Girl Doll Camp next week. She went to a "Fancy Nancy" party at the library this morning with her friend across the street. I have a picture of her in her Fancy Nancy crown and dress that I will post later on... it's cute. Katie tried on the crown, too, which is also a really funny keep an eye out for those.

The garden is also really starting to come into it's own...we are hoping for lots of tomatoes soon -- I'm not holding my breath for the sweet corn -- but miracles do happen.

Okay - I need to get ready for work -- but look for those pics later -- and I think I was able to fix my music on this page, too -- so I think we're in good shape. Have a great Wednesday.

I was able to get the pics up before I left for work -- so the top is Katie with the Fancy Nancy crown on -- she doesn't look all that thrilled ;) and then there's Mary - the true epitome of Fancy Nancy -- all she was missing was the boa!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mia & Nicki

Mary received a package in the mail today. Her Great Aunt Kay (Bill's aunt) is a fabulous seamstress and makes the most beautiful American Girl Doll Clothes. Mary is going to a week long "American Girl Doll Camp" a week from tomorrow - and Aunt Kay decided to send some new outfits for the "girls". We are so blessed to have an "Aunt Kay" to do this for us...she is retired and has a little extra time on her hands....I especially love the orange crocheted jacket...too cute.

Friday, July 18, 2008

9:15 and All is Well...

As an update to my post earlier this morning....

I'm on my second cup of coffee and feeling much more awake and alive... and ready to face the day. As of 9:15 am here is our status:

Daughter 1 is :

Daughter 2 is:

Pretty typical morning... and I'm moving on to my 3rd cup. Happy Friday.

Weekend Update...Wow Do I Need Coffee...

This hasn't been a big blogging week for me. My hours are starting to increase at work as we head into back to school time...we do more hiring and that means more hours for me:). That is a good thing.....but it also means that I'm more tired and less motivated to do anything when I'm home.....

When you put on top of that the fact that it has been 90 degrees with high humidity for the last 2 or 3 days...(which isn't really that typical for a Michigan summer), you recognize that my kids have hit the mid-summer -- I'm bored-- phase, we havent' gone on vacation yet and the fact that gas in our area hit 4.25 for a 3 day stretch this week (although I hear it may be headed down under the 4 dollar mark after yesterday's drop in oil prices ) -- well, I'm spent. I feel very human -- or maybe I just feel like every other mom out there who works outside the home - torn between work and home -- wanting to be super mom when I am home, but not always feeling emotionally or physically able to be that person. Let's face it, the art of motherhood is a lot of work...especially if you want to do ...well, the best job you can do.

I know, this is getting deep for a weekend update -- but it wouldn't be my blog if it wasn't real, would it.? I think I just need to make today about the girls and I. Bill is at work. The dishes and laundry will be there tomorrow - or tonight after the go to bed. Maybe we'll hit the park before the heat index hits 110. :) ..and maybe I'll take some pictures or even think about re-kindling my love of scrapbooking... but first, I definitely need my coffee.

Wherever you are, have a good day...and remember, that laundry can wait, but your kids can't. And maybe, that's really the key.
This shows you where we've come to at this point in the summer. Laying on the island in the kitchen to watch T.V..... oh well, she's happy. :) Have a great day!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Need a Lift?

Do you need some encouragement? Check out this and watch the video. To see the story behind the video, go here. Thanks to Pastor Pete for once again finding ways to encourage us from hundreds of miles away. Enjoy the music...and take comfort in the fact that our God is the Healer.

11 years and counting...

Well it was quite the weekend to say the least. I have yet to recover as I sit here with my eyes half open. Katie is at respite care today. She & Dorie went here today (which of course made big sister jealous...but we're working on that). Mary & I have plans to go to the park and do some fun things this afternoon. I just wanted to get some things done around the house first...then I can relax without feeling guilty.

Saturday was our 11th wedding anniversary. Hard to believe. We had a great time. We had been given a gift certificate, so we were able to go here for dinner (otherwise, even for an anniversary dinner, this place is way out of our price range...but it sure was delicious.) We had a sitter for the whole evening but called it a short night and came home to watch the race. I know, we're pathetic...but that's just how we are.

On Sunday we did "church" and then came home to tear down the swimming pool, re-level and re-surface the area and then put the pool back up again. It was a lot of work, but the pool looks much better. It was becoming very sloped -- so we should be good for the rest of the summer now :)

Overall, it was a great weekend..but actually a very emotional one for me. I did a lot of thinking, and a lot of talking with both Bill & my Mom about how Katie has changed our life so much, and how she will continue to change our life forever. I think it was part of the ongoing process of having a special needs have to grieve the loss of certain things.. the loss of your hopes and dreams for them - or at least the loss of what you had thought your hopes and dreams were - we have new ones for Katie now... but it's all a process. Obviously when Bill & I were married 11 years ago we never dreamed or imagined the things that have happened over the past 11 years -- and I don't think any couple imagines that they will be parenting a special needs child. But one thing is for sure - we are a team, we are in this together. It is a process of learning and loving and figuring things out day by day. So, happy belated anniversary honey. I love you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

First Fruits

I believe that we have entered the "lazy days of summer" -- at least at our house we have. Katie continues to spend countless hours in the pool (that was the best gift the girls have ever received -- thanks Pa Pa & Grandmoo --) Mary and I have been focusing on the garden which has now begun to bear it's first fruits. We have had a handful of jalapeno peppers and in the picture Mary is holding the first pickle and first banana pepper. The tomatoes are coming, too -- which is for me the best part of the garden. We are still holding out hope for the corn....We'll keep you posted.
We actually were able to do speech therapy twice this week -- therapy is the part of summer which is definitely not 'lazy' - its a lot of work, even at home. We are concentrating this week on having Katie point to objects that she wants and not giving them to her until she points and says the first sound of the word. Easier said than done in the world of autism...but the consistency seems to be paying off.
Well, I'm off to enjoy my lazy day.....
P.S. -- Yes, Katie really is THAT's unbelievable actually. One of the therapists at the hospital actually asked me if we had her hair highlighted (LOL)...nope...she just lives in the pool. (Like she would sit to have her hair highlighted -- she doesn't even sit for a haircut. Grandmoo cuts it while Katie is in the bathtub :)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Good Times... was a good 4th. Katie now loves fireworks. She never used to be able to handle the loud noise. The top picture is her reaction to the great works on the lake. It was awesome. The weather was perfect earlier in the Mary was able to swim. I then took pictures of the fireworks (not an easy task).....and got a great shot of the hubby and I with an amazing sunset. Life is good...How was your 4th?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Weekend Update - Holiday Edition

Well, it's been quite the week....

Mary & I went to see Wall-E on Monday while Katie was at respite. Cute movie with a good 'earth-friendly' message. We will definitely buy the DVD if you get a chance to take a child (or even by yourself) go see it!

Wednesday brought a massive rain/hail/thunderstorm to our area. We were without power from dinner time Wednesday until noon on Thursday. Autism and no electricity don't really go very well together (I think I have blogged on that previously -- as in last summer when we were without power for 4 days). About 2 hours after the power had gone out, Katie was so crazy..she was beside herself b/c her precious videos wouldn't play. I literally sat at the table with her curled around my legs. I was rubbing her back and I prayed, "Lord, I need you to take over here. Please either turn the power back on or do something to help Katie." Within 15 minutes she was asleep, and she slept all night. Thank-you God.

The other good thing that came out of the storm is our new generator. My parents bought us a generator as an early/late birthday, anniversary, Christmas present. They know that with Katie, it is too difficult for her to not be able to watch TV and to not have lights on. She is very OCD and she has to have lights on/off at specific times. Autism is (as I always say) such a complicated illness. So now, we are all set for future power outages (and I won't lose the food in my fridge/freezer, as we have a deep freeze that I use to stock up on meat when it goes on we really didn't want to lose that either.) Thanks Mom & Dad.

The power came back on and we had a good Thursday. Katie didn't get to go to speech either time this week which was kind of a bummer. Ruth was sick on Tuesday and on Thursday we were without power and trying to get the generation situation under control. She goes back Monday before respite. I'm hoping to get an update on how Ruth thinks she 's doing with the blending of the two different vowel sounds. I'm not too overly optimistic as I personally have not seen a lot of improvement with that at home....

Gas continues to hover anywhere from 4.04 to 4.19 in our area....thank goodness for Bill's motorcycle. It's saving our gas budget in a big way!

Oh, and by the way HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!!!!

P.S. The tooth fairy also came this week - I'm not sure how I forgot that. Earrings were the "prize"...good thing the tooth fairy is so educated about what children want when their teeth fall out that she keeps a supply on hand.....

Monday, June 30, 2008

VBS Sure is Fun!!

As promised, here are the VBS pictures. Mary was song drill champion for the week and brought home this colorful caterpillar as the prize.
She had a great week..and spent 5 nights in a row at Grandma & Pa Pa's which is a record for her (and me, too.) I missed her.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Weekend Update..Gas Jumped to 4.19

Yep, you read it. Gas is 4.19. Hello, I live in rural does gas cost 4.19? I can't wait to see how much it goes up this week as we head towards the 4th of July.... Yikes.

It was so hot here today...muggy. Katie lived in the pool as usual. Mary finished up VBS and actually was the song drill champion for the week. Her prize is a 6 foot stuffed caterpillar...(which hasn't yet made it to our house...she forgot it in Pa Pa's trunk.) When it finally makes its way here I will take a picture of her with it. The awards ceremony for VBS is Sunday morning, so I'll get some pics then too.
That's all for tonight. I am so tired. It's sad when you want a cup of coffee at 11 o'clock at night. :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How Time Flies

Mary is at my parents and Katie is fast asleep. I have to work at 6 tomorrow morning (which is a rare occurrence with my summer work schedule) and I can't settle down to sleep, so I'm on the computer. Mary has been gone 3 nights now. She was getting really homesick so my parents dropped her off for the afternoon. I took a good look at her and thought, "wow, she's growing up so fast." It was just the way she "old" not the "baby" that I often think of her as. Sometimes I think I get so distracted by Katie's autism that I forget life is moving forward..that Mary is growing up. I love this picture of was taken just a few days ago. She is perfecting the art of "self-portraits" (something her father and I both love to do). She is also wearing her Dollar Store sunglasses (which happen to be identical to mine..she had to have the same ones as Mommy. ;)....
We had a great afternoon together. She has learned the Books of the New Testament in order and was so proud to be able to say them over and over to me. She also wanted to tell me that Grand-moo had measured her height the night before and she is 4'7" (yes, she's only 7 years old.) She was quick to tell me that means she is only 7 inches shorter than her Mommy...but almost 2 feet shorter than her Daddy. She is very excited because she is now tall enough to ride any ride she wants to at Cedar Point this summer (54" is the required height for several rides). Not many 7 year olds can say that :)
How time has flown my precious Mary! I love you! Great job with the self-portrait!

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Little Bit of "Peace"

Good Morning. I've already had 3 cups of coffee with that awesome coffeemate that I love. I'm home alone. I know, shocker. Last week I started using respite care for Katie. Unfortunately the county we live in doesn't have any money available to help pay for the respite, but, we're making it work. A wonderful woman named Dorie who is also an aide at Katie's school and works with autistic children is now Katie's respite care provider. She also lives really close to our home, so that's an added bonus :) Respite care is intended to provide the primary caregiver (me) with a break. Time for myself, time to get things done --errands that are difficult to do when Katie is with me (groceries, the bank - Katie hates the bank, even the drive-thru), and time just to not have to watch her 24-7. I had planned on 4 hours today, and when I dropped her off at 9, Dorie said, do you want to pick her up at 5? I was like, "seriously????" how awesome. Don't get me wrong, for those of you who know me personally, you know that my girls are my life, and I love Katie more than words could ever express. But, I am human, and getting older , and she wears me out! I need a few hours to myself each week to help me be a better mom to her...and Mary..and a better wife, too. One of my friends who is a single parent to two boys with autism told me that I needed to set up respite, especially for the summer, to help me keep my sanity. I tend to get very emotionally crazed when I don't have a break from 24-7 "motherhood". I also am not working very much this summer, so I don't get that time away this is going to be good.

As for Mary, she is at VBS this week. My parent's church is having their VBS program all week, so she is loving that. She is also spending several nights sleeping over at PaPa and Grand-moo's so that is fun for her, too! :)

Okay, sorry for the "rambling" nature of this post, but I think I'm going to get back to my list of "to-do's". Have a great Monday.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Boo Boo Piggy

I think this picture will speak for itself. Katie is holding the "Boo-Boo Piggy" in her mouth. (In case you are not familiar, the boo-boo piggy is a nice soft piggy that "lives" in the freezer and comes out to help boo-boo's feel better). Apparently Katie decided that following her surgery, the boo-boo piggy would be best suited to hang out in her mouth :) Actually, I think she was sucking on it because she had cut her lip in the waiting room at the hospital when she tried to eat crayons because she was so hungry. :(

Actually, everything went really well. They filled 6 teeth including the one that needed a root canal and crown. The dentist said that she has at least 4 loose teeth that could fall out within the next 6 months or so... (we're slightly afraid she will swallow them) and that he was able to "seal" her first permanent molar that has come in that actually doesn't have a cavity in it! Overall, it was a stressful, but very productive and worthwhile day. By 4 o'clock she was already ready to swim..and she's been eating like a little "boo-boo piggy" ... so I'm pretty sure she's feeling a lot better. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quick Katie note...

Just wanted everyone to know that Katie is having dental surgery in the morning. One of the "joys" of autism is that Katie has never even had her teeth cleaned in the 5 years she has lived on this earth. It is just too difficult -- for her, for the dentist, for me the parent. So, because she now has a few visible cavities (including one in a molar that is quite large and will require a baby root canal and crown) we are going in for surgery tomorrow. She will be under anesthesia as to make the work a lot easier for the dentist. They are going to do x-rays, clean the teeth, do all the fillings, the root canal and the crown. YIKES! She has had two previous surgeries (tubes/adenoids) and does fairly well with anesthesia ... she just has a rough time coming out of it...she gets really disoriented and it's not always a pretty site. So, please...say a prayer for Katie, and for me, too. I worry about her a lot. Pray that we would both be strong and that God's peace would surround Katie as she will struggle with the unfamiliar surroundings. I'll try to give an update tomorrow afternoon/evening once we are home.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Do you ever?

Do you ever feel like God is trying to show you something? Well for me lately, this "something" has been that God wants me to spend more consistent time in His Word. This is important for all believers, but being a parent (and a parent of a special needs child at that) I often feel like I need and desire special guidance from God in how to be the best wife and mother that I can be.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Merri wrote this and I began thinking about how I needed to begin reading the Bible daily and that Proverbs might be a good place to start. I always try to be honest on my blog, so honestly, over the past couple of years I have struggled with my daily Bible reading and study. The craziness of life, autism, work, and all of those things that sometimes take over our lives had gotten in the way of my commitment to daily Bible reading. So, I started reading Proverbs.. and as a parent, this has been a great place to start and renew my commitment to Bible reading.

Then, on a blog that I enjoy reading daily, I saw this, this morning, and was "re-convicted" to make a commitment to daily Bible reading. God is really good and bringing reminders to me when I start to struggle with this new commitment. :)

What do you like to read in the Bible?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Daddy's Day

My girls are so blessed to have a wonderful daddy. Happy Father's Day, Bill! I love you!