Saturday, January 31, 2009

Another week gone by...

I really need to try and blog more than once a week - so I will work on improving that. But honestly, between work and trying to spend time with the kids & Bill ( whose birthday is today:) ) I often don't feel awake enough by the end of the day to sit down and write... So here I am, before 10 am, trying to get myself up and going with a blog entry.

Lots has happened this week. After pulling Katie out of kindergarten last week, we have been very pleased with her progress. She is spending about an hour a day in an early childhood classroom with non-autistic children - and it has been great. She spent 2 years in that classroom with that teacher before she was moved to the AI classroom - so she is very familiar with it. We think this was definitely the right move - at least until the end of this school year - and then we will have to wait and see what next year brings.

We went skiing on Tuesday - and Katie is really starting to get the hang of it. She can do almost the entire bunny hill now, but stopping is a fine art she has yet to learn. We were going to go again on Thursday, but the girls (especially Mary) have been fighting ear infections and we opted out on that this week!

Mary's adjustment to third grade continues to go well. She is keeping good pace academically - so as soon as work through a few social adjustments we think she will be just fine. She is working on multiplication tables and just finished a unit in Earth science (which she absolutely loved). She has always had a thing for rocks -- it's kind of funny. Who knows, maybe she will grow up to be a geologist !

Well - I think that is it. We are just going to spend a leisurely day at home enjoying Bill's birthday. There is about 3 feet of snow on the ground now - with more to staying nice and warm inside is a great option! Hope you have a great weekend!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What a week...

Well, it has been a week alright. 5 days of work for me (which is a little much when I'm trying to balance everything else.) Trying to make adjustments to Katie's school schedule and deal with Mary's transition to 3rd grade - basically, I'm spent. Seriously...a mini-hibernation sounds ideal right now - but that's not in the plans anytime soon.

Bill is gone today - slot-car racing. He loves it....and once you have purchased the cars for each class that you race, it's really not that he's gone and I'm here --- doing my favorite hobby (just kidding) laundry. It seems like with work and all I end up spending either one of my days off or Saturday just trying to get caught up on laundry. I also did our taxes today - and e-filed them, so I guess I should be proud of myself for accomplishing that. And no, we don't usually have our taxes finished and filed before the end of January - but I guess I was just feeling motivated - and so while Bill was away, I did them. There is so much good software out there now that basically if you can fill in the blanks you can do your own taxes and e-file them too -- so that is one more thing I can mark off of my 'to-do' list!

If you are wondering about Katie's continued progress, well, all I know right now is that she is officially not going to Kindergarten (probably for the rest of the year) and that her teacher (whom I adore) is trying to find some other options for her. I have been invited to the AI (Autism Impaired) monthly staff meeting for February where they are going to discuss the plan for Katie for next year - so hopefully after that meeting I will have a better idea of where things are headed. To be honest, I'm just glad that she is happy and enjoying school - and that she has a teacher who is all about helping these kids be the best they can be. I couldn't ask for much more than that :)

Well, I should get back to that laundry and probably think about something yummy to make for dinner.....but at least I did get some big things accomplished today ! Yee-hah~

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Step in a Different Direction

So today we decided to take a new step in Katie's educational plan. For the past year and a half Katie has been spending time in a kindergarten classroom for a period of time each day. Today I had a really candid conversation with Katie's teacher about the fact that Kindergarten is just not relevant for Katie - and as difficult a decision as this is, she needs to stop going. It is only frustrating to her - and we certainly don't want school to be an unpleasant thing for her.

A few examples of the frustration would be last week when they were working on money concepts during circle time. Each child had a bowl of pennies. Money has no meaning to Katie so she chose to play with and throw the pennies - b/c she didn't know what else to do with them. Today they were talking about the inaguration during circle time. Okay, seriously, what does a non-verbal 6 year old child care about the inaguration? So of course, she was bored, frustrated and started being a distraction. Basically - kindergarten isn't working for her. She is making excellent progress in her Autism Impaired classroom - but the mainstreaming attempts just aren't working right now. And the good thing is - I'm okay with it. For the first time in this long journey with autism, I'm okay with where she is - and it's okay that it's not where I wish she could be.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bloglifting, Part II

Okay - here's the continuation of the bloglifting post. Once again, credit to Alysa for the idea.
Items in blue are the things I have done.

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud. (football even).
54. Gone to a drive in theater.
55. Been in a movie (yes, I have).
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (sorry, no desire to do this.)
58. Taken a martial arts class (no, but we are getting ready to start Mary in one).
59. Visited Russia (1991).
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies (Mary is a Girl Scout)
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Donated blood.
64. Gotten Flowers for no reason.
65. Gone Sky-diving.
66. Visited a nazi concentration camp.
67. Bounced a check (thank goodness for overdraft protection!)
68. Flown in a helicopter (would love to).
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (thanks, Mom.)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial (several times).
71. Eaten caviar (in Russia -- it was disgusting.)
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job (yes, but it turned out to be a very good thing.)
76. Seen the changing of the guards in London.
77. Broken a bone -- yes, 6 in my foot when I was in fourth grade.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle -- yes, very stupid, but I was young.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon - yes, but I don't remember it.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had my picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House (I've seen it, but have not toured it.)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chicken-pox.
89. Sat on a jury.
90. Saved someone's life.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.

93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Own a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee. (more than once).
100. Married the love of your life...yep!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Life In A Snowglobe....

Yes, it's a cold winter's day here. I should be doing part 2 of my "bloglifting" post, but I"m too tired today -- the girls are home with a "snow" day, but it's more like a "sub-zero" day. I think the teachers were getting tired of having indoor recess all week. I went into work for a few hours and came home so Bill could go to work. The girls are doing crafts, watching videos and basically just chilling out. I, on the other hand, am doing this:

and this:

and I'm really glad to not be out in this:

Well, back to the laundry...and hopefuly more of the bloglifting post later. Happy Friday!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Yep, I "bloglifted" this from Alysa's blog....
The items in Blue are the things I have done :

1. Started my own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band -- no desire really - but I love guitar hero.
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Viewed a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.

7. Been to Disney land/world.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo -- many times.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris (the airport ...but it was still Paris :)
13. Watched a lightening storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had malaria
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - no, but I have seen it. It's amazing.
18. Grown your own vegetables - we do every summer now.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept overnight on a train (and tour bus, car, name it.)
21. Had a pillow fight (too many to count).
22. Hitchhiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill (in my pre-married days).
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a marathon (okay, if you no me you wouldn't have even asked this :)
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person (from both the US and Canada)
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (I have no idea....)
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - to me money isn't what satisfies....
38. Seen the leaning tower of pisa in person.
39. Gone rockclimbing.
40. Seen Michaelangelo's David.
41. Sung Karaoke.
42. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
43. Seen Old Faithful erupt.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked the beach in the moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistene Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

50 more tomorrow....your turn.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Life in a Snowglobe.

Yes, I feel as though we live in a snowglobe. It has basically been snowing non-stop here since Thanksgiving. Honestly, I'm tired of it. We got 6 inches today and are expecting 7-8 more overnight. And yes, I have to be at work at 5 am tomorrow - so driving in ought to be nothing less than a treat.

Mary's first week of third grade is behind us, and overall I think I went fairly well. It is going to be an adjustment for awhile...but I still think we made the right decision. Hopefully things will only continue to improve.

Katie is loving school. She actually did very well at therapy yesterday and we didn't have any self-harming incidents, so that made it a great day. Her therapist was really pleased with her progress since our last visit (which had to be all the way back in November). I'm going to try and be more committed to her speech therapy -- and hopeful that it will continue to yield excellent results for Katie - especially when it is combined with her excellent classroom situation this year!

I am glad to be entering back into some level of normalcy. Happy to have the girls back into school and adjusting - relieved to be getting some decent sleep - and thrilled to actually be crossing many things off of my 'to-do' list which seems to be at an all-time length as of late. Always so much to do -- so many post holiday errands and organizational things that kept getting postponed. It feels good to have cleaned closets, thrown away papers, and to be making progress to a more clutter-free life (which is really the only thing I have that is even close to a New Year's Resolution this year).

Well I should go to bed soon...3:30 am will feel like the middle of the night (because it is!).

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

3rd grade update...

Yes, after 3 full days in 3rd grade, Mary (and mommy, too) seem to be adjusting well. I think we have most of the kinks ironed out (Monday was a little rough). Mary seems to be making friends fairly well...and I am anticipating good things. They started learning their multiplication tables I am glad she is there and somewhat settle to begin that learning process with her new peers.

Katie is also adjusting well to the return to school. Almost surprisingly so. She seems quite happy to be back in a daily routine with her teacher and we are thankful for that, too. I am going to try and take to speech therapy tomorrow afternoon. She hasn't been since early November, so I'm not sure what her reaction will be. It seems her aversion to transition has grown -- and when we leave school and go places - or vice versa - this is when she often develops self-harming behavior (like when she slammed her face into the sink at school and blood was basically everywhere....). So, with that said, therapy days are always kind of a wild-card. I'll be interested to see how tomorrow goes. We have skiing tomorrow night, too -- but it has become very cold here - and is supposed to keep dropping - so we'll have to see how that develops -- maybe I'll actually get to take some pictures.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Third Grade?

Today is Mary's first official day as a third grader. Just before Christmas break we completed the testing to have her accelerated. We weren't sure what that would mean - at first we had anticipated a split day between 2nd and 3rd grade - but the schedules of the two grades are completely opposite and made it impossible for a partial day split to work successfully. As a result we decided to go ahead with a complete grade acceleration in hopes that Mary will finish the year in third grade and then progress to fourth grade in the fall. This morning was a little bumpy - but I am hopeful of a good report when I pick her up this afternoon.....more details to follow.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A New Year...

I'm always excited about the new year....a new chance, a new start. A chance to get organized, to catch - up, to re-group. It's a good thing. I can't believe how quickly the break has flown by and now I am working tirelessly to get things around for the girls to go back to school on Monday. Mary is accelerating to 3rd grade...a big move in the middle of the year, but we know it is the best move for her. She is a little nervous, which I would expect we've been working through that. We finished reading "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" this morning. What an awesome book. Every time I read it I see more and more in it. I think Mary was surprised to see tears welling in my eyes during the final chapter...but if you haven't read that book -- you need to.

We have had great family time over break. We've watched a whole bunch of movies -- I finally saw "The Dark Knight" -- what a great movie - yes, it was dark, but a great movie. We bought "Iron Man " which was one of our favorite movies from this past year -- and watched it two more times. We laugh out loud a lot during that movie -- so if you haven't seen it - you should!

I am thankful for the retail holiday to be over and am looking forward to resuming a more normal work schedule. I actually have 3 weekdays off this upcoming week, so I should be able to do some additional organizing once the kids return to school. I need to get my calendars changed over and update my address book -- but those tasks can wait 'til next week... We are using today (yes, I'm off work today) to go to the store and get what we need for school lunches (and to return all of the holiday pop cans - yes, we have bottle deposit in Michigan - and those cans and bottles add up quickly) and then a little family movie night. Star Wars Episode II is on Spike tonight...we watched Episode I last night.....

Happy New Year friends...and here's to a little more consistant blogging on my part in the upcoming year!