Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Little Vacation!

Guess where we are!

So... "HI" from Busch Gardens!!
We're loving out new wagon... for a lot of reasons!


I would have taken more pictures of Broadway, but the rides he went on went a bit too fast to get good shots!
So far, it's been magical!
So... catch ya later!

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Accused!

Every now and then when my hubby becomes tired of the mess that is our home office, a little bratty streak will rear its ugly head. On more than one occasion I have found the "piles" of clutter neatly sitting on my chair or desk - his passive-aggressive way of asking me to clean up the office. Generally it's not just my stuff, but the random items the kids have tossed into our office.

It drives me NUTS!!

On most of these occasions I have responded by politely (or not) letting my husband know that the Barbie purse and its contents don't actually happen to belong to ME and that because he did his part to help create the children, that makes the responsibility of cleaning up their mess part his responsibility by default! 

So this morning when I found my desk like this:


I nearly blew a gasket! I grabbed my camera out of the mess, took pictures (I think that's probably pretty obvious) and started working up in my mind how I was going to approach this with my hubby. Pink camera: NOT mine! Little blue purse full of toy jewelry: NOT mine! Hair products: NOT mine! And the Comet cleaner? That's HIS for heaven's sake!!

Sure - I realize the mess gets out of hand, but I was in bed a lot of this past week with some heart problems! I couldn't even stand upright, never mind clean something. (Yes - I'm much better now... thank you for asking.)

Boy - I had the scathing monologue running through my mind as I started uploading the above picture from my camera card to my computer! I knew exactly what I was going to say to him... right up until the first pictures started flashing up on the screen... like this one...

Yes... that's the little girl who does NOT have permission to go in the office OR use my camera because she broke my last camera. The little pink princess camera is hers!
BUT apparently...


Needless to say, this time the hubby will not be getting in trouble. Someone else will, though! For whatever reason, Iraq is going through a stage where she insists on doing everything she knows she isn't supposed to. She has been punished for each and every act of insolence, but the behavior persists.

*sigh*

If you don't hear from me soon, there's a good chance I'll be back in bed with more heart issues...

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Garden Pictures

Well, the strawberries have officially gone nuts!

They are absolutely sweet and delicious...


BUT...
They are trying to take over the pepper's planter... Can you see that?? The strawberry plant is sending away-teams out of the planter in all directions now.

And from the looks of things, I'll be needing some good tomato recipes soon... we're going to have tons!

These were supposed to be cherry tomatoes... but they apparently cross-pollinated with the regular size plants. They'll definitely be the largest cherry-tomatoes we've ever had :o)

And I don't know how to pickle peppers, but we'll surely have a *peck* of them if Peter Piper comes around.

And the cantaloupe seems to be doing quite well too. I cut back English Ivy to plant them in this area... the ivy doesn't have a chance against this stuff!


And, it looks like we'll soon have a few carnation flowers to enjoy. You simply can't plant a garden with a little girl without planting a few flowers (that don't turn into food).


Summer camp is going well, and Broadway came home from his week in WVA at JROTC camp. He had a GREAT time!!

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Remember when...




And when...


Happy Father's Day!!

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Brilliant Fourth Anniversary

As many of you know, in my spare time (because I have sooooooo much of it) I do everything I can to raise funds for Reece's Rainbow - a WONDERFUL organization that helps families adopt children with Down syndrome and other cognitive or physical issues from other countries where they would otherwise be institutionalized by the age of 4. Often, these children die of neglect and malnutrition shortly after institutionalization.

This cause is VERY near and dear to my heart. These beautiful babies are just like my own Skink... it breaks my heart to think what so many of them are going through.

Reece's Rainbow was started by a mom. Not a company or some big organization... a MOM. This mom has now helped save the lives of more than 250 children!

There are many more waiting children and plenty of waiting families... but adoption is expensive and many people don't have the money to bring home the child they have already given their heart to. This is why I am looking for ways to raise funds without asking YOU for money. If you have a FaceBook account, you can help just by joining THIS PAGE. If we get enough members of the page, we may be able to get a healthy sum of money from ABC Television. It may be a one-in-a-million chance, but Betty White got to host SNL from a social networking campaign just like this.

If you DO happen to have $5, $10 or even a little more you think you could part with, every dollar helps!
You can send it directly to Reece's Rainbow:
Reece's Rainbow
PO Box 4024
Gaithersburg, MD 20885

Or via credit/debit card through this secure site:
DONATE NOW

Here is a beautiful slide show about Reece's Rainbow - enjoy!



Proverbs 24:12 "Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us responsible to act."

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Friday, June 18, 2010

PANCAKS!

Last night we went to IHOP - for us, going out is kind of a big thing. IHOP is the reining favorite among my offspring.


First, we checked out the menu.

Iraq insisted upon bringing her fuzzy toy dog into the restaurant even though I begged her to leave it in the car. Sometimes the best way to learn WHY mom wants you to leave your fuzzy, shedding toy dog in the car is to not listen to her. She quickly discovered she didn't like fuzzy food as much as she thought she would.

Then we created masterpieces while we waited for the food to come.

At times it was necessary to correct the masterpieces of others.

And, there were those who wondered WHY I brought a camera to dinner. "Mom. Really?"

And The Skink sat in a booster seat like a big girl, and ate with her fork. She's getting really good at getting food on to the fork and getting it to her mouth - all by herself!

Sometimes it takes some concentration to get those slippery eggs to comply!

"You're mine now, Mr. EGG!"

And a lovely time was had by all!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

More Words and Tangents Than Pictures...

With yesterday's blog comprised of more photos than words, I figure today it's only right to pay respect to the words, lest they become angry and fly right out of my head. Usually, such a thing only happens when I'm really angry and in need of the perfect come-back, but I still believe it would be folly to thumb my nose at fate.

OK - enough of the filigree verbiage   : P

So - as I mentioned in my last blog, both my girls are going to summer camp each morning. I'll admit I experienced a few pangs of concern sending The Skink to a typical camp for typical kids, but when I asked the YMCA staff how they felt about having The Skink (mind you, most of them know her from the Y child care center where she plays while I work out) they seemed quite happy with the idea.

We have found that some of our biggest Skink-related challenges have actually come from her attendance of her Pre-K Special Ed class which is made up mostly of children with profound autism. We are no strangers to the autism spectrum... *ahem*  (excuse me) and no strangers to some of the behaviors that go along with autism.

The Skink has a very natural talent for mimicking. This talent is GREAT when it comes to language skills, walking and eating at the table with a fork or spoon. This is NOT such a great talent when she has been in a classroom full of non-verbal children who emit 4 thousand decibel shrieks every few minutes for no apparent reason. You understand, I'm sure.

I got so tired of the shrieks that one especially shriekie day I grabbed the water gun we use to shoo the cats off the computer desks and squirted The Skink right between the eyes. It worked like a charm! The only problem is that now she has wised up to our method of punishment and will shriek and run around the corner. This is good considering this type of Skinkyness usually gives me a good case of giggles which I then have to stifle so as not to allow The Skink to believe I LIKE this behavior.

Although I briefly flirted with the thought of one of those remote-control dog training collars, I have a feeling most would frown on such methods. And anyway, I'm not afraid to hunt down and shoot my youngest... with a water gun, of course.   :)  And it has been working! We have far fewer shrieks than just a few days ago. It probably also helps that school is out.

So, back to the subject of summer camp! Camp started on Monday and when we came to pick the girls up, the councilors reported that The Skink pulled some hair and shrieked a number of times. On Tuesday, there were fewer cases of pulling and shrieking, and by today, there were NO hair-pulling issues, and only 1 or 2 random shrieks! Yipppeeeeeeee!!

Iraq has also been having a great time, although she was in a bit of a huff yesterday when, after refusing to speak to a number of fellow campers and stomping away from them for reasons the other children could not understand, a few of them told her they didn't want to play with her. How dare they! She didn't like my explanation that the other kids didn't like her behavior, but she did listen to my suggestion that she apologize to them today for the "misunderstanding." I don't know if she did or not, but she came home happy.

I have seen Iraq's unusual behavior myself. After playing with other kids for a time, she seems to shut down for reasons unknown and behave as though the other children have offended her. She'll stomp off and hide, refusing to look at or speak to anyone who dares to approach.

Of course after reading nearly everything the internet has to offer on Aspergers syndrome and autism spectrum disorders, I understand that she becomes over-stimulated. She goes on sensory overload and needs to remove herself from the situation and give herself time to process all the noise, light, movement, colors, smells and words coming at her. We just need to work on her self-removal skills which can be a little off-putting to other children. She also doesn't process communication the same way others do. All the literature tells us that non-verbal communication is the biggest stumbling block for "Aspies," but having had the opportunity to study my own little aspie for just over 7 years, my hypothesis is that she has difficulty with pretty much ALL forms of communication.

From the very beginning Iraq was overly sensitive to ANY and ALL stimulation. Yes - from the beginning!

First - I had horrible contractions from 22 weeks on - every 5 - 15 minutes apart for 16 WEEKS!

This was at my baby shower. You can actually see the poor kid's outline - she was transverse breech (sideways). You can see her head up under my ribs on the left side of the picture, her back on the lower portion and the curve of  her butt just below my hand. My hand was basically in the crook of her knees.

After 16 weeks of torture, she was NOT HAPPY, and let us know all about it. This is one of the pictures from the hospital.

She was 5 lbs 7 oz at full term. Torture will do that to a baby, you know.

We then experienced 3 - 5 hours of crying every night for the next 6 months. She did not tolerate any new people, toys, sounds and would not use her baby swing, bouncy chair or any of the other toys most babies love. The minute we would put her in the car, the screaming began and didn't stop until she was removed from the car... no matter how far we had to travel.

We kept asking her doctor for help, but he would only tell us she was high-maintenance and not to worry. In retrospect, I should have taken her over to his house one evening for a 5 hour serenade! My husband and I never got to go anywhere because she didn't like anyone else and would scream bloody murder the entire time we were out. Yes - it was hard, but amazingly as a parent going through it, it just caused me to love her with all my strength. We never risked putting her into day care - heck... we weren't stupid! We knew darn well we had the kind of baby other people kill. We simply couldn't have handled it if something had happened to her.

Interestingly, I never heard The Skink cry until after we got her home from the hospital... at 16 weeks of age! It was so rare we knew something must be amiss if she was crying. That's pretty much how Broadway was too. Just... happy.

So - I've rambled more than enough for the day. Lastly,  my blood pressure is starting to come down.(I know - I'm not overweight and I have a healthy lifestyle. Just can not imagine why I would have high BP! Oh, wait... could it be... stress? Nahhhh!)

Just wat we need... another BP disaster. LOL - it's not perfect yet (and I'm still not allowed to exert myself... and I still need that 10-day Mediterranean cruise) but at least my own little BP disaster isn't hurting any of the wildlife!

Such is life!

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday - Summer Camp!

Both Iraq and The Skink started summer camp on Monday!

 






And, although Broadway (a.k.a. G.I. Jew) did great in JROTC, we recently found out he has to make up half a credit in English. So... THIS will be his summer camp for the month of July:





And... proof that not all the pictures of the girls come out perfectly...
Oh NO! Is a ZOMBIE!! RUN!!

And... Iraq insisted I take a picture of the $5 shoes I found on clearance at WalMart... ummm... ok...

And then I became a little too fascinated with the architecture of Broadway's school. People may have thought I was just a smidge nutty. I had to lie down to get this shot - LOL! I'm OK, ma'am. Just walk around.

And then I played with the photos. When you turn this one upside down, it looks like a super-fancy version of Willy Wonka's flying glass elevator. Whheeeeee!

Needless to say, Iraq will NOT require summer school:


And lastly...

It's actually WAYYY down from the 180 over 115 reading we got at my doctor's office yesterday. My doctor has informed me I may have just a little too much stress in my life. She ordered me to take a hand-full of colorful pills 3 times a day, take an hour or two for myself each day with no kids, and go on a vacation... perhaps a 10-day cruise.

AAaaaaahaahaahaahaahaahaahaahaahaahaaaaaaa!

Like that's ever gonna happen!

(These are just the ones I happened to have on my desk. I didn't bother to go upstairs to get the other bucket o' drugs!)

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