Tuesday, December 23, 2008

No Flushing

Huh? you say. Yes, we did not flush our toilet all day today. Ewwwwwww right?

Wrong. We are saving gallons of water by using our bath water to flush the toilet. When taking a shower or bath, you keep all that water in your tub. Get a bucket, scoop some up and when you 'Go' you pour that 'grey water' into your toilet bowl. Bye bye pee pee. Bye bye poo poo. (anyone who's seen Once Upon a Potty will recognize that one. LOL)

I had a little instruction time for the boys this morning. I showed them how to lift the seat, pour two scoops of water in and then dry up any water spills. The scoops they use are with an old Tupperware container they use for bath playtime. I also put tape over the handle so it would remind us all not to flush. They didn't think too much of it. They just did it. I told them it was to save water and money and we were going to try it and see how it worked.

So far so good!!! Although, I doubt we'll have enough water to get through until tomorrow morning. Pooh accidentally let a lot of their bath water down the drain before he remembered to leave it in there.

Oh well, there's always The King's morning shower to look forward to. ;D

Our Life With Autism

I saw a mom on a yahoo list talking about her son with autism. He's five and she wonders if it's normal for the autistic kids to cry a lot more at five than other kids.

My son with autism is now 11 and he still gets that toddler tantrum cry. Noooooooooo! It hits your bones. It pierces the soul, just as the infant cry does. So to still be living with it (although it has decreased immensely over the years)can be tiring, depressing and many other emotions mixed in.

I do think RDI can help. Tammy has shown that with her daughter Pamela. I think I've seen it help in our home. However, truth be told, I don't "do" RDI anymore. Right now, we're just living our lives. This is my confession time I guess. I admire so much those families that are keeping up with it and I follow your emails and blogs with enthusiasm, cheering you on, cheering your successes and feeling your despair when things aren't working well. (That goes for all the families with special needs children that I know, not just those doing RDI.)

I was pretty much 'done' with therapies by the time I found RDI. I thought when I learned about it that I was ready to start again. Ready to embark on the next chapter with gusto. Ready to delve into what I could do as a parent to help my child.

I was wrong.

I got into it and it totally exhausted me. My life was once again taken over by the autism. Examining the goals (and believe me, trying to figure out what the heck they mean is just too mind boggling for me), then figuring out if your child has mastered it or not, coming up with ways to work on the goal, remembering to video it (and i still have an old computer and camera that means i have to mail vhs tapes!!!) editing the video, etc etc. I'm just done with all that for now.

As I said, we're just living our lives. Since I found Charlotte Mason and the AO information, school has been so much easier. Oh and finding Math U See too. Wow! What a difference. This also doesn't mean I have forgotten the principles of RDI. I do still think about how I phrase things. Making statements instead of constant questions. I'm sure if we were videoing I'd find a lot more I need to change in my communication style. I'm still on the RDI lists. I still read RDI blogs. I still think about RDI almost everyday. It has affected our lives, but right now I can't let it control my life. I found it very difficult trying to cut my very demanding younger child out of the picture while trying to concentrate on my older one. Very stressful for all of us. The King can't even fathom trying to read all the info he needs to read about RDI so we talk about it sometimes or at least talk about some of the principles of it, but it isn't there as pressure.

Everyone needs to do what's best for their kids and family. We're all trying to find the balance. It hurts me to see all that Pooh still has to learn. But I've seen so much progress over the years that I know it will get better each year. Yes, he's very unreasonable some days. Some days we just can't get through to him. Other days, we make these wonderful connections. And one thing I know about my son's autism is that he does remember things we tell him. It comes out in other areas that he's remembered little tidbits of those connections and he'll apply it in ways other than what we were referring to.

We can reach his heart and it's that that helps me get through each day.

So for those of you with the fight still in you, RDI can help. For others, just understanding the principles of RDI can help. I haven't 'given up', I'm just taking it slow and easy. I'm still learning to 'let go' of those parts of autism that I have no control over right now. It's not that they won't change, but that it's going to take longer. I'm done with examining everything I do to see if it's handled right or wrong. I want to just be. Be happy with each day and teach my sons to be happy each day.

Thank you for all the encouragement, thank you for your blogs, thank you for sharing your trials and triumphs. I hope that as I continue to share our lives through our blog, it will help others and give a realistic view of life with autism.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Yep, it's cold. Cold everywhere. This morning was 20F here with a windchill of about 2F. My greenhouse door, although 38F inside, still had an icy layer on it. It's supposed to be even colder tonight. Yikes!

All last week was cloudy, dreary and rainy. You know it's bad when your autistic son (Pooh) asks, "Mommy, are we ever going to see the sun again?" LOL The next day he says to me, "Boy, it sure has been raining this week!" I agreed wholeheartedly. ;D

This past Thursday I planted some seeds in the greenhouse. I knew that Friday was supposed to be almost 70F and decided to get the seeds in so they'd have a blast of nice warm, germinating weather. Yesterday, I saw some lettuce seeds sprouting. So, I thought I'd better make sure they didn't freeze. That meant turning on the heater we had installed in the there. We have an old baseboard heater that I set at about 42F to keep the little things from freezing. Thanks to our getting the roof fully sealed this weekend, it worked.

The King started working on some shelving that I needed. We were given what I think is old baking rack set on wheels. However, it has no shelving. So we bought some cedar wood to make sliding shelves for the racks. This is where I can put trays of seeds. Vertical is always good for saving space. I also used two window boxes for my seed planting and they are on the shelf too.

Our whole house has baseboard heat. It was in the low 70's in the house last night so I decided to turn down the heat in the basement (we only use the basement heat most of the time because heat rises and keeps the rest of the house warm). My goal was for the house to be 68F. A little chilly, but not unbearable when you wake up. (FYI-I'm trying to see where we can cut back on expenses little by little.) Well, this morning I knew when I woke up it had to be colder than 68F in the house. Sure enough, the upstairs was at 64F and the basement at 63F.

Needless to say, the heat got turned up this morning.

This week we're only doing school today and tomorrow. Wednesday and Thursday are The King's days off and Friday is just going to be a free day for a change.

Hope everyone stays safe and warm and if I'm not here before, have a great week!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Way to Cure Hiccups (or Not)

As we're eating dinner, I all of a sudden got very terrible, deep hiccups. It was right after taking a sip of The Latin King's wine.

Next thing I knew, he had slammed both his fists down on the table. The glass went flying! Wine spilled on the floor, on his clothes and splattered the pantry doors.

He did it to surprise me into losing the hiccups.

It worked!!!!! ;P

A Day in the Life....

Today was Art for Pooh. I usually run errands or do other 'out from home' type stuff on Art days so that my trip of 45 minutes each way is useful in more ways than one. We started off today with getting up and going with our Morning Routines and Chores.

Last night I had done some prep work for today. While my pasta water was heating up for dinner I cut up veggies for our Armenian Lentil Soup and added all the ingredients to a crockpot. That got stored in the fridge overnight so all I had to do for dinner today was remember to put the crock in the base this morning. That was done! I also did our bills last night and prepared a deposit for the bank.

On our way to Art, I remembered to call about a lost book (I know I was driving and talking, bad mommy!!!) I also hit the bank on the way there. While Pooh was in Art, Tigger and I headed to the health food store to stock up on our dairy-free products and a few other items. I got sushi for lunch for me and picked up Wendy's lunch for them. Then we headed to Lowes Foods for the specials I had also prepared for ahead of time. Lowes Foods has a new layout on their website. You can sign up to have specials emailed to you each week and you can add stuff to your shopping list. I shop there for loss-leaders mainly. So I had that printed out last night to help me on my search today.

Once that was done, we headed home for the unloading and putting away. The boys always have the job of bringing in the groceries. (That's great proprioceptive work for any SID kids out there.) I got the stuff put away, gave us all a 30 minute break then decided that before we started our regular school work for the day, I would pull out the Walk Away the Pounds DVD that I have. I've had it for months and it was still unopened. One of the workouts is only 18 minutes (1 mile) so I did that, got a glass of water and started school. (That workout helped me wake up as I was feeling very sleepy.) School is done, listened to Mozart for 10 minutes, then the boys started their Alvin and the Chipmunks movie they borrowed from the library. I call the library to set up a homeschool function, start bread from scratch and rice to go with the soup. (The King, being Latino, enjoys rice with everything!)

Now I've been checking email, blogs and blogging for all of you! I also did an extended swish-n-swipe of the bathroom. I'm off to eat dinner and do some more cleaning. Then it's time for TV and laundry! (TV is such a time waster that I like to have an excuse for watching TV sometimes and doing laundry at the same time makes me feel better. LOL)

Have a great night everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Term 2......Finally!

Well, due to my being in a 'funk' for a few weeks (which is over for now, thankfully), we were behind schedule as far as our AO Year 1 goes. Pooh had also gotten cranky, probably as a reaction to my crankiness and school was a bit of a struggle. We've been successful lately in getting going with minimal complaints and have officially finished week 13. So, due to this delay, I'm not sure we'll finish Term 2 by the end of February but I'm sure going to try.

During our 'funk', narrations had gotten to be a chore. Pooh wasn't concentrating on the readings and therefore wasn't able to do even a simple narration. I was frustrated and showed it which made him even worse. That has changed as well. The only person freaking out right now is Tigger. He's been having a little trouble with Math. We need to work on counting to one hundred and continuing counting by fives. We use Math U See and he's on lesson 23 now.

I'm anxiously awaiting tax season. I even have my appointment set for the first Friday in February. ;D We usually get a nice chuck of change that enables us to survive the rest of the year. I know they say you shouldn't let the government have that much extra money. You're supposed to change the dependents so that you get more money each month. Whatever. I prefer to use it like a little savings account that I can't touch. Maybe like a CD. I just don't earn interest on it. (which would be negligible anyway.

We have several purchases to make:
1. We'd like to buy a tent for family camping. It's the only way we'll ever be able to go on vacation again. We just can't afford the hotels. We'll also need to get a new cooler a few other odds and ends. Oh, yeah, and sleeping bags. LOL Can't forget those.
2. A bike for Tigger. Last spring was Pooh's new bike due to his finally learning to ride without training wheels. Well, Tigger learned to ride without the training wheels not too long after Pooh. So, now it's his turn for a bike. I'll be scouting Goodwill as well as the sales.
3. Gravel for our garden paths. I've decided to switch to gravel because it doesn't have to be replenished as often as mulch. This will involve a few other purchases as well, like landscape fabric.
4. Some school supplies. We'll need to buy the next levels for math, Sequential Spelling, HWT workbooks for both and a Caps and Punctuation book for Pooh. He needs a little reinforcement besides his regular copywork. I also need a little help with the instruction 'rules'. Explode the Code for Pooh. He'll be going into books 4 and 5. I'm also scouting for any books that I'm missing for AO Year 2.

That's it for now. Hopefully, nothing major will pop up to mess up our plans. (You know, like the King being Laid Off!) I'll be putting some of our Refund into savings as well. Just. In. Case.

Lately I've been trying to weatherproof my Greenhouse. We built a little 10 x 10 one off the side off what used to be our garage (now a big basement family room). I can't really grow anything in there during the winter right now because it needs to be insulated. I've insulated around the door but now the door won't shut like it's supposed to, so that's got to be fixed. Keep in mind that this thing was built out of scrapes. The door is an old storm door I found for $10 at the Habitat for Humanity's Restore. We used old windows for the sides, leftover vinyl siding from someone's house project around the bottom and those poly sheets for the roof and front section. I'll have to take pics and post them so you can get a better idea. Anyway, too much air is getting in there. There's some stuff the King will be doing to the roof to seal up there and I've used Great Stuff around some cracks and seams. We also have to clean it out again. The one bad thing about it being so close to the house is that sometimes it becomes a catch all for storing things quickly. Then they never seem to want to leave.

I'm trying to check for drafts in the house to, to winterize it a little better. There's air coming in around our basement door that needs to be taken care of. I'm putting those foam thingies behind the light switch and outlet panels to keep drafts from coming in that way.

Hopefully, all this work will pay off to save us some money in the long run, the garden stuff included. The King was freaking out a bit about spending money on the garden again so I had to remind him of what we did save this last year.

1. No fear from eating our tomatoes. (Remember the scare from this summer?!?)
2. Plenty of peppers instead of paying $1.50 for one green one. (what's that all about!!!!)
3. We have tomatoes canned and in the freezer.
4. Eggplant--eaten and some in the freezer.
5. Grapes--eaten, made jelly and grape liqueur (i haven't tasted the liqueur yet so hopefully it's drinkable.)
6. Asparagus. I never buy it. Just eat what grows.
7. Buckets of strawberries. For all that we grew and ate it would have cost us a lot more than the $10 i paid for the plants--of which i don't have to buy this year--they'll still produce)
8. Zucchini, squash, beans, herbs, etc, etc.

You get the idea. I had to give him an idea of what we've saved because, frankly, he has no idea of what things cost. All he sees is what it costs in time and money in the garden and doesn't know the long-term savings. It worked. I calmed down his anxieties. ;D

That's what's been going on here. Hopefully, my funk is gone for a while and you guys will here a bit more from me over the next couple of months.

Although, I make no promises. :D

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Great Compromise

Last night I pulled out a little wooden ship kit that I had found for a dollar at Ben Franklin's. The purpose was for the boys to put it together with Dad's help. So last night they did the gluing and know that today Dad will help them finish it. This morning there was a 'discussion' going on in their room about where the ship would be put--on Tigger's shelf or on Pooh's shelf. Here is roughly how their conversation went....

Tigger: Hey Pooh, we have to decide where we're going to put the ship. You always get the ships.

Pooh: No, you have 5 and I only have 4. We should both have 5.

Tigger: Look, you have all those ships. I want it on my shelf. How about the first day you put it on your shelf, the next I put it on my shelf and the next day you get it back.

Pooh: Oh no, that's not a good idea. We'll have to think of another idea. How about we flip for it. I'll get my Lincoln penny. pause pause I can't find my money jar!

Tigger: Poooohhhhh, it's right here. You left it over here.

Pooh: Oh. Ok, I'm heads.

Tigger: I'll be tails.

Pooh: It's heads!

Tigger: Oooooohhhh, you always get all the ships.

Pooh: That's ok, you can get on my bed and look at it. And you can get it down to play with it.

Tigger: Ok.

Momma is so proud. Of myself too. I managed not to butt in when the really neat idea of alternating days came up. I was afraid this was going to turn into one of their all out battles. They managed beautifully to come up with a system on their own where they are both happy. Whether I think it's fair or not doesn't come into the picture. They think it's fair and that's ok by me.