Monday, December 31, 2007

The Season of Giving

I've been reflecting lately on how much I have. If you live in a house, have clothes, plenty of food to eat, and your own private computer its safe to say you are one of the richest people in the world. I often don't think of myself as rich, but many people live on less than $1/day. The following story gave me a reality check:

Adanna’s name is a beautiful African word meaning “father’s daughter.” But Adanna won’t live until the next harvest season unless something drastic happens. In her home country of Zimbabwe, there are no jobs, there is no money, and the only thing certain is the death that surrounds her.

The expected life span for people in her country is only thirty-three. She has watched her mother, her father, and her sister waste away to AIDS. Adanna is now in charge of her family. She is the head of the household.

She is 10 years old.
Pages 85-86 The Red Letters, Tom Davis

In this season of giving, if you would care to donate to children like Adanna, check out Children's Hope Chest.
Peace to you my friends.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Countdown Begins

Less than a week until Christmas. This year we have intentionally simplified.
  • We put up a tree and hung stockings and that was it for decorations.
  • We didn't send out Christmas cards, but only returned cards to those who sent us one. This is the second year we've done so and the cards we received were far less than last year.
  • We have limited the amount of presents we are buying and giving.
  • We are more spontaneous, inviting people over, going out to look at Christmas lights.
  • We are reflecting on all of the good gifts we have every day, a warm house, nice clothes, plenty of food, a loving family. We are the richest people in the world.

My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I couldn't think of anything. I feel God's peace and joy deeply in my soul. Psalm 63 says, "My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods." This year I can honestly say, I am satisfied.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Writer's Block

This is how I feel...

Well I was working on my next book and now I'm at a complete standstill. I just don't know if what I've been writing will be helpful for older kids w/ SPD... I met w/ an OT and may partner with her to finish the book...


Ugh!


Maybe I'll scrap the SPD book and write a book on dealing w/ puberty. Most of the ones out there are written by professionals, which is not bad... However, when it comes right down to dealing w/ the day to day issues, it helps to have a first hand perspective. So if anyone knows of a good book to help your language delayed highly visual child learn about sex and puberty let me know. I'm wide open for one...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tagged twice

OK as most of you know I am not very blog savvy. I've been tagged by Kristen from Here to there and back and Elisa, from Managing Autism. So I am going to cheat, I'm going to give three random facts and answer some of the questions from the other "tag" (is that the right word???). BTW what is a "mime"... Oh I'm feeling old...

First, three random facts:

The last subject I wrote on before I had kids was "Creating an Asia-Pacific Corporate Profile." Yawn, that was a tough one!

My best friend and I use to sing in the shower together in the dorms. (We were in separate stalls, the acoustics were great.)

I fantasize about being a drummer!

Now, to answer a few of Elisa's questions, I'll answer the odd ones.:

1. What were you afraid of as a child? Dracula, my parents loved to watch the old silent movies and Dracula was very scary, I even stole some of my Mom's garlic and put it on my window seal.

3. What sound most disturbs you? That one is easy a murder of crows!

5. What’s your biggest fear for your children? That they will need help after I'm gone...

7. Which do you prefer: Mountains or oceans/big water? I like them both. Mountains when its cooler and the ocean when its warm.

9. Ever had a close relative or friend with cancer? Yes, more in the last few years.

11. What is the best part of being in a committed relationship? Living w/ someone who loves me with all of my quirks...

Now I have to stop for a teleconference. I'm suppose to tag more people. I don't have time, if anyone wants to answer/do this please feel free to!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Small Breaks



My husband and I took a walk by ourselves yesterday, for 45 minutes. It was wonderful we enjoyed talking and looking at the fall leaves. Several times Geoff stopped to find the perfect leaf for me. It was very romantic, instead of picking flowers we picked leaves. At the end of our walk I had a beautiful leaf bouquet. The picture doesn't do it justice.

We walked and the kids stayed home alone. We gave my daughter GA my cell phone and instructed her to call us if she needed us. It's a strange thing, although GA is younger than my son, she has become the "older" sibling. I heard at some point this would happen. I thought when it did, I would be sad. However, honestly I'm relieved. I'm thankful for little breaks, and I'm thankful that my daughter is so responsible. I don't know what things will look like in the future, but for now our rhythm of life is good.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Worst Shopping Time of the Year

Well Christmas is quickly approaching and that means Christmas shopping. I hate large crowds and most of all I hate stinky perfume counters. Last weekend the hubbo and I bought a new bed. (It is awesome!) However, by the time we left the bed department the perfume counter was all stinked up. I had to hold my breath, jog discreetly to the perimeter of the building and make my way to the door. Meanwhile, the hubbo keeps talking, but I don't respond because I'm holding my breath. I know if I smell too much I'll have a wild headache for the rest of the day. So the hubbo thought I was having a problem, but outside when I explained to him the situation, he just gave me the blank stare... I really married a great guy, he doesn't always understand me, but he doesn't think I'm crazy either.

The problem is you can't regulate or defend yourself against smells. Think about it, if there is a loud noise you can cover your ears. However, when something smells awful you can only hold your breath or pinch your nose for so long. My son use to crave smelling things, all kinds of things, like raw seafood at the market... Now he doesn't do that anymore. I wonder what would have happened if I had OT when I was a kid. Now I'm too chicken to attempt it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sensory Integration Therapy Works

I just read a post by a mom who's son banged his head giving himself a nose bleed. I felt her pain, at one point G gave himself paper cuts just for fun. It was horrible. The mom mentioned that her child didn't "qualify" for OT.

This drives me crazy!!!
Sensory integration therapy works, it changes lives, it has improved the quality of life for countless people. Yet, it's not recognized in many places as a valid therapy because it is not in the DSM. I think people are so bogged down arguing over whether sensory processing disorder is its own condition or a co-condition that they are not listening to the many adults who struggle with it.

I had the privilege of talking with Temple Grandin about this awhile ago. We address speech issues, behavior issues, and language issues in people with autism. Could it be the professional community is unable to address sensory issues because they can't relate to, or understand them? What I mean is neurotypical people don't feel like a dentist is drilling into their eardrum when they hear a siren or feedback from a microphone. So if they have no common experience, can that cause them to discount the experience of those with SPD?

On a happy note, sensory integration therapy has dramatically changed the quality of my son's life. No more self injurious behavior, when he falls he registers pain normally now. He doesn't melt down if a firetruck rolls by with it's siren blaring. We do have some sensitivities, like say to garbage trucks, but nothing that harms the quality of life.

I'll keep singing the praises of sensory integration therapy. There's hope! There's hope! There's hope!

For lots of good autism materials and sensory integration toys please visit National Autism Resources!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Spit and Mud

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is John 9. It's the story of a blind man who receives his sight. Jesus breaks "the law" by healing the man on the Sabbath, which is suppose to be a day of rest. Later the leaders find out about it and bring the former blind man in to investigate the matter. As they question him all he can say is, "look I use to be blind and this guy named Jesus spit on the ground, smeared mud in my eyes, and now I see."

This doesn't seem like the way God should work. It's not "spiritual" it involves spit, mud, breaking the law, and healing. However, Jesus shows us that he could care less about being "proper." He'll meet a beggar and break the law because love causes Him to get dirty.

So often I try to clean myself up. I try to act like I've got it all together when really I don't. I get depressed, and sometimes I'm blinded by challenges I'm faced with. The truth is if I'm honest with myself I rarely "have it together." I'm constantly coming back to Jesus looking for some more spit and mud. How can I explain this to people who haven't encountered Jesus? I'm not sure, all I can say over and over again is I use to be blind but now I see. Or better yet, come on over, the mud is great...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Well it has been an interesting week. My back is mending and I am so thankful for that. So far no more crows, which is great.
I spoke in my hometown of Concord, CA. I love speaking with parents. I love sharing what I've learned through the school of hard knocks. I love listening to their stories and learning from their experiences. The group I spoke to Saturday night was the smallest group I've ever presented to. However, afterwards, because it was my home town I was able to share some local resources and learn about some local resources.
I gave out free chewelry necklaces, insta-snow and chewease pencil toppers courtesy of Southpaw Enterprises and Abilitations. I also had a table set up with some of my favorite books for people to look at. I love the option of browsing through a book before I buy it. Unfortunately many good books aren't carried in local bookstores. I guess it makes sense... I just wish that the major book sellers carried the best books instead of 10 of the latest releases... but that's another post.
I've often thought I'm going to start my own online business and only sell the best book selections and the best products. However, time, time is the problem. Perhaps instead I will work on my website and just make some lists... I'm having major website procrastination issues.
Time for homeschool... Happy Monday everyone.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Pain in the Back

Well it has been awhile since I blogged b/c I hurt my back. So tomorrow I am speaking in my hometown of Concord. This is nice no traveling, but a little scary in that if I have an off night, I live by these people...

On a cool note, I've been given freebies by southpaw enterprises and abilitations so I'm so glad to pass out things to the people who come...


With all of my back issues we still managed to carve pumpkins so that is good...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Crows are Creepy

My house looks like the haunted house on the block. We rent and our dear landlord is not much for investing in the place. In our front yard we have two massive pine trees, a cracked driveway (from the pine trees), and no grass because I can't grow anything.

Yesterday we started our homeschool day when this strange noise started. Soon the noise became so loud the kids couldn't concentrate. I went outside to see large black birds squawking and incessantly repositioning themselves all over the tops of our trees. A murder of crows had shown up. (In case you didn't know a group of crows is called a "murder" not a "flock" creepy...) I don't know if it was Hitchcock's "The Birds," or all the Stephen King movies I watched as a teenager, or the fact that Halloween is just around the corner, but as I watched them all of the sudden the house felt creepy.

I went back inside the house to find both kids highly agitated. I sent them to the back bedroom with the door closed and turned a fan on for white noise. They could still hear the birds and refused to do any schoolwork with all the squawking.

So I left them in the bedroom and went to the front door to scare the crows away. My hand was on the doorknob when I thought... what if they attack me? I've never seen crows in my front yard before, what if they're rabid? What if a flock of crows is called a murder for a reason? What if Stephen King has had close encounters w/ a murder and that inspired his writing???

Do you ever have those times when you know you're suppose to act like an adult, but you really don't want to? I stood there reminding myself, that Hitchcock's work is fiction, King's work is fiction, I've never read in the newspaper about anyone dying from a crow attack... The over the din I hear G screaming, "I can't take it anymore!"

Drat! The choice is clear, face a meltdown or possible death by birds. I turned the doorknob, went outside, and yelled at the birds. They did nothing. I threw a pine cone, stomped my feet, waved my hands, and the wretched crows three stories up didn't even look at me. Creepy, rude, obnoxious crows, they ought to be called a nuisance... With a meltdown quickly approaching, there was only one thing left to do. I called my friend and escaped to her house.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Desperate Times Part 2


Well I haven't posted for awhile because I've been sick. As I mentioned before we are dealing with a new infatuation with G; Wario who's claim to fame is passing gas. This is common for people on the spectrum check out Maddy's post on chihuahuas and you'll see what I mean. As g-dub so nicely put it, I've been trying to "bribe G" out of this habit by paying him a dollar for each day he makes it w/o referring to or gracing us w/ his various bodily functions. Now I don't see this as bribing I see it as positive reinforcement... Anyhow, my grand plan has failed.
It's failed for a couple of reasons:
  1. Every time I define what G must do to gain a dollar he moves slightly outside of the definition and somehow refers to or brings passing gas into the conversation.

  2. Once G fails for the day, he then goes for it. He figures he has nothing to lose and so it is an all out Wario, passing gas frenzy. Oh my dear friends, you just don't know how badly I want to escape this. Why oh why can't he just go back to Star Wars?!

So now my new plan is that every time G refers to or passes gas however minutely he owes me a quarter. I will continue to take quarters even if I have to start taking them out of his US Quarter map. (I pray it doesn't get to that point, because I predict an all out melt down... ) Please let me know if you have any other suggestions.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Some fun pics



















GA decided to try and become a mummy, the only thing is she forgot about the arms and feet.




















Science fun...



















Who cares if it's raining, G wants to jump!



























Here is G's picture he entered in the K-12 art contest.





















My husband works at the Napa airport, this is the label of the latest bottle of wine he was given. Hmmm...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures


My son has a new hero, Wario. For those of you who aren't familiar with the character, let me just say his claim to fame is passing gas. Big huge toxic clouds of it... Over the last week my son has used the word "fart" in any and every way imaginable. He has brought it into every conversation. He has become highly interested in bodily functions and is thrilled when he can pass gas near his friends or family.

The other day we were driving in my friend's van and none of the kids wanted to sit by him... I couldn't blame them. The whole van smelled horrible, and G was laughing uncontrollably. (It's against the law to throw a child out of a moving vehicle, so I settled for rolling down all of the windows...)

So back to good old positive reinforcement. How do I positively reinforce his attempts to change this behavior? I decided that if G can make it through the day without referring to passing gas or burping AND if he can manage to do these things *privately* he earns a dollar. Thus far he has earned two dollars. I figure once we get to $10 the behavior should be extinguished. A small price to pay for driving in peace...
Just for fun, I just visited Maddy's Blog she's dealing w/ Chihuahuas...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Guilt Trips

guilt trip–noun, Informal. a feeling of guilt or responsibility, esp. one not justified by reality.

I hate guilt trips. I hate it when someone says something, that in a round about way makes me feel bad about myself. People who give guilt trips often give them without realizing it. They guilt others because they are insecure and they need to project their failures onto others so that they can feel better about themselves. I know this because it has recently come to my attention that I give grade A, all expenses paid, first class guilt trips. There I said it, it's hard to admit but true.

This recently came to my attention because my daughter called me on it. We were at Chuck E. Cheese and she was talking to me while I was playing a game. Well my score started going down and I said, "there goes my score." She replied with, "wow, that made me feel guilty, I didn't make your score go down."

and you know what... she was right...

That got me thinking.
Did what I said teach her anything? No...
Did what I said encourage her? No...
Did what I said model the way of Jesus or set a good example? No...

What I said was a load of crap and GA called me on it. I felt bad about my score and wanted to blame someone else so I blamed her. How trivial, but true. I hate it when I learn gross stuff about myself. I also hate it when my children are the recipients of my baggage. So late Sunday night I apologized to GA and told her I have yet another bad habit I'm working on. I'm often reminded of a quote I heard in college, "Christianity is simply this, one beggar telling another where he found bread." D.T. Niles Jesus is perfect and I am not. All I can say is thank God the bread is free.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Da Vinci Exhibit

Last week we went on our first field trip to the North American premiere of the:

"Da Vinci an Exhibition of Genius"

We had a blast. It was so fun because G has been learning about early European history and Leonardo.

The exhibit starts out with a beautiful timeline of Leonardo's life and how he fit into the history of the Renaissance. G has been learning about different artwork and the difference between Renaissance art and Medieval art. He immediately picked out a medieval picture in the timeline and said, "that picture is out of place." I looked at it and had to agree. I felt so proud of him!

The exhibit had all kinds of life-size machines, anatomical sketches and interactive displays. It was very interesting and we had a great time. GA did not enjoy the nudes, but once she started trying the interactive displays she was hooked!

I would definitely recommend this exhibit!

Friday, October 5, 2007

William Tell Overture



My friend Marla sent me this. I thought I would post it for something fun to watch on a Friday.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Bubble Factory

Kayla blowing bubbles


My friend visited me recently, and we made a bubble factory for her daughter. She loved it! Now that G & GA are getting older these things have lost their interest.

To make it cut two holes in the top of a yogurt cup:


Sorry this isn't a good picture, anyhow cut a small hole on the top and a larger hole on the bottom. Fill the yogurt cup half full of bubble mix. Insert a straw in the small hole and let the child blow bubbles. If you are worried about the child sucking up the bubble mixture, cut a hole in the straw about one inch down. This will keep her from sucking up the bubbles.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Being Loved

So as stated below my homework has been to find pleasure. I am happy to announce that I did read the Sunday paper w/ my donut in hand and it was nice. However, I am learning about a deeper pleasure a deeper joy. The joy I have started learning about is being loved when I am completely unlovely.

I have not been myself lately. I have been forgetful, short with my kids and husband, procrastinating and more. Yet, in the midst of this my husband has shown me such a deep kindness. For example, last night he was tired, yet he sat on the couch next to me and just put his head up against mine. Now usually when he does this, it means he is hoping for something... However, last night he just wanted to be next to me.

It reminded me of this quote:
"To be loved when we are feeling lovable- that's good. To be loved when we are feeling unlovely, unlovable- that's life to someone who's dying. That's grace."
-John Ortberg

This brings me to another quote:
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us"
1 John 3:1
I'm overwhelmed with the idea of "lavish" love. Love that is given to us not because we deserve it, but because we are treasured. Love that doesn't keep track of all of the good things you have done for the day. Instead, a love that loves, simply because you are you. A love that loves even if the only thing you can do is keep breathing. That's the kind of lavish love Jesus has for us. It was wonderful to receive that kind of love from my husband.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Use the force!

G working on his composition assignment.

G is not enjoying all of the writing required for his composition assignments. So I let him wear his Vader mask. His reply, "everything is easier when the force is with you."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Group Therapy

Well I went to group therapy for depression. It is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy group. We look at our thoughts, behaviors, and the people in our lives to see how we can actively change our depressed moods. Today I had the interesting experience of sitting between a schizophrenic Buddhist and a bipolar grandmother. Have you ever found yourself in a situation thinking: how in the world did I end up here?!

To be fair there were 10 people in the group today. A couple of people are dealing with long term pain issues. A couple more people are dealing with deaths in their family. The Buddhist schizophrenic just enjoys being in groups that seek to elevate their mood....

and I am there because I am worn out.

Is it ok to say that?

For so many years I have been advocating for my son, helping other parents, writing... and now I'm tired. My homework for this week is to schedule time for a pleasurable activity. My first thought was, "I can't waste my time on that, I've got books to read, a book to write, kids to teach..." Ugh- having fun use to be my primary mode of operation!

Back to goals the only ones I could come up with were:
  1. Having coffee with my neighbor friend down the road.
  2. Visiting with Bev.
  3. Reading the whole Sunday paper while eating a maple bar.
The other day fxsmom wrote about going out to dinner with her husband. Wow, reading her post reminded me that I use to enjoy dressing up and going out with the hubbo. I may have to add one more goal if I can muster the energy.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Naked prunes

Another week of homeschool is done. This week went much better than last week. I think we are getting into a routine which is great. Currently, I am studying early American history with GA. She is doing great and aced her first unit test. I am also studying the Renaissance with G. This has been a challenge because so much of Renaissance history has to do with Renaissance art.


If you're not familiar with Renaissance art let me remind you that there are a lot of nudes. Nude statues, nude people in frescoes, and so on. I've tried to approach this subject maturely explaining to my son that this was a celebration of the perfection of the human body. His response- non stop hysterical laughter. While viewing Michelangelo's David G said, "oh I just can't stop laughing at that naked prune."
Naked prune? I've heard a lot of names refrence the male anatomy, but I never heard that one before...

What's a mom to do? Just to get through the lessons, I turn a page, let G laugh for about five minutes, cover the offending parts of the picture with a small piece of paper, let him calm down, and then read. While all of this is going on I'm doing my best to act adult, maintain my composure, and not crack a smile. I can't wait to get to the next unit...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Coffee Mmmm Mmmm Good

It has been awhile since I posted on one of my favorite pass times - coffee. I became a coffee snob in the early nineties when I was first introduced to Peet's Coffee. I soon had a Mocha habit that lasted up until a few weeks before I became pregnant. When I lived briefly in Mississippi, there was little to no access to good coffee. We only had one coffee shop south of Memphis that had access to a great Sumatra.

Anyhow, most recently I have been drinking Peet's Arabian Mocha-Java. It has chocolaty overtones that are just excellent. However, my next purchase will not be from Peet's, but from Saint's coffee. My friend Katherine introduced me to this company. One pound of coffee from this company will feed an orphan for a month. So it sounds good. I can enjoy my coffee and help someone less fortunate than myself. I plan to purchase soon, as soon as I do I'll let everyone know how it tastes.

On a happy note, G wrote an essay today. Something about his sentences are quirky, not quite correct, but it was very readable and there was no meltdown. I plan to bring it to his SLP next week. She is great, we are working on pragmatics and reading comprehension. She has some good ideas that look like they can help G.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Exercise

I am exercising for the first time in almost 13 years. I hate it. I'm just trying to walk and the only way I can make myself do it is to have a cell phone in one hand and a coffee in the other. Thus far walking has consisted of walking to Starbucks talking on the cell phone. Ordering my drink and walking back.

I have to walk for 20 minutes a day to assist in elevating my mood. I have a question though, if I hate walking, and I hate thinking about walking, how oh how is that going to elevate my mood?! I've turned into a slug and quite frankly I like it that way...

The hubbo will be home around six, so I'll have to get my sneakers on by then...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Been thinking about this...

This has been rolling around in my head for the last few days, a guy named Max Lucado wrote,

There is only so much sand in the hourglass.

Who gets it?

You know what I'm talking about, don't you?

"The PTA needs a new treasurer. With your background and experience and talent and wisdom and love for kids... YOU are the perfect one for the job!"

"I apologize that I have to ask you again, but you are such a good Sunday-school teacher."

"I just lost my hygienist. Will you come back to work for me?"

It's tug-of-war, and you are the rope.

On one side are the requests for your time and energy. They call. They compliment. They are valid and good. Great opportunities to do good things. If they were evil, it'd be easy to say no. But they aren't, so it's easy to rationalize.

On the other side are the loved ones in your world. They don't write letters. They don't ask you to consult your calendar. They don't offer to pay your expenses. They don't use terms like "appointment," "engagement," or "do lunch." They don't want you for what you can do for them; they want you for who you are.

I'm intentionally scaling back my life. It's been good. No is getting easier and easier for me to say...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's all in the family...

Often I post about kids, but the truth is I also have sensory challenges. Shoes don't get me started on shoes... Anyhow, the other day the kids and I were driving behind a garbage truck. We started to smell it and we all started to get sick. I literally had to pull over as fast as I could because I thought I was going to throw up. We all jumped out of the car and left the doors open. I watched other cars continue behind the truck with no adverse reaction and thought, "wow, we must be a tad more hypersensitive then the other drivers." (Duh!) Anyhow, after a couple of minutes I did a smell test and decided it was safe to begin driving again. LOL my husband is the only normal one of us all...

Friday, September 7, 2007

Finished the First Week


Bonnie after the first week of homeschool...


We finished the first week of homeschool and I'm fried. I've had no coffee breaks with friends... blah, blah blah. So it wasn't too bad, but I am definitely missing the break aspect that school provides!

OK on a positive note, my son is learning and we have started some reading comprehension strategies. The first one we started, is reading the last page of the chapter to remind you of what you read. The second strategy is reading the title of the chapter to guess what is going to happen next. So we'll see how it goes, I'm suppose to keep introducing strategies one at a time until they become natural. So when these became a habit, then I'll add a new one.

Thank God it's Friday, no homeschool tomorrow, just chores, but that's OK because I'll have my children do them... (Evil mother that I am!)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of Homeschool

Well I survived my first day of homeschool! It was a little bumpy, we didn't get as much done as I thought we would, but that's OK. What really surprised me is how happy and open my son was. I told him to read a Science introduction. Then he said to me, "You know its hard for me to read stuff, you gotta help me." So I said, "OK" and proceeded to help him.

He was so happy to have my help. We had to keep stopping to define words, explain sentences, and think of examples. I thought he wouldn't like it, but he was fine. He seemed excited to learn. He was smiling and very interactive. (A very nice sign from any Junior High age boy...) Then he mentioned to me that he "sort of learned" this last year but "didn't get it." I felt so guilty after he said that, because I've been telling myself for a couple of years now that I couldn't homeschool, I'll drive him crazy... The truth is I'm afraid he will drive me crazy.

I'm also homeschooling my daughter. She got a little frustrated at first, but then seemed to do just fine. Again the guilt hit because I tell her to read something and she does. Meanwhile, 90% of my attention is on G because he can't work independently. It's really hard because I don't want GA to feel like she's always getting less than her brother...

On a fun note we chewed gum, had trampoline breaks and decided that making cookies will be a part of our weekly homeschool work. We are determined to find the ultimate cookie.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Good Quote

As I've been reading Love Beyond Reason, I keep coming across interesting passages. I've been thinking about this one on and off since I read it:

"Here is one of the fundamental ways to distinguish between Jesus' way of life and that of the religious leaders. For them, the more spiritual they became the less approachable they were. But with Jesus, it was just the opposite. Jesus had the kind of profound "differentness" that drew people to him. The Pharisees had the kind of superficial differentness that pushed people away.

When I was growing up I often thought that the more "spiritual" a person was, the more unapproachable they were, that holiness involved a certain rigidity and sternness and distance.

But in Jesus we see that true spirituality always makes a person more approachable, not less. That's why it is worth reflecting on this : Jesus is the most approachable human being that ever lived."

Lepers, prostitutes, thieves, common people, rich young rulers... Jesus interacted with them all. Am I becoming more or less approachable? That is something to really ponder...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Blah...


I have a stack of boxes containing home school material sitting in my living room. I don't want to open them. Ugh... it's a hot day (100+ F) and Katherine isn't feeling well so I can't distract myself by going out for coffee. Currently the dog is barking, my daughter and her friend are playing Wii and my son is going crazy looking for ONE Lego part. I want to go hide somewhere but it doesn't look like that's a viable option.


Hubbo impersonating Elvis...

Only two more hours until the Hubbo gets home... He's always good for an early evening rescue. Yesterday he took us all out for ice cream. They ran out of G's favorite flavor. But he showed flexibility and tried another flavor so the only thing that ended up melting was the ice cream.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Update on Insta-Snow


I now have more information on insta-snow. I had a mishap with it that you can read about here. Anyhow, if you add water to it after it is initially activated the water won't be absorbed. Instead it turns into the cream of wheat disgusting stuff I had the other day. So that was my bad. I thought after the water evaporated I could add more water with no problem.


If by chance you or someone you love does add more water to the insta-snow, you can let it dry. It turns into a thin film that easily comes off any hard surface. Note, I have not tried this with carpet, I'm afraid to! If anyone has any experience with carpet I'd love to hear from them.


To sterilize insta-snow you can microwave it for a minute. According to Southpaw Enterprises this should kill about 75% of the germs. Good to know if you use it in a classroom. I tried this and the insta-snow came out fine and didn't lose its texture.


If you don't add extra water and let the insta-snow dry it turns back into a grainy substance that is easy to clean up. I found that wiping it up with a dry cloth or sweeping it up off the floor is much easier than using a mop or a wet sponge.


If you want to try insta-snow or buy other cool autism materials visit National Autism Resources.


Have fun!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Chores

Today I am happy to report that my house is clean. Not because I've been running around picking up, its clean because my kids cleaned it. They now, sweep, dust, wash windows, wipe down the bathroom, wash my car and empty the trash.

I've learned a few things about kids and chores. First of all I have to let go of perfection. Second of all I need to increase the frequency of the chores. For example, when they sweep the floor it isn't done perfectly. However, that's OK because I will have them sweep the floor the next day. The same with the bathroom. I now have my kids wipe down the bathroom with a Clorox wipe everyday. Since they wipe down the bathroom everyday it doesn't ever get really dirty. I only have to do a deep cleaning once every couple weeks. (RHAM clued me in on this one.)

Also, since I'm happy if they do their best effort now I end up saying thank you. Before I would clean behind them and end up doing it myself. This ended up being more work for me and they didn't put in much effort.

The chore thing picked up after my surgery, because I couldn't do a lot of things. I couldn't bend, lift, squat or pick up anything over five pounds. So I had to rely on my kids. Now they are a great help and I have time to write. I could kick myself for not starting this sooner! LOL!

So today my kids did a variety of chores and before I knew it the whole house was clean. Life is good.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ideas Please

I’m working on my second book and I’m stuck. The book is a sensory activity book for kids 8-12. I’ve got all of my activities, but I can’t decide on how to structure it. I have two options, the first is to place the activities in chapters by sensory input: tactile, auditory, proprioceptive and so on…

or

The second option is to have activities grouped by activity type: great give away crafts, group games, bet you-can’t, bet you-can and so on. With this option I would have a grid in the back of the book that lists each activity by its sensory modality. My thought is this second style would be attractive to preteens and that they would use it to pick things out to do with their parents or therapists… I have found “dares” bet you can’t do this or that to be highly motivating for preteen boys. They love to practice them and try them out on friends… but that’s a subject for another time…

Currently I’m leaning toward the second option.

Does the second option sound crazy?

Does anyone have a preference?

Help!

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Book

Well I am starting book number two. This one will be geared for kids who are a little older 8-12 range. I think I am a gluten for punishment! Just kidding, I'm excited to get started on it. I have a huge file of fun things I've been doing with my kids and the kids I have worked with at church for the last three years. So if all goes well I'll be ready to submit it to the publisher around the first part of next year. I'm just trying to figure out how to organize it... but that's for another blog! Anyhow, if anyone has a great sensory activity they would like to share let me know!

I have been drinking Starbucks Organic Serena Blend. I have mixed feelings about it. At first it almost has a bitter quality that mellows after the first few sips. I can't say I like or dislike it. It is better than Folgers, but not my favorite.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Insta Snow

I recently purchased some insta snow. My kids and I loved it. I stored it for about two weeks and it has turned into a slimy cream of wheat consistency. Gross! I'm scared to pour it down the drain because it does not dissolve. I'm scared to touch it. Ewww! I'm not sure what to do. I'm too cheap to throw the bin out because I paid about $20 for it. Anyhow, I am going to contact the manufacturer because they told me eventually the stuff dries and turns back into a powder. There was no mention of the cream of wheat stage...

On a happy note G went to a youth group party last night and had a great time. There were a lot of kids and I was worried about leaving him, but he was fine. He swam with his friends and even figured out how to get the hot tub running. What a hero! :-) He's come so far I've got to remember to stop and enjoy the victories and not always focus on the struggles...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Love Beyond Reason

I've started to read Love Beyond Reason by John Ortberg. It's a book that was written to help people understand how deeply God loves them. I came accross a quote, that I've been thinking about for over a week now, "Jesus is scandalously ready to forgive." The idea is that Jesus meets people where they are. He didn't stand back from them pointing a finger at their brokenness because he wasn't interested in breaking someone already broken. Instead he reached out to all kinds of people in all kinds of situations ready to love them and introduce them to God.

I am tremendously attracted to Jesus, but many times put off by the people who claim to follow him. I'm tired of watching people attempt to put me or others "in their place" when they themselves don't look, act or have the wisdom of Jesus. Jesus had a message for people like that and you can read it here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kaiser Services for Autism

While at the ASA conference (Autism Society of America) I ran into a Kaiser employee who just happened to be from Walnut Creek, and is the contact for Kaiser services in my area for individuals with autism. (God is so awesome!) I never knew Kaiser offered services for individuals with autism. If you go to KPs website you can find buried one reference to the clinic at the Santa Teresa CA facility with an address and the words "by appointment only."

So I made an appointment with the woman I met at the conference and she gave me tons of info and set me up with the clinic. They are sending out a packet of information that I need to fill out and return to them. Then they will set up an appointment for us to go to the Santa Teresa center. In about 4-5 months (bummer). Nothings ever fast, but hey I've been praying for help and some good direction.

If you have Kaiser and are interested you have to be referred by your pediatrician or the department of mental health. At the center in Santa Teresa, CA they have on staff a clinical psychologists, a neurologist, LMFT, psychiatrists and a research coordinator. According to the handout they gave me the ASD center will:

Provide care in a coordinated and integrated medical setting in collaboration with families and community agencies.

Provide assessment, consultation, treatment of children, adolescents, and their families from a developmental multidisciplinary and best practices perspective.

Maintain commitment to early identification and treatment in a system of care that is family centered.

Educate, support and empower parents through interventions that are evidence based.

Educate care providers who work with children throughout Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

I don't know what services are offered in other Kaiser regions, but I hope this helps someone.

I am currently enjoying Seattle's Best Organic House Blend.

Monday, August 13, 2007

IEP Today

I had an entrance IEP (Individual Education Plan) for G today. We start home school in the fall. It was good, the school will do a few evaluations and we reworked a few IEP goals. The special education teacher also has a son with autism and seemed quite nice. Then she said the thing that scared the heck out of me... she said, "G is going to progress so much this year because you are going to give him so much one on one attention." How much one on one instruction you ask? Try 4-6 hours PER DAY! Yikes! I know its the right thing to do, but I'm chicken. I hope I don't go crazy, that he doesn't go crazy, or worse both of us go crazy! We were on a conference call and thank God because at that point I was chocking on my coffee so I hit the mute button, drank some water and sort of zoned out for a second.

On top of the 4-6 hours per day I need to provide plenty of extra curricular activities for socialization. I'm extra curricularly challenged, unless its a weekly visit to Peet's. Hmmmm does that count? I can teach G to order coffee and chat nicely with the barristas...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thank God Love is Blind

Well it is Friday night, so I figured I would beautify myself and put on some makeup. The only problem is when I took off my glasses I couldn't see properly to apply it. I have prism lenses which means when the glasses go off, then usually one eye needs to close for me to focus. Since I am approaching the big 40 it has gotten much worse. So tonight I stood looking in a mirror closing one eye but trying to watch through the eye I was applying the mascara to. I would stroke, put on my glasses, inspect, then stroke again. Several clumps later I decided good enough was, well, good enough. Thank God love is blind because the hubbo didn't even notice and yet he still said he loved me.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

All Good Things Come to an End

Well it is official, I am stepping down as the Director of Children's Ministries for Fair Oaks Church. Here is the letter that went out this week:

Dear Fair Oaks,

I am writing today with such deep love and heart of gratefulness for our church. Like many of you I have enjoyed the blessing of watching God move at Fair Oaks. God has done many wonderful things through us; we have had two successful day camps, started the Mocha Club, sang for the City of Concord, brought back the Harvest Festival and watched God bless us with more and more children. Personally, I have grown more than I ever could have imagined as the Director of Children’s Ministries these last three years, and I am in awe of all God has done.

However, after prayerful consideration I feel it is time for me to step down from this position. This decision has not been easy, but it has become necessary for my family. Over the summer through various assessments it has become clear that my son Geoffrey is going to need an increased amount of academic support. Many of you know he has a form of autism, which makes understanding language difficult for him. We have tried public school, private school and now Geoff and I feel it is time to try home school.

I look forward to helping Geoffrey progress, yet at the same time I am very sad. I feel so privileged to have served alongside such an incredible group of passionate and joyful volunteers. I will miss serving with everyone on a weekly basis. However, I know that my ministry would be hollow if I took care of the needs of other children at the expense of my own.

I want to thank you for your support, encouragement and prayers. It has been such a joy serving with you.

Love in Christ,
Bonnie Arnwine


I'm sad yet relieved, now I have the time to focus on helping G. I'm home schooling in the fall and will be working with him on his reading comprehension.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Guilty Again

G is starting adolescence and it is apparent we are moving into new territory and are facing new issues. This has been a source of concern so I have been looking for ways to help him. I was delighted to find out Kaiser offers support services for families like us, so I made an appointment.

I went to Kaiser today and spent two hours talking about options for G. I was excited because here is another avenue for information and help. However, as I was driving home a slow curtain of dread began to cover me. The therapist recommended several books, which means I need to read them. She recommended several agencies that could be of help, which means I've got to contact them. She also recommended a new round of evaluations that I need to set up...

By the time I got home I didn't want to do anything. Have you ever felt burned out, and then felt guilty because you we're burned out? I love my son, but sometimes the a-word seems all consuming. So I'm looking at the stack of stuff I need to go through right now... I'll read through it... order some books... start calling... tomorrow... I promise.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Play Dough is Overrated


We've been playing with Moon Sand lately at our house. G brought out the Lego's and played for over an hour today. Why I don't bring it out more often, I don't know. To be honest I forgot about this stuff until I went to the ASA conference. Southpaw Enterprises had a big bin of Moon Sand and they were selling the container that G is using. The cool thing about the container is that it blows up, folds up, is very portable and has a Velcro lid. So its easy to pull out and easy to store. The downside is it costs around $15 and if your kid bites into it, then its over. (when G was younger he loved to bite any kind of blow up toy...)
Moon Sand has many of the same characteristics of play dough but:

1. It does not dry out.

2. It does not smash into your carpet, furniture or kid's clothes.

3. You can sanitize it by just spraying it with bleach water and letting it dry.

4. It is very easy to clean up.
Given all of the above I'm done with play dough!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The famous "Louise" visits

Today was exciting I got my house clean (an amazing feat) and had a visit with "Louise." "Louise" among other things she is a fabulous photographer. Just look at the back cover of my book, she took the pic. (Although she hates the way the picture turned out after the book was published, but back to Louise...) Louise also is a nanny to two other children besides her own, does all this volunteer work and then complains when she doesn't have a "productive" day. Hey my house is clean and I blow dried my hair I'm really impressed with myself, but I guess I have different ideas of what constitutes productive. ;-P

Coffee I am currently enjoying: Seattle's Best Blend.

Monday, July 30, 2007

What I learned at the Dentist's office

I went to the dentist office this morning with the kids. Visits like this always lead to interesting reading adventures because I am forced to read lots of stuff I normally wouldn't. The reason this happens is because I usually forget to bring my own book.

So I learned today that according to Redbook magazine, you can become even, "bigger for your big life." How do you do that? Well it's easy you just make your lips, hair and boobs look bigger. There you have it- a bigger life. Speaking of hmmm boobs, breasts, I'm not sure of the pc term for the sisters... Anyway, there has been quite a bit of controversy swirling around because someone wrote about Hillary Clinton's cleavage. Outrageous, yes, but will she use this to get sympathy votes???

Then I read the following quote, "Maybe you can't prove God in a tube, but you can find him in your soul. When he's missing, you can feel it in your gut." Shortly after reading that my kids came out. They had no cavities but I had a headache.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

SID, DSI and now SPD or Sensory Processing Disorder

While everyone agrees on the term "Sensory Integration Therapy" there are several terms floating around regarding the name of the actual disorder that causes the need for SIT. So here is a little background on the name "Sensory Processing Disorder" that I hope will clear up some confusion. Jean Ayers originally recognized that some children have a neurological disorder that resulted in an impaired ability to process sensory information. She came up with the term “sensory integration dysfunction.” I talked with some researchers about the name morphing phenomenon and it started because the initials for “Sensory Integration Dysfunction” are the same as SIDS “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” and they didn’t want to cause confusion… (OK I’m so tempted to comment, but I won’t because I like these people…) So then some researchers started referring to the condition as DSI and the name has been morphing since.

Recently, they all got together and decided they will uniformly refer to this condition as “Sensory Processing Disorder” or SPD. The hope is that the condition will be formally recognized in the DSM as many children have only SPD while others have co-conditions like Autism and SPD. For a thorough discussion of the name morph you can visit: www.spdnetwork.org/aboutspd/defining.html.

So SID, DSI, SDI and now SPD it’s all the same condition. I hope this helps, I'm going to go take a nap.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Look out Martha Stewart!

Today was G's birthday, only two more days to the great star wars party. Instead of a cake we made clone trouper cupcakes. Tomorrow we plan to make the death star pinata if all goes well.



GA had to pbs tonight at her swim meet! Go GA Go!

Becoming Counter Cultural

Often I make decisions based on what is urgent, rather than stopping and asking is this really important. Have you ever just found yourself caught up in stuff. Then when all of the "stuff" is over you can't really even recount what it was you did...

As I pondered priorities I remembered a passage from Matthew 22. The Sadducees and Pharisees got together and asked Jesus, "which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

The more I think about it, these commandments challenge us to become counter cultural. Not in a moralistic, legalistic manner but in an intentional relational way. We need to reject the cultural norm of jamming our schedules full of activities in order to create time to love God and people.

So many parents are struggling raising kids with special needs. What would happen if people came alongside these neighbors and loved them? For example, made time for play dates with their children so they could have lots of interaction with typical peers. Or ran a simple errand or two when their lives got hectic. Or how about just taking the time to tell them they are doing a good job... I would love neighbors like that! On the other hand I hate being judged, but that's another subject...

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Great Star Wars Party is Coming


I have been all over town today visiting countless dollar stores inumberable discount and party centers looking for one thing, one thing I tell you: a balloon punching ball. Finally, I found one: at the grocery store *ONE* block from my house! >:-(

Why the insanity you ask? The great Star Wars party is coming this Friday night. G is turning 12 and he has created a fabulous agenda for his party, which happens to include a "Death Star" pinata. You see a regular "oval" shaped balloon would not work for the pinata since, as G so fervently kept on stating, "everyone knows the Death Star is not oval it is round." Along with the pinata there will be incredible party games including a Jedi challenge, hit the water balloon with the light saber, a proton torpedo toss and more.

The food is what will be really interesting we will be eating saber dogs, sith speeders, a mustafar cake and possibly Wookie cookies (we are still negotiating).

If I make it to Friday I promise to post some pictures...

Coffee I am currently enjoying Seattle's Best Decaf House Blend.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hope and Reality

I was thinking today there is a tension between hope and facing reality. What I mean is I am constantly trying to remain hopeful while confronting facts and preparing for the future. For example, while at the Autism Society Conference I learned that it is believed that around 25% of children on the spectrum develop seizure disorders when they hit adolescence. I thought that sounded odd and dismissed it. Then I came back home and found out on Friday that a mom I know (who's son is the same age as G) has just developed a seizure disorder. He had the seizure at night and it was so severe that he hasn't had the strength to walk around for the last few days. Truth be told that scared the heck out of me. What would I do if that happened to us? How do you help your child? That forced me to do some research just in case.

As I was thinking of all of this I remembered Psalm 23. I decided to look it up in several versions.* I liked the New Living Translation:

Psalm 23
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Some say faith is a "crutch" I would agree in my case. Life often breaks me and I need my faith to keep walking..

(*There are different versions of the Bible that are written in more contemporary formats or formats for children.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Walking With God

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to "walk with God." What does it mean to live life with the idea that the creator of the universe loves you, will guide you and will interact with you throughout the day. Today I read something from Oswald Chamber's "My Utmost For His Highest" that I wanted to share along those lines:

Having the reality of God’s presence is not dependent on our being in a particular circumstance or place, but is only dependent on our determination to keep the Lord before us continually. Our problems arise when we refuse to place our trust in the reality of His presence. The experience the psalmist speaks of— "We will not fear, even though . . ." ( Psalm 46:2 )— will be ours once we are grounded on the truth of the reality of God’s presence, not just a simple awareness of it, but an understanding of the reality of it. Then we will exclaim, "He has been here all the time!" At critical moments in our lives it is necessary to ask God for guidance, but it should be unnecessary to be constantly saying, "Oh, Lord, direct me in this, and in that." Of course He will, and in fact, He is doing it already! If our everyday decisions are not according to His will, He will press through them, bringing restraint to our spirit. Then we must be quiet and wait for the direction of His presence.

There are a lot of things going on with G right now, I'm looking for answers and trusting God that He will guide us as we try to help him.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hair Twirling

Well we've got a new issue going. My son has been growing his hair out. This is great because his peers all have longer hair so he is noticing the trend and wanting to fit in. I was so happy about this b/c usually he could care less what others are up to. However, now G is in the habit of twirling the hair on the back of his head. He is twirling it so much it is creating a bald spot. So the last few days have consisted of me constantly saying "G please don't touch your hair." He is getting frustraited AND SO AM I!!! So now when I remind him he is yelling "OK" or "I WASN'T" (now why would I want to provoke him? I mean honestly I love him and I love peace and quiet and sanity...)

Anyhow, I'm reminding him that I don't yell at him and I would like him not to yell at me. I'm encouraging him to keep a fidget in his pocket. This morning I helped him fix his hair and I plastered it with hair gel and that seems to be helping. He looks like he's got helmet hair but hey if it works I'd rather have this than male pattered baldness at 12!

On a lighter note, coffee I am currently enjoying is Starbucks Decaff House Blend I don't want to add anymore caffine to my nerves... >:-l

Monday, July 16, 2007

Working Smarter Not Harder

Someone asked what my presentation was on at ASA. My presentation is called: Working Smarter Not Harder Integrating Sensory Activities Throughout Your Day. I shared a variety of sensory activities that you can do throughout your house, sensory strategies for various times of the day and ideas to keep kids motivated in therapy. Some of the organizations I have spoken for are ASA, the National Fragile X Organization, Future Horizons, and Sensory Resources. I enjoy speaking to parents and professionals and learning from them.

Coffee I am currently enjoying is Peerless Coffee's Chocolate Macadamia Nut - Yummy!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Back from Autism Society Conference

I'm back from the conference and it was AWESOME! I have so much fun stuff to blog on where do I start?!
I got to meet up with Temple Grandin again, which was fun we both chatted about HOW IMPORTANT it is to address sensory issues for people on the spectrum. It was a bummer that there were only two sensory talks for the whole conference. My talk was well attended and a lot of fun. I was fighting off a cold, but we still had a great time.

I found tons of incredible products and this week I will set up some new links on my website. I have ordered two things from South Paw products including Moon Sand, and "Snow" this stuff is incredibly awesome. As soon as it comes in I will post pictures.

My family misses me so I have to go now, but more to come soon!

Coffee I am currently enjoying: Peerless Coffee's French Roast, not bad!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Leaving for ASA tomorrow

I am flying to Scottsdale AZ for the Autism Society of America's annual conference tomorrow. My workshop is entitled "Working Smarter, Not Harder, how to incorporate sensory activities into your day." I'm speaking Friday afternoon, if you go come and say hello! It should be fun although with all of the airline restrictions I'm not going to bring many toys. Last time I flew I was held up because of a rubber chicken! Honestly, who would hold someone up because of a rubber chicken? What kind of dangerous activity could one plan with a rubber chicken? Hmmmm, let me think, nothing comes to mind.

Anyhow, back to the conference I plan on spending a lot of time with all of the vendors looking at all of the latest and greatest gadgets and attending any and every workshop possible on adolescence. Best of all I get to see the hubbo who has been gone most of this month. I hope to have lots of interesting stuff to blog about when I get back.

Currently I am not enjoying coffee as I am getting over a cold. It has been hot tea and lemon for me.

Monday, July 9, 2007

"Cool" Sensory Activity

An OT shared this activity with me last year. With summer here it seems appropriate.

What you need is:
Hot Wheels or similar plastic car tracks
Action figures with their feet frozen in ice cubes

Place the action figures on the tracks and let your kids whiz them all around the tracks. This is excellent for helping kids cross the midline.

Visit National Autism Resources for more fun autism materials.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Knowing God's Love

Someone recently shared with me Zephania 3:17 "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." What an incredible verse, it stands in stark contrast to what I sometimes feel God is like. Sometimes I feel God is just waiting to punish us when we blow it. Instead, God says like a loving parent He "delights" in us. He delights in us so much that he "rejoices" over us with singing. I remember when my kids were little, I rejoiced over them with singing. I would sing to them in the car, I would sing to them as I put them down to sleep, I would sing over them without even thinking about it because they filled my heart with such joy. This is the kind of love God has for us when we are his. Words can't describe the peace and joy my heart feels knowing this.

Today I am drinking Peerless coffee's Macadamia Nut blend. Its tasty as a cold coffee drink with a splash of milk. I'm drinking iced coffee today as I anticipate our temperature here to go over 100.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Nerd Test

I just visited my friend Katherine's blog and from there took a nerd test.
I am nerdier than 13% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

I'm not a nerd yippee! Thanks KW that was fun!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Off to Camp


We're off to camp for the week! Can you tell my kids are excited?!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Full Circle

I had such a great unexpected surprise today. I ran into a woman I had met a couple of years ago named Jihee. We met after her daughter was diagnosed with autism. I e-mailed her husband and helped them with what I could. Anyhow she thanked me again and said, "there is no way we can repay you, so we are just trying to help other parents." After she said that I immediately thought of Dawn Heider & Sharon Daugherty. I myself could never repay Dawn & Sharon for all of the help and encouragement they gave me. When we as parents share what we know, encourage each other and reach out for help we all become stronger and our kids are better for it. Hooray for Jihee and John (her husband)! God bless you both! :-D
Coffee I am currently enjoying: Starbucks decaf blend.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The World is Beautiful

I drove through some back roads today it was awesome. I turned a corner and right in front of me was a perfectly golden hill against bright blue sky. It was beautiful, God is an artist. The truth is I am surrounded by beautiful things but I rarely stop to notice. Getting sick has actually been a blessing. I think I'm finally understanding the phrase "stop and smell the roses." I've gone weeks maybe even months without pausing to stop and just enjoy what is in front of me. The truth is I can't remember what all of the doing I did was... However, I clearly remember things like meeting "Louise" for coffee or talking to my daughter while we lay on her bed late at night. Those times when I've paused and enjoyed my friends and family are the dearest to me. In all of our running around have we as a culture lost something? We are rich with technology, entertainment and we all have lots of stuff, but in pursuing these things have we become relationally poor? With this in mind, tonight I have invited Gary & Katherine over for dinner. I hope to pause and enjoy their stories and maybe share a few of mine...

Currently I am enjoying a free cup of coffee from a place that shall remain anonymous. It is not too bad, but then again nothing is bad when you add enough milk and sugar... ;-)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Meeting at Peets

I love Peets coffee! I met Debbie there today and it was great. Debbie's starting the special needs journey and its hard, starting out is always hard. But I could see that she is well on her way! Go Debbie Go, if you read this I'm rooting and praying for you and D! I am amazed at how early kids are being diagnosed with Autism disorders, like D was before the age of two. When we started out it took almost a year for a diagnosis.

OK on to coffee I had a delightful Vanilla Latte from Peets. It was so yummy good! However, there was so much vanilla in it who knows what kind of bean they used. The furthest I usually go with any coffee drink is a Latte because then I can taste other notes say nutty or fruity. Plus it is less calories (I can feel my rear expanding from all the sugar as I type!)

Three more weeks until I speak at the ASA conference if you're going look for me!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Its never too late to say thank you...

Today I met with Joan R. the adaptive physical education specialist who worked with my son seven years ago. I will forever be grateful for all of the work she did with G and all of the insight she gave me. She is one of the people I acknowledged in my book. I meant to get in contact with her, but life got in the way. Anyhow she saw a copy of my book and she contacted me. I felt bad that she had to contact me, good intentions are good only if you follow up on them!

We met at Starbucks and I had a chance to tell her thank you for working with G. It was so fun to see her again. I found out that she rarely has the opportunity to find out how her work paid off. That made me think of all of the other wonderful people who have worked with G. I'm not sure I have thanked them adequately. After today I am really going to work at saying thank you even if its seven, eight, nine, ten years later. I hope as you read this you will think of someone you need to say thank you to. Follow up on your good intentions and let them know how you feel!

Coffee I am currently enjoying: I'm finishing up a decaff latte from Starbucks. I've had way too much caffeine today, but that's another story...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Visiting Home

I just got back from visiting Ojai, CA the place I grew up. I stayed at my brother's house and my kids had their fill of fishing, bee bee shooting and swimming. It was a great time, but its hard to go there because of rumblings from the past.

Years ago I had a hard decision to make. It was summer and my family lived on the border of the Los Padres National forest. One night my father and I sat outside under the stars and talked about options. As we talked I watched thousands of stars and felt warm Santa Ana breezes brush against my face. Our discussion ended with my Dad saying "I will always be there for you." That night was perfect, peaceful and happy. Soon after that my father left my mom and our relationship evaporated. Flash forward to today: Father's Day. I called my father, it was civil, pleasant, shallow.

Today I read in my bible about a God who says things like "never will I leave you, nor forsake you." Or "draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so you can receive mercy and help in time of need." It sounds so good, too good to be true viewing it through the lens of my experience. Its hard to grasp the idea that you can be completely and consistently loved by God even if all you are doing is breathing. My soul craves this kind of love, deep down inside if we are all honest don't we all need it?

OK this is too much to think about I'm walking to Saxbys.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Embrace Your Inner Diva!


Well it has been exactly 40 days since I picked up any Penny poop (from our dachshund), cleaned the bathrooms, or did any laundry. This has been awesome! At first I felt completely guilty watching my family do the things I usually do. Then I realized hey this might be the only time in my life I get to relax and not worry about the house. So I decided to enjoy it! Friends I have embraced my inner Diva! As a matter of fact, I am going to make sure that everyone continues to share the load! Starting Wednesday I'm cleared for most activity except heavy lifting. The bathrooms will need a good scrubbing, but I'm not touching the Penny poop! Join me and embrace your inner diva!

Currently I am enjoying Starbucks breakfast blend. On an interesting note, I have read that Folgers now has a decent coffee. Its called Folgers Gourmet Selections Lively Colombian. Could it be that mainstream brands are finally responding to their smaller Gourmet competition? I will soon find out as I plan to buy some today. I have to admit I am a sceptic when it comes to good and cheap together when referencing coffee. However, you can read the review yourself at http://www.coffeereview.com/ just do a quick search on Folgers.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Autism Trial Starting

The debate has been raging for years: do vaccinations lead to autism? Finally, this will be "tried" in " vaccine court" you can read more about it here: http://biz.yahoo.com/law/070605/7cc0bcecf52356c5fd8da06a4a391233.html?.v=1
This is such a hot topic in the autism community. The CDC keeps saying that childhood vaccinations are safe. Their website states, "The weight of currently available scientific evidence does not support the hypothesis that vaccines cause autism. We recognize there is considerable public interest in this issue, and therefore support additional research regarding this hypothesis. CDC is committed to maintaining the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history." It kind of sounds like they are covering themselves just in case... Am I paranoid? Maybe... Anyhow, A few years ago a speaker at a conference I was attending asked parents to raise their hands if they felt their child's autism was related to vaccinations. I kid you not 80% of the parents raised their hands, but hey they we're just parents what do they know.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Neurotypical is Overrated

I troll different online groups once in awhile to read up on the latest trends ideas and so on. As I do I often come across posts from new parents devastated that their child has been diagnosed with some form autism. I remember how that felt one minute you know what to expect and feel competent about raising your child. The next minute everything is uncertain: things that work for most kids won't work for yours and no one will give you any guarantees. Its a tough time, I'm glad I found other parents that were a little farther along to help and encourage me.

Anyhow, some have proposed developing an autism test. Like Down Syndrome people would be able to test their unborn child to see if they have autism. In response to this Temple Grandin said "once we do that we're going to get rid of all the scientist, engineers and nerds." I wholeheartedly agree. I enjoy meeting people who embrace their idiosyncrasies because life is just too short to worry about what other people think. Just because someone engages in life a little differently does not mean they are unhappy. As a matter of fact some of the most satisfied, content, and interesting people I have met are on the spectrum. That has given me as a parent so much peace, joy and hope. As a matter of fact, I think being neurotypical is definitely over rated.

Its hot outside I am currently enjoying a cup of ice coffee, Starbucks breakfast blend with lots of milk and sugar... ohhhh life is good.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Geoffrey won a blue ribbon at the county fair!

We are celebrating at the Arnwine house. Geoffrey entered a watercolor painting into the county fair and he won a blue ribbon. It was so exciting! I am so glad for the timing end of the year grades are coming and it has been a tough year for G. As he gets older the curriculum is becoming more and more language based. Thank God for math and art!
Currently I am enjoying Starbucks Breakfast Blend.

Monday, June 4, 2007

New York Times Article on SPD

Today the New York Times came out with a good introductory article on sensory processing disorder you can read more about it here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/05/health/psychology/05sens.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1181009525-E/ia4Y/MVUvcABA6gL/tSA&oref=slogin

Recently at a conference I had dinner with Temple Grandin which was awesome. We shared some funny stories and both agreed that sensory problems can make life difficult. I told her about my cocoon (a queen size flannel sheet that "Louise" sewed for me so that I could sleep in hotel beds without the distraction of strange smells or scratchy sheets.) I started traveling with a cocoon after I bombed a talk I gave for Sensory Resources. Although I was exhausted I couldn't bring myself to sleep in the bed because it smelled like pee. I tried talking logically to myself, covered the pillow with a t-shirt, kept the sheets from my face... but I couldn't sleep because I WAS IN A PEE BED! Oh well I can laugh about it now...

Currently enjoying Starbucks House Decaf. Although today "Louise" and I compared a Starbucks & Peet's Latte. Peet's won big time. More to come on that later...

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Christmas in June

Today I went to church for the first time since my surgery. I was dreading people asking me "how are you." Recently my friend "Louise" told me that if you dress up people will treat you better. This is because studies have shown people treat you based on what you look like. They taught this at a Kaiser hospital seminar she attended. Armed with this information I decided to see what would happen if I really fixed myself up. I did my hair & make up and I wore a new outfit my friend Katherine helped me pick out. At church it was non-stop compliments! People told me I looked great, like I've lost weight, that it was great to see me... It was fun. Then people started to ask me how I felt. I replied with "I'm feeling better" which was true because all of the compliments made me feel better. Honesty with ourselves and others is such a great idea, but sometimes so hard to implement. Anyhow, that's a subject for another day.

Currently I am enjoying Trader Joe's Wintry Blend Medium Dark Roast. It is a Vienna roast with peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon. It's a Christmas blend I enjoy on occasion and with all of my new clothes it kinda feels like Christmas.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

I'm Dead

I am starting a sabbatical. Tomorrow they will announce at Fair Oaks (the church I work at) that I'm taking the summer off. I'm one month out from surgery and I'm dead physically, emotionally and spiritually. It seems like lately all I feel like doing is drinking coffee and looking at the trees in my backyard.

Speaking of trees in my backyard a few months ago my son G (HFA: High Functioning Autism) decided to peel off a section of bark around the trunk of a tree because he heard the tree would die. Well the tree has been fine up until a couple of weeks ago. Now all of the leaves are dying and the limbs are wilted. The tree apparently has slowly been dying but none of us realized it up until now. I feel like that tree, and all I can do is just lay low and hope all of my branches don't fall off and wither.

Coffee I am currently enjoying: Starbucks Decaf House Blend