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 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:
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:

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