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


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


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…


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?


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.