Friday, December 30, 2011

Attic Remodel (part 1)

Stairs to Attic - looking up

Top of stairs to Attic - our front door
It took us a week, but we did it.  We painted - 3 coats of white - the walls, trim and windows.  Pulled up the old white carpet (that had food stains, marker stains, and yes vomit stains).  We were going to replace the carpet, but when hauling out the old carpet we ripped the padding - and there were hardwood floors underneath.  So we pulled up the padding as well.  K removed all the carpet tack strips, and S and R and I pulled up all the staples holding the padding in place.  We did the same to the stairs that were also carpeted since those too were hardwood floors.

 Here are the pictures of the finished product.  Did forget to mention we mopped the floor twice w/Murphy Oil Soap.  If you look closely you'll see the lavendar walls we painted over in the closet.  (We are not repainting the closet - boys don't care and K and I are exhausted/sore from all of this hard work.)  We still need to remove their old dressers and bring up the better ones we have in the basement - but that is a job for tomorrow.

The last 3 pics are of the other half of the attic we need to finish.  First we need to hire an Electritian to come out and put in another outlet or two (there's only one) and an overhead light.  Once that is done we need to put in a sub-floor, and then the carpet and padding.  Lastly the trim.

This will probably be the 1/2 the boys sleep in and their dressers, and the half that's finished will end up being a place for the TV, a couple of desks, and a futon.


Sunday, October 09, 2011

It really is the simple things . .

. . . that can make a day memorable.  Today we took the all the monkees to the KC Pumpkin Patch (  They have a ton of stuff to do, and it can get a little crowded so we went on a Sunday.  Wanted to make sure that T wouldn't have any anxiety about the large number of people.

Anyhoo they have a zip-line for the kids to do.  They adjust it so the most a kid is off the ground is a few inches.  T wanted to do this, and we never turn him down when he wants to try something new.  Not only did he do it, but he got off beaming saying "I did it, and I wasn't even scared!!!".

My mom told us later she wasn't sure who was more proud me and K or T.  :)

Now most are wondering why this is the moment that made the day memorable.  For a family with a "normal" child it's no big deal.  But for us, it's a big deal.  You never know how T is going to react to something.  Most people we tell that he's Autistic don't really believe us - until they've been around him a bit and they pick up on the little things:  holding things in his hand, lack of personal space/property, tantrums over simple tasks, etc.

I love the look of pure joy on his face (not fear or terror that we were expecting).  That's K in the back ground - parents weren't really allowed back there, but this is the only time we break the rules.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The little things that remind me of my kids

Even though I have a great pic of all 4 kids as my wallpaper on my work computer it always amazes me the weird and little things that remind me of my kids:

1.  Recently had to resupply my personal stash of sticky notes - they had purple, blue and green along w/the traditional yellow.  I opted for the purple (Baby A's favorite color), blue (T's favorite color) and green (R & S's favorte colors).  Now which one do I use first?

2. Any of the little kids waiting with their mom/dad at the bus stops by the Bank.

3. When listening to - if a song w/a good beat comes on I immediately picture Baby A dancing away.

4. Cottage cheese - T asks for it ALL the time, and everytime I see it on the salad bar in the deli here at work his little voice pops in my head asking for some.

5. Crap in the vending machines - it's all the bad stuff the kids love that I rarely let them have.

6. My re-usable water bottle/cup at work - if I ever do bring it home I'm bombarded by T and Baby A for a drink.

7. Toilet paper - yes, toilet paper.  Baby A either doesn't use any or uses way to much.  (Can you tell I've dug a few handfuls of toilet paper out of the toilet when she's used to much.)

8. Highlighters - any time K brings the kids to my office for a visit Baby A wants to color and uses my highlighters.  I have some great highlighter art hanging in my cube at work

Monday, July 25, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

Using my new fancy crockpot I made a batch of homemade yogurt.   If I can figure out how to attach a word document I'll post the recipe. 

So far so good - it's straining right now.  First attempt didn't turn out so good.  Baby A I think was playing with the buttons and turned up the heat to high.  So by the time I added the "starter" (aka yogurt w/live active cultures) it was too hot and it killed 'em.  This time I learned my lesson and put the crockpot further back on the counter and she left it alone.

Since I doubled the recipe I had two batches to strain.  The first batch didn't take long, and turned out nice and creamy.  The 2nd batch got left a little longer (about 1/3 of the results) and was nice, thick, and creamy like Greek Yogurt.  I got a little over 2 cups from the first batch that I strained, and 1 cup from the 2nd batch.  T & Baby A got small bowls from the first batch sweetened w/ a little splenda, vanilla flavoring and sugar-free chocolate syrup.  Both inhaled it must be good!!  ;)

Now I didn't have a wire mesh strainer - just a plastic one - two actually.  I set-up my largest collander with the cheese cloth, and the smaller one with a coffee filter.  Both worked equally well - did have to "stir" both to get ensure all the whey was removed.

All in all - fun project and will do again with skim or 2%.  However, did spend more time removing the finished product from the coffee filter/cheese cloth than I had making it.  On to try Cottage Cheese per T.

Friday, July 15, 2011

15mos w/o Cable TV

April 2010 we turned off our cable (aka Dish network).  Since then we've been using a basic attena on our old tube TV, and watching Netflix through our Wii.

Christmas 2010 we got a deal on a HDTV and were able to get HD channels w/our attena as well as still watch Netflix through our Wii.

Around that same time my parents gots us a nice Sony Blue-Ray player what was WiFi ready.  Now we can watch Netflix in our bedroom.

We don't watch many TV shows/series so this works for us.  Our kids still get to watch movies and cartoons either through the local channels or Netflix. 

The best is that our $100+/mo cable bill is now only $10 for our Netflix subscription.  Which is a good thing as all that money we saved is now going towards our grocery bill.  :(

Yes, we did spend some $$ upfront to get the two antennas (less than $100 total) - we don't count the new TV as we were buying that regardless of having cable or not.  It was our Christmas present to ourselves.  :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Diary vs Diarrhea

Conversation between me, R, and S one Saturday afternoon:

While getting all 4 kids situated in the mini-van and checking that R & S had their DS with them and plugged in I noticed S was hiding something.  (His DS close to his chest.)

Me:  S what are you hiding?
(S says nothing, but R chimes in.)
R:  It's a secret
Me:  What?
R:  A secret.  You know his diarrhea.
Me:  Diarrhea?  You mean diary.  I assuming they were using the chat/text function on their DS
R:  NO - Diarrhea.  His secret writtings.
S:  Yay - it's my Diarrhea
Me:  No R, you mean Diary.  Diarrhea is runny poop.
R & S:  Really?
Me:  Yes, Diary is a journal, secret writings, etc.  Diarrhea is runny poop that you can get sometimes with a tummy ache.
R & S:  Oh (as comprehension dawns)

Mind you I did this all without luaghing, but K was in the front seat laughing hysterically to himself.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Some of our bad parent moments . . . .

1. During the summer we hardly bathe the kids - as they're usually outside playing in the blow-up pool, water guns or slip 'n slide.  Plus they all excema and frequent bathing will irritate it.

2. Baby A is my only child that'll wear PJ's to bed....the boys all insist on boxer briefs and sometimes a t-shirt

3. Give T & S their ADHD meds even on the weekends even though we've been told we don't have to

4.  Been known to send the kids to bed w/o brushing their teeth

5. Only way to get Baby A to goto bed is to bribe her w/laying in Mommy/Daddy's bed and watching "Blues Clues"

6.  Been known to make PBJ for b-fast, lunch and dinner all in one day.  Hey - they asked for it so why not?!?!

7. Half the time the kids go outside we forget sunscreen or bug repellent spray or both

8.  Baby A loves to fold towels - and I gladly let her.  And yes, I don't re-do them - just take what she folded and put 'em in the linen closet.

9.  Been known to lock myself in the bathroom for a lot longer than it takes to go pee.

10.  Can't do this w/ the boys 'cause they're getting too big or T just moves too much, but when Baby A is the first awake on a weekend day we have her come sleep w/us as 99% of the time she'll go back to sleep and so do we.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I sometimes wonder . . .

. . . . if my darling daughter knows she's not meant to be on this Earth long.  No, she's not ill or anything.  But she's so stuborn and onery - more so than all 3 boys combined - I occasionally have the flash of thought that she's not long for this world and this is her way to ensure she's remembered.  It's almost like she's trying to cram as much "living" into the time she does have.

Morbid horrible thought?  Yes it is . . . which is why it's here.  I don't dare say anything to K 'cause he'll think I'm out of my mind, etc. 

FWIW - I've only had this thought about her, and it saddens me every time I have it.  Which thankfully isn't all that often (maybe 3x in the last 2 years).

Monday, June 27, 2011

How long does it take a 4yo to destroy Grandma's basement . . .

. . . .I'm assuming 5 minutes, but she was at Grandma's for at least 6hrs last Friday.  This was the result:

Have they taken gender neutral too far??

IMO - Yes and No.

Yes - not using "him" or "her" doesn't teach the child that there is a difference between being female or male.  Those differences should be embraced...not hidden as of something to be ashamed of.  I think gender equality could be attainded more by what the children are exposed to rather than ignoring the difference between the girlie girl and the manly man.

No - I think they have a good idea, but their approach is a little off.  None of my boys ever wanted to play dress up.  Even after Halloween when they all had their costumes.  However, now that my daughter is 4yo and wants to play dress up the boys have gotten into it and will help her dress up and they'll participate by dressing up in old Halloween costumes.  Yes, my sweet husband just rolls his eyes, but neither he nor I stop them.  It's all fun, and for once all 4 are playing well together.  Once again it's what they're exposed to - if everything they're exposed to is treated equally then doesn't that help to eliminate the differences in gender?

Along the lines of thought in my comment under the "No" section - my boys have always loved helping me cook, bake, etc.  I encourage it as some day they will be adults and will need to fend for themselves - even if it is just making Mac 'n Cheese or Ramen Noodles.  Then there's my daughter that loves to get the same toy as the boys in a Happy Meal.  She's right there with them taking sticks and making a gun out of them, or playing some other game.  She's defnitely a girlie-girl with a big dash of tomboy thrown in for good measure.  (Picture a 3yo in her Cinderella costume in the sandbox making sand angels with the biggest grin.)

Maybe I'm off base....then again I am the mother that paints her sons' tonenails right along with her daugher's .  :D

Monday, June 13, 2011

great pic of the kids

Mind you my mother probably took this about 9mos ago - but still it's a great picture: everyone is smiling and looking at the camera.  Top:  S and A, bottom R and T (L to R)

Monday, June 06, 2011

F R E E - from the annoyance of diapers!

Yes, you read that correctly.  No more diapers or pull-ups here, we're all big kids and go on the toilet in our house!!!!!

Okay - I'll admit T & A still wear night time pull-ups occasionally, but for the most part:  NO MORE DIAPERS!!!!

Now all the money we save on diapers/pull-ups is paying for groceries. . . . . {sigh}

Medication Roulette

T's medication roulette since his Aug 2010 diagnosis of PDD-NOS/ADHD:

* The first medication T was on for his ADHD, Metadate 20mg, worked - but it just didn't last throughout the day as it was intended. (He was on this for 2-3 mos)

* Next there was Vyvanse 20mg - worked, and lasted as long as was intended, but something just wasn't quiet right. (He was on this at least 6mos)

* 3rd bet was on Concerta 27mg.  OMG the boy was just out of it.  Called the Dr office and they prescribed 18mg.  Seemed to work, but everytime we tried it w/in 48hrs he had an awful cough, runny nose and fever.  (He was on this for a month.)

* Back to Vyvanse 20mg to finish out the school year - 4 weeks left, cross your fingers he has more good days than bad.

* Now we're trying Synaptol.  It might be a whole bunch of bulshit...but it's cheaper than the ADHD meds and figured we owed it to T to at least try.

Then there's his anxiety issues, the stuttering, lack of appetite, and chronic runny nose.  We have no idea if any of these are the result of the medication or if they were exacerbated by the medication.

Monday, November 22, 2010

P A R T Y ! ! ! ! !

It's been 3 weeks with only 2 small pee accidents, but I'm calling the boy Potty Trained.  Heck T even slept in big boy underware last night and woke up dry.  So not is he day trained, but on the right track to being night trained.

K and I have been excited every afternoon when he gets home from school to see how he much so that K will text me if he was dry all day or not.

Now K is looking for a blue r/c car for the boy.  'Cause a promise is a promise.

{sigh}  If only little miss stuborn would follow suit.....we could finally be done with diapers/pull-ups!!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The price I get to pay to Potty Train the T-Man

Yes, the boy is 5yo.  Yes, he still wets himself.  Worse yet, he still poops himself.  We have done everything to convince him to stop doing both.

I think we finally found his currency - Radio Controled Car.  No, not a cheapy from Radio Shack, but the kind daddy races. 

Lessoned learned by K - stop teaching the boy to read on the potty - specifically your R/C Car magazines.

Last year for x-mas the big boys, S & R, each got a pretty nice R/C car.  So we're getting the same thing for the T-Man if he can continue to relieve himself in the toilet rather than his pants.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The best thing a mother could hear. . .

. . . . . I went to the boy's school on Monday to have lunch with them both (T & S).  While sitting with T and helping him and the other Kindergartener's a little boy, J, told me T was his friend.  Then a little girl next to us, I, stated she likes T and likes to help him.

Why can't they stay this naive, sweet and understanding forever?  He's accepted now, but I know that will change as they get older.

However, I'm choosing to live for the moment and relish the fact my autism spectrum/ADHD child has friends.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bullying and Food Allergies

My oldest is allergic to Walnuts and Pecans - aka Tree Nuts.  To be safe we avoid all foods with any trace of a Tree Nut (including almonds, hazelnuts, etc).  I make sure his school knows, and there's even a sign outside his classroom declaring it a Tree Nut free zone.

I would be furious if someone did this to my child, and I find this article distrubing.  However, what's even more distrubing were the comments.  Many stated the child needed to stand up for themselves, how ridiculous to call a PBJ a deadly weapon, so on and so on.

What these ignorant individuals don't understand is that not everyone reacts the same - what will not cause an allergic reaction in one person may throw the other into full anaphlactic shock.

It is my belief that if the child in the story did go into anaphlactic shock from having peanut butter smeared on his forehead then the Bully should have been charged with attempted murder.  It's no different then that child pointing a gun at someone and pulling the trigger to see what happens - it could have grazed the targeted individual or it could kill.