Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Seem to Have Misplaced Someone

In the past week, I have lost my daughter 3 times. Twice at church and once in our yard... sounds awful - doesn't it? People must think I am an idiot!

Sometimes she runs ahead or I get distracted... either way, it makes me feel terrible and I frantically run about trying to locate her. Maybe that's why I laughed when I got this joke the other day. I don't usually forward jokes, let alone post them on this blog; but - it's been a tough summer, with the kids. Or at least it feels like it tonight.

I am not sure that I agree to the statement that men are happier people. Certainly they do not struggle with the same things as women do... and that's what made this so funny to me. Laugh at what you find amusing and disregard the rest!



Men Are Just Happier People-- What do you expect from such simple creatures:

1) Your last name stays put.

2) The garage is all yours.

3) Wedding plans take care of themselves.

4) Chocolate is just another snack.

5) You can be President.

6) You can never be pregnant.

7) You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.

8) You can wear NO shirt to a water park.

9) Car mechanics tell you the truth.

10) The world is your urinal.

11) You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.

12) You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.

13) Same work, more pay.

14) Wrinkles add character.

15) Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100.

16) People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.

17) New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.

18) One mood all the time.

19) Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.

20) You know stuff about tanks.

21) A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.

22) You can open all your own jars.

23) You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.

24) If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.

25) Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.

26) Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.

27) You almost never have strap problems in public.

28) You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.

29) Everything on your face stays its original color.

30) The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.

31) You only have to shave your face and neck.

32) You can play with toys all your life.

33) One wallet and one pair of shoes -- one color for all seasons.

34) You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.

35) You can 'do' your nails with a pocket knife.

36) You have freedom of choice concerning growing a moustache.

37) You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier.

Send this to the women who can handle it and to the men who will enjoy reading it

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Perceptions - Mine

"Any scientist can tell you the number of seeds in an apple, but only God knows how many apples are in a seed." - Anonymous

Last week, I spent much time thinking about how hard I work at trying to get Nicolas to "fit in". I know I get frustrated with him - and he knows it. Why? Why do I do this to him and to me?

This really had me pretty whacked-out last week. I think it's because of (something)? Is it my pride? I am not ashamed of him and I am so used to people thinking I am a rotten/ignorant parent, it is almost numbing, at times. What the heck is it then? Is it the criticism I get from close friends? Or relatives? I understand that we only know what we know. I don't expect people to know what an opiod affect is on the brain and what leaky gut syndrome is. A year ago, I didn't know.

So what is it then?!? It's seeing pain. It is the pain that I have read about and heard about from other parents who have children who are either unique in the way they learn or "in the spectrum". I understand the pain that they feel for their children. Not so much in the facts that they do not love their child or "celebrate" their "uniqueness". That's not it at all.

I think it's because our kids, like Nicolas, are special - because they are alive. Period. God has given them to us and given them life. They really aren't all that miserable or unhappy. It's us - who live around them, who make it so stinkin' rough. My job, as a parent, is to help him live - thrive, rather - in his world and in my world. All children want and need friends. I need them too.

I keep thinking that I have to try to get Nicolas to know how to act and talk and what to say, to do and so on and so forth, so that he can fit in. He doesn't read people very well at all. It's painful for us parents because we just want our kids to be happy and have friends. Most of the time, it is us - the parents, who befriend our kids. That's not so wrong, ya know. There is nothing wrong with playing frisbee, board games or even video games with our kids.

I have been a bit tough on Nick lately and I need to knock it off. I just made new charts and calendars for him - so he can see and then feel a sense of accomplishment. He needs to feel good about himself. He doesn't need to hear that he is the messiest boy in the world! When I look back at history and consider those who have made considerable or incredible history, I almost always find that they were not 'in the norm", for their time. Musial composers, inventors, doctors, etc. - they all struggled in their childhoods, and likely - in the adult lives too. And, I just bet their mothers' worked hard at helping those children - who later contributed in ways that changed the world - by loving, encouraging and believing in their children. Don't you?

I read an amazing quote this week, from a neurosurgeon. It made my stomach hurt, my eyes burn and my heart ache.
"When I was in my early years (first through fifth grade) learning disabilities were an unknown entity. Those of us that had these problems were simply viewed as unintelligent, and from my perspective the greatest sadness was that we viewed ourselves the same way."

-- Dr. Epstein
Here is the website where I found Dr. Epstein's quote.

I haven't been to any support groups in a long time. Maybe I need some encouragement too. The mom controls the tone in the home! Oh yeah - it's a powerful position I hold!

Then I ran across this...

"Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful." -- Annette Funicello

I like it. I like it a whole lot.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Generation Rescue and Autism One Join to Help Children

"Generation Rescue
and Autism One are delighted to announce their partnership to better meet the needs of the autism community in order to help children and educate parents and medical professionals. Based on shared values and each organization’s expertise the alliance will provide creative and innovative solutions to many of the autism, ADHD and chronic illness community’s most pressing problems."

Good news. I like good news, don't you? Full story over at Age of Autism.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Spring Rain

It's really cold tonight -- especially for the end of July! The temperature will be down in the low 50's tonight... brrr. This weather certainly feels more like spring, than like mid-summer.

And, it's raining tonight. Reminds me of a rainy spring day when the kids went outside to play - with rain boots and raincoats. I was busy doing something... probably sweeping the porch or some other domestic duty (insect control)... and I noticed it was rather quiet.

Hmmm... where was Nicolas?

Whoa, it sure must be windy out front! The umbrella has capsized!!

Uh-hugh... Just as I expected!

Every once in a while, things seem normal - just like spring rain. It just doesn't last for long, that's all...yet! I haven't talked about this for a while, however - we do believe that all these actions that we are taking... that they are not only helping Nicolas, but - that they are allowing his body to get to a status... or a "state", where he will start to self-heal. There are so many areas that we are working on. I keep praying that we are going the right direction and focused in the right areas. And, I am also praying for God's healing too. He is still Jehovah Rapha.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I Really Hate Ticks

Look at my girl...

She's always ready for a road trip! Juice + blankey = good trip and a happy kid.

A few mornings ago, I awoke to screaming. Not altogether unheard of in our home, but - what was unusual, was that it was Olivia doing the screaming. What in the world would make my pet-loving, happy to sing you a song, happy girl, shriek so early in the morning?

It wasn't our new bird, that's for sure. She loves him.

It was a tick. A tip in her arm... yuck! Hubs got it out and had it cremated before I even got out of bed and to her. What would I do without my tick annihilating hubby? ((Our hero!))

It's now several days later and that tiny little spot is looking rather blistered. I put some hydrogen peroxide and lavender essential oil on it and we'll check it again in the morning. She's not complaining, so I am not over-checking it either.

Every time I feel a little tickle from one of the dogs' cute little furry ears, or a little "twinge", I think I am feeling a tick on my skin. Never has been. Thank goodness. I really hate ticks.

I love this picture. I don't know what my little girlie girl is thinking, but - I know she's not worrying about ticks, that's most certain. She gets over things fairly well. Not like her brother...

Poor Nicolas. He has not had a good week. Something is not right and I am going to start adding more meat to his diet. I know, it sounds odd... but - between his mouth, gut and brain: something is not right. He has dark circles under his eyes and cries all the time, about everything. I am trying to read books to him more and honestly, it's the last thing I feel like doing. I don't want to sit with a kid who, on the outside, appears to be giving me such a run for my money... ((sigh)) I have to make myself available to him, as he needs me. I need to be in his world, because he sure is having a hard time in mine. Poor kiddo... I'll let you know if the meat helps. Oh, and I am going to cut back on fruit. Always fine tuning and tweaking his diet... always. On the bright side - I have made 4 new recipes in the last week and the whole family has loved them and they are safe all to eat. Maybe I should write them down...? I should. I can never remember what I used to make for meals. Does that ever happen to you? It happens to me a lot. Sometimes I wonder what we've eaten all these years... Ha-ha. Food, I would guess...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thimerosal Lies?

Age of Autism is worth your time - just to do a little reading and inform yourself about the safety of vaccines. You do want to be informed, don't you?

If you are currently a human being and alive on planet earth - it's worth your time to read more about the LIES regarding the removal of thimerosal from vaccines. You don't want to be lied to, do you?

“Since 2001, all routinely recommended vaccines (except for the flu vaccine) currently being made for administration to young children in the U.S. contain no thimerosal or only trace amounts.”

A quick read of this statement might lead someone to that mercury had been removed from all vaccines (except flu of course) in 2001. But this does not say that mercury containing vaccines were no longer being used, it only states that mercury reduced versions of the basic vaccine schedule given to children age 0 to 6 were currently being made and had become available as a choice. Note that the qualifier “young children” also leaves out booster shots, and some brands of meningococcal and tetanus vaccines recommended for children over age six still contain preservative level mercury TODAY.

Want to read the rest of the article?

Do you FEEL any different? Confused? Angry? Disappointed or let down? Betrayed? I want to be able to trust my doctors. Don't you? Do you?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Welcome to Our Zoo

Everyone got baths today.

Sadie is our 16 year old dog. Here - Olivia is making sure the dog stays nice and warm, on a cold day in March. Man, I love that dog... I will need some serious therapy when she passes on. She is the BEST dog in the whole world. She follows me everywhere, and I like it. Her understanding and companionship is incredible... I'll stop now.

I am going to attempt to introduce you to our zoo. This is Nick's gerbil, Shiny Eyes - he is 3 years old already. What an easy pet! He's hilarious and gets a diet rich in fresh seeds, fruits and vegetables. Maybe that's why he is still a crazy gerbil. I got him for Nick on the day he accidentally slammed Olivia's pinky finger in the door. Poor Nicolas... he felt soooo bad. It was an honest accident and in my efforts to teach our kids NOT to eat when they feel sad, mad or bad, I bought a gerbil from an animal shelter. I also bought a gigantic bag of bedding, which now - after 3 years, is only half gone. It is the most amazing bedding as it does something wonderful by not allowing our gerbil's cage to smell. Honest! You cannot smell rodent in our home (if cleaned regularly), which is a very good thing.

And, this is Bet. Short for Beta. Yes, he's a siamese fighting fish. This picture was taken on the day the kids received him as an Easter gift from Katie, Andrew's girldfirend. He now lives in a much larger vase with his hydroponic peace lily. He is also very easy to care for and only requires cleaning every 10 days. His diet consists of freeze-dried blood worms, which is the only thing he will eat. None of that fake fish food for this handsome guy.

The tank on the left is home to 2 crayfish, and is divided; the crawdaddy on the left is going to be 3 years old the one on the right will be 1 this summer. Nicolas caught them a couple of summers apart in a creek, from a nearby village. I swear that I will not allow any more crustaceans in the house. No more. It's not that they aren't entertaining; they are very fun and amusing. If we rearrange things while cleaning their tank, and they don't appreciate the new arrangement, they will stack their rocks and gravel to keep themselves busy and get their home to their liking. Who would have ever thought it? The really cool thing about crayfish, is that they shed their exoskeletons 2 - 3 times a year. Each and every time, it appears as if they have died, but - not to worry. They just shed all of their parts, that's all.

The tank on the right has platties and a big old plecostamus. Did I spell that right? The fish are a pain. Filters, ph, temp, etc. I would like to end the fasination with fish soon.

This is our 2 year old Cairn Terrier, Ginger Snap. She has terrible manners and in this photo, she is talking back to me. She hates the new addition to our family and is so jealous! I would never have guessed this bahavior out of her. Every time she hears me talk to Nick's new birthday bird, she barks the loudest -- and most annoying bark. She protests and I have to figure out what to do about this. Right now, I put the radio on near her, and she can't hear me work with our baby cockatiel.

Here he is! The newest member of our family: a 10 week old little boy cockatiel. He is so dang sweet. He came over to the side of the cage when he saw me (and my crappy camera). The breeder that we got him from said that most of her cockatiels live to 22 - 25 years. Some longer. Wow - I had no idea. Did you? We keep him in our former dining room, which now has 3 desks and a keyboard in it: our homeschool room. It's really the only place where he won't get a draft and Shiny Eyes is in there.

Nicolas did get a Petsmart gift card for his birthday and was so excited to get his first pair of fancy hermit crabs. Guess what? they kinda creep me out, but - I used to feel that way about the crayfish too. Please don't tell anyone though, or they'll be putting the hermit crabs and their pokey little eyes on me all the time. Ew...

Needless to say, with a child like Nicolas - who obsesses like a pro, we know a whole lot about hermit crabs, gerbils, dogs, fish, crayfish and now cockatiels too. Unit studies and lapbooks are part of Nick's education on a regular basis.

Moving on...

I had a migraine last week and still haven't caught up. And ,as often happens afterward, I am enduring the "migraine aftermath"... of being shaky and feeling weird. So, I am setting my thoughts on good and positive things, which can be a challenge. Taking care of the kids and animals gets my mind off of myself. No time for self...

The good news... we survived a gluten-free, casein-free and nearly sugar-free birthday for Nick.

The bad... my camera took awful pictures. I desperately need a new camera.

The ugly... after a migraine, my house is always a wreck. I need serious help... and guess who the help is? Me! So, I will conquer later... tonight.

As for the birthday bid, he has no name. Since I am cleaning him, I get to name him. Don't you think?

Whoever works with him the most, gets to name him.

Whoever cleans his cage daily and feeds him, gets to name him.

Are you getting the idea. I have named him "Nigel". I named him before we got him.

Hubs wants to call him "Chirpy". Duh. I had 2 American Budgies; one as a child and the other when Andrew was about 2... they both had the names of "Chirpy". Parakeets chirp. Cockatiels talk. There is a difference, thus substantiating my point that the bird needs a name more fitting for such a wonderful pet.

He is called "Pretty Boy" a lot. Kids... Hubs...

And, our smaller, younger dog...again, she would like to eat him. It is a bit of a problem when working with a hand-tamed bird. My fear is that the bird will bark, woof and scream, taking after the noises he hears most.

I wonder... will the bird talk? Will he cry? Again, he's really sweet and a nice addition to our zoo.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hair Today - Gone For A While

I couldn't do it. I couldn't go for 2 years without cutting my hair. I tried, but - the other day... something in me just needed to cut my hair. It was driving me nuts.
I got the name of a hairdresser that I had never met before; but - I have seen her work, and I knew she would be good. And, she was. She was confident, fast and very good. Although I hadn't cut my hair since February of 2008, it wasn't as long as I had hoped it would be. I decided to get it cut, secretly praying that it would be at least 10 inches! And, since I was only about half an inch from 10 inches of a clear cut in the back, she said she'd send my hair in anyway. Yeah!

I am talking about sending my hair to Locks of Love. It feels good inside, knowing that somewhere, a little girl or young woman, who cannot grow their own hair, usually from a health related condition - could have my hair. It's not "the least I could do". It's just something that I could do to help someone else. And, I am now growing it out again, to donate again - most likely.

While I was sitting in a very lovely salon, getting my hair cut, I was looking around at the other clients and hairdressers. Although I did attend cosmetology college just 23 years ago... (choke-choke) things are not all that different in the salon world. The cuts and colors are different. Oh - and the music is different, most definitely. But - the activitiy remains the same. The smells in salons always give me flashbacks and this time, I was ok. I was pretty sure that Nicolas wouldn't flip out over my new short hairdo and I am coming to terms with the fact that I need to be a little bit nicer to him. It was good to get away from home for almost 90 minutes! My haircut was only 40minutes, including the shampoo and style, but - I went to the bakery first and poof! My time was up and I had to rush home to get the kids from my folks. They can't handle Nick for too long; he eats too much and too often, and talks a lot --- is what they report back to me. Poor boy... he just has so much to say that it works up an appetite! ((Smile))

I have a lot of excuses to explain my stress and impatience. Most of them really are true. And, I am phasing out of many of the things that have my time and energy. This too, is true. But - I have this "gut-feeling" that I still need to simplify my life, our home and our schedules even further. Easy to say; hard to do.

This fall, Andrew will be going in to his 3rd year of college. Essentially starting over, now that he thinks he wants to go into health care. Nick will be in 3rd grade and Olivia wants to start K-4. Two dogs, one bird, a gerbil, lots of fish, an organic garden (that is trying to kill me!) and a bunch of other things, all require my attention. Oh - and Hubs... I should try to squeeze him in somewhere too. Yes, I need to continue my efforts to re-arrange and simplify our lives. Homeschooling Nick is not anything even remotely close to predictable. Oh my - it is rewarding, but - it's challenging.

Getting my hair cut (to donate it) was a good thing. Getting rid of all the stuff that ties us down, in ways that are distracting - this is good too. But, even more important is the urge I have to spend more time in prayer, alone with our Heavenly Father. He is the One who renews and refreshes me, even in the areas I so desperately need, such as patience.

I think I will get real simple, and start using "to do" lists again. Right after I stop procrastinating, that is. Ha!

As always, time will tell.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Trip to Our Cabin

Our cabin. Part 1.

We have a rustic cabin up north. This first photo is just behind our cabin, and is part of the acreage that we had harvested, some years back, under a managed forest law. It's really grown back quite nice! The loggers road is still visible and I wonder if we'll ever build up there... certainly there must be someplace within the 80 acres where we could live?

Last weekend we decided to go up north to our cabin, to prepare to sell it. I travel well and slept 3 out of the 6 hours... not too bad. I needed to catch up on some sleep, since we left at 4 am and I went to bed at 2 am. Indeed, I am too old to do an "all-nighter".

The kids slept and then they talked non-stop. Livi wanted to talk, but - Nick just wouldn't stop.

As we got up to Burnett County, I thought saw a cow in the woods. I know, it sounds strange... and it was. In fact, I made Hubs turn around and go back -- just in case I imagined it. Well, here's the proof! A cow in the woods. Weird. What's even weirder is that I had to ask her to stop chewing her cud and look up at me to take her picture: and she did! I knew right then and there that we were going to be in for a long weekend.

I had no idea what was to come though. I was thinking about the bears we always see. Or, maybe we'd get woke up in the middle of the night by crazy raccoons, playing tag on the roof of the cabin... or worse yet: maybe we'd run into a family of skunks! Those would have been too easy. Way too easy...

Guess what I saw next? How about another cow? Uh-hugh. Cows in the forests... odd. These were the only 2 cows I saw.

We drove through the newly re-developed town of Siren, and couldn't believe it was the same town that I had last visited in 2000. NOTHING was the same since a tornado went through in 2001, destroying the whole town... and it was the only tornado in history to touch down in Burnett County, or so they say.

We were almost to our cabin and Hubs saw a garage sale sign. Who cares! He cared. He pullrd in to a garage sale, in the middle of the forest and went inside a barn to "browse"... and a yellow lab ran out of the barn and stared at me. Just starred... and the poor thing was covered in burrs... and he just kept looking at me, like he knew how obsessive I am about keeping our dogs all brushed and groomed... there wasn't anything I could do but get out of there. This too, was a "sign" of what was to come... odd things.

We were driving along... about 5 minutes from the cabin and as we went around a bend in the road, I saw two large dogs - standing in the middle of the road. No houses, farms, no nothing around but woods. Of course, they come over to my side of the van... and I have to get out and check their collars. It was hard, but - I did manage to get a phone number off one of them and wouldn't ya know... no reception up in the Wisconsin northwoods... dang. We drove to the nearest house and the woman who lived there, well - she recognized the dogs and we left them with her. Poor things... they were hot, wet and smelly. But, very nice and well-behaved dogs, I must add.

We did finally arrive at the cabin. While I unpacked and made the beds, Hubs decided to mow the lawn, just in case we would come across ticks. We have never seen those nasty little arachnids in the summer or fall -- only in the spring. I was looking forward to a nice little fire that evening and the incredible stars that come out, only up north. Millions and millions of bright and incredible twinkling stars...

Go Hubs - Go!

Yes, that is an old outhouse at the back of the side yard. It was usable until about 11 years ago... and the carpenter ants took it over back then. We steer clear of it. Maybe someday I will hang a grapevine wreath or something on it... maybe. If I ever go back, that is.

Hubs took Liv out for a hike to the lake, at the very back of our property, while Nick and I settled in for a few games of Mancala. We kept in touch with our 2-way radios, a.k.a. "walkie talkies".

I cleaned and sprayed fresh lavender essential oils everywhere and the place was starting to look tolerable and smell pretty good.

When Hubs and Liv got back, I did what I always do after someone has been hiking in the woods: I ordered a tick inspection. No way were they going to bring ticks into the cabin where we were going to be sleeping and I hate bugs anyway. So, I told Hubs to take off his shirt and let me just quick check the back of his neck.

The next thing I know, both kids are screaming their heads off and hubs is lighting matches like a pyromaniac! Oh, it was so gross and I couldn't scream or I would have freaked the kids out even worse. Hubs was covered with ticks! I mean there were dozens of them on him and a few were nearly in him. Yuck.

I ran for my make up bag and retrieved my tweezers. There was just no way I could yank that many off Hubs' hairy chest and back. ((You do know that bald Italian men are always hairy, right?))

In case you've never dealt with more than 3 or 20 ticks, let me assure you that they move FAST. They crawl and jump faster that you can light a match. And, they chomp into your flesh pretty fast too, which is odd, because Wisconsin wood ticks are rather slow eaters. Anyway, it was just as gross when he took off his pants too. I'm so thankful he did not wear boxers that day! Dear me...

We had a little tick bonfire in an ashtray and hoped that we had gotten them all. Everyone seemed to be doing fine except for Nick. Every single time my boy looked down, he had one crawling on his arm. This happened 6 or 7 times and I lost him. He just sat on the couch, crying, totally freaked out and there was little I could do. He was gone.

I can't say that I blame him. And, he tried; he really did. I distracted him by having him try to play with his hermit crabs, which we did bring along. I tried to play board games with him. No use - every time I looked over, there was a new tick on him! For a child like Nicolas, who can so easily obsess, this was rough. It was rough on me, and I can usually control my mind, or at least 97% of the time.

Finally, after a couple of hours of hearing him freak out, we packed up and started our 8 hour journey home. It took 8 hours because we were both too tired to drive and pulled into a McDonald's parking lot and slept for almost 3 hours. It was creepy to wake up at 1 am and have an entire town, dark and vacant all around. I have no idea what town it was.

We stopped to get something to drink at the next town, and the local gas station was hoppin'! Where did all those people come from and why were they all at the same gas station as we were? In the middle of the morning? It was odd...

We pulled in to our own driveway just before 4 am, a mere 24 hours after we started our little drive up north.

I still have a huge garbage bag tied up with clothes inside. I think there are still ticks alive on the inside of it. Hubs pulled a pair of boots out yesterday and guess who showed up? Mr. Tick. I hate ticks. I really hate pulling them off of people; and I really just hate ticks. Even now, I feel as though I can feel them crawling on me.


Oh, and I do need a new camera. Each time I turned it off and on, it (the camera) changed the date. Sometimes it would not take a clear picture and others, well - it just kept changing the date. This was really odd. Fit in with the whole 24 hours, as odd as it was.