I originally started this blog a few years ago to chronicle Noah's daily struggles with autism. It was a dark time in my life - a time when I felt that things would never get better. It was a time when I felt that all my hopes and dreams for my son and for our family had died. In my efforts to help Noah recover from autism, I began a journey that inadvertently led me to rediscover myself. I learned how to laugh again. How to dream again. How to live again. How to love again.

Autism Schmaustism. He's still our son.

This is a blog celebrating our family. Our kids. Our life.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Writing from Another Country

It's been a few days, hasn't it? Well, that's because my kids surprised me and Sim and took us on a trip! No, don't get too excited. We've been there before - as, I'm sure, have you. It's a place called "The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children" - and I hate it.

Our kids take us to The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children at least once a year. Normally, though, they give us a bit of warning. They usually drop a few hints - such as coughing or sneezing, but no, not this year. This year, they surprised us! How thoughtful of them.

At least I can say it's truly a Family Trip. All of us are involved this year. And we're not too lonely. I seem to recognize some familiar faces. It's a popular destination for people with children.

Some of you lucky dogs may not have visited this year. Not much has changed, but I'll go over all the travel specifics with you just to refresh your memory.

The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children is probably one of the worst travel destinations ever. First of all... there is no off-season. It's always hot and dreary in The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children. At least 102 degrees or higher - with no breeze in sight.

How do you travel to The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children? What are the transportation modes? Well, the buggy at Walmart is always a safe bet - and I can assure you that if your child mouths on the cart handle then there is usually a direct route to The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children (TLSIC). Sometimes, schools take a field trip there - and often provide a bus. You can also walk there. I hear that if you go outside barefoot when it's cold and damp, that you can usually take a footpath directly there.

What about currency? Well, the currency has not changed. It's still Diarrhea, Puke, and Snot. Note: the goal is to get your kids to run OUT of currency because then you get to leave The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children. However, sometimes, especially if you have more than one child, you'll find that siblings will often trade currency with one another... thus extending your stay in The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children - which is never good.

The hotel rooms are still the same. They're pretty dismal and consist of a twin bed with bad springs. You do get to choose your linens this year. I believe the choice is between Blue's Clues and The Wiggles. And there is most definitely only one thin pillow that you will have to share with your Sick and Inconsolable Child. There's usually a comforter or duvet, but, again, the chances of you actually getting any part of it is slim.

Just as the hotels are the same, so is the food. For such a populous place, the food selection is poor. This year, apple juice is still the juice of choice - while grilled cheese has seemed to edge out it's competitor - macaroni n cheese - by just a fraction. You'll soon find, however, that an "anything goes" mentality rules.

"You want potato chips for breakfast? Sure thing!"

"You want ANOTHER popsicle? Hey, no prob! Anything for you, my sweet little sick cherub".

For adults, the one and only "allowed" food or drink in The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children, is coffee. But don't despair. There's enough to go around.

There is no adult television in The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children. It's a kid friendly country - 24/7 - all the time. So, do bring a set of ear plugs with you if the thought of Elmo and Barney all day long for 5 days straight makes you want to pack up your bags and ship off to The Land of Kooky and Insane Parents who Hate Puppets. (Which is also a popular destination amongst the thirtysomething crowd.)

As for the rest of the entertainment.... well, didn't you know it's YOU?? So, if you have yet to visit The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children this year, I'd like to offer you a few tips. Brush up on your drawing skills - as you will be required to draw all sorts of things, like T-Rex balancing on a bicycle or an Elephant throwing peanuts on a dog. Basically, anything that your Sick and Inconsolable Child desires and demands. And, no, it doesn't matter if you can't even draw a stick figure correctly. Your Sick and Inconsolable Child will still demand that you create the exact likeness of every dinosaur that ever lived. Which brings me to another issue. Stock up on crayons and paper. And nursery rhymes and songs. Your dancing skills. Your juggling oranges skills. Your storytelling skills. Basically... anything that will keep your Sick and Inconsolable Child from whining.

As far as safety goes, it can be a bit daunting. There's a bit of a drug problem. I can't think of any other place on earth where parents actively shove drugs and liquids down their children's throats. And regarding trash... well, the place is covered in kleenex and discarded juice bottles. Not the most beautiful place to visit.

Don't worry, however. You won't suffer from lack of company. There are lots of adults in The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children. The capital city - Sleep Deprivation - is full of them. In fact, only adults congegrate in Sleep Deprivation... as all the Sick and Inconsolable Children stay up all night, but sleep during the day. Sleep Deprivation is the only place where adults can gather and commisserate about their Sick and Inconsolable Children. Thus, there are lots of internet cafes in the capital city of Sleep Deprivation. And coffee bars.

If, for some reason, your husband decides to visit the capital city of Sleep Deprivation, don't despair. Although you are in a foreign land, it's not like he's just stepped onto a beach in Sweden. Oh no. There's no reason to be jealous of the women in the city of Sleep Deprivation. They're a dirty looking lot of mothers. Most haven't showered or shaved in 4 days. Some haven't even brushed their hair - or teeth. Many still have on their pajamas. Some are covered in puke - and almost all are stooped over and look like they've aged 60 years. It might have something to do with sleeping on a twin bed with a squirmy, feverish, Sick and Inconsolable Child for days on end. So, no, dear friend. Don't worry. Your husband will not go astray in the capital city of Sleep Deprivation.

And, most certainly, if your husband is visiting the capital city of Sleep Deprivation in The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children, chances are he's not looking so hot himself.

The good thing is that your visit to The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children usually only lasts a week or so - and then your back to The Land of Normal (which isn't always better). Unfortunately, however, you might find that you caught something in The Land of Sick and Inconsolable Children, which usually means that you find yourself in The Land of Parents Who Just Have to Deal with It - because there is nobody home to take care of You.

Oh, one more thing. Don't forget the country's motto: "Leave Your Sanity at the Door"....

and their slogan:

"Well you see you back next year!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Locks of Love

Soooooooooooo... guess which member of our household just donated their hair to Locks of Love?

Hmmmm.... can't figure it out?

Can't understand how it's possible since none of us have hair long enough to donate?

Well, let me give you a hint:



Oh, was that not a big enough hint? How about this one, then?


Hey, why not give just one more for good measure. (oooh, helloooo stud!)

Yep, that's my Sim - back in the Grunge Days. Well, actually, I don't think the whole slacker/grunge period was as big in England as it was in the States - so, technically, you could just say we were pretty sloppy back then. Although, I am typing this wearing a lightweight 1970's painter's shirt with embroidered doves and owls on it that I got at a thrift store back in '93... so maybe the whole sloppy thing is still happening over in GBC. We're bringing the sloppy back, baby!

Anyway, if any of you ever thought that I was a major pack rat... then, honey, you ain't seen nothing until you've witnessed my parents try to pack up a house that they've lived in since 1987. And, apparently, my mom has a fetish for old ponytails that used to be attached to loved ones heads (ewww... I didn't realize how gross that sounded until I reread it. Oh well). Anyway, my mom has, over the years, amassed quite a collection of ponytails that she now has to decide whether she wants to pack up and save or throw in the dumpster. Apparently, Sim's ponytail doesn't hold as much sentimental value as my old ones, and she called us up and asked if we wanted to donate it to Locks of Love.

Yeah! Absolutely!

I have always wanted to grow my hair out for Locks of Love, but I just don't have the patience. Also, as you can see from the pictures... homegirl don't rock the short hair look, does she? So, no, I won't be cutting my hair above the ears for a looooooong time. Fortunately, however, my husband's hair can be donated. Isn't that cool??

And I don't think any of us will be in the position to grow our hair out - that long - again.

Although Sim did give it one more try in 2005:


And then he decided that he couldn't stand the upkeep.

So. How many of you can say that your husbands donated their ponytail to Locks of Love? :-)

Leslie






The Tower of Babble

Okay, so I couldn't resist a play on words (you know, because Noah babbles. Get it? Plus, we just did a lesson on the Tower of Babel yesterday, so it was fresh on my mind). Anyway, Nandini and Eli are so sweet to Noah. One of his favorite things to do is to knock over towers that we build out of an old set of cardboard bricks that we bought at a garage sale for 3 bucks. Most kids would be itching to knock over a tower as high as the one we built, but not Eli and Nandini. Nope, they couldn't wait to watch Noah get all excited as he knocked it down.


Here's the tower partially built. It goes all the way up to the ceiling fan.


Here's the tower in all it's cardboard glory:



And here comes Noah!





And Eli clears off the table:



Now, don't even think that I'm going to show you the mess they made in our utility room.

Leslie

Accessing my blog

Hey, I just found out that my parents have been accessing my blog through Noah's old website - which does not take them to the new and improved blog that Nikki did through Blogs for a Cause. If any of you are reading our blog through Noah's old site, then you're missing out! :-) You can access the full thing through www.recoveringnoah.blogspot.com . Noah's website is completely out-of-date and I have no idea how to update it - except to pay someone and that's just not going to work right now.

Just wanted to let everyone know. I had no idea my parents were still going to the old site to read all the updates and it made be think that maybe a few of you are still doing that, too.

Leslie

Monday, January 21, 2008

Noah's Abscess - UPDATE

I can't believe it. Well, I can believe it - but, still, I'm in total awe of the power of prayer. Saturday, I blogged and asked for prayer requests for Noah's abscess - which was the size of a walnut - and today, just two days later, it's completely gone! We've done nothing to treat it since Saturday. Noah suddenly refused to take his pyrogen remedy and we didn't put the antibiotic cream on, either. And it's gone. Completely gone. The only thing that remains is a scab from where we drained it a week ago. It needed to be drained again, but we didn't touch it. And it's gone!

Thank you all so much for including Noah in your prayers. I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful we are and how much it means to us. And our God is a wonderful, awesome God.

Leslie

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Noah's Trip to Austin (RPM @ HALO)

We took Noah to Austin on Thursday so that he could get some more RPM therapy in at HALO . Sim took him for a session when I was in India two months ago (two months ago??? Can you believe it??) but, honestly, we haven't done anything since Nandini's been home. We've just been busy trying to figure out things and get a schedule down. Well, I did try a few times, but it was a disaster and I found myself getting frustrated - which does not help the situation.

Anyway, we are flat broke and money around here is getting tighter than Joan Rivers' face, so we were afraid we'd have to quit going. Well, God answers prayers, doesn't he? HALO has hired an apprentice who is going to start working with the younger kids doing RPM. She was an ABA therapist up north and also has gone through all the rigorous RPM training and has been doing that for awhile. Anyway, they just hired her on a 3 year "apprentice" contract in Austin and Noah had his first session with her on Thursday. She is AMAZING! She reminds me so much of Soma. I mean, obviously, there is only one Soma - and she's irreplaceable - but Erica does a fantastic job and Noah loved her. He just smiled, took her hand, and walked up the stairs with her. Never batted an eye.

I love going to these sessions with Noah because it just gives me the kick in the butt that I need to do it at home. He is so smart! He just knows so much - and I never give him credit for that. It's so easy to forget, which is hard to explain, but I'm sure those of you who know Noah know what I mean. It's hard sometimes to believe that his brain is fully functional, but it is.

Anyway, it's a looooong trip - 8 hours round trip for a one hour session, but the good news is that since Erica's considered an apprentice, her fee is 75% cheaper than Soma's. Thank you Jesus! That's what we needed. I'm hoping that we'll be able to go up twice a month. Of course, Sim isn't too thrilled about that because he'll have to spend one of his days off looking after the two rascals, but really... when exactly do mom's get a day off? Huh? But it looks like it might work out and I'm so excited. This means that I can homeschool Noah and then get retrained on Noah's emerging skills every 2 weeks. And that's really important.

So, we started up schooling again yesterday. I'm taking it real sloooooooow because otherwise I get frustrated and give up. We're doing Bible for 15 minutes in the morning, English/stories for 15 minutes in the afternoon, and math for 15 minutes in the evening. Once we establish a set routine and get into the swing of things (and once I become more trained in RPM and feel more comfortable and competent with it all, then we'll lengthen the time spent on each subject and add some more in. He's only in kindergarten).

We did Noah's Ark yesterday and then a unit on the zoo and he got EVERY question right except for one... "what is a flood?" - so I was really impressed.

Okay, Nandini and Eli are about to kill each other. It's getting harder and harder to sit down and type anything anymore. You can imagine what it's like when I sit down and try to do 1:1 with Noah. So pray for us, please. :-)

Oh, and if you can, will you please spare a prayer for Noah? He has another abscess. It's on his rib and we got as much stuff out of it as we could. He was hospitalized with MRSA Staph last Easter (for a week) and we can't afford the money or the the week away for him to go back for more antibiotics. Not to mention that the antibiotics nearly killed him. He absolutely can't handle them. We've been giving him pyrogen ( a homeopathic remedy) and put a topical antibiotic on it, but it's still the size of a walnut under his skin. We're keeping a close eye on it and looking for any symptoms, but I just get really scared - especially because he can't tell us how he's feeling.

Thanks!
Leslie

How Do You Like My New Look?

It's stunning, isn't it?

My blog was feeling a bit neglected so I treated her to a facelift. Ahhhh, if only they all cost just $20.

So. This really cool girl, Nikki, created the blog for me. She is the most awesome thing ever. I am so hoping that my boys end up marrying a girl like her. (Nikki, you don't have any little sisters in the - oh, I don't know - say, kindergarten age range, do you?).

Okay, so Nikki is a college student in Canada. She went on a humanitarian trip to the Dominican Republic last year through Hero Holiday and is raising money to go back in July. She needs $3400 to spend a month in the Dominican Republic and has come up with a fantastic way to raise money... by giving blogs a facelift. She's super fast, super nice, and just does an all around fantastic job. Also, $5 of the $20 for the blog design goes towards a charity of the month. This month, the money is going to a special needs orphanage called Santiago Orphanage. It's a cause that is near and dear to my heart.

So... how do you get "lifted"? Well, go to the link underneath the picture at the top of all my gorgeous kids and click on "Blogs for a Cause". From there, you can email Nikki. She'll write back and ask for any words you want on the blog, any pictures, what colors you like, and what style you like. Now, I am completely uncreative to the bone.. so I just sent 10 different pics of the kids and she cropped and cut and enlarged and came up with my blog pics. I think she did an awesome job. Also, you can get some ideas from looking at the blogs she's already done. They're linked from her main page.

Seriously, if any of you are wanting to get your blogs redone, I highly recommend you go through Nikki. $20 is a great price and it's going towards a good cause. This is not a girl who is trying to get rich off middle-aged woman who were already in college or mothers when the internet came around (thus, making us complete idiots when it comes to the computer. Or is that just me??). All the money is gong towards funding a trip to help out at orphanages and to work with children in an impoverished country. And she's young! How many college kids do you know that have their act together like that?

So, click on Blogs for a Cause and treat your blog to a facelift. It'll thank you for it. (And don't forget to let me know. I love a good makeover).

Leslie

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Photo Essay

See, Computer? I couldn't stay away from you for more than an hour. I finally realized how to make The New One in My Life love you... by making it all about her. You see, toddlers are very narcissistic and love looking at pictures of themself. But... moms are smart. I can post a photo essay chockful of pictures of The New One, but print words underneath. So, I'm actually blogging in a very sneaky way and spending time with you - and she thinks it's all about her.

Aren't I clever?


This is a picture of Nandini and Eli with their container of squirrel and bird feed. Most if it gets thrown within a range of about 6 inches - which means we have to frequently wash off all the bird droppings from our front porch.


Eli with his 'coon skin hat. Don't you think he's channeling Davy Crockett in this photo?


Who needs to hire a maid when you've got a 3 year old ready and willing to help?? The only one of my kids (actually, entire family) who enjoys cleaning. We love you, baby!


Nandini cleaning Eli's dirty belly.. with the equally nasty dirty sponge. But, hey, they actually quit fighting for about 30 seconds!


Why I LOVE garage sales. This whole outfit cost 50 cents. Isn't it adorable? I cannot wait for Garage Sale season to kick up again. Aww, who am I kidding? In Texas, every weekend is cause for a garage sale. (Go, Texas!)

The kids poking around in our compost heap. They're a lot braver than I am - that sucker has spiders! I don't get within 5 feet from it. I make the kids empty the compost bucket.


Nandini in all her full, morning glory. Check out that hair!


Aww, my little Noah. Wondering why I always have a camera shoved in his face. Here he is eating my homemade muffins. At least someone liked them!



Doesn't this look like a day at the beach? Nope, it's just the construction site of the half million dollar condos they're building across the street. The kids will be so sad when they're all built - they love playing over there. (Are we trashy or what? A family outing consists of walking across the street and having the kids play in sand dunes at a construction site).


Eli with his harpoon stick. Yes, this is the same stick he chases Nandini around with. Gotta love the little guy.


Nandini (with her mini-spear) and Eli beating the tar out of our neighbor's mailbox. Ooops.

Yep, you can always tell when people live on the lake because they have mailboxes in the shape of fish.

Ours is a bass - courtesy of the lady who lived here before us.


Simeon giving the kids a snack and looking at me like, "You think this is camera-worthy? Get a life!"


All three kiddoes at the park. Actually, it's the playground at the local elementary school, but we sneak in on the weekends.


Sim, pulling our load - plus the dog - on a Sunday outing.

Nandini conquering the slide. I love this photo. Don't know why - but I do.


Eli - looking as handsome as ever.


Simeon improvising a magic carpet ride/kite flying thing (okay, who knows what he's doing) with the Blue's Clues sheet we used for our picnic.



Nandini and Eli making a mess out of our backyard. (Noah was sleeping).


Nandini with her first artistic masterpiece.


All 3 kids at my parents' land. They just sold their house and are moving out this way. They'll be 17 miles away from us - as opposed to 77.


Eli - showing that mud is that boy's favorite toy. He is one mucky fellow.

Noah, the tree hugger. Most people want their kids to be doctors or lawyers... .when we found out we were adopting Noah, my wish was for him to be a tree hugger. No joke. I had visions of him being an environmental activist. I bought him his first pair of Birkenstocks waaaaaay before he was able to wear them. And although the whole activist thing might not pan out, he is definitely fulfilling my wish to be a tree hugger. He loves trees. He can stand in front of a tree for hours - just "talking" away - happy as can be. When we saw him do it for the first time a few years ago, I realized that God definitely has a sense of humor. Despite the autism and the delays and all the broken dreams, God fulfilled my wish of Noah becoming a tree hugger. Isn't that awesome?

Ooh la la. Isn't this the cutest picture? Those two love each other so much. Eli looks after Noah in ways I never imagined. He is fiercely protective of him. I absolutely love this picture. I am so blessed to have those two boys in my life.


The Three Musketeers chillin' on the four-wheeler. Don't worry. We took away the keys.

Finally! Both looking at the camera at the same time. My two little Indians.


Nandini in another garage sale get-up. The rubber boots, though, were a gift from Nonna and Papa for Christmas. She adores them. I wish they made those wellies in my size!

Noah, just hanging in the woods - all content to be surrounded by trees. If only we could all be so happy just experiencing the joys of nature.


So there you have it. More pictures of my brood than you ever wanted to see. But, aren't they lovely??
Leslie








Breaking Up

Dear Computer,

I know it's been a while since I last sat down and visited you. It's just... wait, no, don't cry, Computer. Come on, now. It's okay. Really. No, no. It's not you. It's me. It's just... well, I don't really know how to say this. Okay, I'm just going to say it.

I've found someone new.

There. It's out there. It's done. Now you know.

But I know you already know. You've met her quite a few times. And, yes, she doesn't really like you. Okay, she actually can't stand you. And, yes, it's true. She starts whining and screaming everytime I come near you. But I love her. I do. I'm crazy about her.

Wait. No, of course not! This has nothing to do with your age. Yeah, so. She is quite a few years younger than you - but you know better than that. So what if your monitor is dusty and your keyboard is faded. You know I don't care. You know me better than that.

Okay, well, yeah, you also thought I'd never leave you... okay, well. I see your point.

Seriously. Come on, Computer. It has NOTHING to do with your age. Hey, we all get older. I can certainly attest to that.

Really, it's just... okay, stop it. It has nothing to do with your size. Yeah, I can't exactly sit you on my lap and take you to the park or to the cafe - but you know I wouldn't ever want to use you in public. Come on. Yeah, so you're a bit bulky and immobile - but you know I love you. You've been able to satisfy me in so many ways over the years. I could never trade you in for a younger, smaller model.

Except that I have? Well, yeah, sort of - but not really, Computer.

You know I love you - it's just... I love her more. There I said it. I do. I'm crazy about her. True... she's mucky. Walks - well, runs - around with wild hair and sticky hands and markers on her face. She's always dirty and getting into things. But I'm crazy about her. I am.

True. True. She is jealous of you and has a quick temper. I'm sorry she hit you the other day. And, yeah, it wasn't nice of her to spill her drink on you. No.. I don't think she did it on purpose. Really? You think she did? Hmmmm... well, maybe.

Look. The point is that she needs me right now. She wants me to hold her all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. But who cares, right? We waited a long time for her - and she came halfway around the world to be with us. It's just going to take some time. And, honestly, she'll come to love you as much as I do. I can guarantee that in 10 years she'll want to be with you so much that you'll get sick of seeing her.

Oh, Computer. This is so hard for me. I do miss you so much. Everytime I walk by you, my fingers get all tingly. They long to type on your keyboard. And my eyes.... oh, how they want to gaze upon your monitor. Oh my goodness - all the wonderful things that monitor has shown me over the years.

But I can't. Not right now.

Don't worry, Computer. I'll never fully leave you. Yeah, it's true that your cousin, Tele Vision, went away on vacation and hasn't come back yet - but don't go thinking the same thing will happen to you. And, yeah, it's true that your brother, Tele Phone, has seen quite a bit of abuse lately - but, hey, your big size comes in handy! I promise there's no way that The New One in My Life will be throwing you around and biting on you. Don't worry. I've got your back.

Listen, I don't know when we'll meet again... maybe tonight? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month? I just have to do some planning, but maybe I can arrange a Late Night Rendevous or an Early Morning Quickie. All I know is that we'll have to be very, very, very quiet. We don't want the New One to know. But, I promise.. sometime soon... I'll come pay you a visit, sit down, and turn you on.

Until we meet again, please know that I'm thinking of you and remembering all the wonderful times we had together. I love you.

Your's faithfully,

Leslie

Friday, January 11, 2008

What on Earth???

Okay, so a few weeks ago I posted about how little fairies snuck into my room at night and abracadabra'ed me into a neat freak. Then, right after Christmas, I woke up with a wild hair up my you-know-what and announced to the family that we were getting rid of the TV. And this was a week before the newest season of The Biggest Loser came on - so I know that I was not acting of my own accord. Well... those fairies must've been at it again and came and sprinkled magic fairie dust on me or something because about a week ago I went to bed as Leslie and woke up as Martha Stewart. Or Rachael Ray. Or Betty Crocker. Maybe even June Cleaver. All I know, is that the baking-cooking-let's-turn-these-old-milk-cartons-into-pretty-little-bird-houses woman that has since taken over my body has not been me.

I woke up with the wonderful idea of "Let's not buy store-bought bread for a whole year. Let's make it!!!" And since then, I've made 3 loaves of bread. One good, one deflated, and one that went directly into the compost heap. I've also gotten up at 5:00 in the morning (twice) to make banana muffins. I stayed up until 11:30 making banana-chocolate chip muffins. I made the most delicious scones in the entire world (look out Simeon's mom) and smeared 1/2 a pound of butter on them. I then nearly gave us a heart attack with Rachael Ray's rendition of Sticky Toffee Pudding (cake), which called for 3 cups of heavy cream, 3 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour, and 3 sticks of butter. But, boy was is it gooooooooooooooooood. We just polished it up a few days ago. I made belgian waffles with extras in the freezer - and sat on the back porch step - while the kids played - and peeled 5 lbs of potatoes - then chopped, diced, and sliced them into individual baggies and froze them... only later to realize that you cannot freeze raw potatoes. Tonight, I'm attempting glamorgan sausages. What on earth............???

So, let me explain. I am NOT a cook. I should be... I'm descended from a long line of traditional Southern women who make buttermilk biscuits from scratch and who go out and wring a chicken's neck, pluck it, and have it on the table by 6:00. Me??? Not like that. Not by a mile. For years, my speciality has been boxed macaroni and cheese with a thing of Rotel thrown in for good measure. And if I was feeling especially saucy, I might toss in a few frozen corn kernels. Winning the blue ribbon at the county fair? Not gonna happen.

So I have no idea what's happening to me. Maybe it's because we don't have the TV anymore and I've got all this time on my hands. Do you think that's it? Shouldn't I be reading? Or, heaven forbid, exercising? Not making full-fat recipes that are going to drive Noah to the deep end. And the funny thing is that my family is SO not used to sweets that no one is eating my muffins. Except for me and Sim. The only two people in the house who were raised on baked goods. (Although if you throw some store-bought powdered donuts at them, my kids will inhale them like oxygen - as evidenced at Life Group last night.)

Anyway, all I know is that something funky is going on. Maybe my need to bake will turn into my need to cook and I'll focus on making dinner instead of breakfast. Although, they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I'm not sure they had banana-chocolate muffins in mind when they came up with that, though. Maybe my attention will turn to something else. I have a strong desire to learn to knit (what is happening to me??), sew (I made a 'D' in Home Ec), and now have the overwhelming urge to make a bunch of felt play food for the kids. Aaaaaargggghh. If only I had the same desire to do push-ups and crunches. Why doesn't it ever turn out that way?

Well, the kids are up and I've promised them that we'd pop popcorn today and string it up between the trees for the blue-jays. Can you believe they're out? And we had two woodpeckers yesterday, too. And the squirrels are eating the corn we put out. I even saw a bunch of ducks in the lake. Hmmmm.... I wonder if they'd like my muffins?

Leslie

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Three P's...

Pee, Poop, and Potty.

I had no idea how much space those three occupied in my little brain until I sat down and tried to decide on my goals for 2008.

And they all begin with P.

What a change from New Year goals from the past. 10 years ago... heck, even 5 years ago.. maybe even 3 years ago... my goals were much different. Now, however, they all have to do with elimination, excrement, and making it into the sparkling white throne that sits next to our bathtub.

Oh, who am I kidding? There's nothing sparkling about it all.

So, first up is Noah. Now, there is a very legitimate reason as to why he's not potty-trained. We're not only dealing with autism, but cerebral palsy, as well - so there are a few factors playing into it. Plus, he is the only one of my kids who can't stand to be naked. Not to divulge too much information, but he absolutely can't stand the feel of his "bits" dangling against him. Hmmm... that's going to present a problem, isn't it? We have finally gotten him used to sitting on the pot - for, like, 2 seconds. That's it. And it is a killer trying to get a pull-up past his knees because everytime he's in the buff he just crosses his legs and you almost have to get a crowbar to separate them. On the brightside, however, he is actually requesting a pull-up each morning. He cries if we try to put a diaper on him - so that's really brilliant news. The bad news is that his skin has broken out all along his waistband because of those darn pull-ups. We had tried them ages ago - before he was really ready - and he had a reaction to the chlorine in them, but we were hoping it'd be better now. Nope. Not a chance. But there's more good news...

Seventh Generation has now come out with non-bleached pull-ups. Whoo hoo!!! I found out a few days ago and did a happy dance like you would not believe.

Noah's been wearing the diapers for years - and still wears one at night - and he's never had a reaction to them. So, hopefully when our order of pull-ups comes in then that terrible rash he has will go away. Anyway, if you order them through the monthly shipment thing at Amazon, you can get 4 packs for $33. It's not bad - it even out to be what you'd pay for the regular pull-ups (maybe even a tad bit cheaper) and it's safer for your kid's skin. Plus, FREE shipping. But you have to do the monthly order thing before the end of the month in order to get the discounted rate.

Okay, next up is Nandini. She is semi-potty trained. She stays dry through the night, but pees like a faucet during the day. If we set the timer for every 20 minutes and take her ourselves, we can be pretty sure she'll stay dry. But, like Noah, she has CP, too, and I really think it affects her ability to feel "the need" to go. Sometimes, she'll start peeing and run up to me and point to the potty - so I really think she can't discern when she needs to pee. As for poo - not a problem. She is completely poo-trained. Our big issue, though, is what I like to call "Revenge Pee". It goes something like this..

Nandini, LEAVE the dog alone. This is the 1,454,325th time I've told you to quit sitting on her.

Okay, Nandini. You're going in time-out. I have told you 1,454,326 times to leave Ginger alone.

(Nandini smirks at me and then proceeds to pee on the floor).

Or, it might go something like this...

Nandini, I know you want to me to hold you right now, but Noah's crying and Mommy really needs to hold Noah right now.

Nandini, Mommy will hold you in just a minute, okay. I really need to help Noah calm down.

(She then walks into Noah's room, yanks off all of his covers, stands up on his bed, and proceeds to pee all over his mattress).

It actually has gotten A LOT better, but there's something to be said for a child who can pee for revenge, but can't quite tell when she needs to pee just to pee. You know what I'm saying?

Then, there's Eli. Ah, Eli. Completely potty-trained by day, but turns into a geyser at night. Seriously, he has some sort of hidden "on" button that triggers around 3:30 every night - and then swoosh! It's like Old Faithful has hit our home. He does really well - has been in big boy underwear since he was 3, but night-time... it's a whole other story. My main goal for him is that he will somehow become magically night-time trained without any intervention on my part - 'cuz I hate having to get up every 2 hours to take a cranky, sleeping kid to the loo.

And there's the probably-never-gonna-happen-until-they-get-much-older-and-realize-that-they-don't-really-need-to-see-Momma-go-to-the-bathroom wish. Privacy, please. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

So, basically, my goals this year are to get all 3 kids fully potty-trained so that my house will stop smelling like pee and maybe we can stop polluting the landfills with all our used up diapers.
Oh, and maybe once - just once - be able to do my business in private.

Wow. All this pee and poop talk. I have such a potty mouth.

Leslie

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!! I can't believe it's been so long since I last blogged. I had to double-check the date of my last post - December 21st. Can you believe it?

Wanna know what I've been doing with my time????

Playing with my kids.

Wanna know why?

We got rid of the TV.

Yay for us!! Okay, actually we still have the physical TV, but we cancelled Direc TV, which is the same thing because we don't pick up a single channel without a satellite. Well, okay, if I stand on one leg, crook my arm up to my left ear and bend slightly forward to the right then I might be able to pick up ABC. But if I sneeze or get an itch then we'd be in big trouble.

Hmmmm....maybe I shouldn't have dropped out of yoga all those years ago, eh? Probably would've been able to stand on one foot for a lot longer than 15 seconds. (Actually, I lasted all of 5 minutes with yoga. All that silence and deep breathing stuff got on my nerves).

Anyway, the point is that we are now TV-free - for the most part. Noah still likes his Elmo videos and Sim and I watch a DVD when we can (my recommendation: the movie Once. LOVED IT. Best music ever. Soooo sweet. Not for the kids, though, because of language. But great, simple, wonderful, fantastic movie). But mostly we are TV-free. About 99.5% of the time - except for the odd video and it is so FREEING. I just feel so free and no longer chained to my TV. There's a whole world to explore and kids to play with and wagon rides to take and towers and castles to build and books to read and playdoh to mold and all sorts of wonderful, fabulous things. I mean, I did do all those things back when TV-ruled-my-life, but you never realize how unattentive you are until you turn the thing off. I don't have to keep straining my ear to hear when the commercial break ends, you know? And I don't have to run and set the VCR (yes, we were a decade behind technologically-speaking) to record a show because it coincided with the kids' bedtime. It's just awesome and has changed our whole family dynamic. It's been great.

And for some reason that has affected my blogging time. I'm not quite sure why. I think it's because we're just having a blast and haven't sat down to the computer that much. Also, Sim's had some time off and we've just been hangin' and chillin'.

Things have been going really good. Nandini has turned a corner and has just melted right into our family. She's doing great. Her speech is coming along - slowly but surely. She's till running all over the place, but we've managed to convince her to keep her clothes on. She still gets jealous of Noah, but for the most part , she adores him. She calls him Nola Par-ta (Noah Partha).

Eli is getting a bit better with Nandini. He plays really well with her, but can't stand to share. He visits Time-Out quite a bit. But, you know, it's to be expected. It's only been 6 weeks and it's just been him and Noah for the last 3 1/2 years. He's developed a wicked sense of humor lately. He found a huge stick in the woods that he pretends to harpoon Nandini with. "Come here big whale!" I'm not quite sure where he picked that up from - fortunately, he has never actually harpooned Nandini, and I can assure you we don't let him run around with the stick unsupervised. :-)

Noah is doing awesome. Lots of little things that are really big things to us but probably little things to other people. He seems to be putting 2+2 together lately. Like, if he wants to stand on a stool, he'll go into the other room and actually get it. He also peed on the potty for the first time EVER! True, it ran down his legs because he refuses to open his legs on the potty, but he actually sat on it. He's also started to let us know what he wants by us asking a question and holding up one finger for yes and one finger for no - and then he chooses what he wants. "Do you want a bath? Are you hungry? Do you want to go outside?" He's also playing a teeny tiny bit with Nandini and Eli - just a little bit, but that's huge.

We start taking him back to Austin in a few weeks for more RPM training. We also just started a new homeopathy remedy - Causticum - 2 weeks ago, so we're excited to see if that brings about any changes. We're just really excited about what 2008 is going to bring. Very, very excited.

Okay, Nandini is getting quite frustrated that I'm on the computer and ignoring her. Actually, she's throwing a wall-eyed fit, so I'd better go. Just wanted to post some pics and wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Leslie

Christmas Pics