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.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Viruses, Viruses Everywhere

We have been plagued with the plague. Viruses have not only infected our family, but also our computer.

Yes, our new computer. Did you know you're supposed to put an anti-virus on it? Don't laugh. I'm the same woman who blew up her previous computer because she didn't know she was meant to dust it.

I'm sorry, but maybe I'm just not cut out for computers. Everytime I hear the word firewall, I think of a stone wall on fire. Actually, I think of Hadrian's Wall on fire. I have no idea why. And I'm not even sure stone can burn. But that's what I think. And spyware makes me think of Sherlock Holmes and then that makes me the think of the new Sherlock Holmes movie that is coming out on Christmas Day and that makes me think of the actress Rachel McAdams who's in the movie. Which, of course, brings me to the Mom's Night Out night that I participated in a few weeks ago - and my first night out since May of 08. And then I think about how we watched The Time Traveler's Wife - which starred Rachel McAdams - and how it depressed the heck out of me and how I sat and cried like a newborn baby and why, oh why, Nicholas Sparks do you keep churning out movies like this? You should've stopped at The Notebook. Yes, I bawled through it, too, but it just seems like you keep trying to recreate another one and, sweetie, you'll never top The Notebook. Never, ever, ever. Move on!

And, so you see why I never got around to putting up a firewall and antivirus protection on my computer. My train of thought derails too often for me to actually accomplish anything of importance.

So, we've caught the Cold & Flu plague of '09 and I'm a computer hacker's dream.

I'm back to using my mom's laptop, which works sporadically, so since I don't know when I'll blog again, I'll give you a quick synopsis of our previous week:

1. Hello Scissors. Meet Nandini: Nandi found a pair of cheap Pre-K scissors.... you know, the ones that don't actually cut paper.... and chopped off all her hair. After I finished hyperventilating, my mom came over to even it up. It's currently just under the ears, but if you look closely you'll see that Nandi clipped some right to the scalp. Sigh.

2. Eli Turned 6 and Gymboree Rejoiced: We were a bit sneaky this year. We didn't buy the kids any school clothes.... instead we bought them after school started and got marked down 50%. At this age they don't care, do they? Anyway, Gymboree had an adorable dinosaur line this Fall (the first time I've ever bought from them) and we bought Eli's school clothes on clearance. I'm just praying I don't get suckered in by all the Gymbucks I accrued!

3. Eli Matured. He Totally Matured: Eli decided to donate his birthday money to Mayan Families so that a family in Guatemala could have some food. The situation in Guatemala is dire right now and I'm so proud of Eli.

The kids get 3 presents: clothes, one toy, and a gift that gives back. Eli could've bought a Fair Trade dinosaur or something along those lines with his third gift (he had $25), but he chose to donate it to Mayan Families.

Do you think I cried? Well, of course!

4. And We Thought He Bled Orange: Only native Texans will understand that little reference. See, UT Austin (The Longhorns) and Texas A&M (The Aggies) are huge rivals. UT's colors are burnt orange and A&M's are maroon. So, UT supporters have bumper stickers saying all sorts of things, including "I bleed orange". If you see that, then you know the person supports UT.

Well.....Noah decided to do a little talking on Saturday night. He has become extremely attached to Simeon lately, as Sim's been taking him out running each night ever since I came to the very wise conclusion that me and exercise don't jive. Sim's taken up the slack. Anyway, all this rain means that Sim's working 7 days a week and getting back late at night (and let me interject and say that all would be burglars reading this can just stay away. I have a dog and I keep a machete in the house and even though I bought it at the Asian food store, I'm sure it's good for cracking open things besides coconuts). Ahem... where was I? Oh yeah, Sim hasn't been taking Noah out lately because he's been working late and this is not sitting well with Mr. Noah.

Now... remember, Noah's nonverbal... but he started crying for his daddy when he walked through the door two nights ago and started saying, 'My Aggie! My Aggie!!" And whenever Sim left his sight, he'd cry, "Aggie! Aggie!"

Even before he stopped talking as a toddler, he never could really say his D's.

So while we know what he was really saying, it did amuse us that should he ever go to college and attend A&M we know exactly what his admissions essay will say.

And don't even bother taking poll. Of course I cried! ;-)

5. And last but not least.... I Should Really Get Off This Computer and Complete My Defensive Driving Before A Warrant Gets Issued for My Arrest. I don't think that one needs any explanation.

so, Ciao. Until we meet again... and I don't know when that'll be, but you can better believe that I'm installing an anti-virus as soon as this mess is cleared up.

Monday, September 14, 2009

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks... But The Dog May Not Like It

As you can tell, I am back and finally connected to the real world again... via our brandnew laptop.

I would tell you about how Sim braved Friday night traffic and drove to 4 different Best Buys in 3 different counties with the farthest being 2 hours from our home in order to get a computer that was on sale, and how he got that computer home a week ago but that it was broken and how I swear if he could have he would have crawled up into fetal position right then and there and cried.

But I'm the only one allowed to do that in our family.

So I did.

And I certainly won't write about him comparing me to a crack addict and saying I need to go to a 12 step program for Google addicts..... but we won't talk about that.

And you did read the part where the first computer he brought home was broken right? I guess God was trying to teach me a lesson and didn't feel it was important that I get on the internet immediately to find out if the guy who plays Hector on The Electric Company is related to the 80's actor Brian Bloom, who used to play Dusty on As the World Turns because... hello! they're the spitting image of each other and oh my gosh.. those eyes! And didn't Brian Bloom used to date that girl from Kate & Allie and, hey, I wonder what ever happened to her and, good grief, someone get me a computer asap because I'm having wikipedia withdrawal.

For the record, they're not related and I only know that because.. bada bang bada boom... Sim exchanged the broken (new) computer and I'm sitting here this Monday morning typing away on my brand spanking new laptop.

Whoo hoo!

So it's been awhile since I last blogged, so I have to apologize for all the run-on's and the grammar mistakes... and, oh who am I kidding... they shoulda yanked away my English degree years ago. But, anyway, the title of this blog post has nothing to do with actual dogs, but with the fact that I'm having to learn to navigate the tiny keys and screen of a laptop computer.

The keys are soooo small and soooo close together. And the screen is soooo tiny. It just tires me out. Is this what the new wave of technology is all about? Honestly, it just makes me want to pop in an 8-track, take some Metamucil, put my teeth in a glass and go to bed.

Seriously, I'm sure the actual keys on the keyboard are the same size as a regular, the-way-God-intended-it keyboard of yesteryear... but they're so close together. They're made for the fingers of a 5 year old or some sort of contortionist from Cirque de Soleil.... not someone of my stature who has troll fingers.

Somewhere, I'm sure my mom is reading this and saying, "See... that's what you get for popping your knuckles all those years. I knew it!"

Yep, me and Shrek. Our fingers are just too fat to keep up with the advances of the 21st century.

Surely, from reading this you now all know that I can't text, either. Oh my goodness, I'd have to push the letters with the end of a bobby pin. It's wearing me out just thinking about it.

But... anyway... I do have a computer... yeah!!..... but I find it incredibly difficult to type on which means I'm hardly on it. So, I have a computer... but I'm not on it all the time.

Kind of the best of both worlds.

Hey, isn't that a Hannah Montana song? Which reminds me that I really need to just buy the HM movie that came out not long ago because I keep spending money renting it at the Red Box and didn't I see a coupon for it online a few weeks ago and I wonder if it's on sale this week at Target because they have great sales. Man, I wish they'd build a Target out here, but I heard a rumor that we're getting a Sam's club and I wonder if I can find any information about that on their website... which reminds me that I'm also out of my Orbit Positively Pomegranate gum that I buy in bulk at Sam's Club and, hey, I've read that chewing gum is a good therapy for kids with RAD and I think my friend Christine told me about it. Oh wow, I haven't read her blog in ages because we've been without the internet and I wonder what she's up to... which reminds me that I'm visiting her next month when I'm in Austin and oh my gosh... I'm going to Austin next month and haven't even booked a hotel yet. Need to do that and, shoot, I forgot that I have to do Defensive Driving this week and there goes 6 hours of my life. That cop who gave me the ticket had on those nasty mirrored sunglasses that remind me of Top Gun and, hey, when did that movie come out? 86? 87? I really need to find that out or it will drive me crazy.

12-step program? Thank goodness Sim doesn't know what he's talking about. I've got it all under control.

Control... I wonder what the origin of the word control is... is there a website that looks up origins of words? Maybe I could go to Dictionary.com or I could just google it and why am I wanting to look it up? Is there a sickness that causes people to look up origins of words? Hmm... I wonder. Maybe I should google it. Speaking of google, I heard someone talking about a new search engine and..... trailing off...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Our Computer is Kaput

Yep, it's dead. Gone. Gone. Gone.

You're supposed to clean them. Computers. Did you know that? Yeah, if you don't, then all sorts of dust and dog hair and who knows what collects in it and then it overheats and fries.

Apparently, CPU stands for Clean Periodically U (Idiot).

I barely remember to dust the tops of the pictures frames and clean that back part of the toilet that no ones sees. Am I really supposed to remember to clean the inside my computer, too?

Sigh.

It's a shame really. I had all sorts of interesting and thought provoking blog posts that I was preparing to write. Like,

How to Teach Your Children to Sit Down at the Dinner Table Without Resorting to Duct Tape

and

How to Go Green: Save Money on Trash Bags By Shoveling Your Dog Poo Over The Neighbor's Fence

and

From Fat to Fab: How to Get Bikini Ready On a Steady Diet of Ben & Jerry's

That one was my personal favorite. I was even going to post pictures in my new itsty bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini.

But... sigh... it's the world's loss.

So, from time to time, until we can save up for a new computer, I'll pop on over to my mom and dad's, raid their ridge, sneak in a load of laundry, and sit the kids in front of Scooby Doo videos and the Wii and hop onto the computer.

They live in the sticks, so it's a bit of a slow connection at times.

Which means it'd take forevvvvvvvah to download my Swimsuit Illustrated photos. It's a shame. I know.

Anyway, I'll be online every now and then.

Until then, I guess I'd better get to cleaning my house. We can't afford for it to overheat and combust, too. :(

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Are You Barren?


That's what a lady asked me at Walmart the other day.

"Are you barren?"

Uh, not only was that a bit personal, but does anyone even use that word anymore?

Granted, I do believe she was born around 1874, so maybe that was the word de jour back in the pioneer days, but come on... barren?

And the truth is that normally I would brush off a little linguistic faux pas like that, but girlfriend was carrying a Coach bag and wearing some ultra fab little trendy shoes, so I know it's not like she just stepped off the covered wagon yesterday.

Anyone who spends their days shopping at the Galleria cannot claim to be so out of touch with reality that they didn't know that it wasn't couth to refer to someone as barren.

Although spending my days shopping at the Galleria would probably suck out some of my brain cells, too, so I guess there could be a little truth to that.

Dude, they don't even have a Birkenstock store there. I think that in itself demands a prompt call to the mayor of Dallas.

Anyway, maybe it was kosher to call someone barren a hundred years ago, but this is, like, nearly 2010, and it is sooooooooo not cool.

What do you say to that? Let's think of the possibilities?

Well, actually, no, my husband's sperm IS capable of doing a little hula with my eggs, but we chose to raise a child born from someone else's eggs and sperm.

Should I give a fair warning to all the trendy teens today and say, "Well, actually, my husband wore too many tight jeans in the 80's and God is punishing me for spending my entire 5th grade year kissing pictures of Tommy Howell on my wall."

Maybe I could be upfront and say, "Why yes. I'm barren like a wild piece of land and am just waiting for some cowboy to come till me and plant his seed."

I could look disgusted, lean forward and loudly whisper, "Do you know what you have to do to have one of these?" (And then point to the kids) "Eeeeeew, yuck!" And then stick out my tongue and shudder.

But, nope. Because I am super refined and sophisticated, I just smiled and said, "No, I'm not. God called us to adopt and I'm sooooo glad we listened."

And then I turned my non-barren self around and wheeled away with the fruits of my labor.

And then quietly counted up how much good could've been done with the amount of money she spent on her purse... because, you know, I'm terribly annoying and not the least bit OCD like that.

ETA: I hope I haven't offended anyone who has a Coach purse. However, if I did and you feel compelled to donate your bag to someone in need, particulary the New Large Leather Brooke in Eggplant or the large Maggie in Cinnamon then I know of a lovely lady in East Texas who would like to send you her mailing address ASAP. *cough*me*cough**cough*

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I'm So Excited


And I just can't hide it.

I'm about to lose control

And you know what?

I think I like it.

Yep, there's something major happening that's causing me to break out into the Pointer Sisters in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon.

I'm finally on a schedule.

Now, if your first thought upon reading that is that my bowel movements are finally moving regularly... well then 1) You're either my grandpa's age 2) You're a nurse or 3) You're a mom to a child with special needs... 'cuz you know we all have Phd's in Poopology.

But no, that's not it. I mean, thanks for caring and all, but I'm referring to something completely else.

(But if you ever have any questions about poop, I'm your girl.)

No, I'm excited because I'm on the other kind of schedule. You know, a regular routine. Like, where you get up at a certain time of day, put on real clothes and don't try to pass off your pajama bottoms as yoga pants, actually brush your teeth for the entire 2 minutes, and, who knows, even jump in the shower... and shave.

THANK YOU Public School. Thank you for forcing me to get up, get dressed, and brush my teeth in the morning. Thank you for putting me on a much-needed routine.

It has saved my sanity.

Seriously, I don't know how I've managed these last seven years. I look back and feel like I was just freefalling the entire time. I had no idea that I was such a creature of habit, but looking back on my full-time working days... man, I had it down pat!

Laundry was always done. The table was cleared and the dishes were washed. Things worked like clockwork. Somehow, I managed to work 10 hours a day and still have an awesome, clean house.

But these last 7 years.... pffht. Life's been a mess.

A few months ago, my parents moved into their house and it has dark wood floors. They started offering my kids a penny for each clump of dog hair that they could find and pick up - courtesy of their shedding yellow lab.

I was just praying that one of them didn't pipe up and say, "What?? You mean we're supposed to pick up that stuff?"

Not that I have a house, a couch, and the passenger side of my minivan covered in dog hair.

Nope, nooooo experience in that.

Ahem.

Point is... I've been wandering around lost for the last 7 years and have finally started feeling like ME again.

Me, Leslie. Organized Leslie. Go-getter Leslie. Leslie who gets a lot accomplished. Leslie, who is actually a very cool person if you can look aside all the emotional crap I've been blogging about since last Spring.

Me. I'm getting back to me.

I have to get up at 5:30 to get everything ready for the morning. Take the kids to school. Then I come back and work diligently with Noah before heading back to Pre-K to pick up Nandi. Then more work, a little break, and off to pick up Eli. Then it's homework, supper, baths, reading, and bed.

Bam. I'm on a schedule. Noah's getting the attention he needs. The other two are loving being around other kids all day. The house is getting decluttered and cleaned. Proper supper's are being made.... and by proper, I mean something that doesn't require me to vent an aluminum cover and set on high for 5 minutes.

Ya'll, I'm even putting the toilet paper on that little toilet paper holder thingy and not just setting it on top of the empty roll.


Now, is that a great day in America or what?

It's awesome.

I'm on a schedule.

Oh, and my bowels are doing just great, too, thanks. ;-)