Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday fun: "Christmas and Cookies"

We had a fabulous day with our dear friends, hanging out, sharing a meal, baking and decorating cookies, and just spending some precious time together. It's rare to get all of us in the same place and these friends mean the world to me.  They have been there through the good, the bad, the ugly, and now the good again.  I am blessed to not have to look too far to find friends who are not of the fair-weather variety and who support and love me and my children. 
Taking a break from "Just Dance" on the Wii




Leila and her big friend Sarah, both pretty in pink

Wanda was taking the picture... and Julia and Andrew were MIA.

Target on a Saturday and other musings...

Standing in line at Target on a Saturday afternoon may be a tradition as American as apple pie.  The girls were behaving and all was pleasant. That is, until the moronic woman in front of us decided she needed to start going through her bulging envelope of coupons instead of putting her items on the conveyor belt.  She only had 15 minutes of waiting beforehand to get her things in order, but, no, she refused to start checking out until she pulled out 8 coupons.  By then, both the cashier and I asked her to please move on. And she yelled at both of us.

The intended purpose of the trip was to return a defective iPad we had bought a few weeks ago. With my limited energy getting ready for surgery on Thursday, perhaps we could have found 100 other less taxing things to do on a Saturday afternoon.

I had gone skiing the other day. It was fun- until my entire midsection started screaming with pain. I will be happy to get this nerve blocker implanted and be more comfortable.

The children are being, well, typical siblings. They love each other one moment and hate each other the next, with a whole lot more hating than loving nowadays.  Andrew has become re-obsessed with one of his Build a Bears and is driving everyone nuts with it.  Emily has entered teenagedom a few years too early.  Sarah is frustrated by all that's going on. And, Julia, is, well, Julia.

We are looking forward to seeing our best friends and having our annual post-Christmas dinner and cookie making marathon.  Here's to some wonderful memories being made today.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cleaning for the cleaners

One small luxury I am allowing myself is having housecleaners again after a 5 year hiatus. Twice a month.  It's good self-care and costs little more than getting takeout 3 times/month. Since I am cooking a lot more (and, yes, even enjoying it!), the sacrifice is worth it.

I never "cleaned up for the cleaners" when I had a big house.  But, all our friends did and I never got it.   I was so overwhelmed with toys and paperwork, the nice ladies came, did their thing, and left, leaving the house and me happier.  Now, with more limited space, I did have to tidy up a lot before they came.  I am the queen of paperwork since I work from home in a job which is paper-heavy.  My client files are in binders, and there is always a tall pile of "to be filed" documents. (Note: I tend to be most successful at doing this in the late evening while watching TV).

The out of control paperwork is about my own kids.  IEP's and special needs bring lots of paperwork, and I have done, in recent years, a pretty awful job organizing all of it.

Ahh... the smell of a clean house, no dust to be seen, and, most importantly, sparkling clean bathrooms and kitchen.  The cat is only slightly traumatized by the interference into her normally quiet life. Life is awfully good!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter thoughts redux

This evening, as I moved my car to prepare for the impending blizzard, I was struck by how it actually feels like snow is in the air.  My son and his babysitter took a trip to Build A Bear Workshop where he created "Colorful Bear" (bear #40ish).  I had stocked up on Dan Dan noodles early this afternoon, driving 15 miles to get them. Chili sauce, plain rice noodles, sichuan pickles, and a small amount of ground pork= heaven.  There is a Red Box close to my house and "The Social Network" was available so that's my exciting activity for the night.  It seems an ironic movie to be watching given recent events.  Facebook, emails, blogging... they are something we all partake in.  My teenager has introduced me to a few other social networking sites, and I am far too old and uncool to know what MySpace offers.

I think about the reality of things I have experienced in my life, especially over the past five years.  I was there, my memory is not impaired from remembering the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.  Today, my family is pretty close to intact, my friends are amazing, the support system for our children is strong.  As added bonuses, there have been victories for clients at work in recent days.

My "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" moment came when reading for the first time Andrew's neuropyschological evaluation.  It unsettled me and left me sobbing.  For years,  I thought my kid might have been one of the few to "lose the (autism) diagnosis".  Alas, that is not to be.  It's a given that testing is hard for him and he doesn't perform well, but scoring under the 1st percentile on most testing tools shocked even me.  Autism sucks.  However,  now the adults can try to figure out what it is he needs to be a successful learner.

Tomorrow, the Christmas tree will come down as we find things to amuse ourselves with during the snowstorm.  I'll go skiing in the Fells with friends when the baby-sitter comes in the afternoon, and a new beginning will be had.   I will hold my little boy tight tonight, gently stroke my cat while she sits here on my lap, and take in the beautiful scent of the burning "Fresh Balsam" candle.   Life is good and I am indeed blessed.  Lynda, Whitey, and perhaps my cousin Denise (who left this world far too early two years ago today) were watching out for me today.

It has been a certifiably awful few weeks. The stress has taunted me, daring me to fall apart. By giving into that depression, it would make my family disintegrate, my autistic son's world turned upside down.  It amazes me that anyone would knowingly contribute to the sadness and confusion of a little boy who lives every day with autism, working so hard to fit into a neuro-typical world, by hurting the most important person in the world to him- his mom.  I am so grateful to those people who have supported my little family and who know the truth, have known it for years as they lived it alongside me and my kids, even if it is ugly.  Domestic violence is rarely pretty.  I didn't do a good job listening to my friends for a long time; now I know better. I love you all.

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My teenager.