Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Powers of Electricity

The other day I got a great surprise when I picked the kids up from their learning center. As I was helping Reaghan pack up her art stuff into her backpack, I noticed something in the botton of the pack. I wasn't sure what it was, so I pulled it out.

It was a pair of my underwear.

Reaghan started giggling, "Mamma's underpants were in my nap stuff."

I gathered that due to the wonderful powers of static cling, my panties had traveled to school attached to Reaghan's naptime blanket.

"So, " I asked, "did your teacher see mommie's underpants?"
"YES!" Reaghan screamed, doubled over laughing. "everyone saw Mommie's underpants!"

Great. Just great.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I've been tagged by Melissa at Twincredible Twosome to come up with eight things that you might not know about me.

Here goes!

  1. I read at a freakishly fast rate. It is really quite alarming how fast I can suck books down. I just finished re-reading the whole Harry Potter series (all seven of them) in about five weeks. Remember, I work full time and I insist on a minimum of seven hours of shut eye a night!

  2. I once had seven piercings in my body...a total of two were in my ears.

  3. I have two tattoos, and for a while I had bigger tats than my husband (he has since shown me the needle I go!)

  4. Years ago I was a Go Go dancer at one of the hottest clubs in Grand Rapids (The Reptile House). I was much thinner then (the pics are outrageous!).

  5. I am absolutely enthralled with the science of the body and will sometimes re-read my schoolbooks for fun.

  6. I was a total nerd while I was growing up. Not in the super cool "nerd rock" way that is popular now, but in the weird shy girl in the corner with the frizzy hair and glasses whose nose is always buried in a book kinda way. I had NO friends...none. I think I didn't talk at all in a whole school day, unless it was to answer every single question the teacher wonder I didn't have friends!!

  7. I avoid shaving my legs like the plague. I will wear pants in ninety degree weather just to not do it. I just hate doing it. (Don't worry...I do it when necessary!!)

  8. My children are NOT named after the presidents.

Thats it!

Sunday, November 02, 2008


What a perfect Halloween! The weather cooperated and the kids had an absolute blast! The double dink family headed over to the White family abode for pizza and fun pre-trick or treating. The picture shows Nixon (who refused a costume), Reaghan (Cinderella), Adam (Monkey 1), and Drew (Monkey 2).

This was Nixon and Reaghans first Trick or Treat experiance, so it was lucky that they went with old pros like Adam and Drew. As soon as they followed them to the first house and got their first candy, they were convinced that this is the most awesome activity on the face of the earth and had no problem running from house to house while the parents stood at the curb.

All the mommies and daddies had a blast as well! Nothing like a little wine with your junk food!

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Guess I Took Summer Off Too...'s late August...I havn't blogged since spring.

I feel a bit I forgot to do my homework assignment and I am hoping that the teacher doesn't decide to collect it today.

As the kids get older the "work" of caring for them gets easier, but your time compresses. Suddenly 24 hours is no where near enough time to fit everything in. I rise at 4:30 to get to work by 6:00, get out at 2:30 (hopefully) and dash off to fit in as many errands or as much housework as possible before I pick the kids up from their learning center at 5:00. Between dinner, playtime, bathtime, etc 7:30 comes all to quickly and we are getting the kids into beds (or still a crib in Nixon's case...we are crossing our fingers to be out of it by Christmas) and lights out by 8:00. Muma gets a precious hour to read/watch Project Runway/talk to daddy before I have to start getting ready to go to bed and do it all over the next day. Whew! I'm exhausted just reading this!

As an update, Nixon's speech and social skills have improved greatly thanks to the excellant therapy through our local school district. He attended a summer session, and will be starting preschool through their developmentally delayed program this fall. He will attend three half day sessions a week, and we are so excited to see how much more ground we can cover with so much more time with therapists. He still can not speak well, and it is very difficult to understand him, but he wants to communicate - which is great! His favorite thing to do lately is tell us his routine:
Said at bedtime

"Bubbie go nite nite. Bubbie wake up. Bubbie have waffle. Bubbie Ya Ya go school. Muma get Bubbie Ya Ya. Bubbie go home. Bubbie eat. Bubbie play. Bubbie go nite nite."

On the weekends, we tend to do the same things and eat at the same places, but it helps with his behavior. We find that new environments are often too much for him and he acts up. Much easier to go where he is comfortable. On the question of wether he is autistic or not, all of the specialists that he has seen do say he is on the spectrum, but Bill and I are convinced that he can pull out of that diagnosis. His sensitvity problems have been getting better (can you believe he will eat a popsicle now...can you believe I cried when he did!) and with the fall program coming we have high hopes.

As far as our vacation, both the kids did excellant for their first time away from home . They LOVED the water - spent all day swimming, catching minnows, or finding seashells. They were so pooped out by bedtime each night that we had no problem getting them to sleep. We were very worried about this aspect, because Nix does not sleep well out of his crib, but the sun and water did their job and he was down for the count by 8:00 each night.

Reaghan is still solidly in the princess stage. I don't see that ending any time soon. My mom and I took her shopping recently, and she is showing signs of being a professional shopper by the age of five. The girls loves to shop. She was mad at us when we had to leave after a few hours because my mom and I were whipped - she could've shopped all day. Rea still wants to wear mostly pink, but we will work on that. I still can't believe that I had such a girly girl! I don't think I ever wore pink in my life! At her age I was ripping through the neighborhood in a dingy pair of overalls, no shirt, with twigs in my hair trying desperately to keep up with the older boys who were my playmates. All she wants to do is dress up in princess dresses and twirl around the kitchen with the radio on. Thankfully, Nixon will act as "prince" and dance with her sometimes, otherwise I am playing "prince" every evening. Cute for a few months, but after almost a year it gets old...real old.

As for me, I had quite a spill about six weeks ago. I was cut off and ended up laying a motorcycle down for the first (and hopefully last) time. I was only doing about 20 mph, so the damage was minimal but I still ended up in the ER with a seperated shoulder and a whole lot of road rash. It is weird for me to go to another health system other than the one I work for...I find myself being so highly critical of my care and I left convinced that the system I went to didn't provide the level of care that I am used to. shoulder still hurts like crazy, but its getting better and I am determined to get back on the "horse" as soon as it heals.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Vacation 2008 - Devil's Lake

We took our first "real" vacation with the kids this week. We rented a cottage from a friend on Devil's Lake in the Irish Hills.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Eggy Fun

Hmmm...Do I wanna touch the egg?

Eeww...I touched it!

All eggs must be pink by royal proclamation
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Lets Go Red Wings!

Nixon's first Red Wings Game (Thanks Uncle Doug!)

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Just Gotta Let It Go

A few weeks ago we took Nixon to be assessed for a speech delay at the local school district. The interview started off fine enough, with a Rn asking me health history questions. Shortly we were joined by an occupational therapist and a social worker. Nixon was doing his own thing, like he usually does, while I (crammed into a toddler sized chair at a toddler sized table) answered all sorts of questions. The OT and the SW observed Nixon while I finished answering the questions.

"Does he generally not notice people in his surroundings?" one of them asked.

"Oh, he just likes to do his own thing." I responded.

Suddenly the questions started to change focus. I was asked about eye contact, if he plays with toys, if he ever spins, if he ever flaps his hands, does he obsess over a certain object, does he have sensitivity issues?

"Doesn't every toddler?" I asked. I was getting nervous. No one was asking me about speech anymore.

"Does he show emotion...will he spontaneously hug and kiss?"

"Well...he generally doesn't like to be touchy-feely, and he absolutely refuses to kiss - but I can usually get a hug out of him."

"Does he have any problems with sensory issues...cold things, wet things?"

"He does not like anything on his hands...and he refuses to eat anything that is cold, or wet, or sticky. If his clotes get wet, even a tiny bit, he wants them changed. Unless its drool...then he doesn't seem to mind."

"Does he still mouth objects?" We all turn around to see what he is doing. He is playing with some plastic blocks...he has one in his mouth.

"Yes, he still does."

"How old is he again?" one of the three ask.

"Almost three" someone answers.

"Does he eat with a fork or spoon?"

"Well yes...kinda, sometimes. He's still a stuffer, so he will attempt it for a minute then resort to stuffing his face." I laughed nervously "Alot of toddlers do that though, right?"

"I notice he isn't using his finger on his right hand...he keeps it extended."

"Oh, yes...thats THE finger. It's his favorite. He likes to keep it ready for use." I laugh again "He sucks it."

At this point, alot of whispering back and forth between the Rn and the social worker starts. I catch the words "ON THE SPECTRUM" and "AUTISTIC".

I have capitalized these words, because thats how they felt as I heard them.

The occupational therapist decides to try a few things with him.

"Will he sit in a chair?" she asks.

"Um...maybe." I say. "Nix, come here a second." He ignores me because he has found a barn full of animals. He is taking them out and lining them up. "Bubbie...come to mama." He is not responding. I get up and go to get him. He freaks out and starts screaming and hitting me. I try to get him into the cube chair that they have provided me for him. It is impossible. He has become a screaming tornado of arms and legs. One of the ladies tries to help me and he spazzes even more. We give up and let him go. He runs to a corner of the room and yells at us in his strange "bubbie talk" while wagging his finger towards us.

The questions resume. At this point I am near tears.

"We think that he may be on the Autistic Spectrum." one finally says. "Maybe Aspergers, but probably PDD-NOS. Either way, we believe that he is higher funtioning." She smiles at me. After my brain recovers I respond meekly with "But he smiles...he makes eye contact."

"The spectrum is wide and there are varying degrees of symptoms. He does smile and makes eye contact, but he is generally un interested in any of the people in this room right now."

"Well, we always knew he was different." I stammer...the tears are starting to come out.

Since that day we have had a roller coaster ride of appointments, theories, tests, and way too much googling. We have gone from totally despondant to feeling that everyting will be fine to a kind of limbo where we have accepted that it is what it will be.

I guess the hardest part has been realizing that he is the same little man that he was before all of this...that the label is meaningless.

One thing that I have learned through all of this is that nothing happens quickly when you are trying to get help for a child who may fit into this spectrum. We are currently in que for a mariad of services...none of which will happen anytime in the next two months. It is a 3-4 month wait for evaluation through U of M - even though I work there. It is even longer through PC public schools. You can be the best advocate that you can - you can make the calls, leave the messages, and wait for the call backs, but the answer is always the same...there is a wait. It will be a while. There are so many ahead of you. The feeling of total helplessness is hard to battle.

In the end, I really believe that Nix will be OK. I think he always be a bit "different", but arent we all? So what if he wont touch cold that so bad? If he really doesn't care if he socializes with every person he comes into contact with why should I? He loves the people who are important, and the small things that he does to show it are worth a million empty gestures that we all display every day.

We are lucky...that I know from starting our group therapy through the PC schools. Some of the kids in his group are so locked away...their minds just not connecting with ours. I have witnessed the extremes of "The Spectrum" first hand and I know that we are no where near the extremes of the disease. Nixon is the tip of the iceberg.

We (I) have been fortunate to have the support of a fantastic family who have been through alot of their own sorrows with their children. Our good friends (I wil call them the "W"s) have not only been there for emotional support, but have also watched Reaghan while we have had to take Nixon to his child psychologist. Ms. W has also come over to watch the kids and put them to bed while Bill and I attend a parenting class with parents of other special needs childern. The W's are fantastic people who I feel have a firm grasp on what is truelly important in and friends (to them the two are the same). They are good friends of ours and I am completely humbled by the amount of support we have them we will be eternally gratefull.

In the end, we are the same. This has become very important to me. Nothing has really changed, as much as our perception of our reality has changed. We will continue to be the same family, the only change being that our new understanding of his behavior allows us to be better parents. We will do everyting possible. We will be advocates. We will also not become "the parents of that autistic kid". Like E from the Eels said "You just gotta let it go". Life goes on, and so will we.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Reaghan's "One Thing"

Reaghan, though out of diapers, is still occasionally going 'poo poo' in her pants. We had tried everything from toys to stickers to intice her to use the luck. At work one day I was talking to another mom who has older kids...she said that I just had to find the "one thing" to get her to go #2 on the potty.

I think we found it.

This girl will do anything for ice cream...especially Blue Moon.

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