Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Autumn Glory

Father and Daughter, playing with the camera

Lonely Barn Ivy

Painted Pumpkins

After bringing home the pumpkins from the field trip, Zora asked to paint them.  
Zora painted this one, then asked Dad to help her make the eyes, giving careful instructions.

This is Zane's.  He wrote "Happy Halloween" on his pumpkin and declared himself done.

Zora's First Bus Ride

Zora had her first school bus ride on the way to the pumpkin patch with her class field trip.  I really wanted to go, but it seemed like a really bad idea with my seasonal allergies (hay is baaaaaad) when I am already having a massive systemic allergic reaction that wasn't under control yet.

So, Zach had the honor of watching her excitement when he went with the class.  He said it was a lot of fun.

There was also a hayrack ride, a snack, a presentation about pumpkins, and actually getting pumpkins.  Some of it has photos, but he was also helping the kids actually cut the pumpkins, so his hands were busy during the actual pumpkin picking part.  

I really wish I could have been there, but it was awesome that he and Zora had such a great day.  She gushed about the whole experience, just what a mom wants to hear.  Happy day!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Garage Cleaning and Aftermath

We had a Friday with awesome weather, and it was likely the end of nice weather since we were having forecasts that started creeping towards freezing.  When we moved, the last loads were done in the middle of the night and we were exhausted and just put a bunch of stuff in the garage.

Then, during the summer sometime the garage window broke, and then the landlord came and cut the beautiful rosebushes down in front of the window so he could do some repairs on the barn without having to go through a rosebush, so it was left open with our stuff inside.  We knew we might as well trash everything in the garage if we didn't get it taken care of, so we decided to get it done.

It was PACKED.  It was overwhelming in every way. It looked like an episode of hoarders (no joke).  It took the entire day, and included Zach having to go to the basement to rearrange and make room for stuff.  Finally as dark began to fall, we finished up.  The only things left in the garage were the bookcases that had water damage, but could still be used for random garage things, some boxes of toys that needed to be hosed down before selling them or taking them to the thrift store, the kid chairs that we don't really have room for, and our bicycles.  YAY!  We could get a vehicle in there in under 5 minutes now, if we wanted to.

The aftermath

As you would suspect, after cleaning out a garage in an old barn, it was dusty, dirty work.  I was never so glad to jump in the shower as I was that night because every inch of me itched and my muscles were already sore.  

The problem was, I couldn't get the itch to go away.  Over the coming days I did every over the counter and home remedy I could find on the internet, to no avail.  I stopped using my regular lotions and went to just using the oils directly.  At the same time every joint in my body hurt.  I felt like everything in me was inflamed: every muscle was sore, every joint, and it was pinching and causing considerable shooting nerve pain all over the place.  There was no position I was comfortable in, sitting, standing, laying down, so I was constantly moving trying to find something comfortable.  At one point I had nerve pain shooting down my arm and I actually wondered if I was having a heart attack.  A good massage (thanks to my wonderful husband) helped my back and seemed to unpinch something enough to make me realize the nerve pain was everywhere, not just my left arm.  

Finally, when I told my folks what was going on they helped me out by paying for a doctor's visit.  I started Prednisone the next day, and by the next night I didn't feel like I was ready to cry, and by 5 days later I mostly felt back to myself.  Not 100%, but a WHOLE lot better.  I sort of wish I could be on prednisone longer because I felt much more 'normal' on it.  More even tempered, more calm, and definitely in less pain.  I even slept better.  That is so backwards on what I was told the side effects were supposed to be...I was looking forward to "big burst of energy", but that never really happened.

So, I learned that I absolutely HAVE to wear a bunch of protection if I ever do work like that again, systemic allergic reactions are massively horrible (felt like I aged 50 years in a few hours), and I do not react badly to prednisone (which is a good thing, considering this could happen again).

But at least the garage is clean.  

Grandparent's Tea at School

The school has an event called "Grandparent's Tea", where the grandparents (or substitute friend) comes after school, has cookies and tea with the kids, tours the classrooms/school, and then can take them to the Scholastic Book Fair.  (gotta think this is a brilliant idea to sell more at the book fair).

Since Zora is in half-day kindergarten, I had to bring her back to school to participate, and had them waiting in the building so it eliminated the possibility of them running across the road to greet my folks and not paying attention to traffic.

So, here they wait.

Once I saw Mom and Dad crossing the street, I let them go outside for greeting hugs.  Everybody was excited.  I was concerned about Zane handling the event because it was really crowded, loud, and chaotic.  (it was the first time they had run this event and I don't think they anticipated the level of crowd).  I actually trailed them for a bit to make sure Zane looked OK before heading home and waiting for them.  

As it turns out Zane did fabulous.  Both did.  They each got books from Grandma and Grandpa, and had a lot of fun showing them around.  We met up with them after the event at the Subway restaurant, which Zane had been asking for the last few weeks/months (he loves the meatball subs there), and we had a nice conclusion to the afternoon's events.

It was a Wednesday, and not long after returning home it was time to leave for Wednesday Night Church, and Zora, as usual, popped right up ready go, but Zane got agitated.  When we told him it was time to go he desperately yelled "NO MORE PEOPLE!"  He was DONE with crowds and people.  He did such a great job at the event, and after seeing the crowd that amazed me (he would not have been able to handle that even a short time ago), so when he said he was done, we told him that was fine. We also told him that we were happy he used his words to explain why he was upset instead of just losing it.  That, in itself, deserved to be respected.  So, Zora went to church, Zane stayed home and unwound away from the people.


Zora has a serious love/hate thing with bugs.  She says she hates them, but she actively pursues them, captures them, and wants to know what they are and all about them.  Her favorite phrase is "let's Google it!"  The end of fall means that some of the scary bugs are all slowing down enough from the cold that they can be captured and watched up close.  She is delighted and will spend a good amount of time just watching to see what the bugs do.

Above the Kitchen Sink

The kitchen sink area is my favorite part of this house.  This is the sill above the sink, and my view when I wash the dishes. 

Lots of memories in this small space:  The tiles, little ceramic eggs in the distance, and the plant pots were made by the kids, the hot pad was made by Zora, Zach got me the aloe plant July 3rd (the day before he burned his finger and I used it for that),  the pink one at the end was a gift to me when I was a speaker at an Autism event.  The little dish I put my rings in when I do dishes was from his Grandpa Lou & Grandma Hazel's kitchen (a little Christmas tree, but it stays there all year round), and the flowers were picked by Zora for me and, amazingly, keep blooming despite not having any dirt.  Not seen is the awesome knife I use several times a day that my mom gifted me with. I have had most of these plants for a while, and they had always been sickly and sad looking, but in this home, they have all thrived and come back to life, and surprised us by actually blooming again.  Change can be a wonderful thing.

First Leaf Fall

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Reading Resources

Trying to find books that fit Zane's reading level is very challenging, but using Scholastic's lexile measures really helps.  The school does the "Reading Counts" program and this helps me figure out which books are good ones to rent for him to keep him on track and improving.

Scholastic has a fabulous book search wizard on the site, which is my first stopping place.  I find books I think he might be interested in at the right level, then I search the local library sites to see if they have any of them available for rent. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

And she DID IT! Riding her bike (with video)

There she goes!

Not long after this she rode her own bike (we started her on Zane's little bike because the pedals come off and on easier).  My mom stopped by (to pick me up for an event) and got to see her maiden ride on HER bike.  We are all very proud of how hard she worked to ride. 


Suddenly she looks a lot older.  Too fast.

Zora, spelling it out

Zora now goes to the chalkboard and asks us to give her words to spell out.  Child-directed learning at it's best.  We are very proud of her.  It is fun to see her excited about figuring out how to spell, and is even starting to get it when we throw in a similar word, not in the same word family (like "cap", in this case) If you notice, at the top, she wanted to put her name on it so we would know she is the one who wrote it, but she ran into the word "hat", so she wound the letters of her name around the word.