The Boy & Some Beautiful Ribbon

Socks

It’s a little early…

but the boy is ready for St. Patrick’s Day.  🙂

Please ignore my dirty house in background.  😳

Or, if you prefer, you may study it more closely…

Nine-Year-Old Art

Sniffle Boy And His Doughnut

He will probably be fine to go back to school tomorrow, but today was a doughnut day.

It was also a Mama-doesn’t-care-about-the-green-felt-pen-marks-on-your-neck day.

Out and Ugly, but totally Alpha

Our spice cupboard has been on the clutter control hit list for a few years.   I finally tackled it this weekend.

It’s not the solution I dreamed of, but it’s a huge relief in this house of never ending inconveniences.

This will just have to do until I get enough nerve and know-how to open the wall.

I learned that I don’t need to buy crushed red pepper or cinnamon again for a very loooooong time.  😐

Thrift Store Find – Beautiful Threaded Ribbon

And speaking of things I dream of…

I am smitten with ribbon.

I use it frequently, but I also have plenty that I just like to look at.

Today’s thrift store purchase falls into that category.  I plan only to gaze at it dreamily, unless a really spectacular ribbon-needy occasion presents itself.

I’ve never seen anything like it before and I look at ribbon almost everyday.  Everyday and everywhere.

Maybe one of you will tell me this ribbon is very common…

or maybe you will tell me that it’s just 99 cents at Target or something.

But I don’t think so.

Even if you tell me that, I don’t care.

It’s officially the loveliest ribbon in my collection.

Isn’t it dreamy?

Happy Wednesday!

♥♥

Six More Days

Here’s the boy with his new musical Snoopy snow globe.

Thanks for getting it, Daddy!

The snow blows around by itself.  So cute.

Here’s the boy writing out the notes to Jingle Bells.  He doesn’t read sheet music.  He doesn’t know what a treble clef is.  He doesn’t know how to draw a proper half note or quarter note, but he knows where to put the notes relative to the others.  He gets it.  Gotta get this boy some lessons…and teach him the correct lyrics!

Last, but not least, here’s some Jenga math from the boy:

He made me print these.  Not sure what he’s going to do with them.  🙂

Happy LastMondayBeforeChristmasOhMyGoshWhat?!

P.S.  Stuff in our house that isn’t usually here:  Minty Mallows from Trader Joe’s, brie, some kind of creamy, crumbly, orange and blue cheese that melts in your mouth and makes you wonder why you ever thought you could give up cheese thank you very much Sarah :), twelve kinds of cookies (not an exaggerated number), one dreamy piece of oatmeal cake with coconut pecan frosting, cranberry ice, Andes mints, old-timey homemade rock candy thank you Jennifer, Hershey’s Kisses, Smuckers caramel ice cream topping, a bouquet of pine and other winter greens,  Rancho Raviri Almond yummies and one squishy Kinder Happy Hippo thank you Leighann,  World Market Texas Turtle coffee, and one small “gingerbread” crack house with missing shingles, a bad paint job and compromised structural integrity.

The end.  What’s in your kitchen this month?

♥♥

Long Beach Flea Market

I don’t know how often I can come on here and say the same things.

Life is hard.  And easy.  And ugly.  And beautiful.

Life is hard…

because my autistic son needs everything to be a certain way and, despite the good intentions of everyone in my life, very few really understand how insanely difficult it is to parent him.

He seems so incredibly normal – whatever the hell “normal” is.  He is beautiful.  He is smart.  He is talkative and cheerful.  He is happy and animated and very cooperative.  Until he isn’t.

Over the two-week break, he hit me a few times.  😦  He pushed me too.  On one of the days he had a meltdown like I can’t even describe.  He screamed, he broke things.  The usual.

He yells about everything.  “No take the plate to the kitchen!”  “No mama say!”  “No mama singing!”  “No music!”  “No.  No.  No!”

And then there’s the OCD stuff…

He has a thing about the pantry door.  He has to close it a certain way, at a certain time, repeatedly.  He chants his little chants, he swings it shut and pulls it open and swings it shut and pulls it open and swings it shut and pulls it open and SLAMS it closed.  And all of the things that hang from the inside of the door go crashing to the tile below.  LOUD.  LOUD.  LOUD.

And the bathroom door.  He closes and opens it too.  All the time.  Just because.

He writes math problems for himself every night.  He leaves the papers all over the table.  He does this when I am in the pit of the day’s fatigue.  Consequently, his math papers never get picked up.  Our house is an overwhelming wreck.  It depresses me.  I am tired and life is hard.

Life is easy…

because I have three fabulous moms and a good friend who listen to all of it.  Life is easy because husband knows how it is and he’s here everyday seeing it, feeling it, and being in it with me.  And when he isn’t here to make it easier on me, he’s out there to make it easier on me.  He works so that I can take care of our kid.  And our house.  And our laundry.  Our never ending, steaming mountains of laundry.

Life is ugly…

because of stupid, evil, mean people who make me sick with worry for my son…and his future…and the potential dangers that await him.

Life is beautiful…

because the yelling, pushing, screaming, toy throwing little boy is also sweet and kind and funny and he makes up songs about silly things like my jiggly arms.  😀  I love him.

Life is beautiful because I get to see my good friend every few months and we always have a great day together somewhere.  On Sunday, we went to the Long Beach Flea Market and I bought a water fountain.  It’s perfect for our little yard, but it weighs a gazillion pounds.

Life is beautiful because the vendor wanted $75 and we talked him down to $50.

Life is beautiful because my friend carried the dirty top part of the fountain a great distance to my car for me.

Life is beautiful because there is ibuprofen to ease the pain and stupidity of carrying the lower section of the fountain by myself.  Day four and I am still achy breaky.

Life is beautiful because we had a very pleasant lunch at Bono’s Long Beach with the best creme brulee I have ever tasted in my life.  The portion was HUGE and my friend didn’t want any.  🙂  Thank you, silly friend.

Life is beautiful because I also found a book for my brother, a liquid timer for my son, and some Bit-O-Honey candy at Powell’s (best old timey candy store ever) for my husband.

I got these guys for me:

Their bodies are hinged so you can sway their little legs back and forth if you want to.  I know you want to.  🙂

Life is life.

Happy Wednesday!

♥♥

Animals I Love

The Mellowest Cat Ever

I love him because he playfully grabbed my fingers and purred at me like we were old friends, just sitting on the floor of our living room.

But we were at Home Depot, he was in a shopping cart, and I was a stranger.

I might have stolen him…

if his owner hadn’t been so sweet and funny and obviously smitten with her little feline friend.  She told me that Kitty is easier to shop with than her children were when they were young.

Good Kitty!

Llamas & Rabbits

My son and I love the Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney.

We have three and can’t wait to get the others.

Dewdney’s latest is on the right – Llama Llama Home With Mama.

Here is a sneak peek at one of her charming new illustrations – hope I don’t get in trouble for sharing!

You can’t read this title online as yet, but you can peruse the others with this link to wegivebooks.org.

This site offers a great way to donate books to children who need them, but you don’t have to donate just to look.  Don’t worry if a donation message pops up.  Just click the “x” to finish.  Unless you want to donate!  🙂

While you’re there, check out Nobunny’s Perfect too!  We have only read it online and it’s already another of our favorites.  The bunnies have a few behavioral issues in common with my son.  😐

A Sly Squirrel

I don’t remember where I got this little fellow – maybe a gift from the lovely mom-in-law??

Every year, I forget that he’s in the closet, waiting patiently with the other decorations.

When I open the box and find him inside, I always feel like I’ve bumped into an old friend.

He is my favorite little bit of Fall.  🙂

Happy Monday!

P.S.  Someday soon I’ll post more pictures of the things my son tapes to the walls in our house.  He does it so often that we almost don’t notice anymore.  Almost.

This thing was taped up across from the laundry doors for over a week.  😐  It was really in the way and we never understood exactly what it was, but we left it alone.

What can I say?  The boy loves paper and tape and weird little stuff (just like his mama) and he does everything with such purpose.  If he thinks it needs to be on our wall, then it’s pretty much gonna be on our wall.

♥♥

A letter, a nervous knock-out & a couple of pumpkins.

Post This

I got a letter in the mail last week.

I’m talking about an actual, two-page, handwritten letter, complete with family update, inside jokes and miscellaneous witticisms.

Are you jealous?

I am lucky.

Truth be told, I invested a few notes of my own to get this amazing return.

What can I say?  I have a thing for pretty stationery.  And stickers too.  I can’t just stockpile it all forever, so I sent cards to six or seven people on my address list a few weeks ago.

And I got a letter back.  🙂

It came from a 90-year-old friend of the family.  She lives in town, but I never see her, so it was lovely to read something she had written just for me.

I highly recommend that you send out some notes.  These days, snail mail is a luxurious treat and it’s still relatively cheap to send.  You might even get something spectacular in return!

That’s your assignment…

Go!  Write!  Now!

TKO OH NO!

The boy had the big sedated dental appointment last week.

I think we did a good job talking to him about it.  We explained it well in advance, I put it on the calendar, and we brought it up everyday for almost a month.

He knew what would happen and he even seemed proud of himself for having the information to talk about.  “We’re going to the sleep dentist!”

He was quite a little trooper too.  We explained the food restrictions and he never even asked for his morning chocolate milk or snack.

He dressed and rode in the car without complaint and he waited patiently through every part of the process at the hospital.

He wore the gown, he held out his arm for blood pressure, he got on the scale and he used the bathroom when we told him to.

He was a model of compliance…

right up until the moment he was on the table in the O.R.  😦

I was right there with him and I really do think that helped.  I kept my cool and I saw his body briefly relax when our eyes locked, but it was a losing battle.

The nurses, the anesthesiologist, the other techs – five people in all – surrounded him and tried to do things quickly.

I get it.  There are a zillion kids out there, only a limited number of surgical teams, rooms, etc.  There is no space or time for letting my autistic son catch up and comply.  They had to assume he never would, so they just dove in and grabbed him.

As you can imagine, he freaked the hell right out.  I stayed calm and talked softly, but it was tough to watch.

It took all of them to hold him down.  Well, all except the one wise nurse who heeded my warning about too many people in his face.  I figured she was the only parent in the room.  Before I even finished my comment, she took a step back.  I love her.

The others forged ahead and managed to get the mask over his face.  He collapsed back onto the table pretty fast, but his eyelids were purplish and fluttering, so I knew he wasn’t done struggling.  It made me sad to see that.  I kissed him and told him what a good job he did.

They put a tube up his nose after I left.  The gas through that would knock him out harder.

One of the nurses took me back down the hall.  As we walked, he said “you know, your son is only going to get stronger.  Next time, maybe you can ask the doctor for some medication to make him drowsy in pre-op, so that the mask isn’t as traumatic.”

Why the hell no one suggested that this time, I don’t know.  It kind of pissed me off.  😡

I made it back to my husband and ripped off my tight paper goofy suit.  I made Husband promise to erase the memory of that vision from his head.  Those suits aren’t really meant for rubenesque women.  😳

Husband followed me out of the building.  I led him thirty yards from the door and behind a big pillar near the parking garage before I started crying.

There wasn’t really anything to say.  I was sad that only one of us was allowed to go in and I was tortured by the fear I had seen in our son’s little face.  Husband understood and hugged me.  Then we ate bad food and waited.

The boy woke up hard and was mad about having to stay so long in the post-op bed, but he was basically okay.

He came through everything emotionally and physically drained, but he was eager to go back to school the next day, so we knew he would be fine.

The net result of the whole experience was positive.  We learned some things for next time and the boy’s teeth are in pretty good shape.

And the most important thing?  During the struggle in the O.R., he said “all done” over and over again. That may not seem significant, but it’s really quite huge.

He doesn’t communicate well under duress.  He loses his words and sometimes violently tantrums or becomes eerily still and stuck when he’s upset or frightened or hurt.

This was a worst case scenario for him – a cold scary room with weird lights, odd noises, and a bunch of strangers grabbing at him – and he perfectly articulated how he was feeling.  “All done!”

All done, indeed.  😐  I felt that way too.

I don’t think I realized until I dropped him at school the next morning just how much dread and anxiety coursed through my body in the days before the appointment.

Looking back on the last few weeks, I am reminded that heightened stress often keeps me from writing.

I am so glad we don’t have to do this again anytime soon.

I don’t think my kid, my blog, or I can take it!

Fall Decorating

I stowed a few pumpkins in the china hutch this week.

Then I came to the conclusion that I need to get the hutch out of this room.  😦

It’s just too huge for this choppy, awkward space.  I love it, but it limits what else we can do.

Stay tuned for the next round of what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-house?

Sigh.

It never ends.

Happy Wednesday!

♥♥

A Day At The Beach

My front room is a disaster again.  😦

What I wouldn’t give for a few feet of formal entryway, just a little something to soften the blow and keep every visitor from instantly seeing exactly how we live.

Right now, this space contains two large dishwasher-size boxes, a power sander, a heavy duty orange extension cord, a laundry basket full of cds, and five extra pieces of furniture.  I can’t stand it.

There is clutter everywhere.  A lot of it was generated by the little boy, but plenty of it is mine and a bit belongs to the husband too.

I want to get organized before the holidays blow in, you know?

Gotta tackle this disaster!

There is a loose plan brewing in my head for all of it, but it seems I never have time to implement the plan.  When I do get a few free minutes, I am usually so exhausted that I haven’t the brain power to make good decisions.

Consequently, I am easily defeated, sometimes teary, and a little depressed over this space.

Today, I needed a distraction from it.

Thank goodness we had plans for some family time at the beach.  🙂

Husband and the boy ventured much farther into the water than I cared to go.

I took pictures with my crappy phone.

My favorite part of the day (not) was trying to discreetly change to our clothes, in the street, next to the car, while another vehicle full of beach goers waited for our spot.  Awkward, but sooo San Diego, right?  😀  Heh heh.

Enjoy the pix!

Happy Sunday!

P.S. Come back in the next few days to find out if I solved my front room clutter dilemma.

P.P.S. Do you like my hat?

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♥♥

Flowers and Jars and Other Good Things

Just some little things today…

Flowers and Jelly Jars

We go through a lot of strawberry jelly in our house.  The jars make the sweetest give-away vases for flowers from our yard.  This little bunch went to the teacher at open house last night.  The chocolate mint tucked between the roses is the happiest “mistake” in our yard.  It smells soooo good.

Bamboo

On Saturday, I went to Ranch 99 to get a new sun hat for our beach day with the boy.  I had no cash in my wallet and the hat didn’t cost enough to meet the minimum charge amount, so I came home with three stalks of bamboo too.

The bamboo focused my Monday thrift store visits to a search for the perfect jar.  This is the one I chose.  It’s huge.  HUGE.

Batik Stamp Bonanza

A few years ago, I discovered this beautiful batik stamp in a box of my husband’s collectibles.  At the time, I had no idea what it was.  I only knew that I loved it.

Husband isn’t completely sure just where it came from – maybe something from his departed grandmother – but it started an obsession for me.

I look for reasonably priced ($8 to $12) batik stamps wherever I go.  I’ve been lucky enough to find a couple at the Rose Bowl Flea Market and to receive a few others from a friend.  I also have two from Anthropologie.

There are plenty of very high-priced batik stamps in the world, but half the fun for me is stumbling onto a bargain.  Maybe that’s why it filled me with such joy to find an entire lot of them priced together in a clearance sale on etsy.  Woohoooooo!  Now I just have to figure out how best to display them.  For the moment, they occupy a big wooden bowl on my table.  I think my favorite is that curvy floral on the top right.

 

Ooo la la buttercream…

I am so excited by the arrival of my latest purchase from The Good Cook book club.  Meg Ray is my new hero.  Cake for breakfast – I love this woman!  Can’t wait to visit one of her shops in person someday.  I’m aiming for the Ferry Building location in San Francisco.  Wanna go with me?

Corner Cupcakes

Speaking of sweets…

I finally caught up with the Corner Cupcakes truck.  Yippee!

I ordered a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and another called a “full house,” which was the most divine combination of lemon cake, lemon curd, and lemon buttercream laced with toasted coconut.  There was coconut somewhere else in there too.  I’m sure of it!  Deeeeeelicious.  And kind of melty.  It was hot yesterday.

The chocolate cake was very good, but I am not a huge fan of the extra strong vanilla flavor in the buttercream I chose.  I prefer a mere hint of vanilla or none at all, so next time I will just order a different frosting!  There will be a next time because there is much taste bud joy in that truck.  I am excited to try other flavor combos.

All of this reminds me to ask if you are as happy-dancing-footed as I am over the pending arrival of Nothing Bundt Cakes in Mission Valley.  Yes?  Yes!  It will be nice to have one closer than Del Mar or Poway.  Maybe we can all go together on opening day.

What little things are cheering your life this week?

I hope you’re having a Happy Wednesday!

♥♥

Thrift Store Redo

A few weeks ago, I bought a plastic burro at a thrift store.  😐

If you’re a regular reader, then you may remember that I have a weakness for little plastic farm animals.

I wasn’t going to buy this one, but he was perched on a ledge about six feet off the ground and he caught my eye.

I held him for a moment, then I put him back and tried to chuckle off my impulse to purchase.  He had lived a rough life and it showed.  I didn’t need him, so I left him on the ledge and walked away.

I wandered through the rest of the store, trying in futility to look for other treasures.  I was distracted all the while and almost certain that I heard him braying my name.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it.  I had to go and get him.  I rushed back, overcome with anxiety, and was relieved to see that no one else had scooped him up in my moment of parental neglect.  He was meant to be my baby and I had left him alone.  😳  I wouldn’t do it again.

I paid twenty-five cents and brought him home.  Twenty-five cents!

And this week?

This week, I named him Donkey Xote.

And I painted him a house – a colorful, cheery house with a night sky, so he can rest and dream…

Before:

After:

Happy Friday!

♥♥

Early Saturday

The boy and I made a schedule for the weekend.

Today we were up at 6:00 a.m. and out the door for Crispy’s Donuts (not Krispy Kreme!) in less than twenty minutes.  That’s what the boy wanted, so that’s what we did.

I tried to exercise a little more restraint this time.  We still got the whole pink box, but I only nibbled on small chunks instead of inhaling half the dozen like it was my very last meal.

I did eat most of a croissant.  I had to.  Crispy’s makes the best croissants around.  Don’t argue.  That’s the flat out truth.  You can’t just buy one and leave it in the box.

The boy mowed the glaze off of his selections and threw the carcasses in the trash, as usual.

He did that for lunch and snack time too.

By 8:15, we were at the park.

Clearly, a couple of tweenage girls had been there too.

Do girls still just love to write their idols’ names and draw hearts and stuff, or is there some bigger picture here?

Does Justin Bieber actually ♥ Justin Timberlake?  I’m so out of the loop.

Maybe the girls were a little goofy on birthday fumes.  Not sure what to make of that monkey.

Though it may explain this:

Really, piggy park users?  There’s a trash bin less than twenty feet from here.  😡

The boy was in a funny mood today.  His very purposeful stare was cracking me up.

 

After sliding, the boy wanted a push on the swing.  I hung the camera around my neck and turned it off.  Or so I thought.

 

We had a good time.  😀

Now it’s almost 2:00 p.m. and the little boy is at the table, cutting out nouns from a workbook and stapling them onto a paper he made.  He loves to do schoolwork and will design it himself if there is nothing more to finish from his teacher.  We have a pile of workbooks that he has dismantled and rearranged and learned from in the last several months.  He’s such a smart little boy.

And now he is asking me to help him with his fluency time, so I have to wrap this up!

Happy Saturday!

P.S.  I’m going to see The Help tonight.  I can’t wait.  The book was sooo good.  Have you read it?  Have you seen the movie?  What did you think?

♥♥

Jonesin’ for the Jig

The little boy is enamored of arms.  For months now, he has been fascinated with freckles and veins and moles and anything that sets an arm apart from the one next to it.  He likes to study these things.

Mostly, it’s kind of charming.  He is gentle and sweet and genuinely interested in the differences between us and himself.

Sometimes though, it’s sort of annoying.  My arms are not my best feature, you know?  I don’t really want him to point them out in public, much less unexpectedly reach his hand up my sleeve and shake them.  😐

To combat this unwanted activity, I started pulling him close and threatening “if you jiggle me, then I tickle you!”  It stopped him about three times. 

Now he has, in fact, used the word “jiggle” to nickname my arm.  And his dad’s arm too. (Though dad’s doesn’t actually jiggle.)

Funny, right?

Um…well…no.  No.

Okay, it’s a little funny.

A few weeks ago he came up to me, his eyes full of love for my fleshy underarm, and he said “Thomas hug the jig?”

Seriously?  I don’t even get the rest of the word, now?

My husband and I both laughed, but I don’t know.  It just sounds wrong or something, doesn’t it?

Well, whatever, that’s what he says now.  My arm is “the jig.”  More specifically, the squishy, unfit, underside of my upper arm is called “the jig.”

Oh, and “tickle puff.”  Sometimes he just calls it “tickle puff.”

The thing is…

the boy has eyes for other arms too.

He just likes to hug people, you know?  He sees their bare skin and he smiles.  He is fascinated and wants to wrap himself around them and just hug.

Most of the teachers and aides who know him at school are fine with his latest obsession.  None of them seem to mind this extra attention from my smiling boy.

The other parents?  Well, I’m not so sure about them.  I don’t think any of them would be troubled by an accidental nudge from a stray kid, but fawning adoration of a specific body part?  I don’t think they would be too welcoming of that.  They don’t know him.  They don’t know that he’s harmless and sweet.

Every morning as we stand in the line for his classroom, my son eyeballs the arriving parents.

It’s hot in August and all those mamas have on tank tops and spaghetti straps and short sleeves.

My son is fascinated.  He smiles, he laughs, he looks, he really wants to hug.

Today, one of the moms I’ve never met (and whom I’m a little put off by, actually 😐 ) showed up in a strapless sundress.  Oy.  She sat at the picnic tables with the kids who were eating breakfast.

Nothing happened, but only because I never took my eyes off of my son.

He skipped up to the tables, deftly weaved between the other kids and was standing next to strapless mama in about two seconds flat.

Her back was to him, so she never knew that she almost got an arm squeeze.

I called him back before he did it and tried to explain that he couldn’t hug just any jiggling arm.

I don’t know if my words made sense to him or not.  I’m guessing not, since I’ve told him this same information every day for several weeks and nothing has changed.

We get to school, we stand in line, and the boy starts jonesin’ for some jig.

Watch this space…

Next month, he’ll have a new obsession.

Sweet potato.  🙂

As I typed this, he wouldn’t leave my arm alone.  Just now he asked me “Thomas hug the jiggy?”

Thank goodness!

I got some letters back.  😀

P.S.  Those pix above are from our weekly IHOP visit.

P. P.S. Husband is making little changes in the yard this week.  I’ll post a few pix in the next day or two.  For now, look what I brought in to put on the counter.  I love, love, love the bright orange.

Happy Tuesday!

♥♥