Friday, February 24, 2012

Still Playing Scarecrow Here (No Brain)

1. So that cold I was beginning to get last Friday knocked me silly for most of the week and only this morning am I starting to feel like my head is attached in the right place. I skipped church Sunday morning and Sunday night (although I did go see The Vow with my HS small group Sunday afternoon) and took every opportunity to take a nap. I skipped MOPS on Tuesday, Bible study on Wednesday and slept in yesterday (since Marshall took the day off of work and was able to, mostly, get Alex ready for school--I helped a little). I did all of these things because...

2. At 5:30 tonight I'm leaving to spend the weekend with the Hope Church High School group. We are going to Refreshing Mountain Camp in Stevens, PA, and because the winter is so mild, I'm trying to decide if I need to bring my snow boots at all. I consider this one of my favorite vacations of the year because I leave all my problems and responsibilities at home and enjoy spending time with the students without worrying about getting home to my kids because I don't have to come home until Sunday afternoon!

3. So I watched a couple of movies this week. Last Friday night I watched Drive and wished I had re-read Christianity Today's review of it before deciding to watch this movie that was on so many people's top ten lists for 2011. Yes, Ryan Gosling is very good, but the film has a corpse count of 10 bodies. I think I would have passed had I known that ahead of time. I also watched The Thin Red Line one evening this week and was mostly puzzled by it; Roger Ebert's review says it best here. And then, Sunday afternoon, I saw The Vow with my HS small group and liked it better than I expected to. I think most reviewers were a bit harsh; the leads were very appealing.

4. Lent started on Wednesday and I am going to try to honor it this year by giving up anxiety, as suggested by my blogging friend, Anne Kennedy, who blogs at An Undercurrent of Hostility. Of course, I had a pretty panic-filled week, what with running my car over a curb last Thursday night on my way to Alex's school (in the dark and in the rain) and damaging the frame of my car. And then there was the dentist appt. Miranda was supposed to have Wednesday morning with our family dentist that I then cancelled and rescheduled for both children next Wednesday at a specialty dentist who can cope better with their autism so I don't have to give tranqs to everyone before we walk in the door. However, on a happier note, Simcha Fisher has a great post about it today. Read it here and have a good laugh.

5. As I mentioned above, Marshall took yesterday off of work, which meant he could come with me to meet with both Miranda's teacher and case manager, and then Alex's. Miranda is starting the re-evaluation process in the school district so we can give her a formal classification in the school system (pre-K students are simply labeled "pre-school disabled") and they can decide where she would best fit in a kindergarten class. Alex also just finished a re-evaluation process with his therapists and his case manager is so pleased with his progress, especially since the start of this school year, that she was practically glowing. Marshall and I came out of the meetings so incredibly grateful that we work with, seemingly, the best special education staff on the planet and that God has blessed us so richly as to work with people who care deeply for our children and have their best interests at heart. Give thanks with us; God is good.

6. Leaving Marshall at home with the kids this weekend isn't as fraught as usual since my parents are here to help and Aunt Katie and Uncle Thom arrive tomorrow for another visit (Yay!) but I still want to have the laundry done and the house mostly picked up before I leave. Typical Sarah.

7. Still playing lots of Words with Friends. I have 19 games currently running. And I found a new online Mahjong game to play in between moves. Going away without my laptop or iPod this weekend is going to feel a little like going cold turkey.

Jen is back! Read her blog here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Man, I Miss My Brain

1. I am currently experiencing what my mother-in-law calls and out of body experience: my head feels like it's floating somewhere above my body. Yesterday, I started having a scratchy throat and today I may have a cold trying to settle into my head. So I am drinking mandarin orange green tea (the only flavor of green tea I can stomach) and as soon as Miranda goes to school, I'm going back to bed. I haven't been sick for months and, well, no one can stay completely healthy indefinitely.

2. Yesterday, I started the day by taking Alex to the dentist which was an expectedly unpleasant experience for both of us. The bad news is, he has a cavity so we've been referred to a specialist who can knock him out to proceed with dental work. Ugh. This is just one of those times when living with autism sucks. Miranda's turn is next week. And, yes, there will be Valium for everyone beforehand, as prescribed by our family doctor. He's really wonderful about that.

3. My mother returned safely from California on Monday and it is really wonderful to have her back. My father returned from Madison last night after a week away so we will be all together again tomorrow to celebrate the birthday of a good friend.

4. Alex's 100th day of school vest turned out pretty good, mostly thanks to my husband for cutting it out and my mother for recommending that I go out and buy lots of stickers.

He cut out Angry Birds pictures and glued them on, then we added Toy Story, Dr. Seuss and Cars stickers, all the while advertising for Trader Joe's. We don't have many plain paper bags around here; they get almost instantly recycled.

5. Valentines Day came and went happily. Both children took their piles of cards to school, 39 for Alex and 27 for Miranda, and came home with even larger piles. One of my Bible study friends suggested Wednesday morning that we try to get all the other parents at school, instead of sending home candy or pencils or stickers, to spend that money on something worthwhile, like this. I'm with her; most of the candy that came into the house went straight into the trash. The pencils are useful as long as we can hide them from Alex (he likes to chew the erasers and generally ruins the whole thing). And I am not a big fan of stickers unless used for a specific project, like Alex's vest pictured above. Maybe next year....

6. Wednesday was a grumpy day for me, so I spent my time laughing hysterically (to such an extent Marshall refused to be in the same room as me) on this site, which was new to me. The content is usually foul and profane and very, very funny.

7. Sunday afternoon my HS small group is meeting to go see The Vow and then go for frozen yogurt. Not my movie of choice, but it should be fun to see it with a gaggle of girls. At least, Channing Tatum is nice to look at.

And here's Hallie. Jen is back next week!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Clean It Up!

1. I have looked everywhere for someone who posted the Laurie Berkner video for "Clean it Up" and can find it nowhere. It was originally on her Buzz, Buzz music album and then in an episode of Jack's Big Music Show, "King of Swing." Anyway, it has been the theme of my life this week. 2 weeks of sloth must eventually lead to a week of frantic activity.

If you are unfamiliar with Laurie, I am so sorry. You have missed out on the best pre-school music available, ever. Go buy some, now. Actually, I just checked her website to see that she has a new cd and dvd available. Guess what my kids are getting for Valentine's Day?! Guess who's going to love it more than them = me.

2. Back to the cleaning: in between all of the Words with Friends games I've been playing, my twice weekly PT appointments, MOPS, Bible study, Youth Group and all of my regular chores, I have actually been cleaning up the massive mess in the house we've managed to make, with assistance from husband and children. And the lady who cleans my house came yesterday, so we can see the floors again. I still have Miranda's toy bins to sort, piles of clean laundry to put away, but the view from here is much better than it was last Saturday. My ankle felt better this week, which allowed for extra activity.

3. I have gone a little overboard on Valentines this year. Maybe it's because Alex had 40 to do for his classes and Miranda did about 30 for hers, or that my Hallmark software makes card-making so darn easy and fun, or that my husband isn't supervising how quickly I use up our postage supplies, or making cards for other people makes me happy, or for them all together. I sent a lot of cards this year (the last go in the mailbox today) and it was fun!

4. It has been a strange winter here, but in a good way. We had a light dusting of show yesterday, just enough to look pretty with nothing sticking to the roads and all melted by afternoon. That's how I like my snow. I have a feeling we'll be going to Longwood Gardens earlier this year for the customary spring viewing of the tulips. Here are my crocuses from yesterday:

5. Monday is the 100th day of school for Alex so his teacher has sent home a pattern for making a vest out of a brown paper grocery sack for wearing on Monday, with 100 of something stuck to it. A fun project for me, to be sure. I expect Alex will help but that I will do most of the work. I hate school projects like this.

6. I picked up Smiley's People by John le Carre and Theories of International Politics and Zombies by Daniel Drezner at the library yesterday, so it should give me an interesting weekend's worth of reading. I am still anxiously awaiting the publication of Fair Game by Patricia Briggs and The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan. Amazon pre-order, I love you.

7. Marshall picked up a couple new-used laptops for us since the ones he and I have been using were slowly failing and so this week I've been trying to transfer my stuff. Strangely enough, I don't have a lot of documents anymore that aren't already in the cloud. Too weird.

And here's Hallie. (Remember, Jen's taking a break to finish her book!)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Right Now--At This Very Moment--Everything is Fine

1. The sun is shining and it should be at least 45 degrees today. Alex is at school for a half-day (teacher inservice) which of course means that Miranda has no school today but she's happily playing in the bath tub after a little tussle this morning about picking up her Legos. It only took her half an hour to decide to pick them up. After Alex gets home, I have promised them both a trip to Chick Fil'A so they can play while Mommy writes post cards. They should be tired and happy by night-fall.

2. Yesterday, Miranda left her toy horse Rodi (who she decided is a girl so she had to use her markers to give Rodi eyelashes) with Puppet on his head at the door to wait for her to get home from school. It was so cute, I have recreated the moment just for you:

She is a darling girl, that Miranda, when we aren't so frustrated with her behavior that we are considering gnawing our own legs off.

3. Earlier in the week, Alex and Miranda were fighting over who could use the laptop they officially share, so Miranda was allowed to use mine. (Alex has been known to peel keys off of keyboards in a moment of boredom.) When I came back to find her later, she'd decided she was cold and so put on her Daddy's fleece, which was handy, creating yet another picture so cute I had to share it:

And, yes, that is what the dining room table has looked like all week. On the rare occasions we actually sit down at the table to eat, we just shove the stuff to one end, or pile it on the black dresser nearby, which looks worse.

4. Since I'm in a picture sharing mood, here are my darlings in that little bit of snow we had 2 weeks ago:

Since Lands End was having their end of season sale, I ordered new snow gloves for each of them, figuring (this was 2 weeks ago) that they would use them again this season. However, now that my hyacinths, daffodils and crocuses are trying to come up in the front flower bed, I'm hoping that was the end of our snow for the winter. The gloves are large enough that they will probably work for next year, although I will have to get new snow pants for Alex next year. Poor Miranda will have to settle for hand me downs again, which she finds annoying because Alex's color choices are never girly enough for her. Alex got brand new red snow boots for his birthday last October but Miranda was presented with his boots from last year which are a boring forest green instead of her preferred purple or pink. Poor baby.

5. I am still struggling to keep up with the housework. I calculated that the 6 hours that I'm spending in Physical Therapy and driving to and from Physical Therapy is the time I would usually spend cleaning the house. So, I look around me at the toys and papers and other flotsam of life in frustration but don't have the mental or physical energy to fix it. It is a bit discouraging. Ah, well, my cleaning lady will probably come next week and it will all be clean again. I just severely dislike the mess and my inability to get off the couch and start cleaning is even more annoying.

6. My mother is still having such a delightful time snuggling her grand-baby girl in California, and I must share this picture:

Talk about one happy lady. My father is on an airplane right at this moment to join them.

7. I read Tinker Tailor Solder Spy this week and have since requested Smiley's People from the library. I have also started reading One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. It seems happy and fluffy and should pass the time.

Jen is taking the rest of the month off, so Hallie Lord at Betty Beguiles is guest hosting 7 Quick Takes for the rest of the month.