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…autism bites…

I don’t talk about this too much, because almost all of the time, it doesn’t even influence our lives, but yesterday we had our first truly negative interaction with my son and a peer over his cognitive differences…

So apparently my son has been letting some of his friends know that he is “slightly autistic” (he got a little mixed up trying to explain high functioning autism – most of them already know he has ADHD) – he explained that his brain sees stuff more intensely than normal, and 99% of the kids he told either think it’s cool, or don’t care. Only one little meanie has said anything bad, and he is now determined to call my brave and brilliant son dumb and stupid. My son told me that one of his other friends offered to “fix it” for him… I am glad that his friends stand up for him, but I don’t want it to start any fights. He just couldn’t understand why anyone would say those things about anyone. I told him if he is being bullied, he needs to tell the school, whether it’s his teacher, or the principal, or an aide. He just doesn’t want anyone to be angry at him.

On the bright side, he has been a lot more affectionate lately – for a baby who never snuggled, and a kid who never hugged, having a little boy seek me out for a hug when he needs comfort is still pretty new and novel. I do think it’s interesting that it took him all day to process what happened to him at school – he came out to me from being in bed, a good hour past his bedtime, to discuss this. He gets mathematic concepts almost immediately, but takes him hours to ponder a single social interaction. But then again, that’s kind of the gist of the whole situation – he is so smart, but just doesn’t GET other kids. I still think it was easier when Asperger’s was a separate diagnosis than autism, because so many people think autism always means cognitive delays – but it really is a spectrum! I know so many kids with autism, and not a single one is exactly like another, but they all share common characteristics.

Anyhow, like I said before, most of the time I don’t talk about it, because I know that we are so very lucky. For most families, autism seems to be a life changing, devastating diagnosis. But for me, it was just an explanation for the weird quirks about my son. It wasn’t even until this last year that it was something the doctor even worried about(though it is something we have talked about since he was 2 or 3). With some kids, autism locks them away inside a world of confusion, but in our case, it just makes my son quirky and odd. So sometimes I feel like an interloper even mentioning it, like how dare I parade my gifted and almost “normal” kid around and talk about how hard it is to parent someone with his “disabilities”… Most of the time I don’t even feel like he has any disabilities, until we hit a wall with something (like when he was learning cursive, that was one of the most painful experiences, forcing him to sit and focus, but even that had more to do with his ADD than anything else). But my heart still aches for him when the bullies out there single him out, because he reacts so differently than the other kids. Other kids can ignore when a bully is being a twerp, but my son gets so confused, and he starts doing funny things with his voice or his hands, so of course they pick on him. He is also the smallest kid in his class, and one of the smartest, and I am sure he will eventually need glasses and braces. But he is also funny, and sweet, and kind – luckily he has friends who don’t care about his odd behaviors, and who want nothing more than to make my little guy smile.

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Caps For Sale!

Bottle caps, that is! We are planning a family trip to Disneyland, and I wanted to be able to take the whole family to Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure – I’m selling bottle cap necklace pendants to help me pay for it… These are all the caps I have for sale right now, it helps me if you can point out what row and column the caps you want are in. See the close-ups for more details on what’s in the caps!

$3 a cap if I can give it to you in person. $5 a cap if I need to ship it to you (unless you buy more than one, then $3 for any following cap – I can stick more than one in a padded envelope!)








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5 days in…

Yup, so I’m 5 days in to my 30 Day Shred, and I got stalled by a nasty cold/flu bug that hit me hard.

I got coughed in the face with a nice, wet cough (from a little girl who didn’t really know better) on Saturday, Sunday I woke up sounding like a manly frog, on Monday I started sneezing, with itchy eyes and such bad fatigue that I had to force myself to stay standing so that I could stay awake long enough to make my kids dinner. I fell asleep that evening, woke up long enough to do Family Night, then went back to sleep. Woke up the next morning with a fever of 101 or 102 (depending on which ear you take from) – feeling full body aches, huge sneezing, nasty icky coughing, and fatigue so bad I could barely drag myself to the bathroom.

Luckily, even though it was the first day of classes, it was with teachers who already knew me and my work ethic, so I emailed them to let them know where I was, and I spend the day in bed. I actually slept pretty well last night, and woke up feeling MUCH more human, with my fever and body aches gone, and just a lingering cough, froggy voice, and slightly runny nose.

Today I’m continuing on with zinc lozenges, vitamin C, and a hanky to cough in, since I know that cough is how I got it, and I do NOT want to spread this around.

I am just trying to decide now if I ought to work out later today, or if I need to give my body one more day off to rest – I don’t like to take time off knowing that my body is getting stronger, especially since I am starting to see small results. But it might be wiser to rest for one more day, so that my body can conserve its energy for getting all the way healthy. I guess I’ll see how I feel this afternoon? But my tummy is looking a little less bulgy, and I can make it through the workout without stopping during the jumping exercises (though doubling up on sports bras helps a LOT with that, it is no longer cripplingly painful to jump, with my chest plastered down!)

Anyhow, I have another day of school ahead of me, as well as a choir concert for one of my kids, so my day ahead is pretty full. I have to remember to pack a bag for my littlest ones with their tae kwon do uniforms to take to the concert, so that I can run them right to their class when it’s over…

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Holiday Memories

So I always get nostalgic about Christmastime…

For me, as a child, Christmas always meant Grandmas. Oh how I loved my grandmothers, all of them! I remember often thinking as a child how much I missed my Nana (mother’s mother), who died when I was quite small. But I also remember thinking how lucky I was to have 3 other grandmas… My Grandma Mavis (step mother’s mother), my Grandma Loretta (father’s mother), and my Grandma Joan (father’s step mother). Each of them were very different, but Christmas was one time of the year where they all acted the same – all of them focused on family, love, kindness, and cooking. There were always wonderful family dinners, huge gatherings of aunties and uncles and cousins, and I’d get to go to 3 of these shindigs! Two were close to home, and one always meant a trip to Oregon (And then later Washington) – and to me, Christmas in the Pacific Northwest was magical. It always felt more like Christmas to me than just another day in Southern California. Plus, the one time I remember seeing snow as a child was on the way to Oregon, as we were driving to see the family.

I always loved those big gatherings, and being able to run off and explore my various Grandmas’ treasures – Grandma Loretta had a closed in porch with her exercise equipment, but to a little kid, a tiny trampoline, an exercise bike, and her mysterious mountain of boxes (now I see it was her exercise/storage room, but to a kid who loved to discover STUFF it was amazing. I can’t believe she let us grandkids make such a mess of her Home Shopping Network boxes, most of which were empty of anything but packing peanuts!). Grandma Joan was the collecting type – she loved things that were beautiful and dainty, particularly little crystal animals. She would always remind me to be careful with them, but she also never forbade me from touching them, as long as I was gentle and respectful. Those crystal creatures were as much a treasure to me as any chest of jewels. And my Grandma Mavis was the crafty queen! She loved to decorate her home with beautiful things she made with her own hands. She also started my love of Christmas pajamas (hers were always home made, mine aren’t always!). She also had a wonderful collection of these little clothespin dolls she made herself – I called them “Molly Dolls.” The whys and hows of that name have been lost for years (I was 4 when I named them, and she died when I was 11), but I still have fond memories of her allowing me to set them up in little tableaus, with the Mrs and Mr Claus dolls and all their many daughters (most of the dolls were pioneer girls). When she died, that was one thing I regret not voicing my opinion on – I was given one of them, but I wish I could have had more. Sadly, the one I did get, my little sister knocked the head off of when she was very small. Somewhere I have her body and head, but I haven’t seen it in years (I put it somewhere “special” to fix it, and now it’s who knows where!). They looked a lot like this: http://www.etsy.com/listing/112058082/vintage-clothes-pin-doll

Anyhow, one thing I remember is that all 3 grandmas had homes that smelled delicious when we got there! My memory of Grandma Loretta’s house was a mix of stale tobacco, books, and fresh turkey (yeah, a really odd smell for a Mormon girl like me to relish, who knows?). My Grandma Joan’s house always smelled like warm rolls and cookies at Christmas time. And Grandma Mavis’ home smelled best of all – she was the one who would either put out dishes of dried potpourri, or would cook pans of it on the stove. I remember one year I tried to eat some of the potpourri liquid, it smelled so good – but taste = not so good. BLEH. So this year, I’m putting some home made potpourri in my Crock Pot and hoping to start some Christmas Nostalgia memories for my own kids…

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O Christmas

Go figure, I wrote a really nice, well worded, LONG post… and my blog deleted it. Let’s see if I can remember everything I wrote!

I decided that I need to just put my self pity and negative feelings behind me. Why should I worry about my importance to other people? I should only be concerned with my family and with doing my best to improve myself and help others.

This is not the season for being sad, or mad, or hurt – it’s time to focus on my family and what I can do for them, and what I can teach them.

Instead of focusing on perceived slights, I am trying to instead take pride in the things I have accomplished this year, and stop worrying about the things that I feel like I have lost or made a mistake on.

So yesterday I designed the stuffed animals I am sewing for the kids’ gifts – nobody say anything to them, but B gets an owl, W gets a puppy, and L gets a kitty, all made from the coziest fleece in their favorite colors. I just need to find my box of buttons for the center of the eyes! I’ll probably sew them after class today, and then start wrapping all my presents.

I just wish my husband’s present hadn’t disappeared… I had started knitting him a very soft and cozy scarf that matches the hat I knitted him last year. Go figure, I can’t find it ANYWHERE. I even checked the lost and found at church in case I had left it there when I was working on it 2 weeks ago – no luck. So now I have to think of a new gift for him. It needs to be something I can make, from things I already have here at home (it looks like my reimbursement paperwork for November got lost in the mail, I’m probably not getting paid until after Christmas).

He always tells me to not worry about getting him anything, and to focus on the kids. Well, I did that this year, and the kids are getting plenty of gifts. I am in no danger of upsetting them (even if none of the gifts are vastly expensive, they will all bring smiles). I just don’t want him to feel disappointed on Christmas morning when everyone has a present but him. So I need to think of something I can do to convey my appreciation for all the little sacrifices he makes to help keep this family going.

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Feeling a little lost

I have been feeling very lost and forgotten, lately. I know that it’s probably all internal, but knowing and feeling are two very different things. Some days I feel so confused, and I find myself having greater difficulties with language and memory – its very stressful feeling lost in my own life.
I also keep finding myself with hurt feelings, which I know is pointless since most of the thing that hurt my feelings are not meant badly. I hope it’s just stress, because I can always work through that, I guess.

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Dumb Thyroid!

Finally a bit of vindication! I’m not fat because I’m lazy, a glutton, or don’t care… I’m fat cuz I’m broken. And not only that, but a fixable broken!

On Monday I went to a new doctor, because I’d gone nowhere over the last 6 years with my regular family doctor. He checked all my vitals, and drew some blood for some extra labs that my other doctor never bothered to do…

Sure enough, my thyroid does make thyroid hormone, but not enough, and what it does make it can’t use effectively – I use up the little bit of natural T3 I do make, but then my body can’t turn T4 into RT3(reverse T3+iodine), leaving me at a deficiency for the very thing my body craves.

That would explain why my TSH is elevated, but still within “normal” range, and would explain why my radioactive iodine uptake and scan thing didn’t show anything – there’s no cancer, which is great, just an inability to get enough T3 into my system.

I also find it interesting that my arthritis in my hands, and my joint pain? That’s a major symptom of T3 deficiency. My fatigue, high cholesterol, confused/foggy brain, food allergies, blood sugar issues, inability to lose weight, dry scalp… all of those are symptoms of hypothyroid and/or T3 issues. So I really really hope that my new medication will help with all of these health issues that I have been ignoring for the last 6 years…

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hace calor!

Holy cow, it’s hot. Or I’m overheated. Or something. I’ve had to run from the GT building (very top of campus) to the ME building (very bottom of campus), back to the GT (which is where I am now, waiting for my next class), and after this one I have to run all the way back to the ME.

Yikes. I am already at 8000 steps walked, and 11 flights of stairs traversed, and I still have to go down 5 flights and back up 6 before I can be done for the day.

I’m trying to figure out if maybe it’s worth trying to bring my bike to school, just to ride it between classes – though the hill is so steep that I might be able to walk up the stairs faster than I can pedal up the hill.

I tried walking across campus outside, but it was so hot I think I started to melt… I have been sooo spoiled by having all my other classes in the GT building within 3 floors.

Anyhow, my next class starts in about 10 minutes, I better be off!

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First Day 2012

So today is my first day of classes for fall 2012 – it feels like I’m rounding the corner to my degree… Music theory is all done, and I’m now in all upper division classes (except for my private lessons, my fault for panicking during juries last semester and biffing it on my scales). This semester I have wind practicum, string practicum, clarinet choir, wind ensemble, private lessons, scoring and arranging, music education in elementary schools, and teaching special needs students. I was also enrolled in marching band techniques, but only 6 people registered and the school requires at least 8 to carry a class. Luckily the teacher will be offering it again next fall, instead of in 2 years like it used to be. I have about 3 semesters left after this one (so a total of 4), and then I’ll have my music ed degree!

The scariest part about today is that it’s auditions, and my clarinet broke about a month ago – because it was the back to school rush, the repair guy can’t get to it until the second week of September, which means I’m going into wind ensemble and auditions blind – I don’t even have a school clarinet yet, because the person in charge of checking out the wind instruments isn’t here yet. So hopefully I have a horn when I go to band class later today – if not, well I guess I can hold my broken one and feel left out.

At least 3 pads are falling out and flapping in the breeze, the poor thing can’t play in the upper octave, and can’t play in the lower octave in tune. I guess if I have to, I’ll audition on it, but the Stravinsky Firebird won’t happen (that’s actually what I was playing when the pads all started falling out!). I might be able to muddle through Tchaikovsky’s Symphony 5, since it’s all lower.

Hey! I just saw him walk by, maybe I can catch him and get a horn…

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Major Scales for Bb Clarinet

So I decided to write out the scales the way my clarinet teacher likes us to play them at school, I might as well upload it and share it, since I spent the last 3 hours making it exactly the way I wanted it! I guess it’s good I took the music tech class last semester, but some of the things I needed to know to make this file, I still had to learn on my own :-D

Major Scales

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