Monday, August 25, 2008

It's an interesting challenge to find new things to do with unfamiliar foods. Go to the produce section and pick something out at random. Bring it home and find out what to do with it. You might just discover a new recipe that tastes great! Today we're cooking with red cabbage and apples. I haven't decided yet what to serve with it. Any ideas?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'm sitting at the table at the end of a really long day. I'm exhausted, my husband went to bed at 6PM, and the kids are now finally both tucked into bed. It's almost sunset. The weather outside is uncomfortably warm, but I expect it to cool by morning. My living room furniture has been required to reconfigure to meet the needs of two parents who don't want their children (read: daughter) to climb into the sideboard and play on the inside of the goldfish tank.

All in all this was a pretty standard day in paradise.

My uncle is in town. I'm beyond thrilled that he's here. I feel like I'm showing him just how good my life has become from such a stormy adolescence. It's wonderful. Tomorrow he's going to see the giant trees, and right now I'm able to sit with him in the living room while doing family-type stuff. He's the father I didn't have. It's a good thing.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I just wandered over to BillsIQ and took their financial heath quiz. It was actually a fairly good one, compared to a lot of the others I've seen. Instead of trying to push their products on you all the time, it asked the right questions in a wide variety of areas. And of course it's easier to answer the questions truthfully when you're alone... I don't know about you, but when I'm sitting across from someone else it's awfully tempting to skew my answers to match what they seem to want to hear.

In the summer wind
cold money evaporates
dreaming in the breeze

Debt consolidation is one recommended way to help get your monthly bills under control. It's easy to lose sight of how much you owe other people when the amounts are spread around. It's easier to get overwhelmed by ten different interest rates, ten different companies and policies... and when you start feeling overwhelmed the most likely reaction is to run and hide until the stressor goes away. It might be a perfectly logical response, but it won't provide any Debt help. Seek the best form of Debt relief by facing the whole picture and making a plan to deal with it. Pay off the high interest cards first. Consolidate so that you only have to make one payment, only have to deal with one company.

You can take back your financial freedom. It's never too late.


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We're getting ready to send Tiffany off to school on the bus this morning. Transport has been worked out and she came home on the bus last night. I know that a lot of parents have this worry about their kid on the first few solo bus-riding adventures. What if something goes wrong? What if they get lost? What happens when they get to school in the morning?

Thing is, by the time those kids go on the bus most of them can tell their name to someone who asks. Tiffany can, sometimes, if she wants to. It's by no means certain that she will. She's delightfully persistant. Worrying so at times. She fixates on her goal, and does what she needs to do to reach that goal. I just hope she uses her power for good.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I remember playing games with my mother a long time ago. She divided the day between me and her housework, a lot like I'm learning to do. When I woke up, most of the morning was mine. Her undivided attention for teaching me things, playing games, taking walks is one of the things that I treasured most. She made me feel like I was the most important thing in her world just then. I never doubted her love for me, or that my mother could fix anything at all that troubled me.

Sometimes she would bring out games from her own youth, games brought up from my grandmother's basement or down from the attic. Bingo was one. Dusty cards in the box, small wooden buttons with numbers, larger disks of deep blue to mark the spaces. A wonderful thing. A memory, of games and laughter, that lives deep inside my heart.

Disney Bingo seems like a cool way to make similar memories with my own kids. Certain computer games have been shown to help bridge the communication gaps my daughter experiences. Right now she's just starting to show an interest in Disney characters, and this game provides an interactive experience that might help her. The game is available at, or at a fairly good price.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's the night before the first day of school. I'm not quite sure how it's going to feel when I get the bus worked out; Tiffany is supposed to be transported, but it fell through the cracks and didn't get sent over to the transportation office until last week, and so we're going to need a few days into the school year for it to work out. I know how it'll be in the morning, my little girl will start laughing when she sees us going to school. She'll try to twist away from my hand to join the big kids on the playground. When we get to the classroom she'll forget I ever existed for a while.

Three hours later I'll be back to pick her up. Tired, disheveled, so happy. Run all around and play some more.

My big girl. Another year closer to growing up and away from me.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I'm back on an even track again, after a challenging week. It's Friday, it's payday, and this is when I pay the bills, balance the budget, and plan the grocery shopping for the next half-month. The sun is shining, the birds are singing in my backyard, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the hour or so of pure quiet while both kids are taking their rest and I have the rest of the house to myself for a bit.

Today has been great so far. Had a nice morning, our recess time went well, Tiffany had her usual blast running around the yard in her swimsuit and Little Blue Shoes trying to catch the sprinkler. We did more fingerpainting on the patio. I'm almost out of paint now, got to remember to look for more when I'm out. My bean plants are fully sprouted now. The green tops are leafy and starting to spill up over the sides of their boxes. I always forget how nice it looks, how green and vibrant. How alive. I wonder if it will stay that way, if I'll manage to grow a crop from this. I hope so. In our next home, I'd love to see a patio corner full of planter boxes and pots, all spilling over with fresh veggies. Beautiful.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Does every parent of a child diagnosed with an austic spectrum disorder lose their shit for a while during the period when this is evaluated, diagnosed, and treated??? Maybe that explains a few things. Maybe I'm more normal in outlook than not. Just know that I can't "pass" for normal average and stop trying? I'll concentrate on loving my kids. Loving my husband. Caring for everyone. If I can keep my own brain together, the rest of the family has to follow my lead in that.

Maybe I'll even grow eyes in the back of my head and be able to watch both children twenty-four hours a day.
I feel so defeated some evenings. I can't watch my daughter every second of the day. I can't take my eyes off her, or it seems that something happens that involves a lot of cleaning and disinfectant and an emergency bath. I can't give my other child the attention he deserves when I'm doing all of that. I can't split my body in half and be everything to both of them at the same time.

I've been accused of the worst kind of negligence by having Robbie after I knew what a challenge Tiffany was. I'm a bad mother who deserves to have her children taken away simply because my daughter has PDD and takes off her pants to shit on the floor and play in it when I put her to bed for the night. Even worse as a mother because I chose to have another child, because I had a micropreemie and didn't take good enough care of myself while pregnant. I'm damned no matter what I do, and my daily penance is scrubbing shit out of the carpet every night. Tonight it was twice. Twice, while my husband works late and my son has an upset tummy. After a day of running between the kids. Playing with them. Doing Robbie's therapy with him, reading to Tiffany, playing with them outside in the yard for a short while before the sun got too hot and the day got too dusty. We did craft projects. I fed them healthy food and got her to sit at her table for lunchtime. If I try hard enough, is it enough to convince the public watching on from the Internet that I love my kids enough to be allowed to mother them? Tiffany wanted to have water play this afternoon, and wants to do it herself, and pulled my teakettle off the stove. I heard it smash on the floor as the sides broke. I swear, it's not possible to keep my eyes glued to her twenty four hours a day. I get angry that I'm expected to in order to prove my fitness. I get furious that people blame me that she's not toilet-trained and that she will rarely if ever tell me what she wants or needs without a game of twenty questions and three minutes of trying to make eye contact.

Obviously I'm a rotten human being. My daughter plays in her shit. I can't stop her yet. It's not for not trying.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

About a week ago I planted some seeds. I just tossed them into two planter boxes- half a packet in each box. Cover with soil, water well, and walk away. I haven't had much time to go out and see them lately, I have only made sure to water the boxes on the scheduled watering days.

Today I went out and saw a mass of green shoots poking up from the earth. So wonderful. So amazing. I've never had much luck with plants; my main skill is at killing them either by over-watering or under-watering. It takes my mother to have a real green thumb, to keep houseplants alive and thriving. My daughter seems to be inheriting a knack for it from what I see in the yard every morning.

It is a truly wonderful thing to see when I look out there. It feels like spring, come again, in the middle of a hot and dusty summer.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Procrastination should be a four-letter word. Nothing wastes time better, and nothing is as sure to get my guilt feelings dancing around that the house is a mess, the kitchen's messy, nothing got accomplished today. As I heard on FlyLady recently, it's time to get up off your franny and get busy.

Which leads to the other extreme if I'm not careful. Obsessiveness. Perseveration. The inability to let anything go. I can do it, though, if I stick to baby steps and make myself stop at the end of a certain time limit instead of a task. The laundry doesn't have to be done all in one step, as long as it gets all done one piece at a time. If I just put one piece away every time I pass the basket, the whole pile is away before I realize it. I've been doing the chore without noticing! Which keeps me from complaining, which makes me feel happier inside myself, which leads to ten other happy feelings and puts a smile on my face at the end of the day instead of a weary feeling as I survey the mess and make excuses to myself about why it didn't get done today.

I still procrastinate, though. I still carry over undesirable tasks from one day to the next because I don't want to do them. Sometimes it helps to write out the steps for those tasks ahead of time, so that I can just get everything in place to make that call or write that letter in a sudden rush. Sometimes I tell myself that no task can get carried over for more than three days. If it gets carried over that long, the temptation to drop it from the list altogether becomes too great and I conveniently “forget” that it's there.

I'm fighting the procrastination habit. I'm winning in slow steps over my daily chores and my messy house is starting to show the signs of improvement day by day. I think it can only benefit my kids to grow up in a can-do atmosphere instead of the clutter and the guilt-shadow in their mother's attitude. When I look in the mirror, do I see the person I'm afraid to become, or the person I want to be? And how can I become the person I want to be in a way that it'll stick?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The best thing that I've found for me, personally, in organizing myself is the simple list. I start with a piece of paper, I write down what I need to do in simple terms, and I cross it off as it gets done. I make the tasks simple, one or two step things. Then I don't get overwhelmed. Once I start getting overwhelmed, I want to sit down and avoid the list altogether. Can't do that if you want to get it done.

I've really fallen away from this in the past year. During the past week, I've started making daily lists again. Of course, I make them up the night before. I'm mentally focused at that point. The kids are in bed, the kitchen is clean, the coffee pot is set for the morning when my husband wakes up. I'm awake and can write down what needs to be done. If I wait until the morning, I don't always get things going. I might not have slept well, have woken up cranky. The kids might have gotten up extra early and needed me to roll out of bed and run from the second my feet hit the floor. If that's the case, my list is instantly in front of me and I can work from that as I'm waking up.

During this whole past week I've been tired. Not sleeping well, a lot to do, many things that came along without any warning (a shredded tire comes to mind). Yet in the evening hours I don't feel frazzled. I feel in control of my life. Mommy's happier, Daddy is happier as a result, the kids are less likely to act up. Nobody's feeling stressed. It will be interesting to see if this feeling keeps up, if I can continue making my lists before I go to bed every night, if this new calmness carries over into other aspects of my life.