Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Humiliation

Last night in a crowded public bathroom, I was trying to stabilize Fischer on the big toilet so he could go. We're cramped in the tiny stall and I'm crouched in front of him, when I realize that I need to point "it" down for him. I poke "it" with my finger and he yells out "Mommy, don't touch my penis!" (TWICE!!)
I was too embarrassed to ever come out, so we're going to have to stay in this stall for the rest of our lives! The good news is: this will make potty training a breeze!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cooking post updates

Update: For the Nestle’ Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, go to Very Best Baking.com. That way you can buy the cheaper chips but still have the yummiest cookies.

Update: My friend Wanda makes her own tasty meat sauce, so she fills muffin tins with sauce, for freezing to go with her “noodle nests”, rather than the canned stuff that I put in the ice cube trays for Fisch.

Update: Andy puts this together as lettuce wraps instead of salad, yummy.

DIY convenience cookie dough

Maybe doing this has already occurred to you, but when I thought of it (last summer).... I felt like a genius! I like to make a batch of cookie dough, put the scoops on a cookie sheet and freeze them for a few hours. then I toss them all into a freezer bag and can pull them out whenever I want them! Why so fabulous?

  1. Cheaper than buying pre-made refrigerator dough
  2. You have the luxury of only cooking 2 or 4, so you don't eat them all!
  3. You can have hot gooey cookies at a moments notice (really impresses a last minute guest)
  4. If you are only cooking a couple, you could do it in the toaster oven and save energy!

Update: For the Nestle’ Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, go to Very Best Baking.com. That way you can buy the cheaper chips but still have the yummiest cookies.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Praise a Hero

Lizzie Palmer, who put this YouTube program together, is 15 years old. There have been over 13,000,000 hits as of this morning. In case you missed it, here it is. Very touching. Thanks Bridget for sending this to me!

Whether you agree with the war or not, these people are out there fighting for you.

What can I do to support our troops? Go here:

Any Soldier

Operation USO Care Package

Operation Uplink

Get more info on how to help at USA Freedom Corps.

Not about Autism... but definitely could have been. A must read.

Letter to a Baby Who Was Thrown from a Bridge
by Astra Milberg

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Deep Thoughts from Fisch

At the bakery:
Fischer: "My tummy feels sad."
Mommy: "Oh my goodness, what could make it feel happy?"
Fischer: "Cookies."

After he'd been naked for awhile...
Fischer: (pointing at his rear end) "I figured out what's in there."
Mommy: "You did? What's in there?"
Fischer: "Poop"
Don't worry, I promptly washed his hands after that! Eeewwwww!

In the truck...
Fischer: "I have an itchy nose"
Daddy: "Did you fix it?"
Fischer: "Yeah..... I have gas in my butt."
Daddy: "Did you fix it?"
Fischer: "Yeah."

Fischer is always telling us he is going to "Grow up be grown-up". Andy asked him what grown-ups do that babies can't. Here are his top 5:
  1. "I grow up be grown-up, play with knives!"
  2. "I grow up be grown-up, open doors!"
  3. "I grow up be grown-up, open fridge, get stuff out!"
  4. "I grow up be grown-up. push buttons on the TV!"
  5. "I grow up be grown-up, open oven!"
Andy has been trying to get Fisch to wear his big boy underwear instead of running naked through the house. The problem is, when he has to go, he takes them off wherever and runs into the bathroom. So now you can often hear Fisch yelling from the potty,

"Daddy! I keep big boy underwears on my ankles!"

By the way, the messy boy in the picture above accomplished that by eating only ONE chocolate chip cookie! That kid's got talent!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Arbor Day!

Today is/was Arbor Day. In honor of it, Fischer and I are going to plant a tiny tree in our yard tomorrow.



Also, I wanted to tell you about a very wonderful organization that is trying to help all of us book worms to give back. Eco-Libris and their partners will plant a tree for every book you read! You send them a dollar for every book (or as many as you want) and they'll send you a sticker that says "one tree planted for this book". You can proudly display the sticker on your books. Click on the link above and learn more about their efforts. Wouldn't it be great to get your book club or school to join in on the efforts? Or what about using Eco-Libris as a very green birthday present?

Dazley's Dazzlers



Join me and Dazley's Dazzlers in supporting research for Autism. You can make a donation, join our team or make your own team! You can make a Team Donation or click any of the members' names for a donation to their personal page. The Utah Autism Walk is Saturday, May 3, 2008. We're walking with and for Robert.

The importance of trees




The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry is about the importance of trees in the rain forest. A man comes to chop down a Kapok tree, but the animals who live in the tree have much to say. This beautifully illustrated story sparks the reader's interest in the connections between trees and all other creatures and the affects that trees have on our environment.



The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a very simple love story that I'm sure all of us have read. It is about the relationship that one boy has with his apple tree. I always tear up a little when I read this story, for some reason I just really feel for the tree. Maybe I feel like the tree is my mom and I am the boy... whoa.... where is a therapist when you need one? Or maybe , now, I am the tree and the boy is Fischer.... Or maybe the tree is God and we are all the boy... Anyway, definitely a sweet story about unconditional love.



The Dead Tree by Alvin Tresselt and Charles Robinson is about the circle of life of a tree. It doesn't have a flashy title and definitely doesn't have flashy illustrations, but I love this book. It reminds the reader about the importance of trees in each of their different stages of life. The mighty Oak provides food and shelter to so many animals, but what good is it to the forest after it falls? An excellent read for Arbor day or any day.



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Artists who have Autism

KindTree Productions, Inc. Autism Rocks features art shows and print products by artists who have Autism. These artists receive 50% of every sale. Here you can support artists with Autism from all around the world.

Coming Soon: To a Hiney Near You!

Last night Fischer and I went to Wal Mart to buy his "Big Boy" underwear. He was sooo excited! He picked out two packages and carried them all the way to the check out announcing loudly to everyone: "That's mine big boy underwears!". He couldn't wait to get home to show Daddy and then he wanted to try them on! He looked at himself in the mirror and said, "Look Cute!". He wanted to wear them to bed but I assured him that he could wear them first thing in the morning. He was really excited!

Then morning came and he put them on and said, "I don't want it!" (sigh, from mommy)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!!!!!

50 ways
Click the picture above and find 50 easy peasy ways to make a big difference.

The Adventures of Naked Boy


Naked Boy made brownies for Daddy and then painted his whole body with the battered spatula! I'd show you the full picture, but Naked Boy was REALLY NAKED!
Naked Boy does not want to wear a diaper anymore.
Naked Boy jumped out of the tub to poop in the potty this morning!
Naked Boy asked Mommy for little boy underwear this morning during his naked breakfast.
Apparently Naked Boy wants to be potty trained, I guess I'll have to get to it!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

LAST THE BEST OF ALL THE GAME!

I did it!!! I ran 26.2 miles and finished!!!! AND>>>> drumroll please... I feel great! No injuries, no major aches and pains. Hooray! I have not sworn off running forever, like last time! I was REALLY slow, but I finished and that is all that matters (or at least, that's what I keep telling myself!) Here is the run down (no pun attended):
  • When I got off the Trax train to arrive at the starting line, Andy was there waiting for me! He took lots of pictures (I'll post a slide show later - if you promise not to laugh!) He helped me get ready and took my coat and the warming gel that I coated my legs with.
  • Before the start, the lines were WAY too long for the porta-potties! EVERYONE wanted to go one last time before the race. In fact, I was still standing in line for the bathroom when the race STARTED! My friends and I decided to just try to hit the first bathroom we saw along the race. So we ran to get in with all of the runners and begin.
  • Now as I have said in the past, the first 30 minutes of all of my runs the past month (since my muscle tear) have been REALLY difficult, slow and painful. Yesterday was no exception. I started really slow, had to stop and stretch a few times, even walk a bit... this was all even before mile 2! Andy popped up at this point to take more pictures, and encourage me. Everyone was passing me! Soon I saw the porta-potty and my friends were already in line, a long line. I waited in line and I'm glad I did. Also, at this point Danae and Jenny were there with a cute "Superhero" sign for me. They took pictures of me in line and coming out (swell). I was really glad to see them, because I already needed some encouragement!
  • The next couple of miles were great, and although I was again alone, I was surrounded by other runners. This was a downhill stretch, awesome! I saw a girl from bible study on the sidelines cheering, and then I saw a teacher I used to work with. I stopped to give her a quick hug. Andy popped up again to take more pictures!
  • When I arrived at Sugarhouse Park the half-marathoners went one way and the full-marathoners went another... that is when I got my first real clue. Not only was I slow, but I was actually REALLY slow and there were only a handful of runners in the park! OMG, I'm not even to mile 6 and I already can see that I am going to come in LAST!Z Where were all the slow people? Why weren't there more chubs? Maybe they all did the "early start" which started almost an hour before. Oh, man, what have I gotten myself into? I was suddenly really tired. That's when I decided that I better catch up to one of these other "slow" (Sorry Amie) people and make a friend. So I did, and she was really inspiring! This was her 8th marathon, and she was running for her father who is dying from lung cancer. Just listening to her story gave me strength. Throughout the entire rest of the marathon we leap frogged each other, passing each other after long stretches of time had gone by. I was just really happy to know that someone else was out there with me, either a little ways ahead or a little ways behind.
  • Coming out of Sugarhouse I saw Danae and Jenny and their kids again!! They cheered me on, and I picked up my pace a bit. Andy called me a few times because he had lost me, but then he realized that he was on the half-marathon course... so he found me after a long while. I was really glad to see him because I'd been alone trying to gain inspiration and strength from my Ipod.
  • Then there was a long stretch of oncoming high winds blowing all kinds of stuff and it was difficult to breathe and difficult to run. I tried to keep tabs on an old guy and leap frogged him for awhile because he kept skirting off into the trees to pee. Soon I came to the half-way point, expecting to see my parents and Fisch. They weren't there. I kept running and then I started to feel really tired and REALLY hungry. I stopped at the next water station to go to the bathroom again. While I was in there a few more people passed me, so when I came out, I saw NO ONE! I called Andy and told him to find me some pretzels and tootsie rolls. About a mile later I came upon my parent s and Fisch and Andy, with snacks. I grabbed a handful of pretzels, shoved a couple tootsies in my belt and kept on trucking... alone.
  • As I passed mile 16 I had to remind myself, that even though I was slow and seemed to be in DEAD LAST, I wasn't really feeling all that bad! Nothing was injured (last time by mile 16 I had severe shin splints), my stomach wasn't too upset - the pretzels really helped, and I was doing OK. So I just kept running. Soon I came upon a teammate of mine who seemed to be in pretty bad shape. She was in a lot of pain and was feeling really low. I gave her my last pretzel and a few tootsies, and walked with her for a few minutes. Then I started running.
  • Up pops Andy again , and I tell him to run to the truck and grab some pretzels for my friend back there. This seems to help her too and she catches up to me.
  • For the next 7 miles, the two of us ran together and helped each other get through. My parents and Fisch popped up again somewhere during that time and Fisch came running out to me and gave me a big hug. He totally lifted my spirits and gave me a push to continue.
  • By the time we hit mile 23, Liberty Park, I was COMPLETELY exhausted and was starting to feel a little nauseous and dizzy. That's when my coach popped up. I was soooo glad to see him. My teammate started running on, but by this time I needed to walk a little more, so Coach stayed with me. We ran and walked the next mile together.
  • By this time it was 1:00 and the police were yelling that the race was over and that we needed to get onto the sidewalk and obey all traffic laws. By now, I didn't care that the race was technically over, I just wanted to get to the finish!
  • Then we (Coach and I) ran into my new friend, I hadn't seen her for awhile and she wasn't doing too well at this point. The three of us walked and ran together and made our way to the finish chute. As soon as we got to gateway, I put all of my effort into running as hard as I could (which was probably turtle speed by his point) all the way to the finish line. My Dad jumped in and tried to run me in (but only lasted a few steps - probably because of his flip flops ;). I kept running, then Fisch came running out to "run me in" How cute! Can you just picture it? Me dead tired running as fast as my body would go, scooping up my darling boy so he could cross the finish line with Mommy?? How beautiful. WELL THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED! I took one look at him and tried to skirt around him (some say I shoved him out of my way, not true) I just needed to get to that finish line! Ooops, totally missed out on a cute mommy-son moment!
  • I finished!!!! It took me a long time but there were still people there waiting for me (even though the race was supposedly closed). Andy was there to give me a big hug and tell me how proud he was, my mom and dad and Fisch were there. Some of my teammates and their families were there to cheer for me. Emily and her kids and her friend were there with a cute sign. TNT was there with cold water, PB&Js, fruit and a chair! It was a great finish to one of THE longest days of my life.
  • SO the picture above is of a tired, sweaty, salty, sore, hungry, wind-blown MARATHONER!

Three Cheers!

  1. One for you for supporting me through donations to LLS, thoughts, prayers, cheers, signs, emails, running with me, listening to me, babysitting for me... encouragement of all kinds. I could not have done it without you! Really, I mean that - it is true. You made this possible.
  2. One for Team in Training and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for making this possible. For helping me and teaching me and showing me how giving can really change a person's life!
  3. And the last cheer is for me. I completed my goal, even though I didn't lose any weight, even though I was the slowest person out there, even though my body was just way to big for this kind of endurance event. I did it. I'm not going to be disappointed that I came in 30 minutes later than my first marathon. I am just going to be proud of myself for doing it anyway. Thank you all for helping me to feel good about myself.
  4. OH, and one more really big cheer for my extraordinary husband who loves me so much! He had to endure quite a bit over the last four months, and has encouraged me all of the way. He even gave me flowers before I ran my 20 miler! He has been my rock and he was with me either with the camera or in spirit all 26.2 miles. Thank you, Andy, I love you!

And now..... I think I'll REALLY try to get in shape!!! :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A picture study

Here is a picture of Fisch sitting on the front porch waiting for his BFF. Here is what I am seeing:


  • My 2-year-old who has recently decided that he must have his binky, 2 blue receiving blankets, and a bunny-blanket at all times. Often this group is accompanied by a drink and a toy. Is there something wrong with that? I had him weaned off the binky except for bedtimes, but now he wants it all of the time.

  • Behind my dirty glass door you can see my very deprived dog who never gets to go in the front yard (because she would like to kill all of the other animals in the neighborhood). Poor Kaia.

  • On the brick near the door you can see how Fisch has decorated our home with pink chalk.

Now for another picture study:


Here is BFF and the Easter Bunny last year. So cute. Here is what I see:

  • Tears of love as she clings to the bunny for dear life in fear that her mommy will take her away from her big soft furry friend. Oh how darling.
  • Look in the bunny's mouth. YIKES, Now that is freaky! Needless to say BFF didn't see the Easter Bunny this year and her mommy and daddy will probably keep her away FOREVER! I mean, you know there is a person in there, but when you actually see him???? He kind of seems like some kind of pervert. I know that is horrible to say, I am sure that he is a kind and loving man who looks forward to Easter time each year so that he can play the Easter Bunny for all of the little children... BUT EEWWWW!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"...And now it is our favorite time, it's Signing Time..."

It is no secret that Andy, Fischer and I are huge fans of sign language for babies. We were sold on it as soon as Fisch signed his first words "all done". This was WAY before he started talking. He was a sponge by about 13 months and could pick up new signs really quickly. His vocabulary was quite impressive and he wasn't even talking yet! When he did start talking, he had a lot to say and could help us understand him by pairing his speech and signs. We had racked up a pretty hefty library fine and stopped getting the videos around December, by then he new approximately 250 signs (21 months old), we have just resumed watching the videos this month. Fischer still likes to learn new signs and practice old ones. He still loves to watch the Signing Time videos, and I love them too. Even though he can talk now, the videos help to expand his vocabulary. We love the music. Rachel (the woman in the picture above - that teaches the signs) writes all of her own music and it is really quite fun. We like to sing the songs and practice our signs in the car (probably not the safest idea when driving). The songs that I love the most are at the end of the videos during the credits. These are beautiful heart-felt songs about Rachel's daughters who both have disabilities.
This month Signing Time is highlighting the affects that their videos have had on children with Autism. Signing helps kids of all abilities and ages to communicate and that is a very powerful gift! Fisch and I went to the Signing Time concert this fall with some friends. The place was PACKED - actually doubly packed since most of the seats were occupied by a parent and a child. It was wonderful to see all of the little ones like Fisch and his buddies, and also all of the children with disabilities and hearing impairments. This series truly reaches everyone.
We borrow the DVDs from the library, but of course they sell them on their website. You can also watch Signing Time on PBS.
Here are a few articles about Signing Time and Autism:

Effective Communication with Children and Young Adults with Autism by Lisa Goldy

The Joy of Signing With an Autistic Childby Sheri L.

The Power of Sign Language Helps Children With Autism Create Meaning in Languageby Michele Ricamato, M.A. CCC

You may also be interested in a couple of American Sign Language (ASL) browsers on the Internet, both have videos demonstration clips for every sign:
ASL Browser
ASL Pro

This and That

Welcome to the world Zoe Grace! Congratulations to Fischer's buddy Zev, on his beautiful new baby sister!

Here is our new shed (dream come true). It is already filled, but it made our garage and storage areas MUCH more manageable.


Here is the BEFORE picture of my storage room.


Here is the after: Thank you Tuff Shed.



Andy tilled the garden, spread manure (which Fischer tasted) and we are ready for it to get warm enough to plant!


Combining the skate skills with the stick skills. Look out world!



Other Random bits:
  • The other day Fisch said "Mommy freakin' 'mazing!" (After he went to Winger's with Grandma).
  • Yesterday, he said "Snowing outside" and I said "What do you think of that?" He said, "Kinda annoying".

Monday, April 14, 2008

Magnet letters and a cookie sheet

All moms have great ideas and good tips that could help other moms. I have decided to post my ideas here and I'd love for you to share your ideas, whether they be as a mom, teacher, auntie, grandmother, cousin, etc. If you have a little idea or variation of what I have posted, share it in the comments. If you have a big idea or an idea with a great story, email me (fisforfischer at gmail dot com) and I'll post it here for others to see and gain from. Of course some of the very best ideas are stolen from someone else, I'm going to share those too, and so should you!

Cookie Sheet and Magnet Letters
  1. Letter identification: Fisch and I like to play games with magnet letters. We like to put a letter on a cookie sheet and talk about what it is called and what it is for (Example: A is for Annika, B is for Brad, C is for cat...). It is also fun to give him a pile of letters and ask him to "find an F for Fischer" "Find a b". You could also put up a lowercase letter and ask the child to find the corresponding upper case letter. You can also write a letter with a Vis-A-Vis marker and ask them to find a match. Kids love to put the letters on and off and slide them around. Another one that Fisch likes, is to put up the letters in his name, then turn one upside down and ask him "which letter is upside down?" He likes to quiz me too.
  2. Spelling: In the classroom, I often had kids practice their spelling words with magnet letters. They love it because it is a good change form writing their list 3 times. Fischer and I work on spelling his name this way. I give him all of the letters for his name and then I ask for each one by name, and he puts them on. Even if he doesn't know the letter yet, he likes looking for them, and I can show him the right one. Sometimes I'll put up F-i- and ask him "What comes next?" (You could do that to practice the alphabet too). We also like to put his name on the cookie sheet and then I "secretly" take a letter away (and stick it to the back of the sheet), "Who is hiding?" He loves to peek on the back, but often he can guess it first. With students who really struggle with spelling their own name you can even write their name on the cookie sheet with a Vis-A-Vis (the wet-erase markers people use on overhead projectors) and they can find the letters to match. It gives them practice putting the letters in the correct order and they can do it independently which always builds self confidence.
  3. Reading and Word Chunks: A fun one to practice reading with (no, I'm not doing this with Fisch yet) is to practice making and reading words. I like to put up a "chunk" such as: at, it , ar, ate, ill, ell, etc. and let the child practice making different words. I might ask them to make a certain word, and they have to figure out the beginning sound and/or let them come up with words. For example: we put up the letters "at" and the child thinks of cat, bat, hat, sat, rat, brat, flat, etc. Don't forget that a chunk can be in the middle or beginning of a word too like: attitude, flatter, atom.
  4. Reading and word rules: I'm currently tutoring a student who is struggling with the "silent e". We practice making words like "mat" and changing it to "mate" or vice verse changing "care" to "car".
  5. Letter reversals: Magnet letters are a fun way to practice b versus d and p versus q. Practice making words with these letters... the child sees them positioned the correct way without the anxiety of having to write them correctly. It is easier to grab a different letter than to erase!

So many fun ideas! Please share yours! The letters shown in this picture came from Lakeshore, the upper and lowercase are sold separately. You can buy magnet letters anywhere and the good thing about the cookie sheet is that they don't have to be that high of quality because you can keep the cookie sheet flat (so, you can have those letters that are too heavy for their annoyingly placed magnets and either tip over or slide right off the fridge!). Magnet letters come in all sizes and fonts, we even have some magnet letters that glow in the dark! You could quiz your child while they are in the tub and you've turned out the light! Super fun! Oh, and I bought cheap cookie sheets years ago at Wal Mart to use for this very thing, you could use the same ones you cook with - I guess.

P.S. Fischer's alter ego is "Naked Boy". Mommy and Daddy make Naked Boy wear a diaper though! We're not very brave. Fischer would be Naked Boy all day long if possible, hence Naked Boy practicing his letters in the picture above.


Book of the Day

Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young is based on the ancient fable of the blind men and the elephant. It has a great morale: "Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole." Little ones will learn about the days of the week and colors. There are also some very good desctiptive words that would be fun to discuss or to find other things in the house that could be described that way (sharp, sturdy, supple, wide, breezy and stringy). The pictures are bright and eye catching, of course he won a Caldecott for them.


Click here for a few fun activity ideas for Seven Blind Mice.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Have you read this before?


WELCOME TO HOLLAND
by Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go.

Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Salt Lake City Marathon is ONE WEEK AWAY!


Well, I guess I am going to do this thing! I can't back out now, not with all of the time I've put in and not with all of the money and support my friends and family have put in. Everyone knows about it. People will be asking about it. Do you realize that I am a super chub - still?! Do you realize that I will be running for probably OVER 6 hours? Can you even imagine me running 26.2 miles??? Help! How did I get myself into this? Why did I have to involve the whole world? Why couldn't I have gone from couch to 5K instead of couch to marathon? Lisa, you've done this before. Hello??!!! That was 3 years, 30 pounds less and 1 kid ago. Whatever, you ran 20 miles just two weeks ago, you can do this. Are you crazy? I thought I was going to have a potty accident in my pants!!! Ok psycho...talking to yourself on your blog...BUCK UP! Stand back... mood swing coming... Ok, I CAN do this, I AM doing this. I am running for an excellent cause. I have trained for this. I can do some things to prepare myself this week. I can eat lots of fruits and veggies and drink lots of water. Thursday and Friday I can take it easy and eat pasta. I will be ready. Andy will be there with the camera. My teammates will be doing it too. My parents will be there. Danae, oops I mean "Sheila", will be there. Jenny will be there. I have a brand new Ipod Shuffle to distract me after I lose my teammates. I am strong, the human body is amazing, and I CAN DO THIS!

Book of the day


Who's Hiding? by Satoru Onishi is a unique look and find book that Fisch and I checked out from the library recently. The animal drawings are simple and silly, I was surprised that Fischer could tell what the animals were. I like the bright colors and Fischer seems to enjoy figuring out who is hiding in each picture.

Mom my Ride

You have probably seen this before, but it is too good not to share again. Plus, it hits really close to home! My ride has totally been mommed. And "sorry fellas, this lady's gotta man!". Andy totally duct taped my mirror back on! Seriously!!??!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Maybe we don't need a cure?







The Autism Awareness Project has a TOTALLY different take on Autism. They are looking for respect, acceptance, dignity NOT A CURE. Fascinating. It certainly has me thinking.


There are so many websites out there about Autism that are not looking at it as something to be cured, not an illness, not a bad thing. In fact many people are quite offended by the thought that they or someone they love need to be fixed.

Get another perspective... look at this: Asperger Square 8 , specifically this:
Also while on Asperger Square 8 look at this and this.

Another interesting issue, click on the graphic :






As a special education teacher, I've been able to love my students for their quirks, while their parents worry about what the future holds. I recall a moment many years ago, I was new to my school and had only been teaching a year before that. I was having my first IEP meeting with a particular set of parents. I was really excited because their daughter was so cute and funny, and I wanted them to know how much I loved her already (just 3 months into school). So I said something like, "OMG! Susie is sooo funny, you two must be laughing all of the time!" Their response? "Well, we're starting to, but we've spent the last 9 years crying." I'll never forget it. I was stopped in my tracks, I didn't know what to say, I hadn't ever thought about Susie from her parents point of view. Their baby was born and they had all of the hopes and dreams and aspirations that we all have for our children... those dreams changed with the diagnosis.
I think what some of the people on the sites above are trying to say is, yeah the dreams changed... but that's it... they just changed. They aren't gone. It isn't like there are no dreams to be had, just different ones. Susie is 16 now (that was 7 years ago), she has traveled all over the world, she's seen and done things that I will never get to do. She is a beautiful high school sophomore. She has a boyfriend. She is still funny, she still has Autism, she still loves Barney. She is every bit as entitled to this world as you and I, so what if she makes you uncomfortable?!

Save a life: Practically painless





Today I donated blood for the very first time. It was not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. If you have never done it, let me tell you how it went.

  1. I made an appointment online.
  2. I showed up for my appointment at 9:30. I walked into a blood services building. The donor room was very large and open. From the doorway you could see the receptionist's desk. To the left was a waiting area, directly behind her was the donation area (you can see all of the people donating), and to the right the snack area. After signing in, they gave me a booklet to read about who can and cannot give blood. I sat down and read it. Then I gave it back to the receptionist.
  3. Someone in a white coat was watching me to see when I was ready and then took me back to a little room. She asked me for my picture ID, and asked for my SSN, full name, birth date, address, etc. Then she pricked my finger to make sure I had enough... well, I forget what it was... white blood cells, maybe... anyway she put it in a little machine and counted them. She also took my blood pressure, pulse and temp. Then she had me answer some questions on the computer (about my personal habits: sex, diseases, travel, medications, etc.). I notified her when I was done. Then she asked for my name and SSN again. Then she asked me to verify that all of my personal info was correct on her paper. Then, that part was finished and she brought me back out to sit in a chair to wait for a bed to open up. That whole process took about 10 minutes and I waited in the chair for about 2.
  4. A woman called me over to a bed. She verified my name and info again. Then she put a blood pressure cuff on me, marked my vein with a marker, washed the area with iodine (you can tell them if you are allergic to it). She had me hold a ball, she poked me, it hurt for a few seconds. I relaxed and was suppose to squeeze the ball gently every 5 seconds. I forgot to do that after a minute. Then 7 minutes and 19 seconds later (apparently, people like to know how long it took them to fill the bag - maybe so they can beat their time next time! - Is that possible?), I was finished. She clamped off the tube, and pulled out the needle (it hurt for 1/2 a second). Then I held gauze to it and held my arm in the air. She wrapped the gauze on with my choice of wrap color (blue), told me what to look for and/or do within the next five hours of the day, and sent me off to the snack area. All during the part where I laid on the bed (which was upright and more like a dentist-type chair), she never left me. She busied herself with things, chatted, and asked me if I was all right.
  5. The snack area was a grouping of tables and chairs. there was a counter full of pre-packaged treats: fig newtons, pretzels, trail mix, chocolate chip cookies, Lorna Doone, etc. There was also a fridge full of cans of juice (I had Welch's peach/grape juice) and waters. I sat at a table read over my after-care instruction and ate fig newtons and trail mix and drank my juice. You can have as many treats as you want!
  6. That was it! I feel fine, I was never nauseous or dizzy. I can donate again in 56 days.

I donated whole blood. In a month or two I should get a donor card in the mail that has my blood type on it. If I am A or AB (I think those are the two- don't quote me on it) I can give platelets next time. Giving platelets takes much longer (a few hours) and you can do it every 3 days (max: 24 times a year). The platelet donors were set up with movies and headphones.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

April is Autism Awareness Month

As I mentioned earlier, April is Autism Awareness month. This is a picture of one of my favorite people, Robert. He has Autism. His parents put together a pamphlet about him and about Autism to share with his church and his neighborhood. I am posting part of it for you.

Hello, my name is Robert T.
I live with my mom and dad, Raynola and Mark, in Utah. I have a big sister, her name is Madison. I also have special foster sisters, Sarah and Becca. I have a pet helper, her name is Dos the dog. They all love me and I love them.
I am thirteen years old and I go to Middle School. My favorite subjects are reading, spelling, computers and science. I do pretty good in math and other subjects, but they are not my favorites. I spend most of my days in a special classroom with other students that have Autism. I’m a smart boy. I like going to school, I try to do my best all the time. I don’t like to write on white paper, it hurts my eyes and makes me nervous, but sometimes I have to.
At home I like to read books, work on my computer and watch movies. I also like to jump on the trampoline, play on the swing set, ride bikes with my parents and ride motorcycles. I really love motorcycles! For special activities I like to go fishing and horseback riding. I also like spending time with my grandparents. I like big trucks, riding on trains, going to basketball games with my dad and going to the planetarium or aquarium. Mostly I just like to spend time with my mom and dad. (And I like pretty girls!)
Most of the time I am very happy, mostly I have good days, sometimes, every once in a while I have a bad day. Everybody has their bad days. Most of the time I do what my parents tell me to do, even though I don’t always want to. So, I guess I’m just like most other boys my age, in
most ways.
You might have noticed that I spend lots of time alone in church. I have problems with large crowds with lots of noise, I cover my ears, and I get nervous. My hearing is very sensitive. I tend to flap my hands when I am learning something new or taking new information into my brain. Sometimes I get really happy and I laugh a little loud, but I’m just being happy. I like to kiss and hug my mom and dad, because I am so happy and love them so much. Oh yeah, I may do all these thing because I have autism. I like coming to church, I pray just like everybody else.
This church feels like our home, everyone here has been so kind to me and my family.
Thanks for reading, with love,
Robert

P.S. I Have Autism, but Autism does not have me.

What is Autism?
(Otherwise known as Autism Spectrum Disorder)

Autism is an enigmatic and complex neurological disorder that afflicts 1 in every 150 children nationwide, (1 in every 144 children within the state of Utah). There are 67 children diagnosed every day, that means every 20 minutes a child is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Order.
Boys are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed than girls, but girls are generally more severe along the spectrum of characteristics. Autism is more commonly diagnosed in children than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups.
Autism affects each child differently (thus the spectrum), symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe. It impairs the ability to communicate and relate to others. It causes restricted and repetitive behaviors, combined with hypersensitivity and/or hyper-acute senses (hearing, tactical and light sensitivity). It is often associated with the need for rigid routines and obsessive behavioral characteristics.
Parents are usually the first to notice unusual behaviors or failure to reach appropriate developmental milestones. Many parents are told to “wait and see”. And so they do……desperately hoping and praying that their child will “catch up”. There is no immediate cure, however with early intervention involving timely and cost intensive therapies, these children can lead full and active lives. Sadly most insurance policies will not cover the high costs of these many therapies. Many states have programs that will assist with the cost of therapy (this is recent), but with numbers rising so rapidly, children are often placed on waiting lists, missing their opportunity for early intervention. We are pushing and praying for legislation that mandates insurance companies to cover these desperately needed therapies.
Please join us in our prayers. Please do not look the other way or push these children and their issues aside. Look at them, embrace them for the innocent children of God that they truly are. Please know that what happens to a child today will surely have a direct impact on the rest of his or her life.
To learn more please visit : http://www.autismspeaks.org/ or read: Louder Than Words by Jenny McCarthy, The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz, and Songs of the Gorilla Nation by Dawn Prince Hughes.
Also join us at or donate to the Walk Now for Autism Utah to be held on May 3, 2008 at Cottonwood High School ~ 5715 So. 1300 East, Murray, Utah. 9:00 a.m. For more information visit: www.walknowforautism.org/utah or utah@autismspeaks.org

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Guess who has a new pair of roller skates?





Andy bought Fischer skates, knee pads, elbow, pads... the works! Fisch is SO excited. He has been "skating" (looks like baby-step marching) all afternoon and evening. He loved the gear so much he wanted to wear it for dinner!

Yes, his high chair is in the family room for dinner! Andy and I are eating at the coffee table and watching TV - shame on us! I'm sure this is not what is meant when people talk about the "family table"! Whatever, AND Fisch is eating nachos for dinner!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Kiddie music that won't kill you

Fischer and I went on a little playdate this morning and I was reminded about a few Children's music CDs that I wanted to mention here.

First is from a funky little group called The Jimmies. I have a copy of the CD on hold for me at the library; I haven't listened to the whole CD yet, however, I really like their song "Do the Elephant". It is all about sneezing and coughing into the crook of your arm. Obviously a good lesson in hygiene and not spreading germs, the tune is catchy and if you act it out with the your little one (tossing your arm/trunk across your face to sneeze or cough into your inner elbow) they might just remember it when it comes time to blow germs! Well maybe after you have modeled it a thousand times, but still... they'll know what you are talking about when you say "honey, do the elephant!" Listen to it on their website or on Amazon.


The second CD is from Ralph's World. The music is quirky and silly, but my favorite is the "Coffee Song". It makes the CD bearable to listen to for mom! It is definitely the kind of song that gets stuck in your head, but it will kind of make you laugh. You can listen to it on his website. Here are the lyrics:
The Coffee Song
(Ralph Covert - Waterdog Music / © 2002 ASCAP)
M-O-M-M-Y needs C-O-F-F-E-E
D-A-D-D-Y needs C-O-F-F-E-E
I love my kid... I love my kid Gosh,
I need love my kid
But I need what I need, and I need a lot of what I need
C-O-F-F-E-E
M-O-M-M-Y needs C-O-F-F-E-E
D-A-D-D-Y needs C-O-F-F-E-E
I want a latte, a cappuccino
And tonight I think I’ll have a little vino
M-O-M-M-Y needs C-O-F-F-E-E
D-A-D-D-Y needs C-O-F-F-E-E

Monday, April 7, 2008

A very sleepy book pick


The Very Sleepy Sloth by Andrew Murray and Jack Tickle is a cute little story about doing what you do best.... but that is not why I picked it today. I chose it because I AM SO SICK OF BEING SLEEPY!!! The fight to get Fisch to sleep continues, the frequent night-wakings continue, the early rising continues. I AM the sleepy sloth (although not as he is portrayed in this book - because although he is sleepy, he is also a troublemaker - and I don't think I really am). I am glad that Andy is on Spring Break, because the alarm doesn't go off. At least when Fischer ends up in our bed at night, we can sleep until he wakes up instead of until Andy's alarm wakes him up at 4:30 AM!
My only silver lining at this point is: at least we are battling sleep and not poop, like my poor bloggy-buddy is (sorry Angela!). Although, just because I said that, my little zombie who has wedged his mouth under his bedroom door to call for me (on and off for the past hour and a half), is probably going to strip down and do some poop paintings on the wall!

A beautiful spring morning in April

This morning, I was all ready to go out running, I was even going to do a few errands while I was running past a few businesses with Fischer in the jogging stroller....but-

Snow! Then a bit of sun, then rain, then hail, then rain, then a bit of sun, now clouds.


I am ready for winter to be over! Andy tilled the garden on Saturday, and we are ready to start thinking about spring, planting flowers and vegetables, and new landscaping for the backyard. Andy is on Spring break and has a list a mile long of outdoor projects.
We want sun!
The good news is: the shed people were still able to come today and build our shed! This is seriously a dream come true! I'm not kidding! I've been fantasizing about a shed forever, and now it is here. We are busting at the seams and can really use the storage space. It even has a workbench and a window! Tonight and tomorrow we'll be clearing out, organizing, rearranging, donating and tossing all of the things piled in our storage room, laundry room and garage. The shed will be full by Wednesday, mark my words! Maybe I should take some before and after pictures, so you can fully appreciate my dream-come-true.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

April is Autism Awareness Month

(Turn your volume up a little. I'm not sure why the first two frames are not very clear here)

Five for Fighting's charity, "What kind of world do you want?", works like this: everytime you watch this video or one of the many others you donate 49 cents to Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks provides money for Autism research, parent resources and helps to raise awareness. The videos have been made by people who are living with Autism - either a loved one or themselves. You'll learn just a little bit about Autism by watching this video and the many like it. You'll see the beauty in these children, the love in their families, and the desperation we all feel in finding a cure and getting proper funding for important therapies. Some of my very favorite people have Autism, and although they struggle with so much, they still live and love and play and share and give and teach and inspire.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Confessions of a Bad Mom

Fischer has a hard time sleeping through the night. He always has. We've had long phases of good sleeping but many sleepless months. We are having a sleepless YEAR in 2008. He has always gone to bed well - without a fuss and has always napped well- without protest. However, he is really inconsistent with sleeping completely through the night. We are tapped out of ideas.
We've experimented with bedtimes, routines and food.
We've comforted him with songs, cuddles, milk and stories.
We've rocked him.
We've tried to settle him with little to no attention.
We've waited increasingly longer amounts of time before going in.
We've let him cry it out.
We've put him in our bed. (This is what we are doing now because we are ssooooooooo tired.)
We have tried all of these things and so many more - a million times.
Now, we are just getting used to it. We know that he'll go to sleep fairly quickly and we can get a few hours of sleep before he wakes up and the juggling begins.

SO, when he decided a few days ago to put up a fight about going to bed - THERE was absolutely NO WAY we could take it. After a week of having to go back into his room a hundred times to settle him down, fix his blankets, find his binky, adjust his music, give him a drink, give him a toy, sing a song, say another prayer, get him a tissue, turn his fishies on, check his diaper... I had to put an end to it.

He yelled and cried for all of the above along with "Mommy open door", "Daddy, where are you?", "Mommy, come! Mommy, come RIGHT NOW!" etc etc. All the while jiggling the plastic knob that covers his doorknob and finally was able to get out. He walked into my room (I had to hide my face to keep from smiling - because I was a little proud that he outsmarted the plastic doorknob). He asked me to "put blankets on" - which means he wants me to lay him down, and carefully lay each of FIVE special blankets over him. But, I'd already done that six times tonight!
So I said, "NO. You need to go back in your room, get in your bed, and put your own blankets on."
He stared at me.
So, I looked away because, I really just wanted to pull him into my bed and let him cuddle with me.
Then he walked out, went into his room, closed the door, got into his bed and went to SLEEP! Not a peep after that.
I should be celebrating! I won! But, instead I feel so sad and guilty and strange that he wanted me and I refused him, and he had to make himself feel better. I feel really bad. Part of me wants to wake him up and hold him - but that is just weird and a little sick...so, I won't. Plus I'll get to hold him in a few hours when he wakes in the middle of the night, anyway!
This whole motherhood thing is INDESCRIBABLE! Every scenario comes with a million feelings and most of the time they contradict each other! Right now I should be proud of him for listening, following directions, self-soothing, and being independent. Instead, I'm ready to confess to Bad Mothers Anonymous.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Mascara makes the man!


Every Daddy's worst nightmare! Not only does Fischer know what it is called, he also knows where it goes. He did actually get in on his eyelashes. Mommy is so proud.

Is it different when 2-year-old girls do it?

Stolen idea: shared


In the back of Parents magazine there are always little tips from moms. One mom wrote in saying that to simplify lunchtime she makes a large pot of spaghetti, spoons it into muffin tins, freezes it for about an hour, then puts all of the little noodle nests in one big freezer bag. This gives you a perfect little serving of noodles for your child's lunch. I tried it and it worked fabulously. I just put the little frozen nest in a bowl with a tiny bit of water and nuked it for about 45 seconds (I have a really old microwave - it may not take yours that long). The noodles came out great! I have added to this brilliant idea by pouring my spaghetti sauce into ice cube trays, freezing it for a few hours, then popping them into a big freezer bag too. Then, I can just pull out a cube or two to nuke with the frozen noodles! So easy and quick for good food at a moment's notice. Usually by the time lunch comes around, we are way too hungry to wait for water to boil.
Update: My friend Wanda makes her own tasty meat sauce, so she fills muffin tins with sauce, for freezing to go with her “noodle nests”, rather than the canned stuff that I put in the ice cube trays for Fisch.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Saving the world - please, take a minute and read on

I want to do my part where I can, but there is a lot I cannot do. I don't have an inordinate amount of time or money and that is why I am always looking for ways to contribute that are simple and very possible. I just figure that there are people out there who are in my same boat, so I share my finds. I like things like ripple and the breast cancer site, where all you have to do is click and you are giving someone clean water, food, money, education or a mammogram. I like freerice because just by playing a game for a minute or two I can give someone a full tummy to sleep with at night. I try to do my part by recycling, changing out my light bulbs, and by conserving water and electricity because I cannot afford to buy only green and organic products. I have Fischer in disposable diapers, so I have to do my part where I can to even out our impact on the planet.
I joined Team in Training to try to get myself healthier and help others at the same time. There is so much money needed to fund research for blood cancers, I can't give enough money, but I can help fund raise - and then together we can give more. It is incredible to hear that the gains they have made in research have had such an amazing affect on the survival rate for people with these cancers. So many of the people who lost the fight 20 years ago might be here today if we had had that research. I know many grateful people who thank God everyday for the people who have contributed to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It has meant their life or the life of a loved one.

Last night I was reading toddlerplanet, Whymommy is battling Inflammatory Breast Cancer and is hopefully going to be cancer free soon. She has endured months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and now radiation. She often posts such honest and informative details about her fight. People periodically ask her what they can do to help a friend who has cancer and she has many ideas. Last night, however, she linked us all over to Kate who has an answer. Give blood. You don't know who you are helping and it may even be yourself, one day, you can do it. After reading her post, I was so ashamed that I have used all of the ridiculous excuses and have NEVER given blood. I immediately clicked over to the Red Cross and made an appointment for next Thursday. If Kate doesn't convince you, maybe the stories about the recipients will. I am going to make giving blood a regular part of my life. How odd that it never occurred to me that donations are the ONLY way people can get the lifesaving blood that they need. There is no substitute, no artificial blood, or pig blood or anything else. At the bottom of the homepage for the Red Cross there is a counter letting you know how many people have needed blood, just since you have been on their site. It took my breath away!
If you are still reading this very long post and you make an appointment to donate blood, let me know. Let's inspire each other. In fact, I will send you a little present after you give. Email me: fisforfischer at gmail dot com anyday anytime as long as this blog shall live and I will thank you for doing your part to inspire me and others to give of ourselves.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Books for today


I Stink by Kate and Jim McMullen is a really great garbage truck book. Fischer's good friend and fellow garbage truck lover gave it to him for his birthday. Fisch loves it, especially when Andy reads it in his gruff garbagey voice! We've been reading this one quite often along with I'm Dirty, by the same author. We picked it up at the library and it is quite exciting - if you are into backhoes!
King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey and Don Wood is an old favorite that I'd forgotten about until my sister-in-law blogged about it recently. My brother LOVED this book when he was little and I LOVED reading it to him. Fischer and I borrowed the BIG BOOK version of it from the library...and now he LOVES it too! He always tells me that it is "Uncle Matt's favorite book". It is about a king who loves the tub so much (I can totally relate) that he won't get out and actually ends up enticing the queen, the knight, the duke and the court to get in with him! Fischer likes to recite all of the repetitive parts. The illustrations are fabulous and the book is quite funny. I read it with a seven-year-old yesterday and he like it too!
We love Audrey and Don's work. We've also recently been enjoying The Big Hungry Bear. It is a bout a little mouse who picks a strawberry and is trying to hide it from the "big hungry bear". I love the expressions on the mouse's face.
Z is for Zamboni by Matt Napier is a hockey alphabet book. As I mentioned yesterday, Fisch is really interested in hockey! He loves to label all of the hockey things in each picture. The first time I pulled this book off the shelf for him was just after he and I had watched Andy play hockey. I thought he'd totally dig it because he loved the game so much. He really wasn't interested (this happens a lot on the first read-through of a new book with him). We thought he may be too young for it, but then I pulled it out a second time and just labeled the pictures with him and connected it to Daddy. Now he loves it and we read it almost every night. He still begs to have the Stanley cup and also to drive a Zamboni. "Fischer drive Zamboni, clean up ice?"