Thursday, December 30, 2010


I have been a bit preoccupied lately.

First off I have a head cold of epic proportions.  I always get sick at this time of year.  In the past though I've had a collapsing lung or an exploding gall bladder so in the great scheme of things a head cold is not that big of a deal.

Secondly, the kids are driving me to distraction.  Having them both home all the time during winter break is a real adventure.  To quote my own facebook status "Damn, my kids talk a lot."

Thirdly, there's the fish tank.  Oh, the drama of the fish tank!  There's the male guppy who refuses to mate with any of the lovely female guppies we've provided him and instead spends his entire day chasing after a female platy or rubbing himself against plants in rather disturbing ways.  There's the male platy who spends all his time hiding in the castle acting rather sad about the fact that a guppy is moving in on his action.  There's the ghost shrimp who Joseph took one look at and said in a Very Serious Voice "I hope I can resist eating them."  It's all very dramatic and fascinating I assure you.

Fourthly, I cannot find my regular tweezers or my backup pair of tweezers.  Ladies of a certain age will know why this is a problem.  I know I could buy more tweezers but I never think of it while I'm out.  I only think of it when I'm at home and I look in the mirror and wonder why Dumbledore is staring back at me.

Fifthly, I am wrestling with what I can only describe as a Big Decision.  I made Major Progress last night and took a Big Step forwards this morning but I still feel anxious and jumpy about the whole thing.  I think I was waiting until I didn't feel anxious and jumpy but that was never happening so I'm just trying to live in the moment and be ok with the jumpiness.

Lastly, I took a picture of Joseph playing in the snow and I think it is the first time ever that I have asked him to smile and he gave me a nice, natural, happy looking smile.  I think he is such a handsome boy!  NO real problem here, I just like to show off my kid.

One year ago today I told a story about sex ed.
Two years ago today I had 1000 blog posts and no gall bladder.
Three years ago today some people had no tact.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays my friends!

I hope your day is filled with good cheer, good company and good food (even if you're not celebrating Christmas today).  But if you are celebrating Christmas I hope your day is also filled with good presents.
Good tidings of comfort and joy!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A fishy miracle

I walked in to the kitchen to find that the kids had pulled chairs up to the fish tank and were sitting and watching it closely.  "I foresee many hours spent this way!" Joseph said with a big smile on his face.

It was cute but also kind of sad since there were no fish in the tank yet.

Yesterday I attempted to make the situation a little less pathetic by buying a couple of interesting yet hard to kill snails to put in the tank.  Elle came with me and she picked out a white snail, a yellow snail and a blue snail.

When we got them home we discovered that the blue snail really likes to climb the towers of the castle we have decorating the tank.  We have named him Flynn Ryder.  We named the yellow one Rapunzel and the white one Maximus but sometimes Elle calls him Poker Face.

And then!  Then!  Something amazing!  When we dumped the snails into the tank we discovered that there was a tiny baby fish in the bag from the fish store.  We don't know what kind of fish it is or how it got into the bag but right now he's happily swimming in a little isolation tank inside our aquarium. 

We're debating what to name this little fish.  So far Lucky is the winning name because it can easily be changed to Unlucky if it dies.  I suggested Jesus because he's small and he miraculously appeared at Christmastime.  My family vetoed that name which I sort of think means they hate Jesus but what are you gonna do.

Tomorrow we'll attempt to add a couple of ON PURPOSE fish to our ACCIDENTAL fish family.  The kids will be so happy to have something to stare at for hours at a time.  Until then I'll be praying that our miracle baby fish doesn't die because I don't want to have to always look back on this as the Christmas I killed Jesus.

One year ago today I was 24 weeks pregnant and huge. (And people told me I was pretty.  Haha.)
Two years ago today Frosty got it on.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fish tank ... OF DEATH

In many ways Jesse and I are very different people.  One of those ways is the how we make decisions.  I get some information, think it over for a minute and then quickly make a decision/form an opinion/act, sometimes hastily.  Jesse gets some information, considered it for a good long while, gets some more information, thinks about it for some time, gets more information, ponders it for a while, gets some more information, wonders about it and then continues on that path for the rest of his life never having ever fully committed to one opinion or thought or course of action.

Now I'm not saying that one of us is right (me) and one of us is wrong (him), I'm just saying that we do things very differently.  To a certain extent it's a good thing.  We can balance each other out sometimes.  The downside of course for Jesse is that for every one decision he makes in our family I've already made 47 others PLUS decided on the thing he was debating and oh, by the way, I also disagree with whatever decision he came to.

Sadly for Jesse I kind of tend to not give in once I've made up my mind and I can be a little persnickety when I'm trying to get my way.  Thank goodness most of the time we're able to settle our differences of opinions with a minimum of angst.  MOST of the time.  Not all.  Not in the case of the incident which shall hereafter be known as The Time Jesse And I Almost Got A Divorce Over A Fish Tank.

You see, for Christmas this year we decided we would get a nice big fish tank as a family present.  We all agreed that it would be something we would all enjoy.  So far so good right?

The choosing, purchasing and getting home of the fish tank went pretty well.  We wanted to get the tank set up several days before Christmas so that it would be ready for fish by Christmas Eve.  (The tank has to run for a few days before you add fish.  It's science.)   The putting together of the tank stand went well.  Then it all sort of went to hell.

We put the tank on the stand and then put the gravel in the tank.  I was ready to add the water but then Jesse suddenly decided he wasn't ready to make the step of adding water.  He was worried that perhaps the tank was not sitting straight.  I pointed out that the stand (the stand that was manufactured and purchased especially to hold a fish tank) was not wobbly and that we could see with our own eyes that it was straight.  This was not good enough for Jesse.  He was convinced that if we added water to the tank if it was anything less than 100% perfectly straight then the tank would tip over.  I again pointed out that the stand was straight and even.  He pointed out that it looked even but that it was possible that our house was built sloped and that we just didn't know it.  I pointed out that he was insane.  He pointed out how the instructions that came with the tank said to be sure your tank was sitting on a flat surface.

My argument "They just mean to be sure that the tank is not sitting someone that is obviously slanted.  They don't mean 'Woe unto you who has a house that is built with one side of your floor 1/4th of 1/8th of 1/100th of a centimeter lower that the other side for you shall never know the joys of fish ownership!'"  Jesse's argument: "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!"

He refused to let me put water into the tank until he had gone to work the next day and was able to bring home a level from his work toolbox.  That would put us a whole day behind on getting the fish tank ready meaning that on Christmas Eve we would have to say to the kids "Merry Christmas children!  Here's some water!"

I then pitched a little fit and drove to my parent's house to borrow a level.  When I brought it home and checked the stand I discovered that it was - prepare for a shocker here - perfectly level.  Now we could add water.

Not so fast!  Now Jesse was worried that if we added water there might be a leak in the tank and we wouldn't notice.  I calmly pointed out that I would be standing right there as I filled the tank and I would notice if was leaking.  He calmly pointed out that it might be a really small leak and I might not notice it and then we would all go to bed and overnight all the water would leak out and we would all drown and our house would have water damage and obviously he just cared more about our safety than I did.

It finally occurred to me that even though we had talked about the fish tank and agreed to the fish tank and BOUGHT the fish tank Jesse was just not yet ready to commit to the fish tank.  I knew that if we left the fish tank preparation up to him we would not have a working fish tank until Elle was seventeen. I made an executive decision and filled the tank with water.  (Fun fact - we did not all die from a defective fish tank.)  Not a drop leaked out and it didn't tip over and the water was able to start getting ready to receive fish.

And the story ended happily.

That is until I wanted to plug in the filter so that it could start running and Jesse said he didn't think we should do that yet.  No reason, he just didn't think we should.  (Maybe he thought our crooked house also has defective wiring and if we plugged the filter in then the whole thing would explode and we would all die because I was selfishly trying to run the filter.)

And then I pelted him with fish tanks supplies until he left the room and I could run the filter in peace.

The end.

Death incarnate

Friday, December 17, 2010

Right up to the bitter end

They never could agree on the true Reason for the Season.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My #1 tip for traveling with a child with Aspergers


It's as simple as that.  We make a point of taking earplugs whenever we visit an amusement park or a water park or any other place that's crowded with people, voices, sights, smells and sensations that might be overwhelming to Joseph.

Joseph doesn't have a problem with sounds in general (although high pitched and sudden loud noises bother him) but the ear plugs help him filter out some of the sensations bombarding him.  When we hear the dull roar of an amusement park he hears a kid asking for cotton candy, the squeal of a roller coaster, a cash register ringing, the clink of ice dropping into a cup, a teenager laughing, a baby crying, all of that multiplied times a million.  The earplugs help him filter out the "extra" noises and let him focus on other sensations.  He can see more, experience more, when he has to hear less.

As an added bonus, for some reason when he's wearing the earplugs he able to modulate his voice better.  I don't know if it's because he's able to hear himself better or what it is.  What I do know is that with his earplugs in he's able to use his "indoor voice" and "outdoor voice" more appropriately.

Also, Joseph's behavior in general is better when he's wearing earplugs.  He has fewer meltdowns and he even seems less "rigid".  Again, I'm not sure why it works but I'm sure glad it does. 

Certainly some kids with Aspergers may be bothered by the sensation of having earplugs but Joseph enjoys the benefits of them so much that he doesn't mind wearing them at all.  In fact, on our recent trip to California he asked for them if we forgot to offer them.

So there you have it, my number one tip for traveling with a child with Aspergers: earplugs.  Hey, it's worth a try right?

Two years ago today I had a wild weekend.
Four years ago today Joseph came home from a trip.
Five years ago today I was so BORING.

Monday, December 13, 2010

No, I mean a LOT of clothes

I have a small clothing problem.  And by small I mean massive and overwhelming.

You see, I struggle with just a wee bit of a tendency to hoard.  I mean, I'm not like one of those crazy, keep-my-poop-in-a-bag people on Hoarders but I do have a hard time getting rid of certain things.  My biggest struggle is with clothes.  Specifically clothes that the kids have outgrown.  I'm a little ashamed to admit that I have saved nearly everything the kids have ever worn.

Every so often I'll go through the boxes and boxes (and boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes) of stuff and thin it out a little bit but getting rid of a half dozen things here and there doesn't really have much impact when you're starting out with such a huge amount.

When I look through I think "Oh, I remember when Joseph wore this!  He was so cute in this outfit!" and "I loved this dress on Elle and it's nearly new!  I hate to get rid of something she only wore a few times."  I hate the idea of getting rid of this stuff.

What I hate more though is having it all here, hanging over my head.  Every time I have to go in to the storage room I one whole side of the room filled with boxes and totes of kids clothes and I cringe.  I actually feel guilty that it's all just sitting there waiting to be dealt with.

Today I started pulling all the boxes out of storage and going through them.  It's time to lighten the load.  I need to get rid of this stuff once and for all.  I'm not having any more kids (*sad*) and there's no reason to keep hanging on to all of it.  Now I just need to figure out what I'm going to do with it all.  I figure I have a few options.

1. Ebay - I'm almost certainly NOT going this route.  It just seems like such a pain to list all that stuff even if I did do it in big groups.

2. Donate - I could just take it all here and be done with it.  I've donated to them many times in the past and I know they are always in need of children's clothing.  I know what I've got could clothe a lot of kids.

3. Once Upon A Child - I take it all in and give whatever they offer me even though I know I won't get anywhere near what I could if I sold it myself. I certainly like the ease of this option but I kind of hate the idea of someone buying something from me for twenty five cents and then selling if for $3. 

4. Craigslist - Just sort things in to big groups and then put what I think is a fair price on it and see if there are any takers.  I would probably put any money I made towards more photography equipment* so I'm somewhat motivated to at least try this way out.

Right now I'm leaning towards a combination of 2 and 4.  I like the idea of donating but I also like the idea of a new lens.  But maybe I'm missing something.  Maybe there's a better option that I'm just not seeing?  What would you do?  Other than "not start the hoard in the first place crazy lady" that is.

*This year four families will be sending out Christmas cards made of pictures that I took.  Yes, they are all family members of mine and no, I won't be getting paid for any of them but still, it's a start right? 

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


You know how when you're dating someone they'll do something that's kind of annoying but you figure you'll just learn to live with it because you're in love all that crap?  And then eleven years later you find yourself thinking "Oh my god.  If he takes a drink of milk and then swishes it around in his mouth before swallowing it one more time I am going to murder him in his sleep."?  Yeah, that's pretty much where I am.

Jesse is a swisher.  He swishes his drinks around in his mouth.  Sometimes when he doesn't have a drink he'll just swish spit in his mouth.  It drives me absolutely nuts.  I don't think he even realizes that he's doing it most of the time until I snap at him "Stop swishing!"  I know it doesn't seem like a big deal but that sound just hits on every sensory issue I have. Just thinking about it makes my skin crawl.

Now I also have to deal with Elle.  She's taking after Jesse* and she has become a master spit swisher.  She's CONSTANTLY making noises with her mouth.  Swishing, puffing, blowing, clicking, clucking and then more freaking swishing.  It's making me lose my mind.  I know it's just a habit that she'll grow out of sooner or later but in the meantime I have gone totally batty.  I even get madder at Jesse for doing it because I'm so irritated from listening to Elle do it all day.

Short of removing my family's saliva glands what can I do to make the swishing stop?

*This is not the only way Elle takes after Jesse.  She also thinks her gas is very funny. She laughs whenever she toots.  And she toots A LOT.  "Ahahahahahaha!  I tooted like seven times in a row!  Ahahahaha!  Can you smell it Mama?  Is it going in your nose?"

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Most awkward phone calls ever

I get nervous when I talk on the phone to people I don't really know. I try to avoid it as much as possible but sometimes it can't be avoided.  Yesterday I called the mother of one of Joseph's friends to RSVP for a birthday party.  I managed the whole ordeal pretty well until it came time to end the conversation and I slipped into dweeb mode.

"Ok, thanks you!  I mean, thankly!  I mean, thankly you!  I mean thanks to you!  I mean thankful!  Thank!  Thanks you!  Much gratitude is expressed to you!  Ack!"  And then I hung up.

It's not always my fault when phone calls get uncomfortable though.  Here is an actual snippet of a phone conversation that I had (with an attorney!) yesterday:

Me: I'm not looking to try anything, you know, through the backdoor.
Attorney:  Oh, don't worry.  We're not anal like that.
Both: *long awkward pause*

I think we were both trying to decide if it would make it better or worse to acknowledge that we had both sexually harassed each other.  In the end (ba-DUM-bah) we both laughed uncomfortably and then ended the conversation as quickly as possible.

This is why I hold as many conversations as possible via text message.  Although that's not much better since thanks to auto-correct I have now told someone that I would "pee on them" and someone else that they should "get ghetto".  Soon no one is going to talk to me at all.

Two years ago today I wanted someone to call the cops on me.
Five years ago today I was the most boring person alive.