Wednesday, August 30, 2006

In Answer to Allie's Post from Today

I give you this.

Both involve ART. Heh. Yeah, right.

By the way, if any of my 2 or 3 readers own Thomas Kinkade "art" please don't tell me, because I'll think less of you. You don't want to lose my respect, now do you?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

This is Just...So...Disturbing

I read about this on one of my Autism lists. I was getting caught up on my reading, and saw some posts about a missing boy with Autism, so read a little, but by then the search had been called off.

This is why
I can only imagine what a horrible, short life this beautiful boy had. Poor Marcus' horrible mother told the social workers who took him, "He's your problem now." This was before he was placed with the worst excuse for foster "parents" available. This for a boy with Autism, who would have needed more help for daily life, not less.

Some back story: Marcus' foster parents went to a family reunion in Kentucky in early August, leaving Marcus behind in a closet for the two days they were gone. When they returned, Marcus was dead, so the foster father took the body somewhere and burned it. Most people would not leave a dog behind unsupervised while they left on a trip. (Of course, this could just be their latest lie. Marcus could have been dead already when they left, and they just didn't deal with the body until later.) After a couple of weeks, and having missed one social worker visit (they claimed Marcus was sick), these vile people had to come up with a story. So the foster mother claimed she had taken Marcus and three other children to the park, and she had passed out from the heat and a heart condition, and while she was passed out, Marcus disappeared. A huge search mission occurred afterward, and the foster mother appeared on tv, tearily pleading for the return of her foster child, whom we now know was already dead at the time. Shortly after making up the story about Marcus disappearing from the park, the foster family moved, and before Marcus' disappearance, but probably after his death, they had a garage sale. Probably lots of evidence was sold off, and I'm sure there was lots of guilt associated with that house.

This just makes me sick. Yes, kids with Autism are challenging. Hey, just today we had to leave Hutton's speech therapy session early because he was screaming so much his therapist couldn't work with him. But they can also be incredibly sweet, like Hutton now, sitting in my lap as I type this. Hutton gives the best hugs of nearly anyone I know. Even on Hutton's worst days, I still love him unconditionally. Reading this story just reminds me how much I love him, and makes me sad that Marcus did not have someone to love him. Rest in peace, Marcus.

Another article with lots of interesting facts about the "foster parents," including that they had a live-in girlfriend and the father was bipolar.

Friday, August 25, 2006

What a Week

It's been one of those crazy weeks around here, where I have done a lot, yet can't really say that I've accomplished much, you know?

Monday - I went to my friend, Liz's house and the boys played with her daughter. Monday afternoon I got shish kabobs for our first night of cooking with the new grill. This was my official birthday gift, even though I'm not the one who will be using it.

Back story: A couple of weeks ago, we were attempting to grill dinner, and our regular ole gas grill wasn't working. Hubby went upstairs to work on something, and when he came downstairs, he had a look in his eye. He asked me, "So, what do you want for your birthday?" I immediately answered, "A new grill, of course!" And then the twinkle in Hubby's eye told me I'd guessed right, and he told me he'd ordered a cool grill like his friend Dave's, and it would be delivered the next week. It didn't arrive in time for my birthday, but the Monday afterward. And it really is a great grill. The shish kabobs, corn on the cob and potatoes we made Monday were wonderful. Wednesday night there was a snafu with the wood pellet intake, so the chicken didn't turn out as well, but that was because Hubby left the controls for too long and when he returned, the fire had gone out, and Hubby didn't want us to get food poisoning, so we ended up microwaving the chicken for a few minutes to make sure it was cooked. Phew.

Anyway, the grill was one event of the week.

Tuesday was pretty normal - speech therapy in the morning for Hutton, running errands in the afternoon, soccer for me in the evening.

Wednesday was Hutton's FIFTH BIRTHDAY. I started the day by giving him one of his presents - Crocodile Dentist - then after his ABA home therapy, my friend Liz and her kids came over with lunch and cake. Stacy, the great college kid who does babysitting and odd jobs for me and Liz over the summer, came over, too. Stacy and I went to her house to attempt to move a giant wood swing set that she wanted me to take off her hands so she can have a firepit in her backyard. (Well, that had been the idea a month or so ago, but because we waited till the end of August, she'll be going back to school in Connecticut before she'll get the use a firepit. Oh well, maybe next summer, Stacy?) Anyway, even though Stacy is strong, and hey, I'm no slouch, there was no way we were budging that swing set, and if we could have dragged it to the front where her truck was, we would never have been able to lift it up to put in the truck bed. So, we got a truck load of wood chips instead. (The guy who rents the basement of their house works for a tree service, so there are always wood chips around!) Later that night, Jason, the guy who rents the basement, agreed to help move the swing set, in exchange for a piece of Hutton's birthday cake. Jason and Stacy managed to get it into her truck, then Jason, Stacy and I managed to carry it back behind our house where I had cleared an area for it. I was amazed we were able to carry it, but Stacy was determined to get rid of the thing, and she knew if we didn't do it then, it wouldn't get done, and the swing set would have still been in her backyard next summer.

So, now we have part of a swing set in our yard (Stacy is bringing over the the slide and swing bar later today), but the boys haven't been able to try it out yet. See, yesterday the boys and I went to the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe. We met Liz and her kids there, as well as her sister-in-law and her kids, and Stacy came to help out with the child wrangling. After Hutton's speech therapy in the morning, we drove out to Monroe (not too far from Woodinville, actually), and spent the day riding the rides, looking at farm animals and eating greasy food. Reminder to self: DO NOT eat an elephant ear again, no matter how good they look. You'll just feel like crap later when you have had too much greasy fried stuff with sugar on it. Next time go for the funnel cake. Now, that stuff is practically diet food!

Hutton and Harrison had a great time on the rides, though there was a time when the carneys were cracking down and not letting Harrison ride on the rides, since he's 35 1/2 inches tall, and the size requirement was 36. We managed to get on to enough rides to make it worth the cost of the wrist band, though. And Stacy and I rode the Ring of Fire. Second reminder to self: fair rides that involve going upside down for extended periods of time are probably not the best idea once you are over the age of 30. Stacy and I sat in the front, and as we were hanging upside down and I was getting a great view of the fairgrounds, upside down, I have to admit I did enjoy it, though my heart probably stopped several times.

Time to go get Hutton ready for ABA. After his home session, we head over the University of Washington to set up a new ABA program with our new consultant. Then tomorrow will be the big birthday party for Hutton. So, I need to get another cake, food and party favors. Did I mention I've had a busy week? Oh, and we also got a new used car last week. I'll write another post about that...sometime!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

What I Did Today

You know, I've had some deep thoughts that keep me up nights. I'll try to post about those tomorrow. In the meantime, here is the shallow focus of my afternoon:

Tee shirts and other stuff I created today.

This all started when I saw my friend's mom's car the other day. Her car has a license plate frame that reads: My Other Car is a Porsche. So, of course, I started thinking that I'd like to have a license plate frame that reads: My Other Ride is a Mustache.

Not that it is, since Hubby doesn't have a real mustache, just Miami Vice Crockett-type stubble. But, I cracked myself up with my stupid idea, and then, driving home from dinner last night (did I mention I had several glasses of wine?) I mentioned this to Hubby, and he also found it amusing, and told me I should start a store on CafePress to sell my fabulous license plate frames. Of course, he also warned me he wouldn't really want to drive a car that had that license plate frame. Hmm, I wonder why?

So, last night after dinner I created my store, and this afternoon I created my "art" and did some variations on the mustache theme. So, at the very least, go look and tell me what you think! I can take criticism on things I come up with while drunk.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

Yep, it's my birthday! Not as exciting when you're an old broad with kids. I had to tell the boys this morning at breakfast that it was my birthday. They both managed a "happy birthday" after I told them: "Tell Mommy Happy Birthday!" Yes, the forced happy birthdays are the best!

I'm now 33. You know, that was a big year for Jesus. We'll see how my 33rd year of life goes.

As an early birthday gift for myself, I had my IUD removed yesterday. Woohoo! Rock on! I got to my ultrasound appointment 15 minutes early, having guzzled down 36 ounces of water in the minutes before. (You know, you're supposed to show up with a full bladder, and they recommend 24 to 36 ounces. I like to go for the gold, folks!) I then had to wait an additional 30 minutes after my appointment time, as the u/s tech was running behind. So, after crossing my legs and attempting to pay attention to the March issue of Healthy Woman magazine I was reading, I finally gave up and went to the bathroom, then guzzled 7 or 8 cups of really cold water from the little water cooler. That just made me freezing cold, which is great when you have to remove clothing. I did have a full bladder for my ultrasound though. Go, Laura!

So, the ultrasound was truly magical. Oh wait, I'm not pregnant. Seeing your uterus with a beautiful shining IUD inside isn't quite the same as seeing a fetus. The technician also looked at my ovaries, and I pretended to know what she was talking about when she said, "See your right ovary, here?" You mean that blackish gray thing in the rest of the blackish gray area? Sure, I see it!

A doctor came in to check the ultrasound stuff, and was up for the challenge of getting the IUD out. I think when she heard that the midwife couldn't get it out 10 days ago, that made her feel even more competitive. "Those silly midwives don't know nothing 'bout uteri! I'll show you how to get an IUD out!" Anyway, I'm now IUD free, and fancy free, or something like that.

Today I'm going to a friend's house for cake after Hutton goes to a consultation with a new ABA consultant. Friday night Hubby is taking me out to dinner for a delayed birthday celebration. I had to remind him that Snakes on a Plane opens Friday night, too. Who knows, maybe we'll get really crazy and have dinner and see a movie!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bizarre Sightings

Yesterday morning, for the first time ever, I saw somebody brushing his teeth while driving. He was driving a beat-up old camper, merging into the 405 on-ramp traffic in front of me, and I caught a glimpse of the tooth-brushing in the guy's rear-view mirror.

I was a bit shocked at first, then started giggling that someone would actually do that in the car. I mean, eating meals in the car is one thing, but taking care of your teeth -- that's just silly.

I stopped giggling when he opened the door and spat his salivary/tooth paste waste out the door. Now that's just gross. Dude, if you're going to brush your teeth in the car, get one of those vacuum nozzles that dentists use. I'm sure the Sharper Image has one that you can hook up to your cigarette lighter. Or spit it in the sink. You're driving a camper after all.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Coffee Problem

I am a coffee addict. Scratch that. A mocha or latte addict. I must start the day with a mocha or latte. When I'm at somebody's house where they only have those poor, pathetic regular drip coffee makers, I make do, but I don't really enjoy it. This was the case for two weeks, when I went to my mom's house, and my friend Julie's house. Yes, I managed to live through two weeks of drip coffee. Can you believe it?

Now, you may think the "problem" I have with coffee is this addiction. No, I'm perfectly happy being addicted to coffee. The problem I have with coffee is that I'm a spaz, and have now spilled enormous cups of coffee in both my car and my husband's.

The incident in my husband's car took place a few months ago. I was taking Hutton to speech therapy in the morning, and had actually gotten up early enough to get all of us dressed AND make myself a double shot mocha. Usually, I sleep in the extra 5 minutes and just buy a coffee later. But not this day. I put my enormous mug of coffee (no, I didn't need to use a travel mug, dammit, just a regular old ceramic mug with no lid!) on the center console as I got the boys in their carseats, intending to move it to the cup holder when I got into my seat. I got into my seat, and grabbed my seatbelt, yanking it really quickly with my elbow wide, all the better to smack the cup on the console and spill my perfect cup all over the floorboard of the back seat. No children were injured in the spilling of the coffee, but I had my work cut out for me later, cleaning the car so Hubby wouldn't realize I'd spilled a huge cup of coffee in his car.

You would think that this would have taught me a valuable lesson about coffee not going well with being balanced on consoles, wouldn't you? But you give me too much credit for actually using the now-mushy organ in my skull.

Yesterday, I did not get up early enough to make myself coffee at home. I dropped Hutton off at his speech therapy appointment, then Harrison and I got in the car to run errands. First stop: the Jitters drive-thru, where the barista knows me and usually only has to ask if I'd like a grande or tall and what color lollipop Harrison wants. Yesterday I got a grande. I placed it on the CONSOLE in front of the cupholders as I paid for my drink. See, one of the cupholders had trash in it, and the other had Hutton's cup with a half inch of orange juice in it. I think I figured I'd sort that out after I paid for my coffee. The smart thing to do would have been to remove the trash from the cupholder and put my coffee in there. It's not like my car doesn't already have trash all over the place anyway. But, we should know by now that I'm not one to do the smart thing.

Instead, I pulled out into traffic, remembering I hadn't put my grande mocha in the cupholder as I felt intense heat and wetness all over my shorts-clad right thigh, working it's way up to my crotch. The cup had hit my thigh in just the right way to knock the lid off, and most of the coffee was now on my thigh and in my seat, being quickly wicked up by my shorts and underwear. The rest of the coffee was pooled up on the floorboard (thank God we have plastic mats!) at my feet, minus about an ounce left in my cup for me to quickly down as I wondered if the coffee had burned off my flesh, or if it just felt that way.

I grabbed the towel that was wedged under Harrison's carseat and wiped the coffee off my thigh and put it in my seat to soak up the coffee that wasn't already soaked into my shorts and underwear, then tried to wipe down my scalded leg with some baby wipes. I knew I wouldn't have time to drive home before I had to pick Hutton up, so I drove to the closest cheap clothing store, Ross Dress For Less, and waddled in trying to walk sideways so nobody would notice my ass my wet with coffee. I found a pair of pants on clearance and some underwear and got in line to pay, again standing sideways to hide my wet ass.

Harrison and I got back in the car, and I squatted on the backseat floorboard, trying to wipe myself down with baby wipes and get myself dressed in my new clothes without any passersby seeing the naked freak in the car.

My thigh doesn't actually have any visible damage. The only damage is to my psyche. That and my car still smells like coffee. Better go tackle the upholstery with the steam cleaner today. Oh well, the lease is up next week.

Maybe I should start carrying a camelbak with espresso in it. Or just get an IV.

Monday, August 07, 2006

What Not

After our return home Wednesday, we quickly got back to our regular lives. One thing I noticed, that I always notice when I'm gone from my house for more than a few days, is that my house smells bad. Not like dead bodies bad, but like we have two dogs and they tend to leave their hair everywhere. And it's not like a kennel smell. It's just a stale smell. Until we perfect smell-o-vision, and then bring it to the internet, you'll have to just imagine what that smells like.

I'm not into fake smells, either, so all those scented oil type air fresheners don't work for me. I tend to get headaches from fake smells. I can't smell the stale smell anymore, so maybe just having people cooking in the house helps get rid of it. I'm pretty sure Hubby did very little cooking while we were gone. I made some bacon yesterday, so now our kitchen smells like bacon. Which is good if you like bacon.

Anyway, this weekend was Seafair, which is an annual event in Seattle with boat races and other assorted fun. The Blue Angles, those navy jets that fly around in neat formations, were here for the weekend for two performances. They were also practicing before hand on Thursday and Friday. Thursday when I took Hutton to his speech therapy in Bellevue, which is across Lake Washington from Seattle, I could hear the planes and every once in a while they'd circle overhead in a turn. Thursday afternoon I went to a "beach" on Lake Washington with a friend and her kids, and we saw the Blue Angels practicing a bit, and the boys enjoyed playing in the water and the sand, though I really don't like gray-brown sand on my beaches. Yes, I'm a sand snob, and I like the naturally occurring white stuff found on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The gross gray-brown stuff dumped in places along Lake Washington doesn't do it for me. And as I was wading in the water with Hutton, I remembered that you can get swimmer's itch from lakes around here. If you don't know what swimmer's itch is, you don't want to know! Wearing sunscreen is supposed to help. Then again, it's not like you don't have things to worry about when swimming in the ocean -- sharks, jellyfish, etc. I've never tangled with a shark, fortunately, but know from personal experience that jellyfish suck. Or sting, rather.

After hanging out on the beach, the boys wanted to play on the playground. I pushed them on the swings for a few minutes and happened to see a little girl (4 or 5) wearing a Hooters tee-shirt. Yep, this girl's mother or father thought it was funny to put a shirt that said, "Future Hooters Waitress" or something like that, on their daughter. Ick. Way to foster the big dreams, there, folks! I had my camera with me, but couldn't get a pic. You'll have to take my word for it.

Saturday, we went to lunch in Bellevue, then afterwards went to the roof of the parking garage to watch the Blue Angels perform. At one point, they flew directly overhead, and that was cool. They seemed incredibly close to the buildings, and even though I know they were much higher than they appeared, it was still amazing. I only got a couple of bad pictures on Thursday at the beach, and didn't have my camera with me on Saturday, so this is it!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Home Again

The boys and I flew back from Nashville on Wednesday. It was a day of flying that made me want to swear off flying forever, but I know I'll forget and travel again in 3 or 4 months.

We arrived at the airport at a quarter to 7 a.m. for our 7:40 flight, but the check-in line was long, and I was stressed out and sweating after getting the kids' carseats out of the car. After getting our luggage checked, and getting the boys and our stuff into line for security, I knew we would be late. We made it through the check-in line, which is always fun when you have two boys, one stroller, a carseat strapped to your back and the bare minimum for surviving a 3 hour flight with two boys in carry-on bags: a portable DVD player and DVDs, and a bag containing a change of clothes for said boys, wipes, and diapers. Of course I had to get the boys to take off their sandals, because you know how the under-5 set likes to smuggle things on planes. That, or their obviously psychotic mother who is clearly stressed out and sweating about something arouses suspicion - must be because of what she's planning to do on the plane, not because it's already 90 something degrees at 7:15 in the morning and she's loaded up like a pack mule.

After clearing security, we ran to our gate, or the closest thing possible to running when one is pushing a stroller with a carseat strapped to one's back and dragging a 5-year-old. I was the last person on the plane, and since this was Southwest, which doesn't assign seats, the flight attendants had to beg people to relinquish their seats so I could sit with the boys. They didn't have to pull the "you could end up sitting next to a stranger's screaming kids" card which I have heard on more than one Southwest flight. Three people were kind enough to switch with me out of the goodness of their hearts. I had offered to have Harrison sit in my lap, but since he's 2, that's not an option anymore. I thanked the people who agreed to swap seats, and got us settled for the 3 hour flight to Las Vegas.

That flight was thankfully trouble-free, though I was still feeling residual stress for most of it. The boys were content to watch their movies and eat their snacks. When we arrived in Vegas (no, what happens at the Las Vegas airport DOES NOT stay in Vegas), I looked around for a few minutes before I figured out we had to take a shuttle bus to our next gate. Always fun with the boys, stroller, carseat, carry-ons. But, we arrived at our gate with lots of time to spare, and were able to pre-board. Yay!

And pre-board we did. Harrison soon feel asleep in his carseat, and I was looking forward to smooth-sailing on the 2 hour flight home to Seattle. That is, until the plane hadn't taken off at its scheduled departure time. No problem, maintenance was working on a radio. They'd keep us updated. An hour later, they gave up and got us all off the plane. Strangely enough, Harrison did not continue napping after I picked him up out of his carseat, placed him on another seat so I could get his carseat, and attempted to schlepp everything up the aisle. Some nearby passengers kindly carried some of my stuff for me, thankfully. After another long wait inside for a new plane, having to explain to Hutton that we couldn't play those neat video games just inches away, we re-boarded. I kept the boys distracted with the 4 packs of peanuts I found in our seat pockets, but was annoyed knowing that there was no chance Harrison would take another nap so soon after being woken up from his first one.

And when the DVD player's batteries died mid-flight, I just chalked it up to my horrible day of flying and tried to keep the boys entertained with the inflight magazine and safety cards. Yeah, that's exactly what they wanted to do! Kicking self for forgetting to pack any kiddie books or snacks for the flight. The 100 calorie snack packs of plane-shaped crackers were curiously not very satisfying when one ate breakfast hours before, had a snack of raisins on the earlier flight (I gave the boys my crackers and 100-calorie pack of "Oreo Crisps" or whatever the heck they were), and didn't have time for lunch between flights. When we finally arrived in Seattle at 3 pm, I was almost kissing the ground, but didn't as I probably would have tried to eat it.

And just think, come November I'll probably be doing this all again for Thanksgiving!
How much are private jets running these days?

And Now For Something a Bit More Serious

Warning! The following post contains things that may cause the heebie-jeebies, especially for men. Proceed with caution!

I went to the dr. today to get my IUD removed. I was sick of having very heavy, week-long periods for the past year, and figured since Harrison is weaned now (yippee!) I don't need to worry about avoiding excess hormones that the pill or other hormonal birth control would cause.

I was doing the fun gyno routine - naked from the waist down, speculum in, looking at the neat mobile above my head and pretending someone wasn't poking around in my coochie - when I heard the dreaded words: "I can't find your strings."

See, the IUD is inside a woman's uterus, but has strings that hang down through the cervix for removal. The person doing the removal just gets those strings and pulls on 'em, and voila, no more IUD. But not so simple if you don't have the strings hanging out of your cervix. The midwife doing the removal then got what looked like an extra long crochet hook and dug around in my uterus for a bit, but couldn't find the amazing missing IUD. Yes, this was painful. And in addition to the pain, I now have a complex that I have a freakishly big uterus, or one that eats IUDs. Or that my cervix is so big I managed to lose an IUD and didn't notice it.

So, now I have to go back in a few weeks for an ultrasound so they can figure out where the IUD is. Yes, I have to wait and worry about having an embedded IUD for 10 days. As soon as I left the drs. office, I started to worry about the worst case scenario - I'll have a horrible pelvic infection, have to have a hysterectomy, etc. I know this is probably not the case, but I'll still worry about it. And even though I know in my heart I don't think I can handle having another baby, as the two children I already have drive me bonkers a great deal of the time, I still like having the ability to have children, just in case I change my mind and decide I want another child.

So, now I'm feeling depressed and crampy. Yay, me.

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