Sunday, August 22, 2010

Moon Dough!

I need to update my Gluten-Free Art/School Supply list, but as a smidget of an update Moon Dough, which is made by the same company as Moon Sand (SpinDirect/SpinMaster), is gluten-free and I found it at Target! It is so nice to actually be able to buy some gluten-free dough in a somewhat local place. And it comes in a set just like Play-Doh, so it has that kid appeal as well. One can get molds and such without having to get Play-Doh and toss the dough! I am happy to have found this as I bought some more expensive scented dough for home, but wanted something a bit cheaper to send to school with Thane.

Check it out at

I will update more about school soon. Maybe later today. We will see!


There is a long, convoluted story about this, but we are now the proud owners of two labradoodle puppies. They are 11 weeks old now, so we've had them for two weeks. The one that is higher and on the left is Lavender, a girl, who was Braeden's puppy choice. The other is Blue, a boy, that Thane chose. I just happen to think this is one of the cutest pictures I have captured with my cell phone.

Both boys have been asking for puppies for awhile. Thane really wanted a white puppy. I really wanted to go with low allergen dogs because I wanted it to be a safer mix for everyone in the house. Thane actually is NOT allergic to dogs, while he appears to be allergic to about half the universe. Braeden, on the other hand, is very mildly allergic. I guess there are 7-8 proteins that dogs give out so it explains why he reacts more strongly to some dogs than others. These two he should be unlikely to react to, plus he will get used to them. He had made a lot of promises about taking care of them, which I really am not seeing. At any rate, they are much lower allergen than our 85-pound husky mutt.

Here are all the guys and dogs in the picture above. Braeden (left) is holding his Lavender (Lavi for short) and Thane (middle) is holding Blue (Blueberry or Blue Bear . . . he rather looks like the bear in "Bear in the Big Blue House".) Dave is trying to convince 14-year-old Mist to stay in such close proximity to squirmy puppies. She seems to like Blue better, but he doesn't challenge her the way Lavender sometimes does.

This one is me with Blue on the left and Lavender on the right posing a bit better. I am down a bit more than 120 pounds in the 7 months since my gastric bypass, a few pounds shy of 200 total for weight loss. I still have a long way to go to be a "normal" weight. I feel like I am just getting down to where most people start when they have the surgery. It has been a good choice for me, but it feels very slow even though I know it is isn't.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Things that Make a Mom go WOW!

Thane has some definite anxiety issues, and one of the things that was a really stressful for him was trying to write or draw. A year ago we turned the task over to hippotherapy and the therapist there got him to write while riding a horse. Now he actually does it for fun! Isn't this picture cute? The writing is his as well.

Asperger's Syndrome Cards

These will probably be a little hard to read here, but after looking around at a bunch of different autism and Asperger's Syndrome information business cards online, I decided I would be better off making my own. Thane's play therapist suggested that it may be easier on Braeden, age 12, to have a card explaining his brother a little bit so he doesn't feel embarrassed when Thane acts in a socially unexpected manner. I know a lot of adults use them too, so I made two versions . . . one for little brother and one for son. Otherwise they are identical.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cute Giggle

Thane went horseback riding today and the giggle is precious.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

4th of July, 2010

Following are some photographs of the family at the 4th of July celebration in Damariscotta. We actually went to the fireworks in Thomaston on the 3rd sans camera, but were so impressed with how Thane did that we decided to go to Damariscotta on the 4th. It seems that $8 Remmington ear protectors from Wal-Mart make a big difference in his ability to handle all the big booms. I wish I had some too! He was entertained while waiting by taking pictures, and took some during the fireworks as well. Thane is the little one, Braeden is my 12-tear-old, then there is a picture of me and a picture of my husband, Dave, and I (celebrated our 23rd anniversary a couple of weeks ago).

Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

While I actually don't have friends or family in the military, I have always really appreciated the individuals who choose to protect and serve in that way. We did a lot of shopping and such over the long Memorial Day weekend. This is a photo of Thane in Reny's . . . he found the perfect accessory for himself, star antennae!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Little Updates

Thane saw the photograph of the Tooth Fairy sitting on his teddy bear (which is technically Dave's, but Thane is taking care of it). His reaction was, “huh?” I loved that!

The other update is on me . . . I'll be 16 weeks out from surgery this week and haven't weighed in for this week, but last I checked I was down 150 pounds, so I am more than halfway to my goal. Keep your fingers crossed that I can get rid of another 130 before the magic wears off! I now closely resemble a shriveled apple person!

I would like to plug a blog that Dori turned me on to: The World According To Eggface . . . Shelly, who writes the blog, had the same surgery I had and has a lot of healthy recipes that are also bariatric friendly. I have to adjust a lot of them to be gluten free, egg free or dairy free, but many of them work really nicely for me.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Tooth Fairy Returns

Thane lost his second lower front baby tooth on Mother's Day. This time there was no drama whatsoever! He just handed it to Daddy and said, “Look Daddy, my toof came out.” And that was that!

He wasn’t even anxious about writing a note to the Tooth Fairy this time, he was calm and happy to do it. I guess he now trusts that he will get to keep his little teeth as they fall out.

Below is a picture of the note to the Tooth Fairy because it is pretty cute, and then a picture of the Tooth Fairy checking to make sure he is good and asleep before going under his pillow. You can click on them to see them larger, which might work better than the size the blog automatically makes them.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

My boys are both rather cute!

Thane was all upset on Friday as he didn't even want me to see the wrapping on his school-made gift for me. His teacher had to put it in the back of my car for me! He said it had to be a kept a secret. Then Saturday night he was talking about it with Daddy so I had to cover my ears so I wouldn't hear. I did hear the word “pie” which left me a bit confused because I thought he did something with plaster of Paris.

The next morning, with a detail no one probably wants to know but makes it all the more memorable to me, I woke up after sleeping in and went into the bathroom. He had to come in and give me my gift. While I was trying to open the box, he told me it was a “dirt pie.” Dave said something to him about the secret, so he turned and said, “It’s okay Daddy, I kept the secret until Mudders Day and then I told her!” He’s right, he kept the secret until Mother’s Day!!!

He also gave me a plant where he painted hearts and stars on the box holding it. And then a couple of cards – I guess he probably did one in Life Skills and one in Kindergarten. Braeden gave me a sweet card. Pictures are below, other than the flowers because I am too lazy right now to get that.

Dirt Pie

Inside of Braeden's card. Too sweet!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Braeden is 12!

Here are some photos from Braeden's paintball birthday.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Random Gibberish

Wow! Braeden is 12. He will officially be a teenager next year, and only three years before he can get a learner’s permit for driving, unless rules change before then (dare I hope on that one?). It is such a difficult age for boys, but he is doing pretty well, I think, hope, etc. Dave took him and five of his friends to play paintball in Vassalboro. I’m home with Thane and crossing my fingers that everyone has fun and behaves.

Yesterday Dave and I took Thane to the playground in Wiscasset. He went with school on Wednesday and he really wanted to go back. It was a little hard to figure out what he was thinking . . . he seems to like having the other children around, but he is almost aggressively friendly at first. When Braeden and I took him to the playground in Warren on our way home Thursday, he was walking up to people and saying “Who are you?” He meant to be introducing himself, but it didn’t fully work. So we coached him some and suggested he say, “Hi, I’m Thane. What’s your name?” What neither of us parents were really counting on his how many children won’t answer that question. Luckily Thane doesn’t really care.

It’s nice to be able to do some of this little stuff again without so much pain breathing. I am not sure I am ready to do it fully on my own because my knees still lock at bad times, but at least I am participating more in things outside of the house. A friend of mine reminded me just a little while ago about the sticks of butter comparison . . . I am down 588 sticks of butter so far. That’s pretty hard to fathom because it definitely doesn’t look like that much, and I would still like to get rid of almost the same amount again. I am just slithering past the half-way point, but I am only 3½ months post-op, so it should help me for another 3-9 months, perhaps longer.

Riley had its school auction this weekend. I proxy bid on a couple of things and won two of them. I have to figure out how/when to retrieve them. One is a painting that I just thought was pretty and wanted to go for close to its genuine value. The other is a schooner ride that I thought Braeden and Dave would enjoy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Case Management

Now that we have finally been approved for MaineCare under the Katie Beckett waiver, I went ahead and got Thane a case manager. It is someone I have known for a couple of years through the soon to be much larger Knox County Child Development Service (the state is going from 16 sites to 9 on July 1 – I hope it works, but I worry about the kids and access).

This person has been helpful along the way, so I am sure it will be a good thing, but it is a weird feeling for me. I am not used to taking handouts, and this feels like more of one than getting services through CDS when Thane was younger. Sometimes my friends make me feel like I don’t have the right perspective, that I am entitled to all sorts of help, but I still have trouble with the idea. It seems weird for the state to pay for respite for us just because Thane has Asperger’s.

Our yard does need to be fenced in again because we had storm damage and some is being held up by wire ties, but I feel that is our expense as homeowners. Yet I don’t mind the idea of getting a pool alarm. I guess part of that is that Dave and I don’t really agree on that, and I wonder how many times a bird will set it off, but I would feel safer having one.

Mostly I want an advocate when we go in to chat with the school. I do think the school is trying to work with Thane, but I think some of the action has been slow. I also need help finding some services, such as therapist who might be able to help reduce his anxiety level. I really want to work on that before he gets older because life does indeed get more stressful.

Dandelion Wishes

This is one of those grainy photos taken with a cell phone, but it is still just too cute not to post. I wish I had a real camera at the time as I caught the moment perfectly. Thane has taken to picking the dandelions as he is trying to save them from the lawnmower.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lost Tooth

Thane lost his first tooth today at 6 years, 4 months, and one week old. I have been dreading this for a long time as he doesn't handle change well. It was indeed traumatic, but we seem to have solved the problem within about 10 minutes. We made a note asking the Tooth Fairy to return the tooth so he can put it in his keepsake box. Otherwise he says he will miss it. He hasn't eaten since he lost it, though, so we'll have to see how that goes.

Thane's Spring School Portrait

I think Thane's spring school portrait came out pretty cute . . . just like him!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I’m the Distraction

So why haven’t I been posting as much as I used to? Well, I have been hyper-focusing for several months – on myself. I finally hit rock bottom as far as my own health goes last year, so starting in June of last year I was bouncing from doctor to doctor to get myself thoroughly checked out . . . and cleared to have gastric bypass surgery. All the medications and such weren’t even making me comfortable, so it seemed like a real necessity. I felt Thane was finally old enough to handle my being away and needing to be treated gently (he used to love to head-butt me in the belly).

I don’t want to go into huge amounts of detail, but basically it seems like it was a good choice. I had the surgery on January 20th, so just two months ago now. I have lost 46 pounds since surgery, and had managed to lose 75 prior to going under the knife. Unfortunately, I would still like to lose about half my body weight from here, and even then I wouldn’t be skinny, but . . . I can breathe a lot better with the weight I have lost so far, and that was my main motivation. Not being able to breathe is awful!

Part of the reason for the hyper-focusing is that there is really only a short window in which to get this weight off my body – the bypass helps for a finite, but not precisely known, amount of time. So basically I really need to try to see how much I can get rid of within the first 6-12 months. Some of it would be humorous if it wasn’t kind of sad – trying to exercise and not get hopeless tangled in the oxygen tubing and my various wires and gismos. Half the battle is trying to get the aerobic exercise in so that I can perhaps not need oxygen for exertion anymore.

So wish me luck and please excuse me if I am not around as much.

Update on the Boys

I guess I have really fallen down on the job here. I guess Facebook really dampens the blogging, at least for me.

The boys are doing pretty well. Thane isn’t having the best of times in Kindergarten. He is ahead academically, but socially he is having some issues. I also think he is learning some lousy habits and we’re not having much luck getting them corrected.

For some unknown reason, MSAD 40 is the only one in the area that doesn’t using Discovering Kids for behavioral therapy. They use Woodford’s Family Services. Unfortunately I was told confidentially by a teacher I trusted that Woodford’s was a bad fit for Thane as they use aversives and I am totally against using negative stimulus for a child like Thane. I have always been all about positive discipline.

Thane’s main problem in school is all the transitions. It has taken a long time for the staff to realize they needed to reduce the number of changes he has in his day, and that seemed to help for a short time. But basically he keeps hitting, pushing or getting in people’s faces. They are calling it “aggressive behaviors” at school, but it is really the wrong word. He isn’t doing it out of anger or to be mean, he really does not understand why he can’t shove someone out of his path.

Dare I say that this might be a typical manifestation of Asperger’s Syndrome where he simply doesn’t really see other people as people. And it is very normal for a child with ASD to decide the shortest distance between A and B is a straight line, no matter what is in between. I want the staff to prepare him for success better than they do.

I really like the ed tech who spends the most time with Thane, but I am really unconvinced that the staff, as a whole tries to be consistent with him. I have tried to explain that it adds to his security, but I think there is also a belief that he needs to learn to adjust. I look at him and I think he is still just so little. It is too much to expect of him. Keep him happy. Happy matters. Don’t suck the joy out of my little smiley boy.

So far most of what he seems to be getting is that people don’t want him to push or hit. So far that isn’t quite enough. But I guess we will just keep plugging along. I have been using some of the social stories at – you can customize them, which is perfect for Thane. I recommend checking them out for anyone who uses social stories with their child.

Braeden has been having a fairly typical school year – nothing is really out of the ordinary for him. That, though, is a great step forward from last winter. He keeps himself busy and as he is getting older is he finding that he doesn’t want to be quite as busy . . . but he still wants to keep his theater projects up. He just appeared in “Willy Wonka” at The Waldo, and is now working on “A Hairy Tale” there as well. He also is dong “A Twist of the Tongue” at Riley, and then some as yet unannounced Shakespeare play. Then he has 2-3 weeks off in June before he goes to the intensive drama camp with Heartwood. I think all he plans for the summer is three weeks with Heartwood and then a week at Boy Scout camp. I can’t believe he is almost 12!