Sunday, September 26, 2010

Connor's Cooking Show

I can't figure out how to burn a DVD with my system - I am missing something, but dislike downloading programs.  So I'm posting this to my blog so I can access it from anywhere to share with others :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

This probably doesn't happen to you...

Yesterday, about 8:30pm I'm at my computer & Connor comes in.  I have a photo of him on my computer desktop holding a line with a fish on the end from his Summer Camp this year.  Connor says, "I have the fish!"  and leaves the room.  No biggie.

He comes back in the room a minute later holding a plastic bag with 6 almost-foot-long fish in it.  I think they're rainbow trout (there's a pinkish line along the side).  Huh, what?

I knew his class did a field trip to the fishing pond, but usually it's just catch & release.  I didn't expect to find fish in his backpack, so I didn't look.

They aren't cleaned or anything - just the whole fishies in a bag.  I stuck the whole thing in the freezer.

I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with them now...

Monday, September 20, 2010


I've been going to the physical therapist regularly for my shoulder, and it is getting better.

Thing is, every time he treats me, he's forcing the shoulder up higher, and out further than it wants to go.  He eases it as much as he can, but there's a definite stopping point where I grimace and say, "Yeah - that's it!"  And he'll say, "Yup, that's not going any higher."  OUCH!!

Still, I'm doing my exercises at home and at work when I can, and I am improving by 3 - 5 degrees each time, which he says is really good.

I'm scheduled through the rest of September, but then I'm going to have to take a break due to change in insurance.  As of October 1, my new insurance will take effect.  I am going with the least expensive (highest deductible) because about a month later, Lee will get a much better rate for the family than I could get at my job.  I will have already been locked in, and can't change my coverage by that time.  We'll be double-covered, but mine won't kick in unless there's a big need (which we hope won't happen!).

If I change to a different job that has less hours, my insurance will be gone anyway (my eventual plan) and we'll just have Lee's regardless.

The nice thing is the physical therapist I have is pretty cool.  I told him I wouldn't be able to come in October, and he said he was fine with having me come in weekly at no charge so he can keep monitoring my progress.  :)  Once Lee's insurance kicks in, I'll get the actual therapy again :)  Or maybe I'll be better by then?  It's supposed to heal faster now that I'm past 90%...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Coping with Connor

The other day, Lee & Connor took a bike ride again to Burger King.  Connor just likes the fries.  While they were there, a woman introduced herself to Lee as a reporter for a local small newspaper here in town.  She wanted to know if she could do a story on our family and how we cope with Connor.

I don't know how Lee responded to her, but afterward, he told me he felt like "what do you mean - coping?"

Now, yes, it's obvious if you watch him for a little bit that there is something different about Connor.  Most people are figuring out the autism thing now, which is good.  More & more attention is being called to the difficulties of autism, and maybe that's why the woman wanted to write the story.

The thing is, we don't see it so much as 'coping' as just doing things a little differently to accommodate our boy.  And yes, while you can label that 'coping'- to me, that word is a more negative connotation than just adapting what we do.

Of course we had to make a lot of changes, especially when he was small.  Before he could talk & express himself, it was very hard.  At times he will still have a crying meltdown and we don't know why, but there's nothing you can do but hold & comfort him for the hour or so until it's gone.  But that's much more rare now that he can communicate effectively.  Thanks to a lot of people with a lot of knowledge, Connor was able to go through the work and do what was necessary to get to that point.  He's still going to need help through his life, probably throughout.  Is that what she meant with coping?  Lee & I won't get to retire & travel the world?  (Newsflash - I'd rather have Connor - better yet, bring him along!).

Lee & I put in time & effort to help Connor as well.  We didn't go out on dates, because there weren't people knowledgeable enough to babysit our boy.  Trevor & Diana could only help so much when they were grade-school age.  As they got older, more of the babysitting fell to them, which happens in any household anyway.  Lee and I adapted our 'date time' to be in the virtual world.  We were off traipsing around the worlds of Dereth & Paragon City, and later Azeroth.  We were off doing our thing, but still at home at our desks.  It was cheaper than going out, actually.  And of course, Connor knew we were home and didn't have the anxiety or other issues.  I guess the reporter would call that coping as well (although we'd probably have done it anyway - that's the kind of thing we like to do).

We did avoid taking Connor places that would be too hard for him - he still only goes to the fair on the Saturday with the daypass for rides, because he'll only do the kiddie rides anyway.  We haven't even talked about going to Disneyland, because he's not in a place to do that yet either.  He LOVES going to Canada for vacation every year anyway, and so does the rest of the family.  I didn't take him tent camping, because I worried about his safety & the fact the tent has four exits.  The tent trailer situation is much better for us - one locking door.  Plus, Lee would have refused to tent camp anyway.  He 'did his time' with the Boy Scouts back when.  He wants a mattress if we're camping together.  Over time, we've been able to take Connor to most places anyway - it just took a little longer to get him to a movie theater (4th grade), to church regularly (2nd grade), to have First Communion (6th grade).  But eventually, he does get to do most of what he wants to do.  I guess taking his time means we have to cope there as well.

Because of Connor & Trevor's autism, I did get much more involved in Girl Scouts than I would have otherwise.  I wanted to make sure Diana had the kind of time with me that might not happen when we were focused on her brothers so much.  Scouting together guaranteed time together every week, and occasional weekends.  She & I have an extremely close relationship now.  I'm the first person she comes to whenever she has any issues or questions about anything - even though she's living in a city an hour away most of the year.  She will send me instant messages at least every evening and let me know how her day went & that she's home safe.  I call that a big bonus - not really coping.

Between the two boys, Trevor would probably be considered more challenging now.  But it's not any worse than any teenager who is disorganized and thinks he knows more than he does.  And eventually, he'll come around - it will just take time (and lots of headaches).  But the reporter didn't know about Trevor.

I did put my plans to further my education aside when we discovered Connor was autistic.  I was going to get a teaching credential after he was able to stay in day care.  That turned out to be a little dangerous when he escaped into the parking lot twice.  I did spend time at home with him because of the safety issue, which was a huge crunch in our finances.  So was putting a fence around the property.  It cost quite a bit for the seminars I attended to learn how to teach him more effectively - I did two weekend conferences in Portland (hugely beneficial).

On the other hand, I was hired to work where I am now because I had special needs kids &  had the patience and tolerance to work with other kids that needed that kind of help.  I am making double what I earned in the regular schools, with my expertise & education - and that probably wouldn't have happened without the autism in my life.

Connor is the most joyful, happy child I have ever known.  He loves to experience life and shares that love with everyone.  Any person who has worked with him or knows him from something else really enjoys him.  People who spent time over summer school, or helped him in Special Olympics or whatever will come up to us out of the blue to tell us how much they love working with Connor.  One of the aides in his classroom told the teacher that her favorite part of the day is when she gets to work with Connor.

Yes, we did work hard to help him understand how to behave in public.  Yes, we continually prompt him and praise him when he gets things right.  Yes, we realize we will have him with us our entire lives, and then once we no longer can care for him, Diana will take up the reins.  That's family.  That's what you do.  I don't see it as 'coping.'  It's parenting.  It's how you live life.  I wouldn't change a thing.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Diana & Trevor at Kumiricon

Some dead bunny thing & Diana as Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist
I'm guessing this is a friend of Sonic the Hedgehog?  or maybe an evolution of Sonic?
Trevor just wore goggles from a Halloween store and my dad's old leather jacket.  NEXT year tho...

So the kids went to Kumiricon on Saturday night, as soon as we got back from Amanda's wedding.  Diana had worked long & hard on her costume.  The hair is a wig she cut & styled, the jacket she sewed herself, the belt she altered & sewed, and the boots were Connor's snowboots last year (they are too small now).  Diana also made the little clasp for her neck with Sculpy and then spraypainted it silver.  She was missing the red coat the character wears, which she'd ordered to be made online.  It wasn't any good, though.  She would have done better making her own.

They got back to Eugene by 6:00 last night, and I got them & brought them home after getting Taco Bell.  Then they slept until 2:00 PM today...

Trevor is thinking he really needs to get a job so he can go again next year.  That's a good thing :)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Amanda's Wedding

The wedding was at Sunset Bay, OR (close to Coos Bay).
Amanda planned the entire event - her colors were orange & green :)
If they know you're taking a picture - they all make a weird face.  CJ, Mary & Anna rode over to the coast with us from Roseburg.
At the reception - Diana finally wearing that dress that didn't make it onto the show.
Most of Troop 371 - we are missing Renee, who was in San Diego.  I'm sure she was with us in spirit :)  

Thursday, September 02, 2010