Thursday, December 30, 2010

Getting Old

My youngest just turned 9.  It was very exciting in our house.  We baked a beach cake.  I made blue frosting, and attempted to make waves.  We sprinkled graham cracker crumbs over half the cake and washed some small plastic trees, a pirate, a seagull and stuck them on the cake.  (And you thought I didn't have mad cake decorating skills?  Whatever.)  Then my husband and I took her to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.  A new Art of the America's Wing opened up and I've been dying to see it.

Elizabeth loves mummies, Egyptian art, Roman and Etruscan sculpture and pottery.  I showed her the European Impressionist room.  I love Monet.  I once paid $15 to enjoy three of his paintings in Las Vegas and it was worth every penny!  We ended the night with the model ships.  Elizabeth was enthralled!  She adored the museum.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Buying a Rental

We killed the deal to buy the house we were hoping to rent out after the copper pipes were stolen and the bank was completely unreasonable.  The house was back on the market 6 hours after we informed them we were walking away.  It went back on the market for less than we offered even if they'd fixed the plumbing.

So, we offered $9,000 less than the new asking price and made our offer contingent on fixed plumbing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

William's List of 101 Things He's Grateful For

Bri sat next to Will on the couch.  "Will, what are you grateful for?"  she asked.  Two days later I noticed Will had written a list of what his friend Jordan was grateful for on his iPad.

William's List
1. Thank you for food
2. Thank you for fruit
3. Thank you for food
4. Thank you for food
5. Thank you for fruit
6. And finally when it the puppy has finally she is fruit. The End.
7. Thank you for computer
8. Thank you for iPad
9. Thank you for iPad
10. Thank you for iPad
11. Thank you for iPad
12. Thank you for fruit
13. Thank you for food
14. Thank you for TV
15. Thank you for DVD
16. Thank you for iPad
17. Thank you for food
18. Thank you for TV
19. Thank you for CD
20. Thank you for iTunes
21. Thank you for iTunes
22. Thank you for TV
23. Thank you for CD
24. Thank you for TV
25. Thank you for iTunes
26. Thank you for house
27. Thank you for food
28. Thank you for fruit
29. Thank you for food
30. Thank you for food
31. Thank you for church
32. Thank you for house
33. Thank you for church
34. Thank you for TV
35. Thank you for food
36. Thank you for fruit
37. If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands
38. Thank you for TV
39. Thank you for shower food
40. Thank you for house
41. Thank you for turkey
42. Thank you for house
43. You sea our house
44. Thank you for food
45. Thank you for food
46. Do As I’m Doing
47. Thank you for music
48. Thank you for house
49. Thank you for love
50. Thank you for love
51. Thank you for love
52. Thank you for love
53. Thank you for jacob
54. Thank you for brianne
55. I’m a Little Snowflake
56. Thank you for lizzy
57. Thank you for mom
58. Thank you for dad
59. Thank you for jordan
60. Thank you for TV
61. Thank you for Zebra
62. Thank you for Zero
63. Thank you for house
64. Thank you for love
65. Thank you for love
66. Thank you for Laurie Berkner Whaddaya Think Of That?
67. Thank you for world
68. Thank you for Abc’s
69. Thank you for piano
70. ABCD Medley
71. Thank you for love
72. Thank you for teeth
73. Thank you for love
74. Thank you for kiss
75. Thank you for hug
76. Thank you for stand
77. Thank you for love
78. Thank you for roller coasters
79. Thank you for roller
80. Thank you for love
81. Thank you for love
82. Thank you for love
83. Thank you for underwear
84. Thank you for love
85. Thank you for love
86. Thank you for love
87. Thank you for name
88. Thank you for name
89. Thank you for underwear
90. Thank you for dinner
91. Thank you for kiss
92. Thank you for quiet
93. Thank you for quiet
94. Thank you for good
95. Thank you for job
96. Thank you for top
97. Thank you for love
98. Thank you for love
99. Thank you for bob
100. Thank you for job
101. I Know a Chicken

Come to think of it ... did Will just write my Christmas newsletter?  Why yes, I think he did.

Friday, December 24, 2010


I know I need to go to the store to pick up a couple of things and I know the longer I sit here the worse the traffic will be.  Yet, still I sit here -- avoiding it.  Sigh.  Will is sitting on a chair listening to Lori Berkner on his iPad and stimming on a Dr. Seuss book.  One of the twenty plus books I've had to "buy" from the library because he wrote on them.  He's not wearing pants.  But I doubt that surprises anyone.  Will is more stimmy than usual today because someone gave Bri sweet rolls.  Will found them and ate one.  I don't think he's stopped vocalizing since he woke up.  Will peers intently at his book, one hand twisted up by his ear and eye, the other is spread out, two fingers bent in while the others are straight.  He bangs his knuckles on the books then brings it up the side of his head.  His fingers shake with intensity.  "Eeeeee," he croons as he stares, becoming increasingly wrapped up in his world and ignores us.  I hear an occasional slap.  He hits his right shoulder with the side of his hand then moves it up to rub his forehead. "Eahhhh."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I need a Vacation; oh wait, it's almost Christmas

I was upstairs cleaning my bathroom because Will had ... uh... used it.  After I finished I walked downstairs.  Lizzy and Jake we cuddled up on the couch with a blanket watching a movie.  Will was watching a movie on the portable DVD player.  He was carefully drawing on the screen with a orange permanent marker.  He had also written several sentences on the light maple floor.  Also in permanent marker. 

That was the end of movie watching in our house for the night!  We scrubbed the floor and the screen with wet wipes.  I got the marker off the screen, although the movie still looked orange.  I don't know whether the screen is now permanently tinted or if Will had already worked some magic on the DVD player.  And fortunately the writing on the floor is pretty light.  I was so angry I didn't even try to read what Will had written before trying to scrub it off.  I can still read knee, you're, end and I think there was a hate we scrubbed off; but maybe I should have taken a moment to read his message.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blog Gem

Visit everyone at The King and Eye.

This isn't actually my first blog post ... it's the fifth, I think it's more interesting than the first.  But if you're more interested in reading about my cooking failures then, by all means, visit my first.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Salted by ?

I signed paperwork to buy the house for the second time.  (You know that it doesn’t always take, right?)  Then I met my realtor at the house for the final walkthrough.  She was concerned about a crappy attempt at winterization.  A piece of pipe with the shut off valve lay on the kitchen floor.  I noticed pipes leading to and from the heating system were missing.  The more we looked the more pipe we noticed had vanished.

Copper Pipe Thieves = +1
Us = -2

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Things I should not have to do! My top ten list of things I didn’t know I signed up for when I became a mother

Subtitle: Wait, who signed me up for this again? I need to know who to “visit.” You know, so I can bring them cookies.

10. Being responsible for somebody else’s homework. I hate that!
9. Driving ungrateful, short people around the surrounding towns.
8. Apologizing multiple times during the day to my touchy youngest simply to have her function.
7. Spending hours at school board meetings because, darn it, education is important!
6. Being on two special education PACs because that is so not me. (I used to be the one sitting in the back row muttering about how stupid people are -- now I do the same thing but from the middle.)
5. Finding 3 to 5 chewed apple cores around my house daily.  Really William, is it really that hard to find a garbage can and throw ... them ... away?
4. Cleaning up poop … again.
3. Buying more toilet paper because Will has unrolled an entire roll into the toilet. Which now means that I both have to make sure the toilet isn’t plugged and that underwear is not under the unrolled toilet paper before I flush.
2. Determining whether I can flush an entire roll of toilet paper down the toilet or if I have to remove some first.
1. Wasting Spending time making dinner only to be informed that it is inadequate. But it was a jolly good try for the "secondary cook!"

Hmmm, it’s a good thing my kids are funny and I love them. Otherwise I might be tempted to exchange them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Wishlist

Ok, I found something I want for Christmas (or a late Hanukkah present Marcy) ... Buckyballs, and probably more than one set because they really look that awesome!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Something Else to Waste Time On

I signed up for Netflix last week and in that time I have watched half of two extremely dumb movies, twenty minutes of a moderately boring movie, the entirety of a incredibly bad movie (oh, Bruce Willis you disappointed me!), a decent movie, possibly another movie (but I can’t remember) and the kids watched a few.

My husband complained that Netflix didn’t have a very good selection. I informed him that our account was set up for my taste. Thus movies were queued up that would only hold interest for him if most of the movies in the world disappeared, all books were burned, he was immobilized and couldn’t reach the remote.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Buying a House can be Taxing

I mentioned that we decided to buy a house; rent it out and then if everything goes well have enough money in 15 years to buy Will a house.  Well, we found a house but it’s bank owned and unfortunately, the bank that owns it is insane.

Case in point – on Tuesday my real estate agent dropped by my house to give me back the earnest money check.  “Why?”  I asked.  She didn’t know.  The bank had insisted on a bank check ten times the normal amount, rather than a personal check and now they were handing it back less than a week before we hoped to close on the house.  I took it to my bank.  “I’d like to redeposit this.”  I said but, of course, my name wasn’t on the check and I didn’t have the receipt.  I barely returned home before I received an email asking me to wire the same amount I’d just deposited.

(Aside – moments like these are the reason I deserve a Greek Chorus! Curses!)  I went back in the next day to wire the money.  If I’d been wise I might have looked at the return of the money as a present from karma and foreshadowing that the universe might not want me to buy this house.  But I’m nothing if not stupid persistent!

On Friday we signed paperwork that may or may not work depending upon whether or not we can get the last paperwork from the town because the darn bank doesn’t want to spend $100 to send someone out to the house to replace some keyed locks with doorknobs!  Gosh and all we have to deal with is a hole in the basement ceiling that wasn’t there when we made the offer, an expired rate lock and an insane bank.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I might have a touch of Kitty Remorse

Her name is Calypso. Her mom is named Saturn and the kitties were all named after Saturn’s moons. Clever, no? Bri is in LOVE with her kitty! She has video and her phone is full of kitty pictures.

Brianne’s kitty is adorable but I have a touch of buyer’s remorse. I only agreed to get the kitty because we had mice in our garage and that completely FREAKED me out! (My body just contorted as I thought about that!) But my husband, vicious mouse killer that he is, trapped all the mice and we have been mouseless for several weeks. I considered backing out but I’m just too darned tender hearted!

Reasons for Remorse: 1. The kitty can’t go outside for the winter because it’s a baby. 2. I’ve already spent $100 bucks on the kitty and haven’t even taken it to the vet yet. 3. I have kitty guilt because I sometimes hear pitiful mews coming from the inside of Bri’s room while Bri is gone. 4. I’ll have to take care of the kitty while Bri is in college. 5. Apparently 20% of my friends are allergic to cats. 6. I worry that Will and Jake are allergic to cats. 7. I need a special cat door to keep raccoons, squirrels and neighborhood cats out of the garage. 8. I can think of more reasons but I think the ones I’ve listed suffice for now.

On the plus side, I talked to someone last night who I think might take the kitty if my kids are allergic and good mother that I am I negotiated visitation rights for Bri.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Year in Review

"Changing the world starts with one simple act."  Toan Lam

2010 Inspiring Acts

Monday, December 6, 2010

15% More Happiness at least 65 days a year

That’s what I am giving my husband for Christmas.  And as I pointed out to him, that’s a lot of happiness!  I decided to give him an automatic car starter.  When I told him he demurred.  “In two years I’ll buy a car with it.”  He told me.  But I reminded him that 1.  He hates to be cold.  2.  We live in Massachusetts where it is, in fact, cold.  3.  He would miss out on a lot of happiness.  4.  I thought it would be a good idea.

He eventually agreed.  Then I asked him if he wanted me to take the car in or if he was going to do it.  He had already made a couple of calls he told me.  So unless my little plan falls through, he will take care of buying his present for me.  That increases my happiness 7% on the day he does it and by 3% at least 65 days a year when I feel like a kind and devoted wife who is very concerned about her husband’s happiness and that I, in fact, am making a difference in his happiness levels.

So really, we are looking at an upfront increase of happiness of 7% with an average of 18% increase in happiness other days (on very cold days I expect even more happiness!  Well, minus his increased unhappiness at the temperature.  Hmmm, maybe that’s a wash.).  At a very low cost to me in terms of effort.

(I wonder, if I nag him to do it, will the nagging decrease his happiness level?  And if so should I include that in the equation?)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Days of Old

Jen at The King and Eye is sponsoring Blog Gems, basically old posts few have seen.  Here is mine.  It's a few years old.  It's from my criminal past, hehehehe.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Will, Interrupted

Will was sitting on the couch typing on his iPad while listening to music. “Will,” I said. “We're getting a kitty.”

Will looked up.  Then he reached over and pinched me, “No kitty!”

Then Bri said, "William, Brianne's getting a cat."

Will smiled, "Cat -- meow."

Thursday, December 2, 2010



How appropriate that today’s Blog Hop topic is accomplishments because today was Will’s IEP meeting. He has done well this year.  He’s now reading at approximately a third grade level, up from first last year.  His spelling is third grade level (but he’s a better speller than Jake and Lizzy!).  He took a year to get the concept of numbers using the Touch Math Curriculum but now has mastered single digit addition and subtraction and has almost mastered double digit addition.  He moved into a higher academic level group and is doing well.  And he did this in a two-to-one!   

Honestly, maybe his greatest accomplishment to date is being able to move from a one-to-one to a two-to-one!  I wanted him in a two-to-one because as I told his teachers – there was no one-to-one fairy that would magically show up at our door when he was 21!  I needed him to function in a group.

We worked really hard on Will being able to handle being a group and not receiving individual instruction.  When he started taking classes at MyGym I had to stand one foot in front of him and say “do this” and show him what to do.  He bolted constantly.  He couldn’t jump, and barely listened to the instructions.  I took him twice a week for a couple of years.  I wanted him to function in a group!  Every week I tried to back away a little more.  I gave him as much independence as I could.  I choose independence over “perfection” of movement.  And now when I see him swinging his arms back and forth rather than in a circle I’m usually watching him from the bench.

Wow, look at me waxing on poetically about my boy.  This might as well be a Christmas Letter bragging about my kids.  I sometimes write those – but in them, usually I just list the places that Will didn’t wear pants.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Autism Weekend

I watched three movies about autism last week.  (It’s just what we do for Thanksgiving.)  I watched Autism the Musical.  I watched Autism is a World.  But my absolute favorite autism movie of the week was The Black Balloon.  Reasons:  1. Toni Collette, 2. The monkey hat was awesome! 3. Charlie running down the street wearing underwear (because we’ve reenacted that scene more often than I care to admit and 5.  My favorite line, the mom when told that Charlie went into a stranger’s house and used the toilet, “He hasn’t done that for months!”

In reading that last paragraph over, I realize I forgot #4.  But I’m going to leave it because I liked the movie because it really was about autism.  And autism is … different, unexpected, and occasionally hilarious (though often only in hindsight and with the right people and under the right sort of circumstances).

But Will liked it too.  I found him frequently watching it.  Actually watching it!  Will can fast forward through an entire movie in about 2 minutes so it’s interesting that he actually watched it.  Now go watch it … GO!  Then come back and let me know what you think.

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