Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Autism Moment?

I have to share my most recent Target experience. I was with brothers Chase and Jonathan. We were getting ready to check out at Target after having spent a good thirty minutes staring at the baby play gyms. The boys helped me pick one out for Olivia. Anyways, I could hear this boy carrying on and on. He was crying hysterically...really loud too. Of course I purposefully chose the checkout line he was in so that I could psychologically assess the situation. People must think I'm a total weirdo. I mean who does that?? Most people would do all they could to avoid the line with the screaming child but not me. I fearlessly seak out the screamers just to analyze the situation including both the child and the caregiver(s). OK, so back to the story.

We get in line behind the boy who was crying hysterically. Chase and Jonathan were, of course, staring blatantly. It's funny how kids do that. They have no qualms about giving a good stare down. Mouth wide open and all. So that was Chase and Jonathan. The little boy was a cute little guy...probably about 5 years old and he was sitting in the front of the cart. He was crying and going on and on about Thomas the tank engine. He was with, I'm assuming, his mom and dad. They were both very calm and went about their business getting checked out and loading the bags into the cart while the child continued crying and carrying on about Thomas. They didn't address his behavior at all until the father quietly said to him, "remember what we talked about?" and the little boy said, while crying, "it's dooonnneee." Then the father said "you have to be good and then we can go see Grandma and Grandpa." The boy sniffled a couple of times and started to calm down but then started crying and carrying on again talking about Thomas.

Let me tell you exactly what caused me to determine this boy had autism.

1. His crying and carrying on was a little over the top for a boy his age.

2. He was very fixated on this Thomas train and could not get over it.

3. The parents were both very calm (as if this has happened many-a-time) and handled their child much different then if the child was just throwing "a brat fit."

4. The boy looked like a typically developing child.

Moral of the story. Before you judge a screaming child as being a spoiled brat or having parents who don't know how to parent, stop and think there may be more to the picture then what you see. Especially because so many children on the autism spectrum look like typically developing children.

Thank you for listening and now I will step off my soapbox.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ode to St. Patty

In honor of St. Patty's day and my being half Irish, I thought it would be the perfect time to write about my Grandpa Frain. He passed away when I was in high school but I have a lot of memories and funny stories about him.

My Grandpa Frances Frain was one of thirteen siblings born in Ireland. He came over on a ship to the US in his early twenties...making him a first generation immigrant. This has always been so interesting to me.....not many people can say one of their grandparents was "right off the ship." I think I may have one or two great aunts/uncles left on his side in Ireland, along with cousins etc. Someday I want to go there and visit. A few years back they had a family reunion in Ireland, but the Fredericksburg Frains could not make it what with how many of us there are and how expensive flying is.

The thing I remember most about my Grandpa was his THICK Irish brogue. My dad can immitate him perfectly.

My dad told me growing up my Grandma had to cook him some form of potatoes every single night for dinner.

When I was little and we would visit family in New York, my Grandpa used to bounce me on his knee and play this lion game. I don't remember exactly what it was but there was some sort of lion character and bouncing on the knee. He used to make me a poached egg for breakfast before anyone else was awake.

I remember when he got older and my dad had to move him out of his house in Brooklyn. When my dad brought him home to our place in Stafford, my Grandpa had a bag of fresh New York bagels. My sisters and I saw him throwing WHOLE bagels in the front yard "for the birds." We of course got a kick out of this.

Another story I remember hearing was when my dad was about to take his test to get his driver's license. My Grandpa went behind his back and told his driving instructor to fail him on purpose. My dad thought FOR YEARS that he actually had failed his driving test...come to find out it was only because my Grandpa told the driving instructor to fail him. When my dad asked him why he did that he said "I didn't want you to be too confident."

My Grandpa was such an Irishman...even down to the drinking. I'm pretty sure scotch was his favorite. Or was it brandy. Sadly, his alcoholism is what eventually killed him. He was as strong as an ox though and lived to 76 years old despite having smoked and drank so much like he did.

I'm glad I knew my Grandpa. It makes me sad some of my siblings never got to meet him but I know I can always share the memories I have of him.

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Random Ramblings

A half ton dad. That is the show I am watching right now on Discovery Health. He weighs over 1,000 pounds. He hasn’t had a shower/bath in 4 years. Prior to watching the “Half Ton Dad”, I watched the “Half Ton Mum.” I just can't imagine being confined to my bed because of my size. Discovery Health has the craziest shows and I watch them all. Sorry if you could care less...I've included a couple of pictures for your enjoyment. Scroll down and you can read about my baby girl...=)

Anyways..... So Olivia had her 2 month check up last week. She weighed 11 pounds and was 23.5 inches long....75th percentile in length and 50th percentile in weight. My baby girl is long and thin. She is growing SO fast, I can't believe it. Her doctor thinks her eyes are going to stay blue....my little blue eyed blonde haired girl. Who would have thought I would have a blue eyed blonde haired baby girl!! She is too cute....really starting to develop a personality. She loves music and batting at her little chotchky toys =) Below is a video I took the other night...she has discovered her lips and started smacking them. It was cracking us up. You have to listen closely and watch a few times to catch it but it's so cute!

Wow this is the blog 'o random.

So, I'm trying to decide if I should start my own consulting business. It's a little nerve racking to think about venturing out on my own and being my own boss etc... I LOVE the idea of teaching parents strategies they can implement at home for their child with autism or other behavioral challenges. I also like to help parents who "don't know where to start." Just some random thoughts. I think I need a kick in the butt to get started or told "you can do it!"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Colorado 2009

I haven't been on here in about a week because we were visiting family in Colorado. I really do not even know where to begin documenting the adventures we had with the Frains. There is so much I could write about. I may have to do this in sections. We left Thursday morning. My dad was having some major travel anxiety reminiscent of my late Grandpa Frain....he was a funny guy and I could write a whole blog about him. Anyways, we left the house and three minutes into our drive my sister asked my dad if he had the boarding passes. Good thing she asked. He had left them at home. Thus begins our trip. Needless to say we turned around, went back to the house and re-did our exit.

After we parked the car it was a big-to-do walking to the place where the bus picks you up to take you to the terminal. The bus ride was interesting. We're sitting on the bus and my dad says to this random guy standing there "your zipper's down" so of course he looks down at his crotch. Funny thing was, my dear concerned father was talking about the zipper on the guy's luggage not his pants. Haha. Poor guy. The plane ride went really well. Olivia was an angel. The only small issue we had was when she had a diaper explosion and we had to figure out changing her without a surface to do so. That was interesting.

The trip was a really great time. I was so happy everyone finally got to meet Olivia. When my Grandma met her she started to get emotional. It was a really special moment. The rest of the trip was spent doing what we do best: eating and chatting and eating and chatting. We took Olivia to my Grandma's old folks home. All the elderly got a kick out of Olivia. My Grandma said that the old people just go nuts when a baby or a little dog come to visit. My Grandma cracks me up. She is 83 years old but has the mind of a 30 year old. Her memory is excellent and she has the funniest sense of humor.

We went to the red rocks one day which was really fun. Matthew, Jessica and my Dad also got to go skiing/snowboarding with my Aunt Debbie. They had a BALL. One day while we were there we went to a real Italian Bakery. There aren't any good Italian bakeries around here so we took full advantage. Our favorites were the cannolis and the rainbow cookies. So much for my point counting.

On Sunday my Aunt Debbie hosted her annual St. Patty's party. She taught me her corn beef and cabbage recipe. All the cousins and aunts and uncles came...we had a really great time. Jessica and I made a chocolate cake. It turned out kind of funny because we forgot about what the altitude does when baking. Also, when we took the cake out and set it on top of the stove to cool it started bubbling in the middle. My Aunt was like "um, is it supposed to bubble like that?" For several minutes I couldn't figure out what the problem was but then we realized the dang burner on the stove top was left on causing our cake to boil. So much for my master baking skills.

The trip went by so fast. I couldn't believe when it was time to leave already. Here are just a few pictures from the trip. My sister posted the rest on facebook.

Our visit to the Red Rocks.

Grandma and Aunt Debbie with Baby Olivia.

Cousins: Monica, Annalise, Allison, Jessica, Me and Baby Olivia.

Grandma and Olivia wearing their green at the St. Patty's party.

"OHHH Mama I am so sleepy from all the traveling!"

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Traveling With Infant = Big to Do

Right after Olivia was born we decided to buy plane tickets and take a trip to Colorado to visit my Grandmother so she could meet her. Our flight leaves tomorrow afternoon. Really, I should get finished packing but I am having trouble gathering the motivation to do it. Earlier today my sister Kariann came over to hang out with Olivia while I packed. Well, we ended up getting distracted and playing "dance party". We dressed Olivia up like a thug and Kariann taught her to do the "superman" hahaha. It was hilarious. As a special treat here is a video clip for you to check out. Am I a terrible mother? If you ask me she seemed to be enjoying herself!!!

Ok. I lied. My fantastic computer skills have kicked in and disabled me from figuring out how to load a video. I will try and figure it out when I have time later.

Traveling with a baby sure is a big to do. I mean, they have all these luggage restrictions now a days and with all the baby gear I'm wondering how I am going to get any of MY stuff on the darn plane. We have to check in the car seat and the base...then there is the stroller. I haven't even packed the diapers and wipes yet. This child of mine goes through diapers unlike any other. Seriously. It is insane how much crap can come out of such a tiny hiny..haha Ok, and here's a question. Is my breastmilk aloud to be carried on?? I wanted to bring her a bottle I pumped but will it be confiscated for fear of the 4 ounces actually containing some sort of chemical which could potentially blow everyone up?? Goodness gracious. I guess I could just whip out my boob and spray the security people, perhaps then they would believe me--because carrying her on my hip would just not be enough (note the sarcasm). Speaking of carrying, I do have a sling i am going to try and use. I haven't used it much yet. It's a lot more awkward then I thought it would be. It's real heavy on my neck and she is only ten pounds. Apparently you can use this thing up to twenty pounds...OUCH!

SO, hopefully the flight tomorrow will go smooth. Best case scenario is Olivia sleeps the whole trip on my lap. I'll be sure to get on here and blog about the trip. Off I go to attempt more packing!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Olivia's Birth Story

I promise this won't happen often. Actually, I take that back. This is my darn blog and I'll write about whatever I darn well please haha. No, but really. I've been wanting to write Olivia's "birth story" since I had her two months ago. You may think this is stupid but I think it will be neat to have to look back on and to show her one day when she is older or maybe even having her own babies.

I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy all around - besides passing out once because of a quick drop in blood pressure from not having slept in two days. As the end of it all drew near, I of course started to get more and more anxious to see progression. My official due date was January 5th but on another ultrasound they said December 31st so we thought maybe there was potential for a "tax deduction baby." Well, that didn't happen. We missed it by a hair. Dang it. I actually went in to the hospital on the 31st because I thought my water was leaking. They said no and sent me home. On the first day of the New Year my whole family went to the Chinese buffet dinner which has been our tradition for a long time. After dinner, Matthew and I went home and took down all the Christmas decorations. He drank several beers and I ate several sausage balls =) I also bounced on my exercise ball in hopes of it causing something to happen. Around 11 I took a bath. I remember I was all paranoid that it was too hot of a bath and that I was going to boil my child. After my bath we watched a little TV. Then at about 1am I got hit with a terrible stomach ache. It started to feel better and I crawled into bed thirty minutes later. I was just starting to doze off when WHOOSH. It was the weirdest sensation. Literally like something just popped my water. Just like the movies. Rushing flood and everything. Matthew was sleeping and I sat up in bed and said "Matthew, my water broke." His first reaction was unbelief but when he saw how much water there was he believed me. Of course he was concerned about having drank a few beers and now he was going to have to drive me to the hospital. I was like are you freaking kidding me!??? By the time we got the dogs where they needed to go, it was about 3:30. I was barely having any contractions at this point.

My sister, Jessica, is a labor and delivery nurse. She was scheduled to work that day but when she talked to the nurse manager they were able to put her on call instead. Jess got a hold of her close friend and coworker, Robin so that she could request me as a patient. This ended up being such a huge blessing. By the time I got into the hospital room and filled out the paperwork they checked me and I was not even dilated!!! BOOOO!!! Robin got the order for potocin and hooked me up. That stuff is nuts. By this time my mom, Jessica and Kariann got to the hospital to be with me. The potocin worked quick and a few hours later I was in TERRIBLE pain and about four cm. They gave me some sort of pain med. through the IV which was crazy...I felt so high haha. My sister told me later I kept on talking about sausage balls. I tried to hold off as long as I could so that I could progress but at this point I needed an epidural BAD. Finally the anesthesiologist showed up with the good stuff. Thank GOD for Robin, otherwise I would probably be paralyzed today. The Doc said I did good...guess my bad posture finally paid off haha.

After the epidural, things calmed down. I was most excited about not having to get up every two seconds to go pee. It's so weird to not be able to feel your legs. If I wanted to move I had to get Matthew to move my legs for me. My doctor, came in a few times through out the day to check me. Turns out he is a total douche bag. Seriously, he did not say hardly anything to me the whole time I was in the delivery room. I think he was scared at all the women in the room. Remember how I said my sister was put on call? Well at 5pm they needed her so she had to work for two hours. By the time she got off at 7 I was fully dilated and it was time to start pushing. Robin stayed past her shift to be with me and then the night nurse also came in. We had quite a crew in there and that was a good thing.

Looking back I remember vividly thinking there was no way I could do it. After an hour of pushing and there being no progression I really thought I was going to have to have a c-section. There was no way I could have done it without all the "cheerleaders" I had in the room. I pushed for three hours. My epidural ran out and got shut off by the time she was ready to come so I felt everything. Giving birth to Olivia was the hardest thing I have ever done. I hadn't slept in 36 hours and was so exhausted. During the whole ordeal I remember praying so hard. At 9:59pm she came. 8.2 oz and 19.5 inches long. Poor baby girl had such a cone head....she had a little scrape on her head too from my pelvic bones.

Of course every bit of pain was worth it. I would do it all again times a million for my sweet baby girl. I love her so much!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Due to Inclement Weather. . .

Of course it would only be appropriate for me to blog about the snow Virginia finally saw today. Let me tell you, it was a big-to-do. All of Fredericksburg was up in arms. Lines at the local wally world were redonk. People were stocking up on the essentials, including but not limited to milk, bread, eggs and my own personal fave betty-crocker-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies-in-a-pouch (which really is a whole 'nother blog). Seriously though, people go nuts around here with the snow.

I have so many "snow memories". When I was like 11 or 12, I used to walk and meet Meggan half way between our houses. There was a HUGE hill in her backyard -side bar/sad story=now the hill is gone...trees got torn down and they built houses back there =( SO, we would get on all our "snow crap" and waddle out to the hill to go sledding. We would continue to sled until we got hungry or one of us had to pee. Then we waddled back into her house and unloaded all our "snow crap". One time we got in big trouble for putting all our wet "snow crap" on top of her mom's freshly clean and folded DRY laundry.....yeah we got in quite a bit of trouble for that one...not one of our better days. We always ate oodles of noodles in a cup and Meggan taught me to cut the noodles with scissors so they were easy to eat. Ah. The good old days.

Another snow memory I have is from when I was little and my Dad would come outside to play with us. He always took us sledding on the really big hills back by the power lines behind our housing development. This stopped once my mom witnessed my little sister having some weird buzzing experience back there which must have been caused by the "electrons floating around from the powerlines." Who knows. I used to build a "snow apartment" complete with a "snow couch" and "snow TV" and even a "snow toilet." Don't worry I didn't really use the "snow toilet", it was just for show. Although that brings me to another snow memory.

When my brother was younger he went out to play in the snow. To make a long story short he was outside having a grand old time and well, he needed to go to the bathroom. In his little five year old mind he had a big choice to make. After debating long and hard he came to the conclusion that "peeing himself" would be much easier then making the long 15 foot hike back into the house to go to the bathroom. So he did just that. While fully dressed in the "snow crap" he just stood there and peed himself. We didn't discover this until a while later when he came in and had a big wet spot on his actual clothes UNDER the "snow crap" where there should NOT have been a wet spot.

Fast forward to the 21st century. As a teacher I am OBSESSED with snow days. I check the weather non-stop. I say long prayers asking God to please bless me with extra snow so school will be out. I wear my pj's inside out, backwards etc. One of the most dissapointing things ever is when you are totally expecting a snow day and you wake up and either A. the "snow" was not good enough and school does not get cancelled or B. There was no snow at all. BOOO. The thing that especially sucks is that when you get up to check to see if school is cancelled, it negates the whole deal of sleeping in because you had to wake up in the first place to check cancellations. In an elementary school, usually you get a good idea of whether or not bad weather is on the way. I swear, my students with Autism are super sensitive to the barometric pressure. You just would not believe the craziness. Seriously, talk about autism-gone-a-rye. The noise. The movement. It just doesn't stop when a snow day is on the way.

Today was Olivia's first snow day. She really was as oblivious as to be expected for a 2 month old which, by the way, today is her two month birthday. Time is FLYING. The pictures below were pretty much the extent of our "snow day". We spent the evening at Mimi and Grandpa's watching The Bachelor and eating betty-crocker-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies. It was a very nice evening. Especially comical when Grandpa started to flip out because he found out that Uncle Chase took a spray bottle of some sort of cleaning chemical and and sprayed random spots all over the family room walls and also the brand new 42 inch LCD flat screen TV. HAHAHA yeah, Grandpa didn't think it was so funny.

PS. I must say I am pretty darn proud of myself for figuring out how to put pictures on this thing =) YAYY!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Why Are Some Gadgets Broken?

I would like to know the answer to that question, which was the title that popped up when you clicked "help" on the gadget section of the "blog maker thingy." Those of you fellow bloggers know what a gadget is. OBVIOUSLY, I am a newbie at this. Who thought of the name gadget and why do most of mine appear to be broken? It is quite irritating to spend 3.5 hours trying to fix a broken gadget. Following this post, I will get on the google and research "Gadgets for Dumbies." Speaking of google. I am quite possibly the hugest fan of "google" you will ever meet (PS. I heard somewhere that they added the word "google" to the dictionary). I could go on and on about the google. I will spare you some of that only because I'm sure all of you have experienced the pleasure first hand. I mean, google is changing the world as we know it today. My mother has become a self-proclaimed MD, making diagnoses and prescribing treatments, all via the google. I. love. it.

Any-who. As you have probably gathered. I am not very "computer savvy". Besides the googling of course. One of my BFF's (you know who you are) had to take over the roll of "myspace layout trustee" which she did a fabulous job of I might add. If it weren't for her my page would have been the totally boring template they give you when you first sign up. If it weren't for my sisters, there would probably still not be any pictures loaded of Olivia or from my wedding. Computers and me just have never gotten along great. This very blog is a perfect example and quite frankly, it is not yet worth the blood, sweat and tears (and hours of me trying to figure crap out) until I know people will actually read this thing. Actually, I don't really care if people hard core read my blog...I'm going to make this more about me and what I want. I absolutely love the idea of just getting on here and typing my heart away about whatever I darn well please. This might scare some considering my career, my family and, well, me. I, personally, find blog-reading to be quite entertaining. But seriously. I can write about whatever and always know the computer (yes, you whom I treat so badly) will listen. As rediculous as it sounds, it's kind of nice to think about. I also like the idea of documenting and saving funny stories and ideas clutter-free [read: no paper mess...pure eco-friendly etc.].

SO, maybe you can keep up with my ADD and join me on my "blogging adventure." Hopefully this will be one thing of few I can manage to keep up with. =)