Category Archives: kids

So far behind

I know there are things I usually have done by now that I am nowhere near finished with. It’s driving me a little bit nuts. The weather is being a bit weird and my body is feeling it in very weird and new to me ways. I did figure out what to make the kids this year but they’re the only ones getting mama-made presents. I just don’t have it in me this year to do more and that’s okay. Hopefully, I can still manage a straight (ish) line with my sewing machine lol. I won’t post anything about it until after Christmas as the youngest child lurks here quite often.

I’m working on the yearly wrap up and next year’s goals and stuff and there’s not a lot of good in this year and I will be so glad to see it go. Last years goals didn’t even come close to being met. There was a lot that was out of my control but I really could have done better. 2018 has no choice but to be better than 2017. Except, I’ve said that every year for a few years and each year has shown me how much worse it can get so maybe this year I’ll say something different come New Year’s.

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Filed under Crafting, kids, Life

Just a smattering of days

That’s all I have left of quiet until August. I become accustomed to being by myself for the majority of days during the school year. I come to enjoy it – the freedom to get stuff done without the constant Mama Mama Mama. I adore my kids and, even better, I do actually like them. I’m just never really ready for the end of school. Tuesday shall be watch all the scary movies day because one child is too young and the other is too squicked out by scary.

We’ll have fun this summer. We’ll play in the pool, hatch and catch a ton of Pokemon, hopefully, try new foods, and (for me) lose some more weight. We’ll make things and build things and learn things. We’ll have a grand old time together – we very nearly always do. They already know I’ll be working – both with the freelance and with my books – so I’m not so worried about that. I’ll get stuff done but I am going to miss the quiet and the freedom I have during the school year.

I say quiet but I don’t actually mean quiet as there is always noise in my house as I cannot abide silence. But it’s noise that doesn’t require any action on my part – no responses required at all in fact – so it feels like quiet anyway.

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Busy Girl

Today was IEP day for my youngest kidlet. It went well, as it usually does, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a twist of nerves and flooded with research in the days leading up to it. There’s a lot going on with him and, even though he is getting better at speaking neurotypical, he’s not there just yet. There are still things he needs a little bit of help with. I’m fortunate to be in a district willing to work with me, even when my ideas maybe aren’t the most orthodox ones. I know a lot of other parents have had problems working within the system, even specifically this system, and I am so grateful that I have had such a comparatively easy road for both kids.

I’ve also been helping my stepmom go through my dad’s things. Some things hit me harder than others. I was doing pretty well with the whole thing until I started looking through his slides. He was a phenomenal photographer who had such an amazing artistic eye for framing and focus. I may be looking into what it will take to do something interesting with some of those – maybe pairing his art with mine. I wish I’d seen some of these images before – I’d have suggested this project directly to him. But it’s a long way off and there’s a lot I’ve got to do before I can do a project like what I’m thinking about.

There’s one image in particular that I’m just struck by. We were in Spokane, WA then, I think I might be four in the picture. I’m wearing a bright red winter coat and it is the only real color in the image. I’m feeding the ducks and swans in Riverfront Park with the pavilion and the clocktower in the background. There is no one else in the picture. Not the old lady with the bag of breadcrumbs. Not a single soul on the grass on the other side of the river. No one on the bridge. I cannot remember a time when there weren’t people milling about everywhere there. It was always one of our favorite places to go on his weekends, puttering around with those birds. Oh, how I loved those swans. It’s a striking image and I really want to do something interesting with it. But I suppose I need to get a print first as it is only a slide.

I’m not getting a lot of usable writing done – it’s all a little too maudlin right now – so I’m doing more editing. I’m polishing up a few things to get ready to send out. I think being in this weird zone is actually making the editing easier because I’m not being drawn to five or six other projects I want to write also.

Dad’s Nikon is a lot different than my Pentax but I think I’m going to dust them off, load them up, and teach the kids how to take proper pictures this summer. If I knew how to do developing, I might just do the whole shebang but I’ll settle for lighting, color, and composition matched with shutter speed, exposure lengths, and that sort of thing. I think it’ll be a nice thing to be able to pass that along. Plus, we’ll maybe figure out if the cameras have any appreciable difference in quality.

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Filed under Autism, Books, kids, Life, Memories

Best Misheard Lyrics

At the bus stop this morning, one of my mom friends and I were talking and I’m not sure exactly the evolution of the conversation but we got on the subject of misheard lyrics that reminded me of my favorite misheard lyric ever.

To set the stage, we have never censored much music, we have had lots of discussions about when it’s appropriate and not appropriate to use certain words (in some case, that is never) but we do give a lot of leeway where music is concerned. Also, music is very nearly always on when we are in the car.

My oldest son was about three and we were driving around. It happened that we were listening to a little Cypress Hill. Suddenly, we realize that the boy is singing. I was a little concerned for about half a second. The words he was singing were not exactly the words of the song. I turned down the volume just a little bit so my husband could hear the rousing rendition of “Kids in the Barn.”

I’m pretty sure it was more than a few years before he realized he’d been singing it wrong. It’s one of those moments where I really wish we’d had a video camera. That would be one for the highlight reels.

What are your favorite misheard lyrics?

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Filed under kids, music

2016 in Review

It’s been a year. Which is probably the best thing that can be said for it. Sure, there have been some ups but overall, there’s a shadow over this year for me that just won’t let the light shine down on it.

Like many people, I lost several of my idols this year. I went through a bit of a downswing early in the year with my depression and that had some slightly more lasting effects than usual. There were some upheavals with my career, my house, and some stresses in the family that are likely mostly par for the course, maybe. We lost our OldDog who was a good dog and maybe the smartest dog I’ve ever known.

But there were good things too.

Eldercynne Rising came out. I love this universe and am so glad I get to play in it – the Arachwie are by far my favorite of my created peoples, even more so than the Jaffine.

I got my Alfred. I am a cat person. I am not a dog person. Don’t get me wrong, I love all animals but dogs are not really my cuppa. We’ve always had dogs because my husband and children are definitely dog people. I am an Alfred people. I’ve never had dog that I really really adored until now. I don’t even mind that he smells like dog! No one has ever been happier to see me in my life – and I’m including my children.

I’ve lost 50 pounds (thanks, Pokemon Go and MyFitnessPal). An old friend reminded me that people can be totally awesome for no reason whatsoever (thanks, Becky – you are awesome and totally made my kid’s Christmas!). My kids have been doing great in school and everything. Several times this year, I’ve managed to people without making an ass of myself. I have only had three little panic attacks this ENTIRE year and none of them were debilitating enough to do much more than give me a headache.

All right, so there was maybe more good than bad, or at least, bigger good than bad. It just feels like there has been so much loss this year. This Christmas was harder for me than usual. Everything has made me think of my mother and how much she would have enjoyed my children. I don’t have words to properly explain it. I blame Brad Garrett and his singing Frankenstein’s Monster because that’s where all my weepy started this year.

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Filed under Animals, Anxiety, kids, Life

Aging

I have no problem at all with my aging – in fact, I look forward to most of it – but I struggle a great deal with my kids getting older. In a few short hours, my baby will hit the double digits. I no longer have an elementary school aged child! My older child is learning to drive and my baby is headed for middle school. So why on earth do I not have gray hair yet?!? I have a few, yes, but not enough to do anything fun with!

Time is weird and I don’t like it. Time needs to slow down before I get whiplash! It doesn’t feel like that long ago that my baby came into this world, all 10 pounds 6 of him and now he’s about to be 10. If you listened to him though, you’d think he was about to be 30. He has his whole life plotted out – I really hope he meets a girl who agrees to go along with it – two kids, a farm (in the middle of a city), and a pretty wife. Apparently, they’re all going to stay with my husband and I while he builds their house. He never fails to amuse me.

I love my kids but I am increasingly ready for school to be back in session. I know my teacher friends aren’t quite there yet but my boys do so much better with each other when they aren’t together all the time. That is the one downside of having such a big age gap.

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All the Acronyms

My life is full of acronyms: ASD, IEP, IDEA, SPD, and they’re all quite useful, if you know how to work within the system. Unfortunately not everyone does and the system makes it as difficult as possible to get anything done. I am constantly surprised by how easy I’ve had it. I’ve never had a contentious IEP meeting. We’ve had some teachers who weren’t suited to dealing with my kids but honestly, super easy go of things and I am so very grateful for that.

But apparently my situation is more unusual than it should be. I’ve heard horror stories at my support groups (online and real life) about schools that refuse to do what they’re supposed to do. My kids have it easy because I know the vernacular, the law, and how to talk to people and because I don’t work a standard job, I have the availability to be at meetings, to pester with phone calls, and touch base with email. It makes me wonder how many kids slip through the cracks because their parents do have jobs and can’t be on top of the school all the time or fight tooth and nail to get the evaluations and services their kids need.

The system should not be so difficult to navigate and the plan should not be so difficult to enforce as it can be. Yes, budgets must be taken into account and parents need to be reasonable too but not at the cost of the child’s education. We are losing some bright minds along the way by treating them like problem children or behavior issues rather than people and that’s got to stop. I don’t have any answers or solutions but it all makes me so sad to see.

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A little progress (and a little rant)

I have almost managed to get all the Christmas decorations put away. I should have everything but the dishes done today and if I don’t manage the switching of the dishes, I’ll do it tomorrow. That’s not too terrible but I do feel behind on it.

I have managed to work a bit on Demonborne on one of the last five days. I’ll make it two today hopefully but if not, then not. I need to get better at keeping track but wordcount doesn’t really work for me – especially during rewriting/editing. I suppose I’ll just consider it a win if I not only open the file but actually go through a few pages. I really need to add about 20k words minimum to the story – which is good as I tend to be sparse with description until I’m sure I’ve got the plots down. Description can always be added, if my plot doesn’t work, none of those descriptions, no matter how awesome, will matter in the least.

On to my tiny rant: oldest child is doing a poetry unit in school. He’s a Freshman in high school so I don’t know what I expected. I remember poetry units when I was in school. I remember that 90% of the poetry we went through was by people we would never hear of again and weren’t even all that good. I am picky with my poetry and I don’t keep up with it as much as I should but my kid could only name a scant handful of poets I classify as Must-Know poets and all of them were men. I admit, most of my list of Must-Know poets are male but only because that’s what I was most exposed to in my youth (I’ve added women to the list over the years as I’ve been exposed to more of them). Dead White Male Poets who were mostly from England, Scotland, and Ireland. There is so so so much more to poetry than that. Most poets that  our children know are lyricists. There’s nothing wrong with lyricists but what about Tennyson or cummings or Longfellow? What about Dickinson, Walker, and Kerouac? Are spoken word poets considered lyricists?

He did a segment on spoken word just before Christmas and the kid has some skill with it. It’s raw now and needs refining but it thrills me that it’s there. I showed him some of my favorite spoken word pieces that maybe not everyone knows about and he wasn’t impressed with most of it. In part because he’s 15 and hasn’t figured out yet that women’s voices should matter to him regardless of if they’re talking about female issues and in part because he has no frame of reference for so much of it. Mid-career Rollins spoke to him some just because he’s a lonely, geeky teenage boy with some level of anger about being so. Waits confuses and interests him just on wordplay alone. My boy is teetering on the edge of his emo phase but I don’t think he’ll tip into goth like his mama did (I do so miss that phase sometimes).

It does, however, make me think more about poetry. I fell asleep last night dreaming poetry and reapers. Maybe this year I’ll go back to poetry a bit and see if the last 5 years since the last time I really wrote poetry have matured me any. Probably not but it’ll be interesting to see.

Who’s at the top of your Must-Know poets list? My favorite poet is still a dead white male poet but my list of ones that everyone should know does include a number of women.

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Filed under kids, WIP, Writing

I’m not ready

I got my oldest son’s schedule in the mail today. For his freshman year of high school. Because he’s a freshman now. In high school. Except for the fact that I’m not that old yet! It’s impossible! I’m not adult enough for this.

I don’t know if he’s going to like his schedule as one of the classes he really wanted isn’t there but it’s really becoming apparent that this is going to happen now whether I’m ready for it or not. I thought the transition to middle school was bad. He hasn’t even started yet and I’m wanting to find a way to be in denial. I can’t find one that works though and that sucks.

He hasn’t seen his schedule so maybe it’s not so real yet for him because he’s off backpacking but it too real for me. On the upside to this week, I’ve actually gotten some writing done this week. My youngest kid is very supportive of me writing, in short increments and as long as he gets to swim. Now, I’m just feeling very old and I imagine that feeling is only going to get worse in a few weeks when school actually starts.

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Filed under kids, Life, Parenting

The sound of words

I have two wonderful children. I really do. Even when they go out of their way to irritate me. This week, it’s the words… We were talking about words – specifically the fact that my youngest likes to repeat specific words ostensibly because he likes the way they feel to say. Honestly, I imagine it’s a part of his autism that me and my older son also share. We discussed words we enjoy saying – we all agree on discombobulated. I love Irksome. Youngest loves words with more than five syllables. Oldest loves ten dollar words, regardless of their syllabic count (he’s old enough to enjoy showing off his vocabulary and young enough to still think it doesn’t make him look arrogant and obnoxious – I can’t say much, I was of that type myself once upon a time).

Of course, that conversation ends up on the other side, with all the words we don’t like to hear. I made the mistake of weighing in on this and now, my youngest child is singing the Bill Nye the Science Guy theme song saying my most squicky word where the word Bill should be. If I hear the word Moist one more time this summer, I might cry.

What are your favorite words to say and most squicky words to hear? For the record, I imagine squicky words to be the verbal equivalent to a nail on a chalkboard, shivers down the spine, hackles raised, and a slick heat in the brain that just says ewwww.

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Filed under Autism, Interesting, kids, Parenting, Weird