So long 2015 – My Year In Review

Miami - New Years Eve 2014

Miami – New Years Eve 2014

Last year around this time I received an e-mail from WordPress of my year in review. I haven’t received that yet so I decided to just wing it. I do realize that the stats are a bit off because my Instagram friends have to hit my home page for each post and there is no way to determine what posts were there at the time.  “Home Page/ Archives” being number 1 (technically) – let’s move on….

#10:  A post from the very first #1000speak

“And those whose names were never called when choosing sides for basketball” #1000speak

I was not going to participate in #1000speak today because and only because, if given a subject and then told; “Okay write!”, I draw a blank. I was sure that in a week or two I would think of a hundred different posts that I could have written, but they were not coming to me when I first heard about this. [..]

#9: A post about DC’s love of cake ….apparently.

As I wrote in a comment; I thought that was going to be a quick post to write but it turned out to be very difficult. I wanted to give enough information so people would not come away thinking that DC is afraid of his Dad, which is absolutely not the case. But again I didn’t want the post to go on and on. It was a struggle from beginning to end.

“Will there be Cake?”

DC’s father was in Florida for the winter. He left in mid-November. DC did get to see him on the day after Christmas for dinner when DC, Doug and I were in Florida on vacation. [..]

#8: Written to clarify one of my posts that created a bit of a “#%&* Storm” (a minor one) over on the Mighty.

In this case I was glad to have read the comments so that the whole thing could be corrected.

Clarification, The Mighty and Airport Security

A little over a week ago as I was preparing for a trip to Paris and London, I wrote a post about the preparations and the issue we had with my son during a security check on one of our recent trips.

At the same time, the Mighty was asking for travel, airline and airport stories. I submitted a portion of the story I had just written about DC and the TSA Agent at the Charlotte Airport back in October [..]

#7 – A rerun, basically.

I was surprised that this made it into the top 10. It was really just a rerun with the addition of a bit of a vent.

Holy Inappropriate Conversation, Batman! – Stories from the Dental Chair

I had a dental appointment last week. Years ago, I requested never to be scheduled with one particular hygienist. The first time I saw her, I left there feeling as if my mouth had been ripped apart. As it turned out, she has a child with autism. I made the mistake of telling her that DC also has autism. Mistake? Yes! Mistake! This was the most uncomfortable and painful appointment I have ever had! [..]

#6 – One of my favorites!

This was the first “official” post in my “Everything is Related” Series – and there are so many more that I have yet to write (7 months later; I still have not written “Everything is Related – The UK Edition”, but I did manage to cover the Dr. Who portion – Priorities!)

Everything is related – Mary Poppins to New York City

I threatened in an earlier post – a few of them as a matter of fact – I would someday write about how, in DC’s world, everything is somehow related to Disney or some of the other movies he enjoyed as a child and still enjoys now as an adult. Originally I thought this would just be a fun post to write, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized: [..]

#5 – Another post for #1000speak.

According to the “My Top Posts and Pages” feed on the sidebar of my page, this one comes in at #1 (I do not really understand the difference in the feed and the stats – maybe someone who understands this will explain it to me)

…and sometimes a smile is all that we need #1000speak #Compassion

Compassion comes in many forms and at times just the smallest thing – a glance or a smile can mean more than the grand gesture.

I was away and not able to participate in the May 20th #1000speak and due to some unplanned/unforeseen issues going on at the moment, I thought I wouldn’t have the opportunity to participate this time around…..

Then I saw this post from a friend of mine and it made me smile. It made me smile each and every time I read it and on a day when I really needed a smile. [..]

#4 – Remembering the torture that used to be – Birthday Parties

“Arrival Anxiety”

“Arrival Anxiety” – that is what I have always called it. It is, in my mind the best way to describe it.

It does not matter where we are going or how often we have or haven’t been there – it happens. I see the change in his demeanor immediately. It happens so quickly – like walking though a door; on one side he is happy and the other side he is full of anxiety.

I always dreaded the birthday party invitation when he was little. [..]

#3 – No explanation required….

“Logic is the beginning of wisdom; not the end.”

Logic is the beginning of wisdom; not the end.” ~ Mr. Spock

From the post that I re-blogged yesterday: To Boldly Go…..

I admit it…

I am just a big old Sci-fi geek from way back. I watched the first episode of Star Trek back in 1966/1967 (?) and I was hooked – for life.

The first “sign” that DC learned when he was very young (for those of you that may not know, DC was non-verbal until he was 7 years old) was the “Live Long and Prosper” sign. If and when he saw a picture of Mr. Spock or heard him mentioned, he used that sign.

I’ve been in love with Star Trek and Mr. Spock since the very first episode aired back in the 60’s. [..]

#2 – A post about the way DC’s mind works

and the realization that I am still guilty of taking for granted that he will just automatically understand something – for example… after years of wearing goggles for Special Olympics Swimming he finally realized that he could open his eyes in the water. It never occurred to me to tell him that – but that was another story…

Please pass the garlic bread…

It is always funny when I realize something that has never occurred to DC,  until it does finally does occur to him.

For those that may not be aware – DC LOVES bread! Bread, bread, bread, bread and more bread. Bagels, rolls, toast, breadsticks……BREAD!

He is very picky about everything else he eats – not that you would know that by looking at him – believe me he is very picky, but bread is one of the few constants on the very limited list of foods that he will eat. [..]

And coming in at #1 – A miserable experience at the airport….

Off we go….. (almost)

I just finished reading a post from Autism-Mom, PREPARATION AND PANIC about the preparations for their big trip coming up – or should I say the “mind-race while one is trying to sleep” -preparations she is making for her family trip.

I had to laugh out loud as I have been doing the same thing. Our trip is just a couple of days away and along with the “mind-race” and the anxiety about being the absolute worst packer in the world, there is work to contend with. [..]

So there you have my 2015 blogging year in review but now just a quick look back a little further…

 

The top post from 2013 was written about the first season of summer camp post high school.

This was the first season that DC was not able to attend camp for the entire summer due to his work program. It made me sad. It was a milestone that I was not ready to reach.

We can’t have it both ways…. but it’s still a little bit sad.

Today was my son’s first day attending day camp this summer. He has attended this camp since he was 5 – he’s 22 now.

Every summer he was able to attend camp all summer long, even staying after until 8pm for a special after camp program they hold twice a week. He loves it there. [..]

The Top Post from 2014 and according to WordPress, the day it was posted is still my all-time “best day ever” – A post about the end of another era….

Dc’s Letter to His Best Buddy, Steve

DC has been involved in the Best Buddy program, since he was in middle school. Steve has been DC’s Buddy for the past three years. As I’ve told him many times, he is the best, most involved Buddy DC has ever had. Steve will be graduating from college this May. He will be either heading to Boston or back home. In either case, he will not be living close by any more. We will be sorry to lose him. DC will be assigned a new Buddy next year and that buddy has very big shoes to fill! [..]

Just to make this post even more ridiculously long…. a few of my favorites.

My favorites change quite often, but right now – “these are them” in no particular order and from no particular year:

“To Sami, Love Daddy” 

File under: “Rules I thought I would never have to make”

But does he know?

“Hi Mom! Did you have a nice day?”

And just to end the year on an even happier note – search engine referrals; search terms that bring people to my page?

Still reigning as the number 1 search term (s) for 2015 – many combinations regarding Star Trek and Mr. Spock!

So, Happy New Year everyone. Thank you so much for reading over these past 3 years.

DC and I wish you all a Happy and Healthy 2016!

#LLAP

 

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I have now received the WordPress email. My top 5 (as far as they go) matches theirs.

 

 

 

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The “Chip” Cup

homemade chip

There once was a pretty little Easter Cup.

This cup went unnoticed for many years until one day when DC decided that all this cup needed was a face. This cup with its new face was to be named “Chip”. Chip, of course being the chipped cup and son to the tea-pot, Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast. Every day Chip’s face washed off in the sink and every day DC drew it back on.

He used this cup every single day.

Last year around Christmas time I thought how great would it be if I could find him a real Chip Cup. My first stop, as always was Amazon and there is was. It was quite expensive for a cup, but in comparison to DC’s usual requests for items that don’t exist or items that I have to find on EBay (usually a collectables), costing a fortune – was a deal.

I read the description and the reviews to be sure that this was something that was intended to be used as a cup and not just decorative and purchased it.

He was so excited to open the gift and find this cup on Christmas morning. He loved it and like the old Easter/Chip cup, used it every day.

One day in August not too long after DC had his second seizure, I was washing his Chip cup and happened to notice it said “Made in China” on the bottom.

Me, being me panicked.

Me, being me completely went over the top with my panic.

I bought this from Amazon. What if the person selling this cup had it in stock or sitting around for years? What if the cup contained lead paint – because, of course everything that goes wrong HAS to be completely my fault. Yes, I know that this is highly unlikely and yes I know that they would not allow a seller to sell this item with lead paint, but..

me, being me threw his beloved Chip cup away right there and then.

This did not go over very well…… at all.

It took a few months, but I thought he had finally gotten over the loss of his Chip cup. Then December came and it was time to make his Christmas list and there it was……

 

2015 list

He had not forgotten….

Not really thinking I would find another until possibly the next time we were actually in Disney World, I went to the Disney Store site and there it was. Once again, I read the description and the reviews to be sure that it was not for decoration only and purchased it – directly from Disney; no third sellers involved. I felt much more at ease about that.

He was ecstatic and has not let it out of his sight since.

chip

And the poor lonely Easter cup has been relegated to the back of “Cup-board” (DC-speak) never to be drawn on again….

 

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If the cup was not of such a decorative nature, I would not thought anything about the “made in China” label. Most of our other cups were made in China.

 

 

 

 

 

These Three

Best BuddiesThese Three…. they are truly amazing. As their parents, my friends and I know this. We know the progress they have all made.  Sometimes though in dealing with the day-to-day, we do not always remember the journey until someone who has not seen them in quite a while points it out.

We lived it all but we tend to concentrate on the here and now and the future – how we got here is not always uppermost in our minds. We deal with today.

Last week we ran into our kids’ Special Olympics swimming coach at a Best Buddies Christmas Party. She was there with another friend of ours. She has recently moved out-of-state so she was filling us in on what she has been up to since her move. She was also their volleyball and golf coach for many years as well so she has been a part of our kids’ lives for quite a long time – since they were very young.

 

As she was watching our kids at the party, she commented on just how much progress they had made over the years. DC’s friends stories are not mine to tell, but her comments about DC made me sit back and really think about just how far he (and his friends) have come. As she watched him socialize in this crowded room she said “Who would have ever thought that he would be able to sit in this room and tolerate the crowd and the noise?”  She was right; attending this activity would not have been a pretty sight back then. Never mind the noise, he would have never been so social with anyone of his own age or anyone but me for that matter. Then there were the times when I really should have just thrown in the towel and not taken him to practice at all. Now-a-days we can pretty much go anywhere with out too much of an issue.

She knew us and she knew our kids inside out. She always went out of her way to make the process as easy as possible for us and most importantly, for our kids. Special Olympics lost a fantastic coach, when they lost her due to her work and school commitments.

SoGolfSoVolleyball

 

These Three have been through a lot both separately and together. We have all hit some potholes along the way; some deeper than others, but for the most part we have traveled this road together. It is nice to sit back and remember this very long journey that they have taken with each other. They have grown into amazing young adults and yes, we know this, but it is always nice to have someone point it out and bring it all back for you.

Although the stories of his friends are not mine to tell,  I will say that I am as proud of them as I am of him. As we live with new and different struggles and challenges, we should take the time to remember just where we all started and all that These Three have accomplished over the years.

There has been so very much.

Sometimes is just takes someone else to help us remember.

And we should remember and we should be proud of all of it.

These Three………….

They are impressive.

They are amazing.

IMG_2649

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easing my “Elf Envy” with ornaments and clues….

DC is most definitely what I would call the ultimate ornament collector. In 2013, I decided that I would start hiding them around the house to make receiving new ornaments more interesting and to ease the “Elf Envy” I was feeling by not participating in the whole Elf on the Shelf thing.

He did so well with the random hunting of ornaments by the end of that season that last year I decided to make it even more interesting by leaving clues instead of just hiding the ornaments for him to happen upon. It took a little while for him to get it, but he did and I think he had some fun with the hunt.

Below is a post from 2014 – our first attempt at hunting ornaments with clues. We have already begun our hunt this season and at this point, really all I have to say is “Here’s a clue” and he knows there is an ornament to be found somewhere.

Ornament Hunt 2014 (and one Elf on the Shelf)

As I wrote in an earlier post (There’s no elf on our shelf), I do not do the whole elf on a shelf thing with DC, but last year we did start a new tradition of hiding and hunting for the numerous ornaments he receives each year before Christmas.
Last year being the trial run, I discovered he was just not noticing them as I assumed he would, so I began writing notes each time I hid an ornament. By Christmas he was getting the hang of it. This year I decided I would not only leave a note, but also a clue. Coming up with clues that he would understand was not easy and I have to admit my clues need work – below is our 2014 Ornament Hunt –
Complete with some pretty terrible clues – so don’t judge.

#1 Elsa hidden on the shelf of his DVD cabinet

frozen

 

There is a new ornament for you to find.. I hid it very well. If you should find it after you watch your movies, please give me a yell”

(he thinks I’m funny, anyway)

 ~That was the last attempt in rhyming for the season.

#2 Mary Poppins in the silverware drawer.
poppins

There is a new ornament to be found: Just a SPOONFUL of Sugar helps the Medicine go down. What do you use to help the medicine go down?”

#3 Baloo and Mogli on the towel hook

Mogli

He found Baloo and Mogli before I had the chance to leave a clue….

#4 Tinkerbell in the drawer

Tink

Oh No! Tink is stuck in the bedroom drawer!”

Yes, I thought I was just giving this one away. I thought so anyway…. As it turns out, because I didn’t mention an ornament in the note – he read it, put the paper down and went about his business. When I finished laughing, I explained that he had to look for his new Tinkerbell ornament.

#5 Sully hanging on the lamp

photo1

 Sully must be very “BRIGHT” to attend Monsters University. Where is it Bright in the living room?”

It was right here that it finally clicked. He read it (no mention of an ornament) thought about it and without me having to help, looked around at the Christmas tree lights, moved on to the lamps and found it.

—–Progress, Progress, Progress——

#6 Ruby Slippers on his bedroom shelf

angel

 

Cordelia clicked her heels three times in Pylea “There’s no place like home” she said.

It didn’t work.

Who went to Pylea to save Cordelia?”

He understood the question and gave me an answer – he was really beginning to get this. The only prompting I had to give was “Do we have Angel and Lorne somewhere in our house?”

(Unfortunately, our Lorne lost his head after his last fall from the shelf, but in keeping with the theme of the hunt; he did actually lose his head temporarily while the gang was in Pylea. He just had much better luck getting it back in Pylea than he did in DC’s room)

#7 An Elf of a shelf

buddy

Your ornament is

L O S T

so take a look around to find Buddy the Elf sitting on a shelf.

Where is the L O S T shelf in the living room?”

First, let me say – There is an elf on the shelf.

Secondly, I thought this clue might be a stretch for him. That DVD set has been on this same shelf since the show went off the air. This in no way means that DC notices it at all, but I gave it a shot.

Believe it or not, he went right to it. I am always amazed by the things he notices when I think he is paying no attention at all.

#8 Brady Bunch on the wall

bb

 

Till the one day when the lady met this fellow And they knew it was much more than a hunch, That this group must somehow form a family. That’s the way we all became the Brady ‘Bump’.

Where does Doug do the ‘Brady BUMP’?”

This one needs a little it of an explanation….. Doug sings this song, he’s done it for years. He sings the Brady Bunch theme but replaces Brady Bunch with Brady Bump and crashes into the wall.

– insert my eyes rolling –

DC thinks it is the funniest thing in the world and asks him ‘crash and repeat’ – over and over again.

“One more time!”

– insert eyes rolling and head shaking –

This happens to be the spot where the singing and the wall where the crashing takes place more often than not.

-insert,  as DC would say, “Mom, put hand to face” (hand on forehead, as in OMG), shaking head, heavy sigh and eye roll-

Again he went right to the spot. Once it all clicked, it clicked!

#9 TARDIS on the clock

who

 

Dr. Who is a T I M E Lord. – He and the TARDIS traveled through T I M E hoping for a spot on your tree.

Where can we find the T I M E?”

I am 100% positive he would have gotten this with the clue I left. I hid this ornament while he was out with Mrs. H. at his theater volunteer Christmas Party and forgotten about it by the time they arrived home, when I would have guided him to the clue before he had the chance to run around putting his things away.

He spotted it and went over to take it down. I said “Oh, you didn’t get to read the clue”, so of course, he put it back. I told him he didn’t have to put it back, but all things in order; he went and read the clue out loud, then went back to claim his ornament.

#10 Princess Merida in the TARDIS

brave

Princess Merida must be very BRAVE to take a ride with DR. WHO, ROSE and K-9 in the TARDIS.

Where is ROSE and the TARDIS?”

I realized that I did not think this one through completely – He just received a TARDIS ornament a few days before. I was sure he would head straight to the ornament now hanging on the tree. I was correct in my assumption, he went to the tree. After a little bit of prompting “But where else do we have the TARDIS? Where is Rose and K-9?” , he did find it.

I still felt he should still have a few to just happen upon as he did or as I tried to have him do last year, hidden in places that I knew he would go eventually.

Trial run of 2013, over. I am declaring the 2014  Ornament Hunt a success!

Just to update you on my friends’ progress this year. As I said, if I am not going to do it, they very well better be creative about their elf!

~ Yes, it is hard to be my friend……..

Year 2 of  “The harassment of *Al” – my constant badgering to hide elf in a Rice Krispies box. (I’d seen photos, I e-mailed, texted and showed him photos and nothing). Finally he decided he would use this as one of his Elf setups. Geez!

He texted his wife while she was out shopping and asked her to buy Rice Krispies. She replied that she had Crispy Rice. He told her he wanted the real Rice Krispies. She asked why and he said he wanted to make Rice Krispie(s) treats. (Why he wouldn’t tell her what he really wanted them for, I do not know).

She bought Crispie Rice.

I told him that I had just seen a photo of someone using a Crispie Rice box, I had actually e-mailed it to him a few days before, but he said it would not be the same.

The following morning when I was getting DC’s breakfast ready it occurred to me that I had a box of the ‘real’ Rice Krispies, so I took the cereal out and brought him the empty box.

krispies

And there you have it!

*Geri has also done a few very creative things with Derek the Elf, but still being in the training portion of the program, she has not gotten the hang of remembering to take a photo of everything Derek gets himself into.

~Maybe next year

The Santa Train revisited….

train s

December, is the time for reruns. I love reruns, especially holiday reruns. The following is a post from December 2014 about the important lesson DC and BB learned while riding the Santa Train.

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Lessons learned on the “Santa Train”

train

(Code word of the day: “Supplement”)

The other day, I read a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Autism-Mom. The post, FEELING THE MAGIC was about her son questioning the existence of Santa Claus. Give it a read if you have a minute, it is wonderful.

As parents, we all come to this crossroad sooner or later. It is a sad milestone. It begins to be difficult for them to understand and believe in something that they can not see. Sure we see Santa and his helpers quite often during the months before Christmas, but never during his Christmas Eve deliveries. This causes our children to question his existence. Why can’t they see him? Why must they be asleep? As I explained to DC, Santa has a job to do. If he took the time to stop and visit with the children in every house he delivered gifts to, even with his magic, he would never be able to finish in time to get back to the North Pole to celebrate Christmas with Mrs. Claus and the elves.

It took DC many years to understand Santa. He knew he would receive gifts, but the whole idea of Santa was not something that could be understood easily. His not understanding, did not stop Santa from leaving him gifts.

When it finally clicked and he did finally get it, he was all in! Now that he does understand, he would never and will never question his existence.

The one problem was, DC ‘s Christmas requests have always been small (in size) gifts. Santa could very well bring him 20 DVD’s, but the pile of gifts (visually) would be very small. DC doesn’t understand cost/size vs. number of gifts. He expects a very big pile of gifts. So, over the years I would always “supplement” the Santa pile with gifts of my own.

Being a single mother for more than 20 years now, I am the sole “supplement-or” (yes, I know that is not a word) of DC’s gifts. Which means I not only “add” to what Santa brings just to make the pile look more exciting for DC, but I also, of course, have to buy additional gifts from ‘Mom’. This gets to be a little bit overwhelming for me, not only in cost, but in trying to come up with other gifts ideas to make that “pile” he needs to see.

Now that DC is an adult, and the items he asks for are smaller still, it is becoming harder and harder to “supplement” Santa’s  gifts, to make that Christmas gift pile”,  I did finally have to confess to him that some parents, with adult children, have to help Santa out a little bit. Santa has so many little children to deliver packages to on Christmas Eve, that it is hard for him to get to everyone. So now that the is an adult, Santa only delivers his stocking and the rest of the gifts in his pile are from Mom. Santa always did a pretty good job with his stocking, by the way. He was fine with this. As long as Santa is coming, even just to bring a stocking, all is well.

Coincidentally, the morning I read the post from Autism-Mom, was the day that DC, his best friend, BB, BB’s Dad, Doug and I were going to take a ride on the Santa train.

Earlier this week, BB had just been told by one of his other friends that he was too old and should not still believe in Santa. He was upset by this, but BB knew better. He knew he was correct in believing.

Both DC and BB were very excited about riding the train. They always have the best time when they are together anyway.

stst2

Santa boarded the train a few minutes into our trip. He received more hugs that he expected, I imagine.

BB mentioned to Santa, what his friend had said to him that week. Santa took a little bit of time to talk about it with BB and DC.

(This video below is very poor quality – it was dark on the Santa train, but you can hear some the conversation and Santa’s advice to BB)

“Those who don’t believe, well they are the one’s that are missing out” ~ Santa Claus

So there you have it, straight from Santa’s mouth. BB felt much better. He knew it before but now he really knows that he was right all along…