Taking the Scenic Route

Thanksgiving 2004

25th November 2004

Thanksgiving 2004

A very nice Thanksgiving today.  This year it was just my parents and us, so some of the usual menu was cut since there weren’t as many people (5, including Zane), but we still had enough food to have fed at least 8 – 12 people.  lol.  My Maternal Grandma was planning on attending but hurt her knee and wasn’t able to make it.  Steve and Joy went to her folk’s place since that is the only holiday they celebrate. Mom & Dad came up about and hour before we were planning on eating to entertain Zane during that last hour rush.   They took him out to the playground and played with a ball for a while.  It was nice not to have to worry about little hands getting burned.

We started the morning putting a Turkey into the oven, putting the giblets and neck to boil for the gravy, then finishing up the dishes and clearing off the counter so I could make the pies.  The shortening wasn’t as cold as I would have liked (accidently put it in the fridge instead of the freezer), so I had to be really careful with the pie crusts not to overmix them so they would be flaky.  I didn’t actually complete the pies since the oven was in use, but got them to the point that all would have to do is roll out the crusts and throw in the filling.  Last night I prepped the beans, peeled the potatoes and yams, so this morning all I had to do was start water boiling at the appropriate time to get everything done on time.  It was quite the juggle with such a small kitchen and a small selection of pans.  Most of the morning all 4 of the burners were busy, with one of us preparing something while the other quickly does dishes and works to keep the counters clean.  It was nice to have that rhythm going…we really do work well together as a team.  It was relaxed and fun…although it does get a little hairy right at the end when everything is ready at once and you are both working really fast so the entire meal ends up on the table hot and fresh and don’t forget anything.  Then you sit down with all the adreniline rushing and try to remember to breathe and slow down to enjoy. lol.

Our menu:

  • Turkey, of course, roasted in the Reynolds Turkey bag
  • Mashed Potatoes with butter and cream, about triple the amount ‘normally’ needed since everybody loves potatoes in our family
  • Green beans with bacon and a touch of flour to make a sort of sauce.  (the way my Paternal Grandma made them)
  • Sweet Potato casserole. mashed sweet potatoes with eggs, ginger, cloves, cinamon, brown sugar and topped with marshmallows.  Could probably be a dessert, but that is what the pies are for. lol.
  • Hot rolls, sometimes made from scratch, sometimes not…this year not.  There were not enough guests or time to make it worth the effort.
  • Gravy made from the giblet broth and the broth from the Turkey
  • Various plates of cheese, crackers, fresh veggies and/or fruit with dips, pickles, jams & jellies, and other assorted snacks for people to nibble on throughout the day.  (This year, Zane ate so much cheese that he wasn’t that hungry for the meal…at least the meal on his plate..the meal on Grandma’s plate was good.  hee hee)
  • And, of course, the pies.  Always homemade, this year a pumpkin and apricot.  (Dad’s mom used to make him apricot and it is a hard pie to find, so I try to make it at least once a year for him.  I love apricots too, so it isn’t a problem)  We have good vanilla ice cream and whipped cream for topping.

This year we pulled the stuffing, the cranberries and stuffed mushrooms from the menu and reduced the amount of potatoes because it was obvious we had too much food as it was.  I have walked over to the fridge several times just to look at all the food.  I can’t believe the amount of food I have in my house.  I am actually going to have to freeze a lot of stuff and am thinking of making Potato Knepp since I have so many potatoes and some actual bacon, something we almost never have in our house.  All I would have to make is the noodles.  So many days we have wondered what we were going to eat and now I have the opposite ‘problem’.  It feels good. 

Just so everybody knows.  Yes, I promise, we will make our 6 cheese Crabmeat Manicotti for Christmas.  lol.  I will just forget about trying to make Verenike for Christmas right now.

We had a nice time today.  Full bellies and good conversation.  Zane had a great time going to the playground with his Grandparents and was crying when they left when the vehicle got out of sight.  Tonight we gathered around and watched Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving.  He really enjoyed it.  We happened to rent the Charlie Brown Christmas last night, so he had a double feature.  I really like Charlie Brown Christmas…after all these years I still get the goosebumps when Linus stands in the middle of the stage telling the Christmas Story.  We were thinking about putting up the Christmas tree tonight, but decided to leave that for another day.  This day was happy and full already.  We will save that memory for another day.


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24th November 2004

Wednesday November 24, 2004

I am sort of excited right now.  I called the college and Zach’s name IS in the program…we thought they forgot, so that was good news.  I have been calling around to try and get a meeting room for the party since we have such a tiny place and no actual chairs…just a couch, loveseat, and some folding chairs…not exactly comfortable for a crowd (barely works with just my folks here), especailly when there are a number of people who have back problems.  Diane, my cousin, offered to host it (as long as it is ok with her dh, Mike…she hasn’t asked, but it will probably be fine).  They bought a house last year and she hosted Mike’s graduation party there this spring, and the bulk of the guests will be the same people since that is the family that is local.  I can’t get a hold of Zach’s family to find out how many are making the trip, but both sides might be there…just no solid “yeses” yet.  It will probalby end up being somewhat dependent on weather, since it is December.  One side is coming from Texas, which isn’t as likely to have issues (but driving through OK and KS might be an issue)  of course, that side has the funds to fly in if they want to.  The other side is from Illinois, and that might have more weather issues since they probably will not be able to fly and IL, MO & KS are not known for predicatable weather in December.

Zach has never had a graduation ceremony.  He moved with only a short bit of high school left, and after so many moves, he was just “done” with being the new guy again, so he took his GED and went to college instead.  He has worked so long and through so many obstacles to get this degree.  I am so excited to finally be able to celebrate all that hard work. 

I am really not sure how we are going to make the finances work yet this month.  We have car tags, utilities, graduation party, Christmas, and then Zane’s birthday…plus we will be short two paychecks because the plant he works at closes down over the holidays.  So, he will get paid holiday pay for Christmas, but that will be it for nearly 2 weeks.  uuuggghhh!  January rent might be a problem.  lol.  We will see when we get there.

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22nd November 2004

Monday November 22, 2004

Just wanted to share my favorite toy catalogs.  This is some serious drooling material.  Lots of educational toys, wood toys, open ended playing toys (no dancing Elmo dolls or crap like that), and very few (if any) marketing toys.  (play food is not logo specific, for example).  We got the catalogs this year and have looked through them so many times the pages are starting to fall out. lol. 


Constructive Playthings

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21st November 2004

Sunday November 21, 2004

I am almost afraid to write this because every other time I have gotten excited about his verbal development, he stops using the new words he has gained, but it seems different this tme.  He has continued to use words for several days.  In the past, he will use them for one day, and when he wakes up the next morning, nothing…but this time, they seem to be sticking around.  I am actually thinking about working on potty training because it actually seems possible now.  As cute as the diapers are, I am really ready to be done with dunking and washing them. 

If our memory card would not have been full on our camera, we would have the cutest picture to share with you.  We made pizza, and Zane got really excited, and I honestly think a part of his excitement was that he could say the word “pizza”.  Two days ago he pronounced it “pee -ah”, and after mirroring back and forth a few (hundred) times, he began saying “pee_paa”, then pizza night, it got to the correct pronounciation and he walked around the house with an oven mit and the pizza wheel (dull, btw) proclaiming “PIZZA” the entire time it was baking.  He was none too happy when we took it out of the oven and wouldn’t let him have a piece IMMEDIATLY.  We put some in the fridge so it would cool down faster and he kept going back to the main pizza trying to get a slice even though it was too hot and was inconsolable until his slice was in front of him so he could eat.  In between bites, he would occasionally pronounce “pizza’.  It was fun.

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18th November 2004

Thursday November 18, 2004

   Neat Zane acheivements  

Story telling:  one of the many uses of the Memory Game.  I have a feeling that by the time he gets to the point we can actually play the game how it is intended to be played, I will need to buy a new copy of it for all the use it is getting at our house. When I got it, it was evident there was no good way to show him how it was supposed to be played, so instead, I would line up half the cards and then hand him the matching card and let him match them together from the upturned cards.  Then, we progressed to using them like flashcards (sort of).  He would point to a card and then look up to me to ask what the picture was.  We have spent hours doing this.  Then, he has spent time playing with the cards…making the shoe ‘walk’, the airplane ‘fly’ and such.  He stacks, lines up, and makes baricades out of them that he drives his hot wheels cars around.  Now he will have me sit down and then lay out a 3 x 3 grid of cards and procede to tell me a story, with dramatic hand and face gestures and sound effects.  Every once in a while, admist the chatter, if I pay close attention, I will suddenly hear a word I recognize ” Bear!  You are talking about a bear, aren’t you!?!”  and he stops, his eyes light up and he just grins ear to ear, then continues on.  Evey once in a while he will take one of the cards out of the grid, lay it in the pile of cards and then carefully study the pile for just the right card, replace it in the empty spot, and continue on with the story.  He will do this so long that my tush and legs will fall asleep. lol.

Shopping.  Shopping has always been one of our favorite things to do and it rarely takes less than an hour, and often closer to two hours for a simple shopping trip.  There is so much to see there…lots of letters to point out, lots of counting, lots of interesting sites and sounds.  Ever since he could walk the rule was that as long as he stayed within a reasonable distance and didn’t destroy things that he can continue to walk, otherwise, he had to be in the cart.  He also helps put things in carts since he was so short that we had to lift him up so that he could chuck it over the side of the cart. lol.  (we have learned to live with a lot of dinged packaging and produce until he learned what is ok to throw and what needs to be handled more gently).  He recognizes the staples we usually get and will run right to them as soon as they are in eyeshot…down to what precise kind of milk and coffee we get (the coffee just slays me..the cans even look the same to me and I have to read them to be sure I am getting the right one..makes me really wonder how much he can read)  Some days it is a little more of a struggle when we tell him we don’t need something this time, but most of the time, he will just move on to the next item.  He also likes to push the cart, which is especially amazing when it gets so heavy I have to work a tad to get it moving.  When he is too energetic near bedtime, a shopping trip with him pushing the cart from one end of the store to the other (and back and forth until he slows down some) is the perfect way to wear him out.  He is soooo proud to be helping and loves showing us that he can do it.  It is so funny because he is so short that he can’t see if the cart is full, so one of us has to walk at the front of the cart to steer. 

One of the neatest new developments is his abilty to follow precise directions.  Until recently, when we got apples, for instance, I would first have to get him to stop running around skipping with glee (he loves the produce section..lol) and focus on getting apples and putting them into bags.  Once he started counting the apples as he put them into the bags, I started asking if he could get me three apples (for example) and it would go something like this “1….2….3…good zane…4….that’s enough…..5…6…ok, stop now…attempt 7…..8 as mom is closing the bag….start protesting…have mom help place the apples gently back onto the stand, attempt to return to zipping around, being guided back, taking the closed bag over to the cart and lug over the top of the cart, run around for a bit until we get him refocused on the next item on the list.  (ya see why it takes at least an hour now. lol).  Finally, this week, I asked for 3 apples…he walks right up to the apples, I tell him the red apples, not the green ones this time, small protest, gets the red ones, counts out 3, and stops.  He stops as if that is what he has always done.  I close the bag and hand it to him…no distracting an attempted bolt to get him to finish the job…he just stayed waiting for my to tie the bag and then takes it, holds it over the cart edge and lets the bag dangle until it gently hits the bottom of the cart and then lets go.    I about cried right in the middle of the Target produce section I was so happy.

Now, the funny part of shopping.  The toy section.  We only rarely get him toys, so he doesn’t expect to get anything when we go there…it is more of a site seeing trip.  My 6′4″ kid showed him how fun it was to activate every single elmo, boobah singing/dancing toy on a shelf section so you have a chorus of them performing for you.     It does a good job of distracting him while Zach and I take turns dashing around working on what we want to get him for Christmas and then sending the other person to go look at some particular item. 

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18th November 2004

Thursday November 18, 2004

Rant about parenting boards

Every time I try and post something expressing the challenges and frustrations of parenting a child with atypical verbal development can people not just say “yeah, I can see that”, or “I get frustrated too”.  I know other people share this experience and I understand that most people that share the experience are also dealing with a lot of other developmental issues that I am not.  Every single flippin’ time I post something just about every single response is “I know you don’t want to hear this, but I think he should be tested for…”  autism, or aspergers, or sensory integration disorder, or hearing, or any number other things where delayed speech is a symptom.  You are right, I don’t want to hear that…if you would have READ the post, you would see that I was just looking for support, for people to say they share the experience, just like anybody else who post things like “why does everything have to be a battle” or “I am so tired” or whatever.  They are just looking for validation that they are not alone in this journey, not a diagnosis for Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Some parts of the parenting journey are just plain HARD and it helps to know that you are not the only one who has gone through this, especially when you don’t know people IRL that can identify with you.  Just because somebody does not develop every ability at the textbook time does not automatically mean they have to have “intervention” and a label attached. 

I am very involved and in tune with my son.  I follow his cues and am right there when he initiates the desire to learn something, I help direct him when he is bored and doesn’t know what to do…I spend hours doing puzzles, reading, pushing around little cars, singing, dancing, drawing, teaching him how to help around the house, and answering the million and one questions asked every day.  (you don’t have to be verbal to ask questions, trust me!)  I have learned how to calm him, focus him, comfort him, energize him, and learn what he likes and read some of the more complicated ways he communicates.  (His dad does all this too, I am not alone in this, but I am just talking from a first person perspective right now).  I am probably more in tune with him because he does not verbalize..we have to know him very, very well to be able to function effectively during the day, so there are some good things about this.  Plus, he is developing verbally, he is just doing it at a much different pace and learning style than most kids.  Instead of just trying sounds out, he wants some alone time to work on the skills.  I wish he would do this in front of me…I love hearing the cute things kids say when they are trying to figure out the language, and I do get some of that when I am able to sneak up and listen to him when he doesn’t know we are listening, but that is just how he is.  I am careful to encourage him to try things, to make mistakes so I can show him that mistakes are fixable and not bad, to jump in and experience things.  I am the mom who took his hand and lead him into the middle of a mud puddle because he was afraid to try it.  He is just a cautious kid and I am trying to temper that and help him to jump right in and experience life at full force.  Once he tries something once, you would never guess that it might have taken weeks or months of encouragement to try it because he has the energy of about 3 or 4 kids inside him. lol.  We have also learned how much we can push because if it is a bit more than he can handle, we have sleep problems where he apparently wakes up from nightmares as his fears are relived.  He is very curious about how things work, he just needs a bit of a well-timed nudge sometimes to jump in and try it himself.  It is just very intense and sometimes my human side, and my own perfectionist issues make parenting him overwhelming.  Plus, when most of your interaction is non-verbal, and you have those days where he is in destructo mode where he is determined to do all the things that are loud, messy, and off-limits at full volume it can really frustrating because there is no indication of what triggered it and no real hope of him being able to tell you what the deal is and it can be really hard to figure out when you have to make yourself calm down to think and observe and figure out.

Also, why do people assume that I am unaware of, or in denial of, diagnoses and information so extremely relevant to my life?!?  It’s not like I am capable of ignoring such a blatant deviation from normal development.  I have a mind, a voracious appetite for information, and well developed critical thinking skills.  I don’t just read something in a magazine and take it at it’s face, I dig up the supporting studies and read them for myself and look at everything from the methodology of the study, who sponsored the study (and if they have a vested interest in the results) for possible bias, and if the author of the article accurately reported the result or if it was twisted in some way to prove their point.  (Oh, and if the article doesn’t have any supporting documentation, I tend to ignore it unless I can find something to substantiate the claims) 

I don’t feel like writing a dissertation each and every time I post about something relevant to his delayed verbal development on why I am not pursuing a million avenues of treatment.  I have had his hearing checked, just to make sure, even though there was no doubt in my mind that he could hear just fine, but I will not subject him to a lot of nonsense.  There is too great a risk that some well-intentioned, but biased person is going to slap a label on him simply because he doesn’t feel like cooperating with that person.  The problem is magnifies because of his size.  I have had people come up to me in stores and start talking to him, and after I tell them his isn’t very verbal yet, they launch into talking about how he reminds them of their child (or their friend’s, or sister’s, etc) and how I should send him to the special ed classes at school…when I tell them he is only 2 and I don’t think we qualify for special ed classes at the school (yes, I know there are therapy options available for his age, before anybody posts any of that advice) they look shocked and say they assumed he was 5 or 6 and non-verbal.  That is a natural bias that I run in to all the time.  When I drop him of at the YMCA nursery, I have started writing “I am only 2″ on his nametag so people will cut him some slack when he *acts* like he is 2.  If he gets some label put on him that I don’t agree with, I am not going to seek the recommended treatment, and will then possibly face problems with CPS for being medically neglectful.  I am really looking forward to having regular medical insurance for him because I can attest to the fact you are treated MUCH differently when you have Blue Cross or Aetna than when you have the low income State insurance.  With the state insurence you are treated like you are a lower life form not worthy of their time and energy and must be uneducated and stupid…there is no way on this earth I am taking my child in for tests I feel are compelely unneccessary on state insurance.  And WHY, on a Natural Family Living / Attachment Parenting board, where the main audience is supposedly people who are more into alternative medicines and education can I not seem to find anybody who doesn’t mention “intervention, testing, or medication” in response to these posts.  WHY!?!

I am to the point now that I don’t even feel like I can post some of the neat advances he makes because somebody inevidably asks how old he is or makes a comment that I should have him tested because where he is at “raises red flags”.  So, now I feel like I can’t share frustratinons OR joy any more.  I guess it doesn’t matter that I have never heard “I love you” and the times he does say Mama and Daddy, it seems more like a coincidence of two sounds being put together than a name, or any of those neat little kid sentances that people post ‘makes it all worth it’.  I get special, wonderful momments, but they are quiet, and subtle, and you have to be watching for them or you will miss them. 

At least I can post here and have the option to erase anybody who starts in with such ‘helpful’ advice if I want.

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12th November 2004

Friday November 12, 2004

“Sorry Everybody” is a really moving site I came across a while ago.  I immediatly made a contribution, but it took a while for it to show up, so I kept this page on private so that I could point you to the page it came up on.  Well, I saw it, then they redid the site and I lost it again.  lol.  There are so many pages and I haven’t had time to find it again, so I am just going to post my contribution here and move on with my life.



My contribution


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9th November 2004

Tuesday November 9, 2004

Short work day & creative tantrums

Zach woke up today at 10 am (instead of 6am).  At first he thought he had set the alarm incorrectly, then realized he set it just fine, it just didn’t go off.  After thinking about it, we realized that clock was bought at Service Merchandise when we were shopping around trying to decide on wedding china/crystal patterns.  lol.  That thing is older than our marriage.  So, the morning started off kilter.  Then, he got in to the Olds to go to work, and blew a tire in an area he had to drive totally off the road, leaving only the tire that was blown on the pavement.    Traffic was whizzing by 2 feet away, but luckily, a policeman and his trainee stopped so he could change it without getting killed.  He came back home since it is an itty bitty spare tire.  More emails to his bosses.  He realized that if he left just then, he would have arrived just as his class (he is in a training class) would break for lunch, so he waited and arrived back for the afternoon session.  Then, they ended up quitting early since the teacher had to do stuff.  Very short work day. lol.

(no, he wasn’t in trouble…the people were just worried that something had happened since he is usually there early)

Now, on a funnier note, Zane has to have thrown the cutest tantrum today.  We worked really hard not to laugh.  Tonight he wanted to watch a video.  Shortly after putting it in, I realized Sesame Street was on tv, so Zach went in to take out the video and show him there was a “new” episode on.  Well, he turned it on in a segment where there were no Sesame Street characters, just some old footage of people cleaning out gourds or something like that.  Zane got ticked, turned off the tv, stomped past Zach to his light switch, turned out the light, stomped to the bedroom, turned off the light, stomped over the bed, crawled in and pulled the covers over his head.     Zach turned the tv back on and when Zane heard Grover’s voice, he decided to come back. 

We must have just caught the end of the episode because he just came back wanting his video back on, but Zach is distracting him….wouldn’t want him to GO TO BED to punish us. 


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8th November 2004

Monday November 8, 2004

I guess I am feeling a little better…I feel an inkling of passion again.  Here are some things I found while perusing the internet.   Enjoy!


Mandate?  Well, more people, around 56 million people,  voted against Bush than any other president in history.  There is your mandate.

“Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they’ve stolen.”  – Mort Sahl

Today’s Republicans love money, war, guns, and Jesus in that order.  They also love to legislate everyone’s sex life.

How in the world did they get reelected? Oh, right — Diebold.

“I’m worried about the state of education in America when 51% of the country fails a 1-question multiple-choice test after having 4 years to study.” – Anonymous

Here is the IQ vs Election Results comparison people are talking about. 

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8th November 2004

Monday November 8, 2004

Warning, dreary post ahead:

I know I haven’t posted in a while.  I am just feeling really raw lately.  Things are going to get better financially…not fabulous, but better.  We will be playing catch-up for a while first.  Zach is still looking for a permanent position since the fate of Boeing here in town is tenuous at best. 

I just am having a hard time seeing to point to anything right now.  I am fighting just to get up in the morning.  I started taking vitamins again and I am hoping that maybe a large part of the problem is a vitamin deficiency. Unfortunately, the vitamins make me burp that awful “vitamin pill burp” when I take them, and I need to take food with them.   I am caught in a viscous cycle right now.  I am tired, so I don’t feel like making food, so I grab what is easiest and comforting, which is junkier food, which doesn’t have the nutrients I needs, so I still crave stuff and I am tired again. grrr. I know working out would help, but I don’t have the energy to work out. and on, and on….grrrrrrr.   I can’t seem to break out.  I seem to have burst where I start breaking through and then something happens, even something small, and I don’t have the strength to get up again.

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  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 22 years, 5 months, and 2 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 18 years, 5 months, and 6 days old
  • Random Quote

  • Children get their earliest notions of God from their earliest caregivers. A good prayer for parents is: ‘Jesus, help me grow right along with this little one, and help me to see how I have grown. — Fred Rogers

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