Taking the Scenic Route

TV on it’s last legs

30th November 2007

TV on it’s last legs

We think the tv is dying.  No, I have ZERO intention of going tv-free.  Movies, in particular, are a big, big deal in our house.  We watch a movie almost every night on our blockbuster monthly “rent as many as you want” thing.  I think we would all go stark raving mad without a tv in the house.  We will never make good hippies I guess.


It was a floor model at Best Buy back in 1993.  We got it on a great sale, and it was one of our first “big purchases”, paid for with tips we had been saving up.  It is 32″ and insanely heavy.  It takes at least 2 people to move it, often a 3rd to get it through weird spaces.  The distortion on the screen used to be almost imperceivable, but we noticed in the last week we are having problems reading the screen when there is writing and the distortion is getting annoying.  I am sort of sad to see it go.

*sigh*  The prices are good this time of year, but I don’t think we can swing it right now.  I hope it hangs on until January, when we will have the money.  Maybe we can even get a flat screen.  Ahhhh…that would be nice.  Easier to move too.  lol.

posted in Money, TV & Movies | 2 Comments

30th November 2007

Dol-drum sickies

Zora has an ear infection, sinus crap & congested lungs.  She feels pretty yucky.  Zane has a cough at night and seems sick in the morning, but by late morning/early afternoon he seems pretty ok, with the occasional cough.  He is saying his ears don’t hurt, but since he doesn’t really do well with understanding what is hurting, we are watching him carefully.  He hasn’t gotten a fever yet (we don’t think, it isn’t worth even attempting to take his temperature until he feels really warm) so hopefully this will pass without too much drama.  I have a bit of sinus stuff going on, but nothing serious.

My house is a disaster zone and the pressure in my head, which isn’t bad when I am sitting, is overwhelming when I try to bend over to clean, so it is just going to stay cluttered for a while.  Zora, in particular, is making a mess far faster than I can clean because her idea of a tantrum is to start tossing things right now (and the stack of Christmas catalogs is adding to her ammunition), and her tantrum are almost constant because she feels crummy.  I need a maid.  Really.  I struggle with housekeeping even when everything is hunky dory and when the sickies hit us, it all starts sinking really fast.  About the only room that is ok is the kitchen.  The floors aren’t good, but the counters and the dishes are in a pretty reasonable state, so that helps.  When the kitchen goes down, it is a lot harder because it makes cooking a huge chore, so at least we have that on the “plus” side right now.

This too shall pass.  It just isn’t a barrel of laughs right now.

Christmas shopping, or the lack of it, is sort of driving me nuts.  There were some great sales on Black Friday and I have a 20% of coupon for Gymboree that I can’t use right now.  I hope there is still a sale going on when the 14th hits and we finally get a paycheck that will signal the beginning of the shopping season for us.  We might be able to get one or two things with tomorrow’s paycheck, but we will see.  At least we know that rent won’t be late.  That is a nice feeling.

eta:  Zane is sick now too.

posted in Health, Money, Stress | 1 Comment

27th November 2007

Backyard ball, swimming lessons

Playing ball with Alex.  (Robert’s oldest)  Robert & his boys spent the night this weekend and Zane had fun playing video games, playing on the computer, and playing outside.

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Zane’s Swimming Lessons.  He is a class with typically developing 3-5 year olds at the YMCA.  They bring in an extra lifeguard to make sure he is safe.  The teacher and the lifeguard are both really great with him.  The first day he flapped so much he looked like he was going to fly away.  He was so excited!  This is his 3rd lesson, and the first time I went with him.   He totally LOVES swimming, no surprise considering how much he loves water.  (photos and videos are all taken at the maximum zoom of our camera through a water spotted window)

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And a video of Zane

posted in Autistic Life, Friends, Swim, YMCA | 3 Comments

24th November 2007

18 years since Harlem Nights was in the Theater

Zach & Jennifer
18 years 0 months 0 days
since our first date

posted in Anniversary, Zach & Jennifer | Comments Off

24th November 2007

Link, recall on weighted lap pads

 RECALL for lead in weighted therapy equiptment like lap pads, vest & blankets


posted in Autism, Clicky, In the News | 2 Comments

24th November 2007

Thanksgiving: Thankful for Family

Thanksgiving at our house!

Joining us:  My Mom & Dad and my Maternal Grandma 

The menu:  Roasted Turkey, 8 lbs of Mashed potatoes (yeah, we really like potatoes), Stuffing (sourdough bread, mushrooms, bacon, and herbs), Sweet Potato Casserole, Green beans with bacon & “schmutz”  (flour that makes a sauce with the bacon grease),  a Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream and an Apricot Pie with ice cream.  The only things store bought was the bread for the table and the stuffing.  We made a big pot of turkey broth the day before for the gravy & stuffing because I was low on chicken broth…I think I will make that a tradition because it was really good.

It was a low key event, like most holidays in our house.  I didn’t even get the house as clean as I would like, but I am fortunate that has family that cares more about the people than the stuff, so I knew it was ok.  The only decorations were the craft projects Zane has made.

Zora snuggled with her Grandma and fell asleep in her arms a few minutes later.  Her Great-grandma was admiring her curls and how impossibly soft her hair is. 

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And the biggest thankful thing this year, that everybody is happy, and healthy, and HERE.  I am so glad it wasn’t
“the first Thanksgiving without Dad”.  It was so close.

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Ready to eat (except Zora, who was still asleep and I wasn’t going to wake up)

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And, after dinner, Zane helped finish up the Apricot Pie.  I didn’t want to stay up until 5am to finish it off the day before, and everybody is always way too full to eat right after the meal anyway, so I saved the Apricot to finish up after eating.

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Hanging out after dinner.  My Grandma and Zane looking at pictures.  (Zane is balanced in typical fashion…his legs are over the rebounder and his shoulders on the couch arm)

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Zora wakes up from her nap and snuggles with Grandma while she is “not quite awake, not quite asleep”

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Zane’s Grandma & Grandpa each took a turn playing on his Nintendo.  After a while, Zora wanted to join in and asked (pulling me over there and asking “up! up!”) to be lifted over the gate to join Grandma in there. 

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Wonderful, WONDERFUL day.  Relaxed, happy, warm.  Lots of laughter and smiles and even some quiet, peaceful moments of just “being” instead of “doing”.  I like that.  I am so thankful!


posted in Autistic Life, Extended Family, Thanksgiving, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), The Kids | 4 Comments

24th November 2007

Our girl

Zach and his favorite daughter

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And I realized that people who are subscribed to my blog (read in email, but don’t go online) don’t get the videos or link to videos when I include them, so here are the links to a few of the more recent videos of Zora (really need to post some of Zane sometime…wish he was happier dressed.  lol. Need to do some editing)  for those that missed it:

Zora and new winter gear:  http://video.xanga.com/Jennifer_Z/8b643550693/video.html

Beautiful Girl:  http://video.xanga.com/Jennifer_Z/e7403527060/video.html

posted in Zach, Zora | 1 Comment

21st November 2007

The Coat Fairy Came! (just in time too)

This morning, when Zach took Zane to his swimming lesson, he was dressed in shorts.  It was 73 degrees F.  Balmy for a Kansas November.  When Zach left for his interview (which went well, but we won’t hear back until at least the end of the month) there was a package on our doorstep.  I knew I hadn’t ordered anything and was quite confused, and then excited when I saw my name on it (meaning it wasn’t a misdelivery).

I brought the package inside and discovered the winter coat for Zora.  Now I have bid on at least 200 coats on ebay in hopes of getting a nice coat and had no luck.  I was starting to get a bit nervous about it.  Winters here can get really, really cold and with a less than reliable car, a really good coat is very neccesary for safety reasons.  Not only was it the perfect coat (my “dream coat” for her), but there was also a matching hat and mittens!  WOW!  Thank you my dear friend.  It meant a LOT to me!

Zora loved it too.  She immediately donned the hat (and she doesn’t generally like hats a lot) and wanted to wear it.  It was too hot to keep the coat on her, but I let her wear the hat around and put on the mittens for a short bit. 

A few hours later, she was back to playing with her new hat and mittens, singing as she took the gloves on and off.


Such a joy!

This evening a cold front came through.  It is now 43 degrees.  That is the expected high for at least the next week, with the lows in the 20s.  Talk about incredible timing.  Couldn’t have been better.  When Zach ran to the store tonight, we were excited to give the coat it’s first test run.  It is cute as a button on her, fits, but plenty of growing room.  I am so happy!

posted in Friends, Winter, Zora | 1 Comment

21st November 2007

TWO date nightS! Dance Festival with “beyond.words” & a movie

Tonight, for the second time this week, my mom came up to watch the kids. 

On Saturday, we unexpectedly got complimentary tickets to see the ballet and she came up.  The ballet was just amazing.  It was a festival, so there were several different colleges showcasing pieces.  All but one were really great.  (the “one” could be described as “purposeful walking” with a hip jiggle every once in a while.  The dancers weren’t bad, but the choreography was like a bad cheerleading routine).  The variety was amazing.  There was a very energetic, athletic dance done to strong African drums that just left you breathless.  There were a few that were so funny the audience was roaring, and some really powerful abstract pieces.  Then, of course, there was the dance we came for.  “beyond.words” was just the most moving piece I have ever seen.  Minutes into it I was transfixed, and moments later I was crying.  By the end I was working to keep from doing the “ugly cry” as the lights came up.  Truly a powerful, amazing work.  When it premieres in it’s full length version, it would be worth a trip to New York to see it on broadway.  Really.  It is still with me days later.  It moved me more than Les Miserables that I saw almost 20 years ago on Broadway.

Tonight, mom came back, this time bearing gifts and food for the kids (she brought food for them last time too, now that I think of it).  Fazoli’s, a sure fire hit with the kids, a “baking set” (kid size muffin tins, rolling pin, cookie cutters, baking pan) and tubs of play-dough.  They had a blast. 

We had a blast too.  We saw Beowulf.  I didn’t realize it was all computer generated until a minute or two into the movie.  It was well done.  We went out to have the Cheddar-Ale soup at Granite City afterwards.  That is just the yummiest soup ever and perfect on a chilly night.

posted in Autism, Zach & Jennifer | 1 Comment

16th November 2007

Bat Pumpkin, Zora Cooks, Spiders, and a Story

Bat Pumpkin

This should have been taken sooner, but we kept forgetting.  On halloween at speech therapy, they had him make a “bat pumpkin”.  The picture on the box was a big pumpkin.  The pumpkin they had was the one you see here on the right, the little pumpkin.  The whole time he was doing the project, he was a bit dismayed that the pieces were “too big” and although he was coping ok, you could tell he wasn’t very happy.  When we got home, he took the big pumpkin that I was planning on cooking with and took all the things off the little pumpkin and put it on the big pumpkin, finally pleased with the result.  The sticky on the pieces isn’t great, so the pieces keep falling off.  When either kid finds a piece missing they say ”uh oh” (and Zane adds “it’s broken”) and then fix the face.  (which Zane declares “all fixed”).  It is quite adorable. 

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Zane made some playdo at speech therapy.  It was well played with.  Zora found it and had a good time “cooking” with it.

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Then Zane got it, asked for some cookie cutters, tried to flatten the dough (pretty dense and hard to flatten), and used the cookie cutters.  Then he dug out a pan, put them in the pan, and told me they were “cooking”.  So cool.

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That face!  lol.

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My darling husband

To say he hates spiders would be an understatement.  He went to the garage tonight to find a pair of pants (for the interview) that hadn’t made it’s way to the closet and discovered a box of clothes with the missing pants among some other clothes.  He also discovered a spider.  A biiiig spider.  A spider that had him running into the house.  He needed to finish getting the clothes out, so he rolled up his pants, tucked them into his socks, and used a stick (the piece that goes in the back of the trike to help guide it) to pick up each piece of clothes and shake it.  _rotfl

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And Finally, A Second milestone for Zane at bedtime tonight

Zane regaled Zach with a story tonight at bedtime.  The first time we have heard (or at least understood enough to appreciate) a unique narrative from Zane.


posted in Autistic Life, Crafts, Language Development, ST, Zach, Zane, Zora | Comments Off

  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 22 years, 6 months, and 21 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 18 years, 6 months, and 25 days old
  • Random Quote

  • Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — John 14:27

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