Taking the Scenic Route

Last installation of Graduation Photos

30th May 2008

Last installation of Graduation Photos

These first four are the “official” photos that were taken by a contractor for the school.  If parents, ect, want a copy of it, let us know and we can link you to the website.

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The rest of these were taken by our friend, Robert.

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posted in Graduation, School, The Kids, Zach | Comments Off

30th May 2008

Backyard BBQ with Friends

The boys played together and did a little better at including Zane in their games most of the time.  Here they discovered his “Cube World” toy and spent time watching them. 

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BTW…if you have problems getting your child to tell stories/narrations, this is a great toy.  Each cube has a little stick figure guy that does things.  It is simple, and without a distracting background, and we have had great success sitting with Zane having him describe what is going on, and starting to get him to predict what they might do.  He still has a hard time with word retreival, but this is the first thing where we have had some success in discussing/describing what is happening while it is happening.  Normally the suckers are expensive, but Amazon sometimes has them on some really kick butt sales.

 

The girls played together all evening.  By the time I thought to grab the camera, they had shed most of the dress up clothes (they were in hats and capes earlier), but I still caught some cuteness.

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posted in Friends, The Kids | Comments Off

30th May 2008

Curly Top

AKA…why it seems to take forever to grow out curly hair…

wet (not even the best photo since she is looking down.  If she was looking straight ahead it would add another inch)

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and dry (looking up this time…little buggar was not cooperative in getting a picture of her hair today)

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posted in Zora | 3 Comments

29th May 2008

The little Z

If Zora doesn’t have a purse, she pretends other things are purses, including old shoeboxes.  (I am not a purse person, so we are blaming Zach’s mom for the shoe and purse gene.  lol )

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And…the garden saga continues

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Zane was excited to see a tomato on the plant and picked it.  Zach took him to the plant, showed him the little tags and explained to him that we have to wait until the tomatoes are red, like the picture, to pick them.  Zora has been a little obsessed with the little fruit laying in the garden.  (hence the picture)

When Zane saw this picture on my computer, I asked him “What is that?” (pointing to the tomato)  He didn’t answer the question, but instead said “That’s not red.  Don’t pick it!”.  lol.  I think the lesson sunk in, even if he didn’t really hear my question.

 

posted in Echolalia, Garden, Zane, Zora | 2 Comments

29th May 2008

Car, Insurance, Travel

Good News!
For the first few weeks of his new job, Zach will have use of the company car.  That way we have time to get together some money for a second car for the family.  He has a small amount of retirement money that he will be able to access from the state job (they take money out of your check whether you want to or not for retirement, and since it is tied to the stock market, we are losing money every month at this point anyway, and it isn’t a large sum to begin with).  Now that his last day has passed, we can either roll it into an IRA or take the money out.  Considering we could replenish the amount in just a few months, and we need a car now, we are going to get a used car with it.  (we get cars that are too old to get bank loans for).

The insurance drama
They changed the policy of how insurance is done at the school, so we won’t have insurance for the next two months.  That really stinks.  As it turns out, however, it wouldn’t matter for the therapies because our last therapy with the OT bounced because they only cover 30 sessions a year in combined ST and OT.  So, it wouldn’t have been covered anyway.  That means we can’t afford OT over the summer until the new insurance kicks in in August.  If we have anything catastrophic happen in those 60 days, we can pay $2000 to Cobra and it will backdate to cover it.  It is expensive, but at least it is something.  It does mean I will have to cancel some dr. appointments for the summer, but I can reschedule them for fall when the new insurance kicks in.

I have a call in to the private place he gets ST to see if they will still cover us with financial aid or not.  I also signed him up for a social skills camp taking place there for a week this summer, so that hangs in the balance too.  The other place doesn’t take insurance, so it doesn’t affect there.  (we are on financial aid there too)

eta:  I talked to the insurance person at the private ST, and she thinks that we are fine…loss of insurance shouldn’t affect the financial aid contract.  She did tell me to call the HR person at his new job and make sure we are still in the window for pre-existing condition covereage.  We probably are, but if we aren’t, we will need to dig up the money to pay Cobra so there isn’t too long of a window.   Between Zane and me, not covering pre-existing would be a serious, serious problem.  I haven’t had any symptoms of Endo in a long, long time, but it is still pre-existing and might affect my ability to get a hysterectomy without a lot of hoops.  (when I am done having kids, the sucker is coming out…I pay a heavy and painful price to maintain fertility, and if I was sure we were done, it would already be gone)

Prospective international travelers
We have to get passports (at least Zach does) because his company wants to send him to Germany this summer sometime.  Hopefully after Aug. 1st so we don’t have to travel without insurance.  Hopefully a little later too so that we can afford for me, and possibly Zane, to go with him.  There is no way I am traveling with a two year old that will get nothing out of the trip but make everything ten times more difficult.  If there is nobody to watch her, I would rather stay home than travel with her, even though it would be disappointing.

Plus, she isn’t vaxed yet, and I am not speeding up vaxes for that.  We might get a tetanus this summer, but we want to wait until 3 and the blood-brain barrier is closed before getting the majority of the vaxes.  (it closes sometime during this year).  Zach and I will probably need boosters, but we think Zane has everything he would need to travel, unless they require the Chicken Pox one.  I will have to double check, but I think that since we got the MMR very late (he was almost 5) we don’t need any more of those.  I also hope it is later in the summer because it will give him (and me) time to learn some German before we go.  We are thinking of getting Rosetta Stone, but the prices are eye popping.  Less than classes, but still expensive.

 

posted in Autistic Life, Money, OT/Sensory, ST, Stress, The Kids, Travel | 6 Comments

24th May 2008

Blah, End of the Semester, and Bad News

*warning* depressing post…

Blah
The kids are coughing again, I am joining them, and as I write this I hear a cough from Zach.  Oh joy.  I just feel so blah.  Might have a low grade fever too because all of my clothes hurt and I just have zero energy.  If I didn’t feel so crappy, I would probably find Zora’s new fascination with band-aids cute, but I don’t feel good enough to really appreciate every little flaw on my body pointed out and having a band-aid put on it at this point.  (which I have to remove soon after because I am sensitive to adhesives/latex).  Not one of my favorite days, but could be worse.   I wish I had the energy to clean because this place sure could use it.

 A frustrating end to the semester for Zach
      AKA….cheater, cheater, pumkin eater…
I haven’t been able to write about the drama here the last few weeks because, well, you will understand.  It sucked though.  As Zach was looking over the last assignments of the year, he discovered a student cheating.  Not just a little cheating, but turning in the exact file, down to the other student’s name in the header file.  Then he went back through the semester and found other similar examples (even one other student who didn’t bother to erase the first student’s name out of the header file). 

When all was said and done, there were seven students, most of them international students.  It was so disheartening and frustrating.  It was, of course, in the in-person class and not the online classes (which would be much harder to cheat from anyway, but most students who take online classes aren’t getting together with other students…much more self reliant as a whole.  They don’t even ask as many questions). 

If he continues to teach, there are some loopholes he will have to close up.  He just didn’t think students at this level would do that (the grad student who participated was especially shocking), it just didn’t really cross his mind that people could be that way.  He now knows why older, more experienced profs are hard asses…they have to be.  They have been burned, they have been taken advantage of, and they don’t want to go through the PITA work of dealing with cheaters. 

It is a major PITA too.  He probably spent more time researching and documenting than the students did on the assignments.  He was told to give every cheating assignment a zero and turn in all of the documentation to the department.  That meant almost all of the students, except one, failed the course.  The one that didn’t got too low of a grade to take the next class.  For the international students, it could have bigger consequences, even if they don’t get “Failed because of cheating” on their transcript.  If international students don’t pass a certain number of hours, their student visas can be revoked.  The department heads will decide if there is any further action (adding a “cheated” notation after the “F”,  or kicking them out of the program, or kicking them out of the school…it is at the discretion of the department heads and possibly the Dean, if it gets passed up to them, and if there is any history of cheating)

Now he is getting emails begging him to change the grades and acting like they are innocent.  Emails begging him because their lives are going to be royally screwed up by this.  I am sorry, but it isn’t his fault that you are going to have your financial aid revoked, or not be able to be a GTA next semester, or are going to be on FA probation.  You did this to yourself when you chose to cheat.  All of the students cheated more than once.  I think if it had been once, then you pulled your head out of your nether regions and didn’t do it again, I could feel a little sorry for, but when you cheat all the way through a class, it shows a lack of character and good judgement.  You have nobody but yourself to blame for your actions and the consequences. 

So, the last few weeks, which should have been time to relax and enjoy our family, and the closest thing we ever get to a vacation, have been fraught with frustration of having to deal with this mess.  So irritating.

 
And, if that didn’t suck enough…My Grandma’s friend and neighbor was murdered

http://www.ksn.com/news/local/19113194.html

She lives in an independent living community attached to the nursing home in the very small town of Buhler.  It is an award winning, wonderful facility in a one stoplight town and most of the residents are from the surrounding community and she has known them her whole life. (probably related to a few too)  She already suffers from anxiety and similar issues, and now every time she opens her door, she sees the door of her friend, the one the killer walked through. 

She said she thought she had heard pounding on her door that night (she has a fan and white noise machine to help her sleep), but assumed she was hearing things since she often does.  (she can’t physically hear her neighbors, and there is no way she heard pounding on her friend’s door, but she might have heard the killer pounding on her door)  If that isn’t enough to make you shudder, I don’t know what is. 

My mom stopped by the next day and grandma was out for coffee with her buddies (a really good thing).  Mom brought by some flowers produced by plants she transplanted from Grandma’s farm to her own farm to cheer her up.  She put the flowers in the vase and was grabbing the trash as she was ready to out the door to meet grandma at the coffee shop, when Grandma walked in.  It totally freaked Grandma out that the door was unlocked and it took her a bit to calm down.  Mom felt about as horrible as you can feel.  They decided to get out of there, away from the stress and the police and the news crews.  They drove to Wichita for the day and enjoyed some dining and shopping.  It turned out to be a good day for them both, but how much does it suck to have to deal with something like that when you are in your late 80s.  I hope she can recover from this, but I am really worried.

 

posted in Extended Family, Health, Stress, The Kids | 4 Comments

24th May 2008

OK, I just need ONE picture. Please?

A small sampling of “trying to get Zane’s picture”

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That will work.

We now have a “Student ID” for him for all of those things that say “show your student ID for a discount” things.  (I legally registered the homeschool this week.  I don’t have to until he turns 7, but since he will do that this school year, I figured I could go ahead and do it now.) 

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Now I just have to get pictures of us that don’t horrify me (the school supply store and bookstore will give you a discount if you are a homeschool parent, as long as you have a teacher/faculty id card), laminate the suckers, and we are set for the year.

I modeled it off of the cards you can get at:  http://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/index.php?option=com_quickbase&Itemid=268

 

posted in Autistic Life, Homeschool, Zane | 2 Comments

23rd May 2008

First Gardening Attempt

We have no clue what we are doing, so I am sure we will give experienced gardeners a giggle.  Hey, you have to start somewhere though, right?  Zach handed me the money he got from my parents for a graduation present and I ran to Home Depot and Target and got our supplies yesterday.  Today, we pulled everything out and got to work.

Putting drainage holes in the buckets.  (some cheapo buckets from Target…$6/each instead of the $20 cheap plastic pots at Home Depot..if I am getting something cheaply made, it better at least be cheap. lol)  We discovered our drill doesn’t work any more, so we had to improvise.

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As we are putting holes in them, I hear in the background “It’s dark in here” and look up to see this:

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Which starts this:

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Back to the project, adding rocks for drainage  (the farm girl in me had a real issue with paying money for rocks.  I feel so suburban now)

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Adding the potting soil.  There were easier ways to do this, but this way the kids could really dig in and help.

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The only picture we got of the planting process because our hands were too dirty to pick up the camera.  It involved a lot of “be gentle, don’t hurt the roots”, and “Zora, leave the sticks in there” and “which plant do you think this stick goes to” (will be interesting to see if we got it right when they come up).  Zane was a big help.  Zora was trying to be a big help. Zora should have had a longer nap this afternoon.  lol.

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Finally, giving the plants a drink.

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Our container garden:  patio tomatoes, a beefsteak tomato, a cherry tomato (breed for containers), sweet green pepper, sweet red peppers, sweet orange peppers, tabasco pepper (which was what I apparently grabbed instead of a second green pepper), two kinds of basil (sweet and spicy), rosemary, Texas tarragon, oregano (I think), mint and parsley. 

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I hope it actually grows.  It was fun planting it.

 

posted in Garden, Summer, The Kids | 5 Comments

22nd May 2008

Happy Flower Dress

My mom’s best friend made this dress and hat for Zora, so I wanted to get some pictures of her in it the first time she wore it.  Here is my favorite little girl model, even though she refused to give up the sippy cup.  (the sippy cup was her “guitar” for some reasons…she was singing and strumming the cup.  lol)

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Mega blocks on the patio.

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posted in The Kids | 5 Comments

21st May 2008

Oh HAPPY DAY!

Zach got a written offer in the mail today!  WooHoo!  He called, negotiated a few points, and is being sent the final draft for us to sign.  A non-academic job, so there is a decent salary to go with it.  Now we can (hopefully) afford to pay back the student loans and still eat.  lol

 eta:  Yes, it’s in Wichita.  No moving!

posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 15 years, 7 months, and 24 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 11 years, 7 months, and 28 days old
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  • Peace…it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart — unknown

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