Taking the Scenic Route

Spring Flowers

29th March 2010

Spring Flowers

I picked up a few packets of seeds at Aldi and we attempted to plant them.  It was way windy, so it will be interesting to see how many of them made it in the planters and how many we have in the lawn.

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21st March 2010

March Madness in our house.

We are not sports fans.  Although we understand that people around us love sports, we can’t really understand why you would want to waste several hours watching people run back and forth.  Highlight reel…sure, that is interesting, but the entire game?  Why?

Since both major state universities made it into the “Sweet Sixteen” this year, we have heard a LOT of sports talk.  I even kept my facebook page open so I could see how it was going by the comments while we went on with our lives.  As you can imagine, there was lots of drama when KU “broke their bracket”, and we had another week of listening to sports commentary until K-State did the same.  I was disappointed, because even if I don’t care about it at all, I felt bad for people around me, and am particularly sympathetic to K-State fans since my brother got his engineering degree there.  (and Zane’s first ST got her degree from KU, so I was sad for her too).

Later in the week, as the health care debate was heating up, we invited a friend over, turned to C-SPAN and watched the debates and votes.  Cheering, clapping, booing and talking back to the TV as we intently watched.  A few hours into it I realized that maybe C-SPAN was the nerdy version of ESPN, even including the nail-biting vote counts at the end of the session.

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21st March 2010

Photo attempts

While waiting for me to finish getting ready for church, Zach grabs the camera to get a photo of Zane (since his hair is actually out of his eyes that day) and Zora sees what is going on and rushes into the frame.  You can tell which kid loves the camera and which one is somewhat annoyed by it.  :roflrly:

posted in Autistic Life, Zane, Zora | Comments Off

20th March 2010

Last whimper of winter

March 20th gave us what is likely the last bit of snow this year, not even sticky enough for snowmen.  Zora still had fun.

Throwing snow at Daddy

Attempted Snow Angel

I am really going to miss winter this year.  It was such a fun winter and it stayed cold the whole time so there wasn’t the constant “trying to adjust” going on all the time and it didn’t feel nearly as cold, even though the temps were actually lower than they have been in years.

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19th March 2010

Census time!

Anybody else a little dissapointed there isn’t even a long form available this time around?  It was downright boring to fill out so few questions and be done with the whole thing in about 3 minutes. I can’t for the life of me understand what people are worried about after filling it out either, I have had to fill out more invasive forms to rent DVDs.

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15th March 2010


posted in Giggle, Zach, Zora | Comments Off

15th March 2010

Art Stuff

We had an old coffee table that was stored out at our parent’s farm because it is HUGE, and was too big for our last apartment.  We were reminded of it, and realized that we could use it, even though there was no place for it in the traditional place (because we have a trampoline where a coffee table would be), but would be useful in the “overflow/misc” room (used to be Zane’s bedroom before we shifted everything).  It is going to make a great space for art and playing games at a kid friendly height.  Yippee!

Mom & Dad brought it up and I got a new box of crayons, colored pencils & markers to celebrate the occasion.  (Plus, that way there are still old crayons, etc, downstairs in the schoolroom).  The kids are enjoying the new space and the already prolific Zora has put out about 4 times the typical amount of artwork a day (which was already getting to be around 5-10 drawings a day).

Zane’s gallery

He isn’t drawing like he used to, but he is drawing again, which I am very happy about.  He seems to like architectural type drawings now days.

From looking at the book Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Faces (REPACKAGED) (Ed Emberley Drawing Books)

Zora’s Gallery

This one just makes me happy

“Our Family”

Our Family


another “Dragon”

“Lemon in a Bowl”

“Orange in a Bowl” I don’t know why she wrote her name mirrored.  It is unusual for her. (but not unusual for her to sign stuff)

“Happy Face”

“Tube Slippery Slide”  (this is one of my favorites)

“Humpty Dumpty”  This one was cool because when we asked her to “tell us about the drawing”  (our standard response instead of “what on earth is that supposed to be?”) she recited the entire Humpty Dumpty rhyme, tracing her finger over the portion of the drawing that was illustrating the line.  The circles with legs are humpty having his fall, the thing on the left is “all the king’s horses”, and the bottom is a broken humpty.

“Hot Water”  The sky is obvious, the red part is the water which we were told is red because it is hot water.  The lines across the sky are steam.  (no idea where the catalyst for this came from, but it was cool to hear her tell us about it)

“Houses”  I think it is the three pigs houses, but am not certain any more.

This is either Grandma or Grandpa picking cherries off of a cherry tree.  (Grandma and Grandpa don’t have cherry trees, but oh well)

“Raccoon with a head”  Yeah, I don’t get it, but that is what she insists it is.  (I did confirm that this is the the right way up on the drawing too because I thought it was a bird and sideways)

“Mario (as in Super Mario Bros) jumping”

“Bunny Rabbit”

“Jack and the Beanstalk”

She also draws out shopping lists that includes items she has overheard us say we are shopping for and adding her own items.  She then goes through the list with us to make sure we know what is on it and takes it with her to the store.

And, finally some pictures that Zach and Zora drew together

And my favorite…

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15th March 2010

Books: Science Verse

Science Verse is a wonderfully nerdy book.  It mostly goes over the kid’s heads at this point, but makes Zach and I giggle every time we read it.  Not only does it have, obviously, a lot of science references, but it puts it on the framework of classic poems and nursery rhymes, so it has that wonderful rhythm that is great for language development, and it exposes them to a higher level of vocabulary than typical kid’s books.  They did “get” the nursery rhyme references and the one based off of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and enjoyed them.  It has been requested every night since we got it from the library and it will go on our wish list.

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9th March 2010

Back at the Zoo

This time we went with my mom to the Zoo.  Since the kids go at entirely different paces (Zora wants to run from thing to thing, and was most interested in going to the playground, and Zane likes to linger and read the plaques and watch the animals) we split up.  Zach and I went with Zane, Oma went with Zora.

For Zane, it was “Map Day”.  He has always loved maps, but today he got to indulge his interest and we pointed out the street signs and how those coordinate with the map.  I think he loves the Zoo as much for the entwining paths as the animals.  He wanted to follow the map to the boat dock first.  It ended up still being closed for the season, unfortunately, but we told him that we would come back during the summer when it was open.

The grizzly bears were out and active, so we stopped and watched them for a while on our way to the Jungle/Rainforest building.  Zane later said that was his favorite part of the zoo that day. The bears even did a little playing/roughhousing for a while, including growling at each other and running.  It was very cool.

We let him direct where to go, and here he is confirming the map route with the signs.

Instead of racing through the jungle like we do when Zora is there, we got to linger a lot more.  Zane read the signs, matched the birds sitting around (they are a lot more “out” when it isn’t busy…on paths, on the benches) with their names, and watched the bats flying around (a zookeeper or maintenance person was messing with one of the major branches in the giant solarium that we have seen them on before, so they were swooping all over the place).  He also loved the part of the path that goes under the pond water and lets you see the fish.  We stood in that tunnel watching fish for quite a while.

After we finished up, Zane suddenly was interested in finding Zora again.  We assumed she was at the playground and decided which path to take to get there (we went on the slightly longer path through the “North American Prairie” and gradually made our way back to the playground area.

It is a good thing we took the longer path because Zora had taken my mom to the opposite side of the Zoo to the Children’s farms and while watching the tigers a bit, near the playground, I suddenly heard Zora’s voice coming from the “wrong” direction as they were heading back to the playground.  Zane was excited to find Zora and Grandma.

We headed back to the playground, both kids played for a while and I dug out the snacks and drinks and we hung out for a while before leaving to head back across town for the traditional “ice cream with Grandma” and then swimming lessons.

Zora also had a lot of fun.  Here is a quote from my mom’s comments:

When I took Zora and you took Zane at the Zoo the next week, she was very…VERY clear to leave the geese alone!!! And that is bamboo, and there are the penguins, etc, etc, but mostly, “Where is the playground???” We found it and she enjoyed playing there. When the tram came by, she wanted to go on that, so we sprinted to the next stop and got on. I don’t know if she was expecting a more exciting ride, but she could hardly wait to get off at the next stop. Then she wanted to go to the American farmyard. We did that, where she told me all the animals, and informed me that those (goats)were sheep, because goats lived in the forest. Next we went to the African farmyard. As we approached it, she saw one of the zoo employees w/ a lawn rake, raking the farm grounds. Zora came to a dead stop, looked at him and proclaimed, “LOOK, Oma, It’s NEW McDonald!!!” It was such a fun day!

posted in Autistic Life, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), Zane, Zoo, Zora | Comments Off

6th March 2010

ROCKO Olympics

The kids had a spectacular time at the ROCKO olympic-themed event.  I have been waiting to post about it because I was hoping they would post pictures of the event on Facebook, but so far, they haven’t.  I wanted to show the cool stuff they got though, especially the medals.  Zora wears hers everywhere now and I am amazed at the effort that went into making them.  I lovc them.

They also liked their “laurel leaves” and showed me the certificates they had won.  (Zora for sock figure skating, and Zane for balloon tennis).  They kept them busy, entertained, and wore them out while Zach and I had a meandering, spontaneous, relaxing day around town.

We tried out “Jimmy’s Egg”  (quite yummy), and headed to the downtown library, found no parking because of the Garden (*achoo*) Show, so we decided to wander around the big “Gander Mountain” downtown since it is supposed to be a “destination attraction”.  Not sure what makes it all that fabulous though…it does have some cool stuff, but since we neither hunt nor fish, and that is 3/4 of the store, it was not someplace we will return to.  (although we did have fun making the fake ducks and turkeys talk to each other).  We also went to the China Market, found some Mustard, got creeped out and tried to leave and the guy left at the register didn’t speak English and we think he was trying to tell us to just take it and go.  We gave him some cash because we weren’t leaving without paying for it, and got our butts out of there as fast as we could go.  lol.  We finished by checking out “Chelmsford Tea” and getting an ounce of some Cammomile and an ounce of Green tea leaves to make at home later.  (also got a big ball that I can use for tea and herbs for soup that I have wanted for a long time).  It was fun, largely because it was spontaneous.

We all came home happy and relaxed.

posted in Autistic Life, ROCKO, The Kids | Comments Off

  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 22 years, 5 months, and 26 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 18 years, 5 months, and 30 days old
  • Random Quote

  • Let’s open our hearts in prayer. Gracious and loving God your son taught us that your kingdom is among us. Yet so often we treat life as something to be gotten through instead of something to be embraced and to be cherished. We look ahead to the end of the work day, to the week-end, to the summer vacation, to retirement, and we forget that the only time we will ever have is now. Open our eyes and open our hearts so we know that we cannot collect the moments we waste and store them for future use, and we cannot hide our love away, protecting it, thinking the ideal time will someday arrive when we can reach into that vast reservoir of love we have saved up and joyfully pour it upon the world. Tomorrow may never come and we cannot relive a single wasted yesterday. Today is all we will ever have. Grant us the wisdom to understand that now is the time to embrace the fragile beauty of life and now is the only time we will ever have to love the people you have placed beside us for this mysterious and beautiful journey. — Gary Cox, pastorial prayer, after his terminal cancer diagnosis.

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