Thursday, September 29, 2011

First grade online shopping...

Last night, I walked into Caleb's room as Jansen was walking out. The conversation that follows is exactly why I LOVE my little 6 year old Jansen:

Mom: What's up, Jansen?
Jansen: Um, nothing.
Mom: Were you on Caleb's computer?
Jansen: Um, yes
Mom: Really, doing what?
Jansen: I was like, doing some online shopping.
Mom: Online shopping? (Mom walks to the computer to find the Target website up instead of the usual video games) You are shopping at Target?
Jansen: Mom, I really need some new shoes. I need these sock monkey slippers.....
Mom: Those are some really cool slippers. Maybe you can ask for them for Christmas.
Jansen: I could but I was trying to shop now.

Mom walks out of the room trying to contain the laughter.

Back at home...and progress!

Well, this has been my first week back home in an effort to help re-regulate Caleb and all his anxiety, irritability, distraction, and overall unregulated body. I have to admit, it has been hugely successful!

I don't know why, I don't know what makes the difference, but he doing amazing!

The school is implementing several new accommodations for him while in class...all minimal in attention. For example, he is to be seated close to the teacher, he now has a visual checklist to keep track of his day, he gets a transition warning and reminders to help keep him on track, he gets a little extra personal space, he is allowed to ask for a break, and his group work is structured so that he can be in the same group with the same responsibilities each time.

He has seen me a couple of times at school, and today he expressed that he was having a great day. He came home today with his 2nd 100 on a book test, he finished his homework with minimal arguing, and is nice and calm.

At home we are structuring homework and spacing it out. He has fidget items for when he gets stressed. He is allowed lots of personal space and down time to work on his lego creations or to read. We have also reinstated tenting his bed by tucking blankets into the base of his top bunk to help create a comfortable space. We took a trip to the health food store and bought some Relaxosaurus as well, and he takes that each morning. The thing that is really helping is this stuff....

It is called Dream by Pure Romance and it is a super relaxing pillow mist. He does not sleep well...he sleeps for 3 hours and is good to go for the day. He is so particular about smells...he smells everything and gags very easily. But he LOVES this stuff. We are spraying it on his pillows and blankets and he just nuzzles into it. He often requests more sprays. Now I don't know if he is sleeping all night because he is awake when I wake up, but he is not getting me or his brother that is a WIN!

AND!!!! he had a major first this evening. He made himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich all by himself and ate it. He doesn't even eat PBand J but I guess he does now! This may seem like the norm for kids that are even younger than 8, but this is not the norm for kids with Autism. I love it. He is starting to have a little appropriate independence and I am totally embracing and encouraging that!!!

Cookie cakes are yummy

This morning, I am wishing that we still had some of this left....
Josh's birthday was Friday, and that was conveniently the day that my body decided to become "an incubus of viral plague", so most of my plans went right out the window.

Instead of baking him a cake, having the house clean, and making dinner, I was in bed shivering. It was a good thing that earlier that morning I felt the twinge and called the Great American Cookie Company to make this cookie cake.

The boys helped me blow up some balloons and hang some streamers so that we could surprise dad when he arrived from work. And then I returned to bed and didn't get back out until Monday, still dragging.

I got two little pieces of this 16 inch cake of chocolate chip goodness. And boy would this make a delicious breakfast this morning. ****sigh****

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Marbleized nails

Tonight, my good friend Carmela brought some goodies over so that we could attempt the newest trend in couture nails (I kid, I kid)...the marble technique.

And what better colors to use than our Texans preparation for this weekend's game.

Here are our supplies:

You will need
  • several colors of nail polish
  • a cup with tapwater
  • toothpicks
  • q-tips
  • nail polish remover

Step 1: Fill a cup with water and then paint your nails with a base color. We chose white, but you can chose any color. Don't worry about neatness since you are about to dip your nails in several colors anyway.

Step 2: Drop drops of nail polish in the water in whatever pattern or order you wish. We did one drop of each color, right in the center.

Step 3: Swirl the colors with a toothpick. Try not to over swirl as that will combine your colors too much.

Step 4: Dip your fingernail in the swirled color for a couple of seconds and then remove. Use a toothpick to scoop out the color after one or two nails. It dries very quickly so that is as far as you can get without it congealing on your nails. The color will easily separate from the water.

Step 5: Repeat Steps 2 through 4 until you have dipped all your fingers and achieved the look you wish.
  • My Nails!!!!

Step 6: Use the q-tips and nail polish remover to clean up the polish from your fingers.
  • Carmela's Nails!!!!!
This was a really fun project and the possibilities are endless for designs. So go crazy, have fun, and try it!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

See ya later to a really fun job....

The past few weeks have been spent contemplating what has been going wrong with my kiddo and what I need to do about it.

While I have had a blast teaching the most precious little 2 year olds and doing fun crafts, I have decided to leave the position to focus on getting our lives back on track for Caleb's sake. It just made sense because he is just not ready. I have plenty of time to return to work and I am incredibly blessed and thankful that it is not a requirement for me to work at this time.

And look what the little kiddos made for me....
It is headed straight for my fridge!

I am officially back to being a stay at home mom...

Friday, September 23, 2011

A few preschool crafts

Over the past few weeks, I have been co teaching a 2 year old class at a local preschool. It has been really fun to work with these adorable little ones, for sure.

Here are a few things that we have been working on.

For Family week we made individual families (which I forgot to take pictures of) and we made a class Family Tree. Some of the children haven't brought pictures yet so there are some gaps, but most of them are there...(stars are placed over the pictures for privacy)

Then for colors, we focused on Joseph and his coat of many colors....

We made streamer flags out of crepe paper and straws and marched around the school in a parade....

And then for shapes, we matched circles, stars, triangles, and squares and made a shape mobile...
Preschool crafts! Fun stuff.........

Friday, September 16, 2011

Good old fashioned butt kickin'

Ok, right now Autism is flat out kicking my butt. But not just mine, but Caleb's, his teachers, our family's...just punching people in the face.

Right now I am so frustrated that I could punch an infant in the face. I kid, I kid....partly.

Here is the super awesome, Cliff's Notes version of my life in a nutshell...nut-farm, nut house.

Caleb has been on the up and up for a year or so. Each year seems to be getting a little better, with us using less and less of our tried and true sensory modifications. Well at the beginning of this year, Caleb's class got dissolved due to low numbers in the 3rd grade and he had to transition to a new teacher. And not just one new teacher, but three. They shifted the entire 3rd grade so that each of the three teachers will be teaching two subjects to each group of students.

The school did a great job of preparing him, sending home a new schedule, and placing him in a home room with a teacher he was already familiar with. He was doing ok. Not perfect, but comfortable. Then I got a job.

I thought that it would be perfect, me working only a few hours during the day while he was at school but apparently, Caleb thought otherwise. Two days after beginning my new job, I got a call from the teacher. Then he started having major anxiety, lots of frustration, lots of acting out, and difficulty controlling his outbursts. Yesterday, I came home from work to emails, texts, and phone calls saying he had a meltdown over the fire drill. I spoke with someone from the school who really helped him work through it and put in place some new strategies for him for the future. I feel comforted and confident in their ability to help Caleb function and feel safe.

Part of me was awesomely glad that it happened, because the staff was able to see it and have to work through it. The other part of me was heartbroken to hear he was screaming out for me, wanting to call me, and wanting to go home. Of course I would not have taken him home, but had I known...I would have been up there.

I am his safe person. I am the one that he trusts to completely fall apart....and if he wants me, I want to be there. There will come a time when he will not want to be in the same room with me, but while he does, I need to be available to fill that part of his heart.

Today, he is definitely still anxious, agitated, combative, restless, and just unregulated. We are going on two full weeks of this daily behavior, and if it is wearing thin on me I can't imagine how he must be feeling.

We are getting very little sleep. We are tired and frustrated. I can't help but feel defeated and to blame. I am sure I will be making some major changes within the next two weeks. For now, I leave you with an example of Caleb's complete exhaustion.

This is him, at 11 pm, finally asleep on the floor of his bathroom. Note the flannel pj's and the socks. That is a sensory need...and he does not feel heat even though his body is insulated and it is 100 degrees outside.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Football strawberries

For the Texans' opening game today, I made some brownies and football strawberries. They didn't turn out as good as I had hoped, but they sure were tasty!!!
And they are a healthy alternative to all that fatty delicious tailgating food right? Chocolate is a vegetable, for sure.

And bonus...Texans beat the Colts 34-7!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Painting with a Twist

Last night, a friend of mine hosted a private painting party at a store called Painting with a Twist for several of her friends. If you haven't been HAVE to find a location near you.

Everyone brought a dish and some drinks, and spent the time learning how to paint a piece called Coneflower and Poppies. I have never painted anything other than walls and furniture and was really intimidated to try it.

We had a great time laughing, painting, and being a little frustrated by adding the dimension to the poppies.

Here are some progress pics of my painting and a few of the other people.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Preschool classroom board

We mostly finished our preschool classroom board. A couple of childrens' pictures are missing because they were not at Meet the Teacher, so they will get added next week.
For the sake of privacy...TODDLER has been written across each child's face. Trust me, they are cutie patooties!

Each week, I will be posting an example of each craft project we work on in class, as we have a TON of great things planned.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First day of preschool

Today was my first day as a preschool 2's teacher. Let me tell you, it was an adventure.

I really do love this age group and my co-teacher is great as well. She is really comfortable with circle time and I am really comfortable with craft this is a good marriage. We did find out that there are some obvious gaps in our schedule. But those are the kinds of things that you don't anticipate until you are actually in the process.

Tomorrow, we have a whole other set of children coming in for their first day. YAY!

I have about 2 months worth of crafts in the be brought out next week as this week everyone is just trying to get adjusted to the preschool schedule. Positive thoughts for positive results :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Football prep

The first official day of football is quickly approaching!!! Only 9 more days until we rock the Colts!!! So in preparation for that day....I got a little sumthin sumthin.....
YAY! I love this! It is from Coco's Boutique. She can make ANYTHING!!! And I am in LOVE with this headband.

In addition, our group went in together to make a banner for tailgating. Check it out!
It was designed by Kara and produced by a local sign store, Zeigler's. We are planning for some delicious tailgating food to come out of our Gridiron Grillers tent for sure!!!!!!

Oh Fall....I love you.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Teachers...a little gift

This year, we as the PTO allocated some funds to celebrate our school staffs' birthdays with a little goodie.

We had 18 teachers with birthdays in August and September!!!!!

So I took a trip to Walmart (Shudder) and saw a bunch of these cute little mini trifles.
They are so cute. We bought a ton of different flavors of Hershey's Kisses (because those are the best) and I headed to a play date with my boys.

Myself and three other women spent the next hour filling the trifles, wrapping them in clear bags, and tying curling ribbon on them. By the time we were finished, it was time to go home and get ready for bed. I was planning on adding labels last night, but true to my character, I fell asleep on the couch and woke up to my alarm this morning.

Thankfully I found these cute printables HERE.... and I attached them to all 18 trifles.
It's just something small that we can do to let our teachers know how much we appreciate them!