Thursday, November 24, 2011


I have so many things to be thankful for, but at the center of it all are my children. Without them I would not be where I am in my life today, which is exactly where I need to be. Being their mother is the most beautiful gift that has been given to me in this journey of life. I am so in love with you, Alex and Spencer.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hockey Season II

Spencer is ready to start hockey again this year!

Sad Candy

I coerced Spencer into giving me a Milk Dud. "That was my last Milk Dud," he said. "What about the two in your hand?" "Those are the two before that one. And now they're sad."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or treat

Alex walked up to the front door of the first house we visited tonight and instead of the standard "trick or treat" he said "I want a rock." He was cracking up at Charlie Brown last night. I think he was a little bummed nobody threw a rock in his sack tonight. Maybe next year, honey...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spencer on a Saturday morning

Spencer checked out the third Harry Potter book at the library on Monday. He's 3/4 of the way through it today and has been reading all morning. I think he'll be ready for the next one come Monday. No Saturday morning cartoons here!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gym membership? Why bother?!

I was just thinking that I didn't get any exercise time in today. Then I remembered doing squats to play with the parachute with the kids in gym class, teaching music with full-body motion songs with pre-schoolers, taking a walk in the rain, and chasing a ball and the child who threw it down the hall.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Body Hurts

All over, every day. Some days just a little, some days (like today) a lot. Long-term stress and not properly caring for oneself can do this to a body. My nervous system is torn and tattered and just beginning to heal.  I finally have the time and space to let myself feel the pain. I believe that's the first part of the healing process. It's worst at the beginning. Slowly and steadily it will improve. Every time I honor my physical being by taking better care of it I give it permission to heal. Each little step (dancing for 20 minutes, cutting back on caffeine, eating more vegetables) is one step closer to being rid of this constant pain.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Whoa!!! First Grade???

Seeing it printed in black and white on orientation materials makes it so much more real. Kindergartners are still little boys, but first graders . . . they're not little anymore.

We had Spencer's open house yesterday. He kept telling me he didn't want to go to open house and didn't want to go back to school, but once we were inside he was bounding up the stairs with a big smile on his face to show us his new classroom. He is in a 12-1-2 again this year, 1st through 3rd graders (which is called E1 in the Montessori program). He already knows half the students in his class, one of whom is his bus driver's grandson and a good buddy of his. His bus driver was there and told us she'll be driving him again this year, which I was hoping for.

Spencer's new teachers are young, energetic, and positive people. They will be great facilitators for his learning. He will continue to have lots of opportunities to learn about the things he's interested in and work at his own pace on the things he struggles with, with lots of support and encouragement. I'm so excited for him and can't wait to see how he grows this year.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Count Your Blessings and Pass Them On

I really appreciate my step-son's positive attitude in the wake of his "tragedy" caused by Hurricane Irene. He matter-of-factly informed me that his hard drive was fried. No swearing, no tears, no sweat.

Here we are complaining about the power being out, the phones not working, etc. Have we already forgotten all of the people in Haiti who are still homeless almost two years after the earthquake? It's times like these that I'm reminded of my belief that the Universe sends hardships to remind us that we are really blessed, that things could be a lot worse. Even those who have lost their homes and businesses in the last 48 hours will have a much better chance of recovery than anyone in Haiti or any third-world country, in part because of our public and private relief agencies and in part because of the helping hands of neighbors and community members. I hope we all, myself included, can remember to put our energy into helping others instead of focusing on our minor inconveniences and losses.

Peace and healing to all.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Mike and I went to a national park site, where the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned U.S. warship is docked. In the gift shop we bought Spencer a set of Revolutionary War toy soldiers. He opened up the package, dumped them out, and promptly read the word "China" off the bottom of one.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I love having a capable, trusted respite worker. Andrew is like family. He knows Alex and Spencer better than anyone, and they absolutely adore him. He schools them in all things Star Wars, gives them lots of love, and makes sure they are safe and happy. And Mommy can go away happy and not worrying about a thing. I'm laying in bed in a hotel room outside Boston right now. I've barely even thought about the boys this morning. I needed this break. Time to let go of all the stress and worrying, recoup and refuel. I'm so grateful the Universe brought this amazing guy into our lives. I don't think he knows just how special and awesome he is...but I do know my boys will remind him of that with all of their adoration and idolizing of him today and tomorrow. He deserves it!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The English Language

I love Spencer's sense of humor. He's reading the Harry Potter novels right now. We were having a conversation about the difference between American English and British English. I told him they have some different words for things, such as pram for stroller, buggy for grocery cart, and nappie for diaper. "Nappie?" he said, "Do they use their Pull-Ups for napkins?"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Short-term sacrifice for long-term gain

When life gets tough for me I have to face it head-on. I have to be honest with myself and those around me when I'm not happy with the way I'm feeling and acting. I have to be able to joke about it and keep a positive attitude. I have to be able to apologize, and be forgiven. I have to allow myself to ask for help. I have to remember that times like these don't last and that there is a reason for the difficulty. You don't get back to the mountaintop without going through the valley.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Spencer's Parent Teacher Meeting

I met with Spencer's teachers and some of his therapists on Friday. He is doing well in school: knows 36 out of 40 of his sight words, asks a lot of good questions (especially about science and social studies topics), works well independently, isn't having any behavior problems. Therapies are going well. There are definitely improvements over where he was at the end of last summer. I was very pleased to hear about the progress he has made in OT. I believe the Montessori program, with all of the hands-on learning tools they use, has a lot to do with that progress.

I went into the meeting concerned that his teacher would tell me that Spencer is ready to be mainstreamed next year. Academically he is doing great. The quiet, calm environment he is in (10 students, working in small groups or on their own with the support of a special educator and two aides) has had the effect we had hoped it would. He is able to be heard (we're still working on that mysteriously breathy voice) and able to focus thanks to the absence of distractions (and the medication for his ADHD). Fortunately his teacher recognizes that he really needs to be in this kind of environment again next year in order to continue to succeed. I am very pleased that GW Montessori has a class that will be appropriate for him. I sincerely believe that it's not just the class size and student/teacher ratio that is beneficial to Spencer. The Montessori style of facilitating learning, rather than teaching, and use of hands-on learning tools is perfect for him. I'm so glad that he'll be able to continue there (pending district approval, of course).

Spencer's teacher wants to see him begin to be mainstreamed at times. She feels it would be best to do this for science and social studies, because these are his two strongest areas. I've often felt that I need an encyclopedia to raise this child, with all of the questions he asks, and they are seeing the same thing at school. He just wants to soak it all up, and in the Montessori program his teachers are his guides on his quest for knowledge (I love that he came home after school one day and asked me if we could "research" the Egyptian Sphinx together!).

I know I keep raving about this program, but how can I not? How lucky we are to have a free Montessori program in our district! I always thought I would like to send Spencer to a Montessori school, but I knew there was no way I could afford to. I'm just absolutely thrilled at the experience he's getting through the public school system. I also really appreciate that the school is in an area of the city which is racially diverse, where many of the children come from Spanish-speaking homes, and most of the families could not financially consider anything but a public education. I don't know the history of the decision to place the Montessori program at this particular school, but I'm thrilled that these children and families are benefiting from it. Now if only I could convince the school to teach a little bit of Spanish as a routine part of their day!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


There is just something so funny about hearing your son with autism say "Dammit, f***it" in the right context. Functional language, that's what we're shooting for!  He has heard the words "dammit" and "f***" out of our mouths on occasion, I won't deny it. But this particular phrase he came up with all on his own.  And he says it so passionately!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Long Overdue

This virus, followed by bronchitis, followed by gastroenteritis diet really works! I've lost my holiday weight gain plus some! Seriously, how is it possible to be dehydrated but still have post nasal drip?

Over the holidays I put our Christmas train around the tree. I told Spencer, "It's a decoration, not a toy. You can look at it with your eyes, but not touch it with your fingers." He replied, "But Mom, my eyeballs are in the ends of my fingers!"

Here's a video of the NICU where Alex and Spencer spent the first three months of their lives.  There are quite a few pictures of us in it.  It's a beautiful way to show them what we experienced there.  I hope you'll consider giving to the March of Dimes, the AMC Children's Hospital, or Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital District.  They are all part of the miracles that Alex and Spencer are.

When things happen I think to myself "I need to blog about that!", but I always get busy and then forget what it was I wanted to share.  I'll be back when my memory decides to serve me better!

Thanksgiving 2010