Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The ways playing Wheel of Fortune with your siblings can be considered school

1. Spelling: They are making up puzzles for each other so they have to know how to spell things

2. Vocabulary: They have to figure out the words or phrases from their vocabularies

3. Math: Adding up the money during each spin, times the number of letters they uncover

4. Art: They designed the 'spaces' for the wheel (the wheel is the Sit N Spin)

5. Logic: Solving a puzzle

6. Social Skills: Taking turns, not freaking out when you land on bankrupt

Ok, I'm sort of reaching here! We really should do some real school work today! But they are just having so much fun and they are getting along. It seems like a shame to interrupt it!

Monday, January 30, 2006

4 months/3 weeks

4 months ago today we got Reece's diagnosis of autism. 3 weeks ago today we confirmed that Austin also has autism.

Backpack, backpack!

OK, really, can a backpack be ANY cuter???

Saturday, January 28, 2006


I had a dream last night about the first day of preschool for Reece:

1. We all woke up late.
2. I forgot my camera.
3. I forgot to put her in the special outfit my mom sent her.
4. I forgot her backpack!

And in the dream, she never even got INTO the door of the preschool! LOL Boy, someone who can interpret dreams would have a field day with that one! :)

Another engine update!

We worked on the engine again on Thursday night for about an hour, and got to step 21!! Wooohoo!! Halfway done! And it's actually starting to resemble what might be an engine! LOL We're going to work on it this coming week for science as well!

Oh PLEASE let this thing work!!! :)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Engine Update

We worked on it for one hour on Monday night and got to step 13 out of like 40 something.

Instructions include things like "Lubricate the bearings with vegetable oil". I called my dad to ask him what the heck a bearing is. He starts asking me questions about the crankshaft, and why did I put that in already. I told him I'm only following directions. So then he asks about some other car-related thing. Look, there are clear plastic parts, gray plastic parts, and purple plastic parts. That's ALL I know! Why on earth couldn't the directions include "Make sure to lubricate THIS part when you put it in??"

We're going to work on it tonight some more... or maybe Daddy will! I'm not sure I can handle another night with the engine!

Georgia Aquarium

This is the most beautiful aquarium that I have ever been to! We had such a wonderful time, and we'll be going back as soon as I can possible arrange it!!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

What was I thinking??

Austin received this kit for Christmas, and has been asking me when we can build it! I told him we would do it for science this week! I started looking at it in more detail... am I nuts?? I am not a put-this-together sort of mama! And Austin isn't the kind who will take to this very naturally, or take it very well if we can't get it to go together easily! Wish us luck!

In case you can't tell what it is... it's a model engine building kit! Austin is very big into engines right now! (And gasoline... he wants to know what type of gasoline every vehicle we pass takes! And the last time we passed the nearby gas station and there were 2 tractor-trailers filling up with diesel I thought he was going to have a heart attack! He started cheering and proclaimed that to be the best day of his life!) Oh yes... please wish us luck! And easy to understand directions! ;)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Reece writes her name!

She did these last night while I was away at the movies! I can't really claim any credit for teaching this to her though! Riley has been having "home preschool" with Reece for about 2 months now, and has been teaching her her letters! :)

I love how she got carried away with the Es in the bottom one! LOL

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Is this a groove?

I almost hate to post this, for fear that it may 'jinx' us! But I think we've found a groove to our homeschooling week. Monday and Tuesday have been really good (though the last few Tuesdays we've done field trips), and then Wednesday is wild and crazy, and Thursday we're all exhausted, and Friday we're nearly done! Right now, Austin is done with his work and is playing in the backyard with Reece. Riley is still working on her assignment sheet, which she could have finished hours ago if she had just set her mind to it! She's done with everything that requires my instruction, so basically she's just working at her own pace. She's not very outdoorsy, so she's not in a hurry to get out and enjoy the lower 60s we're having today!

Now, in 2 weeks when Reece starts preschool, we'll have to find a new groove! LOL But for now, this works out ok!

Edited to add: I just asked Riley if she wanted to watch "Little Einsteins" (I think this is the neatest show!!!). She said Yes, so I told her she had 3 minutes before it was on and her math needed to be complete. Keep in mind that she's been working on these 21 problems for about 30 minutes and had 10 left. She just brought it in to me, complete. And all correct. She's one smart cookie, just a very slow cooking cookie, unless there is a reward at the end apparently! :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Got this from Lisa's blog (http://www.livejournal.com/users/rejoicing9/)!

Four Jobs You Have Held:
1. Teacher
2. Teller
3. Hostess
4. Cashier

Four movies you can watch over and over:
1. Pirates of the Caribbean
2. The Hunt for Red October
3. National Treasure
4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (this is a new one!)
It's so hard to stop at four!

Four places you have lived:
1. Rapid City, South Dakota
2. Tulsa, Oklahoma
3. Fremont, Nebraska
4. Claremont, North Carolina
(I've lived MANY more places... I lived in 4 places in 8th grade alone!)

Four TV shows you love:
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
2. Designing Women
3. Mad About You
4. Hannity & Colmes

Four places you have been on vacation:
1. St. George Island, Florida
2. Valdosta, Georgia
3. Lake Lanier, Georgia
4. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Four websites you visit daily:
1. http://www.welltrainedmind.com/activeboards.php
2. http://boortz.com/
3. http://www.witchesofoz.com/
4. http://www.imdb.com/

Four favorite books:
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
2. This Anguishing Blessed Journey: A mother's prayer journal through autism
3. Owl Moon
4. Roxaboxen
(I need to work on my reading list apparently!)

Four places I'd rather be:
1. St. George Island, Florida
2. A movie theater
3. At the coffee shop where my dh is playing right now :(
4. St. George Island, Florida (did I mention that one already??)

Four people I am "tagging" with this survey:Anyone who wants to do it!

So, come on ladies! Get busy on those blogs! Make sure to link me in the comments so I can read it!

Children's Museum

Let me first say that there was some sort of high toned and fancy to-do up at the fort today... because I couldn't find a place to park in downtown Atlanta for less than $20!! Talk about unexpected!!! I asked the attendant how much they usually charge for parking at that lot: $2.25!! Gracious! (Mental note to self: Check with museum staff the morning we are planning to go back and make sure parking is reasonable that day!).

We had a wonderful time! I've never taken the children before because it's quite expensive for a one-time visit (not including the parking! LOL), but dh's grandmother and my grandmother sent money for Christmas and we bought an annual pass. This pass will also get us into the little children's museum in Gainesville, and one in South Carolina near my parents' house.

Austin's favorite part was this ball thing... it's hard to describe it. I'm going to try to put up some pictures in a little while and maybe you can tell what it looks like from there. It reminded me of a marble run, but for the kind of balls you put in a ball pit. (Ok, this picture is at the beginning of the post!)

Reece also loved the ball thing, and she REALLY loved the sand area. This was unlike any sand I've ever played with before... it was very moldable and not at all messy! You could wipe it off your hands and it would just be gone! I didn't take her in the area for children 5 and under, but I think I will the next time we go! There was lots of water play in there while I'm sure she'd love! Next time I'll feel better about letting the big kids play more by themselves.

Riley couldn't tell me her favorite thing and she really spent time in all areas! She loved the ball area too, but I don't know if that was because that's where Austin was, or what. She and Austin were chosen to participate in each skit that we watched, probably because they were significantly older than most of the other children! That was exciting for them!

There was also an area to eat lunch, either homemade or you could buy something from a little Chick Fil A cart. I had packed lunch to eat in the car, and didn't want to go back to get it in the rain. But next time I'll bring it in and leave it with the stroller in the stroller parking area!

We really had a great time! Spent about 3 hours there, and I am totally wiped out! But they had fun and that's all that really matters!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

My very creative older daughter

OK, before I go, I just had to share what kept Riley busy all day yesterday! She did all of this on her own with no help! She has such a creative mind! She definitely didn't get that from her mama!

Movie Review: Casanova

This will be an abbreviated review for the sake of time! I need to go spend some time with my hubby!

It's like Captain Jack Goes to Vienna!! ;) He even sword fights and swings from things!

Very enjoyable movie! I do see why it gets the R rating though, some of the things I just don't think would have deserved a PG-13! I'll try to go into more detail later!

4 on the Savvy scale!

I'm the first born!

You Are Likely a First Born
At your darkest moments, you feel guilty.At work and school, you do best when you're researching.When you love someone, you tend to agree with them often.
In friendship, you are considerate and compromising.Your ideal careers are: business, research, counseling, promotion, and speaking.You will leave your mark on the world with discoveries, new information, and teaching people to dream.

Technically speaking, I'm an only child! But that's the same I guess!

Friday, January 13, 2006

5 questions

I got this from Jan's blog... going to attempt to link here: http://makingscrapbooks.typepad.com/ I wish I knew how to change the name of it so it would say "Jan's Blog" and be a link that way!

OK, here are the 5 questions! If you take them to your blog to answer, please leave a comment with a link to your own blog!

1) What color makes you smile? White! It's always fresh and new! It was also Austin's favorite color for years and years, and to me just shows the kind of wonderful mind he has!

2) What is your food related pet peeve (is that how you spell it) ? food that touches each other when it isn't supposed to!

3) What is your favorite web site? Even though it usually causes me more grief and stress that it's worth, I'd have to say the Well-Trained Mind boards. http://www.welltrainedmind.com/activeboards.php

4) What did you do on your last date? On our last mini-date, while the children were all at AWANA, dh and I went out for dinner at Tijuana Flats! On our last real date, we went to his company Christmas party!

5) What is your favorite slang word? pirate! (is that considered slang??)

OK, she's in!

The lady from the preschool called this morning. This is the preschool that I had looked at last spring for Reece. They will have an opening as of February 1st. Reece will start on February 2nd! I am waiting another call from the director with some details, like if they still have her paperwork from the spring or not. I really hope they do, but if not, I guess I'll go fill it out again!

I told the big kids this morning, and they both cried. I told them how important it is for them to put on a happy face for Reece so that she won't be upset! I called my mom, and she immediately ordered an outfit from Gymboree for Reece to wear on the first day! I told Russ, and he asked if he needs to take on more work to pay for it! LOL So all in all, everyone is acting as predicted! ;)

As for my reaction... a scene from the Hunt for Red October keeps running through my mind:

"If we get the right sort, this will work! If we get some... buckeroo..."

If we get the right teachers, who are patient and loving and see Reece for the sweet child she can be, this will be successful! I know that I will be praying for "the right sort"!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Losing steam

It's Thursday and, like a steam engine on a steep incline, and I losing momentum! "I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!" I wonder if that helps homeschool mothers as well as Little Engines! Thursdays are especially hard here at the Black Pearl Academy, because of the full Wednesday we have. We are at the therapy clinic for 90 minutes or more, and then have AWANA until 8:30 at night. By the time the children are in bed and asleep, it's usually 10 PM or later. And yesterday, I had planned a very busy day for us! Not a smart move at all! Today we're all dragging! We have most of our school work done. Austin wants me to tandem read a new book with him for his free reading. And Riley still has a cursive lesson to do that I have no desire to teach!

Tomorrow is Friday, and we have a light day!! And I need a night out! I think Jan is having a crop at her house, but I'm not sure I'm up for scrapbooking. Maybe I'll just go over and sit and talk to everyone! lol

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Strike that, reverse it

OK, after speaking more with Reece's ST, we decide not to even consider the special needs preschool. I called today and cancelled our appointment. Instead I called the preschool that I had signed Reece up for this past fall but cancelled, and asked them if there were any openings right now. She said they might have some openings within a week or so, and she took my information and will call me back if they have anything.

At least that's where we stand today! lol

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Miscellaneous Tidbits of information

1. The neuropsychologist that the social worker told me was "the best" is ON my insurance plan! WOOOHOO!! I called and left a message. She is in the office W-F, so hopefully she will call back tomorrow. If not, I'll call HER again on Thursday!

2. Miss Dinah, our OT, called today and said that the insurance company has approved 'selected' vists of OT for Reece in 2006. So that means that Reece should have OT tomorrow, provided the furnace repair people are done with Dinah's furnace in time for her to make it. You know, if she wasn't so great with Reece, I'd probably have to find someone alot less flighty! LOL

3. I took Reece shopping with me tonight. It seems we were out of pullups, and she fell asleep for an hour this afternoon so she was wide awake. She talked the ENTIRE time. I am so grateful that she has speech, and while the repetitiveness of conversing with her sometimes gets on my nerves, she really is such a bright inquisitive child! "Why people has houses?" "Where the sun go?" "Why the chocolick milk yucky?" "You stuck at the red light?"

Ok, that last one just reminds me... some of you who talk to me on my cell phone have already heard this. But EACH time we're stopped at a red light, we have to do this conversation:
Reece: Mommy, you stuck at the red light?
Mommy: Yes, I'm stuck at the red light.
Reece: You waiting for the green light?
Mommy: Yes, I'm waiting for the green light.
(repeat for as long as we're at the light... continue at any subsequent lights.)

Actually, Ms. Alexis (the ST) did tell me last week it's OK to start limiting these repeating conversations! When they started I think we were just so excited to be getting words out of her that we didn't care! But now we want to encourage her not to do her scripts so much anymore, and start moving on. So I can tell her that we'll do this one more time, and that's all! LOL It will save my sanity for sure!

4. I think I'm going to visit the preschool on Thursday, but I am taking all of the children with me. I really want to see what they think of a homeschooling family. Now I have to find something to bribe the children with to keep them quiet and happy. Maybe ice cream? It is supposed to be 70 on Thursday!

5. I should go to sleep now! It's late! I have to get up early tomorrow, and it's a very busy day and what I'm typing has nothing to do with homeschooling. Although, I guess the ST and OT stuff has to do with Reece's schooling. And the psych stuff has to do with Austin's learning. :)

6. I could do a review of Narnia, but it would all be "LOVED IT" except for the river rapids scene. There was one other thing I didn't like but now I can't remember! I hope to see King Kong this weekend, or The Family Stone, or something else! I got an AMC gift card as part of my Christmas!! :)

Ok, that's all for tonight! Keep to the code, mates!


I drove by the gym where Riley used to take gymnastics, and asked them more about the special needs program they advertise on their website. The director of the preschool-age program is the lady who used to teach Riley's gymnastics class years ago, so she sort of remembered us!

They incorporate the special needs children into the regular classes. So for Reece, we're going to start her off with 4 weeks of "Mommy & Me" gymnastics where I go in the class with her and help her along. Ms. Janey (the instructor) offered for the big kids to sit in the gym at the tables in the corner, as long as they can sit quietly (that should be very interesting! lol). The Mommy & Me class will help her to get a feel for how the classes work, and how the routine goes. They follow the same routine in all the preschool classes: stretching, music, and then the different activities, then they end at the parachute. I will be with her those first 4 classes to help her transition between the activities.

After the 4 sessions are over, she will go to the "Young 3s" class which is an independent class. She will go into the smallest class, and they will try to have an extra teacher on hand, if it turns out that Reece needs it. The "Young 3s" will more likely match Reece's attention span level at this time. We'll see how it all works out, and they will adjust her within the class levels to meet her needs!

Reece was so sad when we left because she was expecting to go to a gymnastics class! :( We won't start until the 31st, because of other plans we have on the Tuesdays between now and then! I will get her a new leotard between now and then, unless I can find one of Riley's old ones that still fits!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Back from Intake Appointment

It went really well! I'm so glad I decided to go!

The recommendations for Austin are the following:
1. Get a Neuropsychological Evaluation done - have a list of names for those to see if any match up on my insurance.

2. After #1, take the results to an educational consultant for implementation.

3. Have an OT evaluation done. We have an OT we love, so we'll use her.

4. Sign Austin up for a social skills group. There is one on the list that is called "Outdoor Sensory Adventures" and the social skills are taught in the outdoors playing sports! He would LOVE that one!

The social worker agreed with me that it's not critical right now to get the developmental evaluation done and have a formal diagnosis at this time. We know what we're dealing with, and that's the important thing! She said that if that changes and we need a formal eval later for insurance purposes or for any other reason, we could take care of it then. However, she may have taken care of that for insurance reasons b/c she coded this appointment under PDD-NOS, which is Reece's diagnosis.

Anyway, it was a good appointment and now I have to go through this list of names and see if any of them are on our insurance plan! lol Fun!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

THIS JUST IN: The world is spinning backward!

I wasn't sure if I should post this here or not. But honestly, I'm so weirded out, I just have to tell someone!

My parents have tickets to see Bon Jovi in concert. My parents!! That just creeps me out! I could handle maybe the Rolling Stones or something because that was their generation (they turn 55 in January and February). But BON JOVI??? That's my music! I snuck away from home to see Bon Jovi in Oklahoma City when I was a teenager! And now my parents are going to see them? And they paid the big bucks to get good seats??

Oh this is just disturbing on so many levels!

To Special Needs preschool, or not to Special Needs preschool? That is the question!

My apologies to Shakespeare! :) Oh, now that I type that, was it Shakespeare?? Lisa?? Where are you when I need you to proofread!

I spoke to my dh today (waving to my honey who reads this blog!) about the preschool and he thinks I should still go check it out. My mom does, too. When will I ever learn to not ask people for advice unless I know they are going to tell me what I want to hear! LOL

These are my reasons, and I'll let you make the call:

1. I think it's too much money to even consider. $260 a month would pay for Reece to take another weekly session of speech therapy. Or 2-3 extracurricular classes like ballet, gym, music class, etc. Or it would pay for Austin's speech therapy which we know will not be covered by insurance.

2. We already have 2 days this week where we're not having a 'real' day of school. Adding Thursday to the mix will just make this week a washout, and I'm really trying to keep a good pace this winter so when spring comes we can skip out of the house more often!

3. I'm afraid I might really like it, and then if we can't afford it, I'll feel even guiltier for not sending her some place she needs to go.

Are those good enough reasons? ::sigh::

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Where was I?

It seems like the rest of this week just went crazy!I can't even remember what I was going to blog about next.

Friday morning was very cold, and we didn't have anywhere to go, so we slept in and had 'Jammie Day'! But we still got all of our school work done! 3 days in a row! It could be a record! ;)

I haven't start getting things ready for next week yet. I am trying to figure out how much school work we can get done with all of the appointments we have coming. Monday is the visit with the social worker at the autism specialist's office for Austin. Dh has the day off and he's going to stay with the kids while I go to the appointment. Then on Tuesday Reece has her followup appointment at the ENT to check her tubes and hopefully retest her hearing, if she will comply with the test. Thursday I'm supposed to go visit the special needs preschool for Reece, but I'm not totally sure if I should keep that appointment yet. That place is extremely expensive!

We've got 2 more field trips this month, thanks to Christmas presents!! WOOHOO! January will be a great month for education at the BPA! LOL

Thursday, January 05, 2006

YAY!! Finally! Zoo pictures!

Here are the kids in front of the Panda exhibit. You have to look hard but you can see a Panda face in the background!

Reece did not want to sit on the statue of Willie B!

Another nice day!

I got up again before the sun, and realized that Reece had no joined me in the bed! WOOHOO! She was waiting for me when I got out of the shower though! I had to wake the big kids up at 8, and we got a slow start to school. Everything went fairly smoothly, however. We met J and her boys at the Pizza Hut and spent our Book-It coupons before they expire tomorrow. (BTW, J is blogging now and I need to remember to ask her if it's OK to publish her blog link! She blogs on a really cool site that's $4 a month! It may be worth it to me!)

Now the kids are bugging me to go make the slime that I promised them we would make. Thanks so much Calvert school for the recipe! lol Riley has to clean her room first, so that should leave me time to finish blogging (and make dinner, and knit an afghan, and catch up on my scrapbooking!! Hee hee)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

First day back to school

This day was such a blur! I got up at 6:30 hoping to read my Bible and get the house picked up. I got dressed and made up and walked into the living room with my Bible, and Austin was there watching SportsCenter. I shooed him back to bed so I could have some time alone, and about 15 minutes later Riley walks in! These children haven't woken up before 9 AM in 2 weeks! ARGH! I will try again tomorrow, they should be nice and tired from our busy day and AWANA tonight.

We got a head start on school work! Took some of it to therapy with us. Reece only had ST today because the insurance company hasn't yet sent approval for the number of OT visits she can have in 2006. In case I haven't mentioned it lately... insurance companies suck! We came home and had rest time for about an hour and then Heather called to invite us to the park! It was a beautiful day today! So we spent a couple of hours at the park! Came home, made some phone calls, and some supper for the children... didn't turn the TV on at all, except for the hour of rest time for Reece! YAY me!

School work went very well overall! Only Riley argued a little bit, and stopped when I gave her the evil eye! Reece had a very hard time, though. She wanted ME to play with her, and cried when I couldn't. She played with Riley for a little while and also played with some of her 'school only' toys. It was hard to see her upset. I guess she needs time to get back into the swing of things too!

Austin learned how to use his computer game for therapy. It's called Earobics Step 2, and it is VERY cool! I learned his 'digit span' and now I need to research it to remember what a good one is! LOL! His is 4, and I think that isn't very good for his age. The game took him up to 5 and he got flustered, so it took him back down to 4. He was still flustered b/c of that hard time with 5, so he missed some of the 4s which he probably could have done had he not been so upset. So it took him back down to 3s, and he ended with a positive feeling. There are 5 games of varying levels, and it's supposed to take 5-6 months to complete! It looks like it will be very good for him!

Riley started Calvert Script today! It was a bit unimpressive to her, but I think she thought she was going to jump in and start writing words today! Tomorrow's lesson should be fun... lots of squiggly lines! :)

Reece did very well at AWANA tonight too! What a relief! She even learned her verse! I was so happy!

I am ready for bed soon! I forgot what it feels like to wake up so early! :)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Field Trip!

We made it to the zoo today! I've been trying all night to post an update and picture and blogger isn't cooperating! I need to get to bed, so updates will be tomorrow!!

Update: the zoo was alot of fun! It was 54 degrees which, to this Southern gal, is quite cool! We bundled up though, and had a really nice time! My favorite animals were the baby gorillas! I feel like I have a special bond with the moms now that I have nursed! :) Austin's favorites were the lions and the gorillas. Riley's favorites were the pandas, the baby gorillas, the lions, the elephants (but they smelled "so bad her hair could curl" @@), and... well you get the picture! Reece's favorite was the giraffes... only the giraffes weren't out, so I'm a little confused there! We didn't get to all of the animals, but that is OK, because we have a membership (thanks for the great Christmas present Mimi)! We can go back anytime we want to!

Blogger still won't let me do any pictures! :(

Monday, January 02, 2006

Back to business!

It's that time again! Time to get back to our school work, and try to get something accomplished! Also, I intend to get back to blogging again! I stopped for awhile because it just made me sad, and I felt like I didn't have anything to share besides what was going on with the kids and the autism stuff. But I really enjoy keeping a blog, and it's my blog! So if you come to a post that's about autism and you don't care to read about it... I promise not to get offended! I'll try to get back to the movie reviews as well, so maybe those would be more exciting for you! ;)

This week we're starting back to school on Wednesday, and also going to therapy and AWANA that day. Tomorrow we were going to go to the zoo, but the forecast has changed and it will be about 10 degrees cooler. We may go to the Children's Museum instead! I haven't decided! Later in the month, we'll be going to the Aquarium! These field trips are all courtesy of my aunts, uncles, and grandparents who sent money for the children for Christmas! Thanks to them, we will be able to buy an annual pass for each of these places! Nice, huh?

I need to get going for now, hope to blog more later on tonight! Hope 2006 has been good to you so far!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A visit with our founder

Our founder, Captain Jack Sparrow, has come to live at the Black Pearl Academy! He even brought his rum bottle with him, but I burned the rum and the shade, so I don't think he is very happy with me! He does talk to me, but has a tendency to say the same few things over and over again! But that's really ok! He fits right in with those of us at the BPA who have autism! ;)