Wednesday, August 31, 2005

My day

Go ahead. Ask me what I did today. That's right, you're too chicken. You've been led down this path before apparently. Ok, so I'll just hit you with the amazingly glamorous details of my afternoon spent on the bathroom floors (yes, that's floor with an "s", meaning more than one bathroom floor.)

I? Bleached the grout in both bathrooms today. Because? I am a rock star. You envy me, admit it. Spraying, scrubbing (with a real scrub-brush and everything) and wiping, trying to get that grout white again. Or at least a little more "un-brown". Our bathroom cleaned up nicely. Yay, our bathroom. The boys' bathroom? Not so much. So I hit it with more bleach. And more scrubbing. And then? I came to the conclusion that maybe that grout wasn't white to start with. Smart-ass bathroom floor.

On a brighter note? I believe I bleached off my fingerprints so I'm thinking I may knock off an ATM or something.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Freaking out

Oy. So, me? I'm a wreck. You'd think that after waiting all spring and summer for word on Liam's assessment I'd be thrilled to finally have a date, right? I mean, I am. And though October sounds like it's still a ways off? It's not, really. It's only seven weeks from yesterday.

So what exactly am I freaking out about? Hm. The fact that we will actually be taking our child to a world renowned program for something that affects his entire life and how he lives it, for one. Another? That they may not be able to help us and we'll be back at the beginning trying to figure out what's going on in Liam's head. Also? Our pediatrician's opinion that regardless of what label Liam ends up with, he's going to need some sort of intervention for the long term to help him succeed in school, relationships and life in general.

I mean, that's the bigger, broader stuff. The smaller stuff? Being so proud when Liam has told me, every day of school so far, that he cried or had an ourburst at school but was able to calm himself down. Being so thrilled to see him being so proud of himself. Then feeling crushed when the next thing out of his mouth is that someone called him a cry-baby "even when I calmed myself down by myself, mom". Coming to the realization that the educational part isn't the only battle he'll face at school every day. Wondering if he'll be able to sustain real friendships. Wondering if or when he'll notice that there is something a little different about him. And if that day comes? Wondering what we're supposed to tell him to make him understand that he is still the most perfect child God could have given us and that we wouldn't change anything about him.

Yeah. That about covers it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I'm a geek.

I'm a geek?
Originally uploaded by art chick.

Holy crap. I mean, I knew this day would come. The day when we have literally hundreds of TV channels at our disposal with millions of programs. I could watch "Friends" from the beginning of the series to the end by flipping back and forth between USA, TBS and random FOX affiliates. I can watch 24 hours/7 days a week of anything and everything having to do with interior design and decorating. But what do I watch so much of lately? What do I DVR and check nightly to see if any re-runs I haven't seen have been recorded? I'll tell you what I'm addicted to. The [so hysterically funny that the science geekiness is cancelled out] Discovery Channel show: Mythbusters. Oh. My. Gosh. That show kills me.

Ever wondered if your stomach would really explode if you ate Pop Rocks with a Pepsi? Mythbusters did (Pilot 1). Did you ever hear that a penny dropped off of the Empire State Building could kill someone on the ground? Yep, Mythbusters heard that one too (Episode 4). Did you hear the one about using tomato juice to get rid of "skunk funk" if you ever get sprayed? Uh huh (Episode 16). Take urban legend, add to it every email "warning" you've ever been forwarded and then sprinkle in a few playground legends and that's essentially the subject matter of this show. With a twist.

The Mystbusters are Hollywood special effects guys that essentially pick a myth, do all the science to figure out how you'd have to replicate that myth, then create a real life reproduction of the exact same circumstances and put the myth to the test. They weld rockets to the top of cars. They bury dead pigs in concrete (and dig them up again), they bark at skunks. On purpose. All in the name of science. I now officially love science. And I have a fine arts degree, people.

At the end of each test, the myths are laid to rest. They're either officially declared busted, confirmed or plausible (it's the plausible outcome that seems to irritate the Mythbusters the most. They don't seem to like to leave things hanging).

The best? When things get really fun if the myth is easily busted. A quick bust just opens the door for totally useless - yet extremely entertaining - destruction. Like the time they were testing to see if you could really be decapitated by a ceiling fan. They made molds of one of their heads out of ballistics gel with real cranium inserted. And used pigs' spines to mimic a human spine and put the whole thing together to make a freak of a mannequin complete with fake blood if the head was torn off. Official outcome of the myth? It was totally busted. So they made a bigger, badder fan. From a lawn mower motor. And sharpened metal blades. Almost completely tore through the freak mannequin though the myth stated "decapitation". So they still weren't able to perfectly replicate the myth even with their scary equipment substituted. But it was really fun to watch them try.

Ok, so you really really have to watch this show. New Episodes are on the Discovery Channel every Wednesday night at 9:00. Re-runs of various older episodes come on during the week (and I haven't yet figured out their schedule yet which is why I have to keep checking the DVR).

Monday, August 22, 2005

The new banner

Like it? You may wonder, where did 1977 come from? I mean, I was born in ' 72 so technically I've been making messes since then. But I doubt the early messes qualify as "very pretty".

1977 is the year I started first grade. It was also the year I discovered I was a little more artistically inclined than some of my classmates. Two incidents in particular stand out. One, and the messier of the two, my mom and my teacher had to sit me down and give me a little talking to because I used to doodle/scribble across the corners of all of my work papers. The second, happened on a day when we had indoor recess. It must have been in the winter because I remember dreading another indoor recess. So one of my friends and I (Anya, are you out there? and HOW could I possibly remember that name after so long?) decided to color. But when we went to the crayons, we found a box of strips made from construction paper. I started rolling them up making flower shapes and such. My teacher came back to the room and kindly told me that I had discovered and already complete that day's art project and by the way I did a very good job. Did I mention I adored my first grade teacher? Mrs. Margrave was the standard by which I measured the rest of my teachers (only two stood up to the test -- Mrs. Wheatley and Mrs. Welsh. Yay, Tri-County Christian elementary!).

So. That's why my pretty messes didn't start until ' 77 as far as my memory goes.

The beach

Sean's baby feet
Originally uploaded by art chick.
We finally made it to the beach. We usually go to Rehoboth (Delaware) but this year we went to Ocean City, Maryland with Rusty's mom. I'm usually not an O.C. fan as it's insane. We stayed at a hotel called The Francis Scott Key Motel. It's an older hotel, but very well kept. It's hidden back of off 50 in the trees. It gave off a southern plantation vibe but on a slightly smaller scale. The had great facilities for the kids (the indoor "Pirate Pool" is all the boys can talk about now) and a shuttle to the boardwalk. The boys were in heaven. It was enough to make me rethink my opinion of Ocean City and we're planning on going back next summer though then we'll probably rent one of their cottages.

Nothing else really to say. I'm busy with some ad work as well as getting ready to head out to Cincinnati this Thursday for my sister's bridal shower (Yay, Cait!).

Also? I've got a consultation with Liam's pediatrician tomorrow so she can go over his birth records to see if he'll need a CAT scan while in Cincinnati for his assessment. Medical stuff is starting to freak me out.

Click on the photo of Sean's cute little baby feet to see the beach photo group over at flickr.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


I'm so tired. I'm tired-er than tired.

We had orientation at Liam's new school today. 8:00 a.m. Good times. It actually went well. We finally got to see the inside of the new building and it's really nice. Each classroom for K-3rd grade has it's own bathroom accessible from that room only. So no random kids wandering the halls getting lost going back and forth to the restroom. The entire school was renovated after having been closed and standing empty for a number of years. Everything is new. Even the textbooks are all new. It's nice to have new stuff for a change (Liam's school last year? Definitely not new). Many of the teachers from the old school came over to teach at the new building. Liam and I got a hug from his kindergarten teacher from last year and she just kept repeating, "Isn't it nice over here?! I can't believe how nice it is!" (did I mention she'd been at the "old" school for 18 years? Yeah.) One thing missing? Sean's buddy, the P.E. teacher at Samuel Ogle, Ms. McClintock. She was the sign-out person for picking up kids after school and Sean had a serious crush going on. He was disappointed that his "friend with the glasses" wasn't at the new place as she opted to stay and teach 6th, 7th and 8th graders now that Ogle is a middle school. I promised him we'd walk by the now-middle school and say "Hi" sometime soon. I wonder if she'll hang around and still be teaching P.E. when Sean hits 6th grade (Hee. Sean in 6th grade. What an image.)

Anyway, Liam has this teacher who I swear could be one of the nicest and happiest people I've ever met. Like she really seems to like the kids already. Her attitude was basically that first grade is going to be fun on her watch, dammit! And really? By the end of her classroom orientation? I was ready to go back to 1st grade. And that's kind of blaspheming because I had the best 1st grade teacher of all time -- Mrs. Margrave.

So. I wondered about telling the teacher about Liam's issues or whether I should just let her figure out herself that something is different about him. I mean, I don't have anything official to tell her yet. The assessment is scheduled for the week of October 17. Three days of testing. But that seems so far away still and for now, Liam is just like any other 1st grader to this woman. Did I want to damage that version of him for her? Well, I did. I mean, I told her that she may notice some little things with him. Mostly the outbursts if he gets upset. But they are managable and Liam can calm himself just by "taking a deep breath" because? He is the best kid ever, people. This lady? Didn't bat an eye. She just smiled, nodded, and laughed that with Liam's obsession with rules and order and such that she'd finally have a "classroom cleaner". What is that? How does five minutes talking to someone put you so at ease? I don't know. But it did. So one less thing to worry about.

Alright. Well, I tried to upload my beach photos but the camera batteries died. I'm on the hunt for the adapter but until then everyone will just have to wait. I know it's killing you, admit it. My kids at the beach? How can you resist the cheesiness that is the Sapper boys? Exactly. You can't. So don't even bother trying.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Preparations for Caitlin's wedding

Sean gets measured
Originally uploaded by art chick.
My youngest sister, Caitlin, is getting married in October. We, Rusty the boys and I, are all honored to be a part of the wedding party. During our trip to Cincinnati we had to get the boys fitted for their tuxes. Click on Sean to see a few more shots.

The Big Purple Hill

That's Liam's name for The Beastie rollercoaster at Kings Island in Cincinnati. We're still recovering from our eight day trip to Cincinnati followed up (literally, the next day) by a two day trip to Ocean City, MD.

I have many photos to upload. If you click on the photo of Liam you'll be able to view a few from the day at Kings Island.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Three things

1. We're heading out to Cincinnati this morning for a visit with family and friends. Hopefully getting together with some people I haven't seen in a while (Jen, Amy, Jodi, Becky and maybe somehow even Mindy?). Also picking up my bridesmaid's dress for my sister's October wedding. And having the boys fitted for their tuxes (hee!). And helping create general bridal merriement. We return August 13.

2. Children's Hospital called with some possible dates for Liam's assessment at the Autism Center. Will find out today when that will happen. I knew they would be calling, I mean we've been waiting for this since March. But I still broke down in tears last night by the reality of it all. I mean... this is it. When we start getting some answers and some help. Holy crap.

3. August 14 (Sunday) we leave for an overnight trip to the beach. Yay, beach!

So. Lots of fun photos to post. Lots of travel. Lots of new information. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Digital Sean

Digital Sean
Originally uploaded by art chick.
Another digital layout. Because it's cheap, easy and quick. Triple whammy.

And since a couple of people have asked: No, these are not photos or scans of scrapbook pages. They are totally digital. It only looks like paper and ribbon and stitching. But they're just a bunch of pixels.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Betsy's photos kick booty

zillion tix
Originally uploaded by funky fat girl.
Unbeknownst to Betsy? I'm linking to this because I think it's the most fabulous photo I've seen in a while. My friend Mindy claims I'm the most visual person she knows. And she may be right. Because this photo? Makes me smile big.

Church and Liam

So I've been fighting this battle with myself all summer. Between being sick with the sinus infection, then the boys being sick and the house renovations going on, then me getting sick again (or actually, still being sick) our church attendance has been sporadic. But that's not to say that my relationship with God has suffered. If anything, lately, my faith in what I believe and why has only grown stronger. Maybe because I'm not surrounded by spirituality 24/7 and when I think about what I believe, I actually have to think about it. In that regard, my faith and my beliefs have grown much stronger over the last few months.

Also? I know that the situation with Liam and his Autistic/Asperger's diagnoses hanging over our heads as a possibility has affected my faith as well. I've had to face that fact that Liam isn't sick or disabled. He is exactly who and what God made him to be. I cannot and will not "fix" that. And? I am terrified by the fact that God thinks I'm capable of being the mother that Liam needs. I'm awed by that, and honored. But still terrified. That kind of realization puts my faith into a whole new realm for me. It's more mature than anything else. And I've hit the first test of my new found maturity and strength of faith.

Liam, with his issues, is totally literal. He doesn't "get" jokes often times, and sarcasm is lost on him. It's a symptom of his condition. He is also very much driven by rules. How things are supposed to be done. It's just the way his brain works. We've seen this start to affect him more lately because I've realized over the past week or so that though he was in the highest reading group in kindergarten this past year? He can't read. Or he can't read as well as we all thought he could. He compensates. He takes the context into account and guesses. He looks for visual clues, which in kindergarten isn't hard because when you read the word "ball" there is more times than not a picture of a freakin ball next to it. So I started chatting with Liam and trying to figure out how we can help him out. This is what I found out.

My little rule-oriented child? Is confused by the English language. He gets some of it - sometimes "C sounds like K" and such. But then he wants to know how do you know a letter is silent, or why you don't pronounce the "gh" in "thought" or "through" and so on. He is logical and basically? The English language is not logical a lot of times. So why do I bring this up in a conversation about faith and church?

This is why. Because the same logic that confuses Liam when he tackles the written word? Also confuses him at church. The lady at "Maryland Grandma's" church said that you have to say a prayer so you go to heaven because bad people go to the hell (for some reason, Liam calls it "the hell"). And Liam, being the smart boy he is, knows that he occassionally does something wrong and therefore assumes he is "bad". How do I kow this? Because I am the one that had to comfort my sobbing child as he desperately told me that he "had to say the prayer or else he would go to the hell because they said so at Grandma's church". He had to say the prayer. Had to "say the words, Mommy!". That? Is not faith. That is fear. And I tried to explain it to him. That he's not expected to be perfect and grace and everything. He's six and I know some kids get it by that age. But he's wired differently. And he doesn't "get" faith. It's not logical, it isn't rule oriented. It makes no sense to him. But? God sending him to the hell scares the crap out of him.

I want Liam to love God. Not be terrified of Him. And faith is not, by any definition, repeating words just to save yourself from hell. So I wrestle with what he can take in and process. Some days, like yesterday, I'll ask what they did in church and he'll say "I don't remember". And he often doesn't. Until a week later and then he'll start a random conversation with me about it. But I'm really trying to catch what he's taking in so I can make sure the "right and wrong" is tempered with grace and faith.

I don't know how much he can understand of what I'm trying to explain. I just don't want him to think he's "said the words" so he's good to go for the rest of his life and miss out on what God truly is. That thought brings me to tears and is the center of most of my prayers for Liam. But like I said at the beginning, I know God made Liam. And I know Liam has a good heart and sweet spirit. God is fair. God loves Liam. And God promises to answer my prayers. So I guess I'll just have to let him work out the details.
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