Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Ringing In a new year...

Haaaallooooo????  Anybody there???

I have been struggling for the past week or so trying to write a post to sum up this past year. After all it is tradition to look back and celebrate/mourn and bid farewell/good riddance to the current year. I got about as far as making this picture on PicMonkey last week.

 2013 was indeed an eventful year in Riley World.

Yet here I sit.

Past noon on the last day of 2013.

Staring at a blank page.

Tapping the keyboard…hoping that something inspiring would appear on the blank page.

Whistling. Yes. I did whistle.

And still……


Nada.  *heavy sigh*

I even went so far as trying different spacing.  *wink*

And then…it hit me. I have NEVER liked New Year’s Eve. For me there has always been a certain pressure around it. When I was younger I felt I needed to have THE best time of the year on the 31st. Now???  Heck…I can barely stay up until midnight and there is something to be said about comfy clothes and having your bed only steps away.

And let us not forget the pressures of making resolutions… “dieting” usually made my list year after year. GAH!!! 

And don’t get me started on the over-priced, over-inflated costs of a night out on the town!!!

Eeep…forgive me. See! Scarred I tell ya. Is there a term for a New Year’s Eve Scrooge?!?!?   

So until tomorrow... 

From our family to yours…may 2014 bring good health, much happiness and many exciting adventures!!! 

Friday, 27 December 2013

Celebrating "PUPPY"

For the past 19 years Riley has had a constant companion in a floppy, once-stuffed dog named “puppy”. A gift from his Auntie Trudy for R’s first Christmas which became “THAT Special Toy”.

In the early years puppy went pretty much everywhere with Riley. 

On special occasions puppy even got to snack with Riley. 

Camping and other family vacations would not be complete without puppy.

As Riley got older and went off to school puppy got used to staying at home. Riley would place him gently on the stairs, snuggle his face into his body and breathe in puppy’s scent before heading out the door.

After 10+ years of hard loving, puppy started to break down. It was the Christmas of 2006. I was now a seasoned autism mom. I knew exactly what made Riley tick. Yup yup yup. I knew. All I had to do was replace “THAT Special Toy”.

Look how excited Riley is!!!

For the next 7 years (less 1 day) puppy took up residence (for the most part) on Riley’s shoulder.

At the beginning of November 2013, I discovered what turned out to be stuffing in Riley’s bedroom. After some investigation I realized Riley had tried to ‘destuff’ the replacement puppy. A surgeon Riley will never be. Did Riley sense the demise of puppy??? 

Puppy’s tattered and dilapidated body had become a tangled mess. Riley would shake, twist and untwist its threadbare body to no avail. Then on Christmas Eve day of this year (2013), G discovered the remnants of puppy in our bathroom garbage. *GASP* 

I am almost certain Riley tried to detangle puppy with his trusty scissors. 
A little snip here led to another snip there……  

The next morning......
It was as if Riley was trying to piece puppy together.  :(  

R:    You can fix it???
Me:  Ummm. No. I’m sorry. I can’t fix puppy.
R:    *Picking at the pieces*   You can’t fix puppy. (in his sad voice)
Me:  No. I can’t. It’s too wrecked. 
R:    It’s too wrecked. I wrecked it.
Me.  Yes. You cut puppy into too many pieces. I’m sorry Riley.

As the day passed, Riley would pass by the pieces, pick them up, smell them and sadly walk away. Why did I not just throw them away??? Well as you know I am a seasoned autism mom and one of the top 10 rules of autism is never, EVER throw anything away unless you have stored it for at least 10 years. EVER!!!  

We finally decided that Riley would give the replacement puppy a try. I would put my grade 8 sewing skills to the test and try and patch up new puppy.


Part of me thought perhaps this would have been a good time to naturally transition away from puppy. Yet another part of me had a hard time letting go. Puppy had brought so much comfort and security to Riley. Whether it was in his backpack under the seat in front of him on a plane or in a hotel room waiting for him to return from a day's outing; puppy was the one constant that gave Riley a sense of calm and order. Had we not had new puppy waiting in the wings, the choice would have been simpler. Not easier. Simpler. We would have no choice but to move on.

Was I doing the right thing?? Maybe at 19 Riley should not have a “puppy” or “blankie”. Any doubts I had were put to rest when we were at my sister’s for Christmas dinner this year. There on the arm of the couch was a well worn part of a quilt. It was my niece’s. It was her “blankie”. She is 20. J2 still has his “blankie” on his bed. He will be 21 in less than 2 weeks. For now Riley seems to have taken to new puppy…only time will tell.

Did you or does your child(ren) have something they are/were attached to??  How did you/they let go? 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Can You Spot the Differences??

Birthday List - June 2013

Christmas List 2013

I am pretty sure his Christmas List last year was pretty much the same. Next time I think I will order in bulk.  :D

Sunday, 8 December 2013

A Mixed Bag Kinda Week....
#Ten Things of Thankful

The holiday season has arrived! As I have mentioned before December 1st means ALL things Christmas in Riley World. The outside lights were already up so only needed to be plugged in. Phew! After a mad dash to get the tree and Christmas village setup by December 2nd…things have come to a screeching halt.

My goal this coming week will be to finish decorating or else just close the lids on the bins and be done. Ha! Anyways…here was how the week went:

1.      Fresh air. I sleep with the windows open. Not wide open. A little more than a crack. More like ajar. R likes to fall asleep in our bed than transfers to his bed when we go up. It hasn’t always been this way. For YEARS he slept with us. I will save the saga of this one for another time. Anyways with the colder weather comes the crisp smell of winter in the air. I love that smell! It can be a little chilly at first but I am thankful for my personal bed warmer (R sleeps on my side).

2.      FINALLY after at least 10,758 lives I made it passed level 421 in Candy Crush on Monday. I have been stuck on level 425 ever since.

3.      I got all my out-of-town parcels wrapped, packaged and sent. No small feat for me.   

4.      I have a new best friend. Well…he is not MY best friend but I am pretty sure he thinks of me as HIS best friend. Two words. Root canal. Thankfully we have a dental plan. After spending over 2 hours in his chair thankfully he told me I should not exercise afterwards as it could cause my tooth to start throbbing. This counts as 2 according to Clark’s manual.

5.      See number 4.

6.      Christmas shopping with my mom for my family’s gifts. We were able to knock them off find THE perfect items in under an hour and have lunch to boot. I love it when a plan comes together! 

7.      Friends and the holiday season. Last night we went to a friend’s place for dessert and some holiday cheer. My girlfriend made her famous Christmas martinis. I had forgotten about them. You’re shocked I know. Thankfully I only need to buy eggnog to be able to make them tonight.

8.      Lately I seem to have lost the ability to remember well…anything quite frankly. Thankfully I am not alone. My girlfriend was relating a story and after a brain fart few reflective moments passed came out with “cow meat”. What was even sadder was we all nodded along until the nickel dropped and G piped up with “you mean beef?” As I was writing this I actually remembered this YouTube video that explains our condition perfectly. It is a must watch!!

9.      And last but not least (yes I do realize this is only number 9 but this is going to be a twofer)…I am most thankful that I can blink. I will let this one sink in a bit. *tapping fingers*  At one point in the evening the topic of my blog came up. I was whining how I have a hard time coming up with ten things of thankful each. and. every. week. My friend T (like so many of the TToT crew) said I need to think small and gave me this week’s number 9 list item “blink”. I just may use his theory in weeks to come. Thank you Mr. T!!!  

Have yourselves an awesome week and don't forget to check out some of the other TToT blogs!

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Wednesday, 4 December 2013

2 Words...Fettuccini Alfredo!!
#Operation IFO

Has it really been 2 weeks since my last Operation IFO post??? *Gasp*  Between R’s sore mouth, trying to be Thankful every week and decorating the house…need I say more?!?

A couple of things you may notice…
  • R is wearing a different shirt and shorts. Today was laundry day and lunch was mid-cycle.  :)
  • He avoids the left side of his mouth and uses a straw to drink his juice. R’s mouth has been sore…AGAIN! *sigh*  
As a warning…fettuccini is not Riley-friendly. It is hard to stab in his usual piston like manner. It slops around and is messy. There is a lot of hand-shovelling and food hanging out of his mouth. Some may think R’s table “manners” are ummmm…lacking. You would be right. However at this point…it is all about eating the food. Etiquette can come later. 

This was what he started with:

Viewer Warning: This is a long one my friends. Just under 11 minutes. I was trying to edit it because let’s face it…even G and I were getting tired of watching. However I decided that a few seconds here and there would interrupt the flow so instead I will make note of some of the highlights so you can skip ahead should you decide to watch.

0:20:    R: “You don’t have rice for dinner.” – Riley’s way of saying he wants oyako-donburi for dinner…not just rice.  :)
0:32:    R: “We’ll be back in time for Christmas.” – Riley World is going on location in a bit and R was concerned we would not be back in time to open presents so he has been perseverating feels the need to keep confirming.
1:18:    Pours his own juice at the table.
2:06:    R and I have a conversation about the decorations.
2:20:    R’s response to “thanks/thank you” from anyone is “Awww…that’s nice.”
3:44:    I suggested he needed another napkin.
4:00:    He was not happy about my suggestion to wipe his mouth.
4:52:    R looking at his reflection in the corner cabinet (has glass doors).
5:53:    Token gagging.
6:28:    Desperately trying to make eye contact begins.
7:57:    Flicking pasta – gets some on his t-shirt.
8:30:    Flicking continues.
9:20:    R: “I’m full now.”  A few seconds later… “Please.”  *Gulp*  
10:28:  Makes sure he pushes in his chair before leaving. 

I suggest you go empty your bladder, grab a snack or meal and get into your comfy clothes. Here we go...

This was what was left:

If it wasn’t for my friend Tammy and her ummm not-so-subtle hint…you may have been spared this IFO video. So blame her for this feature length movie.  :P

Have a great day!!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Back on Track...
#Ten Things of Thankful

It has been a week since my Woe is Me post. I barely blinked and another week just zipped by. Youza! For those who are new to me…when I get overwhelmed I have a tendency to go offline  underground  running full speed ahead into my cave. Twenty years ago I would have dealt with things head on. Ummmm…maybe. Now at 50-something…I would rather swerve and take the Lala Land exit. *Hoy-dee-doi!* 

Not to worry. This week the sun has been shining, “no news is good news” and my wine glass is once again half-full. (I would prefer it to be more than half-full but that’s what refills are for right??)

Here's a little background music for you while you read:  

Two things happened on Monday that I was most thankful for. 

1.      My sister had a procedure to remove a cancerous tumour from her bladder. Although we need to wait for the pathology report, things went well and we are optimistic she will make a full recovery and not require any further treatment.

2.      Two weeks ago a close friend had emergency open heart surgery to repair 5 blockages. He is two years older than I am. Scary indeed. He was released from the hospital on Monday. It will be a long recovery but he is getting stronger every day and even managed to walk around the block a couple of times.

Not to dredge up the past. But…I will. Last week I made a confession on my TToT post. Thankfully it appeared I was not alone. And yes I am definitely counting this as number 3 for this week. So onto number 4…

4.      My dragon boat team had our year-end party on the weekend. It was an evening of amazing food, lots of laughter and a “Guess Who?” game organized by the social committee. I am thankful to be a part of such a wonderful group of women. 

5.      For the past 5 years the team has sponsored a Christmas tree as part as a community Festival of Lights. They make most of the decorations by hand. We got together to create some new masterpieces. Thankfully there are some very artistic people in the group as I am severely craft-challenged. I stuck to maintenance and minor repairs. We will be decorating our tree this weekend.

6.      A co-worker of J2’s gave him a box and a half of Mr. Noodles for Riley. He did not like them. Obviously at age 33 he does not have the sophisticated palate that R has. :)  G said R gave the half box the twice over as…well…you know…it was different…as in half empty. We were down to our last 2 cases so I was thankful.  ;P

7.      Riley and I both needed to get some routine blood done. R has only had blood drawn one other time. He was not happy about this. Neither was I. 

Did you know for some tests a person needs to fast?  I had coffee before I left. I need to read instructions more carefully.

Riley was prepped so we went anyways. When we got to the lab it was empty. I was very thankful and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Did you know for some tests a person needs to go before a dose of medication (or else 8-10 hours after)?  I vaguely remembered the doctor mentioning that. R had his morning meds. I need to listen to instructions more carefully. We turned around and came home.  

Thankfully you can book an appointment online so we went at 8am the following morning. (This would be number 8.)

Thankfully it was empty again.  (Number 9…check!)

The technician was not exactly warm and fuzzy. I explained our ummm situation. R was nervous. By the time she was done R had won her over. She was smiling at him and even tried to make me feel better by saying "some people get stressed more than others...it's no big deal." Thankful?? Indeed!!!  I believe that is 10!  

So there you have it. A week much better than the last couple. Hey…guess what day this Sunday is???  December 1st!  In Riley World this means ALL THINGS CHRISTMAS!!

Let the decorating begin!

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Saturday, 23 November 2013

Happy 25th Weekaversary of TToT!

This past week has been an emotional one to say the least. I was finding it a real challenge coming up with anything to be thankful for and had it not been the 25th Anniversary week I am pretty sure I would have opted out. I thought about going generic and listing 10 Thankful songs. Who doesn’t like music? Then I remembered “When the going gets tough…the tough drink wine”.

So after a few glasses here’s what I came up with…

1.      Lizzi for the second of 2 awards “The Sunshine Award” for being the LAST 10 people to post on last week’s TToT.  Go me!   PS…watch for my post(s) this coming week.

2.      I have been feeling guilty for not reading ALL the TToT posts. Then I reread the “suggestions” and it said “Please take time to have a look at some of the other posts submitted…” Phew! Sometimes I start at the top and work my way down. Sometimes I start at the bottom and work my way up. AND just because I am a rebel type…sometimes I start in the middle and work from right to left. So from now on, on the weeks that I am feeling panicked I am going to roll the dice and if your number comes up…you my friend will get some comment love.

3.      G was on a roll this week. I think he was feeling bad for me. This qualifies him for three list items all to himself. Number 1…he swished the swiffer around dusted. How did I notice?? Ask and you shall receive.

4.      G cleaned the bathrooms this week. If he commented at all he would loudly protest that he cleans the bathrooms ALL THE TIME. He does not comment so I feel no need to defend myself.

5.      Saving the best for last. These were on my laptop when I got home the other day. I only treat myself to them during the Christmas season. I have already eaten my way through 1 box. Joy to the World!

6.      Yesterday morning as we were heading out to Lori’s Library, Riley saying “Well…it’s time to go to work.” in his sing-song, happy voice. He makes me smile.

7.    After making a rookie mistake about a month ago I lost everything on a website I was working on. This week we are ready to go live *fingers crossed*. I am thankful for all the tech support people that helped me out…again! 

8.      Having dinner with Riley’s other mom this week. Over the years we have had many of our own adventures together. I am so very thankful that we continue this tradition.

9.      I used to think conversations with spawn should happen verbally. Until we had teenagers. And texting. I love that at 20 years old, J2 will still share his excitement with me. Texting affords both of us that opportunity. After all…what 20 year old wants to be seen calling their mom when they are out.   

10.   Friends. New, old, in real life and virtual. I have THE BEST ones!!

Click on the special TToT Weekaversary button (below) to pop over and check out the new TToT banner!  SO AWESOME!!!  While you are there Please take time to have a look at some of the other posts submitted…”  :D

Ten Things of Thankful
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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Can You Count to a Bajillion???
#Operation IFO

Does anybody else remember the Toyota commercial from the 70's with the tagline "You asked for it, you got it...Toyota!"  I do. Hence our latest video of Operation IFO: The Smoothie Edition; Part 2. 

But before we go any further, I went and searched YouTube to see if I could find the Toyota commercial for those of you who might not remember/know it. I came across this from "Forget Paris". Visions of Riley World 60 years into the future flashed before my eyes or maybe it was just Billy Crystal's reaction that I could relate to. Perhaps a little tooooo well.  :D  

On to our video. See if you can answer these 3 questions after you finish watching:
  • How many times did R say a variation of “I’ll be whining?”
  • How many times did R put down his glass (hoping to be finished) then pick it up and continue drinking??
  • How many times did R try and make eye contact with me?

Are you ready???  Watch and count...    (PS  Tammy…you will not be disappointed.  *wink*)

As soon as I gave Riley the “one more”…he took one last quick sip and was done!  Oh and his reference to Bonnie Hunt at the very end???  That would be me. Bonnie Hunt plays the mom in Cheaper By the Dozen. She may be blonde and have a dozen children...other than that?? We are the same.  :D

Happy Hump Day!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Ohhhhh THE PRESSURE......
#Ten Things of Thankful

Oh good heavens! I just checked and there are 40 posts of TToT with some ummmm overachievers submitting more than one. Yes…I am looking at you Lizzi, Clark and Jak! What gives!!! Geezzzz…I have a hard enough time coming up with a list of 10! Of course I am bitter envious happy for you.  

*Deep inhale*  I will not be deterred because "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." dammit! Ok so I added that last word. Pffffft!

Let’s get to it.

1.      Our hostess with the mostest (that would be you Lizzi) passed along a Liebster Award to moi!! *blushing*  I am both thankful and verklempt. MY EYE! THERE IS SOMETHING IN MY EYE!!! 

2.      Heated car seats. Now that the cold, damp weather has arrived I am most thankful that I have heated car seats. I would have never thought to pay extra to have these. I mean really…wear a coat! However…when you buy a pre-owned vehicle and it comes with said car…HALLELUJAH!!! I can never go back…   

3.      Did you know that air conditioning works great in the winter as well as the summer? You didn’t??? Where I live it is a damp cold. You may have noticed I bolded it (damp) twice three times now. Air conditioning defogs windows like nobody’s business. Try it. You will thank me for it next week. You’re welcome.

4.      Michelle and Jamie. Two lovely, young ladies that “hang out” with Riley. Without the “Ladies” in R’s life (past and present) we would not be where we are today in Riley World. They have all helped us in SO many ways and we are thankful beyond words. 

5.      This summer we were visiting out-of-town friends. BBQing, cocktails, good friends and great music. Could anything be better than that?? Mmmmm…that would be a no. Listening to music from my childhood, tweens, teens, 20’s and ummm beyond…*heavy sigh*. Anybody remember this one: 

My friend Fred made a CD and sent it to me! I heart you Fred!!  

6.      Since there are only 3 of us that will eat lasagne (look out Riley World)…I will make two and freeze one for another time. I am so thankful and happy to be able to pull out a frozen home-made dinner on those days when I have no idea what to throw in the oven  make.     

7.      This past week in Riley World we took on “Smoothies” in Operation IFO. After almost 15 years I still feel the urge to go full speed ahead. Milk, yogurt, new fruits…oh yea! Who cares that Riley has never, EVER had a smoothie. WTH was I thinking?!?  Of course this would usually result in less than desirable results and tears (usually mine). Thankfully my now IRL bloggie friend Bec suggested starting off with juice smoothies. One word. Success!!

8.      Every Friday morning Riley and I go shelve books at my girlfriend’s elementary school library. It is hard to know whether or not Riley likes going as he will not usually verbally let me know. This past Friday morning I woke up to find Riley all changed and ready to go to work at "Lori’s library". I am again reminded how thankful I am to have such empathetic and supportive friends.

9.      Thanks to Christine, I am driving myself crazy  racking my brains thrilled to be linking up with 10 Things of Thankful.  ;P

10.   And the latest…this reminder…NOT!!!!! 

Dyanne…really????  :D

Now if you’ll excuse me……I have a LOT of reading to catch up on. 

Have yourselves a great week!!!

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Friday, 15 November 2013

Operation IFO takes on SMOOTHIES!!!

*Cue Music*  And………

When I announced we were going to try smoothies in Operation IFO, I also mentioned there were a number of sensory sensations involved with drinking said smoothie in Riley World. My now IRL bloggie friend Bec came up with an ingenious suggestion (as always). Start off with a non-diary version. Use apple juice (since R will drink that) instead of milk/yogurt. D’oh!! *slides yogurt to the back of the fridge*

And so we started with this…

As with anything new…I started off small. There was only 4 ounces in his glass. 

I anticipated much gagging and protesting so I reverted back to the good ol’ days when a desired food was on standby (at the table and ready to eat as soon as he finished the new food). I assumed my no eye contact stance and called R to the table.

You're shocked aren't you??  I was! Now much of the time when the straw was in R’s mouth he was not actually drinking anything. Oh. Next time...I am going with a bigger cup.  ;P

Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Riley World Masters Michelina's
#Operation IFO

Last Thursday we made a giant leap forward in Operation IFO, just shy of 2 months from our first breakthrough!

I did not video this time. I thought it would be much of the same and for the most part I was right. I still heard “I’m tired of eating”. I still heard “How many more can I eat?” and I still needed to remind him to chew and swallow. Only this time there was actual eating happening. As in he would scoop two or three pieces of pasta onto his fork as opposed to the one-at-a-time piston-like manner when he first started.

Since Riley said he preferred the white sauce pasta the last time…white sauce pasta it was. I fished out the chicken pieces and served up the entire package on his new plate. Voila!

This was left. Granted we negotiated this last bit but there were only 21 pieces of pasta left! Of course I counted.

I am feeling SO positive that this week we are going to try…wait for it……smoothies!!!  :O 

What’s that you’re thinking???  Everybody likes smoothies! Oh my. Are you new here? That’s OK. Let me explain. Riley has never, EVER had a milkshake. He does not eat ice cream (although he used to eat orange sherbet). He does not drink milk (although he will eat minigo to take his meds). The only fruits he eats are grapes, apples and apricots (as in jarred baby food apricots).

The number of sensory sensations involved with drinking a smoothie in Riley World??? You be the judge. First, there is the texture…thick, heavy and creamy. Next, the temperature…remember R likes his drinks with NO ice. Then there are the new flavours…I am going with peaches first (close to apricots). I think they will blend up smoother with minimal visible flecks of fruit...remember flecks are unacceptable in Riley World. Finally although Riley can drink from a straw, the difference in texture will require him to suck harder in order to get anything. Think triple thick shakes vs. soda pop. Hmmm…maybe we will start without a straw.

So why on earth would I want to try smoothies?? Have you seen the number of smoothie places? We could have nourishment available almost anywhere! I am also hoping that eventually we could add protein powder and maybe even a vegetable for more nutrition. Am I delirious?? Probably. WTH! Go big or go home right??? 

Pretty sure the NO eye contact/conversation technique will once again come into play.  :D  Wish us luck!