Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

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'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!

Monday, 11 November 2013

We Will Never Forget

Thank you for your service.

Photo: SAC Andrew Morris/MOD [see page for license],
via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Ten Things of Thankful #5

This week I decided I really needed to make a concerted effort with my Things of Thankful list if I did not want to risk being banned from the linkup. Not that I haven’t been trying. Just the opposite. I think I was trying too hard. After all, it really should be about the little things in life.

While I can not promise that my entire list will be sarcasm-free, hopefully you will able to read between the words at my true thankfulness. No sarcasm intended in that last sentence. Really.

1.      The grocery store where I do my regular shopping has give-aways each week. Sometimes it can be something as exciting as a box of oranges; sometimes it is money off the price of gas; and my most favourite…a $25 gift card towards your next purchase. I am most thankful when I get close to the required amount without going over by too much. Yup…I nailed it this week. Only $5.00 over.  BAM!!! 

2.      Did you know that cars run best when they have oil?  Yup.
Did you know that when a car is out of oil it makes an awful noise??  Ohhhh yea.
Did you know that on some cars the oil light only comes on AFTER it is too late??? WTH!!!

Thankfully I learned my lesson before it was too late. I asked G to check my oil again this week. It needed to be topped up. He went to buy some. I am thankful he did that for me.

Hey…I do believe there were two Thankful’s in that last paragraph. According to Clark's edition of the Secret Rules of TToT...that would mean numbers 2 and 3...check!

4.      99% of the time Riley is the first person up in the morning. G usually is next. Wherever R is, as soon as he hears me get up he will go up and make straighten our bed. Granted it is only a duvet but he does it every single day.

5.      Mini has been acting up a little. This past week the engine light came on AGAIN and it was as if she had been dipping into the sauce a little too much. Hiccupping and stuttering enough that a trip to the doctor mechanic was needed. It was a trip over town and thankfully G was craving a Timmy Ho’s breakfast burrito so he took her in for me.  

6.      I went to my first Stella & Dot Trunk Show last weekend. I need jewellery like I need to put on weight. I have no willpower when it comes to chips, wine and rings. If it were not for the copious amount of chips and wine, my fingers would probably be the same size. They are not. Therefore I needed a new ring. Thank you Stella & Dot!

It's actually 3 separate rings. It looks much better on.
I took a picture. I realized I now have old lady hands. 
I deleted the picture then ate some chips and drank copious amounts of wine.

7.      I made it to two boxing sessions this week. Monday and Thursday. I was a little stiff on Tuesday. Heck what I am talking about. I could barely stand up without holding onto something. But…it was a good stiff. By Thursday I was ready to go again. It is Saturday and thankfully I am still able to stand AND sit AND walk without pain.  :)    

8.      Lunch times have become a major to-do around here. Wednesday was J2’s day off. He went to pick up lunch for the two of us. Of course I paid but I got to stay in my home clothes so I was thankful.

9.      We started Stage 2: Introduction to Sauces in Operation IFO this week. I am thankful for Michelina’s frozen pastas. It has made lunches a lot easier to make even though Riley thinks “Pasta is stupid!”

10.   We began Operation IFO in Riley World two months ago. It has sucked the life right out of me been challenging. Thankfully we have seen great strides and if not for our family and great friends (both IRL and blogger world) I am sure I would have given up. THANK YOU ALL!!!

Your turn. What were you thankful for this past week?  

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Friday, 8 November 2013

He Ate it ALL!!! #Operation IFO

I decided to try a different plating technique. It is one often used for portion control. Like a lot of things it is all about perception. Of course in Riley World things usually work the opposite way. For example I wanted more to look less therefore I reversed the theory. I used a larger plate instead of his usual plate. Check this out:

R's usual size plate.

Dinner size plate.

OK…so maybe it does not really look all that different or else you are thinking it looks like there is more food on the larger plate. Well you would be right. The larger dinner plate actually had almost double the amount as the smaller plate. I took about 1/3 and gave Riley about 2/3 of the package. But…compared to this…

…considerably ‘less-looking’ as in more plate space. 
Wouldn’t you agree???
As usual here are a few highlights and comments for those not wanting to watch the entire video (just under 5 minutes this time).

My voice is much more expressive. We have moved to the next stage where positive reinforcement and enthusiasm ‘can’ work (not always) as motivation. There was even some eye contact.  :) 

:50 -     R tries to gather and separate the pasta.

I just can’t help myself sometimes. The ‘mother’ in me has a need to say I told you so reinforce the choices/options that were given and the final outcome. And so a “discussion” of choices begins. Here you will see some of the challenges we have when it comes to Riley’s receptive-expressive language.      

3:10 -   Discussion of choices.
3:55 -   Tomato vs. “White” sauce.
4:35 -   Gag reflex improving.

For the first time in a long time, I actually felt like we were moving forward and one day we may be able to order a plate of pasta off the menu!  Whoo-hoooo!!!!! 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Michelina's Meets Riley World in
#Operation IFO

I usually make pasta sauces from scratch. It is part of my on-going campaign for Mother of the Year. However, when I only require 1-2 tablespoons of sauce I am not as inspired. Will this hurt my chances for MOTY? Will it appear that I do not love my children as much as those who make cookies from scratch or prepare Pinterest-worthy lunches?? Oh well.

As I was wandering around the grocery store on the weekend looking for some easy alternatives I happened upon these…

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a new discovery. It is just that Riley has never had them. I scanned the varieties and spotted two that could possibly work in Operation IFO. The Penne Pollo – pasta in a cream sauce with cooked chicken pieces (we could dispose of these) and the Rigatoni Pomodoro – pasta in a spicy (this could be iffy but…) Italian style tomato sauce. They were on sale for only $1.00 each so I thought to myself WTH! 

One of the things I have noticed about videoing Operation IFO are things that I should have done differently. For example I put waaaaay too much pasta on his plate. When he was little I used to actually count out the specific number of pieces that he would have to eat. Why did I not think to do that now? Well honestly…I do not want to count anymore. More importantly what if he actually liked it!?!  Baaahaaahaaa!    

This video is on the long side (~6 min) so here are the CliffsQuickReview:

1:55 -   R starts negotiations. This time he starts with 20. It used to be 10. The last time I said  20. Memory like a steel trap.
2:28 –   Gag reflex still works.
2:40 –   R admiring himself in the glass cabinet.
2:50 –   Begins counting down in hopes of getting me to agree.
3:15 –   Starts separating 20 from the pack.
3:50 –   Confirms there are indeed 20 pieces.
5:20 –   R is great at remembering to tuck in his chair when he is finished. Once I confirm he is indeed finished, he sits back down to finish his juice.
5:30 –   R is a pleaser (after the fact of course) as evidenced here .  

Mmmmm...doesn't this look tasty? 

Will this ever end?!? I (and no doubt you) am getting bored with all of this.  :( 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Stage 2 , Part 1 of Operation IFO:
Introduction to Sauces

At 19, Riley continues to grow and surprise us. What used to be cause for meltdowns (changes in routine or something different…well…anything different) has, with time and maturity, become manageable. We still need to proceed with caution only now we do not need to worry so much about hearing loss (mine) or the physical/emotional aftermath (both of us).     

Since Riley has not been keen to cook his own lunch I decided it was time to move on to Stage 2: Sauces & Condiments of Operation IFO. I was nervous. Extremely nervous. In the past, introductions to new foods would bring on a flurry of loud, vocal outbursts and table-slapping. It was not fun. It was not pretty.

There is so much more to sauces than meets the typical eye. There is colour, texture, taste and of course, green flecks. Colour is not so much a factor in Riley World but green flecks and too strong of a taste can be a definite turnoff. I needed to be aware. 

My girlfriend had a great suggestion. Alfredo sauce. I immediately went out to buy some. It sat on the counter for about a month. Last week…I was finally ready. I heated a small amount up as the macaroni was cooking. I tried some. While it was edible, there was a definite cheesy/strong taste to it. I needed to come up with something more familiar

So instead I hunted around in the fridge and found some tomato sauce. I picked out as many green flecks as I could and added one whole tablespoon to the macaroni. I needed to start off slow. 

While I edited the video down from the original 6 minutes to just less than 4 minutes see if you can count how many times he…

·         says “How many can I eat?”
·         says “I’m tired of eating.”
·         swallows.

This is what was left...

Feel free to leave me your answers in the comments.  :D

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Ten Things of Thankful #4

I like to think I am a positive person. I like to think I am a thankful, positive person. I think I may be wrong. Trying to come up with 10 things each and every week is hard! I know. Think small and go from there. My pea size brain can only think small and still…it is hard! Yes I am whining.

Not one to give up easily I will give it another go…

1.      I am thankful to be alive. I am serious. After my boxing class on Thursday I have not been able to operate my computer mouse for more than a couple of minutes. My arms hurt that much. I actually had to go without a martini on Friday night because I could not shake the shaker. It was THAT bad!

2.      I am thankful for Advil. My BIL said I should take it after I work out to help alleviate the pain that would follow the next day. I forgot this time. I took some on Friday night. It was too late.

3.      I could not type or swipe or do anything physical all day/night Friday. Thankfully I belong to a book club and was able to start on this month’s book “419” by Will Ferguson. I am sure to finish the book which is a good thing…I picked it. It is not always a given.

4.      An aunt recently passed away. She was a widow and had no children. “We” decided we could probably probate her will on our own. My cousin bought a book and completed all the necessary paperwork. I am very thankful for all her hard work.

5.      After our second trip to work at my friend’s school library, I thought it might be helpful for Riley to have some type of dividers to sort the books on the cart before shelving them. Being the pack rat an environmentally conscious recycler, we have plenty of cardboard boxes. Thankfully G volunteered to cut them up for me.

6.      There is always so much that needs to be done around the house. It can be depressing. I am thankful I did not have to leave the house all day Tuesday AND Wednesday. I did not get anything done. I was too depressed. It’s the thought that counts…right???

7.      I am thankful G took R to his Special “O” Athletic Club on Tuesday so I could stay in my home clothes make dinner. See number 6.  

8.      We started Stage 2: Sauces & Condiments of Operation IFO on Wednesday. Yes I was very nervous. Riley did an amazing job! Thankfully I got it on video. Yes a blog post is coming. Yes I know you can’t wait.  :)

9.      Driving home in the pouring rain today I passed a soccer field. I am thankful that J2 no longer plays soccer. Ummm…not that I ever went to watch in the pouring rain. Hey…someone had to stay home with Riley. He hates the rain and it was a good opportunity for some father-son bonding. 

10.   Our house is at the top of a long, dark driveway so we never get any Trick or Treaters. :(  It has been years since the boys have gone out on Halloween night so we no longer get copious amounts of candy unless I buy it. Which I do. I was all prepared to buy more today and was giddy about the fact that it might be 50% off. I went to the grocery store only to find…

Thankfully in the last candy aisle I found these:

What have you been thankful for this past week?

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