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

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Operation IFO Outtakes

Last week I posted two more Operation IFO videos and mentioned having some “Ah-Ha” moments while watching them. I was going to explain. Really. I was. 

Of course...I didn’t.

I thought that would be the end of it. It wasn’t.

My friend Christine has been a great supporter of Operation IFO. Being an educator and a non-special needs parent; I value her interest and comments. Well…up until her last one that is.  :P  In a nutshell she was curious as to what my “Ah-Ha” moments were. And since she was such a good sport to do a follow-up post on her blog for a fellow commenter…how could I not do the same for her.

I got into it. I was going to explain all about communication in Riley World. I was linking to definitions/terms, blog posts and articles. It was going to be an eye-opening and insightful piece. Then I remembered. I don’t do insightful and eye-opening pieces. What was I thinking?!?!

So...sorry Christine. I…I…could not put into words my Ah-Ha moments in any sort of clear or coherent explanation what-so-ever. Obviously communication challenges just don’t happen in Riley World.  :(

Instead while I was going through all my video clips I decided to make a video montage of our journey in Operation IFO to date. 

I present to you...Operation IFO: Outtakes!!

 If you can't see the here.

How on earth I have survived...I will never know?!?  :)

Friday, 24 January 2014

All is CLEAR!!!
#Ten Things of Thankful

This week was the week I was actually going to remember to write my thankfuls down as they happened. Yup. It was.

Weeeeelll…by Monday I forgot.  *sigh*

So THANKFULLY (this so counts as number 1) I got some super fantastic news that I think also qualifies for the remaining nine seven. I’m invoking the TToT “who needs 10 when you can cover it all and MORE in 7” rule.  :D

My sister was diagnosed with bladder cancer a couple of months ago. The waiting...testing...waiting has been agonizing. On Thursday afternoon she got the all CLEAR! SOOOO Thankful!!! 


It is a terrifying word.

If you are “lucky” you may come away with a "new lease on life". 

I used to hate that phrase new lease on life. What a load of crap! 

And then…it happened to me.

And then...I knew what that meant. 

Eight years ago when my mom and I were going through our own cancer treatments my sister was the rock of the family. Let’s just say that I have been more like gravel…crushed gravel for her. Sorry sis.

Eight years ago my mantra (which I took from my experiences in Riley World and as I try to use now) was “One day at a time; think positive; and most of all…try and keep a sense of humour.”

So in keeping with the last part of my mantra, here is my list of thankfuls for my sister...

2.      You can skip the chemotherapy although you will have to undergo 6 preventative BCG treatments which does not sound like a whole lot of fun. You got this!!

3.      You can bypass being zapped with external beams of radiation. Instead you will have toxic bacterium put directly into your bladder via catheter. Wait. I think I prefer being zapped.

4.      You can stick to your 2 piece bathing suit and forget about a 3 piece bathing suit (one for “the bag”…hey…your husband came up with that one) as opposed to my single boob bathing suit (okay so I came up with this one).  :)

5.      You can keep your hair although once my hair grew back I got a new “do” and decided to let my highlights grow in naturally. Ummmm…perhaps this is the reason I now look like your mother instead of your younger sister. Ouch.

6.      You may not get to celebrate with a wig burning party but perhaps a bladder blowout party could work. Shall I start sending out invitations???

7.      And last but most definitely not the least…there was "NO invasion of cancer into your bladder muscle or other organs". Woo-hooo!!!

I heart you Seestor!

And of course because I can't have you looking better than me...
ummmm...after all it is MY blog

Don't forget to head on over and check out what others are thankful for this week. Even better...give it a try and link up! You'll be thankful you did.  :D

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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

It’s been one of “THOSE” days!!!

Today has been an autism kinda day in Riley World. What do I mean by that???  Well after a few other "incidents" we had this little conversation:

R:  It’s missing.
Me:  What’s missing?
R:  One is missing.
Me:  One what??
R:  Mr. Noodles. One is gone.
Me:  ?!?!?  Where?
R:  Downstairs.
Me:  Show me.
Off we go. 

Yes there are 5 boxes of Mr. Noodles.
Yes that is 60 packages.
No this is not unusual. Sometimes there are even more. 
I buy the boxes in multiples of 4 for a discount.

If you will notice...there are only 11 packages in this box.

Let me explain. R likes to have 2 servings (2 packs per serving) of Mr. Noodles every night after his shower. Routine. Habit. Whatever. As long as he ate, G made them. We started to cut back to 1-1/2 packs per serving as R started leaving a fair amount untouched. G would "hide" the extra packs in the corner cabinet and make up boxes downstairs and add the made-up boxes to the pile. I know what you're thinking. How could G be so stupid as to only put 11 packs in the box!?!   ;P  

I am not sure how long or when Riley noticed that one package was missing but today was the day that he let me know it was missing. Can you spot the box with the missing package???

How about now???
Much easier to spot in this picture don't you think?
The angle is much better.

Whaaaat??  You can't spot it?!?!? 


Let me help you...

Now if you'll excuse hell with "W.O.W." (aka Wine on Weekends). Pour me a bottle...or three.  

Season 1: Special "O" Snowshoeing
#Wordless Wednesday

Monday, 20 January 2014

"I'm Eating With Us!!"
#Operation IFO

Videotape teaching (or microteaching as it is also known) is not new. In the past we tried using it with Riley on a few occasions; G has had his golf swing taped; and I found it helpful when G taped one of my first dragon boat races.

Now one would think that after 15+ years I would be ummmm well versed in all things Riley. Apparently not. Could it be that after 15+ years of hearing the same thing over and over and over until my ears were bleeding I learned to just nod my head with a smile on my face while repeating my part of the script?  :O  So not surprising that I would find our Operation IFO videos helpful...even insightful.

I started to write about my “Ah-Ha” moments after watching the videos. I was trying to make it brief and to the point. I couldn’t. It got very lengthy, wordy and did not make a lot of sense. So I decided to leave it for another day. Or not. Probably not. You never know. Somehow I doubt it though. 
So instead here are 2 videos taken with this month's Operation IFO goals...eating dinner together or as R likes to say "I'm eating with US!" on a more regular basis. As you can imagine he was so not thrilled. Last week we managed eating 2 dinners in 4 days together. Go me.

This first video features a few pieces of chicken (newish to Operation IFO), carrots and rice (not new; not desirable). My new camera apparently cuts off heads. Go figure. I will confess to operator error and not blame Big Red.

FYI:  Yes, R did call G “Your Majesty” and Tammy…that fork bang at 1:35 was for you.  ;)

The second meal came after his first day of snowshoeing. On his plate was salmon (2nd time), tofu (regular food item) and rice. It took all of 2:30 for him to finish. So much for eating with us.

If you can't see the here.

With so many activities, work, etc. do you have a hard time sitting down for a meal as a family?  If not...what the hell am I doing wrong?!?!?  

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Living His Dream...
#Ten Things of Thankful

feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.

Why after 10 weeks did I decide to look up the definition of thankful??  Well I was trying to find a common thread between a number of feelings that I had this week.

On Wednesday night G, J2 and I went to a concert. Not just any concert. A concert where J1 was living his dream.

Not to sound cliché…but I will. To see the fruits of J1’s labours come to life…on stage…in front of thousands of people was…well…frankly…indescribable.

So for this week, my list…in pictures. 

Please excuse the blurriness…these were taken with G’s other stupid camera.  

They were one of the opening acts for this guy.  
Apparently he's one of the judges on American Idol.  :)

I Heart KU!!!

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Saturday, 11 January 2014

Starting off 2014 being Thankful!!
#Ten Things of Thankful

It has been a month since my last TToT. Technically I only missed 2 weeks since there was going to be a holiday break. That is until Lizzi went renegade.  :)

December was a crazy, whirlwind of activity in Riley World which left little time for social media since my ability to multi-task has decreased to well…one thing at a time. But I am back on the routine wagon and ready to give TToT another go! Here’s what’s been happening so far this year…

1.      We started off the year celebrating not one but two birthdays. My mom (who never thought she’d live past 60) turned 83 (take that!) on the 2nd and first born spawn (J2) turned 21 on the 5th!

2.      Once I set my mind to it I managed to pack away all the Christmas decorations in one day. Hey…don’t judge…I have been known to drag it out over a number of days.

3.      After the demise of Riley’s beloved “puppy” it was touch and go whether or not he would accept new puppy. He has. Peace and calm have once again been restored in Riley World.

4.      Apparently there are only so many times the family wanted to hear me complain about how the stupid new camera that G bought back in the fall was stupid and took stupid pictures. Although the video feature was not too bad, the stills were usually blurry. Even my niece took blurry pictures with it. It was definitely NOT user-friendly. It was stupid!! Thankfully the after Christmas sales had one that was just like our old, reliable one (only in red). G and J2 bought it for me. Big Red’s not stupid!

Such a deal!! You are probably wondering why I need a camera.
Doesn't her phone have a camera?? Yes. It does. Its stupid too.

5.      I don’t know about you but in our house we all have comfy, “home” clothes. As you may have noticed on our Operation IFO videos, Riley’s are black shorts and a turquoise t-shirt. He used to wear those shorts for PE in school. J2 used to wear those shorts for PE in school. They are that old. A number of months ago the elastic was...well...not so elastic anymore. Sure there was a drawstring but that is not Riley-friendly. Slowly the shorts sat lower and lower on R’s “hips” until we started seeing him run by holding his shorts up with one hand. If both hands were occupied, he would straddle walk/run trying to keep the shorts up. It didn’t always work. Of course I could not find the exact. same. pair. Ya think!  The pair I bought has been sitting on R’s dresser for at least a month. This week he came down wearing them! Miracles do happen! 

6.      My boxing started up again on Monday after a 3 week break. Thankfully I am still alive. Barely. I hurt all over on Tuesday. Even my hair hurt. I felt better in time to go again on Thursday. Call me crazy committed...the things I will do for my dragon boat team.  :)

7.      My watch decided to stop working just before Christmas. G replaced the battery but to no avail. I was very sad. I loved that watch. They said it would cost $100 to clean it and there would be no guarantee that would fix it. Ummm…I don’t think so. The watch had given me many good years. It was time for a new one. Thankfully I found one this week as I felt lost without one. I am hopeful the face on this one will not shrink over time like the last one.

8.      Riley World FB status on Friday:  
Today R & I started back shelving books at the library. Rather than wait until we got home this afternoon, G did the laundry. All the way home R kept muttering away "I need to fix the laundry." After some back and forth we decided he could refold HIS laundry when we got home. That seemed to appease him.

When we got home, he left his McD's on the table and ran upstairs. Here's what I found (sorry it's a little dark). So much for trying to do R a favour. Now if only J2 were as 'concerned' about his laundry.

Once we get past all the whining and grumbling (thankful times a bajillion), when Riley gets a routine down pat he wants to do it himself. O...C...D??  O...M...G…yea!

9.      Again my team has been responsible for my agony sudden enthusiasm for physical fitness. I went to my first Step class today. Easy-peasey right??? Well if you have any coordination it would be I suppose. Thankfully the room did not have wall-to-wall mirrors.

10.   Thankfully I realized number one counts as two.

Here's to the start of a Happy, Healthy & Thankful 2014!!!

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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Wrapping Up Christmas 2013

Finally! As of yesterday Christmas was officially over in our house. Granted Christmas was finished in Riley World on January 2nd…hey undecorating the tree is just the tip of the iceberg.

Ummmmm....yah...thanks Ri.

So just to bring a little blog closure to 2013…here was how our December went down.

December 2nd:  Tree decorating. First time EVER that Riley wanted to “participate” in decorating the tree…sorta. R did not want to touch or place any decorations on the tree. However he was a very good director and G was a very good placer

December 8th:  My mom treated my sister, R and me to Odysseo by Cavalia

R slept through the entire first half. He woke up at intermission and was ready to leave. We didn’t. He proceeded to whine through most of the second half. The conversation on the way out:
R: That was fun!!
Gma: Did you enjoy that Riley?
R: Yes grandma. I enjoyed that.
Auntie S: Did you like it Riley?
R: Yes Auntie S...I liked it.
Oh really.  *smh* 

December 12-14th:  Since we are on a “gap year” in Riley World we decided to take to the air/road. The three of us (J2 is not on a gap year therefore had to stay home and work…boo hoo) decided to head south for some sun and fun just before Christmas. First stop was Viva Las Vegas. It was National Rodeo week and J1 was playing so what better excuse than to go see him.

December 14-19th:  We headed west to sunny and warmer Palm Springs for 5 nights. We have some very generous friends who let us stay at their home away from home. My cousin/husband joined us for the weekend and G got in 4 rounds of golf while R and I lazed around the pool. 

December 23rd:  Riley got his first ride in an ambulance. That was fun. NOT! Since this is an entire blog post in itself…here are the Coles notes: he almost passed out; he has a history of seizures (although he has never had a grand mal); I was alone with him; I panicked; after 2-1/2 hours in emergency we came home and he slept for the next 15 hours. He was better by Christmas morning.

December 25th Christmas dinner at my sister’s. A deeeeeelicious turkey dinner was enjoyed by all. Well. Almost all of us.   

December 26th:  A fatality in Riley World. After the discovery of R’s beloved Puppy’s remains and a day of shock and dismay (mine), we celebrated the life of Puppy

December 30th:  Santa surprised G and sent him back with J1 to his new home in Nashville for 5 days. I'm not sure who was more excited about that...G or me?!?  I kid...I KID!!!  

2014 has already seen some changes in Riley World that I am excited to share with you. Here’s to more forward than backward steps and as always wine laughs, lots and lots of wine laughs.

Cheers!!!  Di

Sunday, 5 January 2014

J2 Reaches the Age of Majority

It was a mere 365 days ago that my first born was no longer a teenager. Today he is considered the age of majority everywhere. in. the. world.  What is even scarier…I HAVE A TWENTY-ONE YEAR OLD SON!!!

I was looking through some old photos (yes…J2 was born in the pre-digital days) and sat weeping softly in the corner reminiscing about the past 21 years. As you can see I have become a little obsessed with PicMonkey. 

From an early age J2 wanted to follow in his big brother’s footsteps. 


I was trying to come up with something sentimental yet not tooo sappy...after all we are talking about a 21 year old young man. What better way than through a song and as luck would have it I found these lyrics from the third verse of the number one song on BillBoard Magazine’s Top 100 songs of 1993:

I hope life treats you kind
And I hope you have all you've dreamed of
And I wish you joy and happiness
But above all this I wish you love.

Happy 21st Birthday J2!!! 
I <3 you!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

2014 Starts NOW!

GAH!!! Is it already the 4th of January!!  As I seem to be having a harder and harder time multi-tasking prefer to live in the moment…my blog was one of the first things to fall by the wayside last month. I do plan on sharing all our Kodak moments but for now a quick little post to let you know we are still alive and kicking.

December came and went in a flurry of activities. We had a few “FIRSTS” in Riley World which is always cause to celebrate. On December 2nd Riley helped G decorate our tree and unbeknownst to me…Christmas was finished in Riley World on January 2nd.

So come Monday Riley World will be back in full swing. Give me strength.  :)