Playing Games


You may have seen a few of my comments on other blogs about board games. I love them. But I also have a love for Mexican food and loaded potato soup that other people probably wouldn't understand.

I've heard people say that kids can learn so much more from video games. That is fine. I'm not arguing that. However, I do feel that depending on the other activities in a child's (or adult's) life, they can be harmful as well as beneficial. Superkid has a video game system, I believe. But I know that Supermom puts good values in him. He has that family time and does homework. They don't consume his life. To my point: I recently discovered that you can actually bank from video games. I had NO idea!

Brandon Gousset - who apparently enjoys calling me a stalker - has been playing for quite some time... He has won free trips and even more money playing a racing game than I would make spending 8 hours on my feet to photograph a wedding. All for playing video games. That being said, let me clarify that he does have a respectable job as an elementary school teacher. See more from last year's article at the Natchez Democrat.

{For Shea}

This is a sneak peak for Shea and Abram. I had a great time at your session!


















On another note, I had no idea that my emails were dumping right into my spam box. Don't think I'm ignoring anyone. I almost missed Shea because that is where she ended up too! I am in the process of sorting through about 300+. Yes, the email problems ARE corrected, but the software that I use to open my messages is apparently working a little too hard. Please give me at least two more days to sort through and finish up a few sessions.

Our Weedend


Saturday I was awakened to a text from my preacher. The church had a scheduled clean-up day at my house (how did I miss knowing about this ahead of time?). The house had been vacant for a couple of years, if not more so there was lots that needed to be done. There were limbs in the yard and on the roof...the grass hasn't grown in ages because of all the leaves and limbs. But we raked, gathered piles for later burnings and cleaned out the carport. In about two weeks we work on the back (it has a good sized yard). Hopefully when it is officially warmer outside I can host a little "bo-bee-coo"!

I wasn't able to do much because of having to care for The Skinny Bean Pole. It was kind of windy outside and they were burning leaves... lots of smoke that she didn't need to be around! But I enjoyed the company and did a little here and there. Later in the day when it warmed up, we went to run errands and visited a craw fish boil (which I do not eat craw fish by the way). We met some new people and made a few new friends. Overall, great people and they know how to make you feel welcome! The Skinny Bean Pole got LOTS of attention between the church crew and the boil... I saw nothing but smiles all day from her! She has learned to put her mouth on my belly and make farting sounds and almost bit a chunk out of my finger Sunday, which she found most amusing and chuckled about for at least 10 minutes afterwards.

Sunday, we went to Bass Pro to get my dad a birthday gift - the big 50 today! While there, I saw a friend and met his girlfriend who is currently attending State and is majoring in PHOTOGRAPHY! Hooray for her! Ended up with a spider bite... hmmmm...seems to be clearing up so hopefully my thumb won't rot off!

The most boring day, ever!


Seriously. Will this day ever end? I've rebuilt two blogs, edited my photog-mama blog, worked on some goodies for SuperMOM, taken several walks... still sitting here waiting on the day to end.

This morning, I was driving in rush hour traffic and a vehicle comes from the far right on-ramp and crosses both lanes to get in front of me. There were no vehicles in their lane, so I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish and they still ended up going about 5 miles below the speed limit. I've never understood why people do that?!?!?!!

I was able to comfortably fit back into my Aeropostale corduroy's this morning! HOORAY!!!!! I've missed them so:)

I'm hungry. I'm tired. I'm anxious..... Heard from an old friend's mom this morning and she gave me an email address to keep in touch! Maybe that will go well. We haven't talked in years and I miss our conversations. But I miss a lot of things.

Useless nonsense....

10 things to know from children with Autism


From Bethany. You and Mason are always in my prayers!

Here are ten things every child with autism wishes you knew:

1. I am first and foremost a child. I have autism. I am not primarily “autistic.” My autism is only one aspect of my total character. It does not define me as a person. Are you a person with thoughts, feelings and many talents, or are you just fat (overweight), myopic (wear glasses) or klutzy (uncoordinated, not good at sports)? Those may be things that I see first when I meet you, but they are not necessarily what you are all about.As an adult, you have some control over how you define yourself. If you want to single out a single characteristic, you can make that known. As a child, I am still unfolding. Neither you nor I yet know what I may be capable of. Defining me by one characteristic runs the danger of setting up an expectation that may be too low. And if I get a sense that you don’t think I “can do it,” my natural response will be: Why try?

2. My sensory perceptions are disordered. Sensory integration may be the most difficult aspect of autism to understand, but it is arguably the most critical. This means that the ordinary sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of everyday that you may not even notice can be downright painful for me. The very environment in which I have to live often seems hostile. I may appear withdrawn or belligerent to you but I am really just trying to defend myself. Here is why a “simple” trip to the grocery store may be hell for me:My hearing may be hyper-acute. Dozens of people are talking at once. The loudspeaker booms today’s special. Musak whines from the sound system. Cash registers beep and cough, a coffee grinder is chugging. The meat cutter screeches, babies wail, carts creak, the fluorescent lighting hums. My brain can’t filter all the input and I’m in overload!My sense of smell may be highly sensitive. The fish at the meat counter isn’t quite fresh, the guy standing next to us hasn’t showered today, the deli is handing out sausage samples, the baby in line ahead of us has a poopy diaper, they’re mopping up pickles on aisle 3 with ammonia….I can’t sort it all out. I am dangerously nauseated.Because I am visually oriented (see more on this below), this may be my first sense to become overstimulated. The fluorescent light is not only too bright, it buzzes and hums. The room seems to pulsate and it hurts my eyes. The pulsating light bounces off everything and distorts what I am seeing -- the space seems to be constantly changing. There’s glare from windows, too many items for me to be able to focus (I may compensate with "tunnel vision"), moving fans on the ceiling, so many bodies in constant motion. All this affects my vestibular and proprioceptive senses, and now I can’t even tell where my body is in space.

3. Please remember to distinguish between won’t (I choose not to) and can’t (I am not able to).Receptive and expressive language and vocabulary can be major challenges for me. It isn’t that I don’t listen to instructions. It’s that I can’t understand you. When you call to me from across the room, this is what I hear: “*&^%$#@, Billy. #$%^*&^%$&*………” Instead, come speak directly to me in plain words: “Please put your book in your desk, Billy. It’s time to go to lunch.” This tells me what you want me to do and what is going to happen next. Now it is much easier for me to comply.

4. I am a concrete thinker. This means I interpret language very literally. It’s very confusing for me when you say, “Hold your horses, cowboy!” when what you really mean is “Please stop running.” Don’t tell me something is a “piece of cake” when there is no dessert in sight and what you really mean is “this will be easy for you to do.” When you say “It’s pouring cats and dogs,” I see pets coming out of a pitcher. Please just tell me “It’s raining very hard.”Idioms, puns, nuances, double entendres, inference, metaphors, allusions and sarcasm are lost on me.

5. Please be patient with my limited vocabulary. It’s hard for me to tell you what I need when I don’t know the words to describe my feelings. I may be hungry, frustrated, frightened or confused but right now those words are beyond my ability to express. Be alert for body language, withdrawal, agitation or other signs that something is wrong.Or, there’s a flip side to this: I may sound like a “little professor” or movie star, rattling off words or whole scripts well beyond my developmental age. These are messages I have memorized from the world around me to compensate for my language deficits because I know I am expected to respond when spoken to. They may come from books, TV, the speech of other people. It is called “echolalia.” I don’t necessarily understand the context or the terminology I’m using. I just know that it gets me off the hook for coming up with a reply.

6. Because language is so difficult for me, I am very visually oriented. Please show me how to do something rather than just telling me. And please be prepared to show me many times. Lots of consistent repetition helps me learn.A visual schedule is extremely helpful as I move through my day. Like your day-timer, it relieves me of the stress of having to remember what comes next, makes for smooth transition between activities, helps me manage my time and meet your expectations. Here’s a great website for learning more about visual schedules: www.cesa7.k12.wi.us/sped/autism/structure/str11.htm .I won’t lose the need for a visual schedule as I get older, but my “level of representation” may change. Before I can read, I need a visual schedule with photographs or simple drawings. As I get older, a combination of words and pictures may work, and later still, just words.

7. Please focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can’t do. Like any other human, I can’t learn in an environment where I’m constantly made to feel that I’m not good enough and that I need “fixing.” Trying anything new when I am almost sure to be met with criticism, however “constructive,” becomes something to be avoided. Look for my strengths and you will find them. There is more than one “right” way to do most things.

8. Please help me with social interactions. It may look like I don’t want to play with the other kids on the playground, but sometimes it’s just that I simply do not know how to start a conversation or enter a play situation. If you can encourage other children to invite me to join them at kickball or shooting baskets, it may be that I’m delighted to be included.I do best in structured play activities that have a clear beginning and end. I don’t know how to “read” facial expressions, body language or the emotions of others, so I appreciate ongoing coaching in proper social responses. For example, if I laugh when Emily falls off the slide, it’s not that I think it’s funny. It’s that I don’t know the proper response. Teach me to say “Are you OK?”

9. Try to identify what triggers my meltdowns. Meltdowns, blow-ups, tantrums or whatever you want to call them are even more horrid for me than they are for you. They occur because one or more of my senses has gone into overload. If you can figure out why my meltdowns occur, they can be prevented. Keep a log noting times, settings, people, activities. A pattern may emerge.Try to remember that all behavior is a form of communication. It tells you, when my words cannot, how I perceive something that is happening in my environment.Parents, keep in mind as well: persistent behavior may have an underlying medical cause. Food allergies and sensitivities, sleep disorders and gastrointestinal problems can all have profound effects on behavior.

10. If you are a family member, please love me unconditionally. Banish thoughts like, “If he would just……” and “Why can’t she…..” You did not fulfill every last expectation your parents had for you and you wouldn’t like being constantly reminded of it. I did not choose to have autism. But remember that it is happening to me, not you. Without your support, my chances of successful, self-reliant adulthood are slim. With your support and guidance, the possibilities are broader than you might think. I promise you – I am worth it.

And finally, three words: Patience. Patience. Patience. Work to view my autism as a different ability rather than a disability. Look past what you may see as limitations and see the gifts autism has given me. It may be true that I’m not good at eye contact or conversation, but have you noticed that I don’t lie, cheat at games, tattle on my classmates or pass judgment on other people? Also true that I probably won’t be the next Michael Jordan. But with my attention to fine detail and capacity for extraordinary focus, I might be the next Einstein. Or Mozart. Or Van Gogh.

They had autism too.

The answer to Alzheimer’s, the enigma of extraterrestrial life -- what future achievements from today’s children with autism, children like me, lie ahead?

All that I might become won’t happen without you as my foundation. Think through some of those societal ‘rules’ and if they don’t make sense for me, let them go. Be my advocate, be my friend, and we’ll see just how far I can go.

from a book by Ellen Notbohm, Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew.

My recent camping experience


In the late-night hours:

Someone has wireless...let me check my email.

It's past 11:00 PM... I should get some sleep.

My laptop sure is loud. Maybe I should shut it off now. I am cold... let me cut the heater on.

11:30, I am seriously going to sleep now.

12:49 AM, I can't sleep. There are too many noises. The rain is loud.

12:15 AM, how did that happen?

1:25 AM, I am SO tired. Why can't I fall asleep? Maybe because its hot. Let me cut the fan on.

2:30 AM, I am cold. Why is it cold? And what is that noise that I keep hearing?

2:45 AM, OMG, I have got to get some sleep. Is camping supposed to be like this? It is so bright in here.

3:45 AM, How did the fan and the heater both get turned on and pointed in my direction?

4:30 AM, I can hear the rain. I can hear the wind. I can hear something outside that keeps rattling.

5:00 AM, I give up.

Tag, you're it!


Another fun goodie from the other Jennifer!

The rules are:
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

What I was doing 10 years ago: I was probably just arriving home from basic training.

Five things on my To Do List today:
1. Prepare Minutes for a Committee Meeting
2. Balance my checkbook
3. Respond to emails
4. Fold Clothes
5. Rest

Snacks I enjoy: Reeces, Doritos, Kisses, Snack Packs, SmartFood Popcorn, Easy Cheese and Ritz.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Pay off debt, build/purchase my dream home and an H3, build/purchase my dream studio and get ready for my DREAM JOB that is out there waiting for me...the one that I have, but can't seem to get off the ground!!!!....help out any CLOSE relatives and friends, make charitable contributions to things that I believe in supporting, then save the rest.

Three of my bad habits: WORRYING, WORRYING, Oh, and WORRYING...lol... ok, Worrying, procrastinating, and dwelling. But I'm working on all three.

Five places I have lived: Morton, Pelahatchie, Polkville, Brandon, South Carolina.

Five jobs I’ve had: Photog-Mama, Admin Ass (istant), Sheriff's Secretary, Dispatcher, and KFC cashier (oh, the stories).

People I want to know more about (a nice way of saying TAG!):
1. SuperMOM
2. Doghouse
3. Housewife
4. Look at Nea
5. Cow
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