Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Caught on Tape...

Wait no longer. Although one never knows when the mood will hit Riley, G was prepared and shot enough film to put even me to sleep in the hopes of catching Riley’s bowling “Happy Dance”. Lucky for you I edited it down to 2 minutes and 48 seconds of pure Riley enthusiasm and showmanship. 

Since I know you won’t be able to drag yourself away or pause for any explanations I will give you the run down before you start watching. You ARE going to watch right???  *wink* 

It appeared Riley decided to change up his usual grab and throw technique. To start off the evening he approached the lane and did what I will refer to as the double pump or swing toss. Since that did not bring about the desired results, he then resorted back to his trusty grab and throw. SttttttteeeeeeRIKE!!! Woooo-hoooo! One spin-o-rama accompanied by R’s “I’m excited; hear me roar” maniacal laugh and a subtle thumbs up to G. Not exactly unforced I know but I dare you to tell me you aren't smiling once you finish watching the video clip.

A couple of frames later he decides to add some air time to his throw. I am not talking about lofting the ball kind of air…I am talking Air Jordan style. Ha! A little leap after the throw followed by some directional arm action resulting in a spare!  YES! Next a quick jump throw with a half flip of the leg. Nothing this time, so on to something else.

Rather than continue with my monologue I am sure you would prefer to watch for yourself.  :)

video

So are you smiling???  Hope so.  I am.  Then again...I am his mom.  

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Clutter Sweet Clutter
#Monday Listicles

I missed last week’s Monday Listicles. I was away trying to do my part and give a little jump start to the economy in Las Vegas. Sadly I was unsuccessful…again!  *heavy sigh*  Heeeyyy...G got to go this time.

"10 Things in My Home" is this week’s topic chosen by the hostess with the mostest Stasha; similar yet different to an earlier list of "10 Things that Describe My Home". Now I admit our home would never be seen in the pages of Better Homes and Gardens or Good Housekeeping. If there were a magazine for clutter I am positive we would be on the cover of every issue.

So I decided to show you 10 areas in our home which seem to attract clutter like moths to a flame. Please don't think badly of me. Here we go...



Number 1:  Kitchen Desk

In an effort to keep our kitchen island clutter-free I had no choice but to move things to this area. I am pretty sure whoever thought to put a desk in the kitchen did not have this in mind OR maybe they did and I am excellent at utilizing every. single. square. inch. Yes…let’s go with that shall we? It is the dumping station “Command Central”. Need to know what is happening for the year? Check my handy dandy Family Calendar. Bills, bills, nothing but bills. Yup. They’re all there waiting to be paid. Recycling? Check out my fancy wicker basket with the checkered lining. Why yes that is a Laminator, a required piece of equipment in Riley World. AND storage for backpacks as well as two drawers filled with enough odds and ends for all seven seasons of MacGyver.






Number 2:  J2's Bedroom

I know what you are thinking…not too bad for a teenage boy’s bedroom floor right???  Oh. You weren’t thinking that? Oh. Ummm…this is a little awkward. What if I said he “cleaned” his room only…let’s see…I spot 4 pairs of underwear so that would mean about 3 weeks ago. Baaahaaahaaa. Kidding. Actually I just wanted to point out that apparently if you lay your work pants out flat and “ON TOP” of the pile, you are good to go for at least a couple more weeks. Oi.






Number 3:  Linen Closet

Not sure why it’s called a Linen Closet?!? 

I only have about one shelf of linens and the rest……









Number 4:  Family Room Fireplace

It is no wonder we have not turned on the gas fireplace in the family room for over 15 years. As much as I try and try and try to keep the area free from crap I can only do so much. I am not Wonder Woman people. OK. I admit the Christmas card tree holder is mine but that’s all!!!







Number 5:  Rec Room

Isn’t this what basements are for??? After you see the next few photos I am pretty sure we could qualify for an episode of Hoarders. 

Yes that is a turntable and receiver circa 1980 along with 3 crates of LP’s from the 70’s and 80’s. 

Three containers of Lego that have not been touched in almost 10 years not to mention a faux wooden lacquered bowl that my mother thought was too good to throw away when she moved. Yaaaaahhh right. 






Number 6:  Furnace Room

I want to say that once a year we go downstairs and weed through the junk that seems to accumulate throughout the year. I want to say we mean it when we vow to keep it clean. I want to say we really need those baskets, my mom's old steamer trunk and G's rear-entry ski boots. 

Truthfully...what I want and what is are two different things. *heavy sigh*








Number 7:  Back Door

FYI…those garbage bags do NOT contain “real” garbage. There are filled with non-perishables that need to be taken to the dump. Really. 

As you can see we need not worry about burglars breaking in through the back door. 





Number 8:  Under the Stairs



S.  O.  S.

Please call Hoarders 911 NOW!!!

I. 

Can. 

Not. 

Go. 

On.....





Have yourself a great week and don't forget to go check out everybody else's list!



Thursday, 20 September 2012

Back from an "Adults Only" Vacation

Get your mind out of the gutter people. Yesch!  Sooo, did ya miss me???  Tee hee. Sorry I kind of skipped town without mentioning anything. Call me stressed, call me nervous or call me maybe. Baahaaa…sorry just couldn’t help myself. 

G and I have rarely gone away together without the boys for a number of reasons. The most obvious being it was never easy to have someone come and stay with the boys when they were younger as R has certain ummmmm “idiosyncrasies”. Wait. What?? Oh heck…why try and sugar coat things here. Really it was and still is because Riley has autism. Another and maybe even more obvious reason is G is retired, I am a SAHM so frankly we are sick of spending ALL our time together *wink* and enjoy other people’s company so opt for separate (other than our family) vacations and that way one of us was always home with the boys.

Now that J2 and Riley are no longer “boys” (age-wise) we have come to a new fork in the road. J2 being 19 and an adult (according to him) is quite comfortable to stay with Riley on his own. Riley is very comfortable at home. Sounds like a perfect combination wouldn’t you say??? Yea right. I am going to assume at this point you are either in shock staring at the screen or rolling on the floor laughing your ass off. Honestly it was a little of both for me.

After much agonizing (keep in mind we were talking Vegas with 3 other couples so…) I could hear my uncle’s voice saying “What the hell!” His intent was not the same as mine here but I have learned to be adaptable. Of course this being the first time, I opted to put Plan B into action. Half the time with Riley’s weekend support person (M) and half the time with J2. A short training session for J2 and M and four pages of notes/instructions later…we were ready to go. My mom and sister are in town so there was back-up standing by.  

We are back now and everybody survived. Riley had a great weekend with M. J2 didn’t burn the house down the last couple of days on his own although not sure there would have been any counter/sink space left in the kitchen after another day or so. Oish. Gary and I had a great time. Lots of laughs, lots of good food, lots of cheap adult beverages and we did our best to help out the struggling economy down there coming home with just a huge “L” on our foreheads. I made sure to call Riley on our way home (aka pick up his McD’s).

Order, peace and calm has once again been restored in Riley World. 

Now that I am all caught up on my sleep and laundry, I will get back to my regularly scheduled blogging this weekend. Hope you come back for next week's Monday Listicles and more of our exciting adventures.  :)


Friday, 14 September 2012

Bowling "Happy" Dance

I know you have all been waiting with bated breath for this week's footage of Riley at Special "O" Bowling. G was ready. Video camera in hand. He was going to get Riley's "happy" dance on film. I made sure the battery was charged. Right??? How many times have you gone to film that Christmas concert or dance recital only to find the battery light flashing red just as your little munchkin's class is about to sing or sashay onto the stage. AUGH!!!

Off they went. I had my bookclub tonight so couldn't go.  :(  G calls me within 15 minutes of start time. Riley already got a strike! Yippee!!! I immediately ask if he got the "happy" dance on film. As luck would have it R chose this particular time to demonstrate self-control by walking calmly back to his seat on the bench. Oi-vay. Two more strikes and still no "happy" dance. *sigh*  Not to worry. G got some other footage so prepare yourself to be entertained. Watch closely.

Riley prepares himself by adjusting his shorts so they will not interfere with his ability to bend at the knees.

After careful deliberation Riley chooses a ball and approaches the line cautiously.

His eyes are focused on the pins at the end of the alley.

He then finishes with his classic Mario (from Nintendo) arm gesture. Rats! No strike this time.

video


Riley is able to maintain his focus in this second clip. If you watch closely you will see his confusion after he is unable to "spare" after his second ball. His ability to wait patiently for the reset still boggles my mind. We've come a looooong way baby!  *wink*

  video

We will give it another try next week.  :)


Sunday, 9 September 2012

It's a Sing-a-Long...

10 Songs. Favourites? Not-so-Favourites? Something that makes me wanna dance? Ummm…that would not be a good thing. Does the name Elaine Benes ring a bell???  :)  Thank you Cassie who blogs over at “Our Foto Friendly Family” for picking such a fun topic for this week’s Monday Listicles.

This was a lot harder than you would think. I mean I like to think I am somewhat “well-rounded” when it comes to my taste in music. So many choices!?!? Do I try and look “cool” or “hip” or “with it”??? Naaaahhh. Instead I decided to go with the first songs that popped into my head. I was grooving in my chair as I searched YouTube for clips just in case you want to sing along or laugh out loud at some of the get-ups and dance moves of some of the golden oldies that I picked.

The first couple of songs were ones that were big hits when I was a “pre-teen”. Yes I am that old.

1.      Knock Three Times (1970) released by Tony Orlando and Dawn:  This song was their second hit single. The first being Candida followed in 1973 by their mega hit single Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree.



2.      Seasons in the Sun (1973) released by Terry Jacks:  Earlier versions were recorded in the 1960’s. This version by Terry Jacks (a Canadian) was a No. 1 for three weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100. It reminds me of summer days spent hanging out at our local park until the street lights came on. 





I was a teenager of the Disco era. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was THE album when I was in high school. I could have used up all 10 of my choices with this album. Instead I decided to be a bit of a rebel. Here are 3 other songs from my disco days:

3.      The Hustle (1975) released by Van McCoy:  Who doesn’t remember dancing along to the Hustle??? If you don’t then go and ask your parents, I’m sure they’ll remember. :)  Check out those “groovy” outfits too!




4.      Daddy Cool (1976) released by Boney M:  Although I never “discovered” them until their song “Rivers of Babylon” on their third album…I do remember this song from their first album and had to share this video with you. Check out the big hair, outfits and dance moves in this video. O.M.G!


 

5.      Last Dance (1978) released by Donna Summer:  I remember Donna Summer being referred to as the Queen of Disco back in the days when I was much more coordinated and could actually keep time to the music. OK I may have been a half beat behind or so…hey we Japanese aren’t known for our musicality.





Post kids my music choices changed. No more disco much to G’s relief and on to kid flicks with J2 or Disney Sing-a-Long song videos with R. The Sing-a-Longs were a potpourri of Disney songs and included some great songs that I might have easily missed if it weren’t for the wonderful World of Riley.

6.      Will You Be There from the Original Free Willy movie (1993) written and performed by Michael Jackson:  Free Willy was one of the first “real” people movies J2 would watch…and watch…and watch some more. We even took 3 trips to see Keiko at the Oregon Coast Aquarium before his eventual release back into the wild. He was that big of a fan!




7.      If We Hold on Together from the original Land Before Time (1988) performed by Diana Ross:  Normally I would turn off the video as soon as the last line was spoken. Luckily Riley would insist on watching until the bitter end otherwise I would have never heard this song which is played during the running of the credits. Who doesn’t love Diana Ross!




8.      Go the Distance from Hercules (1997):  This song was later released by Michael Bolton however I fell in love with the original film version by Roger Bart. Have a listen and see what you think.




9.      When You Believe from The Prince of Egypt (1998) performed by Mariah Carey featuring Whitney Houston:  Hard to believe how much things can change in 14 years. Makes me sad when I think of the tragic death of Whitney Houston yet thankful for the technology of today which allows us to remember great artists and watch some of their performances.





My last song choice is one of my favourites of all time.  I don’t want to get any of the details wrong so read all about We are the World here. 

10.   We Are the World (USA for Africa) (1985).




Don’t forget to head over to Stasha’s to see what songs everybody else picked and dance or sing like nobody’s watching.  *wink*  Have a great week!!!
   

Friday, 7 September 2012

Special "O"lympics...5-Pin Bowling

It has been a somewhat trying week in Riley World what with the start of R’s final year of high school and all the unknowns. Let’s just say I could have been the new face of Debbie Downer. Not to worry, after last night I have regrouped and have a new attitude *fingers crossed*.

Why the sudden turnaround? Well Riley joined and went to his first Special Olympics sports program last night. It was the start of the 2012-2103  5-Pin Bowling season. What once would have been a recipe for disaster due to the noise, having to wait and take turns…G and I sat back and watched as R sat with his 4 other teammates in a bowling alley that dates back to the 1960’s (I’m not kidding) along with 80 other athletes, scorekeepers and spectators. I KNOW! Who’da thunk it?!?

They got started promptly at 6pm with a little warm-up set to some upbeat pop song. R even got into the beat of the music shimmying in his usual Riley fashion. Remember the aquacise in Mexico???  Enough said.


Then they got bowling. Without going into all the gory details (will leave for another post) of how R’s bowling “career” came to be…to see him participating and cheering on his teammates put a permagrin on our faces. The highlight was when Riley got his first strike somewhere in the middle of the first game. He threw both arms up in the arm, twirled around in a circle, yelled out “Strike” and repeated this move 2 more times on his way back to his seat! Are you smiling too about now? (He takes after his Auntie S when it comes to his enthusiasm…tee hee.)

We did have to pack it in a bit early as it all got to be a bit overwhelming for Riley but I’m not going to mention that. Ooops…too late.  :)  Hopefully next week we’ll be able to get some footage of R’s signature bowling happy dance. I'm sure you are all dying to see it...right???

To tide you over until then…here is a clip of Patti LaBelle singing my new anthem.


Monday, 3 September 2012

#Monday Listicles...School Edition

For 15+ years the Labour Day weekend signalled the start of another school year. This year will be the last time I will think of September in terms of back to school. One. More. Year.  Bittersweet indeed.

I decided to take a look back on Riley’s school experience for this week’s Monday Listicles. It has been an adventure to say the least. There were times when I could never have imagined Riley sitting in a desk…ever. Times when we celebrated his accomplishments like learning to zip up his jacket on his own (thank you FG)! Times when I was stressed to the max over the summer not knowing who would be working with Riley the following year. I’d better stop now as I am starting to twitch uncontrollably. So here is a rundown of what it took to get Riley through the last 15 years:

1.      3 schools (preschool, elementary and high school).
2.      6 child care workers.
3.      13 elementary school teachers.
4.      25+ high school teachers.
5.      9 Special Education Assistants.
6.      8 case managers.
7.      26+ IEP meetings not to mention multiple impromptu meetings throughout the school year.
8.      If x = number of forms to be filled out at the beginning of the school year then x to the 10th power = number of forms required when you have a special needs child. The number of medical, diagnostic and community services forms required is the bane of special needs parents’ existence.
9.      3 work experience job placements.
10.   1 Commencement Ceremony this coming June. Woo-hoo!!!

So many people to remember. So many people to thank.  So many people who have helped us along the way. Riley has come so far thanks to so many. We have been so very fortunate to have had such a great support network of family, friends, educators, specialists and “workers” (who are all really so much more).  

This should be one exciting year with lots to blog about if you’re lucky.  Ha!  I am going to leave you with a picture of Riley when he started kindergarten. Captured that time perfectly!   :)

"WTH were they thinking sending me here?!?!?"


Saturday, 1 September 2012

Summer School Report Card


It is September 1st…the official end to Riley’s “Summer Fun”! At this point school is looking mighty good to R. Little does he know that all the fun stuff we did at home over the summer is going to continue for-ev-ah. 


So how did we make out??? Well the first thing on our list was taking out the garbage. This was a family affair sans J2 as apparently he is allergic to chores of any kind. Considering our elaborate storage system, proximity to wildlife (did I mention we have had more than the occasional bear) and R’s strong aversion to getting his hands dirty or wet, I am going to give all of us a final grade of A+!  Call me easy but we went from demonstration mode => direct supervision => overseeing => operating independently with only what I would consider your typical teenage grumbling. I am calling this one a total success! GO Riley!!!


Next on the list was laundry. The plan was to master the general operations of the washer and dryer, sorting by colour followed by clothing specific optional drying. I know what you’re thinking…I aimed a liiiiiittle bit high on this one and that’s OK. We did run across a few minor glitches in the beginning stages. For example liquid detergent that requires pouring…not an easy task for R. So instead we opted for powder detergent which could be scooped and tossed into the washer with relative ease and the likelihood of getting his hands wet were minimized. You can watch this short video clip of his progress which occurred during his mid-term evaluation. We are in a holding pattern for sorting and optional drying as I realized these tasks may require an instructional video and/or laminated step-by-step posters. 



Also additional equipment labelled and with visuals attached would be helpful. I am going to give Riley an Excellent rating for his efforts as he has mastered the transportation and folding of his laundry thus far. Yes I realize it is only his socks and underwear. Did your mother never warn you about wearing clean underwear in case of an accident??? Just sayin’.

The final item on our summer agenda was washing rice. During the demonstration session I realized we were going to get an Incomplete on this task. With Riley’s tactile defensiveness it would have been so stressful for me him and hardly a required life skill so we withdrew from this class much to R’s relief. 


All in all a pretty successful summer. We both came away relatively unscathed and Riley is on his way on the domestic front. On Wednesday Riley will begin his final year of high school. Yup yup yup...this is it! 

How did you make out with your summer plans?