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

Monday, 29 April 2013

Birthday Fun with J1!!!


You're catching up J1.  Okay so not really. I found some old and some new pics floating around and I thought since you are out of striking distance (of my face) what better time to have some fun take a stroll down memory lane. Of course I added my own personal touch. You're welcome.

















Looks like you've made it...wait. Is that Barry Manilow I hear?!?  Baaahaaahaaa.  You ROCK J1!!!


Hope you're having a great day!

Love, G, Me, J2 and Riley

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

And even MORE Poetry...

While I was getting caught up on Riley’s blog today (he posts his school work on a private blog - yet another great idea from one of his teachers!) I came across another poem that I just had to share. It made me smile…ok I actually burst out laughing but in a good, warm and fuzzy all over kinda way.  <3

Since the beginning of this month Riley’s English class began a poetry unit which includes reading, reviewing poetic terms, poem analysis and writing poems. R’s aide has done a great job modifying the curriculum to include poems by Dr. Seuss (a Riley World favourite), having him create fill-in-the-blank poems and writing questions for him to answer.

This poem and particularly R’s analysis made my day!

Ride a Wild Horse by Hannah Kahn

Image from MorgueFile
Ride a wild horse
with purple wings
striped yellow and black
except his head
which must be red.

Ride a wild horse
against the sky
hold tight to his wings…
before you die.
Whatever else you leave undone
once, ride a wild horse
into the sun.


Question 1: 
Where would you go if you could ride this horse?  To the Playland

RW Translation:  Playland is the midway area of an amusement park where we live. There is a merry-go-round with horses which Riley used to ride when he was younger. Literal thinker??? Ummm…that would be a yes.  I highly recommend you read this post “The Lowdown on Literal Thinking” by my good bloggy buddy Bec (she is awesome and really, really smart) for a great explanation!

Question 2:
What should you do before you die?   look for cars

RW Translation:  Obviously by his answer we may have gone slightly overboard with our “Street Safety” lessons although we have never talked about dieing…honest! *crossing heart*


Question 3:
Which are the rhyming sentence in this poem?   head and red

RW Translation:  Sentence? Words? Close enough. Nailed this one!!!   :D


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Things I CAN Do in 30 Minutes or Less...

This week Stasha picked "Top 10 Ways to Spend 30 Minutes" for this week’s Monday Listicles. Thirty minutes is not long enough for me to accomplish anything these days. So instead…here is my list of “10 things I CAN do in 30 minutes or less”

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1.      I can do a quick vacuum and convince myself that it is good enough for the next 30 days.  ;)
2.      What once used to take me over an hour (shower, shampoo, make-up and getting dressed), I can now do and be out the door in less than 30 minutes. So what if make-up means lipstick and getting dressed means yoga pants.  
3.      I can watch a one hour show in 30 minutes thanks to PVRs. What is with all the commercials!?!
4.      I can come up with 5 Listicle items…the other 5 takes me about 30 hours.  Oish.
5.      I can avoid doing a 30 minute workout without feeling guilty what-so-ever!
6.      I can sit and do nothing although 30 minutes sitting in a chair at the spa is a tease; 30 minutes sitting in a chair in a waiting room is annoying; and 30 minutes sitting in a chair at the dentist’s office is pure torture. Hmmmm…maybe this one wasn’t such a good idea. :(
7.      *WARNING: DO NOT play Candy Crush Saga if you have the least bit of an addictive personality!
I can burn through 5 lives in less than 5 minutes and yet it takes 30 minutes to get one life back!  WTH!!!
8.      I can honesty say the longest 30 minutes in a day…4:30-5 o’clock somewhere!
9.      I can plan, prep and cook a delicious gourmet dinner in 30 minutes. Of course I am referring to Riley World here.  ;P
10.   I can spend 30 minutes waking up when I am on vacation. BEST. FEELING. EVER!!!


What can you do in 30 minutes or less?


Friday, 19 April 2013

Create a Poem: The Sequel

Yesterday I got this email from a girlfriend:

I was so inspired by R’s poem, I tried it myself.  I limited my time to 2 minutes so that I couldn’t think too much.  I like it.

Here is my poem:

I used to ... worry a lot
But now I ... don't give a ...
I always ... look forward to happy hour
But I never ... have just one glass of wine
I once ... thought that B would never be able to take care of himself
But now I ... am astounded by his independence
If I could ... retire tomorrow
I would ... walk in the forest every day with dogs
I never ... forget how lucky I am to have so many friends
But I might ... hide at home with a bottle of wine and watch SNL reruns
I can’t ... eat cucumber
But I can ... bring a salad and eat that
I won’t ... give up
But I might ... have a nap
I used to ... worry a lot
But now I ... don't give a ...

I would love to see what you come up with!


Well I liked hers so much that I decided to take her up on it and I gave it a go. I must confess that it took me a little longer than 2 minutes but I tried to write down the first things that popped into my head and went from there. Here is what I came up with:

I used to…care too much about what other people thought
But now I…know it doesn’t matter as much.
I always…enjoy 5 o’clock somewhere
But I never…drink alone (Riley’s always here so that counts right???)
I once…jumped out of a plane
But now I… would NOT!! I’m much smarter now.
If I could…wear sleeveless/tank tops
I would…be much cooler in summer.
I never…say never
But I might…say you never know until you try.
I can’t…take a compliment
But I can…take a joke.
I won’t…give up
But I might…take an extra loooong vacation.
I used to…care
But now I…have given up.  :D

That was actually pretty fun. I think you should give it a try too!

I would love for you to leave your poem in the comments. Don’t be shy. Would it help if I said please?  Pahhleeeeeezz!!!  

Have a great weekend!


*UPDATE:  To make it easier for you to create your own poem...here are the starters. You're welcome!

I used to…
But now I…
I always…
But I never…
I once…
But now I…
If I could…
I would…
I never…
But I might…
I can’t…
But I can…
I won’t…
But I might…
I used to…
But now I…


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Create a Poem...

This came home in Riley’s backpack yesterday. The words in italics were provided; the bold - R’s responses.

I used to think
But now I am glad
I always care
But I never kiss Jamie  <= R’s Special Ed Assistant
I once to know *
But now I am at a one
If I could shake hands with Terri  <= R’s peer who he has taken a shine to.
I would be okay
I never kiss the ladies
But I might stay at school
I can’t be grumpy
But I can kiss mom
I won’t forget my PE strip
But I might stay home
I used to wear costume
But now I am at a one.

By Riley
April 16, 2013.

Some of the fill-in-the-blanks are pretty self-explanatory; others made me smile and a few ummm…* I have absolutely no idea?!? 

The “am at a one” is in reference to The Incredible 5-Point Scale by Kari Dunn Buron. We introduced this strategy to Riley a few years ago to try and enable him to manage/monitor his emotions/feelings. This is a work in progress. 

I thought this was so cool. The gamut of Riley World all wrapped up into a single poem.  :D

Happy Hump Day!


Monday, 15 April 2013

A Vacation in Riley World...
#Monday Listicles

WOW…has it already been 2 weeks since I last blogged!?!? Eeep! Well I have an excuse…again. Last weekend our family took a trip to Viva Las Vegas to catch some of Country’s best artists at the ACM (Academy of Country Music) Experience, Fan Jam and Superstar Summer Night concerts. So much fun!!!

This week my good friend Terri (who happens to live in Las Vegas…coincidence…I think not) suggested this week’s Listicles topic "10 Chapters in a Book About Me."  What better topic for an author who has just finished her second soon-to-be released book “Dark Pretense”. Congratulations Terri!!!

Since my life is ummm nothing to write home about and I know you have been dying to read about our latest adventure…I decided to do a listicles on “10 Chapters about a Vacation in Riley World!”  Fasten your seat belts and away we goooo…


1.      Chapter 1:  Packing 

Any trip away from home in Riley World must include the usual cooking apparatus and depending on the destination…certain foods.

For this trip we only had to pack a small amount of food as some could be purchased.


Product “packaging” is always an obstacle so we packed soup mix and extra packets of seasoning for R’s noodles.


2.      Chapter 2:  Departure Check-in/Seat Assignment   

Note to self:  Check flight times BEFORE leaving home. We arrived an extra hour BEFORE the required 2 hr check-in and we all know how patient Riley is about waiting...NOT!  Surely things would get better once on board.



I decided to splurge the extra $5/seat and get seats closer to the front of the plane so we would not have to wait very long to deplane. Even better…the row right in front of the exit door. G & J2 boarded ahead of R & me. As we started down the aisle I noticed G & J2 looking at me wide-eyed and stone-faced. Our row? The one I paid extra for? Only had half a window! Seriously???



3.      Chapter 3:  Hotel Accommodations


See that really comfy looking bed on the far left? There were 2 of them. R preferred to sleep on the couch. The first night he used the supplied bathrobes as blankets. He looked cold in the morning. Not to worry...I got him a blanket the second night. 



4.      Chapter 4:  Live Entertainment


That's J1 and Katie Armiger playing at The ACM Experience at The Orleans on the Friday night. It was great to be able to see them play LIVE! She was GREAT!!!


5.      Chapter 5:  Bonus Activity


It doesn't get any better than this in Riley World! Thank goodness it was past most kids' bedtimes so R had this bouncy castle all to himself.  :D


6.      Chapter 6:  Relaxation


If it were up to Riley these days he would choose to spend the entire time in the hotel room so we decided to coax him out of the room with a day poolside in a cabana. Don't know about R but I sure enjoyed it.  ;P


7.      Chapter 7:  Extracurricular Activities














J2 and I took a ride on the NYNY Roller Coaster. Riley preferred the upper deck of The Deuce operated by RTC Transit. See...there is something for everyone in Vegas!


8.      Chapter 8:  Concert Highlights


Here is one of the many pics from the Tim McGraw Superstar Summer Night concert that J2 and I went to see. It will be airing on TV in May. This was the finale with Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, John Fogerty and Keith Urban *sigh*.


9.      Chapter 9:  Departure Check-in for the trip home


Remember how I said I was going to check flight times BEFORE leaving home??? Wellllll...I didn't. My excuse this time is that we were not at home...we were at a hotel. Hey...details are very important in Riley World. We found out the flight was delayed by 2 hours when we got to the airport. On the upside...Riley got two windows this time!



10.  Chapter 10:  “It’s Good to be Home Again…”















LEFT PIC:  McDonald's fries in Vegas. I found these in the garbage can. They came in a small white bag. I will admit that they do taste different than the ones at home. This has never been a problem...until this trip. This decreased his menu options down to 5...that is if you consider cheerios and S&V chips as menu items.

RIGHT PIC:  McDonald's fries picked up on the way home. Notice the small brown bag. Much better.

As Riley kept saying all.the.way.home..."It's good to be home again."

And just to keep me in good spirits for my return home...

Gotta love Duty Free!


Congratulations again to our even more famous hostess Stasha! Don't forget to pop over to read the chapters of everybody else's lives.



Monday, 1 April 2013

Colours of the Month

April is the month of awareness for two things which have had a major impact in my life…autism and cancer. Last year I went green for the month of April. This year I thought about going purple (blue + pink) then for some reason the song “Colors of the Wind” from the animated movie Pocahontas popped into my head. Squirrel!  :)

I guess it is not surprising since so much of Riley World revolves around all things Disney. I never realized how much the message of this song had in common with Riley World particularly the second/third verse:

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You'll learn things you never knew you never knew.

Pocahontas urges Captain John Smith to "accept humans who are different in appearance and culture and to learn from them". While I am pretty sure lyricist Stephen Schwartz was not talking about autism (then again you never know) when he wrote this song in 1995 and one can interpret the words any way they want, I found the words so fitting and powerful.

So instead of focusing on autism and cancer awareness just for the month of April, I am going to try and do it every day of every month of every year. After all…it IS supposed to be all about acceptance, differences and learning no matter what “World” we live in isn't it?