Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Will Christmas EVER get here?! :)

This is something I posted on facebook earlier today:
I made Kaelyn lie down on her sleeping bag out by the Christmas tree this afternoon so she could take a nap. A couple minutes later, I found her with her chin resting in her hands. She was staring at the tree and the presents underneath saying softly over and over, "You have to wait till Christmas". She's up now - too excited to nap.

We went to the chiropracter today for the first
time in several weeks and I have to agree with
what he said. He told Kaelyn, "You just get a
little prettier every time I see you". :)

Recent snapshots

Some snapshots from this month:

Buster got to ride along when we went on a
short errand to the CVS in town to pick up
a Christmas present that we had ordered.

He (and Kaelyn) were just as contented as can be riding
along and waiting while Kevin went in to get it.

We were down at the office the other day and
Kaelyn was playing "letters" on the computer
in Rod's office since Rod and Betty were home
trying to get ready to leave for the holidays.

And I just thought this looked too cute to pass up getting
a picture of.

Family night - Chick-fil-a

Here are some pictures from family night at CFA a couple weeks ago.

Wyatt was in such a good mood this Tuesday night
and as you can see, he kept smiling and cooing.

Kaelyn and the Santa cow - she LOVES him!

Kisses for the cow.

And this was sooo cute - after several attempts, we
got a picture of both Kaelyn and Megan giving him
a kiss.

They used our family picture with the cow from
last year for the sign advertising family night
and pictures with the cow for this year. Kaelyn
was quite fascinated with seeing our picture on
the sign...

... And wanted her picture taken by the
sign. :)

Christmas party

A couple weeks ago, I went to a Christmas party with Kaelyn's class given by the Knights of Columbus for all the special ed. classes in the area. There was a snowman, reindeer, Christmas tree, and the Grinch walking around and a Santa that gave each kid a present. They served pizza, soda, ice cream sandwiches, and had music, etc. It was a really nice party for the kids.
(I posted these on facebook the afternoon of the party so some of you have already seen these.)

There were reindeer ears and crayons (for them to keep)
so the kids could color the tablecloths while they waited
for things to get started.

Kaelyn hugging "Frosty".

Kaelyn and a classmate with the Christmas tree.

The Grinch

Kaelyn and the reindeer.

Kay and her teacher.

Dancing with the snowman.

Eating pizza.

Kaelyn's pre-K class. (It's small this year - 7 kids and
two were sick this day)

She tolerated getting close to Santa because
she knew he was giving out presents. :)

Each child had crackers, a bag of candy,
a disposable camera and $5 to help with
the cost of developing the pictures.

I know - ice cream sandwiches at a Christmas
party - but it is Florida and it was warm out. :)
Kaelyn and one of her best school friends taking pics.
of each other on their disposable cameras. :)

Kaelyn and her friend, Jett.

Kay and her teacher.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Conversations with the dog

Occasionally, Kaelyn will go out to the kitchen first thing in the morning to where Buster is in his cage and she will have whole conversations with him (or at him is more like it since he never replies). This morning I walked out in time to overhear her. She was knelt down by his cage and she said, "Hey Buster! How's my buddy today? Are you my buddy? Did you have a good day today?" (even though it was 8:30 in the morning) Then she said, "Did you have fun at the parade yesterday? (he stayed home in his cage while we went to the parade by the way) Was it fun seeing the cow? (the chick-fil-a cow) Did you see Daddy in the parade? That's so silly Daddy in the parade!" She talked about how much fun "he" had at the parade for a bit and then I had her breakfast ready. We sat down to eat and he couldn't stand being left in his cage with her right there so he started crying (his little puppy wimper). She said, "Why are you crying Buster?" and then she totally cracked me up 'cause she said, "You'll be okay, you're just fakering!" :) I don't even need a video of myself to hear myself repeated daily. Though I say "faking" not "fakering", I do say that to her if she's trying to make herself cry or just whining. I was so tickled with her. She is particularly funny that way because so much or her verbalization is memorized phrases that she's repeating. She's quite the little mimic. Sometimes she'll say something and I can about tell who it is at school that she's heard say it just because of the tone or voice she uses. Fun times!

This is a completely different incident and story -
maybe someday I will share it - or maybe you
can just figure out on your own what is taking
place here!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tis the season for cupcakes with green frosting

They're gingerbread men and Christmas trees if you can't
tell. The bottom picture is of the "tumors" as I called
them. In order for the cupcakes to look right, you had to
trim off the parts that started rising above the molds
before frosting them. It looked like each gingerbread
man and Christmas tree had a little bubble or tumor
on the top of them. :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree (and happy tears - sharing from the hear)

Our Christmas decorating is happening in stages this year it seems. We first put up Kaelyn's little tree in her bedroom. The weekend before Thanksgiving, we put up the tree and Kevin did the outside decorations but we didn't get the tree decorated till this past weekend. Decorating the tree was thrilling for us this year. Kevin and I LOVE Christmas but Christmas hasn't been as big a deal to Kaelyn as it is to most kids her age. Because so often she is in her own world and she doesn't really know or understand what it's about (or what all it includes), there are only small moments that have excited her in the past. And actually, a lot of elements of the season have been somewhat stressful for her. Because of her being autistic, she is bothered by a lot of the things that are not part of our normal life and routine. She is not crazy about things getting moved around and changed for the sake of decorating. She has been very frustrated with gift unwrapping in the past because she can't understand why once she opens one item she likes, why she has to sit and open more and she loses interest in it. Besides, honestly, she tends to "go back to" her few favorite things that she plays with 90% of the time anyway. It's not that we WANT her to want lots of stuff and be ungrateful for one present but the season is always a bit more stressful - even our Christmas travels - because of the way she operates. We bought a special ornament for her last year to unwrap and put on the tree when we decorated. She loved the concept of it "dangling" since that is one of her big stimulation things (anything that she can dangle) but we couldn't get her to put it on the tree for anything so it became a toy for her. In the past couple years, we've got her to hang one or two ornaments at least enough to try to get pictures of "the family decorating the tree" but in all reality she hasn't really gotten the concept or cared that much. In all fairness, I know she's still young but because she functions somewhat differently than others, I wasn't sure she would ever be interested in Christmas. Thus the happy tears this year when something clicked with her and she "got it". When we put up her little tree, she was happy to be involved but she still didn't really care that much beyond the first 3 minutes. However,it made her remember her favorite Christmas story from last year - "Alabaster" which we have in a book and on a movie. In the story, the angel on the top of the tree is the main character and he tells the little boy in the story all about the first Christmas and he sings with the angels that sang to the shepherds. She went and found the book in the back room on the bookshelf where I put all our Christmas stories after Christmas. From hearing the book and watching the movie, something clicked and she started begging us to "put Alabaster on the tree" even though we didn't have the tree up. She was so thrilled the night we put the tree up and she helped put our angel on top. I went into her room one evening and was amused and shocked. She has an Easter egg of bunnies (just like the barrel o' monkies only the loops are rabbits ears on rabits instead of monkey's arms). We don't know if she got them out and something clicked or if she thought about them and realized they would hang but she had dug them out of her toy basket and gotten her step stool and she hung several of them by the loops on her little tree. That was kind of our first sign that she kind of understood about hanging things on Christmas trees. They remain there as she won't let us touch them. :) Then we went to decorate the big tree last weekend and of course we showed her what to do etc. And she caught on and LOVED it! We had to put the hooks on for her because she still really struggles with fine motor skills. First she put all the ornaments right beside each other but we showed her out to spread them out. Instead of stopping after the first ornament, she ran back and forth excitedly from the tree to the boxes of ornaments and seemed totally fascinated with all the ornaments even though of course, most of them we've had in the past. She stuck with it mostly all the way to the end and seemed to love every minute of it. And she was running around clapping and excited. She sensed that the whole Christmas thing is something exciting though she doesn't know everything that it includes. Then this morning when we were on the way to school, she asked for the "Christmas song" which is just Christmas music in general instead of one of the two CDs that we listen to EVERY time we are in the car. So all the pictures and excitement over her decorating the trees might seem strange to all of you but you just have to understand where we're coming from - every little change like that or thing she catches on to is big for us and we feel blessed. I had already determined to not feel distressed this year if she just wanted to dangle the ornaments in front of her face or if she didn't show any interest. It seems like every time I come to a place where I can just let [my expectations] go, then she surprises us and we get a pleasant surprise. So that's our Christmas decorating story thus far - now I've got to get the rest of the house done. :)

Putting the little star on the top of her tree.

Looking at the lights.
Doing... I'm not sure what. :)

Oh Christmas Tree - part 2

Kaelyn was so excited to be putting "Alabaster" on the tree. Unfortunately, we couldn't seem to get her stable enough this year and she has since fallen off and her wings broke off. (I'm talking about the angel of course, not Kaelyn. When I read back through it I started laughing at the way it sounded.) :)

This was a bit difficult since Kevin had to be standing
on something himself besides holding her up. We had
to buy a new tree after last season. At 7 1/2 feet, this
one is much taller than our old one.

She was jumping around pointing at the
angel excitedly here.

Oh Christmas Tree - part 3

Forgive all the pictures but it was just so exciting to see her "get it" and be excited about the decorating.

Notice the name tag hanging on the tree. It's
a luggage tag with Kevin's business card in it
but it has a "loop" - which means it's "hangable"
so even before we got around to decorating, she
found it and stuck it on the tree - and yes, we've
tried to move it but it promptly gets hung back
up as soon as she realizes it's missing.

Examining some Mickey bulbs - it was all
so fascinating to her.

So as you can imagine, everything was getting hung on
the lower branches of the tree, so Kevin decided to give
her a lift and show her how to hang them in different

So intense while trying to do this thing right. :)

Then we got smart and got her step stool,
which worked much better.

Some of her smaller decorations were packed
with the regular ornaments and so since she
caught on to the whole decorating thing, she
was very excited to run into her bedroom and
add more decorations to her tree.

Okay, so they're the refrigerated dough not
homemade but it allowed Kevin to throw them
in the oven while I put garland on the tree
prior to hanging decorations - and they're
actually very yummy! (I know, I'm a bad

Yeah... don't ask! :)