Hunting for answers

EPICLY LONG Jessie Post ahead—if you read to the end- thanks in advance- Love you peeps and am grateful for your comments, thoughts input and support more than I could ever express. I am also going out on a limb and posting pretty personal medical battles that my son is enduring-I am very mindful of and respect his privacy whenever I post- so I have asked him for permission to write about this and he is ok with it.  He says me sharing about the concerns on my blog so that we can keep our loved ones in the loop and connect with others that may help is actually good.

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I write this post from Cardon Childrens- where Ty is now in his 26th hour of hospital clean out from a major bowel impaction (this is the first time he has been so impacted from his bowel issues that he required hospitalization for assistance)–We tried our normal home remedies for 24 hours prior to admitting defeat and coming in for professional help. That defeat has been soul crushing for me- especially since all we are currently doing here at the hospital is everything we were doing at home– just slightly more frequent. ( I just wont have to do the laundry that we are creating so I guess there is that)

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I have so many things I want to say about this all- but not sure where to begin- this is going to be an exhaustion fueled rambling novella for sure.

Hospital nursing and tech staff so far are good (our current nurse is actually amazing) but I am the one primarily taking CARE of my son—they come in for vitals and to administer meds and pretty much to see if there is anything else we need- I handle the bathroom trips- I mop the floor when we can not make it there in time- I change the linens and help him clean himself in the shower after every trip to the toilet—if it was all left to the staff we would have to call them every 5 minutes—I know we could have chosen to do a clean out at home- but I feel more equipped to get it done correctly and completely here-so I feel compelled to be as involved as I am (besides I feel a sense of guilt being here at all) Plus I wanted to advocate for this visit to be more than just getting him to poop clear- I needed it to be the time where we work towards real answers and stop with bandaids.

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Part of me opted for admisssion for clean out rather than continuing to try at home because I figured we could get the ball rolling on investigating issues deeper and begin collecting information through tests. If we are gonna have him admitted, hooked to an IV, getting cleaned out and already here in the hospital- why not make the very most of the resources and people in the building- why not schedule the colonoscopy and endoscopy that our GI will want in a week when we follow up with her so we can be ready with info and not make him go through a clean out for the procedure again- The hospitalist and the GI Doc who came in for consult though are “adequate ” at best and are providing their very best “holiday weekend baseline minimal care” and have made that bluntly clear to us. I do not know that my patient advocacy would have been more effective on a week day but based off of a very heated conversation with both of them that is exactly the sentiment they each expressed-repeatedly.

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I really wanted a neurological consult as well- but it has been made very clear to me that my son will be receiving the least staff involved “care” during this visit possible-anything beyond basic clean out is considered elective” and will have to be scheduled later after discharge. We have been flat out denied a colonscopy/endoscopy because — and I quote– “It is a Saturday on a Holiday weekend.” So the best course of treatment for my special needs son who is already in the hospital, already undergoing a clean out, already hooked up to IVs is for him to undergo ALL of that again in 2 weeks once his GI decides that is her next step- all because of the day it is on the calendar. I love healthcare.

Things need to change for Ty and a real good hard look at the things we have truthfully avoided (dietary and naturopathic options) are likely our best hope right now for that change. Along with dietary changes I need him tested for neurological issues related to these impactions. I know that gut issues and autism are common and many of our kiddos on the spectrum suffer with bowel issues- but I feel like many of us all get the same cookie cutter treatment plans and it can not be all the same like that–everyone is different our spectrum kids especially. I truly think something else may be going on with his nerves and his muscles that exacerbates this and now that he is 15 we need to be moving towards treatment and not continued dependence on care and meds that only work on the symptoms and not treating the actual issue itself. (whatever that may be) This should have been something we approached long ago but to be honest were lazy. I will no longer settle for more of this cookie cutter B.S. reactive treatment plan we have followed for years. I have done so because it was easiest and I could justify it using blind faith in a system I have always questioned (except with regard to this issue apparently)–somehow I fooled myself into just saying “this is what doctors are telling us to do- they know best”—but I need to yank myself out of that denial and buckle down for the real hard work if I want to see my child heal. It boils down to I want answers or at least to be on a path towards answers and I really expected to be able to successfully work as a team with the caregivers on this campus during this admission to move forward in that direction. The LAST thing I expected was for a medical professional to flat out deny a course of action simply because of the day of the week it is and nothing else.

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During this hospital stay I have also discovered that for Ty to eliminate urine he has to push down on this bladder—I asked him if this is an always thing or only when he is constipated and he said “always–that’s how I start my pee” Since it never would have occurred to him that it is not normal to need to press on your bladder to initiate that, it has never come up as a concern before (and I don’t routinely watch my 15 year old pee-so would have not known had it not been for this clean out.) So that is now reason #2 for wanting a neurological consult as well to see if maybe he has some issues with nerves in his pelvic region where his faculties are just not responding etc—this would explain a LOT of why he tends to get backed up easily-maybe he has no muscle control–match that with him being overly stimulated but any sensations of even the softest or most liquid stool coming out (what we may feel as “uncomfortable” or just pressure and he is in tears crying saying its an 8 on the pain scale) and all of this is a recipe for withholding.  That will have to be pursued after discharge though- The most we may get is possibly a urology consult and that depends on who is on call on a Sunday of a holiday weekend.

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My heart has ached this visit because daily I see the independence he is capable of having as the high functioning individual that he is—and then in this environment how utterly dependent on a caregiver he is when faced with these trials. So then not only do we have the medical scenarios to work through in and of itself- but I have to be “training him” and using this as a life skill training session which just adds to the exhaustion (I know I do not HAVE to– but one day I wont be here and he will need to know how to be his own advocate without a mother hen hovering so I kinda do HAVE to that’s part of parenting with special needs) So finding the right balance of my just caring for him and showing him my love in that way and also using things as teachable moments so he is becoming equipped for life later is utterly exhausting. I do not know how those of you with kiddos who manage life living with consistent medical issues deal with hospitals regularly- in some ways even live most of the time in them. I am only 2 days in since we arrived  (3 dealing with the issues if you count what we tried to do at home before coming in) and I am just spent.

I do not know exactly where to go from here- but I suspect I will be reaching out for direction in the autism community from those who have travelled the dietary and naturopatic (probiotics/supplements etc) routes with success for their kiddos gut issues. I am a needle in a compass furiously spinning looking for true north—anyone with a map that has been successful for them I would love a glimpse.

Thanks for reading.

Jessie

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Our “Reverse” Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt- 2015

Our family tradition of doing a scavenger Easter Egg hunt with the boys continued this year- with a bit of a twist.  You see it has been getting harder and harder to come up with clues that will really make these two smarty pants think, so the hunts were beginning to wrap up in a blink of an eye- well with my being a sentimental basket case as of late- I want nothing to be “over in a blink of an eye” these days.

So instead of our normal clues- we decided to do a new type of scavenger hunt and have the boys bring the clues to us.

We started our morning off by attending the “sunrise” church service for the first time ever (we simply do not do “early” so typically would go to the Saturday evening service or the noon- but change is nice. )

When we got in the truck to head over the boys discovered 2 empty plastic eggs on their seats- to signify the Empty Tomb along with two small humbly wrapped packages.  When they opened them up inside were new thin line red letter Bibles each engraved with their names.  They both have quite a few Bibles already but these are their first “grown up” Bibles.  These are the one we pray will have prayers scribbled in them, verses highlighted, words circled and pages worn with use in the coming years.

We had seats out in the lawn with friends and family and got to have an acoustic praise time with a really great message that simply blew both Jason and my mind with regard to how the story of Jesus mimics the story of Issac.  You can attend church for a significant portion of your life and still have certain messages open the flood gates of emotion.  Today was one of those times.

When we got home the boys found a letter addressed to them:

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2015

Geroux brothers, come in close- the game is about to begin!

We had a great time celebrating that Jesus died and rose again!

You are no longer little boys but now we see young men.

Young men who make us proud each day and also make us smile

We hope we have created memories for you to cherish for a long, long while.

For years now every Easter we have had fun by going on a hunt.

You have gotten quicker, wiser and older so our clues no longer stump

This year we thought would be a good time to give our “tradition” a big PUNT.

Please do not worry, and do not fret and whatever you do- do not frown.

We will still do a scavenger hunt- but we will do it “upside down”

What? You exclaim- how can this be?   But of course you do not cuss J

This year you will bring the scavenger hunt, all the way back to us.

These two Easter Eggs are tired of sitting in one place waiting for the party to come to them. They want to get out and see the world and you guys are just the ones to show them around. Grab a camera and get moving. The object is to take a selfie with your eggs in each of the locations or with the listed objects and return to the house.  Remember- Safety first and stay out of other people’s yards!  You MUST stay together and each picture must clearly show both of you, both of your eggs and the location or object to count.  Once you have checked off the list- come home to mom and dad-  you may just have some goodies waiting that will make you really glad.

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The List:

  • At the Settlers Point subdivision sign (either one)
  • A Stop Sign
  • A Slide/Playgound
  • A mailbox
  • Any Cactus
  • Next to a blue vehicle
  • Near a cow or goat
  • With a fire hydrant
  • With flowers
  • On a bridge

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The boys really had a fun time and it was a fresh way to breath some new life into our fun tradition.  From our Family to yours:

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Transitions.

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We had Ty’s annual IEP* Meeting yesterday.  His end of freshman year, looking at sophmore year of high school IEP.  For those counting that means we will technically only have TWO more IEP meetings and then, no more IEP meetings.  TWO MORE??  When? HOW did this all go so fast?  I know alot of my blog posts lately have been very nostalgic in nature. I can not even really explain why, that in this season of my life I am as cognizant of the passing of time as I am.

Maybe its because on Wednesday night our family welcomed our new niece Cadence (first girl for the Geroux side!)

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Our first Geroux Side Niece- Born 3/25/2015

Maybe it is because my “baby” Connor is now solidly and officially taller than me-

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even with sunglasses on my head.

Maybe it is because this May will mark the 18th anniversary of me setting off on my own meaning this side of childhood has now been longer than my childhood.

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Throwback to May 1997- CHS graduation I left for NAU 2 days later.

I don’t know why my go to emotion has been sentimentality. I am not “sad” about any of it though- just mindful.

This IEP Meeting was different in many ways.  Number One is that Tyler “led” it for us.

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he caught me trying to sneak this quick picture

Number Two is that we had so much positive focus on Ty’s strengths that I did not even feel like we were in an IEP meeting.  Is that sad?  That in all these years IEP meetings have been dreaded BECAUSE of the fact that it is a known time to highlight the areas where he has “NEEDS?” I think it is sad- but this year was different.  The shift in focus has a lot to do with

Number Three- we talked about the T word.  Transition.

Be still my heart.

I just teared up writing that.  You know, because of my nostalgia and all.

Overall we feel good about it-  With all of the upheaval in GPS with budget concerns we thought there might be some changes proposed (not sure what but we just prepared anyways)  but nope, things seem to be working well the way they are so we really talked a lot more about his future plans so we could be sure that he is enrolled in the right classes to earn him the proper credits to move forward on the path he wants to move on.

Ty wants to go to EVIT*. for Video Production (http://www.evit.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=20222051&pageId=20598733 )  so how that works is that come junior year he would have 3 academic classes at Campo and then head over to EVIT for 3 “vocational” type classes in his program.  In order for him to get all of his academic requirements satisfied we had to scrutinize his class choices for sophomore year and agree that he will likely need to take a summer class next year. (EVIT recognizes this is an issue with EVERYONE that wants to attend and so they pay for a summer class)

EVIT will be different because they will only provide the bare minimum in IEP accommodations (so we are told)- there are no “para-pros” not even roaming ones- but there are a few special education teachers that will assist with the general accommodations.  So this last quarter and all of sophomore year will be really focused on Ty’s Independence levels. He needs to be self initiating to a higher degree and require less “cues and prompts.”   Ty does really well in both of those areas now- so this next 16 months will be good practice to get even better.

Oh baby bird- you are sprouting feathers left and right- I should probably stop calling you baby bird and start realizing the young man you truly are becoming.

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*IEP= Individual Education Plan
*EVIT= East Valley Institute for Technology

With the stroke of a Pen- a new chapter begins

…and with that- DDD therapy services “terminated” January 26th, 2015- Fastest Annual ISP ever.

Why?

Honestly we do not use them- with the exception of a social skills group we had for a few brief months in 2014—nearly all of our hours just sat, unused. For nearly 10 years now we have hung on to “just in case” hours of both HAB and respite for Tyler…but ever since he has been in school full time (since kindergarten) we have barely dabbled in any DDD related therapies.

Why not? Is he “cured?”

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No, and we don’t like that word anyways (different post altogether)- life just changed when he hit school age- what had been his full time job of nearly 40 hours per week of therapies from the age of 3-5.5 years old had to change because of the education system. At the time we lived in AJ and in home services were a joke out that far and there were only a handful of therapy centers that were in within a justifiable driving distance…so we plugged away through kindergarten and even most of first grade still trying to get to those speech, ot, music, and hippo therapy appointments…those COVETED “after 2:30pm before 5pm closing time” appointment spots. We continued to recruit, hire and train people to come into our home and do “hab” only to lose them to marriage, pregnancy or other families that could offer them “more hours” and pay their bills.

So sometime in 2nd grade after his music therapist and speech therapies at the same center that we were driving into Gilbert to see each week decided to leave the company we just stopped looking for replacements.

Shortly after that we had to fire a Hab worker that had begun “calling off last minute” regularly with a new excuse each time..and I just didn’t go hang up the fliers or post the ads for a new person.

Over the years I would come across some sort of new group therapy that could take HAB hours and we would try it on– usually for the summer months so the program was “seasonal” and while they were good time fillers none of them were hugely life impacting and often times we would see “new autism” behaviors in Ty when he was in those settings anyways so we stopped looking for those programs. Every now and then we’d find a great one with great peers and great staff and next thing you know, the staffer has decided to changer career paths and the program disintegrates.

Our 90 Day evals with DDD were just becoming silly. “nope, no provider” Yeah we have these goals, but we are just working on them as a family unit– in most cases it would be infinitely more work for me as mom or Jason as dad to bring a hab worker on at this stage and train them to do what we do on a regular basis—if there was some magical HAB provider unicorn out there that had their own transportation and wanted a whopping 4 hours a week worth of pay to come to our house 2 days a week for a couple hours each (like 4-6pm) to work on some stuff with Ty I’d just fall over myself…but that treasure has yet to be discovered.

I trust my support coordinator enough that when I asked her “if a program comes along and I need to get like 10 hours of hab a week I can just call you and you can add them on again right” and she said “yes”–I believed her.

So with that- we signed our names on the lines and terminated DDD therapy service

Our Experience at Marvel Experience

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Yelp limits you to 5001 CHARACTERS in your reviews—which simply is not enough for things like “experiences.”  That said I have posted a full review here on our blog for all to see complete with pictures if you would like more details about my comments below

Disclaimer:
It should be noted that I refrained from reading any reviews or watching any news stories about this event prior to our visit so I kept my own expectations as high as they should have been for the cost of the tickets.  Also, while some may say it is not fair to compare something like this to “Disneyland”, I disagree.  Disney as the parent company who has “theme park” entertainment down to a science would never settle for the poorly executed design and management of this experience to exist.  No reason to re-invent the wheel- pool resources from the Disney parks gurus and fix the kinks.  Several of the activities inside the experience are actual activities AT Disneyland (in the Innoventions attraction in Tomorrowland) so there should be zero “kinks” with those, yet there are.

Cost: For our family of 4 (2 adults 2 teens) we paid $145 for the Marvel Experience plus an additional $10 for parking and shelled out another $20 for a souvenir photo.  So at $175 we are not talking about chump change.

Time: We had tickets for Sunday December 28th at 3pm- the web said the experience would last 90-120 minutes. We were there for 3.5 hours ( i.e. 210 minutes) from 2:45pm until 6:15pm.  Approximately 60 minutes of that was actual “experience” everything else was standing in line.

Would we do it again?:
not likely- at least not at the cost that it was.  Again it was nearly $30 per person (correction it was nearly $40 per person after ticket master fees and nearly $50 per person after parking and 1 shared family souvenir)

Pros:  It’s Marvel so if you like Marvel you will be able to find something to like about it.

Cons: 1-interestingly enough kids 6 and under were FREE- which blows my mind because there sure were a TON of them and they take up a TON of time on the activities that those of us that PAID to be there are now having to wait for.  Due to the structure of the activities I believe every person who enters should be a paying ticket holder that would make it fair. 2- parking was an additional $10 (if you ever go to anything at Talking Stick you KNOW you have to pay for parking, this just always sucks- but at $10 per event they need to PAVE that lot- the dirt is getting old) 3- poor crowd management (read full review for details) 4- low value high cost (see full review for details of what $30 per person gets you)

I really wish I was sitting down to write a different review than the one I am about to post, but alas- the experience was what it was so I shall share. Mostly because so many of my Facebook friends have asked us about it.

I was originally excited that you bought tickets for “timed entry” because I felt that showed that they were going to have crowd control well managed- Sadly that was not the case.  Half the number of people with the same 3pm tickets as us should have been in our group to make the experience more manageable.  They definitely oversold the time slots.  The event is “sold” as a 90-120 minute” walk thru, so we knew going into it that it would be what we made of it.  We did not anticipate that the reason it would be a 90-120 minute experience was because 90% of your time would be standing in line waiting for an activity that would last 45 seconds to no more than 5 minutes each.

How the event went for us:

At 3pm about 75% of the people in our group forgot the basic concept of the “line” we had all been forming for the past 15 minutes and herded towards the entry where 2 people were scanning tickets and 2 people past them were handing out wrist bands. People grabbed wristbands and then shoved their way to the opening of the first dome where security finally stepped in and told people to form a line (which conveniently was forced to swing right past the overpriced concession stand). We stood in this line for 20 minutes in the courtyard in front of the concession stand after being handed non-working “power bands.”

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Apparently that feature was a big fail and they gave up on it- you could see where there was booths to register and get photos but they were shuttered closed and- there was no mention of registration of any kind of our bands they were just handed to us.  I could not even locate the TMX App on my android phone which was the only advertisement for any type of registration of any kind that was posted anywhere.

At about 3:20ish our line began to slowly funnel into the first dome- which contained—a corral line to feed us all up to a photo with a green screen for one photo op for which we were then handed a photo pass to buy the picture later.  While we stood in line there were TV monitors giving Marvel character bios on a loop.   We saw each character bio at least 10 times while in this que.

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Finally at about 3:30pm the line began to move into the first actual dome- which was the S.H.I.E.L.D. Mobile Command center. A lot of filler time was taken to get “as many people into this dome” as they could and we were told over and over, squeeze in, make friends, spread out, and move over here etc. Eventually a big screen provided an intro movie.  This got us really excited- we learned about the “adaptoids” and what our “mission” as recruits was going to be.

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Everyone in the whole crowd by this point was already irritable and complaining about the waits and calling everything “lame” so it was difficult to stay positive and we were only just starting the tour!  If only the staff would have been more interactive and pumped the crowd up. My kiddos however were still glowing with excitement so we really tried to tune out the negativity around us. There was a lot of filler time because you could tell they were stalling on letting us into the next area.

At about 3:40pm we were let into the main dome area which contained a majority of the activities.  You are repeatedly reminded that once you leave a dome you can NOT return to it, so you have to be sure that you do everything you want to do in each area before moving on.  When you first enter you see tons of artifacts and cool stories to read.

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There is an enemy “adaptoid” that has been captured and is on display in the center of the east end of the dome.

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Encircling this are several touch screen “games” which are all the exact same matching game- the theme is “excavation” where you are supposedly finding pieces of an exploded adaptoid and you drag pieces around the screen to match them up- it keeps your attention for a max of 30 seconds.

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Every now and then projections will appear near the top of the dome to the east and west and if you are lucky you can hear what they are saying.  If you travel counter clock wise you will enter another area that has six activities in it- A simulated shooting game called “Holoblaster training” that takes 3-D glasses and lasts 4-5 minutes and takes a max of 24 people per session- so your wait time in this line will be LONG. We stood for over 45 minutes in this line.

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Next is a Spidey “rock wall” which looked interesting because it moved like a conveyor belt- but one side was not operating so that line was also very long- the rock wall itself was also very short no more than 6 feet tall so we skipped it.  Next was the Avengers Encounter which was pretty neat- you stood on pads and posed in certain manners to “summon” different Avengers to arrive on the screen with you.

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We happened to hit this activity when no one else was in line for it so we got to play around with it for a few minutes before a line began to form and I made my kids move on to let someone else have a turn.  That type of polite parenting seemed to be missing among others in attendance at this event. The next activity was Black Widows Agility Maze- which was a narrow room with laser beams that you had to navigate by moving over under the beams.  We watched people on the screen and enjoyed the entertainment of it but the line for that looked horribly long as well so we also skipped that one.

 

The last activities in this area were Ironman flight training

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and a Hulk Smash punching game both went relatively quickly as they were timed and monitored by staff so people were shuffled in and out quickly. There was also some “confidential files” to look through which contained more bio info and some great artwork of Marvel characters.  Lastly was a snack bar area, we purposely ate prior to coming to this as we knew it would be over priced for example a slushy was $8.
When you go to leave this dome you are once again reminded that you can NOT come back to it, you walk into a trailer with Villain monitors to look at and read up on and a touch screen interactive activity that most people I think walked right past.

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We perused this area for about 3-4 minutes, then we walked down the end of the trailer where our “power bands” were taken from us and we were given souvenir bands with three snap on logos to attach, then herded into another waiting area called the ‘transfer doom” where we were handed 3-d glasses and again played the “stand around and stall” –move over there- squeeze in here game until they determined that enough people had arrived to shuttle us into the Simularium dome. There was nothing to do in here but stand around, nothing to look at nothing to watch etc.   Once everyone was inside the Simularium we were told we must stand- absolutely no sitting.  Then they proceeded to play a dizzying movie above our heads.  It really was spectacular and exciting- I really wish we could have sat down on the ground though- because it really was hard to watch staring straight at the ceiling for 5 minutes watching a 360 degrees spinning movie all around your head. We were actually told before it began that if we felt like we were getting sick to take off our glasses and look at the ground- how is THAT a solution?
Next you file into another waiting area called the “transport corridor” where they spend even more time scooting people around and waiting around making sure there are “enough” people to make the next activity worthwhile and stalling.  Finally a safety video plays which is funny and we get to enter into the Transport Hangar for “the ride” which is a large theater with a massive screen.  Anyone with motion sickness can sit in the front row everyone else gets seats that will move and rock and have bursts of air blown on them etc. The “ride” lasts for a little more than 5 minutes and if I had to compare it to anything I would say it is about 50% less jerky than Star Tours but with a lot more comfortable seats and a much cooler video.  Then it is over.  You all file out into the gift shop that has no less than 40 staff members simply standing around to ensure no one steals anything.  We liked our photo so we bought it.

 

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I think Tyler especially was able to still see it through the eyes of wonder, Connor however picked up on the irritability of everyone around us and started to get jaded about stuff.  Overall there were many moments that I loved looking at the boys enjoy themselves.

If you look at our photos I captured what looks like a great time and I want to remember it that way as much as I can.

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Welcome Autumn!!

While we may not be pulling out the knit sweaters and sipping cocoa like other parts of the country I have to say this year has given us the most mild temps we have felt in the last half a decade that’s for sure. (at the very least it at least FEELS that way)  I can look back on older fall blog posts and we are still complaining and whining that it’s so hot even at Halloween and while we are still flirting with 100 degrees on the thermometer right now for some reason this year just feels different and it’s not so miserable.  Although the humidity has been interesting and that let’s us know how much we really tend to appreciate the “dry” heat more.

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I know we often get a “teaser” cool down and then it heats back up until nearly Thanksgiving time before we really feel a legitimate chill in the air but maybe this year will be different?  I can tell you that I have to actually wait at least a minute to hop in the shower or else I will be shocked by the pelting cold water which usually that only happens November through April here in the  valley.

Even though we will continue wearing shorts for several more weeks if not months I usually tend to go through clothing with every official season change and 2014 was no different in that regard.  I spent a good portion of this afternoon sorting through both boys closets and dressers.  Gone are the days of hand me down from Tyler to Connor- they simply have different body types and quite frankly “style” preferences.  So it was a little bitter-sweet to try to get Connor into Ty’s last year jeans only to have them not even rise above his thighs.  We have always been blessed with hand  me downs from my cousin Jackson but Ty is now pretty similar in build to Jack and I am not sure that there will be many more hand me downs coming our way Jack is a junior in high school and may have hit his growing peak by now so he likely is not growing out of clothes much anymore so much as growing out of styles.

We dug into the last bag of hand me downs we got from them and discovered that shorts that we had tried on both of the boys in March that were WAY too big now fit perfectly and a few we had even missed the window of wearing on. I also finally parted with a ton of stuff that for whatever reason I was deluding myself still fit Ty and Connor.  We ended up with:

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TWO GINORMOUS bags to donate all which will be going to Connor’s junior high clothing drive.  Some weird initiative that they trade clothing for books for the library.  You would think that with that much going out they would have nothing left to wear…

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Neither one of them will be going naked any time soon.

How often do you go through your kids clothes and rotate stuff in and out?

What other fall traditions do you like to mark the turning of the seasons with?

On October first we will put up all of our Halloween and “harvesty” type decorations.  I typically love to burn candles or simmer potpourri on the stove or in a mini crock pot to help set the mood as well.  This year I can not wait to try out a few oil blends in the diffuser.  I am a candle ADDICT and over the last few years I have had a harder time finding scents and brands of candles that did not cause me to get headaches or feel too overpowering.  Of course I should have listened to my body telling me that burning the candles was basically releasing pollution directly into my home and our lungs, all in the name of “pretty smells.”  Now with the oils we can have the lovely smells and the health benefits as well.

Here is my go to blend for the fall:

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Follow our Essential Oil journey with us on Facebook too!
https://www.facebook.com/AZYLLiving

Obviously Cinnamon will always put me in a “holiday” mood, as is Clove which is just warm and inviting.  The orange and lemon citrus notes both add an uplifting balance to the combo.

Some of the other oils that I love and look forward to diffusing as part of my “feels like fall” home makeover are:

Thieves-  is a super immune boosting germ fighter and Nutmeg (you know like in pumpkin pie??) which also supports a healthy immune system as well as fights fatigue and exhaustion.  It is sort of funny how all of these smells that we associate with “fall” tend to also have anti viral and anti-sickness properties to them– hmm pretty interesting!

Anyways- Happy Fall ya’ll!

 

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STEM Science club trip

I got to chaperon Connor to the STEM Science club trip to California —30 5th and 6th graders on a bus for 7 hours…WOOT

BUS

We went to Disneyland to learn about physics

Disney

Disney2

and to the California Science center to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor.

Endeavor

It was a pretty fantastic trip with lots of amazing memories for me and my boy.

Sabercat Pride

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Tyler has now been at his new public junior high school for a month and is settling in well.

2013-10-02 14.07.59We started off in all general ed with practically zero supports just to see what was what—At the end of the first week it just happened to be Shadow an 8th grader day so Jason and I were able to go in and essentially follow him to all of his classes (it was a half day) but we got to see each setting and get an idea of how he was adjusting.

He really made me proud- I cried at how quicky he had learned his routines and the campus etc.

I also observed very specifically to see if I thought any of the placements were “not right”

At first the only concern I had was his science class whch academically was very “over his head” espcially since he had zero science th first quarter at the private school- but as the next week came and went and as we prepared for the transition IEP meeting- the amount of work, homework and slipping expectations in several of this classes stared to show. There seemed to be a lot of expecations that he was not able to grasp (or was ignoring altogether out of being so overwhelmed with all the change) Everything was SOOO new and he was transitioing so well in a LOT of areas- but others not so much -Like in the areas that really matter-this new school is much more academically forward  then his last (or even then the previous public school we were in) so I started to worry

We only have 3 quarters of 8th grade to get Ty back up to par for public school expectations so he is really prepared to enter high school. As much as I did not want to admit- the private placement set him back significantly from where he was both academically and socially in just the 9 weeks he was there. So we have a lot of catch up to do just to get him back to where he was at the end of 7th grade at our old public school.

As a team we all decided to try out some resource classes- I am still trying to learn how GPS labels all of the special ed stuff and how that compares to settings we have been in before- but he is essentially in a step between “SPICE” which is an autism specific special ed program in the district and “iART” which is a program for really high functioning kids that don’t need very many supports but still qualify for some sort of special ed services. He doesn’t need the full on supports of SPICE but needs more then what iART provides so we are in “middle limbo land” and its basically “resource”

The new classes and accommodations seem to be geared more to his learning abilities and the home work load has improved SIGNIFICANTLY- He seems to be thriving with the PRIDE program (came really close to getting 9th hour but his language arts teacher let him have one more slide) and I think that scared him enough to know its serious business cause he has come home every day that he has had homework and gotten right to work- needing hardly any assistance and is being successful.

For now- things are doing really well.

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Author Meet and Greet

Grandma and Grampa Geroux are so totally awesome and pre-ordered Connor the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book

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through Changing hands book store- with this order they got put in a drawing for a pass for 2 to go to a special author meet and Greet after the book was released to have it signed by none other than Mr Jeff Kinney himself.

"dude! is there REALLY an angry sharks game??"
“dude! is there REALLY an angry sharks game??”

Connor was over the moon!

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They really know how to put on a kid friendly book signing event!

When we arrived there were tons of kids with their faces buried in their brand new book- that says a lot about the author if you can get a bunch of preteen/teens so eager to read that they plop down in the dirt and dig in the second the book hits their hands!

2013-11-08 17.08.43They let people in by letter groups to meet Jeff Kinney- probably about 20 people per letter- we had letter H

In the mean time there were cool activities to enjoy

Money grab
Money grab
Fortune teller
Fortune teller
draw Greg
draw Greg
Wheel of MISfortune
Wheel of MISfortune
Drop in the bucket
Drop in the bucket
Sign Rodrick's Door
Sign Rodrick’s Door
Pet finder
Pet finder

once you did all the stations you got your “future” based off of how you did at each activity

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By the time we did all of that it was almost letter H’s turn to meet Jeff Kinney so we didn’t get to do the photo booth- but we did get to dance- and we still don;t know what the fox says

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