Friday, February 7, 2014

Been a While

Well it's been almost a year since my last post. We moved into our absolute dream home. It's so far from civilization, though, that the only way to access the net is over a very old and very slow 3g network. We've played with other options but finally broke down and upgraded to smart phones when we renewed our cellular contract. I still have far too much livestock and gardening and teen drama in my life to spend loads and loads of time online but I've always enjoyed blogging. So this is one of the first things I decided to start back up with.

Friday, March 1, 2013

My First Guest Post

How exciting! I was chatting with my friend, Jae, who owns Essence Through The Ages. (which is full of awesome, btw) As the parent multiple children on the spectrum, she also has an autism blog. Her readers often express concern about how their own ASD children will get be as adults. What will life be like for them? Are they capable of full independence?

Well, it just so happens that Jae knows a very independent ASD adult blogger. So, she asked if I'd be interested in writing a guest post or few. I agreed to post once per month until either I run out of material or she tires of my prattling. I encourage you all to check out my first guest post, as well as the rest of her entries.

Read my Guest Post here!

This month, I discuss some of my tricks for handling social communication.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Non Verbal ASD

I have to apologize for not posting anything over the last week. I had great plans. I even took fun pictures to share. I haven't had a particularly rough week or anything, but I am having a struggle with my executive functioning and communication skills right now. I've been focusing entirely on keeping things normal with family, home, and kids. Everything else has kind of fallen to the wayside.

This just happens sometimes. It can be triggered by great stress, but more often than not it's my body's kind of calm that follows the storm. We had a wonderful and exciting trip and came back to a few melodramatic dramas that we were able to calm within a couple days. It took me a few days to really recover emotionally from everything. But then, I just didn't have the energy or desire to put on the NT act.

It boils down to an executive function issue. It takes an extraordinary effort to just take that first step and START something without any kind of outside stimuli. I have to have every step planned ahead of time, to begin with. Or I'll have to climb that same huge wall every time I come to a task I hadn't planned. Getting out of bed in the morning? Where am I going once I stand up? And after that? And that? Getting dressed? I have to plan out each item before I even get out of my covers. If I face a decision in the middle of the process I have to consider all the options. That means analyzing each item for it's appropriateness for the weather, for my plans that day, for it's general comfort, and for how soon I'll need to do laundry if I pick it - based on my upcoming schedule. For every single item, so I can be sure I picked the right one. Because that's what it takes to dress like an NT (maybe, if I picked right). If I just did what I wanted, and never had to worry about outside judgement? I wouldn't even bother with clothes most of the time.

This also poses a problem with communication. To start with, I don't think in words. I think in pictures. At my very worst, I sometimes have trouble translating my thoughts into words at all. They call that Non-Verbal. I woke up like that this morning. +Jason Shepherd rolled over to tell me good morning and I just smiled. I knew I was supposed to respond, but I had no idea how. He started asking me questions and I looked like a deer in the headlights. Luckily, my gears started turning. I figured out some words. The task of turning them to speech was too overwhelming, though. Using your breath, throat, and mouth to convert a thought to sound with the proper rhythm  intonation, and volume? A single word I can maybe pull off...but a whole conversation of that?

I pulled out the laptop and started typing. I can understand him just fine this morning, but he knows it takes less effort for me to comprehend text than voice. There are less variables to consider. So, he fired up his computer, too. We sat side by side in bed, typing our morning conversations and planning our day. Then, he gathered my clothes for me and put them on the bed. We both got dressed and went about our day. Jason is aware of the game plan for the day and is the one in charge today (where it would usually be me). He'll remind everyone (including me) of what we should be doing at any time, and help out where it's needed. Days like this aren't often, but they are common. You see, I'm not angry or upset or depressed. I'm actually in a VERY pleasant mood today. My mind just doesn't have the energy to constantly translate every thought and behavior into the very complicated kind of all encompassing communication that NTs consider normal. Trying to do so would lead to some kind of panic attack or classic meltdown. I've established in previous entries that I dislike those things and chose to avoid them. Luckily, the NTs in my life don't corner me into them like most people do to their ASD friends and family members. So, this will continue to be a very pleasant day.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cora's Dreads: Week 2

Sorry this was so late. The pics were taken on Sunday. I just haven't had a chance to sit down and type much this week!

We had a grand adventure over the weekend, and stopped to take these on our way home. As you can see, her hair is quite frazzled and knotted. It's still just threatening to turn into dreads though. Every time it seems like one is forming, we find it separated into multiple curls the next day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Heart Attack!!!

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope your's is great, whether someone else is treating you right or you're treating yourself right. =D Personally, I'm enjoying an empty house and some alone time. The kids are serving a tritip dinner at a fundraiser. +Jason Shepherd  is working. Did I mention he's moved over to swing shift? Well, he has. I'll be picking up dinner at the end of the fundraiser, and meeting Jason at work for his dinner break at 8pm. Our big celebration will be this weekend.

The excitement started last night, though. I was given a super secret covert mission. I was to keep Cora and a friend out of either house from around 7pm until whenever I was called and told it was ok to bring them back. Both girls are about to turn twelve. When they turn twelve, they will move up from Primary into the Young Women's organization at church. The teens in the Young Women's group have youth group every Wednesday night, and they wanted to welcome the girls in style. While I kept them out delivering cookies to an injured member and eventually eating pie as slowly as I could....the young women "Heart Attacked" the girls' rooms! We didn't say a thing. It was about 8:30 when I finally brought her home. She mumbled something about getting ready for bed and went straight to her room. A moment later, I heard a very confused, "Um....MOM!" Cora was stunned and very touched that they would do something like this for her.

This weekend, +Liam Shepherd is attending a huge church Valentine's Day Dance in Klamath Falls. That's about two hours away. We still need to take Cora to a special dinner to celebrate her "graduation" from 8th grade, and we had promised the kids sushi next time we visited K.Falls. Instead of trying to fit everything into one night, we decided to make a weekend of it. Rooms are cheap, so the kids will have their own. Jason took Friday off so we can spend the day exploring and pricing out the various organic markets in town. Saturday, we are registered to see a bird show (Winter Raptors), and thought we might follow it with a nature walk. A couple of the kids' friends are going to have dinner with use, then attend the dance, too. One will be left behind in our care. He'll stay in the motel with us and hang out with us Sunday until we finally make it back to our area in the evening. Sunday, the kids are excited to attend church with some of the friends they've made at these big Stake events. All in all, it sounds like a fun filled weekend!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Affordable Organics Delivered to Your Door

While I'm not opposed to trading honest reviews for cash or free products (hint hint), no one has paid me for this post. In full disclosure, if you were to find this company valuable enough to sign up for a membership, you and I would both receive a referral benefit of $10 store credit. That's only useful if we like the company and products in the first place.

So, today I'm talking about The Green PolkaDot Box. This is where we buy our organic produce. Their produce prices average out to about the same as our local cost for non-organic produce, and we order enough for free shipping. The shipping costs on smaller orders is surprisingly low, which is great for people whose houses aren't regularly infested with hungry teenagers.  It may not be useful if you live in an area with ample access to organic products, though. When we lived in Portland, for instance, there were so many competitive options that a working knowledge of local resources made a greater variety available for a lower price. I don't think I've found fresher, or higher quality produce even at farmer's markets, though. The quality is absolutely impeccable.

This is a kind of buying club. You have to pay a membership fee to join. You can buy a "trial" membership for a single order for $10. If you then decide to buy an annual membership ($50), they will deduct the $10 you spent on your trial from the annual fees. That's what we did. Their website can be a little buggy but their customer support is INCREDIBLE. So friendly and helpful and positive! They bend over backward to help us out and are earnestly thankful (even excited) to have us as customers.

We currently only buy produce from The Green PolkaDot Box. They are constantly expanding their stock, but they don't have enough low cost options for the foods we regularly eat to be the best option. We still buy our nonperishable organics using our Amazon Prime account on at this time. I would highly recommend checking out The Green PolkaDot Box's selection for yourself, though. Their deals may match up quite well with your eating habits. They seem to be making a concerted effort to cater to vegan, vegetarian, diabetic, celiac, gluten free, and other special dietary needs - in addition to a commitment to offer certified organic, non-GMO products.

In closing, if you do decide to order from The Green PolkaDot Box, I ask that you please use our links. The referral bonus we receive will reduce our household grocery costs, and every little bit helps! ( in case you have any issues with the links!) Also, if you have personal experience with The Green PolkaDot Box, please share it below in the comments. I'd love to know how this program is working out for others!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cora's Dreads: Week 1

It's been one week. Cora's excitement is palpable. Her hair is a wild mess. Each day when she wakes up, she examines it. There are always twists or clumps that seem like maybe they are going to form ropes. They change from day to day, though. It's only been a week, after all. She's mostly left it alone to grow how it will, but it seems inclined to form a big ball of knots at the base of her neck. She has me separate that a bit each morning so she won't end up with a giant ball or four inch thick dread or something in the long run.

When you wash your hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar, your scalp's oil production balances out. Over time, you find that it takes longer and longer for your hair to really need to be washed. Cora could probably get away with washing her hair about twice per week right now, but she is still washing it almost every day. Every time she washes her hair, the knots tighten up. Clean hair forms dreads faster, and this is proving to be a great motivator. She hasn't whined or complained about having to bath or wash her hair once all week!

We do have a little concern about acquaintances freaking out over her hair. People tend to get very stuck on the idea that hair brushing is directly connected to bathing and having your basic needs met. Also, everyone we've mentioned dreads to immediately makes comments about not bathing. I cannot tell you how many times I've had to explain the idea that clean hair forms dreads better and dirty oily hair just gets stringy. Stringy hair doesn't knot up well. The hair just slips out of the knots. Cora wears her hair down around the house, but we've bought her a selection of bandannas to wear when she's out and about. The local thrift shop has a wide selection of colors and patterns. She had a grand time picking them specifically to color coordinate with her outfits.