Saturday, April 29, 2006

Finally - sock pictures

I've been trying to post pictures for 2 days now, but the computer I use to upload pictures kept locking up. So I tried again today and saved the draft of this post every time I uploaded a picture, and now I'm on a more reliable computer. Damn machines. Anyway, here are my finished Sockapaloooza socks, basking in the sun on our back deck:

Hayden wanted in on the action, so he offered to model:

Wait, something doesn't look quite right -

- much better. Six year old boys always have to touch their pingas, I guess just to make sure they're still there.

I'm mailing the socks on Monday. Hopefully my pal will like them. I meant to go to the post office today, but I volunteered at the Country Music Marathon this morning and was there longer than planned. (Do you know how exciting and scary it is for a Kenyan running a 5-minute mile to take a cup of water out of your hand? Yikes!)

Since the socks are done, I've been working more on my Somewhat Cowl. It was sloooow going until I finished the raglan increases, and now that I'm past the neckline, it seems to be flying. I'd really like to finish it sometime this week so I can start a summer project. Here's what I'm thinking about:

Wendy's Fad-Classic
Prairie Tunic from the Spring issue of IK
Green Gable

What do you think?

In other news, DH gave me my Mother's Day present 2 weeks early: a plane ticket and hotel room in Columbia, MD next weekend so I can go to the Sheep & Wool Festival! How fun is that?!? I'm very excited about hanging out with Eunny and Kelly again, and meeting other knitbloggers. Who else is going?

And last but not least, one more gratuitous Hayden shot:

Last weekend we went to a local community college's production of Rogers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella." I didn't know that it wouldn't have a lot in common with the Disney version, but Hayden liked it just the same. Actually, he liked it from far away - as in the doorway. For some reason, he just wouldn't set foot inside the theater, even though it wasn't that big. That's okay, though - we just scooted our chair back to the door. Doesn't this Fairy Godmother look like Glen Close?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Liar, liar, pants on fire

Okay, I lied. I emailed my Sockapaloooza sock sister last night to tell her that my socks were going to be totally done before I went to bed and that I'd post pictures this morning. All I had left to do was graft the toe of my second sock and weave in 2 ends - easy, huh? But then I went to swim practice and stayed after a little to talk to 2 fellow Ironman Florida bound triathletes. It was almost 9pm before I got home, and I still had to eat dinner and put Hayden to bed (yes, he's a night owl). And I was tired from swimming, so the socks did not get done. I PROMISE that they will be finished this afternoon, though, and pictures will be up tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sockapaloooza progress

Just as promised - a happier, shorter, knitting-related post. Here's one of my Sockapalooza socks (and yes, I have a flip flop tan on the top of my feet):

Here's another shot so that you can see the cable better (and peep my tat!):

I started the second sock last Thursday and it's going much faster than the first one. Today at work I was able to turn the heel, thanks to yet another sick computer. I expect to be done with it by the end of the weekend.

I've also been working on my Somewhat Cowl, but I'm only 7 inches into it. A pic right now of it would be Somewhat Boring. Once the sock is done, I'll be able to make more progress on that as well as get back to my Sampler Stole. And start Wendy's Fad-Classic. And start my Rowan Cricket Vest. And some baby booties for my sister (who's expecting her second child the day before Ironman Florida - poor planning on her part, I must say). And....

Monday, April 10, 2006

Warning: long post ahead, not related to knitting at all

April is Autism Awareness Month. I've been wondering what to do on my blog for it (almost typed "to celebrate it", but that sounded totally wrong). I could give you the statistics - 1 in 166 kids is autistic, blah blah blah - but then I came across Cathy's blog and decided to copy her. Her son is autistic and she shared her story, so I'm going to do the same. I know all of my regular readers know Hayden and know he's autistic and know how cute he is, but I don't think I've ever shared our background. Here goes nothing:

Hayden was a typically developing little boy. He laughed, played, crawled and walked when other kids do. I had been working as a full-time staff accountant, but I became a stay at home mom shortly after he turned one and had dreams of doing all the fun things stay at home moms do - have playdates, go to the park at 10am on Wednesday, put him in Mother's Day Out program twice a week so he could have friends and I could ride my bike in the middle of the day. However, I started noticing around 18 months that he wasn't adding any new words to his vocabulary - in fact, some of his words had disappeared. I called the doctor and voiced my concerns, but he just said, "Oh, don't worry. Boys are late talkers." This conversation between he and I happened 3 times until his 2-year checkup. After that, the doctor said that maybe we should check into it. Our first step was going to the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center to have his hearing tested - normal. Then we had an evaluation done by the Tennessee Early Intervention Services to see if Hayden qualified for free therapy. TEIS does an overall evaluation, and if your child has at least a 25% defenciency in 2 areas (communication, gross motor skills, etc), they provide free therapy, whether it be speech, physical, or occupational. Hayden, of course, qualified. We started speech therapy when he was almost 2 1/2 years old. In TEIS' evaluation, they suggested I look into occupational therapy because of things like Hayden having an aversion to messy stuff like shaving cream, but I blew that off. Nobody really likes messy stuff, do they? Big mistake. Unfortunately, TEIS only pays for therapy until the child is 3, so after that, we were on our own. We enrolled Hayden in a preschool for kids with special needs. There were therapists there at school, so we didn't have to take him anywhere - the therapist just pulled him out of his class when it was time for him to work. This school didn't come cheap - the first year Hayden was there, we paid over $20,000. A college tuition for a 3 year old! Our insurance company wouldn't (and still won't) pay for any therapy, so needless to say, I went back to work. Nobody could figure out what was wrong with him, but everyone agreed he wasn't autistic. There were just some things that he did that autistic kids don't do. (What they were, I can't remember, because looking back on it, it was so clear that he was.) I had scheduled an evaluation to be done when he was 3 1/2, but cancelled it because a)everyone said that he wasn't autistic, and b)everyone said that even though he wasn't autistic, he'd be labeled as such, and that label would follow him throughout school and teachers would expect less of him, yada yada yada. Another big mistake. After his fourth birthday, though, I rescheduled his evaluation. Mike was out of town for a marathon, and Hayden had a particularly autistic weekend. I couldn't control him at McDonald's, he had a panic attack when I tried to take him to a classmate's birthday party, things like that. Mike wasn't happy that I was having him evaluated, but I decided to do it anyway. He came around before the evaluation, though, and we had come to accept that the diagnosis was going to be one of autism. That made the evaluation process so much easier, because our response to "Your child is autistic" was "We know." At the evaluator's suggestion, we took him out of the preschool he was in and got him into a program for autistic kids through the public school system. Through the school system Hayden gets speech and occupational therapy, and we supplement that with private autism and speech therapy. The speech therapist we work with (the best out of the many that we have worked with over the last 4 years) only works with autistic kids, so it's great. He's made a lot of progress over the last 4 years, but he still has a lot of work to do. He used to not be able to handle being around other kids; now he's in the thick of things when it's recess time. He doesn't play "with" his classmates, but he plays alongside of them, and that's the best we can ask for right now. His eye contact is not great, but we're working on that too. He's verbal, but 90% of the time his speech is not easily understandable (except for by me - after all, I am Mommy) or is straight out of a book, video, or computer game (echolalia is the technical term for that). He flaps his hands (called stimming) when he gets excited about something (last night while driving home from dinner he stimmed off of the street lights we drove by, and every day he flaps when he sees me coming to pick him up from school), and he laughs sometimes when nothing is going on. (I have a great 90-second video on my digital camera of his stimming off of the Teletubbies, but I don't know how to upload a video onto my blog.) He is learning how to have conversations, but right now all of it is memorized, so unless someone asks him a question the exact way we or his therapists ask him, he won't answer. But he is a great kid. He has no behavior problems; he loves to dance, sing, and make people laugh; he's pretty good at math; and he loves to give hugs and kisses. And he's super cute to boot. (And he's learning how to climb, Jen - we've been to the climbing gym twice since Thursday, and he really likes it!) With a lot of hard work, I hope that he'll be able to live a fairly typical life.

With all that being said, he did not get into the TRIAD camp. I got a letter today basically telling me that he's not high functioning enough to go to their camp. What a blow. I usually have a great attitude about our situation - sure it sucks, but he is a sweet, loving, fun kid, so I make the best out of what we got. Today, though, I've been crying and can't stop. (So please excuse any typos - sometimes they get lost in the tears.) Telling me that Hayden is not functioning enough to go to a camp for autistic kids makes me somewhat lose hope. Last week I posted that I was afraid that the TRIAD people thought I was this desparate, disillusioned mom - I guess they're right. Maybe I'm not seeing what others are. I'd love for Hayden to be the kid who shoots all the 3-pointers at the basketball game and becomes a hero - today that dream was shot down. I'm starting to think that I'm going to be one of those moms who everyone feels sorry for when she walks through the grocery store and her 25-year old autistic son is following her because he can't function without her. And now I have no idea what I'm going to do for the summer. I had planned on him going to TRIAD camp for his summertime therapy and going to a summer camp at a typical daycare the rest of the time. Now the therapy is gone, and because they don't think he's functioning enough to go to their camp, I don't think he's functioning enough to go to the typical daycare camp. I got a brochure for it today, and the things they say they do scare me. They go on field trips every Friday and go swimming every week. What if wanders off because he doesn't understand that he's supposed to stay with his class? (That's happened before.) Daycare workers aren't trained to work with autistic kids. And he can't swim, but he doesn't understand that he shouldn't jump off the diving board. So now I have to come up with an alternative plan. I don't know what that is right now, but I guess between now and May 23rd it'll come to me. I have to work, so something has to come along.

Cathy has some links on her blog to some great stuff, one of them being a sweet ESPN commercial. I urge you to visit her blog and check it out. I promise my next post will be a)happy, b)knitting related, and c)not so long.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Are you jealous? Just a little??

I rode my bike yesterday when DH got home from work. I took my camera along (I pulled over to the side of the road to take the shots - they weren't taken while I was riding - I can talk on my phone while riding, but I don't think I'm coordinated enough to take pictures) so I could show you the beautiful scenery I get to enjoy while on my bike. This is the Natchez Trace Parkway, which starts about 2 miles from my house and ends down in Natchez, Mississippi:

This hill is a bitch to climb up, but it sure is fun to fly down on the way home!

This bridge overlooks Hwy. 96 from way, way up. I know you're supposed to ride on the side of the road, but when I cross this bridge, I tend to drift towards the middle. Too close to the rails is very scary, especially on a windy day.

I am so lucky to live so close to such a great place for riding.

And here's a picture of my Sockapaloooza sock:

I started turning the heel today at work. Unfortunately I didn't get to do too much because my boss didn't go out for lunch. Gah. But I am loving the way this is turning out. Hopefully my pal will too. I didn't make the sock as long as the pattern I'm using said to, but a)I think it's long enough, and b)my pal didn't specify how long she likes her socks, only that she likes them to go over the ankle.

And finally, here's a shot of my Sampler Stole and my Somewhat Cowl, laying on the new bedspread bought at Target on Sunday (gotta love Isaac Mizrahi - he reminds me soooo much of my best high school friend, Perry):

This picture really is to show you the colors, because the progress made on both is very little. One of my goals last week was to get through 3 repeats of the stole; however, progress was thwarted by too much beer and a shot of something and vodka at a friend's going away party on Saturday, and I still have 21 rows to get through repeat 3. The Somewhat Cowl will be much further along after I spend the upcoming weekend in Birmingham. Sunday morning I will be doing the Powerman Alabama duathlon, but I'll have Saturday afternoon and evening in a hotel room, doing some pre-race resting and guilt-free knitting! I'm using Alpaca & Silk - can I get a yum-yum? The yarn is HEAVENLY. Hopefully I can get it done and wear it before summer hits!

And speaking of the fabulous Wendy, have you seen this yet? So cool! It's making its way up to the front of my To Knit list at an alarming pace. Maybe I'll get the pattern after I finish the SWC. But I detest Cotton Classic - must find a substitute.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Socks have stolen the limelight...

...from my Sampler Stole. It hit me earlier today that the deadline for my Sockapaloooza socks is fast approaching, and I am not even to the heel of the first one. So I guess I need to spend more time on it than just at work or during speech therapy, which means the stole will just have to wait for a little bit. At the rate I'm going on the stole, it'll make a great Christmas gift for someone special!

And to those who are wondering how Hayden's interview went yesterday: it didn't go very well, at least not in my eyes. He's just not a good interviewer or test taker. Every time he's had an evaluation done, I've thought he could've done much better. Yesterday he wasn't answering questions I KNOW he knew the answers to, and I was/am afraid that he came across as just a bump on a log. Actually, he was more than just a bump on a log - maybe a bump on a log who really enjoyed making faces in the 1-way window that separated the observation area from the evaluation room. (He loves to look at himself or dance in front of a mirror. Why not? If I were as cute as he is, I'd want to look at myself all day too.) I was supposed to stay in the observation area, but after hearing, "Where's Mommy?" 10 times, the clinician suggested I quietly sit on the couch in the room with him. It was so frustrating to sit there and not be able to say anything because I knew I could ask him the questions in a way that he might've answered them. I left there feeling glad that DH wasn't with me (he tends to get more depressed about our situation than I do) and paranoid that they think I'm some disillusioned, desperate mother trying to get her son into camp. I turned in the form that Hayden's kindergarten teacher filled out, telling them that I read what she wrote and I really don't think he displays the behavior she says he does (he supposedly throws temper tantrums at school - I haven't seen him throw what I think is a temper tantrum since he was 2 1/2) and that his assistant, who is around him way more than the teacher is, agrees with me and that she was supposed to write a little note about her perceptions to accompany the teacher's form but she must've forgotten. Then after the interview, I told them that I don't think that was very indicative of how he really is, he's usually much more responsive, and that he doesn't have this separation problem when he goes to school or to his autism therapy group. Anyway, we're supposed to get a letter in a week or so telling us if we're in and the if so, the particulars. At this point, I really don't know what that letter will say. Cross your fingers!