Friday, 31 January 2014

Parkrun - no sun and no fun; Thinking about visual schedules

I woke up and for the first time on a Parkrun morning it was cloudy!.  Woohoo I thought, its going to be SO much easier today. Ummm...wrong.  I felt like I was running in a sauna.  I have real trouble pacing myself on these Parkruns and I think I might have to get my old Garmin going.  I decided to tag  this lady who overtook me (how dare she!) and see how long I could stay with her.  I hope I didn't tick her off too much because she overtook me pretty quickly and I stuck to her like glue for the first couple of kms.  Then I blew up a little and she sped away.  Unfortunately, not a PB today.  Man,  I really want to get faster. As soon as I finish my Lazyrunner program I'm going to start doing some speed work.

Then I got home and took the boys to the park.  Dragging T2 away from Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom took some food bribery of a little picnic at the park.  Also, when we got to the first park where we usually run around there was cricket going on.  T2 wanted to run through the cricket and started to play up, then T1 decided he wanted to go home. Aaah.  Initially I started to lose my temper, but I worked on staying calm and speaking without any frustration in my voice.  It worked!  We ran/scootered/walked to the park where T2 demanded his promised picnic while T1 and I played on the equipment.
There was a time I thought T2 would never scooter - now he loves it!

T2 preferred to look on while snacking.

T1 practising a little cricket on the sideline of eldest's cricket game

I haven't been pushing T2 since he started school.  Yesterday, when I picked him up he had tears streaming down his face.  Has the novelty of school worn off already?  I hope not!  His shadow said he had hit his head about half an hour before hometime and was upset after that.

Next week's mission is trying to get T2 on some kind of schedule so that he is using his time appropriately after school.

Some examples of visual schedules

I've had my eye on this dress for quite a while.  I was very happy to get my hands on it at an outlet store.  It was $49 down from $130.  Woohoo! There is no way I would pay $130 for it...but I do kind of love it.
No, this is NOT me.  I hope I look half as good in it!
source: Country Road
Do you use visual schedules?

Do you like this dress?

Thursday, 30 January 2014


Sorry, no run today!

The boys were so cute and so excited.  They got into their little uniforms and looked so proud.  Well actually T2's uniform isn't that little.... In the morning I paced around waiting for the minutes to tick by (we live minutes from school - a plus!).  When we got to school it was such a relief to see the familiar faces of their shadows.  It was so fantastic of the school to allow these shadows.  In Australia, there doesn't seem to be any specific laws or hard regulations regarding supporting kids with special needs.  The laws tend to be vague and generalised and much of the practical side is left up to the principal's discretion.
I love the way they hold hands

off they go !

Anyway, the classrooms are combined for the first two half-days.  After the parents were shooed out of the classrooms we went to the hall for tea and tissues.  I don't really know any of the parents well and my husband had to pop out to get my eldest to a swimming carnival.  Looking into a sea of unknown parents, hoping my kids were going to be ok, worrying more about how the other kids would treat them than how they will be at school...I promptly burst into tears...damn it!  In public, and I do believe I was the only one.  I went outside pulled myself together and tried again to go inside and be social.  I had a little chat with some of the parents and then headed off.   When we returned for pick up I was immediately greeted by a VERY excited special ed teacher (she is the main reason we chose this school) who told us they had been amazing.  The shadows also said they were great.  Hopefully this will last a little longer than the first day.
Does this pass the healthy test?  They ate ALL of it :-)

When they got home T2 immediately put on his pjs and lay on the floor!  T2, on the hand, was very excited and bouncing off the walls.

Just to add to the drama my eldest came home from cricket and told us that he'd been 'blanking out' ever since Wednesday when he came home from school very overheated.  His school had staffing issues and the kids had spent all afternoon in 30+degree heat (86F+).  At the time I thought oh my goodness, it might be his heart, or epilepsy or....There's a family history of serious cardiac issues.  So off my husband and son went to the Children's Hospital.  They had a long wait and didn't get home until 11.45pm.  Unfortunately he didn't receive a whole lot of tests.  I'm still abit worried about him, poor thing. We've been pumping in fluids and Powerade.  I hope he's ok today.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

5km & 1 Sleep 'til big school!!

I went for a really enjoyable 5km run to finish Week 5 of the LazyRunner 10km program.  I usually lean towards morning running but it was just beautiful this evening.  It wasn't too hot and it was just a beautiful Summer evening.  I followed it up with a relaxing dip in the pool and straight into my pjs.  Tomorrow and Friday I won't be doing any morning running as the twins will be starting school.  I might try and do another evening run tomorrow as it was really great.

The uniforms are pressed, everything's labelled, the shadows are ready.  If you're wondering what a shadow is, its kind of like a teacher's aide.  My BCBA has recommended T2 have an ABA trained shadow full-time for at least the first 6 months. T2 knows the shadows who will be with him so it makes me feel so much better.  This morning all the Kindy kids and parents met at the park.  I was feeling anxious, actually nauseous.  Would the boys behave?  Would T2 cope or start doing really weird behaviours?  Would the mum's be welcoming?  When I first got their I felt so awkward.  The boys took off on the equipment.  And I took off to man the flying fox for all the kids.  It was a good strategy.  I got talking to a couple of parents while having something to do (dragging the flying fox up the wire many times!).  Then I found a couple of parents I'd previously met and it was all good and everyone was really nice.  I didn't stay long as T2 doesn't last much longer than 11/4 hours at the park and it was pretty hot. So we headed home on  a good note.

A metallic 'Sharpie' marker is fantastic for naming dark things

A permanent thin black marker

I bought this ages ago when my eldest was in preschool.
 You can buy iron on refills and sticky fillers.  Its been VERY handy.

Then I discovered I had to get new anaphylaxis and asthma plans done for school tomorrow, so made a last minute trip to the medical centre, boys in tow.  Whenever I go to the medical centre I take every electronic device we own.  Today it was a Leappad, an iPad, a mini iPad, my Iphone and a 3DDS (I kid you not!).  It makes the hour at the medical centre bearable...just.  But we did it and we are all ready for the big day tomorrow.
It took five devices for us to get through a double dr's appointment at the medical centre!

What is your favourite time of day to run?

Monday, 27 January 2014

6km & visit from a special person

Went out for 6kms this morning.  The sun was belting down, but I'm getting used to that.  Felt a little bit stiff so think tomorrow it might be good to have a day off running.

This afternoon one of the twins' former therapists came to visit.  Without this person my boys would not be where they are today.  Its been a while since we've seen her and we all had a great time hanging out.  We went to the park, swam, had a huge lunch of scones, chicken sandwiches and fairy bread (healthy I know!), talked about everything - fitness, music, ABA, autism, sport.  It was a great afternoon.  She has inspired me to start doing some weight training - well at least contemplate some weight training.  I know I need to but...

Thankfully the boys all behaved perfectly.

T2 still wants all his food cut up small while his tooth is wobbly...sigh

My gorgeous husband goes back to work tomorrow.  We're gonna miss him.  Life has sent me some nasty curveballs, but I'm happy to say I have an amazing husband!

3 sleeps til big school.  The kids are non-plussed.  I, on the other hand am trying to wear a poker face while quietly fighting rising panic.  Aaaahh!!!

Do you do weights?  Any good programs that won't make me too sore to run?  And maybe even help running?

Saturday, 25 January 2014

8km & Novotel Brighton-Le-Sands

Today I started week 5 of the Lazyrunners 10k plan.  Today was 8km.  It all went fine as I'd had 2 days off running.  Not sure about pace but this program is all about the distance not speed.  After I've finished this program I intend to incorporate one speed session a week into my training.

On Friday afternoon myself, my eldest and mother-in-law headed to Brighton-Le-Sands Novotel for an overnight stay.  My mother-in-law was sick last time we went so it was her first time there.  She really liked it.  It's my last voucher that I had stashed and I'm now on a voucher ban (self-imposed) until further notice :-(
the view from our room - a little windy!

Comfy beds and the pillows weren't too fat

Love 1990s Decor

We decided to skip the hotel restaurant because although its very good, its quite expensive unless you have one of the Accor club cards (which we don't).  We were surprised how many good casual eateries were located along Bay St.  For dinner we had fish, chips and calamari at Ocean Heart seafood.  It was all very fresh and delicious.  The calamari was particularly good (no sign of chewiness and so tasty!).
We'll be back.

If you want good fish n chips in Brighton-le Sands, look no further

Chunky chips - but there was no salt and they didn't ask!  I kept looking in the bag...but no :-(

One of the running bloggers I follow is always eating frozen yoghurt (she calls it Froyo) so when I discovered a frozen yoghurt shop I thought I'd indulge in my first one. I had no idea what flavour so had a little plain, a little mango and a little coconut.  I think I actually like the plain best.  Then, for the fun bit- the toppings.  Mini m&ms, crushed Oreos & Hershey bars, fruit and unidentifiable coloured round balls.  I liked it.  Not as much as HungryRunnerGirl does but I'll definitely have another soon.
Yoganic  - Bay St Brighton Le Sands

A froyo mishmash

For breakfast we went downstairs to Mezzes cafe.  We ordered bacon, eggs and toast.  It was all delicious and I'm not sure what bread they used but it was beautiful.  It cost under $10 each for the meals!  We followed that up by hot chocolates.  The service was great and the food came out promptly.

SO yummy..under 10 bucks!

Delicious hot chocolate

We picked up some lunch boxes and drink bottles for the twins (4 sleeps til big school!).  What on Earth is going on?  There was literally a wall of different boxes - long ones, short ones, ones with mini containers and separate containers and freezer coverings........What happened to the gigantic Decor boxes and a popper (if you wanted a drink you went to the bubbler).  Why is parenting so confusing these days???
A night in watching Fedex and Nadal...poor Federer.

I love this derelict terrace right across from the beach. 

A short walk takes you to what used to be my Nana's place.  Many happy memories of a wonderful person.

I also discovered something frightening about my mother-in-law and eldest.  I bought some gummy bears for them, but I didn't realise the effect they had on them.  They practically inhaled the packet.  When they offered me some I backed away in fear of immediate addiction.  We bought 2 more packets when we went down to Coles.  I'm not sure if those bears are still with us-its truly scary watching them in action.  A word of warning. DO NOT buy the sugar free ones - have you seen the reviews? Don't click on this link if you are eating.
These are NOT sugar free...but if you don't like your in-laws....:-)
T2 has a loose tooth and is demanding all food be cut into bite sizes.  Hurry up and fall out tooth!

What is your favourite Froyo flavour and toppings?  I need guidance.

Do you have any lunch box recommendations?  I really need help with this.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

5km & the countdown to big school begins! (1 week today)

Today I finished Week 4 of the 10km Lazyrunner program.  It was a breakthrough for me to run 5kms two days in a row without feeling stiff or having niggles.  I'm tempted to push my luck a little and run 8km tomorrow.  We'll see...

So, one week until big school.  My blood pressure and heart rate rise slightly when I think about it.  I'm trying to block it out while simultaneously getting organised.  Today was uniform day.  The list went like this....2 shirts x 2, 2 shorts x 2, 1 sport shirt...x2, 1 sport shorts...x2, 4 pairs of socks...x2, 2 school bags...x2, 1 jumpers.. x2, $149.. x 2 (are you seeing a pattern here?) for a grand total of $498!!!  Let's add black school shoes...x2 for $200 for a grand total of $698 (deep breaths!).  Still need to get stationary, new lunchboxes and bottles (their preschool ones will have to do for the first couple of weeks).  Man, that's some serious cash.  Today we went to the uniform store and I was a little anxious about T2.  He was perfect and wanted to keep his school shirt on (so cute).  But T1 decided it was a good time to fight with his older brother.  Unfortunately it was his worst moment of the day and the rest of the day he was really good.  Don't you hate it when bad behaviour is saved for public consumption?

I'm starting to think lunch boxes now.  Its much more enjoyable than buying uniforms and shoes.  I'm thinking of cooking batches and freezing.  I'm going to try really hard to be organised with the school lunches.  I'm pretty spoiled and don't do much cooking so I think I should take responsibility for the school lunches this year.  Hopefully I'll come through with the goods.

Any tips from fellow ASD parents about first day of school?

Favourite lunchbox recipe?

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

5kms, The Century and I LOVE my BCBA!

I woke up late after an awesome night at The Century.. in fact it was 9am!  If your wondering what I did with the twins, my mother-in-law was up-bless her.  I went for an untimed 5km run and it felt fantastic.  It was cloudy and cool with the slightest breeze.  Perfect running conditions and I didn't have to get up early to enjoy them.

Yesterday was my beautiful mother-in-law's birthday.  We'd had a rough day with the twins the day before so we all felt a little shell-shocked.  I decided I wasn't going to put any demands on T2 so that we could have a great day.  My mother-in-law enjoyed the day.  We had a Liverpool cake topper that didn't arrive for my son's birthday so if you're wondering why a 67 year old lady has a Liverpool cake, now you know.  We had a nice quiet day at home and a little party food for lunch.  T1 had planned the menu in advance - he thought Nana wanted fairy bread, sausage rolls and Twisties..mmm.
creeping fingers :-)

Pretty cool cake for a Nanna!

That night my mother-in-law, myself and my sister-in-law met at the amazing The Century Chinese restaurant in Pyrmont for a girl's fancy dinner.  My sis-in-law is an important Chinese businesswoman and I love going to The Century with her.  Its the only time I feel even vaguely important.  We were quickly ushered to a private table.  The owner greeted us and wished my mother-in-law a happy birthday and we had waiters with earpieces hovering.  The Century is the sister restaurant of the famous Golden Century.  I love The Century more because the decor is amazing while the food is just as good.  I really should have taken more photos.  It has a wall of chopsticks and it is so beautifully designed.  And the Peking Duck.  Oh the Peking Duck!  Made into duck pancakes, san choi bow and stir fry along with a huge steamed barramundi, prawns, fresh fruit, great wine, tea and an Adriano Zumbo cake.  It was a perfect night with perfect company.  All things that my gorgeous mother-in-law deserved.
Seriously, the best Chinese food in Sydney

my mouth is watering just thinking about the duck pancake

duck san choi bow

Steamed, ginger Barramundi 
love this glass
...and this wine

more duck..never enough

Fresh fruit and Macaroon cake - heaven!

Today for lunch I had a big salad with left over duck stir fry and prawns (so yum!).  We are massive Seinfeld fans and the family admired my 'big salad'!

Unfortunately, the bliss wasn't to last as this morning T2 broke a very special item that my brother-in-law (who has passed away) bought for my mother-in-law.  He knows where our jugular is, that T2.  We were all crying, mostly for our mother-in-law's sake.  I sent out an SOS out to my always calm, always practical BCBA (Board Certified Behaviour Analyst) and now we have a plan of attack.  Watch out T2.  Things are going to change around here!  I can tell the tension is rising in the week leading up to school.  My aim this week? To stay calm!

Monday, 20 January 2014

7.5km run, T1& T2 wearing me down and lovely outing with my eldest and husband

This morning I knocked over 7.5km as part of Week 4 of my 10km program.  I was very slow and very stiff.  But no niggles, so gotta be happy with that.

T2 has been really challenging in the last couple of days.  There's been a few broken items, alot of scrunched work papers and thrown things and general non-compliance.  T1 has been bothering my eldest.  At one time both myself and my eldest were sitting in my bed with tears because of the twins' behaviour.  I need to contact my BCBA...quickly.  I'm also considering some form of respite for the first time.  This is the last week of the school hols and I think there's a combination of frustration, worry about starting school and a few financial headaches that are forming the perfect storm.  I'm feeling worn down.  My husband is more stoic than I am, but he gets frustrated with them too.  The worst thing is not knowing the best way to react, or knowing the right way and not doing it.  Autism is exhausting.  And frustrating.  And sometimes...just crap.

On a positive note, I still had a voucher left for High Tea at the Swissotel (I've banned myself from voucher purchase for the foreseeable future.  Sad, but true :-(.  After having my earlier meltdown it was great to head out for some quality time with my eldest and husband (my poor mother-in-law looked after the twins).  We went to the Swissotel (they're starting to get to know me there).  We had a great time venting and talking NFL (well, I tried to look interested during the NFL conversation).

Only improvement could be the cream - it needs to be clotted

oh the chicken, mayo and lettuce sandwiches were so delicious!

Kids were only $20 - bargain!

Check this out.  A man with severe autism has started a business with the assistance of his dad.  Guess what he does?  He goes to people's houses assembling Ikea flat packs.  He only charges $20!  I wish he lived in Sydney (he's Canadian).  My first thought was to start getting T2 reading Ikea manuals!  I love stories like this.  Just fantastic.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Parkrun PB & chilling with the kids

This morning's parkrun had almost identical conditions to last week, so it was a great comparison.  It was hot and very sunny again.  Last week the whole experience was pretty painful. Today I decided I wouldn't go out so hard in the beginning as I found the second half really tough.  Overall, I felt so much better this week and therefore thought I'd ran a slower time.  I had a line from a Katy Perry song in my head from the drive so kept singing it in my head (I've been waiting all day, for you to call me baby...repeat x100).  It was tough but I didn't feel as bad as last week.  Like last week I had no idea what time I ran, so I was REALLY when I found out that I shaved 30 seconds off my time and ran it under 28 minutes!!  Its really motivating.

This afternoon I sent my eldest and my husband off for a well-deserved ovenight break at the Novotel Brighton Le Sands..yes, another Scoopon (its my only weakness;-).  So this arvo I've been chilling out with T1 while T2 has a therapist working with him.  So far we've been playing a cool game Loopin' Louie, a Teenage Mutant ...Turtle puzzle, table tennis and swimming in the pool.
T2 loves his Furby - but it take a while for him to get into it

The pool has been a godsend this holidays

Leapin' Louie - a simple but cool game

T1's favourite calm-down activity - puzzles

Last night I caught up with my mum and we saw Saving Mr Banks.  I thought it was excellent.  I really enjoyed the story and it left me wanting to know more about the life story of P Travers..or Mrs Travers, as she preferred to be called.
a really enjoyable movie

Then we went to a yummy Lebanese restaurant, El Karim, next to Roseville Cinema.  If you ever go there make sure you get the home-made lemonade and the trio of dips...oh... and the fish.  Yum yum yum.  No photos as I felt abit self-conscious!

Do you have a favourite Lebanese restaurant?

Have you seen Saving Mr Banks?  Rating out of 10?