Autism · Catholic stuff · My world

Yesterday at mass

So, yesterday at mass was one of those minor disasters.

Rachel is happy to get to mass
Rachel is happy to get to mass

We had Rachel with us overnight and everything was going well.

She was a little agitated when Mass started.  I am not sure why exactly.  But right as Father stepped to the ambo to read the Word Rachel lost it.  Completely.  So badly that I had to take her out.  I couldn’t even control her by myself and Kyle had to help.  Ashley stayed in mass with the younger children and we drove Rachel back to her group home, and came back.    This is the first time Rachel hasn’t stayed through mass since we started attending Holy Rosary and for at least a year before that.

Once we got Rachel out of the church we sat with her on the steps to give her a chance to calm down.  She would alternate between being just sad (which is fine) and being out of control (which means mom or dad get pinched) and then we just gave up on the idea of getting her to come back to mass and decided to drive her back to her house.   We got Rachel to the car and she was really, really not happy to be leaving.  We decided that it would be safer for everyone if we both went in the car with Rachel.  She has “lost it” in the car before and attacked the driver.   So having one of us to help control Rachel if she got out of control was important.

I went inside to tell Ashley that we would be gone for a little bit and to just hang out with the little ones at coffee and donuts if we didn’t get back before the end of mass.   I am so thankful to have such wonderful children.  Josh whispered to me that he would be good and to remember the movie in Rachel’s bag.  Rachel had put a movie that we had checked out from the library in her bag on the way out of the house and we had asked the children to help us remember that it was there so she wouldn’t get it back to her house without us noticing.    Sarah and Hannah took the whole thing in stride.   Ashley reported later that Josh and Sarah were a little rambunctious right after we left, but once she sat between them they were fine.

Rachel was ok in the car.  She started saying “Bad… bad! bad!” and crying.  Real tears were running down her cheeks.  She knows when she has crossed the line, but she doesn’t know how to stop herself before she gets there.  Total lack of impulse control in action.    When we got to her house she rang the doorbell and asked for a kiss.  She wasn’t happy with herself at that point.  We weren’t particularly happy with her either  – a few more bruises,  a scratch and a couple bites later –  but Rachel is Rachel and we love her.  She got her kisses and hugs and then ran to her room.  At least everyone was safe.

We got back just as mass was ending – just in time to join the children for coffee and donuts.   Everyone at mass pretty much saw the whole event.   I got several hugs and sympathetic inquiries, which makes me all the more thankful for our parish and our friends.  Our priest came up and let us know that he had seen everything and had been praying for us.   This means a lot.  I know that Father Anthony values a reverent mass and for him to come to us and express his understanding was touching.   I really hate when Rachel’s behavior affects the mass experience of others.  It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it is distressing.  I know how much having a “good mass” can mean to me if I am struggling with something and how comforting a peaceful mass can be.  I would hope that Rachel’s behavior wouldn’t ever intrude on that for others, but I know that it would be impossible when she  creates such a disturbance for it to not.  Which makes me all the more thankful for the prayers and understanding of others who were there.

I know she love mass, and I could see how sad it made her that she had to leave.  Hopefully Rachel will be able to participate in the mass next time.  She will just be the young lady with the golden curls who makes the occasional non sequitor noise.   Thank you to anyone who was there and prayed for Rachel and us.  Thank you for your understanding and support.

Of course writing this I realize I never really  fulfilled my Sunday obligation.  : -/


Pet Peeve Time

So, last night I got a call from a young woman wanting to talk to Ashley.   This is not an unusual occurrence so I handed the phone over to her thinking it was one of her friends.   It wasn’t.   It was a sales call from a place called Sorenson  Senior Portraits, they are located here in Portland and have sent us several mailings about their services.

About two minuets into the phone call Ash started looking really confused.   She said something like,  “I think you really want to be talking to my mom.”  Then she handed the phone to me.  The girl on the phone identified herself — which she hadn’t when I first answered the phone .  Apparently this company calls teens, tells them all about their “portrait program” and then (once the teen is excited about this) talks to the parents to close the deal.  This is the absolutely slimiest sales practice I can imagine.    It is akin to a car deal calling and getting my teen all excited about the “first car” program and then expecting me to foot the bill.

I explained to the sales girl that I think selling a service to a minor who is not paying for that service is a really scummy business practice.  She obviously didn’t get this, she said twice  “Well, I wasn’t meaning to offend you.”  NO… really?? I thought she had called obviously to offend me. *eye roll*  No, I get that she wasn’t trying to offend me she was trying to sell their “photography program”.   That wording seemed a bit confusing to me.   I asked what was their “program” was, thinking maybe they had a special program for student photographers who worked with them… no, no, no it was just their sales package, the typical “no sitting fee” thing.    I also thought it was fishy that the girl on the phone kept mentioning that someone at Ashley’s school had “referred” her name to them as someone who would be really a great person for them to take pictures of.   Now I am familiar with the business practice of asking for referrals.  I have done  it myself, but I willing to bet that most teens don’t think in terms of business referrals, but instead are thinking that a friend recommends this company.    The wording felt sort of deceptive, not that I was in a mind to cut them any slack at that point.

Well, at least I know one place I can cross off my list when looking for senior portraits for Ashley.

My world

Friday quick takes — getting it right?

7 Quick Takes With Jen
7 Quick Takes With Jen

1. Kyle and I hiked up to the top of Multnomah falls last Sunday.  Today we took the kiddos and hiked around McDowells Creek Falls. One of our goals this summer is to fit in some kind of hike or out-door physical activity every weekend.  So far we are doing ok.   Except we are both insanely sore.

The kids enjoyed the hike
The kids enjoyed the hike

2. In WoW my little insane 10 man killed KT our 3rd week in Naxx.  This wouldn’t be a huge achievement except that 3 people in the raid had never raided before ever.  They all learned a lot in a short amount of time.  It also felt really good to one-shot 4 horseman, Thaddeus,  and Saph the first time we ever hit them.

I am not really a healer, I just play one on WoW
I am not really a healer, I just play one on WoW

If that made no sense to you at all, don’t worry.

3. Sometimes people amaze me.  I was reading this week about a fake crisis pregnancy blog called Little April Rose… or something like that,  apparently it was all a hoax.  I hadn’t followed this blog, but I know there are many who did.  This is not the part that amazes me.  It doesn’t even surprise me — in fact I have seen people fake pregnancies, crisis pregnancies,  sick babies et. al. before.  Usually this was done on parenting forums though where maybe a couple hundred people got duped and maybe a few had sent money, cards, or gifts to the liar-in-question and/or where very emotionally invested in the whole thing.   This seemed bigger in that the blog-in-question was huge, apparently 100,000 hits a day or something insane like that — with advertisers and such.    One business that started to catch on early, but by no means the first, was RuffleButts. On the company blog the owner posted something about the situation to let people know they were aware of the situation and were looking into it (smart business move).   The Amazing part: how mean spirited some of the comments she got were.

One of those things that just astounds me over and over is how people can talk about being Christian and then basically say “and I am going to get you”, or in this case:   “I was looking at your ruffled pants yesterday and thinking how sweet they were – your actions have assured me that I will neither purchase or endorse your company in the future.  In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll be sharing the way you handled this on my blog and with other mothers.  We reap what we sow, think on that.”

She never comes back and apologizes (at least not within the week since this all broke).   I suppose I should think about this situation and use it to learn something about myself and how I deal with those who offend me — I find that often when something really irks me it is because it reflects something about myself that I dislike, but this is just a quick take afterall.

4. I found new motivation to work on my “day-trip” and “purse” packing check lists.  It is something I keep thinking about doing be never getting around to.  I hate getting somewhere and realising that I don’t have something I usually have with me.

Hannah in the woods
Hannah in the woods

5.  Parts of the path today were very mossy.  I love living in Oregon.  Josh was saying that we were in the Garden of Eden.  It was really hard to argue with him.

6. Christopher was in California today with my parents.  Yesterday they hit Disneyland and today it was California Adventures.  He was very excited when we spoke on the phone this morning.  He wanted to talk to his siblings.  I know he is having a fantastic time, but part of him misses his brother and sisters too.

The Dad
The Dad

7. Father’s Day is this weekend.  That great guy I mentioned last week is a great dad too.


Small Successes

Another of these things I keep intending to do and then forgetting.


1.  Last Sunday I hiked up to the top of Multnomah Falls.  This is the most physically demanding thing I have done — since I gave birth to Sarah I guess.   I can still feel it.

2.  I pruned back the raspberries, assembled the new compost bin,  and weeded half the roses.

3.  We made it to the library this week.

Those are my three very small successes.  You can see some more at Faith & Family.

My world

Works for Me Wednesday


This might seem like something almost too simple to mention, but it has saved me more than once.

Life savers
Life savers

I try to always have a pair of AA batteries in my purse.  They take up very little space and they are so handy.  The main reason I have them is to have a spare set of batteries for my digital camera, but I have found uses for them beyond that.

Having a spare set of AA batteries in my purse works for me.


The Simple Woman’s Daybook – June 15, 2009

The Simple Woman’s Daybook
is hosted by Peggy at The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Thank you Peggy.

FOR TODAY : June 15, 2009

I am so sore today from yesterday’s hike up Multnomah Falls.  But I survived it.

Outside my Window – I can see the first little cherries turning red.  This is very exciting.  This week we plan on going strawberry picking so we can put up strawberries for the year.  My flowers need watered, my gardens need weeded and the lawn needs mowed again.

I am thinking – About next years plans.  I have a good start on the planning, but there is still a lot to do.  I would like to have it all done by the end of the month so it is ready to go when we get back from our travels later in July and August.

From the learning rooms – Next years plans have taken over.  We still have some work to do this summer.  We are going to be doing some fun activities and projects.  Ashley is out of school for summer.  She has her summer reading list and art  portfolio to work on.

I am thankful for- Very patient people hiking with us yesterday.  I didn’t realize just how horribly out of shape I am.  Now I do.  Need to work on that.

From the kitchen – Nothing much today.  Ashley made cookies yesterday.   Tomorrow I plan on doing some sourdough.

I am reading – Home Comforts.  I am loving this book right now.

I am hoping – That my legs stop hurting sometime today.  That the sky clears up.   I think today is going to end up busy.

I am creating – A new dress for me.

I am hearing – Hannah keeps telling Josh “stop that”.  Poor Josh is getting himself in trouble, mostly because Christopher isn’t here to occupy him.  Christopher is off having fun with my parents on his “big trip” to California.

Around the house – We have an extra dog.  My parents yellow lab is hanging out here with us.

One of my favorite things – Ibuprofen.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week – More lesson planning.  A little baking, a little sewing and some fun with friends.  Nothing too exciting.

A picture I am sharing:

Ashley in her dress with my gold shawl
Ashley in her dress with my gold shawl


Homeschool – Planning for Next Year – Lesson Plans

At this point I have the subjects and the books selected from the children for next year.  Now I turn my efforts to getting it all organized.  I won’t pretend that my way is the only way, or even the best way, it is just the way that works for me so far.  And that could change.  Many of the ideas I use I have drawn from other people, websites, books, and observation – none of it is really rocket science either.

Auguste Trupheme - The Class Pranksters
Auguste Trupheme - The Class Pranksters

I admit I have a “thing” for binders.    So I set up a “Lesson Plan” binder that contains the lesson plans for each child, the weekly plan calendar which lays out the plan for our family learning each week, the children’s weekly folders where I put the children’s daily checklists and any worksheets that are needed for the week.  This might sound like things are getting repeated all over the place, but there is a certain practicality about it – at least to me.

The Lesson Plan Binder:

I have a durable binder one inch binder that I use.   It is divided into four sections, one for each child.  Each section contains a copy of the subject list with texts, each subject laid out on a planner page and the book list for each child.

Subjects and Texts
Subjects and Texts

Then each subject is laid out for the 12 weeks on planning pages.   I have five columns for days of the week and one column for notes, the 6 weeks per page so each subject is a 4 page spread.  This allows me enough space for writing.  I made these with MS Publisher, but you could use just about any word processing  program or even a spreadsheet.  Or you can find printable planning sheets online.


This shows a blank layout.  Once I have them all printed I three hole punch them and put them in the binder, then  I use these sheets to lay out the weekly plan for each subject.    I start with post-its and pencil.  Post-it planning is not my original idea and you can see a couple other examples here and here. In each square I write the pages and assignments (trips, readings, crafts, projects) for each day.  The reason for using pencil and post-its is because I have to move things around a bit when it comes to putting things into the calendar to sync the four children’s lessons together.  Those things that I am pretty certain will work on a specific day (like daily math and reading) get penciled.  Post-its are for more time consuming or resource intensive parts, or things that will need to work with the other children’s lesson.  So things like history and geography where I try to work with the children more as a group are put on post-its so I can move them easily.

My world

Friday and I remember to do this thing!

Instead of thinking about it on like Monday afternoon.

My seven quick takes.


This was such a good movie.   Kevin Bacon was perfect.  The pacing was superb, the music and cinematography all gelled.   But, I have no idea how to describe it.  Both my husband (USMC himself) and I had tears in our eyes watching it.   It isn’t a documentary, though it tells a real story that most people don’t see.  It wasn’t about war, but it was about honor and the pride a country takes in her fallen.  It was about loss and dignity and all that is best in our servicemen and woman and those who love them, those who lose them and those who care.   I saw a quote from Chance Phelps father:  “These kids join the Marine Corp to fight for the United States, but they die for their friends next to them.”  Very good movie, thoughtful and soulful.


I know Kung Foo
I know Kung Foo

This kung-foo master is heading off on a summer adventure.  Oregon, Nevada, California — with my parents.  He will be seeing a bunch of interesting things and hitting Disneyland up before he heads home.


This hymn is stuck in my head. (just the music I don’t think I have actually watched the whole video, and there is that shocking bit of discordance near the end… but finding a really good version of this is so hard.)


This week has been a sew-tastic week.  I made Ashley a new dress.  She looks like she stepped out of a Jane Austin novel.  Empire waste, sheer over skirt.  It is a rich blue with black and silver lace ribbon trim.    I get to dress her up once in a while still… right?  Just because she turned 17 two weeks ago doesn’t mean I have to give that up.



We are getting some chicken from a really nice family in our parish.  I called the mom today to talk about getting them and she wanted to know if we wanted them live.  She was sure the boys would get a kick out of butchering them.  They probably would, but the thought of 6 live chickens in my mini-van — well the thought is hilarious the reality would probably feel like an afternoon on one of  Virgil’s sight seeing tours of hell.


I married a great guy



My dog has made an amazing recovery since we started feeding her cheep canned dog food.  My dad recommended trying it and she is doing so much better.  She put on weight, she is acting happier.  yeah Alpo.