Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blog Gems: Holidays

This fort-nightly Blog Gem prompt is to share a post about a holiday.  Brian doesn't really care about Santa...I'm still not sure if he even gets the whole Santa thing.  It's hard to gauge.  Yet, he shared a great moment with Santa in 2009.  It still makes the sap in me go all gooey, so I'm excited to share it again.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Points to Ponder

  • Have you ever seen chapped thumbs?  Me neither, until this week.  That's how much my son sucks his thumb.  And he's not picky- they are both equally chapped.
  • When in public places, Brian is so conditioned to go into the women's restroom rather than the men's- because he is almost 100% of the time with me.  He went to the grocery store with Josh this week and the one second Josh had his back turned, he disappeared into the ladies room.  Josh panicked for a second, not sure where he went.  Then he realized he had to open the ladies room door to look and hope he didn't get a sexual harassment suit brought down on him for trying to peek in there.
  • Corbin is no stranger to love notes, I'm always finding them crumpled up in the bottom of his bag.  He hates them one day, then the next he gives me money out of his piggy bank and asks if I'll stop and pick up some daisies for a girl he likes.  Second grade people.  Second grade.  I'm in trouble.
  • Speaking of love notes, Brian had a wonderful picture of a train in his bag.  I knew he couldn't of drawn it.  I turned it over to find "Brian Ava Love".  I think it's his first official love note.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What can the iPad do for you?

The iPad has not changed my child's life.  Not yet.

But it has....

  • taught him the fine art of internet shopping, as I realized he downloaded some apps all on his own.  Thankfully, free ones.  He has to have my password to buy them,  which I'm sure he'll hack sometime soon.
  • given him a way to tell me when he is gassy and burpy, which he loves to show me quite often with the Autism Xpress app (his absolute favorite app).
  • widened his social circle.  He may have been avoided by some of the older kids at Corbin's basketball practice in the past, but now he has many groupies.  They are drawn to that iPad as if by a magnet.
  • allowed him to make some of the neatest letters I have ever seen (coming from him).  Without the nuisance of a writing tool he is able to do quite well.  
  • given him a way to make his big brother jealous.  He has never had a toy or anything prior to this that Corbin coveted.  Now he can totally manipulate his big brother to do what he wants.  
  • been a great way to show others that he really does have cognitive skills that they didn't think he had.
  • made for some good gossip for all the other bored parents who have nothing better to talk about.  Oh, I heard you talking behind me about how ridiculous it is that a little boy has an iPad to "play" with.  You can shove it. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just Not A Fit.

So I left you hanging.  With the daycare decision, that is.

I backed down.  Again.  I begged, pleaded, and bribed family members to help me cover the two afternoons.

I. Just. Can't. Find. Anyplace. That. Meets. Brian's. Needs.

We visited a few places and they weren't horrible, red-flagged facilities but they just weren't enough.  I'm trying to figure out if I am just a crazy overprotective mom or if my actions and decisions are truly because of Brian's needs.

The first home daycare we visited was a really nice place- as far as cleanliness, safety measures, clear schedule, etc.  But she didn't even try to interact with Brian.  She had no experience with autism.  She seemed devoid of emotion.  It was like the people you see in the store who try to avoid the individual with special needs because they don't know what to do.  And before I even had a chance to badmouth her inability to try to get Brian to open up, Josh pointed it out to me when we retreated back to the car.  So apparently it wasn't in my head, which was a bit of a relief.

The other daycare provider that was a contender also had no experience with autism.  Yet she seemed much more open to talking to Brian.  To looking at him.  Asking him questions despite him completely acting as if she wasn't there.  She was willing to learn.  But her home was cluttered, no real schedule that I could see, and I think the television might be on the entire time.  Also as an older provider, I really was not sure of her ability to pick him up and calm him down if heaven forbid, a tantrum ensued.

An hour of television after school for two days a week isn't going to kill either boy- but to pay someone to plop your child in front of a television kind of doesn't sit well with me.

So we talked about it, Josh changed his schedule a little, and one of my sister's has promised me one out of her two afternoons a week off to cover the days that were up in the air.

Until next time (6 weeks and counting), when I start my next fieldwork placement, we are once again happy being a non-daycare family.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


When I first saw this award hit the scene yesterday I was secretly dying inside to have a chance to add this absolutely fantastic clip art to my page.

It's just what this blog has been needing, don't you think?

Thanks to Dani G. and The King and Eye for bestowing this honor on to me.

The rules to this award are as follows...

1. You must proudly display the absolutely disgusting graphic that I have created for these purposes (put it in your post, you don't have to put it in your sidebar, I think that would seriously be asking too much). It's so bad that not only did I use COMIC SANS, but there's even a little fucking jumping, celebrating kitten down there at the bottom.It's horrifying! But its presence in your award celebration is crucial to the memetastic process we're creating here. If you need a higher resolution version... I totally have one!!

2. You must list 5 things about yourself, and 4 of them must be bold-faced lies. Just make some shit up, we'll never know; one of them has to be true, though. Of course, nobody will ever know the difference, so we're just on the honor system here. I trust you. Except for the 4 that you lied about, you lying bastards! But don't go crazy trying to think of stuff, you'll see by the example I've set below that we're not really interested in quality here.

3. You must pass this award on to 5 bloggers that you either like or don't like or don't really have much of an opinion about. I don't care who you pick, and nobody needs to know why. I mean, you can give a reason if you want, but I don't really care.

4. If you fail to follow any of the above rules, I will fucking hunt your ass down and harass you incessantly until you either block me on Twitter or ban my IP address from visiting your blog. I don't know if you can actually do that last thing, but I will become so annoying to you that you will actually go out and hire an IT professional to train you on how to ban IP addresses just so that I'll leave you alone. I'm serious. I'm going to do these things. Starting with the 5 of you I'm about to pass this award on to. 

So here they are, my lies and ONE truth.

  1. It took me 8 tries to get my driver's license.
  2. I once led a round of "Frere Jacques" at the top of the Eiffel Tower with a group of Italians.
  3. I use to be a child model, and my "biggest" break was a few shots in an LL Bean catalog.
  4. I volunteer at the animal shelter a few times a year.
  5. I have lived in three different states- Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
And now to pass this on- this award has been passed around more than a Playboy bunny, so if you've already received it once I apologize.  Then again, maybe you'll want to put that image up there on your page twice- cuz it's that cool.  I'm sending it along to-

Friday, January 21, 2011

I've Got Style

Apples and Autobots was so kind  to award me with the Stylish Blogger Award.  It's about time someone noticed how stylish I am- with my yoga pants, sweatshirt, and messy ponytail.  Oh wait, I guess they're not really talking about that...

As with all bloggy awards there are rules.  With this one I have to come up with seven facts about myself that all of you don't know about me.  That's hard- I'm kind of the queen of oversharing.

Let's see...

  1. I live in Maine but have never skied or hunted.  I also do pronounce my Rs.  And I don't say "ayuh".
  2. I have an addictive personality but I get bored easily. So whatever my new addiction is, it only sticks around for a couple weeks- except for this damn Pepsi Max I started drinking two years ago now and  I just can't stop.
  3. I have SEVEN younger siblings.  I'm close to them all but have a really special connection with my sister Sabrina- there's nothing we don't tell each other and we have a lot of the same quirks, personality problems traits, and values.
  4. I'm a hoarder in the making.  I really have a lot of STUFF.  That I probably don't need.
  5. The first thing I said to Josh, when I met him was "Are you nervous or something?  You can talk to me.  I don't bite."  I'm kind of cocky...especially after one drink (I'm also a lightweight).
  6. I once washed my brother's hair with Tide.  I thought I was such a big helper. It probably explains why he always broke the heads off all my Barbies when we were older.
  7. I was like, totally, a cheerleader in high school.  For real.  Go Vikings!
And I must pass this on to five more stylish bloggers.  Without further ado I award:

Kari at DotcomKari

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Biggest Fear

My biggest fear is the future.  Not necessarily my future.  But Brian's future.  The not knowing part of his future.

Every once in a while I read something or I see something that just sets me into an anxiety attack.

Yesterday I had one of those moments.

I was at a residential home teaching the staff how to do a safe transfer for a person with an amputation into the shower.

The home wasn't nice.  It wasn't particularly clean, it smelled, and it really felt like an institution to me.

Adults were walking around aimlessly, not talking to anyone or they were sitting in chairs staring at the television.

There was no happy vibe there.  No interacting.  It was eerily quiet for having over ten people milling around in a small area.

And I start to wonder what their stories are.  Do any of them have autism?  Did they choose to live here so they could have the independence they craved or did they not have family members who could continue to help them make a course through life?

I read an article today that said that for a child with autism to have a higher chance of being able to live independently as an adult, they need to talk by age six and have an IQ above 50.  Brian is six.  He talks.  But he doesn't talk functionally.  Some days he'll go all day without uttering a word.  Some days he'll sing me a song.  He never really has a conversation with me, unless I can format it so all my questions are yes or no or I'm specifically asking him to label things for me.  Brian's had two IQ tests done (talk about anxiety- and anger, and sadness, and everything else you can think of)- and they both came out above 50- but not much higher.  He's really in a spot on the spectrum that makes it hard for me to predict what his future will hold.

I have always said that Brian will live with me forever.   The plan is to buy a home that we are able to remodel to have an attached yet separate apartment. Yet, of course I dream that he will be able to live on his own and that he'll want to and he'll have his own hopes and dreams that I will encourage him to strive for.

The worst fear is my passing away and not leaving someone that will continue to care for him.  And him ending up in a home like I was in yesterday.  This train of thought is so draining and depressing, yet it could be a reality.  It's so important to plan for these special kid's futures, yet almost impossible to know what they may hold.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Script Away

After work yesterday I came home to find Brian playing trains in his room.  I peeked my head in and watched him play.  He was pushing the trains around the track he had built and yelling "____ it out".  Only I couldn't figure out what the first word was. My first guess was "Cut it out"- but it's not really something I say a lot, and he usually only picks up phrases he hears everyday.   I tried to ask him, but alas functional language is still a bit off.

Me: "What are you saying?"
Brian: "Saying?"
Me: "Did you say Cut it out?"
Brian: "It out?"
Me: "Are you yelling at your trains?"
Brian: "Trains?"
Me: sigh "Want a snack?"
Brian: "Yes I do!"

Fast forward to this morning, 6 am, I heard Brian playing in his room when I heard, clear as day, "Spit it out!".  Over and over again.  Now, that ones makes sense.  Well, not sense when it's being yelled at his little trains but it makes sense, in the fact that he hears it quite often.  He use to hear it a lot when his PICA was it it's peak, but now it's mostly limited to candy that he tries to sneak.

He loves to climb and he can sniff out the treat bowl.  No matter where I've hidden it, he finds it.  Most of the time I'll catch him in the act of climbing or opening cupboards, but if not I always know he got something by the RUNNING up the stairs.  He gives himself away.  I'll run after him yelling "Spit it out" and he laughs and runs some more.  He really finds it very comical.  And I kind of do too, as I treasure anything "typical" and sometimes find it hard to stay serious when I just want to hug him.  Hug him for trying to be sneaky and hug him for seeing the comedy in me chasing him.  I don't hug though- just stick out my palm and wait for him to spit out the sticky mess on to my palm. Which he does and then he laughs some more.  Maybe that's really the reward for him- seeing the look of disgust on my face as I hold his sticky candy in my hand.

So, perhaps a strange phrase to add to his repertoire of scripts, but I get it.  He finds enjoyment in that phrase and in the scene that always follows.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Replenished Hope

I had a phone appointment with the Thoughtful House last Friday and they were really trying to get an idea of where Brian is now so we could start a couple new interventions before our visit in February.

The doctor really wanted to know what behaviors I was concerned about so that we could try to address them.

And I'm still in shock about this, but I could not think of what to say.

Okay, so Brian isn't cured, he sure as hell still has autism, he still flaps, he still isn't interacting or communicating typically, he still gets really upset when the routine is off, he is even still having a teeny bit of trouble with his bowel movements, he still has some obsessive compulsive traits.

Despite all of that, he is steadily improving.  Since coming home in September from the Thoughtful House it has just been a steady increase of everything good- eye contact, attention span, less rigidity in routines, language, disposition, sleep- oh thank god, sleep!

Nothing has become worse, nothing new has popped up, and every area I was concerned about in the beginning has seen some sort of progress, no matter how minuscule it may seem to others.

Some of this I could maybe contribute to him growing older but a huge chunk of it I have to think is thanks to the interventions the Thoughtful House prescribed us this past fall.  We have never had this long of a period of steady (slow but steady) progression.  And to think that I agonized over the decision of travelling was seriously the best decision I made in 2010, the best decision I have made since his diagnosis.

Yes, we have a long way to go and there are a ton of things I hope that change for him.  But my hope has been replenished- and that's good for all of us.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


"I did it!! Hooray!"

One of Brian's favorite phrases.  He particularly likes to repeat it obsessively when he comes and jumps on top of me at 5:30 in the morning.

I like to pull the blankets over my head.  I have this irrational train of thought that if I just keep my eyes closed and pretend to sleep, he'll go away. 

It doesn't work.

This morning after he was jumping on my bed for twenty minutes and having repeated "I did it!! Hooray!" for the 378th time I yelled back with as much sarcasm as my tired mind could muster, "Yes Brian- you did it!  You succeeded in waking everyone up in the neighborhood!  Hooray!!"

He paused for a minute.  Did that half-smile that I love and said, "Hooray!"
He's lucky he's so darn cute.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Personal Jungle Gym

We have an indoor therapy swing.

We have a therapy ball.

We have weighted blankets and vests.

We have a regular tunnel and a deep-pressure tunnel (caterpillar tunnel).

We have vibrating, blinking, fidgety toys.

We have a make-shift crash pad.

Yet when we are having our mandatory "Get your Energy Out" playtime, I always ALWAYS become the main attraction.  I am their personal jungle gym.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I did that.

Today I discovered a bottle of molasses had spilled on the floor in the pantry. Brian for some reason found it interesting to watch the long process of me cleaning up the sticky mess. He hung out with me and when I needed more paper towels or the sponge I would ask him to pass it to me and he continually did so without any visual prompts. I tried to not make a big deal but it was exciting as he doesn't generally respond to "pass me the" requests.

Then I mentioned to him that I should bring the laptop in because it would be nice to have music- one of those moments when I'm really just talking to myself because I am the only one that responds back most of the time. Seconds later he started singing "Jingle Bells". And he sang the entire song. With no cues.

Then we talked a lot about the food in the pantry.  And I really felt like I was having a conversation, sure it was mostly echolalia, but it was the most language and eye contact I have seen in a long time.

And you know what I thought?  I thought "I did that".  I have never stopped having hope (okay maybe an hour or two on a bad day), pushing him, accepting him, and loving him.  Sure, it may have been because of a new supplement/medication that the Thoughtful House prescribed, a new technique implemented by our occupational therapist, or the speech therapist really woke up his mouth with some oral-motor exercises.  But I'm the one who implements it all, I'm the one who carries it over, and I'm the one who never gives up.  I'm going to start taking credit for his achievements more often, and I encourage all the other wonderful parents out there to do the same.  You deserve it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Bullet lists are my best friend when I have little things to share but nothing that can really be it's own blog post.

  • Today I was watching my children as they laid out couch cushions all over the floor to crash on.  They pulled out the therapy ball to bounce on.  Then seconds later they were crawling through the caterpillar tunnel that Brian just got for Christmas.  Autism sucks but I'm amazed at how much we've implemented in our life that I truly love- like crazy deep pressure/crashing time.  I'm sure some people would think we are crazy for doing that type of play every day but I couldn't imagine it any other way.
  • At the boys' school they have a program that allows them to introduce a new fruit/vegetable every week.  Today was apples.  Brian can't have apples, though he loves apples.  He handled it well- threw his banana so hard against the wall it split open.  Then he ate his pear.  
  • Brian's father bought him an iPad.  His favorite app so far is his Splatter Art one.  I'm always amazed at how much more knowledge he shares with us when it's presented in some sort of electronic form.  Things like categories- when given paper flash cards or just asked questions he'll barely get them right.  Put a category game onto a computer (or iPad) and he will be 100% correct with it.  Still hesitating to use it as an AAC device as we are still waiting on our full report from his recent AAC evaluation.
  • Tonight Corbin announced that he was never going to want to kiss a girl (when seeing a character on TV do so).  I asked Brian if he was ever going to kiss a girl and he smiled and said "Mmmm hmmmm". Oh no.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Regression Evaded.

Last week Brian struggled at school.  Crying, lethargic, whiny, kind of tantrum-my.  I knew that he was sick.  I knew he had been out of school for eleven days because of Christmas vacation.  Yet, I couldn't kick that nagging feeling that he was regressing again.  Last year it was after the same break that he slowly started to regress- he regressed so hard from January through March that he stopped writing his name, saying words that we had worked so long to say, and was suddenly unable to stay in his inclusive classroom that he was previously prospering in.

I felt like I was going to see that downward spiral again.  Once you've seen your child regress (once, twice, three times) I think you stop breathing and the world slows down every time there is a sickness or there's a couple days of bad moods.  You try to be positive and not think that, but it's close to impossible when you've dealt with that pain previously.

But, today Brian came out of school, smiling, laughing, running up to me with a huge hug.  He had fully positive reports from everyone with a "back to his happy self" note in his backpack.  I think we're safe, without a regression this time around.  I can breath normally again.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


This morning, while I was still in a deep sleep, Brian came bounding into my room, jumped on to my stomach, squeezed and patted my cheeks and said, "You go cwaaaazy".

Yes, buddy, I am going crazy.  But laughing and smiling all the way.

Today was the first day he was back to himself after his illness.  He's still coughing and snotting everywhere, but the fever is gone, sleeping is back to normal, and the light is back in his eyes.

The above phrase is one I always say to him in  a silly voice when he starts to stim big time- like when he is flailing around on the couch, rocking back and forth, flapping hands, laughing hysterically, and repeating "digga digga digga" all at the same time.  Then I sit on him and give him some joint compressions and deep squeezes until he's come back down.  He's repeated the phrase to me at times, but I've never heard him say it independently.

What a great way to let me know he's coming out of his sickness-induced coma- that he's gonna make me go crazy.  And he succeeded- just listening to that damn Penguin Race stay on for thirty minutes is enough to put anyone in the nut house.  At least it's now getting the flaps it deserved, that he didn't give to it on Christmas morning.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Drive-Bys and Day Care

I'm in the process of looking for after-school care for the boys.  Thanks to Josh's schedule I only need to find it for two days a week for an hour and a half.  Sounds simple enough.  Except that I'm kind of neurotic.  The boys have never been in daycare.  I have always been able to find a family member or very close friend that could cover any time before I arrived home from school/work.  This is a big step for me.

First I called and asked for a list of daycares in the area, on the bus route, that had quality ratings.  The next logical step would be for me to call and schedule an interview.  But I'm not very logical.  Instead I showered and asked Josh if he would go do some "drive-bys" with me.

Don't laugh at me, like he did.  Seriously, I wanted to drive by each address I had and "judge a book by it's cover" and decide whether or not they were even worth calling.  We laughed as we drove around, pulled some illegal U-turns, and rated each home/building with a five-star rating system.  One daycare got an extra half-a-star because Josh spotted a dog, and Brian loves dogs.  Another got zero stars for having what looked like a junkyard of broken, rusting toys piled up in an unkempt yard.

We narrowed it down and I made all the calls today.  I kept it really simple- told them the days I needed, the ages of my children, snow day/vacation questions, etc.  I may have left out the word "autism".   Important detail, right?  In my illogical brain, I thought I would save that for tomorrow when I go do the interviews.  I didn't want them to prejudge him (how many people have you met who immediately think "a biter", "aggressive", "mean") and when I do say the big "A word", I'd like to be face-to-face, so I can see their expression.  Tells a lot about a person.

Sick of Sick

Being sick sucks.  It sucks for any child, but I have to argue it sucks big time when your child has other needs.

Brian can never just be normal sick.  He always has to have these mysteries.  Like how the hell does he fight a 102.6 fever for 3 1/2 days, then break and be completely normal for a day, then have a low-grade fever of 100.1, then an hour later be back down to 98.6, and then of course as soon as he gets to school the fever rises again.

He can't blow his nose.  No idea how to do it all, so mucous galore.

After so much work to get him to take his supplements like a good boy- it's all out the window after the three days in a row of a 102.6 fever.

It's wonderful to have supplements spit all over you, ten minutes before you have to go out the door to have an interview with your fieldwork supervisor.

He's sleeping a lot.  That's a plus.  But it's never a sound sleep, he's crying in his sleep all night long.  So therefore I am up all night long.

Though it doesn't seem like a sound sleep he is peeing his bed every time he naps, as if he can't wake himself up.  I am seriously rushing around every day to make sure he has enough clean bedding for the next time he falls asleep.  I need a bigger linen closet to fit the extra sheets I had to buy.

He falls asleep anywhere, which is kind of humorous.  He loves the heater in the kitchen, he always hangs out there.  Here he is sleeping on the kitchen floor next to the heater.

He's cranky.  He's not responding.  So a simple question like "Peanut butter or safflower oil on your toast?"  gets no response.  Then when stupid mom sets the unwanted peanut butter next to the toast, expect a huge tantrum.

It's not all bad.  He's very cuddly.  Which I love.  Would be better if I wasn't getting coughed on and if I didn't witness him wiping his running nose on my snuggie.

Then on top of all that- add in that the other boy has had a cough and running nose for two weeks now.  Have I ever mentioned his overactive gag reflex?  Corbin is the only child I've ever met that has been exempt from having to clean up after snacks or lunch at school because he will throw up if he looks inside a garbage can.  He has thrown up at the dentist's office if they venture anywhere past his teeth in his mouth.  He has thrown up when he smells something foul.  He has thrown up when he saw a smashed pumpkin on the sidewalk.  He throws up when he coughs too hard.  He has thrown up almost every day since he's had this cold, not a viral thing at all, just coughing too hard.    And he hasn't once made it to the toilet.  So add his laundry on top of Brian's linens.  Wonderful.

My "take it one day at a time" resolution is already being tested.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Do you make resolutions?  I have tried to stay away from them, only so I don't taste that bitter taste of failure when I can't live up to the unrealistic standards that I have set.  Why do we believe that a date on a calendar means we can do a complete reversal on the way we live?  Kudos, huge kudos, to those who do set the resolutions and keep them.

Despite feeling so negative towards this tradition, it is a tradition.  And I'm one of those Moms that love traditions.  I explained to Corbin what New Years Resolutions were and for our dinner topic last night we all brainstormed and discussed our choices.

I have a lot of things I'd like to change in my life, but I wanted to settle on something I really think I could achieve.  In the end, I decided my resolution would be to just take one day at a time.  Next Monday I will be starting clinicals, two separate 8-week settings.  I am beyond nervous.  Not necessarily for the actual work I'll be doing, but more for the time I'll be away from the boys.  I know if I get in the right mindset, it won't be that hard.  I just need to tell myself I can do anything for 8 weeks, that May is not that far away (graduation!), and when things are hard I want to just concentrate on that day and not all the major anxieties that I let leak in.

Corbin's was simpler to sum up but he has set some pretty huge standards for himself.  In his words, his resolution is to be "the goodest person in the universe".

I'll let you know how we're doing reaching our goals.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Blog Gems: All About Me

Blog Gems #6 is linking to an old post that is all about ME.  
On my 27th birthday I wrote a list of 27 things I love.  

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Spoiled Rotten Children

Josh had Corbin very worried that the Hagrid hut was not his- but alas he found the directions in his stocking, so he held it up for a picture so he'd have proof.

I know the great penguin race would have normally elicited hand-flapping and squealing, but a 101.6 fever made it just get this pensive stare.

They say children with autism have bigger craniums- this picture is proof of that. 
A fever also makes for a more sensitive scalp- so Brian tested his new head massager on Corbin instead. 
Very easily mesmerized. 
New monster slippers.

A horse stable and a sick boy. 
A present from big brother Corbin- very smart pick- I think this may have got Brian's first smile of the morning. 
Holy Darth Vadar Goodness!! 
So even though Josh and I have been together for three years he seems to not know about my non-war/gun toy policy.  Corbin was so excited to unwrap some G.I.Joe action figures from Josh. 
Magic Show!  I want to try some of these out- see if I can make money appear from behind my ear or something- you know to fill my bank account back up from after Christmas. 
So glad the therapy-swing set from Santa got a little smirk from the Bri-Guy. 
Brian checking out this Alphie character. 
Christmas threw up in my livingroom (easier to clean up than the previous night's from Brian). 
Had no clue this new track would be Brian's favorite gift of the day. 
And Corbin's favorite that he played ALL day today- a DSi from Santa.  He's taken advantage of the "free reign" he's allowed for these two days before rules start to apply on Monday (room clean, time limit, etc.).

Merry Christmas (a week later)!!