Sunday, March 10, 2013

And breathe...

Well now... that was a bit of a roller coaster of a week, but it certainly ended on a high note. This is mostly for my own decompression. I don't actually expect anyone (except maybe Lori) to actually read it and hopefully she won't tell me I need to edit it.

Monday - I don't recall anything of note. Busy day at work.

Tuesday - Busy day at work, departed early because we had a meeting with Rachel's neurobehavioralist. Despite some recent issues with sleep, he's really encouraged. It was a really good talk. We also brought in one of his progress reports that we had Ben's teacher fill out. I think he *finally* had a good idea of what we were up against, or why some of the tactics he wanted us to try with Rachel was easier said than done in this household. He spent some time talking about Ben and what we've been working on with him. For now he wants to let the medical side play itself out but could see us eventually consulting with him for Ben as well. And then he switched to talk about us. When confronted with the challenges of these two, he wanted to make sure we were doing all right, that we were getting enough sleep, that we were getting chances to get away, stuff like that. I really appreciate that we never feel rushed when we talk to him and that I've learned more about myself and about my relationship with Lori and about Lori as well from these sessions. The area of neurobehavior is pretty fascinating and it's surprising how this stuff all interconnects when it comes to learning styles, cleaning styles, organizational styles and so on.

Wednesday morning started with a pancake breakfast with Rachel at her school. It was another chance to recruit for Watch DOGS (dads of great students), a program where dads come and hang out at school. I'm doing that later this year, but I think I still need to get my paperwork in. Work itself was fine. Talked to the recruiter about some positions we're looking to fill. (Know Drupal? Contact me!)

Thursday morning I learned that I was out of the running on a job I had applied for, that was a bit of a disappointment. So there's that. Lori had planned to come to the office to have lunch with me, but when she heard the news, she suggested that I meet her at Panda Express instead. That was a great idea, it was nice to get away from the office. I needed that. While we were ordering lunch, Lori's mom called to say she'd been let go. Who lays someone off in the middle of a Thursday? Since she was the assistant manager of that apartment complex, now she'll need to find a new job and a place to live. So there's that. Thursday night we went to a meeting held by the school district for parental information about Kindergarten transition for special needs children. It didn't seem overly complicated, though we did learn that we had incorrect information about where the classrooms are that Ben can attend. It won't be either his existing elementary school or the one his sister attends (as we were led to believe) but a different one altogether. Which probably means sending him on a bus, or Lori dropping Rachel off early every day and Ben late (and then picking Ben up early and Rachel late). So there's that. Thursday was a pretty crummy day. The meeting was weird because there was so many parents who were just assuming that things were going to go wrong. We stayed afterwards talking to a few parents and then the teachers and district administrators. Lori wondered if maybe we should be more concerned - that maybe we were missing something if we were so at ease and understanding - and that made them all laugh. We folded chairs and headed home.

Friday started with the senior (CEO and his directs) staff (plus the HR team) making pancakes for us all. They were undercooked because they were trying to feed the entire office, but it was nice because we got to start the day sitting and talking. People were coming and going, so it was a chance to meet people who we'd probably otherwise never cross paths with except to literally cross paths with in the halls, but not work on projects with. I was supposed to be in meetings all afternoon but two other people wanted me to work on stuff for them so they got me out of the all afternoon meetings and then discussed who would get my time. It ended up being to create a presentation for this coming Monday. I had been told that I'd need to do it but I had been then asking for more information for several weeks. Not getting any, I proposed an outline on Wednesday. Receiving no feedback, I went ahead and just created the presentation and sent it to them, figuring I'd have Monday morning to tweak or start over if necessary. Responses that came back were highly positive with only minor questions, that was quite validating. Had a walking meeting outside at the end of the day with a co-worker. Got a lot of good perspective and I thought it was a really good meeting. Small group was good that night, too. Watched Louie Giglio's "Fruitcake and Ice Cream" - we sandwiched it between "How Great is Our God" and "Indescribable" (both we've seen) because we didn't know what it was going to be about. Started off a little slow and confusing, but then, wow. Chilling and amazing, raw and real. I won't spoil it, but it's right up there with Indescribable as one you wish you could experience again for the first time not knowing where he's going with it. I guess I would have had more of a clue but I missed a small group because of my trip to Florida last month and I think he talked more about this one in that one.

Saturday started with haircuts for the children. The place is a mile from our house, so that means Lori and I each driving separately with one child so that we can get Ben in and out without waiting. Silly. Driving home, I felt a little resentful of all the people working in their yards. But then I realized that all of them are at least 20 years older than me and probably don't have small children who need a lot of supervision. I wonder if we can get a waiver from our HOA. Probably not. Well, the weather will get nicer and we'll shift to doing more outside. After the haircuts, we drove to Edmonds to have lunch with Mom and Dad and Jeff and Hilary and their little ones for dad's birthday. He and mom have failed to do anything for their birthday the last year or two so I declared this year that I was taking over. It was really nice and at the end he came up to me and thanked me for not letting it go uncelebrated. For mom's I'm actually going to have to rent a picnic area in a park I've never been to, but it's a nice part of Seattle, so that should be cool.

Sunday was church. I was doing sound so I was there for both services. Guest speaker with a missions focus, had some cool things to say, like how we're not all called to be missionaries or evangelists, that maybe only 10% of Christians have that gift. Not what you typically hear in a missions-focused sermon. But he said to think of it like the difference between an expert witness (in court) and a material witness - if you haven't studied and become an expert, there's still a very real and more common need for your kind of testimony to how you've seen God working in your own life. He also had a quote I liked: "Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread." Afterwards, back here to do chores and play with Ben. Rachel had a birthday party to go to and Lori accompanied her, so I did a lot of chores while Ben took a nap and I watched a great TED talk from Colin Powell and some HGTV. Then I got him up and played with him and fed him using his picture cards.

For non-verbal children like Ben there's been success with a thing called the "Picture Exchange Card System" - we created and laminated a series of cards that have a picture and the word on it and then he can use those cards to indicate what he wants if he's unable to speak them. (either simply can't recall or doesn't want to speak or is physically unable to manipulate his mouth and tongue to produce the words in his head) Lori made about 40-50 cards representing food items and laminated them and stuck velcro on the back. Then she and Rachel put 36 velcro dots on the refrigerator and we can stick up the available items (a menu of sorts) and he can pull down the card he wants and give it to us.

Lori's also made cards for activities and we're going to make another area in the kitchen for those. They do that at school so he knows what he's supposed to do and in what order and we're going to try it here to see if we can get the same kind of results.

I also had him help me put silverware away (hand-over-hand) and then had him help me with the laundry by taking clean laundry out of the dryer and putting it in a basket. He was not on board with that and he did a little bit (with me doing some hand-over-hand and some asking him for each piece) but I think that actually did save me some time because even though he was fussy, he was doing some while I was taking laundry out of the washing machine.

It has been a packed week. When I started working on a calendar for home at the end of February, I started realizing that I wasn't being as intentional about home as I was about work and set to change the balance there. That's been good, it's helped me to start focusing more on my family and the time at home (like leaving work a little earlier if possible) and having less of my worth wound up in my job. Not to say that I'm not still going to work really hard and professionally, but that maybe I was caring a little too much, or maybe in a way that the work wasn't willing to reciprocate or recognize. That maybe my frustration had been self-inflicted. So, yeah, having a calendar and a printed list of the important stuff to take care around the house has been helpful, even if I didn't really get anything crossed off this week.
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