Friday, April 13, 2012


Sometimes I think that I should just stop blogging and talking all together. Whenever I share a good change, it seems like I jinx it. I know that, rationally, life doesn't work like that but....  sometimes!  OIY!!

From the moment I woke him as up this morning until Steve dropped him off at school, Jonas complained of a stomach ache and did not want to go school. His complaints escalated through the morning routine. He was in tears when his teached helped him out of the truck and into the school.

Gone is the happy go lucky kid who never seemed to be bothered by anything. For now, he's like a bi-polar puzzle that his parents, teachers and doctor are trying to figure out how best to support.

There are so many pieces to the puzzle that it's hard to nail down exactly what the problem is. His medication dosage could be too high. We may need to eliminate something else from his diet. He may have inherited Lupus from his mom. He may have inherited depression like his dad, sister and granparents. There may be another physical explaination that we haven't figured out yet. There may be something going on socially that we're not aware of. Maybe he's overwhelmed by the new changes we discussed with his teachers last night. Maybe it's us. Whatever it is, it's got a wicked combination of physical, mental and emotional signs and symptoms!

On the upside, we had our team meeting at the school last night and it was very positive. Even though he's still on the school board waiting list for speech and occupational therapy, we're very happy with the responsiveness of this school. The school SERT teacher and speech therapist keep us posted about his waiting list status and are working with him unofficially to give him the help he needs. When we gave the school the heads up last week about what's been going on, they immediately kicked into action. They implimented some important new classroom accomodations for him, kept a close on eye on his social interactions and started monitoring and coaching his self-talk. We got a lot of great feedback last night and decided not to formalize his IEP yet. He's doing pretty well in school with the accomodations they've made so far. He's a B student right now and that's pretty darned good.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Weirdness Explained

It's been a weird week. Jonas has come home from school the past two days and gotten right to work on his chores and his homework. No complaining. No procrastinating. No tears. Add to that the fact that he's not only stopped complaining about feeling sick in the mornings but has also been asking to go to school early, and it's felt a little surreal. As with most things in life, there's always an explanation.

The kid who's eager to do his chores is a little weird until you realize that this is the first week that we've agreed to give him an allowance. The deal is that every day he has to feed and water the cats, take out the recycling, clean the cat litter boxes and make sure that his room is clean. We were on the fence for a long time about an allowance but there's so many benefits to it that we're going to give it a try and see how it goes.

The kid who is determined to get his homework done right after school is a little weird until you realize that he's been given on-line assignments this week. Other than some math homework, he's been able to do his assignments on the computer this week. Typing and clicking eliminates his frustration and anxiety about his handwriting. Throw in a fun game or two to reinforce the concept of the homework, and he's actually smile during homework time this week. We're all thrilled that his teachers have responded so immediately and positively to his changing needs!

The kid who wants to go to school instead of experiencing gastrointestinal distress every morning is weird until you realize that we're eliminating milk from his diet. We've stopped giving him milk in the mornings and this has significantly improved the way he feels. Removing dairy eliminates a pretty dependable nutrition source for him though, so we're on the hunt for new soloutions to boost his daily calories.

The kid who wants to go to school early in the morning is still a little weird. We haven't figured that one out yet but we're not complaining either. As long as he wants to go to school, we're going with it.

It really is incredible what a few small changes can make.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Seaton Hiking Trail

With 12.9 kms of trails, Seaton Trail in Pickering is one our favourites.
We don't spend our days in Pickering anymore
but our Scouts go there several times a year.
I get to go again tonight and lead of Beaver Scouts on a hike!

Check out for more information about this awesome trail!

We discovered this trail when Jonas was just a little(r) guy.
He loves exploring the trail with his best friends.

This picture was taken at the same spot as the one above, about 6 months later.
Nothing beats seeing the same spot change through the seasons!

Our Scout group loves it too!

Trail Blazes to follow one of the many routes

Icejams in the winter
A cool railroad bridge to hike under.
The Beaver Scouts love it when I train rumbles by while they're under it!

Beaver dams


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Be Prepared!

Every good Scout knows that it's smart to be prepared. As a mom and Scout Leader, I feel I have an extra responsibility to do just that. I always carry a backpack of "just in case" stuff when I go hiking. Jonas does too.

I've been asked several times what the heck I have in there and since I'm re-packing for a hike with our Beaver Scouts tomorrow night, here it is. You don't have to carry all of this but it gives me piece of mind to know that we have the basics coverd just in case something goes wrong: first aid, communications, water, shelter, fire, food, hygene and a change of clothes.
My Survival Kit

SMALL FRONT POCKET: CPR face mask and shield, nitrile gloves

FRONT POCKET: LED lightstick, LED headlamp, lanyard with FOX 40 whistle, squeeze LED, small multi-tool, fire steel, Star Wars LED

MIDDLE POCKET:  First Aid Kit, OTC meds, gadget/tool kit

THIN MIDDLE POCKET: bag of snacks and hot drinks (coffee, hot choco, peppermint tea, cliff bars, sesame honey bars, peanut MMs)

BIG POCKET: esbit stove and 12 tabs, stainless steel water bottle nested in tin can, GI poncho, 2 person emergency blanket, 25 ft rope, 2 hand warmers, knife, match safe (with strike anywhere matches, 2 cotton balls and 2 birthday candles), small candle, old medicine vial with 5 AAAs, toilet paper, glasses case, fleece jacket (with socks, mitts and banadana in pockets), lined rain pants, blaze orange hat

 *bug spray and suncreen will be added as the weather warms, as will a bucket-style hat and thinner top (instead of the wool jacket)
*there are 2 carabiners are attached to the outside of the pack for attaching a second water bottle and stuff sack/dump pouch for my son's and little Scout's treasures found along the way.

Jonas's Survival Kit
Part of the Cub Scout's programme is making a survival kit. this one's a little more comprehensive than what's in the manual but what can you expect from a kid who looks up to Survivorman Les Stroud!

CLOTHES: dry bag with change of clothes including a blaze orange fleece hat, bandana, fleece top, pants, socks, wool gloves and work gloves

FIRST AID: bandaids, polysporin, gauze pads, maxi pad

TOOLS: small folding knife and multi-tool

FIRE: Gerber BG fire steel with vaseline cotton balls, mini bic, strike anywhere matches, birthday candle, lip balm and tampons
COOKING: ss cup, small hobo stove, tea light and aluminum foil, snacks (rolos are his favourite), hot chocolate
ENTERTAINMENT: Small deck of playing cards
WATER: SS water bottle
SHELTER: emergency bivvy, sportsman's thermal blanket with paracord tie-outs, paracord, contractor's bag, poncho, hand warmers
LIGHT: LED glow stick, chem light, crank flashlight, LED headlamp, keychain LED
SIGNALLING: whistle on lanyard, AMK mirror, bear bell on pack, whistle attached to fire steel, LED glowstick whistle and flo orange stuff
MISC: sunglasses and he also has a compass, which he's learning to use

His is similar to mine but with equipment and snacks that he knows how to use and prepare.
He does carry a knife and means to make fire but is strictly supervised in those activities.
He does NOT carry things like medications. 


Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Long and Winding Road

We had another rough morning today. Jonas was extra upset this morning (actually, it started at bedtime last night) because today everyone is his class gets a reward completing the oral reports they've been working on all month. He is nowhere near finishing his so no reward for him. He also thinks he's going to be the only who's left out.

So why didn't he finish his oral report? Simply put, because he doesn't think he can. On Monday night at tutoring he got exactly zero done on it. When his teacher asked him what was wrong he put his head on his desk, started crying and said "I can't do it." The same thing happened again last night. Organizing his thoughts and getting them out of his mouth or onto paper coherantly is hard for him. When he sees the work the other kids are producing he can't help but compare himself and it makes him feel defeated. In his words, "It's torture."

He doesn't understand that everyone learns at their own pace. He doesn't see the progress he's made.  He only sees the gap between him and his classmates. He knows that they see it to. When I took him to school yesterday, he didn't even want me to look at the classroom display of work. "Mine's just terrible, mom" he said. It broke my heart.

Being married to a high school drop out, it worries me tremendously that Jonas might be on that same path. Steve's concerned about it too. He, more than anyone, can relate to how Jonas is feeling right now. Grade Three seems like it should be way young to think about things like that but we're not so sure.

Our hopes are high that our meeting with the school team next week will help us identify some new strategies to remove roadblocks and rebuild his confidence. Wish us luck!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Evolution of a Couple of Kub Kar Racers

Our Cub Scout Pack is getting ready for our area Kub Kar Rally on April 15th. This is the first time Jonas and I have participated in Kub Kars, and the first time we've done anything like this. So far it's been a lot of fun.


This is what we started with - a solid block of pine ready to be shaped by our imaginations.

Jonas drawing his first set of blue prints.
He started off intending to make his look like a hot dog
and then got a better - more "Jonas" - idea!

Steve helped Jonas make his cuts and then he was on his own
to sand his small pieces, glue them on and paint it.

My blue prints and the first cuts
Jonas's is way more ambitious than mine!

First cuts and sanding done.
Waiting for the glue to dry.

First coat of paint drying.
Next steps: More sanding and repainting
Then it'll be time to put on the axles and wheels and get racing!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Continuing School Struggle Saga


It's been a rough month. Just when we thought we had gotten Jonas back on track at school it all fell apart again. I should have trusted my gut back at the beginning of March when I thought there was more going on than him simply feeling unprepared for a day of school. While we've had a pretty good understanding with the school about it all, and he seemed to be getting the accomodation he needs, something's changed in the couple of months.  He's now having physical distress about even going to school and has missed several days because of it.

Over the past few months he's become hyper aware of his challenges with speech, handwriting, recalling information, organizing his thoughts and making friends. He knows he's different from the other kids and he's becoming quite sensative about it. The other kids know it too, and some of them aren't as sensative about it as most. His grades have fallen and he's started putting a tremendous amount of pressure on himself to be like those other kids. Re-enter crashing self-esteem.

To make matters worse, he's had a couple conflicts with some of the adults at the school who just don't seem to get it. His ADHD is very real. It's just as frustrating for him as it is for us, maybe moreso. We all know he's a bright boy, but sometimes our expectations aren't realistic for him.

We have a meeting with his teachers next week to make sure we'll all still on the same page. We need to come up with some new strategies to help better support him. Wish us luck!


Jonas and our newest litter of kittens.
If only dealing with people was as easy for him as it is animals.