Friday, September 28, 2012

Playing some catch-up

Things have been pretty busy for us in the last couple of months! We went to Disney in July, for eight days. That was just awesome. Thanks to their fast passes for people with disabilities, we never waited more than five minutes for any ride- even the ones with 120 minute wait times. This meant Jaymes lasted a lot longer and had significantly less stress throughout the day. The first ride we went on was Pirates of the Caribbean, which has changed a lot since the last time we were at Disney! There used to be two small drops, which was tame enough not to freak me out. Now there is one larger drop. That gave me a good scare the first time, not expecting it! They added in some cool effects and new characters, but all the good old classic stuff is still there. Jaymes was afraid of the ride the first time, but after trying it again it became one of his favorite rides. He also really enjoyed the Winnie the Pooh ride, It’s a Small World, and Dumbo. He was not terribly impressed with Peter Pan.
We bought the Disney Dining Plan, and their food was awesome. We got dessert with each meal, something the kids thought was pretty darn cool.  Jaymes loved the food and I had no issue getting him to eat his meals.  Since our dining plan included a sit down dinner each evening, we got to try out some incredible restaurants. By far the best was the Coral Reef Restaurant. This was our first fine dining experience and it was AWESOME. Even if the food had sucked, the restaurant itself is beyond amazing. The entire wall of the place is glass, looking out into their shark aquarium. We ate while sharks literally came feet away from us. Jaymes thought this was pretty cool. He especially liked when the divers came into the water to clean the tank. He laughed and laughed!

Jaymes held up to the trip really well. I, on the other hand, spent most of the time exhausted, and got enormous blisters on my feet from all the walking. But, I rode some new rides that I had previously been afraid to try. I LOVED the Star Wars ride, and Jason spent most of the trip teasing me about being afraid to ride it a few years ago.  Buzz Lightyear was a lot of fun too. Jaymes had zero interest in trying to shoot aliens, so we just sat there and enjoyed spinning around and around.
When our Disney trip was over, Jason was really sad. He loves theme parks, and he wasn’t tired and sore like me! He bugged me for a few weeks, and in the end I relented and we took a second trip, to Universal and Islands of Adventure this time. I was still worn out from the last trip, and was not terribly enthusiastic about it in general, but I will admit it was pretty cool. We did not have to rent a car this time, we opted for the hotel’s pick up service and they met us at the airport. The hotel was AMAZING. Lowes Royal Pacific hotel, which is pretty much right up against the theme parks. Four star hotel, Kurig maker and free K-cups in every room. Beautiful place. We used the water taxi service to get to the parks each day, which was really easy and much more convenient than driving. 

This trip we did not need to get Jaymes disability passes, our tickets came with free Express Passes, which is what we would have gotten otherwise. Again, never waited longer than five or ten minutes. The rides at Islands of Adventure are much more fun than the ones at Disney. Jaymes LOVED the One Fish two Fish ride, and delighted in getting us soaking wet. He also really enjoyed the Cat in the Hat. No, let me rephrase. Everything in Dr. Suess land was his favorite. Everything. We rode the trolley and saw the Sneetches getting their belly stars, we drank Moose and Goose Juice, we spun around on couches in Cat and the Hat. We rode the Caro-Seuss-El. And we met every Seuss character you can think of.  Both kids just loved Seuss landing.
The Wizarding world of Harry Potter was absolutely amazing. The buildings looked exactly right, there was “snow” on everything… The joke shop and candy shop were just incredible. We bought a large chocolate frog, some fudge flies, and a jar of candy ribbons. Yum.  I did not ride any of the rides there, they were all fast scary rides. Jaymes turned out to be a huge roller coaster fan, to my surprise, so he and Jason rode Flight of the Hippogriff over and over. Sierra rode it once, but not because she wanted to- she just wanted to prevent Jaymes from going again. She can be a little stinker! She really loved the wand shop, and once we got to the dinosaur part, she rode the terrifying looking Pteranodon Flyers with Jason. It totally freaked me out to watch, the ride is way up high and they sit in these little seats and it looks so easy for a child to fall out. Of course she did not fall out, and had a great time.  I think the star of the park had to be Spiderman, out of all the rides. It was absolutely awesome, so much fun. This was another I’d been too afraid to ride a few years back. Both kids loved it. 

At  Universal Studios, the Despicable Me minion ride was the winner, by far. It was adorable, hilarious, and just a ton of fun. The coolest part is that when the ride is done and you’re leaving, you walk through a room with rainbow lights and disco music. Sierra got to dance with a “real” minion and really enjoyed every second of it. The Simpson’s ride was pretty cool, although I had to close my eyes for certain parts. Both kids loved it, which made me look all the most like a chicken. Jaymes surprised me later by demanding Jason take him on the Woody Woodpecker rollercoaster. It was a heck of a fast coaster, even if it was kid sized! I was a little disappointed at the kids indifference to the ET ride. I mean, it’s a classic! I thought it was still pretty great though.
Between the two trips, the kids accumulated a pile of stuffed animals, T shirts, and oddly enough slippers.  They both had a great time. Apparently only I was dead tired and sore- which is a good thing. I would not have felt right letting Jason drag us around if the kids felt the way I did.
I was just happy to be home. I like being home, with my animals and my nice quiet existence. The horses missed me, and the chickens were a mess. I ended up having to bathe every single one thanks to the many mites climbing around on them.  

Life has pretty much returned to normal. Jaymes is having a very hard time at school, so that is something we are working with the teacher to figure out. He’s done a lot of getting out of his seat, wandering around… etc. He has also shown aggression to his classmates, which needs to be nipped in the bud early. The last incident was involving his sister. She was eating lunch with her class across the cafeteria and Jaymes was sent to throw out his tray. On his way back, he detoured to sierra to punch her in the stomach. Not good. We are trying to keep Sierra and Jaymes apart at school to prevent more of this nastiness toward her. 

Jaymes has had a lot of other stuff happening with him too. He’s been incredibly jerky and twitchy, to the point that he can’t eat a meal because he’s got to stop to throw his arms out to the sides. Worse than that, the spit wiping behavior is back. He spits into his hand and swipes it across his face over and over. By the end of the school day his eyes are dark red and swollen and his face is just raw. I dug out his old Chewy Tubes, and having those to gnaw on had cut the spit wiping time in half. He’s very “mouthy” lately. He chews and chews and chews. I guess that is just what his body is craving right now.
We think that the twitching and spitting and general quirkyness that we’ve been seeing is the resut of starting him on Strattera. He has never done well on ADHD meds, the stimulants do just that- they further stimulate him. But we tried Strattera because the doc said it was a different type of ADHD med,  All the behaviors began after about two weeks on the Strattera, and now that he is off of it, the behaviors are slowing down a little bit.  I am hoping that given another couple of weeks to totally flush the meds out of his system, he’ll go back to normal.

We’ve been hard at work getting the yard cleaned up and improved upon. There is brand new fencing for both the back yard and the pasture, it keeps kids and animals in! The ugly electric fence is all gone, no more accidental zappings or horses blasting through the wires. We have a lovely wood and woven wire fence that looks really nice. The kids like the new gates, especially Jaymes. We had the deck redone with new lattice, and a new gate to keep the turkeys off the nice clean deck. No more deck-turkeys pooping all over!! We bought a new, gigantic trampoline with the enclosure, which the kids are having a blast jumping on. We also took my chicken pens and cemented them in so nothing can dig in and eat them. They also can’t get dirty, because there is no more dirt of scratch up!  Had a bunch of trees cut, one of which being the enormous Pine Tree Of Death that was looming over our kitchen at an angle and would one day have crashed down into said kitchen. There are big round pieces of stump all over. Sierra likes to stand on top of them and yell “I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees!” In general, things are going well.