Thursday, February 12, 2009

One Ritalin for you, One Ritalin for me, One Ritalin for you...

Today we have a meeting with C's school psychologist.Over the past month C has been having tests done to see if she has any type of learning disability. C is very bright but Math and attention have been a real struggle for her the past two years. She has stayed out going, but feels stupid. It has really been heart breaking and frustrating as a parent. She is this fairy like creature that flits here, there, everywhere, rarely remembering what you asked her to do,or finishing a project. She loves art, poetry, writing, and science. She is very gifted in all of those subjects. When she was about 6 or 7 years old she was very frustrated with us. She shut herself in her room for about an hour. When she re-emerged she said," I've been writing alot of poetry. I feel so free!" That is a classic snapshot of the child I have.
We have been very blessed that the psychologist picked to do the testing was none other than a very good friend of mine. She is one of just a handful of Nero-psychs in the state and she has been in this field for around 30years. C felt very at home with her. She felt so comfortable that she let down her guard and had no idea they were working on tests. She thought she was just spending the day with Miss B doing some cool mind games. Excellent!
We were also sure to prep C by telling her she was going to have lots of fun. And that Miss B was going to figure out how C's brain works best. Then she would give us ideas on how to help her study and organize. We were sure to emphasize that everyone is different, we all learn, study,and organize differently. She seemed to take it well and has been very positive throughout the whole thing.
So I am looking forward to this meeting today. B called me last night to give me a very summarized version of her report. The results show a math learning disability and ADD. I just laughed. This proves with out a shadow of a doubt that our baby was not switched at birth. (She is so smart. That the Other Half and I have joked ,to ourselves, that the hospital gave us the wrong child and we are NOT giving her back!)So we have G with his ADHD/Aspergers, C's ADD & Math disability, The Other Half's ADHD, and my ADD. Kinda makes you wonder what number 3 will have. It would probably feel left out if it were a "typical" child. :)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

For My Coffee Loving Sisters and Brotheren

Consumer Reports Picks the Best Cup o' Brew
Our top-rated Colombian coffee is also a CR Best Buy


Folgers, Maxwell House, and Starbucks are America's best-selling ground coffees. But all three were iced by Eight O'Clock Colombian coffee in our taste tests. As for Starbucks, it didn't even place among the top regular coffees and trailed among decafs.

Our tests of 19 coffees also show that some of the best cost the least. At about $6 per pound, Eight O'Clock costs less than half the price of Gloria Jean's, Peet's, and other more expensive brands.

Like your joe without all the caffeine? Dunkin' Donuts and Millstone were the front runners among the decafs. But Folgers Gourmet Selection Lively Colombian came in close behind and costs up to $3 less per pound. But even the best decaffeinated coffees couldn't match the best regular brews in our taste tests.

What we tasted

Our coffee experts focused on 100 percent Colombian — a best-selling bean — for regular coffee. Most of our decaffeinated coffees are a blend of different beans.

What makes a great cup of Colombian? Lots of aroma and flavor, some floral notes and fruitiness, a touch of bitterness, and enough body to provide a feeling of fullness in the mouth. Woody, papery, or burnt tastes are off-notes.

Weeks of sipping and swirling confirmed that even 100 percent Colombian coffee and its Juan Valdez logo don't guarantee quality. Our trained testers unearthed other surprises:

Still so-so after all these years
Chock full o'Nuts and Maxwell House have pushed coffee that's "heavenly" and "good to the last drop" since 1932 and 1907, respectively. But off-notes, little complexity, and, for Chock full o' Nuts, variable quality put both behind Eight O'Clock.

When boutique isn't better
Midwest-based Caribou and Kickapoo beat an array of larger players among regular coffees. But Bucks County Coffee, from Langhorne, Penn., tasted only OK, and Peet's, from Berkeley, Calif., was burnt and bitter, despite costing $14 per pound. Peet's, Archer Farms, and Kickapoo also varied from batch to batch.

Caffeine differences
None of our decaffeinated coffees had more than 5 milligrams of caffeine per 6-ounce serving. But among regular coffees, Caribou and Bucks County had roughly four times the caffeine (195 milligrams) of some of the lowest-level brews. Medical experts say up to 600 milligrams per day is probably safe for most and can help keep you alert. But heart patients and women who are pregnant or nursing should stay below 200 milligrams, which might mean sidestepping those brands among the caffeinated coffees we tested.

How to choose
Several of our top coffees could save you $25 to $70 per year over pricier brands even if you drank just one 6-ounce cup per day. Here's what else to think about:

Consider how you take it
Coffees judged very good taste fine black. Milk and sugar can improve a mediocre coffee, but not even cream is likely to help the lowest-scoring decafs.

Choose a good coffeemaker
The best coffeemakers from our January report reached the 195º to 205º F required to get the best from the beans and avoid a weak or bitter brew. A top Michael Graves model costs just $40.

Consider grinding for fresher flavor
Even the best pre-ground coffee can't beat the best fresh-ground when it comes to taste. One top grinder from our January report, the Mr. Coffee IDS77, costs only $20.

Side Note: I have tried Peets coffee while in Sanfran and let me tell you it tastes burnt! My friends expressed the same sentiment. We were very disappointed.

And the Baby is......

Wow,it has been awhile since I blogged! Things have been going quickly over here. The Other Half is away on business at least 2days a week now. I just get in go mode and get only the necessities done. I am trying to branch out from that, now that the kids and I have gotten our routine down.

The Other Half and I found out last week that we are having another boy! G was there with us and asked the Ultra Sound Tech where the girl was. Ha! I just started laughing and asked if she was sure. She pointed to his boy part and proved that she wasn't pulling my leg. The Other Half just laughed and said he couldn't believe it. We felt sure it was a girl. Plus we had already agreed on a name. Boy names on the other hand have proven very difficult for us to agree on. This could be one of those kids that has their name pulled out of a hat in the delivery room. I kid...I think....

C was none to happy about the news. I told her at school when I came to pick her up from tutoring. She, unfortunately, started to cry. Her friend Emily, who is in the same sibling boat, hugged her and told her they would start a Girls with Brothers club. By day 3 C had come around. She has grasped that she will never have to share a room and she will be 10years older than her brother, so she won't have to put up with alot of "stinky brother" activity. And in the mean time C has had her hand kicked by the baby, which melted her heart. She is always asking me if he is moving and if she can feel it. She really likes talking to my belly.

G has awesomely accepted the fact that he will be the big brother or a brother. He currently wants the baby to sleep in his room. He says he can't wait to snuggle the baby, teach it to give zurburts, and rock'n roll. I love his attitude thus far!
I do have to say being given another boy is intimidating. I'm not intimidated by all the boy stuff. Peeing outside, doing gross things for a laugh, the loudness, the physicalness, that is all fine. I've always had a large amount of guy friends so that doesn't and hasn't fazed me. However, having a son with highly functioning autism does give us an increased chance that this child could have autism. Our pediatrician said, regardless of sex, our chances increase 50% that this child could have autism. I don't worry about it often, but it does cross my mind. I pray for protection and guidance. For this next child we will be doing a delayed shot schedule. I'm a healthy eater, so I've continued to do that as well. I exercise too. Although I have to say, G tolerated his shots much better than C. I don't recall him having fever or getting sick after any of them. However later in pregnancy was hard health wise for he and I. I had to be on antibiotics for upper respiratory infection, then bronchitis, and several other things. He also had complications during and post delivery. So it is hard to say what triggered his autism. I figure all I can do is pray, and make logical discussions based on creditable sources for this little guy. Then one has to let the chips fall where they may.

Autism and Highly functioning Autism can be a real pain in the butt. It can take a toll on you and your family. It has at times done all of that to us. Having said that Autism can come with many gifting too. G has become very articulate with voicing his feelings. This comes from all the therapy and social stories he has had. He is a very loving guy. He reads and writes at a higher level than his Kindergarten grade. He loves music. He hears things in the music that I don't. He is teaching himself to play the drums well. He has been watching the praise and worship team ,at church, practice and preform for close to 3years. This past December, while they practiced for the Christmas program, some people heard someone playing bongos. They assumed because of how on time they were, that it was part of a track played with the musicians. The song stopped, but the bongos continued. The ladies looked around, and it was G playing. Everyone thought it was so cool they let him continue during practices. The musicians have also been sweet to let him sit and "play" drums. His play has turned very good.The musicians love telling me about what G did after practice, or showing me their phone videos of him singing and playing drums in time. G also likes writing his own songs. He spends hours in his room singing loudly,in key, and drumming his heart out. He has a gift, a love, a joy. Who knows if it would be as strong if he weren't who he is, if the Autism wasn't present. Who knows?
Because of these things we try not to be afraid.