Just call me Jiji

…me, just pretending to be me ….now, where did I put that cape??

Archive for the tag “Photo Blog”

Last Night’s Storm

The storm went all night long. I didn’t even have to see it, to know it was there. I could feel it in my bones. And my bones, they were a hurtin’

I received the 6am wake-up call from the School District letting me know there would be “No School, Due To Inclement Weather”. Oh Joy, a Snow Day.

That by the way, was sarcasm.

My thoughts went to all the reason’s why I hate the snow.

When I finally got out of bed to survey the damage,

…all I saw was beauty.

Here are the pictures:

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Yipee Skipee it’s Halloween!

I love Halloween! It ties with Christmas as my favorite holidays..

Both are fun and festive! Christmas lets me get my shopping on and Halloween lets me get my costume on.

Last weekend we enjoyed yet another Halloween Celebration. I say another, because this year is no different from any other year, where we attend many different Halloweenie events.

Traditionally Leon gets to go trick-or-treating at least 3 times each year.  First Leon starts his candy collecting in PA at Ron’s parent’s summer retreat, a campsite on the Delaware river, that they have been seasonal members of since Ron was Leon’s age, that hosts a costume parade, trick or treating, and a Halloween party at the close of the season in the end of September. His second T.o.T. collecting is usually at Pumpkin Park, a local amusement park that opens itself up for safe trick or treating every year, however there was scheduling conflict and we did not get to go this year. And lastly we always enjoy having a few friends meet up at our home for a light snack before we roam the neighborhood on Oct. 31, forcing our kids to collect candy for our – umm I mean their enjoyment. 

This year we have a packed Halloween schedule once again. In September, we had fun at the campground as usual. Leon wore a grim reaper sort of costume because as much as he wanted to be Emperor Palpatin from Star Wars, I knew the make-up involved in it would try his patience and his sensory issues. So I nixed it for the campground. He enjoyed himself none the less.

He’s the one all in black

Two weeks ago we went upstate to enjoy the fall scenery and do some apple picking as described in my previous post.

The 3 of us collected twigs, acorns, and leaves and put them together; and Leon snapped this photo.

Last weekend I spent Friday and Saturday putting our costumes together. I’ve always enjoyed making costumes and dressing up in either couples costumes or coordinated family costumes, and luckily Ron and Leon enjoy it too. Our theme is usually determined by what Leon chooses to be and then we work around that.

Being HUGE fans of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, it was only natural that we would portray characters from the movie. I am the Lovely Sally, Ron is Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King, and Leon of course is Oogie Boogie.

Putting costumes together for Jack and Sally was simple enough. Ron’s was completely store-bought and in the interest of saving money, (along with having an excuse to wear my leather corset) mine was put together from pieces of clothing that I already own (with the exception of the wig which I borrowed). Leon’s costume of the other hand was something entirely different. Oogie Boogie is not a readily available costume, in other words it had to be made. And Leon was very specific about it looking true to character.

I spent four hours creating Oogie’s head on Friday and about five hours creating his boogie, I mean body on Saturday. It turned out truly amazing if I do say so myself, I am quite pleased with the result!!!

You’re joking, you’re joking,
I can’t believe my eyes”

Mr. Oogie Boogie, Nightmare Before Christmas

We wore our costumes to a friend’s Halloween party Saturday evening and had a blast! Leon’s favorite part was getting to watch Nightmare Before Christmas and Scooby Doo with the other kids. My favorite part was the look of surprise on people’s faces when they found out Oogie Boogie was not store-bought. Well, that and getting together with friends.

On Sunday, Ron’s parents joined us at a street fair. We went in costume to participate in a costume parade and enjoy the farmers market and a wonderful musical group, The Bari Koral Family Rock Band. They were terrific but we had to leave early, Leon was having an off day due to the previous night’s activities.

Ron, Leon, my niece Kiera, and myself

You will notice that I did not go as Sally in the pictures; instead I was an eco-friendly witch. I felt that it was more appropriate daytime attire, and it gave me an excuse to wear my green dress that just happened to match my green witches hat that I had received as a gift from my sister a year or so ago. Hmmm.. Do you think she was trying to tell me something?

This whole week continued to be about Halloween festivities for us. Leon’s school hosted a pumpkin patch for the students during recreation time on Wednesday. He was happy to come home with a pumpkin, a pint of apple cider, and some candy corn. We decorated the pumpkin when he got home from school

It’s Not So Spooky Snoopy!

On Friday, Leon went to school in costume, as did the majority of the other students in his school. The principle, whom I adore as y’all know; led a costume parade in front of the school, and invited the parents to come and watch.

Jedi Leon

It was just so adorable to see them all dressed up and enjoying themselves. Our principle by the way dressed as Sponge Bob, which I thought was great. So did the kids, they just love her! Leon was excited to come home with his “crabby patty” prize for scariest costume. Funny enough, Leon did not wear his Oogie Boogie costume.  The student’s were not allowed to wear masks, so he donned a previous year’s costume, Jedi Luke Skywalker. Which, isn’t a scary costume, however, knowing my SPD son and his issues with clothing, I allowed him to wear a pair of skeleton pajamas as a costume underneath his Jedi costume, in case all that extra fabric was too much for him. So he went to school and marched in the parade as a Jedi; but by the time the principle got to his classroom afterwards he had stripped done to his bones, won scariest costume, and came home as a skeleton.

That same evening the PTA hosted a Fall Harvest Costume Dance. We  really, really wanted to show off the Oogie Boogie costume, and even though masks were not permitted, I allowed Leon to walk in as Oogie, knowing that my extremely hyper-active, run wild as soon as he hears music, ADHD child would take it off within 10 minutes of getting there. I was right, of course, and Leon spent the rest of the evening as a break-dancing skeleton. Which is quite funny to watch! Ron and I attended in costume as well. Ron as Jack, and I as the Green Witch, once more – I figured my leather corset would raise more than a few eyebrows in a school setting.


CIt was very nice to see some of the other parents wearing costumes as well! My favorite adult costume was the Sleestak! As for the kids, the home-made Sally was great, as was the Mini Mad Hatter, the Peacock, and my favorite Little Witch in Training (just because she is the sweetest little girl).

Sleestak and Jack rev up the dance floor

The funniest part of the evening was when the DJ called the Sleestak and Beetle Juice over to help lead a dance. Funny because, he was pointing at Ron (aka Jack Skellington) when he said Beetle Juice.

You could not see his face under that mask but I am sure Ron was cringing every time the DJ (who was really great with the kids) said Beetle juice, which he said a lot. At one point Beetle juice, I mean Jack; I mean RON was asked to lead the conga line.

Conga, conga!

 I am very lucky to have a husband who is such a good sport (and doesn’t mind working up a sweat! – that is a rubber mask he was wearing). I think he really enjoyed it too, the notoriety, not the sweating.

On Saturday, Leon and Ron started their day early. Aside from Leon’s first Drawing class, they went to the Boy Scout Jamboree for the day, which being scheduled for Halloween weekend had to of course include a Halloween parade. Unfortunately they missed the parade, but they enjoyed the day none the less.

Happy Birthday BSA!!

When they returned, we got ready for a party at the haunted house across the street. Our friends (who are also our neighbors) go all out on Halloween. The outside of their r home gets totally transformed a week or two before Halloween, and is ever-changing. The house draws a lot of on lookers. This year the theme was a Cannibal Cafe and aside from the typical masked persons scaring the bejeebers out of passerbyers, including one who chases them down the street wielding a real chainsaw (sans blade); they added a new character to the mix. The zombie chef was working up his magic for the crowd, offering up; grilled upper intestines (because the lower ones taste like crap), liver and fava beans, fried fingers, leg of Sam, eyeballs, s.o.s. (shit on a shingle), and “The Exorcist” special. He was a crowd pleaser for sure.

The Spooky House day & night

(click pictures to enlarge)

Sunday, Halloween; was a very long day for sure. We spent the morning preparing for a Pre-Trick-or-Treat Get Together at our home. I planned games for the kids to play for prizes, including the ever popular mummy-wrap game which was a ball. The kids enjoyed a few crafts, some games, some chicken nuggets and cupcakes, and spending time with each other, at about 3ish we set out on our merry way, around the neighborhood. Keeping up with the kids was a task and a half. We managed to hit quite a few houses, some of them more than once, before we made it back.

Trick or Treat!

(click pictures to enlarge)

We had been invited back to the “cafe” across the street to enjoy yet another party because this year they decided to host a party on both nights of Halloween weekend, rather than just their usual one party on Halloween night.


The second night was by far more crowded and busier than the first night, with both the invited guests and the passing onlookers. The live entertainment was a huge draw. Even Ron got in on it as kids high-fived him and asked to take pictures with him.

Ron enjoying the spotlight

And now I get to suffer the Day After  Halloween Hangover….

                                                                  ….that’s okay I got the cure


I Heart NY in the Fall

I LOVE Fall!!!

Fall definitely satisfies all my senses! The trees are a blaze with color, the crisp autumn breeze feels wonderful on my skin, already I can hear the leaves crunching beneath my feet, the warm apple cider smells and tastes perfect. Fall is definitely my favorite time of year. And it brings with it one of my favorite holidays; Halloween.

Recently, we took a road trip via the Palisades Parkway to Upstate New York. The drive was beautiful.

We stopped at a scenic overlook along the way to take in a view of the Hudson River.The only thing more beautiful than the view was my little boy.

Leon happily posed for pictures for me, making a lot of his own suggestions along the way. which I must admit was a bit  shocking. Being someone who is a huge photo enthusiast,  having  an ADHD child, makes enjoying my hobby and having my family be a part of it very challenging.  But happily, I managed to get some truly beautiful shots of not only the scenery but of Leon too (and Ron, of course).

Our destination was Bear Mountain State Park, a place I hadn’t been since I was a child. It brought back some great memories, and gave me plenty of photo ops. We walked around the zoo, and the lake, Leon rode the merry-go-round and then we drove to the top to take in the view from Perkins Memorial Tower. It was so amazing.


Bear Mountain was great fun, but I really wanted to get some apple picking in. There really is nothing quite as good as apples right from the tree. Unfortunately we didn’t get to Hurd’s Family Farm in time to do any actual apple picking ourselves, but that did not stop us from having fun anyway. We played in the sunflower maze, launched apples, fed ducks, and I of course took pictures till it got too dark and then we explored the corn maze by moonlight (and flashlights). We topped the evening off with s’mores by the bonfire before heading back home.

Oh and I of course did buy a nice big bag of apples to take home.

A 7-year-old’s Recipe for Stuffed Chicken

Step 1: Have an adult retrieve frozen chicken nuggets from freezer.

Step 2: Have an adult follow the directions on the package to cook chicken

Step 3: Once chicken is done, sit at table and wail “But I don’t waaaaant chicken nuggets”

Step 4: As soon as the adults leave the room or turn their backs, stuff chicken nuggets into the baseboard heater.

And Waa-Laa you have  “A 7-year-old’s Recipe for Stuffed Chicken”

Oh and….












…………….     you are grounded to your room for the rest of the evening for lying about it, and for the 4 extra pieces that were found from the last time you made stuffed chicken.

A Good Start


Half way into October and I am amazed how quickly time has flown, since school started this year back in September.

Looking back at Leon’s first 6 weeks of 3rd grade, I can’t help but smile. I am delighted at how things have gone so far. We have his IAP in place, he has possibly the very best match in a teacher that I could ever hope for, he has come to terms with having a Para following him around all the time, his confidence is up and he’s doing great, and dare I say it? He may actually like school.

I’d never say that to his face of course. He’d deny it all the way up, down and sideways; for sure. But I can honestly say that I have not heard the words “I HATE SCHOOL” in at least 4-5 weeks. And considering it was his daily mantra all last year and every so often over the summer whenever school was mentioned, I’d say that is amazing!

I’d say it’s due to a good combination of things. The first being how much he seems to have grown over the summer. He’s taller, yes, but I am talking about how much he has matured. He turns eight next month and I am just amazed at how grown up he is all of a sudden. The way he talks, the way he carries himself, the way he relates to others, the way he thinks… He is growing up right before my eyes!

Once he was my baby boy snuggled up in my arms, then he became my big boy, holding my hand to cross the street, what comes next?  As much as I want to hold on to his hand until the end of time, I know I’ll have to let go someday. Seeing how mature and wise he is becoming, I know he is well on his way. It makes me so proud and yet so sad at the same time.

I also have to give credit to the school itself. There have been a lot of changes at our school. The usual changes that are imposed on schools, like standardized testing, and the like, of course. But also a lot of changes to what is being offered to the students both academically and socially. Last year our school got a new principle, and if you’ve read any of my previous posts you would be right, if you’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not missing our old principle.  She wasn’t mean or anything, she was just very uptight, and stringent, she was set in her ways and very resistant to …fun and lightheartedness. My one real qualm with her personally was, her suspending Leon from school when he was in 1st grade for managing to get off school property and walk all the way home unsupervised rather than penalize the people responsible for allowing the whole thing to happen in the first place. In the end officials were called and things were rectified, but her poor judgment has forever left a bad taste in my mouth. I still have nightmares about the whole situation. It was a very scary time for us, one that I admit still haunts us all.

Our new principal is a breath of fresh air! She has brought so much change to the school in the year that she has been here. She has made school more enjoyable without sacrificing it academically. Learning has become fun for the kids, parents feel more welcome and are able to be more active in their child’s schooling, and there is a larger sense of community since she has taken on her role as principle. Leon enjoys the extra touches of lightheartedness that she brings to the school. Things like spirit week with crazy hat day, or costume parades on Halloween, or even the start of a student council for which he was eager to try out for. Her incentive programs have touched Leon personally, last year he was “Caught Being Good” twice, and plans to get caught again. And just last week he came home with The Star of the Month certificate, of which he was very proud.  He is enjoying his school so much more now that it has become a fun place to learn.

Add to all this, a terrific teacher, and Leon can’t help but LIKE school. Again I wouldn’t press him on that, but when asked about his teacher he will out-and-out tell you “She’s nice, I like her”. For him to think it and feel it is one thing but for him to actually say it, that’s quite another. His standard responses to most questions about how he likes something or someone are usually a very indifferent “it’s okay” or “fine” type of answer. I have to say though I very much agree with him!!!

Leon’s first day of school always brings out a teeter-tottering of emotions and nervousness in me, but for some reason his starting 3rd grade was especially nerve-racking. I guess it’s because everyone always talks about how hard school becomes in third grade. More is expected from students, responsibilities get larger, homework assignments take longer, more activities; like chorus and orchestra take up more of their precious time. Life for a third grader gets a bit more demanding.

Demanding…. Now that’s not something that fits well into the life of an ODD/ADHD child. Demanding, is something that Leon’s teacher is not! Accommodating, nurturing, open minded and open-hearted, those are words that I would use to describe her teaching style.

I was so nervous about Leon starting 3rd grade that I sent him to school on his first day with a big fat envelope stuffed with 5 type written pages about Leon. Yea…I know it’s a little much. The envelope contained a letter from me introducing myself and Leon, along with a page of helpful motivators and techniques we use with Leon to help him stay in check and last but not least a copy of the accommodations that I wanted included in his 504 IAP. Of course when I sent all of that in with him on the very first day of school, I was worried about what she would think; would she be receptive… would she resent being bombarded on the first day?  I didn’t know how it would be received!  

I was very, very pleasantly surprised!  She was very receptive.  Not only did she respond in a letter, (a real letter, not a just a short note), but she also called me in the evening from her home. That definitely earned some big time points with me. She took time out of her own day to reassure me about my child. Awesome!

I met her in person at the school’s open house; in which she took even more time with both Ron & I, one-on-one, to sit down for close to an hour to discuss a plan for Leon. I was blown away. And I left there so reassured.

Nothing has changed since then. I still love his teacher, his principle, his school, and of course my kid!

And dare I say it one more time?  …I think Leon may actually LIKE school! 

But shhh… don’t tell him, it’s a secret!

Scratch That!

I think it was about 7am-ish when Leon pounced on our bed and announced that it was time to get up. I am not too sure though because I was DEAD ASLEEP. I heard him, I even saw him through squinted eyes. I heard Ron say something about the TV. And then ZZzzzzzz!
It was close to 9 o’clock when Leon pounced again. The TV timer kicked in and turned off the TV (a tool we use to get Leon to the school bus on time). He need us to enter the password so he could finish watching his show.
I pad into the livingroom and through squinted eyes I fumble with the remote. Everything is all blurry. I forgot my glasses. I go get them and return. As my eyesight returns my gaze falls to the coffee table.
The words come booming out from my lips “GET TO YOUR ROOM THIS INSTANCE BUSTER!! YOU ARE IN BIG TROUBLE!!!”.
This is what I saw:  

Yes! He did use that ROCK to CARVE his name into the coffee table!


I plop down on the couch in disbelief only to stick my hand in something cold, wet, and slimy.
Ugh! Jello!
I take a quick look around…. there!….. there is the half eaten cup of red Jello.  

But wait, this is green jello?!  

Look! there’s some orange Jello too!  

I look around.  

Hmm, nothing, no sign of any other containers.  

I scan the floor…  

OMG! Between the couch and under the table…  

This is what I find:  



That’s 3 Jello, 2 pretzels, 2 Capri Suns, and several chocolates  

…and now he is grounded to his room for the day.  


Lesson of the day:  

Do not leave your ADHD/ODD child his own devices in the morning for any length of time without the aid of his medication!!

Cleaning my plate – part 2 / Fibro is a pain in the…

….continued from Cleaning my plate – part 1

At my annual physical with my primary care physician I brought up my concerns about my health and the impact it was having in my life. Many things were discussed and I was referred to various other doctors to discuss certain issues that come with age and with being a woman.

We also addressed my Fibromyalgia, I wanted to re-evaluate my treatment.


After this past winter and the nearly 3-month long fibro flare-up something had to change.  I have managed the pain through the same old meds for quite some time. I think it is time to change them up, especially given all the new medications out there for Fibro now. My doctor agreed and has me on Lyrica now.

It’s been about a week, so I am unsure as of yet if it is making a huge difference. For now the side effects of constipation, headache and fatigue are making it difficult for me to see if the results are any good. I am also a bit worried about the side effect of weight gain. Although I did not gain any weight at this week’s Jenny Craig weigh in I also did not lose any. Over the course of this past week, while on the Lyrica I have felt more hungry, and I will sheepishly admit that I did give in to it a bit too much. I am just going to have to make my will power even stronger!


Mean while I am still taking the Cymbalta which is good, because it keeps Evil Jill at bay. When people ask me what I am taking it for my first thought is Anger Management. Yes, as far as I am concerned there is a pill for that. Face it, it keeps me chill and I lose my mind a lot less, and don’t yell at Leon as much when he drives me bonkers.

I just dislike having to take 6 pills a day between the Lyrica and the Cymbalta. But if I really think about it I was probably taking more pills than that during my flare ups. Hopefully I can cut down on the muscle-relaxants, anti inflamatories, and pain killers now.

Being that the weather was such a huge contributor to the most recent flare-up loop, I am hopeful that the change in weather will turn things around too. so far so good. It’s 82 degrees and nary a complaint of pain. (Although you might check in with me later, after my date with my Wii Fit 🙂 )

Spring is in the air and summer is close behind! My sinuses may not like it, but my physical strength and my spirit are doing so much better.

Watch out! I am back, baby!! 8)

While at the doctor I also inquired about Adult ADD and a possible diagnosis. As it is often the case with parents of children with ADHD, usually one or both parents also have ADD/ADHD. The more research I do the more convinced I am that I have always had it. My mother agrees with this but I want to know for sure so I can get treatment for it.

Some might ask, “What’s the big deal?, If you have it, you’ve always had it and you adjusted”; Well, yeah that is true however adjustments don’t happen overnight, and with each new situation that enters my life there is a new adjustment period. My life has always been chaotic and cluttered, both literally and figuratively, and I’ve always, eventually muddled through but not without everything being turned upside down first. I always say I am the most organized, disorganized person I know. However throw in even the smallest monkey wrench and everything goes Kaplooey until I can figure out a way to put it all back together again.

 If I didn’t have just me to be responsible for that would continue to be just fine. But the fact of the matter is I really need to handle myself better. I need to be a good example to my child so so he can learn to manage his ADHD life, rather than contribute to his chaos.

The doctor wants me to deal with one thing at a time, especially when medication is involved. And right now that thing is Fibromyalgia.

In the meantime I am trying to manage the household better and make our lives a bit more manageable and organized….

….more coming in Cleaning my plate – part 3

On the Positive Side

 I am writing this in response to a negative comment I received last month on this older post I had published back in Aug 2009.

The author of the comment seemed extremely opposed to the idea that there could be anything at all positive about ADHD, in fact he is very confident in his statement that “ADHD has NO positive symptoms.” . He also stated that “the idea that ADHD has benefits is an urban myth“. He seemed to imply that I don’t have my facts straight, and that I was devaluing my son by crediting an illness with certain positive traits that are enhanced and heightened by his ADHD. He also implied that I am doing my son “more harm than good, by trying to convince myself that the bad symptoms are balanced by supposed good ones in order to make myself feel better about his condition“.

He also seems to assume that I have done NO “real” research what-so-ever on this devastating disorder that has turned our lives completely upside down.

He suggests I come to terms with the fact that Leon has a mental disorder. And if I do not choose to manage illness properly I will be setting him up for a huge amount of problems later in life.  He put it this way “you can either come to terms with the fact that most of the behaviors you described are NOT positive now… or you can come to terms with it when he ends up in financial trouble or addicted to something or a thief or unable to hold a steady job“.

Woo-boy was I really steamed up about this!! So much so that I just could not respond… not yet anyway. I just could not stop thinking about it, I was just so mad at this man. This bitter, bitter, evil, uninformed man, with a chip on his shoulder. I did read a bit of his blog, as he suggested I do, so I knew where he was coming from. Even so I was still pissed off. So I had to step away from it for a while.

Now as I reread it all I am still quite annoyed by it all, but at the same time I mostly feel very, very sorry for this man. It seems that with his recent diagnosis of ADHD, he has found something to blame for all the bad things that have gone on in his life without needing to take ownership of it. Going through life focused on how much it sucks because you have ADHD, just makes for a very miserable life! 

On the Positive Side….    

I can agree with him on one point, and that is we have a choice about how to manage ADHD. But I wonder if he understands that there is no one right or wrong way of doing it. Every person’s struggle and accomplishments with ADHD are unique onto themselves. What works for one may not work for another. And just the same what may work this week, or this month, or even this year may not work in the next one.

 I have in fact come to terms with Leon’s neurological disorder, ADHD, which is classified as a mental disorder, as well as a disability. I have done the ‘real’ research and have educated myself about my son’s ADHD. I’ve read dozens of books and articles, joined CHADD and attended several meetings, consulted with wonderful doctors and professionals in the field of ADHD, including psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists, and therapists. The psychiatrist who diagnosed him started us on our ADHD journey, we found an exceptional psychologist who did an extremely thorough educational/behavioral assessment on him, and confirmed the diagnoses of ADHD/ODD and made some very good suggestions for us and the school to follow. His neurologist has him on the right medication combination of Concerta and Clonodine, they work wonders in keeping him stabilized and putting his inhibitions, impulsivity, and inattentiveness in check. We as a family visit a therapist, specializing in special education and social skills, regularly. His school has a wonderful team of people who are implementing his 504 Plan, including the school psychologist, a OT, and a TA. 

And with all the bad that we experienced last year when he was just 6 years old; from hour-long homework sessions, to having to replace a toilet bowl due to his flushing several toothbrushes, to his public and private temper tantrums, to stabbing his OT teacher with a pencil, to journaling about killing his parents, to cutting his clothing while they are still on him, to having him fear going to school because he knew he would get in trouble yet again, to the school losing him, to him jumping out of his bedroom window at 5am, to so much more….; there is still NO ONE who can tell me that there is nothing positive about ADHD!!!

~~psst! did you notice all the links to previous posts? you can get the back story that way~~


Here are some excerpts about the positive side of ADHD:

Positive effects of ADD & ADHD in children


In addition to the challenges, there are also positive traits associated with people who have attention deficit disorder:

  • Creativity – Children who have ADD/ADHD can be marvelously creative and imaginative. The child who daydreams and has ten different thoughts at once can become a master problem-solver, a fountain of ideas, or an inventive artist. Children with ADD may be easily distracted, but sometimes they notice what others don’t see.
  • Flexibility – Because children with ADD/ADHD consider a lot of options at once, they don’t become set on one alternative early on and are more open to different ideas.
  • Enthusiasm and spontaneity – Children with ADD/ADHD are rarely boring! They’re interested in a lot of different things and have lively personalities. In short, if they’re not exasperating you (and sometimes even when they are), they’re a lot of fun to be with.
  • Energy and drive – When kids with ADD/ADHD are motivated, they work or play hard and strive to succeed. It actually may be difficult to distract them from a task that interests them, especially if the activity is interactive or hands-on.

Keep in mind, too, that ADD/ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence or talent. Many children with ADD/ADHD are intellectually or artistically gifted.


Some positive characteristics of adults with ADD/ADHD

from mitalk.umich.edu 

The symptoms of ADD/ADHD are not all negative. People with ADD/ADHD also have many positive traits that are directly tied to their active, impulsive minds. The important part is to focus on the positive aspects, while trying to control the negative aspects.

  • Creativity: People with ADD/ADHD often excel at thinking outside of the box, brainstorming, and finding creative solutions to problems. Because of their flexible way of thinking about things, they tend to be more open-minded, independent, and ready to improvise.
  • Enthusiasm and spontaneity: People with ADD/ADHD are often free spirits with lively minds — qualities that makes for good company and engrossing conversation. Their enthusiasm and spontaneous approach to life can be infectious.
  • A quick mind: People with ADD/ADHD often have the ability to think on their feet, quickly absorb new information (as long as it’s interesting), and multitask with ease. Their rapid-fire minds thrive on stimulation. They adapt well to change and are great in a crisis.
  • High energy level: People with ADD/ADHD often have loads of energy. When their attention is captured by something that interests them, they can have virtually unlimited stamina and drive.

Hyperfocus: A Positive Symptom of ADD/ADHD

While adults with ADD/ADHD have great difficulty maintaining attention, those same individuals often are able to “hyperfocus” for long periods of time on tasks or projects that they find interesting. This is particularly true of interactive or hands-on activities. They may even be compulsive about it, spending hours immersed in the activity without a thought to anything or anyone else. When they’re “in the zone,” people with ADD/ADHD often lose all concept of time. Hours pass as if they are minutes. This single-minded ability to hyper focus when used appropriately can lead to significant accomplishments, discoveries, and creative breakthroughs.


In the video,

 ADD & Loving It 


(which I very, very, strongly recommend and urge you to watch)

 ~Dr. Edward M. Hallowell  says; “Without proper diagnosis ADD can ruin your life, having said that, the tremendous good news is, if you get the diagnosis and you get proper treatment, not only can you avoid all those disasters, you can achieve spectacular success. You can be at the absolute pinnacle, not only in the terms of success, but in happiness, fulfillment, and a rich and wonderful life”.

~He also says; “It’s important to embrace a strength based approach that does not in any way deny that there is a downside but emphasizes the positive as a way of developing the positive”.

~It is also pointed out that, Dr. Lynn Weiss Ph.D, a ground-breaking pioneer who has been working with ADD patients for over 30 years, lists 29 Positive Attributes of ADD. 

As listed in her book Attention Deficit Disorder In Adults: A Different Way of Thinking

1. Sensitive

2. Empathetic with the feelings of others

3. Feels things deeply

4. Creative in nature (including problem solving)

5. Inventive

6. Often sees things from a unique perspective

7. Great at finding things that are lost

8. Perceptually acute

9. Stand-up comic

10. Spontaneous

11. Fun

12. Energetic

13. Open and un-secretive

14. Eager for acceptance and willing to work for it

15. Responsive to positive reinforcement

16. Doesn’t harbor resentment

17. Quick to do what one likes to do

18. Difficult to fool

19. Looks past surface appearance to the core of people, situations, and issues

20. Down to earth

21. Good networker

22. Sees unique relationships between people and things

23. Cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary

24. Less likely to get in a rut or go stale

25. Original, with a sense of humor

26. Observant

27. Loyal

28. Intense when interested in something

29. More likely to do things because they want to than because they should, thus often wholehearted in efforts

 Keep in mind not everyone who has ADHD has all these traits, and sure people who aren’t ADHD have these traits too, but many of them appear over and over in people with ADHD.
So you see, not only have I read about the positive side to ADHD, gone to lectures about the positive side to ADHD, and spoken with professionals about the positive side to ADHD, but we have experienced the positive side of ADHD as well.

Leon has become extremely well-adjusted, all the school’s accommodations along with our accommodations here at home, and his being on the right medication regime and seeing a therapist regularly are making all the difference in the world. We are teaching him to play to his strengths and never to use his ADHD as a scapegoat.

We do not in any way deny the negatives of ADHD, yet we CHOOSE to remain on the positive side.

And would you believe we are all doing just fine, Thank you very much!?!


More links on the positive side of ADHD

 Positive Aspects of ADHD and ADD: Benefits to Having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder

The Positive Side of ADHD


I just want to add that I in no way harbor any resentment to the person who prompted this post. Nor do I think he is Evil. 🙂   I wish him only the best, and many, many, positive things in his journey going forward with his ADHD!!








A Mother’s Guilt is Never Done

Ooooh! Owwww! Ohhh!

I just spent almost an hour outside in the wet, cold, snow with a shovel in hand, breaking my already injured back and ignoring the stiffening of my joints and the labored breaths.

Yes!  Me…..outside…..in the snow! ……Can you believe it?

Now, I am soaked from head to toe!

I am chilled to the bone!

I am pooped! 



Ah, the things we do for our children…

You see, I was not shoveling the walkway or clearing out our cars or anything constructive like that, I was trying to build a fort and make a snowman with Leon. Even though I already knew going in, that I would be paying for it, for days to come. 

We trudged our way through the snow, I shoveled up piles and piles for him to mold into whatever his little heart desired, I stooped down low rolling snow balls around hoping for a perfectly round boulder sized base for our snowman, and I got down on my hands and knees and helped him shape the walls of our fort.

Our fort was no where near as good as Daddy’s are. In fact it wasn’t as much of a fort, as it was a really thin three-sided lip of snow about as high as the curb. Okay so maybe it was a bit higher than that. Leon had to lie flat on his belly to be completely shielded. In other words it was a very poor excuse of a fort. And our snowman, weeeell he’s more of a snowblob with a too small red knit cap sitting on top. But it made Leon happy to be outside in the snow, even though his usual snow buddy could not be there. Alas Daddy was working. And I, …well I would have been very content to just sit around in my pajamas all day long.

Our morning did start out that way. Leon crawled into my bed after Daddy left for work wanting me to get up and make him breakfast. I readied myself to get up and get him off to school and then I remembered the 6:30am phone call that the school was closed due to the snow storm.

“No school today Leon, it’s a snow day, lemme sleep just a bit longer”

If you’ve read my previous post ADHD vs. Fibro you know what direction that could have headed, but didn’t.

I felt guilty. How do I tell my over-active and impulsive ADHD 7-year-old to just sit by and wait while I got some more shut-eye? So I did get out of bed, but I did not do much more than that.

Whaaat???, It was early and there was over a foot of snow outside! Do you know what that does to my Fibro?

Well, I did at least feed him. I gave him a bowl of dry cereal and even let him eat it in the livingroom while watching TV.

After patiently staring at the weather channel that I had put on, for about 20 minutes, he asked to play his DS game instead.

Being that I wanted to continue watching the weather report, I said sure without batting an eyelash, and settled in under my blanket on the sofa while he blipped and bleeped away at his game at my feet.

I ended up dozing off for a couple of hours… talk about bad mommy guilt.

So I had him put away his game for a bit and find something else to do. He started a couple of puzzles, played with his legos, and pulled out a book to read …40 minutes later he is bored again. And I am feeling guilty and just a bit lazy. C’mon it’s pajama day!

Leon was being so patient and so good for a kid cooped up in the house with his ole mom.

I pulled out some paper, scissors, and markers for him and put on a Disney movie. And he happily set out to color and snip away the day, while watching “Akeela and the Bee”.  

So far, so good. My evil pajama day plan was working! Mwaa-haa-haa!

I half read, and half watched the movie from the comfort of the couch. I figured the movie would kill a good two hours….

 Yeah sure, once he was done making his projects, he left the mess and sat in front of the window and just stared out at the snow falling.

When I asked what he was thinking, he said, “Well, I was thinking I want to go outside and play but I know you don’t feel good so I’ll just watch the snow fall”

Ugh! More Guilt. I have the greatest kid. Sure he can be bull-headed and oppositional at times, but he is also very sweet and sensitive.

I told him to go get his snow gear, we were going out! Normally it takes about 15 minutes every morning just to get him dressed for school, but not today he was ready in two minutes flat and ready to go. I on the other hand, was much slower. Poor Leon was just starting to lose his patience.

Being outside wasn’t that bad, …at first. But after a little while I had to sit down and take a few short breaks here and there. The more we worked the stiffer I got. And the kneeling in the snow did not help at all. I was wet and I was cold.

The worst thing about being in the snow with Fibro is that I get chilled to the bone. It literally feels like my bones turn to ice and start splintering from the inside out. The cold becomes the source of my pain.  This doesn’t happen every time, but because this has been such a harsh winter, my body hasn’t had a chance to catch up and restore itself fully between flare-ups.

I needed to get inside, but I could not just leave Leon outside by himself. We only have a front yard and it isn’t completely fenced in. Although truth be told, since he has been doing so well on the Concerta, I am not as concerned as I used to be about his impulses and distractions getting the better of him. My concern with leaving him alone had to do more with leaving him lonely (which often equates to “sad and bored” for him).

We made some calls and knocked on the neighbors door, hoping to find someone to come play in the yard with him. Unfortunately no one was interested or available. So I stayed outside a bit longer until my body just could not handle playing around in the snow anymore. My heart and mind was in it, but my body just said NO.

I gave him the option to stay out and play by himself or come in and play the Wii with me and I would even let him pick the game (ugh). He chose staying outside if I would stay by the window and watch.

I could not help feeling guilty as I watched him wonder around the yard by himself, looking for something ‘fun’ to do. The smile he had, had on his face while we were working on the fort together was gone. I felt guilt and SADNESS, for my lonely little boy.

This time I wasn’t just feeling guilty for being sick and unable to keep up with my child, but also for not having another child, a sibling for Leon to be his companion growing up. And although the decision not to have another child was not mine, I have come to realize it was probably the right decision. But at times like these it’s hard to swallow.

I just had to do something, my heart was breaking for him, but I had already pushed my body to the limit and I no longer could stand up straight. I decided to call my neighbor and asked if I could hire one of her middle school kids to come and help Leon finish building his snow fort. Unfortunately they had, had enough of the cold too and wanted to stay indoors. Oh well, I tried.

Soon after Leon decided he was coming in. Then something caught his eye, and he shouted, “Mom, look I think Lauren and Alex are coming to play with me!”. Sure enough the neighbor kids had a change of heart and were on their way to help build the fort after all. I told them I would pay them for being a mother’s helper.

The fort was beautifully made and Alex took some twigs and spelled out Leon’s name on it

Leon is all smiles again! And so am I.

And the really, really sweet part about it was Lauren and Alex said that they didn’t feel right taking money because Leon was their buddy and they had fun.

Now all I have to feel guilty about is not being able to go to tonight’s Boy Scout Blue & Gold Award Ceremony with Ron and Leon because I can’t even stand up without wincing in pain. 

A Mother’s Guilt is Never Done

The Me I Wanna Be

I’ve been down.

I don’t know why I am so down exactly, but I have a clue as to how it happened.

The me I used to be...

I went off my meds (Cymbalta), and for too long. I didn’t do it on purpose. It just happened really.

Just before Christmas right when the pressure was on, I got sick. The stomach virus hit me hard, I even ended up in the hospital for dehydration. In those days of throwing up and sleeping all day, the last thing on mind was taking pills, just the thought would make me nauseous. 

Then I got better but I was always so dang busy, that I just kept forgetting to take my morning meds and I kept skipping doses, which is NOT GOOD. I knew I had to buckle down and just get back on them again.

Sounds easy enough right, just wake up and pop some pills. No, not that easy, my routine was all screwed up, and my flare-ups were BAD! I’d get up in such a fibro fog that by the time I would remember to take them it would be after noon. At that point it would be too late so I would swear to take it the next day. The next day would come and I would forget again and again and again. Then I would remember and take it for a day or two and forget all over again.

The horrible thing about missing too many doses that you end up going off of it all together is that when you do start getting back on you have to start from scratch and get your body accustomed to the side effects all over again. And really, really lousy side effects at that! Nausea, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, more nausea and fatigue, and so on, and so on….

It’s one of those vicious fibro cycles I get caught up in. Something throws me off my meds like an illness, I end up feeling like crap and flare-up, I get lost in the pain, then I get desperate to get back to my old self so I try to get back on the meds, fibro fog and my short term and long term memory loss keeps me from remembering to take the meds regularly so I keep missing doses, I end up feeling even worse (not at first because it is still in my system but eventually it gets really bad), I end up detoxing from the meds because rather than screwing myself up by skipping too many days I decide to wait until I can devote myself to doing it right and getting a routine down again,  I decide to wait for a long weekend when I know I don’t have as many other responsibilities and I have at least three days to just to deal with the side effects that my body now needs to get used to all over again with minimum disruption to the remainder of the week, things keep getting in the way and I can’t find the time to do it right, so next weekend ends up being weeks and then months before I realize I am so bad off that if I don’t just do it life will never get back to a manageable level!

And that’s just where I am at now. My life is no longer at a managable level. That’s where these blues are coming from. Right now I feel like I am so out of control because the pain has taken over my days and my nights. And while I am still taking my pain meds as needed, and it can dull the pain, my fatigue, and fibro fog, and everything else is still there. And it’s the Cymbalta that helps me keep a level head about it all and keeps me in control of my emotions (and reactions to them) revolving around the guilt, pain and discomfort of my disability.

The blues suck but if I don’t try and take charge they can get so much worse. I know cause I’ve been there.

I just started up again and have been 4 days strong, despite it being a bad time to get back on the Cymbalta, being that it is winter break and as a result, not only do i have Leon home all day with me but I also have Kiera, Nico, and Michael with me as well. The repeated waves of (time released) nausea, dizziness, and fatigue usually take about 1 to 2 weeks to get used to, but if I don’t do it now, when will I do it??

I can see my mood changing for the better, I am more calm and there has been less crying. I just wish it didn’t make me feel so crummy. Like right now I just can not stop yawning. All I want is a nap but with 4 kids in the house under my care that isn’t happening anytime soon….

Oh well, it’s the price I have to pay to be the me I want to be.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

As anyone with Fibro will tell you, severe weather conditions is the enemy.

Rain, sleet, snow, high temperatures, humidity, ah heck, just a light breeze at the wrong time can totally throw me off. So when we were hit with the “blizzard” this past week, I was not feelin so hot.

I remember being a young girl just praying for a snow day at the first sight of a snowflake. Now… not so much. The cold that the snow brings; brings with it a pain in the ….well, …everywhere, and often, as has been the case this week, the pain lasts days longer than the snowstorm.

But despite all this I still say let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

On Wednesday, Leon got to experience his very first snow day, followed on Thursday by a second snow day. Leon loved the idea that he got to stay home from school and just play. And not just play, but play outside, …in the SNOW, …..WITH DADDY!!!

The weather was bad enough on Wednesday that Ron did not go in to work and I even got a day off from babysitting. We had a very cozy morning just watching the snow come down. Leon waited very patiently to get out into the snow to build a fort with Daddy. After the first few times of asking me if I was going to help make a fort, he gave up asking. I hate to say no, I hate that I can’t jump right in and join in on the fun. But even if the pain isn’t that bad at the moment, I know that pushing it could affect me for days to come.

In the afternoon they layered up, and went out into snow, with me watching from the window. Somehow that hurt more than the physical pain of it all. I had to get out there and be a part of the fun and just live in the moment. So forgetting the pain I bundled up and grabbed my camera and made tracks.

They never did build a fort, instead my camera and I got caught in the middle of a snowball fight. With my camera as a shield against them taking any sort of aim at me, I was able to capture it all.

And although I am still feelin the pain of running around in the snow a few days ago, it was well worth it. Remembering Leon’s laughter at the time and the smile that the pictures bring to my face every time I look at them makes me feel so good.

How is THAT for improvement!!!

I just wanted to share this:

This is Leon’s spelling test, taken last month on 1/7/10. And while the grade is wonderful, that is not what I am boasting about (he always get 100% and up). What I am so thrilled with, is his handwriting. For him this is GOOD! Granted it’s a bit all over the place, some of the words are floating, and the spacing is off, but you can actually read it!!!

In the past, he has had to do parts of the test over and over again in front of the teacher just so she could see that he knew how to spell it correctly as it was often illegible. 

I wanted him to keep it up so I told him I would award him 10-minute token in exchange for neat handwriting. The 10-minute tokens can be traded in for screen time (Wii, DS, or computer games). All hail the power of Nintendo

Over the next two weeks that followed, I didn’t really see much improvement or even effort for that matter in the work he brought home. So I reminded him that I would be grading his spelling test for handwriting when he got home, and that he would earn a token if it was really neat.

This is what he came home with:

NICE!!!!!  Do you see it? The improvement?

Obviously he still needs work, but the incentive program was working. I decided that we would focus on his spelling tests and not every little thing that he came home with during the week. We are taking baby steps….

Here is the next test he took looked like:

Awesome Job!!! For this test he earned extra tokens! Not only did he impress me, but he impressed Ms. Kelly! He was so proud of himself! As am I.

The following week was a tough one for me fibro-wise so I wasn’t as on top of my game as I would have liked to have been. The thursday night before last weeks test I had forgotten to remind Leon about putting the extra effort into his handwriting to earn tokens. Turns out he needed no reminder. this is what he came home with last Friday.

How is THAT for improvement!!!

When he concentrates really hard he can do it.

For him, though, that is half the battle. Given his ADHD, it takes real effort for him to concentrate. For things that don’t come naturally to him, like handwriting, he has to stop everything and just focus on that one thing. He is always in such a rush, with his mind racing ten steps ahead of whatever it is he is doing, it isn’t always an easy transition for him to make. Just slowing down his brain to get to the point were he can concentrate takes a huge effort on his part.

Leon responds well to the right incentive. Luckily I have figured out what the right one (for now) is. Now to extend it beyond just his spelling tests and into his everyday handwriting.

When he isn’t concentrating hard on writing legibly it looks like the letter he wrote to his teacher (in response to her taking his water bottle away for the day) below:

It reads: “What I was doing was trying to unburn my rugburn  P.S. you are the meanest teacher I ever had”

…..but wait there is more:

Reads: “the reason is you all ways punish me and the rest of us”

Well at least he is expressing his feelings in a nondestructive manner. So Kudos for that!

It’s obvious he was angry when he wrote this, so it would be easy to say that the rush of emotions contributed to the sloppy writing, but if you look at the handwriting example in my previous ‘Dear God’  post. You will notice it is just as bad if not worse. Both were written with in the last two weeks.

Our goal now is to have Leon keep up the good work on his spelling test while working on his handwritting in his assignment book.

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