Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

Halloween Recap November 9, 2017

It’s been a while.  What to say?  What to say?


Things have been.

That wasn’t a mistake of a sentence.  That’s what I meant to write.  Things have just BEEN.


I’ve been trying to get through each day with as much cheer as possible.  Some days it’s easier than others.


Let’s talk about Halloween though.  That was good.  It lasted for 5 days.  As a matter of fact, I could probably count up to last night because Jay was still wearing and playing in his costume.

The Friday before Halloween we went to a Trunk or Treat at Ace’s old school.  I’m not sure if we were technically supposed to go or if it’s only open to current students but we did go and the kids had a good time.  Ace said hello to a few of his past teachers but forgot that they couldn’t tell who was under the mask.  Jay got lots of compliments on his costume.  He was in compliment heaven.  It happened every time he went out in it.

Speaking of Jays costume.  He decided months ago that he wanted to be a character from his favourite video game.  A costume for said character is not available in stores so it had to be made.  Here is a side by side of Ace & Jay in costume and Jays costume inspiration.  I think we nailed it.  And by we, I mean Shaunie.

You can’t see the flames on his head very well, but Ace is Ghost Rider.




After the Trunk or Treat we went to a festival at the local YMCA.  There were games and bouncy things and a haunted house and a hay ride.  The plan was to leave at 7:30.  Pushing the kids past their bed time is not usually a good idea but everyone was having a good time and behaving well, so we stayed until nearly 9pm.

Saturday found us at a Celtic festival.  I don’t know how or why.  It just happened.  Kilts and iron workers and giant turkey legs and bagpipes and Highland Games.  It was cool.  Then we went to a cute little shopping district in Richmond that was hosting a Halloween thing and a zombie walk.  THEN we went to a mall that was hosting yet another Halloween thing.  We skipped out before the movie started.  (Hotel Transylvania).  We just couldn’t take anymore.  We, being the adults.


Then on Tuesday we did the traditional trick or treating around the neighbourhood.  It was nice.  The kids got way too much candy but that’s kind of the point I guess.


On November first, Jay announced that this Halloween had been the best ever and was already musing about what he’d dress up as next year.  When I told him he should give it some time before making a decision he said:  OK, I’ll decide in January.


Our DMV Summer July 12, 2017

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Family,Marriage,Special Needs Kids — The B Side @ 11:36 am
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Lost camera, aching feet, bad bruise on hip, scratched knee, drinking contaminated water, bug bites, and sore finger tips – All in the last 2 weeks.

We’ve been having a great summer.

That’s not me being sarcastic.  We really have been having a good time.


I lost my water proof camera when we went river tubing.  It was my fault.  I rested it down in the drink pocket of the tube to help Jay and the next thing you know we both fell over and there went all my pictures from trips taken over the past 3 years.  I dived down trying to retrieve it, but river water moves quickly and it’s sandy and well, maybe it will wash up in China and someone else will get to use it.  Good for them.

Besides that little mishap, the tubing was relaxing and beautiful and the kiddos had a blast.


The aching feet and the contaminated water came about when we decided to spend the day touring the National Mall in Washington DC.  We’d been there a few times to various museums – Sometimes with the kids and sometimes not.  This trip though was because Ace has been asking to go to the Air & Space Museum and I’ve been wanting to take them to see the Lincoln Memorial and White House.  We decided to take the train into the city which only added to the fun for the kids.

Following the museum we got ice-cream and headed towards the other end of the mall.  Along the way we stopped to dip our feet in a big fountain, saw some trapeze artists from the circus doing a free show outside, bought over-priced pizza and iced coffee and posed for pictures.  After what felt like a lifetime we made it to the World War II memorial which I had never really checked out before.  It’s pretty cool in that there’s a big water fountain in the middle and then columns with each state etched into it.  People were finding the state they were from to take pictures.  By that point, we were so tired, even though we could see New Jersey, we couldn’t walk to New Jersey.  Oh well.  Did I mention that it was hot and sunny?  No?  Oh, well it was.

EVENTUALLY – (It is a LONG walk) – We got to the base of the Lincoln Memorial and it was time to climb the 87 steps that take you to the top.  *Fun fact* : 87 is equal to the “fourscore and seven years” from Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.

Even though my entire party was complaining about being tired, it was well worth the journey.  Jay announced that it had been a dream of his to see the statue (who knew?) and we all enjoyed the view of the Washington Monument from that vantage point.

But people, we still weren’t done walking.  We had to walk almost the entire way BACK to get to the nearest Metro stop.  Whew!  That’s when we came into contact with the contaminated water at a drinking fountain.  I don’t want to embarrass anyone though so I’ll leave that story alone.


We spent last Sunday at “our river”.  (A different one from the tubing).  I love the river.  We packed a cooler and found a new (not crowded) spot and just hung out.  There was a little water fall area that the kids kept sliding down.  I succumbed to peer pressure and decided to give it a try.  That’s where the hip bruise came from.  Hello rocks.  Note to self, leave kid things to kids.

We had snacks and climbed rocks and just spent a lovely afternoon with nature.  We closed out the day with a fire in the backyard and a bushel of crabs.  (Hot dogs cooked on the fire for the kids).  *Insert bug bites – despite those tiki bug torch thingys – and sore finger tips.*  We remedied the bug bite situation with bug spray and just dealt with the sharp edges of the crabs because – deliciousness.  And beer.  Beer helps to dull crab finger pain.


Yesterday we dressed up as cows to get free Chik-Fil-A and hit up a local fun place which included go karts and video games.  We have tickets to attend a reggae & wine festival and are hoping the weather is good enough for us to make it to a water park soon.


I hope everyone has been making the most of their summer; short as it is.  That doesn’t mean we are not thinking ahead to Christmas though so if anyone wants to gift us nut crackers for next summers crab eating, that would be just lovely 🙂





(p.s.  The DMV is DC, Maryland and Virginia)


Four, Three, Two … Home November 21, 2016

FOUR weekends ago we drove 3 hours south to North Carolina.  We spent the weekend with friends I’ve known my entire life (pretty much).  It was awesome!

THREE weekends ago we drove 4 hours north to New Jersey.  We spent the weekend with family who we love and miss.  It was awesome!

TWO weekends ago we drove one and a half hours to Maryland.  We spent the weekend with friends who were visiting from Canada as well as friends who really are the definition of family.   It was awesome!


All that awesomeness wore us out.

This past weekend we stayed home.  As wonderful as it is to see all the people we love, it’s exhausting working all week and then travelling all weekend.


I started my Saturday with the surprise gift of a massage.  Yay and thank you honey!

That was followed by some long over due home tidying, unpacking and decorating.  We moved over 6 months ago.  The place was still bland and we still had boxes in the kitchen, nothing on the walls and plastic bags cluttering the living room.  It didn’t feel like home.

In our living room, we now have yellow and red lamps, red side tables, artwork hanging above our renovated couch and we have plant life.  We printed and framed a family picture which is now on display.  We hung curtains and got new throw pillows. Basically, we now have a comfortable space to relax that reflects some of our personality.

On Sunday, we slept in while the kids happily relaxed on electronics.  We had a huge Jamaican brunch of ackee, saltfish, plaintains, callaloo and dumplins.  We settled down in our now, warm and welcoming living room to watch a movie.  It was actually a good one.  Creed.

Overall, it was a really nice weekend.  Just us.  Nothing fancy.  But so very much needed.


This will be a short work and school week since Thursday and Friday are Thanksgiving holidays here in the USA.  We have tickets to visit a new museum in DC on Saturday.  Other than that, we have no plans to go anywhere.  We don’t mind one bit.  We will be quite happy to stay home and have 3 no frills days.



New (With A Dash Of Old) Winter November 14, 2016

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Life on the Jay train,Uncategorized — The B Side @ 9:54 am
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First it was the peppermint milkshake I got at Chick Fil A.  Then it was the white chocolate and peppermint covered pretzels.

OMG, I LOVE those things.

Neither of them are good for the bikini body I’m supposed to be working on before we go on a (much looked forward to) vacation.


Next up was a day at the park.  We had a nice time and got some cool pictures, BUT, as the sun began to go down, and we were leaving, we all put the hoods of our jackets up AND broke out the gloves.  For the first time since March, it was cold enough for gloves.


Our Sunday evening consisted of watching a Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel and swapping cotton sheets for flannel sheets.


Finally, this morning, we had to scrape ice off the car windows.  ICE.  ICE!!!!!


There were things we meant to do over the summer that we never got to.  I didn’t eat nearly as much apple and pumpkin things as I meant to.  Those will have to wait until next year though, because the talk over the weekend was about where we are going to go to look at holiday lights.  (The zoo or the Mormon temple?  Both?)  Wait, would it be bad if I made a pumpkin bread pudding for Thanksgiving?  I like pumpkin bread pudding.


All our Christmas shopping is done.


There’s no denying it, winter is here and my days of going to work with still wet hair are behind me.  It’s time to put away my hot pink and yellow “Sun, Waves and Sand” water bottle that I keep at work and break out the silver and red “Let It Snow” one.

This will be out first winter living in the DC metro area and I’m interested to see how it is.  Every area has it’s own winter culture.  In New York, it’s the decorated store windows and ice-skating in front of the Rockefeller tree.  It’s people crowding into your city to watch the ball drop.  For us, it was sledding down the little hill next door and shoveling our cars out of snow only to not drive anywhere unless it was absolutely necessary because you didn’t want someone else to take your shoveled parking spot.


This winter there will be no chicken soup from Sweet Pea or pot luck at my job featuring a bouncy castle for the kids.  There will be no cat climbing into or eating our Christmas tree.


Despite all the things that will be different this year, I am sure that we will enjoy all that the season brings.  Plus, some things will be the same.  We’ll decorate for Christmas and Jay will celebrate a birthday.  We will deal with sniffles and we will laugh.  We will cuddle up under blankets and we will drink copious amounts of tea.  I am fortunate enough to (again) have a job that is flexible and understanding.  If there are delayed openings or closings at school, it won’t be a problem.  On snowy days we will find a new hill to sled down.  We will still watch TV together and maybe bake something or play board games.

Mostly, we love doing things as a family.  We like each other.  (Which is not the same as saying we love each other.)  We try to make the most of what we have available to us.  So, bring it on Virginia.  Let’s do this winter thing together.


And Then He Came Back November 7, 2016

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Uncategorized — The B Side @ 10:59 am
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I’ve written many times about my little love sponge Ace and how he’s not a rough and tough kinda kid.  He’s a loveable, cuddleable, mushy, prone-to-being-clumsy, kinda kid.  He’s not a basket baller or even a ride-bikes-around-the-neighbourhgood-with-the-other-children kinda kid.  In lieu of sports teams, he’s opted for enginereing clubs and the like.   He likes to be pampered and spoiled and waited on.

This is not a complaint about him … It’s just an explanation of who he is.


This past weekend we went to New Jersey and as soon as we pulled up in front of the in-laws house, some kids invited Ace to join their game of basketball.  To my surprise, he accepted their invite and stayed outside while the rest of us went inside.

After a while (longer than I expected), he came inside and I assumed he’d had enough.  Nope.  He came inside because he had fallen (I’m not sure how) and had ripped a hole in his (brand new) jeans and was sporting a couple of bloody cuts/scrapes on his knee. My first thought was that I was surprised that he wasn’t crying.  He did not even appear to be upset.  I knew for sure his outside time was over though.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

He loudly pronounced that he scored the touchdown he was running for – And that was AFTER he had gotten injured.

Apparently they had switched from basketball to American football.  I’ve never seen my kid play football.  I didn’t even know that he knew what a touchdown was.

Following his pronouncement, dude got his knee cleaned and bandaged up, laced up his sneakers and went right back out to play.


Who was this child?


Later that evening, he was laying in bed, with his foot up on the footrest, watching TV.  I told the kids it was time to go.  They don’t get a lot of time to watch TV so I was sure they wouldn’t be ready to leave just yet.  Ace very dramatically said “Mom, I can’t get up now.  Remember my knee.  I think I need to stay off my leg for a while.”


Gone was the tough guy who played through his injury and back was my boy who would rather relax in front of the TV and who couldn’t function because he had a scraped knee 🙂 .


Jay was kind of a jerk and I love it October 28, 2016

Filed under: Autism,Family,Life on the Jay train,Special Needs Kids — The B Side @ 10:07 am
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I do not believe in over-dosing kids and I do believe in letting ailments run their course as much as is possible.  I don’t use hand sanitizer and my kids ate things off the floor without me freaking out.  They got dirty and they walked around barefooted outside.

Build up your immune system and all that jazz.


Ace has been battling a cough for a while now though and it’s not showing any signs of letting up so we’ve been giving him one dose of cough medicine daily.  Typically at night before bed.  The one we had was grape flavoured and he HATED it.  HATED it I tell ya.

Much to Ace’s delight, the bottle had been around for a long time and after a couple of days it ran out.

Jay, who has not been coughing and has not needed to take medicine, took great pleasure in Ace’s disgust at the grape medicine.


Now, before I go on, I need you to understand that I live in a world where we tease the ones we love.  It doesn’t matter if you are 8 or 80.  It doesn’t matter if you are disabled or sensitive or shy.  We are equal opportunity teasers.  Jay has not found this to be awesome.  He does not like to be teased and does not do much (if any) teasing.  It may be due to his autism, or it may just be his personality.  It doesn’t matter.  No-one feels sorry for him and he is not spared.  No special treatment around here.  When he gets mad about being teased, he gets teased about being mad.  Ace is all about having fun and laughing.  If you tease him, he will come back even harder.  He will go for the jugular so make sure you are ready.  Everything is fair game.

But it’s all love.


*Back to the cough medicine*

We made a stop at the pharmacy to get some more.  All the while driving there, Ace begged and pleaded for a different flavor.  “PLEASE get berry this time.  NOT GRAPE.  BERRY!!!”

Jay piped in – under his breath – “I hope you get more grape.”  Then he giggled.


We pulled up to the store and Shaunie ran inside while the kids and I waited in the car.  Ace kept yelling at her:

“PLEASE get berry this time.  NOT GRAPE.  BERRY!!!” 

“PLEASE get berry this time.  NOT GRAPE.  BERRY!!!”

“PLEASE get berry this time.  NOT GRAPE.  BERRY!!!”


When she returned with Bubble Gum flavor, Jay began laughing and started chanting, “I hope it’s bad, I hope it’s bad, I hope it’s bad.” 

Ace countered with, “I hope it’s good, I hope it’s good, I hope it’s good” 

And so they went on for a while, back and forth, laughing together.

And there I was, laughing at Jay teasing Ace.


He better hope he doesn’t come down with anything any time soon, because Ace will be only too happy to return the favour when it’s Jays turn to take some bad tasting medicine.  Now that he’s learning to give it – Jay better learn how to take it too.


The Most Stubborn October 19, 2016

I am no stranger to stubborn people.  It runs deep in my blood.  It runs in my fathers blood and ran in my grandfathers blood.


With that in mind …


Whose son decided that he was no longer going to eat any real food because we made a rule in our home that each child would wash their own plate and cup after they ate and he doesn’t like to wash plates or cups?  Whose son gets really angry when he’s hungry and STILL did not eat anything because he didn’t want to wash a plate or a cup?   Whose son spent DAYS eating nothing but cheese balls straight out of its tub and cereal bars out of their wrappers and getting progressively more and more difficult to deal with?

Mine did.  🙂


(It took us a few days to figure out what was going on and what the root of his “lack of appetite and misery” was.)


Even with all the stubbornness that I have known in my life – and I have known a lot – I have never known someone who would stop eating in protest of dish washing.  Not in protest of washing the family’s dishes and some pots.  Oh no.  In protest of washing ONE plate and ONE cup.


On one hand, I think it’s great that he’s so strong-willed.  I don’t want children who will let other people walk all over them.  But can we all agree that this is a bit much and he’s taking it too far?  I mean, come on.  He seriously may be the most stubborn person I’ve ever known, and that’s saying a lot.


We had to put our foot down and get a little stern with him.  He is now back to eating proper meals and washing his plate.

He’s back to being happy and chatty.



I swear, these kids challenge everything I ever thought I knew about parenting.  I could have never predicted things like this.  Anyone who goes into it, thinking they have an idea about what parenting will be like, is sorely mistaken.  They don’t tell you about things like this is parenting books.