Living with an Aspie: So happy…

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A rare moment caught on camera while we were just talking. I don’t even remember what about.

So, Spencer has been sick. For most of the month of December he seemed like his was going through one thing or another. As a result, he was acting out A LOT. He handled changes with even less flexibility than usual. He threw fits at the slightest provocation or response in a way he didn’t want. It was a little rough. We honestly were going a little bit nuts wondering where our little boy who had been doing so well had gone.

We’ve figured it out. He was SICK for most of the month of December and he got to totally thrown off of any routine we had had when school let out for Christmas and his uncles came to visit. So, it would seem that all of those thing combined in it a perfect storm for meltdowns and acting out.

We only realized all this after the first week of school finished. To start the week, we moved to an 8am church meeting time, and he did wonderfully well. He is at his most cooperative in the morning. Then, he proceeded to have the most AWESOME week at school. His teachers told me everyday what a good day he had.

We are so happy to have Spencer back, and we are looking forward to continuing to teach him. He didn’t regress over Christmas at all. It was just a reaction to all the insanity that illness and holidays can bring. We are looking into getting him into a social skills class so he can learn more skills and hopefully keep them up over the summer when we don’t have school to count on for his extra practice.

Funny thing about Spencer and photos: To get a smile out of this boy, you often have to tell him HIS knock knock joke.

Knock Knock
Whose there?
Reggie.
Reggie Who?
Reggie Jackson!

Why he thinks this is funny we don’t know, but he thought of it and thinks it is absolutely hilarious.

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Choose the Right

Tonight, we were talking about choosing the right, since Spencer got his first CTR ring at church today. This is how his conversation with Dad went:

Dad: Spencer, how do you choose the right
Spencer: Like this ::points to his right with a rather matter of factly::

It was hilarious!

Living with Chiari: 2 years later

Thinking about what has happened to me and the changes that have happened really makes me wonder how much my life was really effected by my Chiari. As a quick overview here are some things that have happened since my surgery.

  • I got pregnant and was for 9 months
  • Had the baby
  • Lost 58 pounds (or 33 if you don’t count the baby weight)
  • Started exercising regularly, by RUNNING
  • Ran a 5K
  • Started training for a 10K

It is a really big deal that I got pregnant and didn’t have any complication during pregnancy. That was one of the firs things my neurosurgeon asked me about at my year and a half follow up. Although, I did have a slight vision weirdness that landed me at my neurologist’s office and the ophthalmologist’s office near the end of my pregnancy. But we all decided to wait and see if it got better after I had the baby and it did.

Anyway, I did some more MRI’s and they show that they syrinx in my spinal cord has almost completely disappeared, which is excellent news. As a result, I don’t really have the tingling my hands that I was starting to have prior to the surgery, and my spinal fluids are flowing correctly now. 🙂

If you would have told me anytime before I started running that I would actually enjoy it and crave exercise, I would have told you that you were a little bit nuts. I loathed exercising ESPECIALLY running. I always felt like it was a major punishment, and perhaps it really was considering my brain’s situation. I am extremely grateful for my new found enjoyment.

Life is looking really great, and I’m so grateful we were able to do something about my Chiari and for the skilled surgeons who were able to help me.

December Round Up

Our December was awesome until we got sick
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On December 1 went to Chickasha to see the lights like we do every year. It was crazy since it was only in the 60s. We had light jackets for the boys and that was it. We are used to having to bundle up with scarves, hats and gloves. We also went to Dairy Queen, since Chickasha has the closest one to us.

UntitledDuring December, Spencer has an elf friend named Christopher Popinkins who comes to visit. He’s a hide and seek elf like the elf on the shelf but MUCH less creepy looking. Spencer LOVES getting to find him every morning. It was such a fun thing to do every day.

Matthew, darling boy, mastered sitting up this month. We thought he would have learned to crawl by Christmas since he was really trying, but he hasn’t done that yet. He gave us a break in his teething until shortly before Christmas. And now he has got one of his canine teeth and has 5 teeth and is working on 6. Matthew LOVES to eat. We’ve nicknamed him Chow Hound. He seems to like everything we’ve ever given him to try. He’s reacted most negatively to avocado (Spencer’s fav as a baby) and most positively to Oatmeal baby cereal and applesauce.Untitled

The weekend of December 8th, Adam and I pawned the boys off on my parents and a friend of ours (later in the night since my parents had a party to be at), and went to a Lord of the Rings Extended edition marathon. We watched all 3 movies from 10am to 11pm. We had an hour between each movie. It was along day but a great day.

UntitledAlas, that’s about when we started getting sick. Spencer started the weekend of the 8th with yucky puffy eyes and just kept being sick until a few days after Christmas when Matthew started. Adam and I got it shortly after that. As of January 6, we are just getting to the tail end of all the sick.

The next weekend was my birthday! So, for Friday night dinner, we treked everyone down to the south side of town to my favorite Mexican restaurant. The next day, I completed my first 5K run and finished the Couch to 5K program. Then, Adam as a birthday present to me, sent me off to get my hair cut and a mani-pedi while he hung out with the kids and cleaned the house for me. It was awesome. That night, we went over to a friend’s house to play our favorite board game, Arkham Horror, dressed as our investigators. Crazy fun!

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In the above pictures, Adam is dress as Wilson Richards, the Handy Man.  I am Ursula Downs, the explorer.  Then a few minutes after being admitted into our friends house, Justin comes knocking on the door dress was Ashcan Pete, the drifter, with his dog Duke (he’s really named Pugsley though).  🙂  In the group picture, you also see Jaidi dressed as Kate Winthrop, the scientist.  She even has her white coat labeled as Miskatonic University where Kate works.  Justin and Jaidi’s kids even had their blankets draped over their heads like the cloak of a cultist.   It was pretty fun.

The next week was crazy for us. On the 18th, Spencer had his very first Christmas program. We were so nervous how it would turn out. And it turned out about like we expected. He was completely over stimulated (so much noise, too bright lights and a little pressure) and didn’t want to sing. He cried and hide and basically threw a fit. Adam actually calmed him down enough to get him to go on stage for the last 2 songs (with Adam) but not sing. I know Spencer knew the words and the actions. His teachers told me on the days that he surprised them and actually sang with the class.

UntitledOn the 20th of December, Adam basically left us to spend the next 3 days rehearsing and performing the Joy to the World choir concert. Thursday night, he went to the South Stake Center to rehearse from 6 to 10 with Craig Jessop for the first time. The next day, they were at the Civic Center Music Hall for their “dress rehearsals” from 2 to 5 and then from 6 to 10. They preformed 2 shows on Saturday. It was an amazing experience that was very well received by the community.

My brothers and their wives came on Saturday, and we had a great week with them. Christmas was really great, and we had a wonderful time hanging out together.  there were lots of pictures taken, but they made it all the way back to Provo before anyone thought to do anything with them.  So, those will have to be a separate post.

We’ve had a great month, an awesome year and are excited to see what 2013 holds for us.

A Year in Board Gaming – Mage Knight, 2013.1

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So, I’m going to attempt something ambitious this year. I will write a session report of all our board game plays that we have this year. I normally don’t write these or log my plays on boardgamegeek.com which has an extensive database of just that from thousands of people. I will cross post these there, but my main motivation will simply be to keep track of everything we play.

I know this won’t be of much value to anyone who visits our blog, and that’s ok. Our blog is just as much a historical record of our family as much as an information portal for others to the goings-on of the Jeppson clan. Board games have become very important for Jessica and I as a couple. They have moved on from simply a means of entertainment and a way to pass to time. Now, we learn about each other through them. We work together on common goals in some games. We learn how to better engage in conflict with each other. And we simply, well, learn together. Well-designed games will teach you something. Whether it be math, economics, game-theory, or whatever, we are learning together, and that is wonderful.

Ok, so our first game of the year was Mage Knight on Jan. 4.

Continue reading A Year in Board Gaming – Mage Knight, 2013.1

4 years old and 6 months old for nearly a month!

So, I’ve been a little bit of a slacker about getting these things posted and getting pictures taken of my darling boys, but with the help of my mom and my husband.  I was able to get some good pictures of both boys over a couple weeks.

4yoShare1 Let’s start with the big ole birthday boy Spencer.  He turned 4 this month!!  It’s seems to crazy that I have a 4 year old, but I do.  He is crazy funny, and sometimes a little frustrating.  He is the best big brother and most of the time his a great helper for his mommy.

Some important things that have happened to Spencer this last year:

  • He learned how to use the potty. Yeah!
  • He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome
  • He became a big brother
  • He rode a roller coaster for the first time
  • He started school (Pre-Pre-K)

His 4 year old well child check up results:

  • Height: 3’8″ (44 inches) – 99%
  • Weight: 40.6 lbs – 82%

4yoShare3 We recently did a little interview.  Here are his answers:

What is your name: Spencer
How old are you? (holds up 4 fingers and after some prodding) 4
What is your favorite color? slimy things (our most recent batch of slime is green, but I’m pretty sure his favorite color is orange).
Who is your best friend? Nehemiah (a new friend from school)
Favorite animal? sheep
What do you want to be when you’re all grown up? a dragon
What is your favorite movie? [Curious] George, the show not the movie. The George movie is scary.
What is your favorite book? the dragon book (not sure what book this is, but I’m pretty sure his favorites are Curious George books).
What makes you happy? Curious George
What makes you sad? the spinning thing at Crest (a Christmas inflatable that has a spinning bar type thing)
What is your favorite food? sandwich (plain peanut butter with not jelly or crust, cut into 2 rectangles or triangles)
What is your favorite song? a pretend song (he’s not really a fan of singing or other singing. But has been making up nonsense songs that entertain Matthew)
What games do you like? the teleporter one (It’s called Jetpacks. He also is rather good at Bad Piggies and Where’s my Water)

Here’s some pictures from his birthday:

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He got a marble track which is LOVES and some Imaginets (shaped magnets that you build pictures out of).  He also got plenty of clothes, but we were trying to only get him a couple toys that we knew he’d like and actually play with.  It seems to have worked this time.

Now on to my little cutie, Matthew.  He’s six months only now.  It’s  a little crazy how he just fits and it seems like he’s always been here.  When I think about the time before we had Matthew, it almost feels like something is missing, ALMOST.  It wasn’t at that point, but anyway.

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At six months, Matthew is a really happy kid. Some important things that have happened to him recently:

  • He’s learned how to roll over
  • He prefers to sleep on his tummy
  • He loves to jump in his jumper or play in his exersaucer
  • He LOVES to eat. We like to call him a Chow Hound
  • His favorite foods include: Pears, Bananas, Sweet Potato, Oatmeal and Momma Milk
  • Started November with no teeth, but finished it with 4!

Matthew’s Six Month Statics
Height: 28 inches – 92%
Weight: 19lbs 1/2oz – 75%
Head size: 43.5 cm – 50%

And for the best part. More pictures of the little cutie.
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I thought this would be interesting to see side by side. Brothers. Aren’t they cute?
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Board Game Geek Convention!

Adam and I were fortunate enough to be able to drive down to Dallas the week before Thanksgiving attend to attend the annual Board Game Geek Convention (BGG Con).  What does one DO at a board game convention.  Well, you play board games!  Lots of board games.  Not like Yahtzee or Parcheesi or anything like that.  We played games like ones that have already made appearances on the blog.  🙂  I’ll give you a synopsis of our trip and the games we played.  But I will tell you, we had the best time, and would love to be able to go back next year.

Day 1, Thursday November 15
First, on our way down, we ALWAYS stop at Dairy Queen since the closest one to us is at least an hour away.  We miss Dairy Queen.  It reminds us of our dating and newly wed days in Rexburg.

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When we got to the hotel, it was too early to check into our room. So we went and checked into the convention, and we each were given 4 games from the prize shelves. Thank goodness we had a car that we could deposit those games in and so we could look around free of the burden of carrying games.

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We then went into the main gaming room.

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And found a players needed flag and were taught how to play Hoo Yah! It wasn’t our favorite game, but it wasn’t bad. The interesting thing about this game was the man who taught it never looked at me (Jessica) while explaining the rules. EVERYTHING was directed at Adam. He seemed a little shocked every time I spoke or had a question or idea. He got used to me by the end, but it was a little funny.

Game: Hooyah!
Result: WIN
Played by: Marvin, Chris, Adam and Jessica

After a break to check into our room and take care of nursing momma business, we played Argicola: All Creatures Great and Small.

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This is a two player game, so it was just us. We got the game from the library, and sat down at a table to learn the rules since Adam was already kinda familiar with them. We bought this game at the Con. It’a good one, we ended up buying it.

Game: Argicola
Result: Adam: 47 Jessica: 32
Played by: Us

After that we were a little hungry and didn’t want to brave the traffic (we were at an airport hotel and there was TONS of construction). So, we hopped on the shuttle that was proved to take people to off-site restaurants and such. There was quite a humorous conversation on the trip out about how gamers would make better city players than actually city planners. But we reached the conclusion that using the starvation strategy would probably be a little harsh, and perhaps we should stick to worker placement games. 🙂

After dinner, back on the bus, we ran into another couple, Scott and Susan, we rode out with. They turned out to be from Oklahoma City as well. And we had a nice conversation. We went to the library and got Dungeon Lords and the new expansion we were excited to try. But we ran into Scott and Susan and ended up teaching them how to play Dungeon Lords. It was great fun. Dungeon Lords is just fun, but a bit complicated alone without adding the expansion into it. Only a little bummed we didn’t get to play that. It’s always more fun to play with more people when you can.

Game: Dungeon Lords
Played by: Scott, Susan, Adam and Jessica
Results: Adam and Susan tied for the win, Jessica and Scott were so pitful it didn’t merit recording their scores.

That was our last game for the day, and we went to bed.

Day 2, Friday, November 16th

We woke up rather leisurely, and that was great for us not having kids wake us up. We left and went out to breakfast and to visit the Dallas Ikea. It’s a good thing we took Adam’s car and didn’t have room to bring home some of the stuff I was eying.

We got back in time to do a couple things. We attended the Escape Experience where we learned how to play Escape! and get a chance to win some cool stuff.

Game: Escape
Played by Adam, Jessica and 3 other people
Result: WIN

And then we headed up to grab our Arkham Horror game and set up for our epic 7 player game of Arkham. We were teaching 2 people and 2 of our players had dropped out and we were down to expecting 5. Well, we had two players wander by and ask to play too. AWESOME!

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Now this is not a short game with 4 people. With 7, it should have taken around 4 to 5 hours to play. It took us 2. It was the EASIEST game of Arkham we have ever played. It was a little ridiculous. Everyone was getting the rolls they needed and beating everything.

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Game: Arkham Horror
Played by: Shawn, Gerry, Jessica, Clint, Ken, Gordon and Adam
Result: WIN

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After grabbing something to eat, we found some one with a players needed flag and learned how to play Courtier and Love Letter from another Scott. I enjoyed both games, but don’t think we’ll be adding them t

o our collection soon. Well, maybe Love Letter. It’s a really easy filler game to cleanse the palate between games.

Game: Courtier (2x)
Played by Scot, Adam and Jessica
Results: Scot 1 win, Adam 1 win

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After that, we ventured into the Hot Games room. This is the room where the latest games that have been released are always set up with people teaching how to play them. In here, we played a very pretty gam

e called Tokadio. It’s a track game, and you’re trying to make it to the end of the track making as many stops as you can. It was fun. The people we played with were hard to understand, but I won!!

Game Tokaido
Played by Mirasol, Steven, Adam and Jessica
Result: Jessica -83 Adam – 82

After a quick breather and dinner at Applebees (after which we swore we would not leave the airport in our car during rush hour again!) We went browsing the games library and found one of our favorite games, Lord of the Rings PLUS an expansion, Friends and Foes, we’ve been wanting to try. We checked it out, grabbed a players wanted sign and went about setting it up. We got two players, Erik and other Adam (as he was called later on), and had a very pleasant time teaching them how to play and getting beaten down by Sauron. In the end, all the Hobbits died and Sam (the last hobbit left) made it halfway through Shlob’s Lair by himself.

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Game: The Lord of the Rings
Expansion: Friends and Foes
Adam: Sam
Erik: Frodo
Jessica: Merry
Other Adam: Pippin
Result: Lost

After our grim defeat, we called it a night.

Day 3, Saturday November 17th

We got up pretty early, had breakfast and made a new friend in the process. Alas, I don’t remember his name, but he was by himself behind us in line for the breakfast buffet. We invited him to come sit with us when we got a table so he could get to the flea market in a decent amount of time too.

After breakfast, we went to the flea market. WOW! That was a mass of people and lots of money changing hands quickly. We found a couple games of some friends, and we were done there.

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Stashing their stuff in our car, we then wandered into the main game room and found a couple poeple looking for players. We play 3 games with them.

The first was called Bohnanza. It’s basically a trading and collecting game. Adam did not like this game at all. He doesn’t like bidding games like that at all.

Game: Bohnanza
Players:
Kate 12
Elisa 17
Ian 16
Jessica 15
Adam 13

Then Kate left, and we player Shadows over Camelot. It’s a crazy memory game. Not my strong suit right now, and it doesn’t work out well when someone is SUPPOSED to the a traitor. We did end up winning though. 🙂

Game: Shadows Over Camelot
Players:
Elisa: Traitor
Ian
Jessica
Adam
Results: Win

Lastly, we played Love Letter a few times. It’s a small card game where you are constantly trying to find the princess or a roll that is higher than yours. It’s pretty fun. Very short, very fast.

Love Letter
Ian won 2 games
Elisa won 1 game
Adam won 1 game
Jessica won 0 games

After that we had our 2 hours shift working in the game library. It was SO much fun. I loved being able to talk with people about what they were checking in and out. There were a few people who actually benefited from me knowing about a game. 🙂 We even ended up having to sort out a game that got mixed with it’s expansion. It was a really fast two hours, and it was great fun.

This is a shot of one side of the games library. It was amazing how many games there were.
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When I shift ended, we decided to eat relatively big lunch/dinner so we didn’t have to worry about it during the prize giveaway later.

After lunch/dinner, we got the game The Road to Canterbury. I was not a fan. I think I just didn’t really like the theme of it and the mechanics were just weird to me. This just wasn’t my game. Adam had read the rules before, but wasn’t extremely well versed, so we were kind of learning on the fly and that didn’t make things any easier for me liking the game.

The point of the game is for us to tempt travelers making their way to Canterbury with on of the Seven deadly sins. Your goal is to get sinners to sin themselves to death, but you can forgive a sinners sins along the way (but you really only do it to give yourself a tactical advantage). In the end, I did win. Woo! I’m the best tempter… ::reads sarcastically::

Game: The Road to Canterbury
Adam: 131
Jess: 132 <–win

After that, we were both in a sour mood. So I went to pick out a “light” game to wash the bad taste out of our mouths. I came back with Yggdrasil, not a light game. But we were both a little more enthused about it since we’d played it on iOS before and felt like we could handle it.

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As we were setting up, Other Adam (from the LOTR game the night before) ran into us, and we asked him if he wanted to join. He agreed and we played. We had to pause mid game for the awards and giveaway, during which we didn’t win anything, and we thought we had things well in hand when one of the Enemy Norse Gods moved across a threshold we weren’t paying attention to, and we very suddenly and anticlimactically lost.

Game: Yggdrasil
Players: Adam, Jessica and Other Adam
Result: LOSS

After we cleaned up this game, Other Adam brought out a game called Coup which is similar to Love Letter in that you have a role card and you are trying to be the last person standing. The difference is you have to use money to do things instead of the influence of the person on your card.

Game: Coup
Players: Adam, Jessica and Other Adam
Result: Adam 1 and Other Adam 1

After this game, Adam and I went and got Taluva. We headed up to the room so I could take care of Mommy-type business while Adam learned the rules. It’s a fairly simple game so it didn’t take long. Then we took it back down the main gaming room, grabbed a players needed sign, and started setting up. We got two other people to play with us, Linda and Norman.

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Taluva is a tile laying and a space crowding game. You lay out a tile and then expand your settlements. The cool thing about this game is that you get to build up as well as out. The goal is to lay out a certain number of certain types of buildings. The game ends when one person has placed 3 of their temples. Linda beat us all.

Game: Taluva
Players: Adam, Jessica, Linda and Norman
Results: Linda 1
Adam 2
Jessica 3
Norman 4

We cleaned everything up and then grabbed Samurai and headed back up the room to play in the quiet. Samurai is a game about laying out influence around an island to gain rice patties, Buddhas or towers. In the end, I won by ONE rice patty! It’s a fun little strategy game. I liked it.

Game: Samurai
Players: Adam and Jessica
Results: Jessica, by one rice patty!

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Sunday, November 18th

The next day, we returned the game and headed back to reality. It was a great way to spend a few days doing our favorite thing. We will be going back. It was pretty awesome.

Here’s what we ended our trip with game-wise. We bought a few games while we were there too. 😉

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