Thursday, June 2, 2011


I was born today, in 1964, at that time who would ever had thought of facebook, twitter, Ipad, Ipod, Gmail / email / Wii / XBOX 360 / podcasts / blogs or any of the miriade of "time saving" things that are around us every day.

I tell you that being part of this technical revolution has bees a sobering And inspiring time. Who would have thought that I would have a blog or that I would have 7 great tech savvy kids that do not help me with my "bloggings". Not that I need them, I have tried to keep up with most of the big leaps in the tech world, mostly thanks to my listening to podcasts, The other major benifit has been my increase in my Catholic faith by listening to so many great catholic podcasts, they helped me stay sane & faithFULL at my last job. Now I find myself short on listening time and I need to increase it, I plug my player into my car but there are not alot of 20 minute pod casts. I recently took 6 days to listen to a 54 minute podcast from Catholic Answers on my commute.

Don't worry I will figure this out and I will always be there for those that matter to me the most.

Peace and mercy to all that read this and,

Jesus I trust in you.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


My fellow New Yorkers. S2524 the "Health Reproductive Act" is moving through the NY lesislature. Please contact your legislator and the gov, and strongly oppose this bill. It will basically say that all abortions including partial birth abortions like the ones in Philly are protected by state law. It also undermines conscience laws in place for doctors and other health providers. And it will remove the stipulation that a licenced doctor has to preform the killing of a child by allowing any health "practitioner" the ability (that means to get payment, and that is what it is all about) to kill your child "prior to viability". It will say that it is discriminatory to favor child birth over abortion. So say good bye to Inner city pre natal heath care and any support to "teen pregnancy" birth alternatives. We need to stop this bill NOW so contact Gov Cuomo ( an alleged catholic) and your local representative now.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dinner gymnastics

Meal time with Autistic kids can be amazing. Luckily my kids are not allergic to any foods, yes some have a little lactose intolerance inherited from Mom, but for the most part they can eat anything. Not saying they will eat anything but we can hope. Now I would not classify myself as a full on foodie, but I have been known to make some interesting dishes that would challenge any Iron Chef in the neighborhood. I had some real nice venison cutlets that I made into venison parm, and they ate it. Every once in a while I will make what I call "Chicken ala Daddy" And depending on what ingredients I have available that can be anything from a basic chicken & veg dish, pasta dish on the stove top to a stew, or something else. Now Peter has some eclectic food tastes, he will eat a whole cheese pizza, delivered or Digornio, if we could afford it he would eat pizza for every meal, and snack too. Now we have a "sit down" dinner every night, for the majority of the family, and what I mean is we some times have an issue with getting all of the "little guys" staying at the table. This is not a huge issue, and can lead to some fun times and some harder times. One thing that I have done with mostly good success is to pretend to call one of their teachers, this usual results in the boys eating their dinner and me deleting alot of voice mails at work, but it is worth it.
Now that the twins are 7 we are trying to hold them to a little more stringent manners routine, saying God Bless You, and  excuse me for the appropriate bodily function if you know what I mean. Well the other day we were eating dinner and Nate was eating like a champ, he usually does real well, and he started talking with food in his mouth, and being the "good" dad that I am trying to be I said stop talking with food in your mouth. to which he responded to me by looking at me, putting his hands up and signing something to me. Now these kids have learned signing since they were 2 and I am sure he was actually telling me something but I just fell off my chair as did Lynn. We then spent the next 30 minutes trying to determine how much sign language our kids knew and if they were able to talk about us behind out back. The jury is still out on that one.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A day at 2 dentists, plus 1.

I have bad teeth, not Austin Powers bad, but not something to write the tooth fairy about. I dropped a filling mid Autumn and had not been able to schedule a visit to get it filled. Just plain lazy, no excuses. But around Thanksgiving I felt an abscess starting to move in to the neighborhood, and one day it just kind of expanded my face on the left side. I was not able to see my dentist at that time because he was on vacation, so I called my primary doc and got a prescription for an antibiotic, which knocked it out real fast. So Christmas came and went as did New Years . So on MLK day 2 of my older kids had had dentist appointments and I was able to jump in and get a quick xray and he said we can save the tooth with a root canal. I said ok and scheduled it for today, and took the whole day off because Jake also had a dentist appointment in the afternoon for another cap on one of his baby teeth.

So I got tot the dentist office at 10:50 am and went right in, the assistant numbed my gum for the Novocain shots. Now as a kid we never had Novocain for our dental work and actually it really raised my pain tolerance, so even though I have been opting for Novocain for the past 13 years I still use the techniques learned as a kid. Now as I was laying there waiting to be numb I was reflecting to myself that the dentist office really has not changed in the 40 odd years that I have been going. More on that later. When the doctor finally came in I knew the numbing would not last for the balance of the visit, I could feel the adjacent teeth starting to come back to life about 20 minutes in. So I just kept my eyes closed, said some prayers, should have put my mp3 player on, maybe next time and reflected on life.

I got home around 1 pm and we started to get Jake ready for his visit. I made sure I had my Ipod Touch in my pocket for Jake and Lynn and I loaded him in the car and we headed to a pediatric dentist office up the Northway. Now Jake is autistic ans is mainly non verbal and when we pulled into the parking lot he started his "all done" mantra, which lasted until we left. Now we went through check in and "pre op" with the nurse in a private room, we opted for sedation with him since he would be uncooperative to say the least, we attempted to get him to drink the meds which he immediately spit out all over himself, Lynn and me. The doc came back in about 20 minutes later and administered the med through poor Jake's nose. Well he did not like that but it worked and about 5- 1 minutes later we were ready. So off we went to the room where he would get his work done. In this room we had 3 nurses and the doc, we laid Jake on the chair an they put him in a big blue velcro cocoon, to immobilize him for the procedure, the deep pressure helps to keep him calm along with the meds. After about 15 minutes they had sealed his teeth, and were about to cap his bad tooth, through out the procedure Jake was alternately crying and laughing, scrape squirt cry, drill drill laugh. Also they placed a rubber suction plate in his mouth that not only did the suction it also kept his mouth open with out too much extra assistance, my jaw is still a little sore from this mornings oral gymnastics. It seemed like it could have been a dentist office on the Enterprise, shiny, gleaming instruments, nurses in color coordinated uniforms, the doc in a polo shirt with his name on it, fancy head gear and tools. Beam me up. Now earlier this month I took our youngest Nate up there for some small cavities, he is also on the spectrum (PDD-NOS) but he did not need the restraints and used laughing gas for his procedure. His big thing was he needed to look at the instrument before the doc could use it on him, and he giggled through the entire visit as well.  And when he was finished he said, this is a direct quote from Nate, "Thanks Dr Awesome!!" And that was that.

I know many people my age don't like going to the dentist but I wonder... if we went to a pediatric dentist when we were their age would things be different?  And were there many pediatric dentists around in the 70's? And where were they???

Friday, December 10, 2010

Advent ponderings

"Prepare the way of the Lord!"  Depending on where you are at in time this phrase could have multiple meanings, The head of the house, the lord of the manor, the king of the country. For the past 2000 years it has a more significant meaning. In a little town a boy was born. His coming was foretold for many many years. But the people did not notice.

Some people in power were watching for Him, and thought they would set a trap. But he slipped through their fingers, and His parents found their way to a strange country, and there they hid. After a while they came back home, and the rest as they say is history. I am sure they had wonderful birthdays, nice simple little family get togethers, simple food, simple gifts. with always enough to go around.

Now when I look on how things are now I wish, hope, and pray that my kids will understand a nice simple little Christmas. Now when we were first married we did not have alot.. of kids that is... or money for that fact, but we were able to make gifts for all of our family by hand, we took inexpensive plastic wine glasses and filled them with candy. We made picture frames, and I foud an artist fungus ( I was working in the field at that time) and I traced an animal on it. But now after years of "rich" Christmases we are about to hit one that will have to be a simple one.

I guess I could rage, rage, against the machine. But I don't think so. Now having 7 kids this is going to be a minor miracle for us to pull off. But I have faith that we will be able to keep everything going. Don't judge me because we are fortunate to have 4 of our 7 kids on the Autism spectrum and will be able to "fool" them with small gifts in big boxes. We will be scouring the used bins are our favorite video game store, and we will probably be burning mix cd's of their favorite kids tunes in my ITunes library. But this leaves us in a bind for our older typical kids, but I guess the older 2 will be happy to have tuitions paid or cosigned for for the next semester. Ok I am going to rant not but rage against the machine a little here. Colleges cost too much. There I said it, also FAFSA is a joke. I mean my wife and I are making a fantastic living according to the Federal Government, and according to their messed up calculations we are able to afford 20,000 dollars plus for our 2 oldests kids to attend the colleges of their choices. Now we will never deny our kids the choice of the school they want to attend, heck I went to one of the most expensive schools out there for Forestry.

Well I guess I have babbled on for long enough... As this advent season progresses please remember that Christmas begins on December 25.

Friday, November 26, 2010


For my friends who follow me on Face Book you saw my post about what I am thankful for, my God, my wife, my kids, my family, & my country in that order. And it is the truth. Also I posted pics of what I was cooking there.

Our day of thanks was full of lots of fun, cooking, caring and sharing. We were blessed with having all 7 of our kids at home (for most of the day). Turkey went into the oven a little late but it was fully defrosted and I did not have to give it multiple cold water baths before popping it into the oven.  Now I had forgotten to pick up my supply of Bell's Seasonings  which I use for every turkey I cook so the improv was on.... fortunately I had a different seasoning packet available which I used for the bird & the gravy stock. Next came the sweet potatoes & apples, then the stuffing, and then the green bean casserole. Now my wonderful wife had made the final grocery dash on Wednesday but was unable to find any cranberry sauce... don't worry we got the last 2 cans from our local convenience store, but she did pick up a bag of fresh cranberries, and I actually made home made cranberry sauce. In the mean time my youngest daughter made 2 cheese cakes and I had made a blueberry crumb pie the night before, so dessert was covered. All through the cooking Peter kept coming into the kitchen and announcing "Happy Thanksgiving, is the turkey ready? "  So then I made the rolls and Lynn made the mashed potatoes ( I do not make mashed potatoes as good as she does) and the bird was ready! I set it on the platter to rest under the turkey tent and I went to making gravy. Get the table ready and lets eat. Well let me tell you this was one extra special and fun Thanksgiving, great food, fun dinner conversation, lots of laughter.

Now I have to wonder how long this will last. 1, 2, 3 more years. It kind of sucks when your kids grow up. They don't seem to need you any more. But that means we did our job right... right?

And the answer to that is a resounding YES! I am VERY, VERY, VERY, proud and thankful for my older children. In this world where your kids are lured and swayed by so many outside influences, I am happy to report that my older kids keep surprising me with how "good" they are. Let's just say my wife and I (to a small extent) have done well. And for that I am really, really, thankful.

I love that my self taught cooking skills and the ones passed on to me from my Mom, Grammy, & my Dad, can be used to bring my family to the table to enjoy what the Creator has made possible.

God bless all of you that read this. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh yeah we are wired differently

As I check the latest news on the web I come across a headline that grabs my attention...."Gene associated with Autism may alter how brain functions".

WOW!!!!! Glad the scientific world is catching up with the parents in this instance. I know that seems a little bitter but as most of us on the inside of Autism know our kids have are wired differently than our "neuro-typical" kids.

Now this gene is present in many people through out the world that do not show signs of ASD but may have had some other learning issues through out their lives.

Ok I am done venting, so let's look a little closer at what the gene actually does. The CNTNAP2 gene is the gene that is associated with a higher risk of ASD, but it also ADHD, Tourette's, Schizophrenia, and other language issues. Now in the frontal lobe the brain functions that reside there are motor skills, language recognition and other learning functions. What the study is showing is the frontal lobe may be"over wired".  I guess that this could lead to sensory and information overload on a scale that we can not imagine, and that our kids can not explain. Which would be an explanation regarding some of the meltdowns we see.

Now that we have some confirmation to what we have always expected how can we use this information to bring our children out of their shells, what new methods of teaching can we learn from them to help them to adjust to our world with out retreating into theirs. One way that is available to us in this day and age is the technology advances that are available to us. The computer and it's close relations ( Ipod, Ipad, PDA, Gameboys et al) are proving to be a great way for our kids to learn and communicate with us. My 9 year old is currently using a web based typing program from the BBC called Dance Mat Typing . It is free on the web and teaches them in a very soft way on using proper keyboarding techniques. This is a great way for our kids to learn to put on "paper" what they are thinking. Another great tool that we have found is the IPod Touch, you may think that this is just a fancy music player that can play games, and yes it is that and so much more. Now the wonderful people at have developed applications for use on the touch screen hand held devices that are changing PECS programs with their application IPrompts, you can create your own picture stories, choice tables, schedules, and countdown programs to assist you child in learning their routine, making and communicating their choices, and much more. We purchased it for our "1st" grader for his school IPod Touch. Another great function we have found with this tool is the ability to use it to redirect and entertain our kids on long car trips, you can and I have down loaded feature length films and TV episodes for a fairly reasonable price at the ITunes store.  A word of caution here for your ITunes store account, make sure you are using a password that the kids do not know or can figure out, otherwise you may find receipts in your email for all the seasons of their favorite TV show.

Now with the current pace of technology I am very hopeful regarding the future of our kids and how we can help them adapt to our world much easier than they ever were able to in the past.