Saturday, June 30, 2007

Eight Things and a Whole Lot of Taggin'

Alpha Dogma tagged me with this 8 things meme. Eight things about me. Facts or habits. Hmmm...that's a bit vague for me, but I will give it my best shot. And, being the rule follower that I am (unlike AD), I will post the rules for you now.
  1. Each player lists 8 facts or habits about themselves.

  2. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before the list of 8.

  3. At the end of the post, the person tags 8 people, then going to comment on their blog, letting them know they've been tagged.
Eight facts or habits (habits?) about myself:
  1. I was a four sport athlete in high school (volleyball, basketball, track, softball). I'm now a chubby-sometimes-to-the-gym mom who wishes she still worked out three hours a day (NOT!). Okay, who still wishes she looks like she did when she worked out three hours a day.

  2. I make great pie. Good enough, that perhaps I could even entice AD, who claims to not like pie.

  3. I like lists. I am enjoying this one right now. I make lists when we go somewhere. Lists for groceries, meal plans, goals, to do lists, you name it. I enjoy them.

  4. My one year old is crying right now, from the TV room (gated in). I've gated him in so that the dog can eat without the one year old's "help". I have a laptop with wireless, but I sit up here on my desktop because I also don't want his "help".

  5. My husband sleeps in EVERY weekend. I know that's not about me, but the fact that he sleeps in means that I get up with the kids 7 days a week. When I point that out and suggest a trade every now and then, he smiles. But does not say yes. We have traded a total of 5 times in 4 years. That's 5 mornings out of 1460.

  6. I drive a white mini van. I didn't fight it. I like driving my white mini van. We call it Vanna White.

  7. I make a whole pot of coffee every morning and drink one cup. Some mornings two, if the first cup has gotten cold before I finished it.

  8. I don't mow the lawn. Ever.
Okay. Now the tagging. Problem being that I believe Beck tagged almost every blog I read. I will stretch here, quickly too because now the one year old is chucking stuff over the gate. He's not a happy camper.
  1. Michelle at Big Blueberry Eyes

  2. Jacque at Jacque's Place

  3. Nikki at Random Things

  4. Stacey at Fit for Florida

  5. Mimi on the Breach

  6. Swistle

  7. Brady's Mom at Brady's Bunch

  8. Julie at Busy Kids
So this was a pretty easy exercise until the tagging bit. Eight didn't seem like much until then. Now on to tagging people at their blogs. Whew! I think I'll have that second cup of coffee now! The one year old is now happily eating cereal in the high chair (in the SAME room as me, very important) and sipping his rice milk. Bee says, "Tag you're it! Ha, ha!"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Decision Time

At 2 weeks

I took my little guy to a dermatologist on Monday morning. He has a mole on his forehead that has grown since birth. When he was born, it was faint and smooth. Now it's quite pronounced and has texture. We decided to get it checked out because we do have skin cancer in the family (not that we thought this was cancerous, but that he is at risk) and because we don't want it to hinder his teenage dating life. Isn't that vain? Are we ridiculous to think we should have this taken off if only for aesthetic reasons?

So we went. She called it a birth mole and said that we could absolutely have it taken off and insurance would probably cover because of minimal risks of skin cancer. We just have to consult a plastic surgeon. Doh! Why did I think she could just lop it off in the office like they do with me?
But that's not the end of it. She says, "And what is this bump on his brow bone?" I say, "I dunno. He bumps his head almost daily." She says, "No, this is a dermoid cyst, it has to be removed. The plastic surgeon can take care of this also."

Crap. So now we have to go to a plastic surgeon. He has to go under general anesthetic. The big decision is whether to have them take only the cyst? Or to do both, since he'll already be out and it's minimally invasive.

Barely there at 2 months

Darker and raised at 12 months
I can't decide. Hubs is on the fence, leaning towards take it off.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged

On Sunday I wrote about wedding receptions and no-fun parents who don't let their kids play.

There is another side. The parents who sit, and do...NOTHING. It happens at every family get-together. This group of boys, whose parents are content to sit by and do...NOTHING, will be playing together (I use that term loosely) and it looks like a professional wrestling match, only more aggressive. The grandparents will occasionally step in and try to calm these boys down, but the parents really don't seem to mind. These kids go at it! They usually have swords or light sabers or some type of weapon to sweeten the match. It's crazy!

This got me thinking. I must just really be judgmental. It is a pet peeve of mine, people who are judgmental. Apparently though, I am.

People who are to protective, strict, etc. with their kids bug me. So do parents who don't discipline, supervise, reign in, etc. their kids. I am tough to please!

With my own kids, I try to do a little of both. Let them be silly, play, laugh...yet display some manners, respect, decorum. When we are out in public, I keep a close eye on my kids. Usually a hand too. We hold hands while in parking lots, on sidewalks, or in stores. Either that, or they are strapped in cart or stroller. I horrify Brenna with stories of people who take home cute kids. Mean, I know. I just want her to be aware.

Places that cater to kids often have aspects that terrify me. Or really gross me out. Ball pits? Climbing tunnels? Swimming pools? All potential for disaster I say. I seem to be on guard at all times, trying to prevent injuries, kidnappings, or death by being aware of my surroundings and my kids at all times. Every good horror story about parenting (and every Lifetime movie) starts with "It was just another day..." Cue the scary music. Like defensive driving, I do defensive parenting. Always on watch for potential disasters.

But I try not hover. I don't want to be super paranoid, but don't want to be neglectful either.

You just can't win! But I keep trying...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Grains of Gratitude

This week what I was most grateful for was TIME. We have been so busy this summer, it seems like every week would pass where we had been out and about every day. This past week, we just stayed home. We spent every afternoon after naps outside (which made for a pretty bleak situation come supper time!), we lazed about in the mornings, the kids enjoyed some R & R. And so did I. I was also able to get a little housework done, which of course has since been destroyed.

Starting tomorrow we have another busy week. Seems like every day we have an appointment that takes us out of the house. That's why I'm so glad that for the week of June 18th, we had plenty of TIME to spend together!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Wedding, Reception, and Reflection

The wedding of hubs' baby sister was held at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Yes, the haunted hotel where Stephen King got the inspiration for The Shining. The 90's mini-series version of The Shining and Dumb and Dumber were both shot at The Stanley. The bride and groom took a haunted tour of the hotel with guests after the reception and stayed in a room in the manor (which is also supposedly very haunted). They are not freaks about ghosts, they just really like the mountains and found the hotel to be beautiful.
Giving away the bride

It was gorgeous. The views were breath taking, the wedding was tear-jerking. They got married outdoors in a gazebo. They had about 20 guests. Family and a couple of close friends. I've never been to such an intimate affair. The reception was a delicious dinner held in the manor at the Stanley. The only bummer would be that we had a 3-year old and 1-year old to keep entertained in the lulls. They did well overall, but are not really groomed for formal dinners at the Stanley Hotel yet. I love my kids, a lot, but they can really ruin a grown-up event, ya know? There were 8 kids there, under the age of 4. Among about 20 adults. The bride and groom wanted it that way, tantrums and all. They plan to have children soon and love their nieces and nephews. They wanted their family with them on this blessed day.

Sippy Cups and Stemware

Last night was the reception here in Omaha. The family met an hour before the reception started to eat together. Then there was a dance. This reception turned out to be such a FUN night. I was dreading it a little. Expecting a repeat of last week with lots of reigning in the kids and embarrassment over their manners. I was so wrong. It was one of those receptions where the adults all loosened up with free keg beer and the music was loud and kids ran around and danced by the dozens. We fit right in! My kids had such a good time and we stayed until about 10:30. Mason konked out in my lap around 10:00, but Brenna was still going strong when we drug her from the place.

I was so glad that my kids got to experience a night like this. When I was a child, this is how it was. We went everywhere with my parents. My parents didn't often ditch us with a babysitter, but they also did not give up their social life after having us. They took us to the local Legion Club (bar) while they drank with friends, we went to friends' houses while our parents play cards, and we definitely went to a lot of wedding receptions where we ran around and danced way past our bed times while our parents had their own good time.

For now at least, I think my own kids are getting a good taste of childhood. They may have scraped up knees from time to time and be a little tired this morning. Hopefully they will know what it is to really be a kid. And trust their parents to get them home to bed at night. Even if it's not at 7:45. A good night of fun now and then is worth it. I think.
*If any of the comments posted today confuse you, it's because I've taken out a big chunk of this post. The part where I ranted on about snooty parents who don't let their kids have any fun. I realized later (actually just now) that my rant goes against my biggest belief when it comes to parenting. "DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU". I was being harsh and judgmental. Judgmental people suck. I try really hard not to be one. So I've deleted a big chunk of my post that was just that. You didn't miss anything.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More Reasons

Three more reasons why I love summer vacation (This was #1):

#2: B (loudly, looking up at the sky, with her eyes tightly shut): "Thank you, Mr. Sun! Thank you for warming up my [kiddie] pool! I love you, Mr. Sun!!!"

#3: Little Man (loudly, after B finishes loving Mr. Sun): "Ahhhh-Ooooo-Ug! Ba-by! Bubble!! Mo-mmy!!! Digga-Digga-OOOOOO!!!!"

#4: American Pie by Don McLean

It's finally feeling like summer!

ONE Word?!?!

A one word meme. I've been tagged by Jen. Hey, thanks Jen!

1. Where is your cell phone? dunno
2. Relationship? married
3 Your hair? brown
4 Work? teacher
5 Your sister? busy
6 Your favorite things? shoes
7 Your dream last night? random
8 Your favorite drink? beer
9 Your dream car? Cooper
10 The room you're in? messy
11 Your shoes? flip-flops
12 Your fears? death
13 What do you want to be in 10 years? beach
14 Who did you hang out with this weekend? family
15 What are you not good at? assertiveness
16 Muffins? blueberry
17 Wish-list item? dress
18 Where you grew up? rural
19 The last thing you did? read
20 What are you wearing? t-shirt
21 What are you not wearing? goggles
22 Your pet? dog
23 Your computer? desktop
24 Your life? blessed
25 Your mood? even
26 Missing? friend
27 What are you thinking about? meme
28 Your car? van
29 Your kitchen? small
30 Your summer? FAST
31 Your favorite color? blue
32 Last time you laughed? today
33 Last time you cried? Saturday
34 School? August
35 Love? yes
36 Tag? Michelle


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Keeping House - Kids' Rooms

Today we're keeping house in Brenna's room. Herein lies my frustration: it just gets undone. Almost instantly. My cousin suggests just shutting the door, which is EXACTLY what both of our mothers (sisters) did when we were teenagers. The thing is, when their rooms are clean, the kids have so much FUN playing in them. So I do it. And they look good for a minute.

So we took some time and got her room put back together. I had Brenna "help". She gets better at that, the older she gets. When she was younger, when her room would get clean, she'd say, "Look! We have a road!" Meaning, there's actually floor to play on. I always thought that was too cute.

It didn't take long.


I'm working on a daily routine. My friend Heidi suggested this as a 5-year SAHM veteran. I've gotten one actually written and it includes having the kids help me pick up their rooms each night before we go to bed. I know this is not a new idea, but will be new to us. And would help us immensely, if we were to start each day with their rooms clean. They would have ROADS to play on every day!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

As the Clock Ticks

Under the Mad Hat has written a post about anger. And time. And quitting the blog-biz. It's thought provoking for sure.

It's something I was thinking about even before reading her post, but got me thinking further as I read it. She wrote about time and there not being enough of it. And about the blogosphere being a sort of all-encompassing thing that could swallow a person up. I agree.

If it is something I enjoy, I intend to continue doing it. I still feel like keeping this record of our family life will be so fun to look back on when my kids are grown and I can't remember things they said or did. Also fun for them will be reading back about their own childhoods, from their mom's perspective...when they are grown. I think it would be awesome to read my own mother's thoughts from when she was raising us. No such thing exists.

Then there's the reading, the endless reading. That's where the boundaries must exist. I have 12 blogs on my Google reader list and I intend to keep it that way. I need to check that Google reader only one time per day...or less. I don't do that right now. I also need to stop going to the computer constantly, looking to see if any one's been to comment or if any one's done a new post. There has to be a limit to this, if only because I've got so much other stuff that I'm not doing.

The hubs is certainly annoyed at how unproductive I've been around the house this summer. Our house looking like a bomb has gone off and left toys and clothes on every inch of every floor. I blame it on my being busy with the kids, which is partially true. It is hard to clean the house and watch the kids outside. If I would set a definite limit on computer time, that would certainly free up an hour (or two) of time also. Ergh. And Blech.

I don't think the answer is quitting. It is a hobby that I enjoy too much and find enjoyment in. I like to write and this is a great outlet for that. Much more satisfying than the paper and pen journals I've kept for so many years. It's more about finding that balance that I am ever questing for. It illudes me too often. I hope that this blogging, this "hobby" that mommies are taking part in, finds a place in women's lives that doesn't leave them feeling ever more stretched. And inefficient. I don't think that was ever the point at all...

I'm not looking for comments on how to free up time or how to blog after the kids are in bed or about how my hubs is being unfair...I really just wanted to share my thoughts on how this affects my life. And question whether this computer stuff, or something else, distracts anyone out there from the things they really should be doing...and aren't. Sigh. And Ugh.

Our Family Trip

We left home on Wednesday morning, June 13th. We went to Estes Park for the wedding of hubby's baby sister. We were traveling with hub's sister, Lynn, her husband, Troy, and their two boys, Tyler and Trevor. Their boys are roughly the same age as our kids, so it was fun to travel with them. We had two mini vans FULL of stuff, and followed each other all the way out there. We planned to stay in Imperial, NE the first night, with Troy's family. They were having a lot of flooding in SW Nebraska, so we ended up scrapping those plans and heading to Greeley, CO to sleep the first night. The next day we were on to Estes Park, we had rehearsal and dinner Thursday night to get ready for Friday's wedding.

We did a lot while we were there. Our cabin was right across the street from the downtown riverwalk, so we did a lot of walking. Some shopping. A little biking. There was the rehearsal and wedding, so that gave us a lot to do. Each night we just hung out at the cabin with Lynn and Troy, talking, drinking, and playing cards.
The kids did fairly well going to bed each night, so it gave us a little time to relax.

Brenna made such a cute flower girl!
Mason was so cute in his little tie.
Hubs didn't look too shabby either.

It was really worth all of the packing, shopping, and driving. We're already talking about a road trip for next summer!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Grains of Gratitude - The Vacation Edition

We made it! It was a LONG day of driving -

I didn't read a single page of a single book. I did manage to get through one edition of In Style magazine and picked up an issue of In Touch (gossip rag) at a gas station because the cover story on celebs without make-up sucked me in.

Mostly I enjoyed the scenery. And reaching back every 10-15 minutes to retrieve a thrown pacifier, get the girl a new movie, doll, drink, whatever. The boy ate us out of every snack we'd brought so there was lots of reaching around for that as well and then the subsequent wiping involved. Hubs drove the entire way both ways, admittedly because he did not want to deal with all of the turning, feeding, wiping, retrieving. I couldn't really blame him.

All in all, they did great. We had a great time. It was a great trip. All in all.

Pictures and a few stories from the road tomorrow. Now I must get myself to bed.

It's great to be home!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Summer Reading Part II

I finished Debbie Macomber's book. Shop on Blossom Street. Eh.

It wasn't my favorite book. It was a little - too perfect. Everyone had these huge problems that were nicely tied up and fixed by the end. Which is something I enjoy in chick-lit (a new term for me, taken from my latest issue of US Weekly. Apparently Courtney Love also enjoys chick-lit, as referenced by the picture taken of her at the beach, certainly by someone hiding behind a sand dune with a telephoto lens). I usually enjoy how things are fixed nicely in chick-lit, but this was all too much. The characters had these huge problems that were suddenly fine. This time the tumors are benign, after having had cancerous brain tumors twice before. This time the drug addict makes it into culinary school magically by the end of the book. The bitchy old lady suddenly likes her daughter-in-law and will have sex with her husband again, magically by the end of the book.
I guess I just wasn't in the mood for that much perfection. Sorry for the spoiler. But don't waste your time on this one.
Okay, now I have to decide which book(s) to take on our road trip. We leave Wednesday morning at 7:45 AM. Please chime in. Look at my original list and see what you think would be good road trip reading. It's not too late to go get something else, I'll take other random suggestions. We're headed out for swim diapers and sunflower seeds tonight, so I can pick up other literature if tempted. Nothing too heavy, c'mon now - it's vacation!!!
* BTW - what is it with spacing? I get it all set, with the spaces in correctly and then sometimes when I publish - it's all smooshed together. Like today. So I go fix it, hit publish, and once again it's smooshed together. Really irritating - that's what it is!
I just found The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks (in my book box, from our Scholastic warehouse semi-annual 1/2 price sale - I sock away books for a rainy day...yes, I have a book addiction too, to add to the others) that is definitely going on the trip. I've taken Stacey (Fit for Florida)'s advice on the other two. But please, go ahead and post your own suggestions. Even if you're reading this after I've already gone on my trip - we're driving to Wyoming in a few weeks and I'll be making the same choices about good road trip reads. Yes, I'm posting again today, I think because I fear going five whole days without blogging. My addiction will surely come to light then, when I started twitching...thinking of how clogged my Google Reader will be when we get home. I do indeed believe it's time for an intervention.

Eatin' Drinkin' & Smokin'

Addiction [uh-dik-shuhn] -noun
1. the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

When I was 21-22, I spent many a wild weekend out with girlfriends "getting hammered". Binge drinking. Thurs-Sun, that was what we did. Out for the night, sleep in in the morning. McDonalds greasy breakfast and HiC Orange were my cure for a headache and hangover. I didn't do this every weekend, but I have many crazy memories of being out with my friends. And when we went out, I drank. And when we drank, I liked to smoke cigarettes. I loved cigarettes! By now, it's hard to imagine. I haven't had a cigarette in a couple of years. But back then, I was a weekend smoker.

I never had to "quit smoking". I just didn't smoke anymore. I didn't crave it. I didn't really even think about it. Every once in a while, I'd be out and have a cigarette with a friend. I also would smoke when I was back home, because my whole family smoked.

Now I've been a nonsmoker for 4 years. I guess I may have smoked a few cigarettes when out after Bee was born. But I haven't since having Buddy. I don't plan to ever again. I consider myself lucky that I didn't get addicted. Really lucky.

I have a cousin who's two weeks younger than me who's in for the fight of her life right now. She has watched her grandmother struggle with lung cancer and doesn't want to walk that same road. She's quitting smoking and I'm so proud of her! My sister quit smoking a year and a half ago and hasn't smoked since. It is possible, it's just so hard.
Go Nikki!

But I do have my own addictions. How about blogging? Anybody? Anybody? Or how about craving food when you're not hungry? I do that a lot. I truly believe I have a food addiction, which thankfully has only left me on the chubby side, rather than bed ridden. I'm working on it though, because I want to stop eating for emotional reasons. The heart of my own food addiction.

I've often wondered, and I know there is much scientific research that I could pore over, about how some people get so addicted that they can't stop. And some people don't. I've engaged in binge drinking, smoking, and probably have an active food addiction. Yet I am not an alcoholic, a smoker, or morbidly obese. What makes the difference? And keeps a person from going over the edge? I'm curious. What do you think?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Grains of Gratitude


When I was pregnant with Brenna, I decided to go back to school. I had a degree in social work and was working for state govt in disabilities service coordination. I loved it, but wanted more direct contact with people with disabilities. My job had become 95% paperwork/desk work, and I wanted more. I loved working with my school-age clients and loved attending their meetings, especially when I got to go to school. It irked me that so many teachers did not understand community-based services for people with disabilities and all that it entailed. They seemed to know only what went on in the walls of their school and nothing else. I knew I could do better than that.

My husband was also a teacher, which made the teacher's schedule enticing, thinking of being home during snow days, holidays, summer - especially now that we would have a child. So I started the process of applying to grad school. I would get a master's degree and be endorsed to teach high school special education. I started in January 2004, my little Brenna was just 6 months old. I took two night classes per week and leaving her on those nights was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I worked 7:30-4:00 every day and then also left her home with daddy two nights a week. She barely noticed, but I sure did. I spent every minute I had with her. Evenings, weekends, holidays. I was with my baby. Then when she went to bed, I studied. It was grueling. I thank God that I had such a good husband, who was a good daddy. Without the hubs (and God, for that matter), none of this would have been possible.

I went to school for two years and eight months. It was hard. It was exhausting. I just kept telling myself that in the long run, it would be best for our family. In that time, that I was in school and also working, I got a new job (teaching on a provisional certificate until I finished school), we moved, we had a second child, and hubs and I both got new jobs this year. I can't imagine how we made it through. We were physically, emotionally, and financially spent.

Graduation Day ~ August 2006

But now I'm home. For eight weeks. With my kids. I am finally reaping the fruits of my labor. I am enjoying time with my family after a very fulfilling first official year of teaching. We are going on our first family vacation this week to Colorado. I feel so content. This is what all of that work was for. I shed so many tears, wondering if I was doing the right thing. Now I know, this is exactly what I was meant to do. I am satisfied.

The kids won't remember that I was busy with grad school when they were infants. That their dad stayed home a few nights week while I finished up. Heck, Mason attended 9 graduate hours in utero, that should give him some advantage, right?! What they will remember is that it was me who was home with them on summer breaks. That we spent Christmas vacations home together. That I was passionate about helping kids with disabilities and also about being their mom. I believe this. I believe that it's all working out for the best. And that feels good.

This week, I am so grateful for perseverance. It has led me to the balanced life that I so desired.

Hey - Thanks, Christine, for hosting Grains of Gratitude! It's my favorite post of the week!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Kiss the Cook

Reason #1: why it's great to stay home for the summer:

(after a particularly gourmet meal of Hot Pockets and shells 'n cheese)

Brenna: "Mommy, you're the best mommy in the whole wide world. And the best cooker too. This is the best lunch ever. Can we play 'member-y' after this lunch?"

Buttering me up for another round of Memory, for sure. I'll take it.

Good times.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Summer Reading List

Okay. I'll admit it. I have an unhealthy relationship with They have this deal. Spend over $25 and get free shipping. I HATE paying for shipping. So have gotten very accustomed to adding a book (or two) to an order for the kids to get free shipping. That has led me to quite a backlog of reading to do. That would account for almost all of the non-fiction that I need to read. Then there are the novels, that have been given to me by friends/family who know I like to read. Then a few random books that I've picked off the shelf that hubs has read and I want to read too. Recently I've put myself on a 'no buy' policy for books. I've got to read the ones I've got. I'm not buying any books until I get myself caught up. There are quite a few, I can see this now as I pile them up to write this post. Unrealistic to think that I'll finish them this summer. I can kid myself though, and plan on reading them all this summer.

Here they are - my summer reading list books - in no particular order:

1. Freakonomics By Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J Dubner

This is one of the books from our shelf that hubs has read and I want to read too. Not sure that I'll get to it, I'm pretty sure that it's at the bottom of my list, but I still plan to read it "some day".

2. Teach With Your Strengths By Liesveld, Miller, & Robison, From Gallup Press

This one comes with an online poll that you take to find out your top five strengths. Hubs took it in leadership academy, which is something all administrator's in the district do. I wanted to see how our top fives compare...and that's a whole other post! Still need to read the book though, to see how my strengths should affect my teaching.

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Yup, Harry Potter. I'm a little behind. Haven't read any of them. I've started this one several times and can't seem to get into it. But that doesn't stop me from trying.

4. Less of a Stranger By Nora Roberts

Because sometimes all I want is a chic flick on paper. Enough said.

5. The Shop on Blossom Street By Debbie Macomber

More chic flick in a paperback. I'm reading this one right now. It's a good story. Intertwines three women's lives. Girl power and all of that. Good so far.

6. Winds of War By Herman Wouk, Copyright 1971.

I believe my copy is from 1971. It has a red cover. It's my dad's. He gave it to me when I was scrounging their shelves for something to read (about 9 years ago!). I've never read it, but still intend to. I think he still thinks I "borrowed" this book. It's 888 pages and definitely not a chic flick book - two reasons I think I've put off reading it.

7. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

I bought this as one of my add-ons at I bought it for future use as a parent and also thought it might have some good ideas for teaching. The topic interests me, so I bought it. Just have never gotten highly motivated to read it. This could be the summer!

8. A Tale of Two Cities By Charles Dickens

I want to read this AGAIN. I read it my senior year of high school. I remember loving it. I hope I will enjoy it as much the second time around as an adult. We'll see.

9. Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome By Stephen Shore

This is written by the keynote speaker from that Autism Conference I went to in April. I bought this at that conference. Mr. Shore is "on the spectrum" so to speak and the book will be excellent. He was smart and funny, as I'm sure his book will also be. I just need to read it!

10. Gifts: How Children with Down Syndrome Have Enriched Our Lives

Edited by Kathryn Lynard Soper
I won this from Michelle at Big Blueberry Eyes. It's a compilation of stories and I can't wait to read it!

11. Woman to Woman By Joyce Meyer

Bought this one day at WalMart when I was feeling particularly stressed (I have issues with buying books when I'm emotional, trying to find something to fix the fact that I'm feeling emotional. Weird.) I'm about 1/3 into this, it's a good "before bed" read.

12. His Needs, Her Needs

Borrowed this from my sister. She liked it a lot and read it with her husband years ago. Supposedly good marriage advice/tips.

13. the curious incident of the dog in the night-time By Mark Haddon

I borrowed this from a friend two or three years ago. Started it once, but it seemed dark. I think I might be ready to try again. We'll see.

I've always enjoyed reading. When I started grad school, I read for my classes and I read to my baby - that was it. Being in grad school pretty much killed any reading for pleasure that I did. Whenever I tried to enjoy a novel, I felt guilty for the stuff I should be reading. So I didn't really read for leisure at that time in my life. Only recently have I begun to read for pleasure again. And it has been pleasurable.

I must admit. As I compile this list, it seems so very random. RANDOM. Ah well, should make for some good reading. We'll see how many of these books actually get finished in the next two months. I'll let ya know!

Editor's note: I spent way too much time getting pictures for each book. Then when the spacing would not work (after several attempts) I scrapped them. Ugh. Now when I fix the spacing in the editing window, it still gets all screwy when I post again. It just goes back to where it was before I fixed it. Now THAT is FRUSTRATING!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Snips and snails, and puppy-dogs' tails

Things that bring joy to my little Buddy's life:

  • unplugging lamp cords, the cordless phone, the swiffer vac, etc. to chew on said cord

  • getting in the pantry cupboard to rip open a bag of cereal and share on the kitchen floor with the dog

  • sharing any food with dog, especially letting dog chew and or lick food between his own bites

  • eating sidewalk chalk, crayons, dirt, grass, sticks, paper, and many other misc. non-food items

  • ink pens, for no other reason than to carry them around

  • stairs, up or down, doesn't matter

  • FREEDOM (don't gate him in)!

Oh Lord, help me keep this little guy alive and well through the summer!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Every Day

I learn something new. Usually more than just one thing.

Today is a biggie. For a dork like me.

Till. I think of it as a verb, as in till the soil.

When I have abbreviated until in the past, I have always said 'til. As in until, without the un. Oh, but I was wrong. I've always thought writers who put till as in until were mistaken. Didn't they know it was just an abbreviation?

So today I just had to look it up (again, dork). Till is a word!?! So I now know. Till is also a preposition.

Well, now I know.

For what it's worth.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Grains of Gratitude

This week I am grateful for life.

I am healthy. My kids are healthy. The hubs is healthy. For this, I am so grateful.

We celebrated our 6th anniversary yesterday. We went out for dinner with my folks and I was so appreciative to them for buying us dinner. It was a special treat, going out sans children. I really enjoyed this Wallaby Darned beverage(s) much that I had two!

It's finally summer and it feels so odd. To not have to get up for work tomorrow! I am so grateful that I don't have to get up at 5:30 for the next 9 weeks! Praise God for that!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

My Love

Today is my sixth wedding anniversary.

Yes, this is me.

On June 2nd, 2001, I felt beautiful. It was one of those perfect days when everything came together and we were able to enjoy every moment as it came.

And I married my guy. This great guy who challenges me, loves me, and is faithful to me.

In honor of our anniversary, here is a timeline of the last seven years:

2/19/00: The night we met. In a bar (gasp!).

2/20/00: Met for a double date. Mexican food and bowling. I saw him later that very same night at the library on our college campus (how had I never seen him before?). I tried to hide it, but I was smitten.

5/00: I graduate with my Bachelor's.

12/8/00: He proposes. I accept.

5/01: He graduates with his Bachelor's.

6/2/01: We get hitched.

12/01: Buy a house.

2/02: Get a dog.

11/02: Pregnant!

7/03: Baby!

1/04: I start grad. school.

8/04: He finishes grad. school. Master's degree.

6/05: New job for me. Move to Omaha. New house.

7/05: Pregnant (surprise!) again.

4/06: Baby #2!

8/06: I graduate. Master's Degree. New jobs at different schools for us both.

6/2/07: Here we are.

My head is spinning. It has never been dull. I love you hubs!

Hitting the Road

Since I was young, I have loved travel. I love to actually travel and I love the idea of travel. Big trips, small trips, doesn't matter. I love a change of scenery and all that accompanies that. I love planning trips. Especially buying books about my destination. Oh, and I love to make lists. And plan. It's always been so fun. BEFORE kids, that is. I made a goal for myself upon graduating from high school, to see all 50 states by age 50. When I became a social worker for the state govt and realized what little time and money that left for travel, I decided I would make it my goal to see all 50 states by the time I'm...dead.

This summer marks two trips for our little family. Pretty good, since we've gone nowhere for the past 5 years. We're going with the kids to Colorado in two weeks, for my sister-in-law's picturesque mountain wedding. Then in July, to Wyoming for another friend's wedding. That trip will just be me and the hubs. Two very different trips, although the destinations are in near proximity to each other. Relatively speaking.

I'm starting to think ahead to these trips. We've got lodging planned. And mostly the itinerary is taken up by wedding stuff. So it's thinking about packing that I'm doing now. Packing myself and the kids for 5 days of fun. I've got to plan ahead for that. The strategic doing of the laundry, the digging out of the bags. I'm excited, but I'm not excited. Six hours one day, 4 the a car with a toddler boy who does well for about 90 minutes. Oh my.

Wish us luck!

Friday, June 1, 2007

To Clarify

I worked with two women this year who battle cancer. It was my first year at this school, they had worked together for two years prior. Jacque had been there for 10 years. Jacque, my co-teacher, found out in December that her breast cancer has metastasized. She is the friend that blogs. She's doing okay, undergoing chemotherapy and also cardiac rehab. She's the bravest, strongest, most positive woman I have ever met. Sorry, Jacque, if that embarrasses you. But just embrace it. You are woman, I hear you roar.

Jacque and I also worked with Patty, who had been battling colon cancer that had metastasized in her lung two years ago. This spring her cancer spread to her bone, liver, etc. She was still working 6 weeks ago and now it has taken her life. It seemed really fast. To them, I'm sure perhaps an eternity. But also really fast. She was the other bravest woman I've ever known. Patty was a paraeducator in our classroom, having stayed home with her own three kids for 25 years. She also was a caregiver to people with disabilities in her home for 30 years as well. She was this amazing person who took time off only for her ongoing chemotherapy, otherwise coming to work every day because she just loved those kids. Really loved them. She felt bad for me when she couldn't work anymore. For me! She was so unselfish. And wise. I learned so much from her this year. She was this wonderful parent. An advocate for people with disabilities. She also could cook. And sing. And play piano. I could go on and on about Patty. She died on Tuesday at home. Her girls were with her. It was time.

But it wasn't time, you know? She was only 56 (57?), way too young. To be so sick. But her pain was unbearable and she didn't want to put her family through any more. She said good-bye to many people. We had several conversations about how disappointing it was that her time was up. About how we had hoped to work together another year. She had a lot left to do. Her kids' weddings. Grandkids. It seems unfair.

So that's what's going on this week. That's got me so sad. It's hard to write about much else. But I did feel the need to clarify, because my friend Jacque is fighting dandelions and she needs your prayers. She's not going anywhere. She's a fighter. And she is very much alive.