Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tackle It Tuesday

2:01 PM 0 Comments
Oh, thank goodness! Google has sorted itself out again and I can use pretty graphics again. It's Tuesday and I feel like I'm running a million miles behind where I ought to be right now. I've been feeling myself slip lately and I've been battling hard against that. I don't want to go back to being in "the dark place" where I'm just helpless against my own emotions. So, I won't. Even if I only do a little bit each day, that's a little bit that wouldn't have been done if I gave in.

Plus, this is Tuesday and that means I get to focus on getting one thing accomplished which is perfect for when this happens. I've been saying for months that I need to tackle my closet and clothing and while I've done a tiny bit, I haven't actually done a good purge. Well, today, I'm going to start one. It won't get finished because I still have bunches of laundry to catch up on but it will get started. I know the boundaries that I've set for myself and the ones I've pointed out to others when helping them, but I also know just how hard it is to do that. Well, it won't get done if you don't get started so that's what I'll be doing today. What will all of you be doing?
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

1:06 PM 0 Comments
Ugh. Blogger is giving me fits today. It won't let me upload my graphic which is highly frustrating. Then again, a lot of life is frustrating, isn't it? Families who refuse to help out, people who forget to tell you when your children's parent teacher conferences are and the list could go on. I'm not going to let it though, not in this post. This post is all about yummy food and because I didn't get to eat this delicious menu a couple of weeks ago, I'm going to attempt to use it this week. Wish me luck! Oh, and if you want to check out these recipes, head over to Can I Get The Recipe?

Dinners of the Week:
Monday - Feta and Sun-dried Turkey Burger Sliders
Tuesday - Dragon’s Creamy Shrimp Pasta with Mushrooms and Peas
Wednesday - Slow Cooker Honey Garlic BBQ Ribs
Thursday - Vegetable Chowder
Friday - Madonna “Big Momma” Ballzini’s Risotto and Meatballs (Changing this to some sort of pasta)
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Other Leftovers


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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

2:55 PM 4 Comments
I'm back. I'm totally exhausted, but I'm back. Actually, I've been back since Monday afternoon but I'm not counting that because I came home, took care of a few things and left again to go see the boys school concert. I'm so bummed. My camera refused to recognize the new card I'd brought for it so I got very few pictures and because I couldn't remember the right camera setting, most of those came out bad. The concert was great though. They did a Broadway theme this year and the kids looked like they had fun. Roger, perhaps more than some, because he spent 95% of his half messing around. Ben, who enjoys these, didn't think he did very well but I totally disagree. He seemed to know all the words and the actions. Afterwards, we all all went out for dinner.

Yesterday, I was so totally drained that I didn't do much of anything. Luckily, I got a good night's sleep last night so I'm a bit more on the ball today. Not much, but I'll take even a little bit. I'm giving myself realistic goals today and going with that. I know a lot of you are waiting for an update about my grandma but I'm going to make that a separate post. I'll just mention here though that she is doing better.

So since it is Wednesday, that means photo day! This week's theme at Sunday Shutterbugs is Fruit. Now, I honestly haven't had time to take a picture of any fruit, but I do have the pictures that I took for last week's theme. Last week, the theme was Flowers. I took the photos for it literally as I was about 10 seconds from pulling out of my driveway. Since I don't have any pictures for this week, I'm going to give y'all two-three for last week.

Purple Flower 2Mystery Flower 1

These are both growing alongside my driveway in the flowerbed there. I so need to track down some gardening equipment so I can clear those flowerbeds out and make them gorgeous again.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quick Note to My Readers

12:25 AM 6 Comments
Hi all. I just wanted to drop in here and let everyone know that I'm going to be gone for a few days, possibly the rest of the week. My mother messaged me tonight (no, do not ask me why nobody picks up a phone to reach me.) on Facebook to let me know that my Grandmother was taken to the hospital yesterday. She has some problems with the veins/arteries/tubes/whathaveyou that run to her kidneys and as such, the impurities/waste does not leave her body the way it should and for some reason, it ends up going into her legs where it forms like an infection and clear fluid seeps through her skin at all times. Right, now that you have that image, huh? Anyway, it got to the point where it was so swollen and painful, she couldn't even stand. For some unknown reason, she had the former minister's wife take her to the hospital instead of calling family. I'm sure something like she didn't want any of us to worry.

Anyway, she was told to make an appointment at the wound center. Well, as of earlier today, it hadn't been done and it seems that nobody over there is stepping forward to take care of things. Instead, they're busy telling each other what should be done.

So, I'm packing up my things and heading over there to make sure things get done. As my oldest says, when mom is serious, you'd better just do what she says. While I'm there, I'm going to start (and hopefully finish) decluttering her upstairs and probably doing a lot of cooking and cleaning and bossing my sister's children around and making them help. I love them but they've not been made to help out around there and they're more than old enough.

I love my family but they're enough to drive me insane. All good intentions and promises but so damn little follow through.

Anyway, that's where I'm going to be. Of course, there's no net connection because why should life be easy, eh? I will, however, try to write up my posts offline and post them once I'm back home. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I have the suspicion I'm going to need all the help/strength I can get.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

1:19 PM 1 Comments
Happy Monday, everyone. Remember that sore throat? Well, it's turned into a full blown head cold. Ick! I have a very strong suspicion that it's going to turn all my good intentions and plans for this week into nothing more than good intentions and plans. I'm hoping not, but we'll have to see. After all, taking care of myself is more important than moving stuff out to the barn, right? Right.

Now, due to this unexpected illness, I did have a bit more time to catch up on a few computer items this morning. I'm going to be helping in another "charity" scrapbooking group. Some of you may remember the scrapbook that some of us put together for Anita.Now, I'm going to be creating pages for a little girl named Abby. As a mom, her story is heartbreaking and yet, inspiring as she continues to battle her way through life. This morning, I was lucky enough to be able to choose some photos to create scrapbook pages of. I feel honored to be able to do this for this family. When the pages are complete, I'll post photos of them here but for now, I'd love it if you all read Abby's story and left some love for her mom on their blog.

Being able to find support and to give it, is just one benefit of being a blogger. Another is finding incredible blogs that make your life easier. I've found one such blog and I have to share it with you. It's Can I Get The Recipe? I love this blog/website! Plus, I've interacted some with the lovely lady behind the site on Twitter and she's super nice! Double bonus, if you ask me. I dislike using/reading sites where I can't feel a connection with the person behind the code. Well, being sick and the fact that she put up a totally delicious looking menu this week, I did zero thinking for my menu. I'm totally taking hers. Did I mention that she also has it setup so you can print the shopping list right off of her site? Of course, I didn't know this until I'd already written it out, but that's not her fault! lol!

Dinners of the Week:
Monday - Feta and Sun-dried Turkey Burger Sliders
Tuesday - Dragon’s Creamy Shrimp Pasta with Mushrooms and Peas
Wednesday - Slow Cooker Honey Garlic BBQ Ribs
Thursday - Vegetable Chowder
Friday - Madonna “Big Momma” Ballzini’s Risotto and Meatballs (Changing this to some sort of pasta)
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Other Leftovers

Dessert of the Week:
Dark Chocolate Red Velvet Cake

Snack of the Week:
Snickerdoodles

Doesn't this look delicious? I totally encourage you to go over and check out her website. She has all of the recipes, shopping lists and ideas you could ever need!
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Save the Planet Saturday

10:23 PM 0 Comments
I bet everyone has pretty much given up on me getting a post up today. Surprise! I made it! I had a great day with the boys but I'm still fighting a sore throat and feeling a bit drained. I'm thinking it's just the change in weather and I'm not getting sick. I'm certainly hoping so, anyway.

I was pondering what to write for today when inspiration hit in the most obvious of ways. The boys and I went out to the wonderful Swede's for lunch and I watched in awe as Ben packed away one of their 1/2 wet burritos and ate part of mine. Only those of you who have had the delight of eating at Swede's knows just how much food that is. When we got back, the boys and I were talking about books and I happened to look down and see a UB bookstore bag at Roger's feet. I pulled it up to see what was in it and discovered 3 new books! Yay! Then, I caught a wiff of something nasty smelling. I looked back down in the bag and saw a Subway sandwich bag with umm...the liquified remains of something. *shudders*

How does all of this related to today's post? Well, one of the books was a really nice book on organic gardening. Sadly, it now smells like a compost bin...and tada! We have a topic!

One of the things I want to do very soon is start a compost bin here at the house. I can't afford to buy one so I'm going to make one. Are you ready for how I'm going to do this? It's super easy.

Step 1: Find two containers with lids: a smaller one to sit in my kitchen and a larger one that will be the main compost bin.

Step 2: Set up the kitchen bin. For this, I'm thinking one of those big gallon tubs of icecream. We'll enjoy the icecream and then use the plastic tub w/ the lid. Setup basically means tucking it under my kitchen sink w/ the lid on it.
Step 3: Set up the main compost bin. This will be a larger bin w/ a lid. I'll poke small holes in the bottom for air to get in and put it up on a couple of bricks. I'll also need something to stir it with.

Step 4: Make sure to mix the main bin and add a balance of browns and greens to keep the compost happy.

Step 5: Enjoy the "fruits" of labor in anywhere from 3-6 months, depending on how busy our bin is.

And there you have it, a quick and easy compost bin that any of us could put together. Once I get ours setup, I'll try to post some photos and let you know how it works! For now, I'm going to try to figure out how to defunk my really nice gardening book.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Finish It Friday

11:51 PM 0 Comments
Whew! We made it! It's Friday again and you know what that means. It means we need to wrap things up so that we can enjoy our weekends. I have a long list of things I want to get done today and it starts right here, on the blog. The first thing I want to finish is this post!

After that, I need to:
  1. Go to Hastings and drop off empty boxes for Peter/Donna.
  2. While there, pick up the boys' things.
  3. Pick up the boys.
  4. Go to Walmart.
  5. Go to Habitat for Humanity to drop off my volunteer form, register for a shift and see what's happening in the ReStore.
  6. Go grocery shopping.
  7. Put $10 into the gas tank of the van.
  8. Drive home and unload everything from the van while ignoring the grumbles from the boys.
  9. Enjoy a nice night with the boys.
Then, after they're in bed, I need to do some blog work. I have some review information that I need to get out to some Etsy shop owners and companies. All in all, it's going to make for a long day but one that's worth doing.

How about you? What do you need to finish up so you can enjoy your weekend?
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Time for Me Thursday

12:00 AM 0 Comments
Wow! I cannot believe how sleepy I was yesterday. I'm so thrilled that even though I was falling down tired, I still managed to get some stuff done. I did a quick tidy in my bedroom and hauled in the leather chair from the van. Then, I managed to get it upstairs. I still need to get it cleaned up but I'm hoping that will be on the agenda today.

For today, though, I need to take some time for me. The truth is, that's what I'm doing right now. The address to this blog is craftsbykatie and I so rarely post crafting photos because of the circumstances of where I was before these 8 months. Now that I have a nice home (in progress) and The Wall actually has functional crafting space aaaannnnd I got chosen as a Chocolatier for Crop Chocolate, I spent some time doing crafting and now I'm going to show off what I made! I'm seriously considering doing something with my Etsy shop so this is my first step in facing my fears of having someone tell me that my items suck.

Ok, enough chatter. It's time for some photos!

Butterfly Card BeforeButterfly Card6x6 Heather scrapbook pageGetting StartedStickers6x6 Scrapbook Page - Alex12x12 Scrapbook PageBelieve Yourself Beautiful in ProgressBelieve Yourself Beautiful Finished

And that's what I've been doing! If I get the chair all cleaned up, that will be all for me! It's going to be part of my reading corner up on the landing. I'm so excited. I can't wait to have another part of the house done!
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

12:51 PM 4 Comments
*Yaaaaawwwwwn* Holy cow, I am so sleepy today! I blame yesterday..lol! For those of you wondering about yesterday's tackle, it turned out just fine. In fact, in some ways, it was as if 15 years hadn't gone by. We met up at Denny's and just hung out there for hours and hours and hours, talking. In fact, it was something like 1:30am before I crawled into bed. Sadly, I'm starting to think I'm getting too old to be out that late..lol!

Now, I know that you all also want to know the theme over at Sunday Shutterbugs. Really guys, you could just go look yourselves. *grins* This week's theme is Eek! The girls, as always, have some incredible photos. I am always in awe at their skills with a camera. Thank goodness, they let us amateurs participate as well!

Eek!
This is Marmalade. He's our new orange kitty and as you can see, he was having some problems climbing up onto the desk chair. Don't worry though! Mr. Bronty reached out his long neck and helped him finish climbing up there. Marmalade is the newest edition to the Baa & Friends gang. For more information about them, check out Baa & Friends. Not all of it is currently viewable because our account expired, but hopefully that will be corrected soon.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Giving Back

2:10 PM 1 Comments

I had originally planned on writing about this come the weekend, but my heart is leading me to write about it today. I'm sure that some of you have seen that Kristen, over at We Are THAT Family, is in Kenya right now. She's blogging her trip with Compassion International. Every time I read one of her posts, my heart aches and I sit, staring at my screen, with tears running down my face. I so often forget just how lucky I am to have what I have and when I read her posts, I am reminded just how good we have it here.

The more I read her posts, the more I'm called to do something. While I would love to go to one of these countries and work with these children, I don't know that I could do that right now. However, I can do something here at home. I can volunteer. I can get out of my house, even if it's for a few hours each month, and I can help someone.

With that in mind, I visited Habitat for Humanity last Friday. I briefly mentioned it in my post yesterday. They're one of the few organizations that I know of in this area. The truth is, I felt drawn to stop in there. When I went into Hastings, I had no intention of going there. I also had no intentions of eating lunch at the restaurant that I went to. It was in that restaurant that I was presented with the chance to do something. Looking down at my placemat, I saw an ad for the ReStore and it said they were always looking for volunteers. I don't know why, but I decided to stop in. I think they were as surprised as I was. I guess they don't get very many "non required to" volunteers. Most of their volunteers are people who have been court ordered to do community service.

It turns out that volunteering there is really easy. I have to fill out a simple form, put my name down on the calendar and show up. They're not building any homes right now, but they are looking for someone to work in their ReStore, manning the cash register and helping out with any customers. To be honest, I'm really excited about this. Their store is a bit of a dump and I'm hoping that they'll allow me to organize it and clean it up some. Even if they don't, I'm at least giving back and helping others and that does my heart good.

Will you give back? There are so many opportunities out there and some you can do right from home. Have you considered sponsoring a Compassion child? It's amazing how much of a difference you can make in a child's life with the amount of money you might spend on one family dinner out. We can't afford it right now, but trust me, it is on my list of things we will do.

Who knows, maybe in another year, it will be me writing from some far off location while I help make a difference in the lives of some sweet children.
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Tackle It Tuesday

12:26 PM 2 Comments
Wow, blogger is giving me fits today. I don't know what the story is with that, but I do hope it behaves long enough for me to get this post written and posted.

It's Tuesday and that means I have to tackle something. Today it won't be housework or bill paying or even finishing up my Crop Chocolate assignment. Today, it's nerves.

Sometime later today, I'm meeting up with my old high school boyfriend (Hi, Russ! (He's a new reader.)) for dinner and conversation. It's not a date, just two old people who haven't seen each other in a long time catching up and "reliving" old times. It's going to be so nice to get out of the house and have actual adult conversation. The thing is, I'm super nervous. Like butterflies doing the chacha in my stomach nervous. Why? Well, it goes back to that whole thing of being rejected (this guy dumped me not once, but twice!) and well, let's face it, I don't look like I did in high school. I know, I know...nobody does. He doesn't and I certainly don't. The thing is that I've put on a ton of weight since high school and well, this guy was like my first love. You never forget your first love, right? Imagine meeting up with him 16 years (yes, I'm that old) after the last time he saw you. Imagine that the last time he saw you was when he very dramatically broke your young teenage heart. Now, I bet you understand my nervousness.

But, I'm going to be brave. I'm going to ignore those nerves and I'm going to drive into Grand Ledge/Lansing and meet up with him. It's not as if he's going to break my grown up heart, right? Right. Ok, glad we got that settled. Now that it is, I'm off to work on a final Crop Chocolate project while I ponder what to wear. Ugh, I am such a girl!

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

12:04 PM 2 Comments
Whew, what a weekend this turned out to be. Shopping, stopping at Habitat for Humanity and van repairs on Friday. Oh along with a trip to the post office and lunch at Mills Landing. I had a really delicious grilled ham and cheese sandwich along with super yummy french fries. It was kind of sad eating lunch all by myself in a crowded restaurant though. See? This is why I need a friend.

Let's see, Saturday was all about bookshelf assembly. I got one of the bookshelves done on Friday afternoon, but the other two went up on Saturday. I have to say that already they have made a huge difference. I have totally cleared out the giant stacks of books in the living room. I wish I had taken before pictures, but I didn't and I'm not recreating it just for blog prosperity. Saturday night was also the night of the Katie meltdown but we're past that and if you don't know about it, well, there's a post if you want to know.

Sunday was better. I wrote up the previously mentioned post and continued moving books around the house. I have a large bookshelf that got warped due to water damage in my last apartment. It bugs the tar out of me that so much of my furniture got damaged because my "friend" didn't believe me that the whole place leaked like a sieve. Anyway, let's not dwell on the negative, here. So, this one shelf totally refuses to stay put and keeps falling out. Of course, it's also the shelf that is at perfect kitty height so Byron likes to hang out on it from time to time. That didn't help. Yesterday, I got a hammer and some nails and I managed to get one of the nails from the outside of the frame into the shelf to help hold it in place. The umm...other nail, missed and I can't get it back out without prying it with a screwdriver. The shelf has managed to stay in place while 2/3 loaded for almost 24 hours now so I'm pleased.

Let's see, that brings us to Sunday night when a bag of popcorn tried to burn down my house. I foolishly believed that the company knew just how long that bag of microwave popcorn should remain in the microwave. Well, they didn't and with about 45 seconds left on it, I glanced into my kitchen to see thick dark smoke pouring from the microwave. In the amount of time it took me to go from living room to kitchen (let's say 15 seconds to pretend I'm really slow), the entire kitchen was filled with this smoke and more was billowing from the microwave. I managed to get the microwave open (and off) and a window open before having to vacate the room. It was bad, folks. Really bad. I did however learn 4 important things from it:

1. Do not trust companies when they say microwave popcorn should be in for 4 minutes. Trust your instincts.
2. Having the windows open when it's 27 outside makes the inside rather chilly.
3. That smell will just not go away.
4. Our smoke detector downstairs doesn't work.

Don't worry, I'll be looking into lesson 4 before the day is out. I suspect a dead battery is the culprit there.

Now, on to this week's menu:
Monday- Pasta
Tuesday- Steak w/ Tatos & Broccoli
Wednesday- Chicken & Dumplings
Thursday- Roast w/ carrots & tatos
Friday- Cheeseburgers
Saturday- Mac n Cheese w/ hamburger
Sunday- Leftovers

There we go. That looks like one yummy week of food.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Self Reflection Post #1

12:07 PM 3 Comments
Last night I did something that makes me very sad in the light of today. I didn't win the challenge at OrgJunkie and my reaction was unacceptable. Instead of being thrilled for someone that I had been rooting for, I fell apart. I sat on my couch, tears streaming down my face, feeling sorry for me. Even as it was happening, part of me was wondering what the heck was going on with me. I know what was happening. I had let myself and others convince me that I was a shoe in to take first prize and when I didn't even get 3rd, I took it personally. It was no longer about the room or the work I had done, it was about me. It wasn't why didn't they like my room. It was what did I do wrong? What did I do to fail?

Umm...fail? What? How the heck is taking a room filled to the brim and turning it into a wonderful, open space that my entire family can use a failure? It's not. It's a major accomplishment. So, why did I seem to suddenly think I was a failure just because two women thought someone else's room was better? Why did I let not placing in a contest determine my self worth, even if it was for an hour?

I think it goes back a long time, probably back to high school at least. I've felt, for at least that long, that it doesn't matter how hard I try, I'll never be good enough. I worked my tail off for a good high school gpa and still wasn't even nominated for honor society. During parts of my marriage, I tried hard to give us a nice, clean and organized home and while Peter is a really good guy, he often focused on what hadn't gotten done. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and applied to be an officer in an honor group during my BA and was told thanks, but no thanks.

Now, I'm not blaming any of the people involved. I'm only saying that when it happens over and over again, eventually you start thinking it must be something wrong with you and it becomes harder and harder to step outside your comfort zone and to try new things. I know I've let it do that to me.

I used to be an internet dj. If things ever go totally right, I will be again. I think I was pretty good at it. One guy, who was a "real dj", actually suggested to me that I go down to my local station and see if they were hiring. Why didn't I? I was afraid that if I went down and asked, they would listen to me try and tell me I wasn't good enough. I have a constant fear of not being good enough.

Good enough for who? or for what? Well, just about anything. I worry that I'm not going to have this house clean enough or good enough and Peter is going to not want to let the boys come here or he'll call CPS and they'll say the boys can't come. I worry that if I get remarried, I won't be a good enough wife/house keeper/whatever and he'll leave me. I didn't apply for Grad school, in part, because I was afraid they'd reject me. I think maybe I don't have any friends because I'm so scared I won't be good enough for them to want to be my friend.

And yes, I look at the relationships in the blog world and think wow, someone like ____________ could never be my friend. They're way out of my league. Let's face it, that's just defeatist thinking, it's not even funny. That fill in the blank person is just a person, like me. They're not better or worse than me. They're just a person. Yes, their blog gets tons and tons more hits than mine. Yes, they have so many followers that I'm always amazed when they see something I've tweeted or written. But, at the end of the day, they're still people like me.

I know that my fears aren't always rational. I know where most of them stem from. I know the damage a missing or neglectful parent can have on a child and how that can stretch into adulthood. I also know that the only way to stop it is to face it and deal with it. I also know that there are often many more failures before successes happen. I know that if I want my blog to become something that's at the level of 5minutesformom.com or We are THAT family then I have to do that. No one is going to do that for me. I also need to try to build relationships with those people who have done it so that I can learn from them.

The bottom line is: Last night, I indulged myself in some seriously defeatist thinking and all it got me was heartache. Laura at OrgJunkie doesn't know me from Adam so how could it possibly have been about me? It wasn't. My room wasn't to the judges personal taste. That's fine because it's to our personal tastes. Is the room my dream room? Nope. Is it a room that is still undergoing some changes and is it a room that my family already loves? Yes. I wasn't a failure. This room is a huge success and I have a page worth of comments telling me how great it looks now. The opinions that truly matter are the opinions of those who use this room. Just because the judges didn't like it doesn't mean that I am some sort of Organizational Failure.

I am not a failure. I'm not an organizational failure or any other kind of failure. I'm a woman who is finding her way and who isn't going to give up. Will the fear grab me by the neck sometimes? Yes. Will I let it continue to hold me down? No. I can make the changes I need to make and I can be somebody. No, I already am somebody. I am going to make a difference in this world, even if it's only one blog post at a time.

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Banning the "R" Word

9:52 PM 6 Comments
I've been meaning to write this post for days, but life got the best of me again. However, I consider it something very serious and wanted to make sure that I did take/make the time to write it.

Usually, my posts tend to be fairly lighthearted and sometimes very silly. However, I'm warning you now that this post is going to be serious. What I'm writing about isn't a joke or anything to joke about.

As I've posted here before, my oldest son, Ben, has Cerebral Palsy. This is a condition that was caused by the circumstances of my pregnancy with him. It's nobodies fault, it's just something that has happened. My body has issues with being pregnant and Ben's was an incredibly not normal pregnancy. The truth is, we are very lucky and blessed that he's here with us. If my doctor hadn't watched me/us like a hawk, he might not be.

When Ben was younger, he didn't walk at the same age that other kids did. In fact, he didn't take his first steps until he was 33 months old. At one point, he was walking with a walker. Even now, Ben doesn't walk quite like other children do.

Why am I explaining all of this? Well, it's because people notice when kids are different. They notice a child walking with a walker or a child that sometimes falls down in the middle of a store. They notice things and let's face it, they're not always polite about it. I've heard the whispers when we've been out in stores and they hurt my heart because it's my baby that they're whispering comments about. It's during those moments that I've heard the "R" word being used.

I know that some of you may not know what the "R" word is so I'm going to say it once and only once because it's a word that I've personally banned from my vocabulary as well as the vocabulary of my children. The word is Retard or Retarded.

I've heard these horrible words applied to my son simply because he doesn't walk or run or do physical things like many other children. I've hoped and prayed that he has never heard those whispers because I know how damaging they could be to him. Those words have such an ugly connotation. I never want him to hear those words and think that he's stupid (another banned word in our household), dumb or incapable of learning.

The truth is that he's far from any of those things. Ben is actually a good student and for the most part is doing really well in a mainstream classroom. I want to implore all of you, whether you're a regular reader or just stopping in for this post, to remove this word from your vocabulary. Stop and think before you speak. Even if you're not referring to someone, you never know who might overhear it. Every person and child is special and hearing such a word used (whether or not you're referring to them) can be horribly damaging. Yes, there are people and children out there who have learning difficulties. There are some who may never learn above a toddler's level. However, instead of using words that could harm them and perhaps even add to their difficulties, use words that will uplift and encourage them.

On a bit of a connected note, don't be afraid to ask questions. As a parent of a "special needs" child, I would much rather have you approach me and ask me (in a polite manner, of course) about my son than to make assumptions and perhaps have you end up saying something that could cause harm to him. Like any parent, I'm incredibly proud of him and of what he has accomplished. I'm also very aware of how he's different. Go ahead, give me a chance to brag about how he's learned to jump. Let me tell you about our journey and maybe instead of an assumption, you'll walk away with some new knowledge and you never know, maybe a new friend.
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PS If you would like to make a pledge to remove these words from your vocabulary, check out http://www.r-word.org/

Save the Planet Saturday

12:00 AM 1 Comments
Woo! It's the weekend! I'd love to say that I'm going to spend it relaxing, but that's just not so. I bought 3 bookshelves yesterday and I only got one of them assembled. The other 2 are going upstairs so they had to wait for daylight. I'm super excited about getting these because they're going to make a huge difference here.

Want to know about something else that can make a huge difference? Well, let me tell you about UPS and what they did. In 2007, they decided to avoid left turns! What difference does that make? Well, it can actually make a huge difference. When you're sitting idling, waiting to make that left turn, you're burning gas. When you're burning gas, you're adding more pollution to the air. Don't believe me? Check this out:

By simply avoiding left turns, UPS saved over 3 million gallons of gas across its fleet. And, by not idling so long while waiting to make a turn, the company took the equivalent of 5,300 cars off the road.

Wow! That's some serious carbon footprint reduction plus with gas prices the way they are, it certainly never hurts to keep more of that gas in the tank.
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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Finish It Friday

11:23 PM 1 Comments
Woo! It's Friday again. Ok, I don't know why I'm excited because Friday is really a lot like any other day to me, but I guess I'll be excited for the rest of you. This is going to be just a quick post because I have a busy day ahead of me.

I'm finishing something important today. I'm headed out to Hastings to get a front end alignment and oil change done on the van. This will finish up the latest round of van repairs. I would love to say it's going to end them, but I know better and I wouldn't lie to all of you.

Once I'm done at the mechanic there, I'm going to drive into Ionia. Yep, I know they're nowhere near each other, but sadly the Walmart in Hastings doesn't have the bookshelves I want to pick up. I found some decent ones for a good price and I'm excited to be getting these. I'm going to be putting one in "The Wall" and one (or two) upstairs on the landing. If all goes well, I'll finally be able to get all my books plus some other items put away. Yay!

So, that's what I'm finishing today. If all goes well, I'll be home early enough to write up a couple of posts that are churning around in my head.
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Time for Me Thursday

11:38 PM 1 Comments
It's early on Thursday and I'm happy that I'm on top of remembering to get this posted. As always, I have a list of things I'd like to get done today. I have two "big" ones. I want to email the Dell customer advocate and continue that saga. I'm waiting for the final conclusion before I write up this drama, but I will write it up. Hopefully for Dell and for me, it has a happy ending.

The other thing is my bathroom. It has this horrid plastic bathtub. I swear I don't know why anyone would install one of these in their homes. Then again, the same people also installed carpet in the bathroom and the kitchen. Anyway, this horrible plastic bathtub was stained and dirty looking when we moved in back in June. It's still stained and dirty looking. I'm going to try another cleaner on it today and see where that gets me.

Of course, there is also the time I'm going to take for myself. I'm still trying to decide what I'm going to do. I've considered doing some crafting because I still have projects to make for Crop Chocolate. Of course, there's also my Wreck This Journal. I've been twitching to play more with that now that I have the numbers all in. Ok, I think it's pretty clear that you'll find me in "The Wall" (the kids voted we keep calling it that) this afternoon for some fun time for me!

How about all of you? What will you be doing? I can't wait to see!
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