Thursday, February 28, 2008

Spectator parenting

It's weird to not be able to touch my little poonchin. She had a pretty good day yesterday going to work with Daddy, then going to Miss Karen's for some playtime with Maddy and Grace. Then Grammy came to town and picked her up. Last night she played with Daddy and Grammy and had a good old time. I was in bed all but a few hours yesterday, and most of that was not enjoyable awake time. I just SO don't want her to get this, or anyone for that matter. Well, ok, so there are particular few that it wouldn't be so sad to hear they had become afflicted for a few days. Anyway, it's bizarre to sit and watch everyone else do stuff while I can hardly lift the ice chips to my lips. I sit in the recliner while she's across the room playing and tell Mom when she yanks her glasses off. They come to ask me how much food to give her and when she's due for nap. I say hello to Braska from a safe distance but she's too giggly in her jumpy chair to miss me right now. But mostly I just sleep all curled up and let the world go on without me.

I generally take care of's what I do. But I am truly incapacitated at this point. I have to rely on someone else for everything. It's a chore to walk down the hall from my bedroom to the recliner, and I can only stay for a few minutes before I'm moving back toward the bedroom and/or bathroom. This is miserable. To this point, I've taken 4 different sessions of 2 or 3 minutes to even type this post, because I can't be upright for very long. How ridiculous!

Breaks are nice and all, and M has done great in stepping up to help out. Mom has been the true hero in taking over and running the place, caring for the kid, and tending to me in my grossness. This is not the kind of break I'd hoped for. And now I hope it's over very soon. I'd like to get to play with my silly little girl again and maybe get a cuddle from my husband. For now, I best take my ice chips and go back to bed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Props to Mom (and Dad)

Sorry for the blog pause. I've been in St. Louis for a few days with Braska for appointments. Check out her blog if you are interested in details on that good news.

I got back yesterday afternoon, then we had a farewell party for some good friends who are moving. I wasn't feeling well, so we came home early, and I went straight to bed. All night I was miserable. I'll spare you the details, but it wasn't fun. This morning it got worse, and it became very clear that I wasn't going to be able to care for Braska today without her getting exposed to the ickiness. M can't take off anymore right now, so it's time to call in the reinforcements.

At almost 7 am, I called my mother and said, "I'm sick." She's been wanting to get to spend some time with Braska, as we haven't seen them since Thanksgiving, I think. And she's very good about handling pretty much anything when needed. I asked if she could come, and she said she'd talk to Dad, do some arranging and call me back. She called me back in less than an hour and said she'd be on her way in 30 minutes. Amazing. (In the meantime, Braska went to work with M until he could take her to a friend's for the morning....thanks Karen K!!!)

Here's the part that deserves props, not that the above doesn't... Mom lives 5 1/2 hours away, she has 3 kids still at home (18, 16, and 12) who are homeschooled, and it's a big deal for her to be gone. Yet Dad has let her spend so many weeks up here, mostly during Braska's first few months, and there has been very little complaining about the imposition. It helps alot that the kids are pretty darn self-sufficient, that Dad works from home and has a way flexible schedule of the nicest kind, and that they have plenty of cars for one to be gone and not be left in a crunch with the teens.

We have alot of different opinions, me and my parents, we can't talk about an awful lot of things because I don't ever feel like going through it, but when it comes to me, the firstborn, and their only granddaughter, they are always ready to drop whatever and come help. They've put in tons of home improvement hours, cleaning, opening, and closing the pool, re-doing bathrooms and garges, and a million other things, with the kids working right alongside. I don't say enough how much I appreciate their willingness to help when we need it, so here ya go... Thanks Mom and Dad. I notice and I am grateful.

Now I'm going back to bed, as I'm getting woozy.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Playgroup #2

The three of us trudged out in the snow and across town today for Stay N Play. We were the first ones there (a new goal of mine to NOT be late to things) so we got to chat and such with the students and the supervisor before things got under way. They really are very willing to do whatever we would need or like for Braska to be a part of things, and I appreciate that.

The topic today was communication, like how does your child communicate with you. (Here's Braska's version of the day, complete with video and pictures.We started with our Hello Song, then they explained that there would be toys around the room to play with, most of which the child would need help with. There were containers that needed opened and such things, so they were looking for what ways the kids used to communicate that they wanted a toy, that they needed help with it, or that they did not want it any longer. Mary-Kelsey, our student contact, led the group today, and she obviously knows ASL pretty well. She gave the group a few signs to use like open, help, mommy, daddy, and more, to have the parents use while playing with the kids.

When they turned us loose, Mary-Kelsey had set a little clear tub with a orange tube-shaped thing in it near us. It was totally the perfect thing for Braska, as you probably know if you're familiar with her at all, because she is all about tubes, ropes, cords, strings, anything that shape. I didn't figure she'd even understand the idea that it was visible through the container but she couldn't get it, so I took the top off, and she reached in for it. We've been working on container play with Miss Judy, our developmental therapist, so Braska has become faster with reaching into things to get a toy. The tube thing was a strange texture, like a gummy worm almost, and very stretchy. She liked it, initally just checking it out thoroughly with her eyes, and then grabbing it to pull. She took it with both hands, pulling it by both ends while I held the middle. We called it the Baby Bowflex, good resistance training for her little arms. She even went after it mouth-first at one point, which is not something she usually does. She took little breaks, but stayed with it for quite a while. There are some pics and videos on her site, of course, if you would like a visual example.

She also did plenty of her favorite thing the last few days...squats. She's decided that she needs to be moving all the time, and this is SO NOT been her pattern up til recently. And it's taking some getting used to for me, that's for sure. She will reach around when she's sitting in my lap, grabbing for something to hold onto, but more so that I will pick her up. Then she plants her feet on my legs and straightens up to a stand. I have to steady her right at the hip joints on both side, but otherwise, she's good to go. She holds that for about 10 seconds or so then drops to a squat, but not all the way to sitting. She waits a second or two then goes back up. It's amazing to see her working with all this strength out of nowhere, it seems. She'll do this about 6 or 7 times, then she'll plop down for a break of about a minute or two, and she's reaching around and ready to go again. She spent most of the rest of the playtime doing this, not interested in the toys so much.

When it came time for snack, they told us that they had the snacks in containers that would need opening, so they wanted to see how the children showed that they wanted the food and help getting it. M and I just laughed, thinking how long we would be waiting if we waited for her to show that she actually desired food. But we took her to the little table, gave her some of the colored goldfish, and figured that was it.

Then came our breakthrough of the day.... I feel like a need a drum roll here. I told M to put one of the goldfish on her lip or tongue so she could get a taste, just because this is what we try to do when food is in front of her. Showing her that it has flavor different than a toy, thinking that it might peak her interest at some point. Well, today was that day. She smacked her lips a bit from the salty fish, and then out come the tongue as she leaned forward toward her dad's hand that was holding it. He wasn't paying attention at first, so I poked him and said, "She wants it!" He held it up there and she licked. Again, and again, and again. She would take a little break here and there and push his hand away, but then she'd always come back to it. When she'd lick all the salty goodness off, he'd get a new one. And there she would go again. It was crazy. The students were video taping, as they do each class, so they were getting it. We were cheering, but not too loudly to startle her or distract her too much, and the other kids were totally uninterested, which was totally fine. One of the fish got kind of soggy with the licking, and she was opening her mouth just a tad with her tongue out, so M stuck it in to see what she would do. She didn't spit it out immediately via big messy raspberries that she usually does. She kind of held it in and just looked at us. I was trying to get her to take a little water from the sippy, but that wasn't going to happen, so I took the lid off and kind of poured it in her mouth to moisten things up. She managed it well, only a little came out later, with a slight little gag reaction, but not bad at all. She ended up getting two by the time it was over.

Needless to say, we were pretty excited, as were the students and supervisor. It was fun to watch her do something new. But we are not calling to have the g-tube scheduled to be removed just yet. She's famous for doing something amazing once and not repeating that show. There was the bottle in the hospital last April (took the whole darn thing several times, only to refuse it once we got home, never to take one again), then there was feeding herself with a spoon of baby food, also never to be seen again. So we celebrate our little breakthrough, but we're not unrealistic that this is a new trend. If she continues to explore foods more, we'll be very happy, but if not, it's ok. She'll get there one day.

All in all, a good playgroup day. I didn't do nearly as much watching and interacting with the other kids today since Braska was busy with things the whole time, but everyone was nice and greeted everyone else. It seems to be a really nice group of people. I feel better about the whole thing, and I think it will be good for Braska, most importantly.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Random questions, Round 2

The Random Questions process
~Choose one or all of the questions to answer.
~Either respond with a comment to this post with your answer or put up a post on your own blog for a full response.
~Don't forget to include any funny or interesting story to illustrate your answer in action.
~Be sure to leave a comment on this post to let us know where to find your post so we can come check it out!

Our theme today is internet/email use and habits. I would think we can all relate to this one, as if you are reading this, you probably know a little about how to use the internet. And if you're like most people, you rely heavily on your email. So join us!

1. What was the year and the circumstance of your first internet experience?

2. Do you leave your computer on and your email up all day long to be sure to catch any communication right away or do you check in only occasionally?

3. In this email age, do you still look forward to getting the mail (the kind the mailman delivers) or do you go two or three days between trips to the mailbox? Do you get "real" mail anymore or is it all junk due to e-banking and such?

4. How would you rate yourself in relation to your internet use?
Use when necessary
Like to when I can
Must check in at least once a day
Lost without email/internet
Spend hours each day online


Here are my answers...
1. For my first internet experience, I'll refer to this post about how I met my husband, because it's the same story.

2. My computer is turned on the first time I walk down the hall to let the dog out in the morning. I pop into my office and turn it on on the way to the back door. Then on the way back to get Braska out of bed I pop in and open my Outlook. Then once I've changed her and filled her belly, we come to the office to start the day. My computer is then on til I go to bed at 11 or 11:30p, email open the whole time. For most of that day I'm in the office and working on the computer, so I can generally receive and reply to emails immediately. That's the way I like it. As close to real time as possible, but no talking necessary. Ha! Even when I'm up in other rooms working on things, I check in often to glance at the screen to see if my new mail icon is up. And if I'm going to be in another room for awhile, I just un-dock my laptop and take it with me. I'm known to have it on the kitchen counter so I can take care of work issues in between stirring the dinner pasta. You might be able to guess my answer to #4 at this point.

3. We are pretty bad about not going to the mailbox every day anymore. I think our mailman thinks we travel an awful lot since we often have a few days' worth of mail in the box. A day's worth of mail is usually 4 things offering credit cards, which we tear up and toss, then there's the ads or coupon books that we get for the local restaurants and businesses. That's about it. We have so many of our bills on paperless set-ups that we don't get bills in the mail anymore. There is an important check that comes for my business each month, but that's generally the highlight. I do get awfully excited when I see a letter or card with a handwritten address on it. So rare!!

4. Drum roll please..... I'm definitely ADDICTED! My work, social life, entertainment, and even Braska's care are based around my internet connection, sad as that may sound to some. It works for me....unless we have an outage. Then I'm WAY lost, and I generally head to a friend's house to borrow their wireless connection.

Let's hear it! Bring on the answers!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kind AND sweet!

Val, AKA Rylie's Mom, honored me by bestowing the Kind Blogger Award on me. Back in October, I found her blog about her three beauties, including Rylie, an adorable 5-year-old with that extra something special. I put a shout out to her on the blog to pass the word.

Here's what she said....."I would like to pass on this award to RK over at Just RK. When I had just started my blog back in October, she introduced me on her blog which brought me readers. I was so excited and I thought it was so kind of her. So, RK you deserve this award. You are definitely a Kind Blogger."

Thanks Val!!! I feel loved!!! :o)
Now to the sweet part. Last night, I needed something sweet. I've been eating alot of vegetables lately...and that's WAY not normal for me. I mean, I like veggies, but I rarely have them at the house, as they go bad very quickly. But lately I've been in to yellow squash and zucchini with some onion, all sauted up in a bit of butter and olive oil. After dinner last night, I needed something to follow the veggies. (That was dinner...just the veggies.) So there, in the freezer, was a lovely sight. Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches! But idea came to me.

Yeah, that's right. A Skinny Cow sundae! Light whipped cream (left from a party recently--thanks Sara!) under the sandwich and on top, sliced banana, caramel topping, a dollop of strawberry preserves. Can you beat it? I don't think so. And not so bad on the calorie list either. Well, if you're going to do ice cream, anyway.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Answers to Random Questions, Round 1

What a great response for our first round of Random Questions!!! All your responses were so interesting to me, and those of you that posted....hilarious! Isn't it funny we can have so much to say about something that every one does as a normal thing?!?

Here's why these questions were fresh on my mind yesterday... I went to the store, no kid in tow since the husband was off for President's Day (gotta love banks). I realized about half way through that I had varied from my norm, and it kind of scared me a little. I had just tossed a few things in here and there. I actually stopped in the middle of an aisle and had to just process for a moment. Then I corrected the situation and went on.

My typical shopping pattern is to arrange the items so they all fit on the bottom of the cart nicely, at least until it's full. I put the cereal boxes together, next to the mac n'cheese boxes, next to the pasta boxes, in height order. Then I have a little area for the cans, also coordinated by size. This allows me to have a platform to build on if I need a second level. When it comes to the oh-so-frustrating free-form items like produce, milk, chips, bags of shredded cheese, and bread, they go on top of a flat surface if there is no room ont he bottom of the cart. Big items like cases of DP, toilet paper, diapers, etc go under the cart on the lower shelf part. Braska's food, which comes in cases of 6 8-ounce bottles (Pediasure, generic) gets stacked in the cart, usually in the deepest part under the kid seat area, as it's heavy and I don't want it sliding or putting pressure on less dense things that might squish or bend.

(Are you laughing at me yet??)

Then when I get to the check out, I put up the heaviest things first, starting with milk and Braska's food, putting the things on top in the cart at the back of the line on the conveyor so that they end up on top again. This way I can make a good base of the heavy things for the free-form things to sit on. I try to build it back into the cart after it's bagged so that it all fits just right. I always put meat together, dairy together, random cold items together, healthy and beauty items together, produce together (and very late in the order), and end with chips and bread.

What annoys me is when, after all this work, the checker doesn't pay attention to my meticulous plan and puts the wrong things in the wrong bags! Don't they know there's a system here? Don't they see that I'm trying to help them, too? The really good checkers have commented at how much it helps them, so that always is a little happy moment.

Am I crazy? Maybe... but it works for me, for now. :o)

It's not too late to do your response to the questions or to put up your post for this round. Tell us how you shop!!

Random Questions Round 2 will be posted later this week. Tell your family, invite your friends....Don't miss it!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Random questions

I've been thinking of things here and there, and I just thought I'd throw them all out and see what happens. I made up the picture just so if you want to do a post we can pass it on. It would be fun to see how different and how similar we are! So many of us are mired in deep issues in regular everyday life that it sounds appealing to talk about the little things sometimes. And hey...there's no wrong answer! You can't fail this test!

If you don't have a blog or don't want to post about it, you can answer in the comments section. If you put up a post, let me know so we can all check it out. I'd love to see if I'm the wacky one that I think I am or if I'm in other wacky company. Answer all the questions or just pick one or two. Maybe you've got a funny story to relate about one of the topics or you've witnessed someone even wackier!

Here's the first round of questions...
1. When grocery shopping, do you arrange your items in the shopping cart nicely and in categories or just toss it in?

2. When putting your grocery items on the nifty conveyor belt at the check-out, do you group them by category to make bagging easy or do you just put them up there in whatever order you grab them?

That's a good start. More will come soon...the list is already pretty long! I'll post my answers tomorrow. Can't wait to see all yours!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Playgroup #1

It's almost 2pm, my husband is napping after his regularly scheduled very late night (early morning) due to that super exciting Friday Night Magic. He got home about 12 hours ago, and so far this morning he's moved more than he does on a typical Saturday and Sunday combined. Braska's asleep too, after a big morning, and I relieved her of her bouncy chair just BEFORE she fell asleep this time...even though I love the alternative option. So I thought this is my chance to sit down and actually do what I thought would be the norm for the blog...just sharing thoughts.

This morning we went to the Stay N Play Playgroup hosted by the University of Illinois Early Childhood Development Lab. Braska was chosen to participate in this group, and I was glad to have the chance for her to interact with other kids and with students who would learn from her too. I thought that there would be some other kids with developmental delays, maybe even DS, but that wasn't the case. She was the lone "non-typical" kid. Initially, I wasn't sure how this would go. The students and supervising faculty are super nice. They obviously love kids and playing with and teaching them. The group we're in is 8 children, ages 7 months to 15 months. We're at the high end of the chronological age and closer to the low end of the developmental age. But I figured at least we wouldn't be the only one to just sit and watch, playing kind of our own. I was wrong, though.

Little Kathryn, 15 months, was crawling up in her own chair, running like a champ, sharing toys, and obeying instructions. She was just adorable, adopted from an Asian country, super petite (only a pound more than Braska), and obviously very smart. Even the youngest one, 8 1/2 month old Madeline, was crawling all over the place like a pro. There was Phoena (fee-na), Reece, and Sheila all running about and happy when they had a toy they liked. Alina was 10 months and cute as a button. She sat next to us at snack and devoured her colored goldfish. Then there was Braxton, the lone boy, 15 months, and wow...I steered Braska out of his radar whenever possible. He was big, dangerous, handsy, and one seriously drooling, coughing, and snotting machine. His mom was very nice, but she had her hands full. Poor guy didn't know what to do with so many cute girls within his reach!

Times like these, which haven't been all that frequent, usually surprise me by invoking a reaction that I don't expect. I sat there for the first several minutes, watching the others run around and play and share, thinking that this was just not going to work. God bless M for going with me. I didn't even ask him to go. I didn't even hint at it in the least. I just assumed he'd stay home and Braska and I would check it out. But he went, and I was glad to see some other dads there too.

It's not that I don't know the reality of our situation. It's not that I am not aware of Braska's delays and limitations. It's not that I'm embarrassed of her delays. It's not even that I'm resentful of the "normal" kids or their parents. I think it's more that I feel the need to explain things. I want to defend her, show that she's not without merit or value. I tend to rely on her good looks, silly as that sounds. Everyone gushes over how adorable she is, everywhere we go. I've never had a negative comment about her at all in public, which I know happens to alot of parents in my shoes. The glasses are a big draw, everyone cooing and asking about them. She gets compliments on her hair and her snazzy outfits, and I am proud that she gets positive reactions. I'm admittedly big on appearances, so I'm pleased that people find my kid cute and not repulsive. That's natural and acceptable, right? I know it's an issue for me to work on, my shallow nature regarding the outside. But in these situations, that's my comfortable place. That's where I know we can move the conversation to and relax.

Today we participated, she played, we sang along with "The Hello Song" and it's close relative, "The Goodbye Song." I think it's good for Braska to have this kind of exposure, since she spends 96% percent of her time with just us, and the remainder is spent with a very small circle of friends who we don't see that often. The students and supervisor were great, especially Mary-Kelsey, our assigned student for the semester. They asked about what things they could incorporate for Braska, what types of toys or items that she would best respond to or that would assist in meeting her developmental goals in EI. It's very nice of them to take these things into consideration. I have to think they thought that she would be an interesting subject for the class and this part of the semester requirements for the students, or we wouldn't have been chosen for the group. They had all her background and info from the beginning. Mary-Kelsey is a speech pathology student, and I say it never hurts to have more exposure to speech/language and feeding help.

Introductions were done of the kids, but not with ages or any other info. So we gleaned ages just from hearing people ask and answer while the kids were playing. This is where I felt a bit lost. I didn't get to explain why she didn't crawl to get toys. I didn't get to explain why she was the only one at the table who shuffled her snack but didn't put it anywhere near her mouth, why her sippy cup was the only one not touched. I didn't even get to use the words Down syndrome. Is that good? Should I be glad it wasn't an issue? Or did they all just know and ignore it? Did they just think "something's different about that kid" and leave it at that? I don't know. I wonder if they were trying to be all about the inclusion thing and didn't want to make us feel different or like a stand-out.

I don't know. I guess I'm still processing. As I sit here, I'm not upset at all. I'm not hurt or disappointed or anything. Please don't think that or read that into the picture. I'm just thinking through the morning. I wonder why I reacted like I did. I mean, I know why I kept her from Braxton's reach.

Above all, I'm proud of her for not flipping out in a situation that was very overwhelming. The noise and the people and the unfamiliar place. These are things that often are too much for her individually, but together, I was sure it would bring a withdrawal, at least. But she didn't seem to mind. She watched at first, kind of let it all sink in and process, then she played. Mostly she played with the things we gave her, she's easy like that. But there were a couple things that she's used with her therapists, so she particularly liked those. She babbled a little, and she didn't mind at all sitting in a little kid chair at the table for about 10 minutes playing with colored goldfish and banging on the table. I'm anxious to see how it goes as we move forward. This lasts til the end of March or early April, I think. Every Saturday morning, we'll go and play. I bet by the end things will be very different, so that will be fun to see. And most of all, I'll probably learn alot and work through my own internal things. It's about time, I'd say.

Way to go, Braska Bear. Thanks for going, M.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tagged: 7 MORE things about me

Ok, here's the next batch of "things about me" per the tag from Mrs. Wibbs. I know you've all been waiting with bated breath.

1. I love Mexican food. But then again you know that if you read Braska's blog. Enchiladas, chicken fajitas, guacamole, GOOD salsa....I never get tired of it. Long live El Toro!!

2. If I have the choice between emailing someone and calling them, I'll almost always email. But my problem is that I assume that everyone is on their computers 18 hours a day like I am. And I don't understand why I don't have a response in 15 minutes!

3. I am not a fan of shopping....not for groceries or for clothes. I used to enjoy both somewhat, but now it is a hassle. I put off trips to the store for food way too often. And clothes....grrrr. That's all I have to say about that.

4. It is not unusual for me to go 3 or 4 days without leaving the house or even getting dressed. I'm great at getting out of the shower and just putting on the next pair of comfy pants and a sweatshirt that's next in the closet. PJs all day, every day. It's a blessing to work from home. I almost don't know how to act when I have to be publicly presentable.

5. I really need to do my taxes before April this year. It's kind of cumbersome with the business and all. I keep saying that I'll "have someone do it" each year, but never get it together in time. But since I always have to write a HUGE check, it makes sense that I'd put it off. Get all the interest I can before I ship it off.

6. I collect pandas, passively. Pandas have been collected for me since I was born. My collection expanded greatly when I met my husband, as it made for always an easy gift. So Braska's room is all seemed the obvious choice for a theme. I'm considering clearing out most of the collection, so if you know anyone who wants 1 or 100 pandas, let me know. I'm currently at about 60+ stuffed bears of all sizes, over 100 figurines, and various mugs, globes, glasses, puppets, toys, and even a couple of small tables.

7. I have had two good friends have babies in the last couple in Belgium (Hi Baby Carmen) and one in Missouri (Hi Baby Millie). In the next several weeks, we'll have a set of twin boys and then another little boy. That's alot of babies...but it's about time we got some boys in the mix!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Surprise

This morning I got up and went to grab our Valentine's Day cards from Braska and me for M. They were in my office. When I walked in there, I found a present and card with my name on it. M was in the shower, so I took the gift and the card back to the bedroom with our cards and waited til he got out of the shower. When he came out of the bathroom all ready for work, he opened his cards and I started on the present and card. (Very good card, by the way.)

It is a book of Braska's first year. Not a scrapbook with pictures on it. It's a professionally printed actual book. And it's not like it's just printed blog entries, it is completely customized and original. It took me completely by surprise. I gushed and cried all the way through, all 22 pages. That he took the time to compile all this, choosing the pictures, writing the captions, and having it printed in such a magnificent manner.... I'm still so darn impressed.

Here's the front and back. (Remember, you can click on the pictures to make them bigger.)

These are a few of the pages. They are just ALL so great. Great picture choices and really creative captions.

I could not be more pleased. I am an "A for effort" girl, one that gives points for trying. I like to know someone has taken the time to do something nice, even if it doesn't always pan out. I know M has been frustrated about some ideas he has had for gifts or surprises that didn't quite work, but I always appreciate the thoughts behind the attempts. THIS, however, is just overwhelming. The time spent had to be major. This is a big deal...and I appreciate it in a big way.

Thanks, honey. You did super good, #1! :o)

If you'd like to see the whole thing, don't worry....if you see me in the next few weeks, I'll probably have it with me to show off!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Best of: Half of 8 things about me

Mrs. Wibbs tagged me for a meme to share 7 things about me. I gotta say I like these, even when we've already done them before. It's fun to come up with more stuff we haven't already spilled. But for now, I'll refer back to an old post because I'm in the middle of catching up with my house and work-work.....but I'll do a new list this week later!! Really I will!

Here's one that was back in the day, posted on Braska's site. Some of you have asked about some of these things in particular, so I thought I'd just re-use this one. (It was my first announcement of this blog too!)
A while back, (sorry!) Jennifer at Pinwheels tagged me with this meme, and I am just plain honored! Jennifer is a great writer with some great kids. If you haven't looked over her blog, take the chance to do it.

Here's how it works:
1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

In all fairness, since this is Braska's blog, I'll do 4 things about me and then let her do her own 4.

1. I have lived in the following states, in this order:Illinois (4 weeks), Texas(7 1/2 yrs), Arkansas(5 yrs, 2 houses), Illinois(3 yrs), Kentucky(2 yrs, 2 houses), Missouri(9 years--4 in college, 5 cities, 7 houses/apts), Illinois(almost 7 years, 1 apt, 1 house). **Give or take a few months each place**

2. I met my husband online, back in the fall of 1997, when there were no such places as eHarmony and We simply were in the same chat room at the same time. And it was my first time ever in a chat room. Back in those days, it wasn't even a real-time chat...more like a message board type thing. Anyone remember those?!? He was in Montana and I was in Missouri. He was swept away with me in only 6 short days and traveled across the country "just to touch [my] beautiful face one time." Pretty awesome, huh?! (Hey, back it up... he's mine and I'll fight for him!) We've been together ever since, still hanging in there for better or worse.

3. About 11 years ago, after I'd graduated from college, I taught high school special education for a semester. They needed someone to take over for the teacher who had been diagnosed with cancer and ended up passing away toward the end of the semester. It was really sad, really hard for the kids to lose a teacher they loved very much, but it was quite interesting and very rewarding. I wish now I'd paid more attention to resources I had at the time. One of my students then still keeps up on us through my parents at church in Missouri, and she sends letters and things to Braska often. Hi Abby!!!

4. I have a new blog, called Just RK, where I am basically jotting down things that come to mind, happen to me, or just seem comment-worthy. It's not anything like this one in content at all--fair warning. There's not much Braska stuff, since that's all over here, so for you die-hard Braska fans, it's probably not that interesting for you. But for those of you who enjoy blogging for the personal, introspective venue it can become, feel free to come over and drop me a thought or two. I make no promises at all when it comes to the frequency of posts, but it's good for me to have a place to just ramble, and I figure that there may be a soul or two out there who can learn from the lessons I've tripped over.

As for tagging others... I haven't had much luck with it previously! Everyone's so busy or they've done it already... so I'm going to tag my husband's Phineas Blogg, since he likes fodder for, he's really funny and I like what he comes up with.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Blogger friends and My Bloggy Valentine

I've been awarded a very nice award from a couple of my faithful readers and blog friends, Shannon at Gabi's World and Christina at Kwisteena's Kwaziness. Thanks so much, you guys!! It always bring such a giggle to me when I see my name on someone elses post! It's like being picked with the cool kids!!! Love it!

This gives me a chance to talk about something that I've been meaning to blog about for a while. Blogging about blogging...seems funny. I have learned so darn much from all you DS blogger-moms (and the dads too). Reading about and watching how you go about normal daily things as well as how you deal with the things we deal with like therapies, doctor visits, EI and IFSP meetings, and the underlying frustration that can creep up on's priceless. I often tell new moms that I am blessed to interact with that if they do one thing, check out the blogs. It's the BEST picture of how life is really going to be, in my opinion. It made THE difference in my starting to accept my new future and realizing that life goes on. ( pun intended.)

We learn from each other how to advocate for our kids. We are reminded when to give ourselves a break. We get to glimpse the future when we follow the kids that are a little older. We get to reminisce and share what we've learned with those who are new to our little community. We get to do alot of "how did you get through this?" and "what can I try?" when we run into a situation for which there doesn't seem to be a clear answer. We get so much encouragement and prayer support when we are at our wit's end or our kids get hit with health issues.

There is just nothing that can compare to the virtual arm around the shoulder from another person who knows exactly what you're feeling and how hard it can be. Friends of all kinds are so wonderful to have and can be helpful, but there is a special something about this DS community of bloggers who share their lives with each other. And I'm blessed to have been included in this premier bunch.

So here's the Bloggy Valentine part. Since it's about time to share with our loved ones the candy and jewelry (a girl can hope, right?) and teddy bears, I think it's a great time to do a little bragging on our Bloggy Valentines. Let's have a string of posts about what your blogger friends have meant to you. Bloggy Valentines of mine (yeah, you know who you are :o), you mean the world to me!

~What has the DS blog community meant to you?
~What lessons have you learned?
~How did they encourage you?
~What are some of your favorite stories?

You don't have to tag anyone or name any names, unless you want to, of course. But let's spread some love. Brag on your Bloggy Valentines!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday

If you're in a state that's voting in a primary today, go vote. If you don't know who you'd choose, take a few minutes and check out a comparison sheet. Just Google "presidential candidate comparison" and see what you think.

Do I have an opinion? Sure...if you want to know you can give me a call or email. I'm not gonna endorse via blog. (Here's a's not a she.) I'd hate to influence someone inappropriately with my overwhelming charm and wisdom.

I hadn't been into this campaign til the last month or so. I caught a speech by a candidate that made me so mad that that person might even slightly have a chance to be the president that I had to check out the field. So I've been Little Miss Political News lately...the TVs stuck on channel 60 (locals can identify it), and the husband is rolling his eyes. But hey, it's important. I'm an adult. Time to know what's happening to our country.

Go vote!

Edited to Add: I did actually go vote. I took my grouchy kiddo out in the pouring, and I mean pouring, rain to fill in our little ovals. Got the sticker to prove it!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

One room

I had two days to work, and I sure as heck did. But all that time, and I really only got one room done! It was my office, though, and it was SO overpiled and trashed. So I feel good that it's done and I hope I can keep better track of my filing and organizing so that 2-years-behind thing never happens again.

Some pics... if you've been around long, you know I am a fan of the before-and-after pics.

Here's what it looked like when I started. I'm so shocked that I'm even posting's horrendous! BTW...these were taken on my phone, M and Braska had taken off with the camera by the time I remembered I needed a "before." They're not the best quality pics.

And at it's current stage... no, my walls aren't peach, but the light in there makes things look yellowish.
There is still plenty to do, things from the other two rooms that used to be the office pre-kid that need to be moved in here. Final filing order, and of course, taxes! But at least now I can get in there and actually utilize the work space. And if you come to visit, you'll have a bed to sleep in.

For the record, I did get a few other things done. I finished the office at about 1:30p on Sunday, then worked on my living room, the kitchen, and minimally on our bedroom before I had to dash to the store before the Super Bowl party at 3:45p. There's at least another weekend's worth of work to do, but for now, I'll just try to keep up with the daily stuff.

Little factoid....when the office was done, I had almost 2 complete 30-gal bags of trash, mostly paper. Amazing!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Packing picky

Tomorrow the husband and daughter will be heading to St. Louis without me to visit Grandma C a bit and clear out of here for a couple days. This is to allow me to dive in to two uninterrupted days of tearing up and re-organizing this house, starting with my office. We'll see how it goes. I'm excited for the chance to dive in for a big ole' block of time. I enjoy this kind of thing, but I get so darn frustrated that I only get to do little bits and it always ends up worse when I'm done. So I appreciate the chance to give it a try. Maybe I'll take before and after pics. Let's just say, I am about 19 months behind in filing, and I'm usually super detailed about filing.

Tonight I was packing the bag for them, and I'm trying to make it very clear what my intentions are for Braska's stuff without packing notes with each item. But when it comes to dressing for church, there's no taking chances. So I made a little bundle of things, including her onesie, tights, shoes, hair bow, and the three-piece outfit.

Too much?? I think not. M would admit to not having a clue about how to dress her when it comes to needing to match. I'm just trying to be helpful. For the "casualwear," I didn't go to such lengths, leaving off the ribbon-tied element. I just put BabyLegs and socks inside the matching folded long-sleeved onesie...times 3. (She tends to ooze after feedings sometimes, and I can't stand to leave her in wet, icky clothes.)

Here's hoping for a productive couple of days, and that Braska will behave for her Pop. She's awfully darn attached to me. This will be the longest she's been away from Mommy. I think I'm due for a break, even if it is a work-36-hours-straight break!