Saturday, December 28, 2013

Test run for new format.

I've debated this many times before. Using the blog kinda like I use instagram or twitter... Quick and to the point. Heaven knows I'd love to write a lot, but suffice it to say that is not gonna magically happen (consistently) ny time soon.

So maybe this will be better than nothing? Maybe not. Maybe no one even does blogs anymore...  I've debated caving in for fb to... But haven't yet. Hard to make changes,  ya know.

In the meantime... Test pic is me and my girl, as she sits with me in my "work space" aka recliner with laptop.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

7 years already

At the end of a long day, neither of us looking our best, we pause for a quick smile to set as a remembrance of the day.


Braska is 7.  It seems unreal.

I wish I had time to type through some of the ponderings and thoughts that have been swimming around in my head during the busyness of the last week.  How much has changed in 7 years for both of us…

But I don’t have the luxury of that time.  Maybe by next year.

Now to figure out what to do with the 20 kids (and their parents) who are coming to B’s party on Saturday at the cheer gym. It’ll be a blast.  Do I go last-minute cookies? Cupcakes? Little D*bbie something or other?  To say I don’t have 10 minutes to devote to getting ready is an understatement. 

But what else is new, right? 

The girl will have fun, so all shall be right.

Happy Birthday, Beauty. Onward and upward.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Photography: Fall. Attempt.

This afternoon I tried to get some fun fall photos of the girls. But they were not all that… ahem… cooperative.  Well, Braska wasn’t.  Kinlee threw some leaves and called it done.  I did get a few that I liked alright.

braska-outside2kinlee-leaves1   kinlee-leaves2

Friday, November 1, 2013

Big ole' bon fire

Enjoying a cool evening by a huge bonfire with friends... Props to Hillsboro, MO!  That's M and his two tiny helpers stoking the monster.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cutest of us

I tell her she’s the cutest Kinlee. She loves to tell me how cute I am, all mushy and sweet like…  we’re gooey like that. (When she’s not being one of the most frustrating little 4-year-olds I know…)  So I do appreciate the sweet times.  Together, we’re the cutest.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cute little work crew

This past Saturday we ripped our carpet out of the living room and hallway. We spent the day pulling hundreds of staples and prying up tack strips. After a couple days of subfloor only, with the girls banned from anything but passing thru with shoes on, my parents came Monday to assist with laying new floors.

Things moved slower than we expected,  but we don't know mush about the installation process. Or we didn't then...

But now they're in,  they look great, and we are finishing baseboards and door trim. Because of course I wanted to do that new too... M has been pretty amazing and diligent in getting done. He took off the whole week to work on it, and with the help of hundreds of dollars worth of tools,  saws,  and compressors borrowed from friends, we are almost done.

Soon the piano and two storage cabinets can be removed from the kitchen.

What,  your piano isn't in your kitchen?

Yes, it's chaos to have no place but a pathway to be in the kitchen. We are bringing back less furniture to help with the crowded feeling. I'll love to have a kitchen back with counters not covered in tools and various scraps of wood.

In the meantime, the work crew is hard at it. Brask is the measuring assistant while Kinlee oversees. Daddy is doing the tough stuff though. He is going to need a vacation after his renovacation.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

40: The number is not the issue

I’m not upset about turning 40 today.  I get a little solemn sometimes around birthdays and anniversaries for a few reasons that I don’t know if I’ll elaborate upon or not. But it’s not the aging part.  I feel good about my age.  And as I’ve looked through some old pics, I think I haven’t changed all that much, but for the better when change is apparent…  don’t ya think?

Cheesing with new glasses
2001: Age 28
rk glasses

2013: Age 39

Dressed up to party
2002: Age 29

2013: Age 40 (minus 6 days)

So here’s to the next 10… or 20…   who knows. But the best is yet to come, I think.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

40th birthday party pics

The party Friday night was really nice.  Trendy location, yummy food, great music playlist, family and friends to laugh with.  There was a little karaoke (my fave…livin’ on a prayer…totally took me back), and as my kids were the only kids there (and they left early) they enjoyed getting lots of attention and dancing with anyone willing.


It was a bit sad that many couples were out of town or ended up with sick kids at the last minute.  No fun that they weren’t there… some were appropriately bummed.

But for the crowd who came and celebrated with me, thanks!!!  It was a great time! We should do it regularly, I say!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Surprise. Karaoke. 40

Tonight I was blessed with a surprise (I knew there was an event, but I didn’t know anything further than that) birthday party, thrown by my sister, Rachel and my husband. It was a fun time. I’ll write more soon and show more pics. But thanks a bunch to Rach for organizing and executing a smooth plan. And thanks to all who came. And those of you who couldn’t, we missed you. 

Official birthday countdown 5 days, 10 minutes.

(Lil sis Rach and me)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Things I could write about

I want to go to bed. It’s late. But I don’t want to forget the list of things in my head that, in an ideal schedule, would be able to be mulled over via blogging… today was a full day.

~Braska was off school, Kinlee “on” school, stayed for chapel with Braska at “the other school” to see her buddies.

~Dashed from chapel to Braska’s parent/teacher conference. It lasted 2 hours. Not bad, but not fully happy. Topics: reg ed time, transitions, behaviors, motivation

~Then ran back across the county to “the other school” to help with lunch and let B enjoy some more time with her friends at lunch and recess.

~Left from there to get downtown to Children’s for newest specialist on B’s team… urology. Trying to rule out medical issues for toilet training frustration. Ruled a few in. Topics: nonemptying bladder, wrong messages between bladder and brain, can be corrected and quick (per dr).

~Straight back to pick up K from Spanish, stopped by physical therapy location with one of very few PTs who works on what B needs help with.  Went by pharmacy for new med.

~Finally made it home to fix dinner and brief M on the happenings of the day and our new list of homework.

More on these later….good night.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Selling without trying is fun!

I just got notification that I sold something on CafePress.

I had completely forgotten that I set up a “shop,” per se, a few years ago.

But someone chose my design out of many options, and I find that so fun! 

Partially because I forgot it was on there, but mostly because I actually created the design myself. It’s not a stock image or something.  It was one of the first attempts at image work that I’d ever tried…  and still one of my faves, I must say.

So there ya go.  Good times. Thank you R.L. in Ohio for choosing a tshirt with my DS awareness design!

In case anyone else wants one….  it’s out there! Smile

Women's T-Shirt

This is also kind of funny to me, because now I make shirts like crazy. Another thing I need to update any of you who still come around here about…  I made one for me for Kinlee’s school, and it caught on like wildfire.  I’ve sold 20+ since August, I’ve got over 12 shirts on my hobby table that are waiting to be done, with several more orders pending. And they’re all hand done, lots of bling!  Who knew?!?  (I’m drooling over a new super-gadget that would make it easier, but M hasn’t ok’d the $6000 expenditure at this stage. Men….)

Not to mention the cheer squads I’m doing bows for, the salon who is selling my “everyday bows” for little girls, and the gymnastics teams who want bows AND bling shirts for their Olympic trials travel wear.  Oh and then there’s the photography that I just began doing for fun and practice and for which I now have lots of requests for bookings… 

Nope, I’m not at all busy.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

In the news… Common Core. IEP. Oxymoron.

Thanks to Cate for “in the news” being the first thing I thought of when I figured I’d post a link to an article.  (Don’t ever think you don’t make an impression!)

Came across this article today in a very roundabout way I won’t bother to explain. But I thought it was interesting. 

Common Core State Standards Don’t Rhyme with Individual Education Plans

I’d like to have time to write the 20 posts or so it would take to catch you all up on Braska’s school situation. In a word—Frustrating.

Here’s the summary…

Positive: She goes to school. She likes to go. She likes the bus. Her teachers are nice.

Needs improvement: Behaviors are becoming an issue at school, not at home. (dropping in the hall, not following directions, being goofy in the bathroom, etc) She’s the class clown, it seems. I am getting very little info or communication unless I prod, though they seem willing to share once I do prod. I’m not convinced our placement arrangement is the best, but I can’t figure out the alternative at this point.  And our beloved private school where Kinlee goes isn’t ready to have B back yet, though they’re working on it.

But she likes it. And she’s doing alright on most days. So I’m trying to be patient.

All that leads back to the article… does seem interesting that kids who, by definition of the generally accepted terms, need “special” consideration of some kind, are lumped in with the “common” goals. 

I’m not a pro, but at least on what it looks like to me, there needs to be a big NEEDS IMPROVEMENT on that report card.

Just sayin’…

Monday, September 30, 2013

Little healthcare information tip

I’ve worked in medical/dental offices in various capacities for over 18 years.  I’ve been the receptionist, the dental assistant, the insurance coordinator, the patient accounts trainer, the practice manager/administrator, and the consultant, among several other roles and titles.

Currently, I work from home. I listen to recorded calls online from 7 dental practices in CT, NJ, WA, NY, and TN, and 2 orthopedic practices in NE.  When people call in to make an appointment, I get to hear both sides of the conversation to make sure that the call handlers are saying what they’re supposed to, providing good service, and not missing opportunities for new patients.

I’ve been amazed at many things over the years working in this field.  But lately I’m most amazed at how many people call an office for the first time to make an appointment, and they don’t know what their insurance is, and they don’t have the card with them. 

It’s just hard to fathom, to me, that a person would not have that info in their wallet at all times.  And if they don’t keep it there for some odd reason, why wouldn’t they have it at the ready when they’re calling an office that they will expect to be billing that insurance?  If your method of payment is an insurance company, it seems that would be info you’d be sure to have right there…

So for the sake of the next office you call for the first time, not that any of YOU would lack this nugget common sense already, here’s your free tips…

~Always keep your insurance cards, medical and dental, in your wallet. If you get a new one in the mail, switch them out immediately and you’re all set.

~When you call a new office to make an appointment, have your applicable insurance card available.  It’ll just make everything easier for everyone.

Why do they need it? Because generally the office should be calling or checking online for your benefits to be sure they’re current and to be able to let you know what your patient responsibility will be prior to the date of service. It’s to provide you with the most info about what fees you can expect to incur from this service.  So don’t be grouchy, just be prepared to share what they need so they can provide you the most accurate info.

Oh…One more tip… 

~When it says “this call may be recorded” it means from the time the phone starts ringing til the call ends.

Including when you’re on hold.  (“Billy! Stop licking the dog!” or random saucy comments to another party in the room)

Including when you’re choosing options. (“I hate these automated phone systems! *%#@$ and *&*#@” )

And if you’re in one of those states making an appointment for one of those types of office, maybe I’ll hear ya. 

What? Creepy?  Well, wouldn’t you rather it be me than who knows who else? Smile

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Photography: Maddie and Charlie

Great Homecoming photo session tonight with these two!  Hope the dance was a blast! 


mad622a-wm  mad621a-wm

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lately on Instagram, Episode 1

Ok, so maybe this is blog cheating… but quick and easy are what it’s all about lately.  I am rediscovering Instagram, and it’s so darn easy to toss up a cute something with a quip about what’s up.  So if you’re into Instagram, come on by… braskasmom is me. If you’re not, well, you’ll get a peek anyway.  I’m thinking I can just snip and paste and boom, mildly interesting content on the blog. 

And no, you certain friends who keep trying to get me to break and join the FB gang, this is not the beginning of that. Sorry.

Saturday 09/14/13


Tuesday 9/17/13



Weds 9/18/13



Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mommy Kinlee Salon Day

Kinlee likes to give things names. Events. Situations. Lots of things.

If we go to lunch, it’s Mommy Kinlee Lunch.

If Braska’s with us, it’s a Mommy Girls Lunch.

When she wants to sit on my lap for a while, she asks for a Mommy Kinlee Moment.

If Daddy takes her to Lowe’s,  it’s a Daddy Kinlee Trip.

When we went to Wal Mart this morning, it was an All Family Trip.

And the list goes on…

Today was Mommy Kinlee Salon Day. 

I was going to get my hair done, and she came along because she wanted a cut for herself, too.

I got to go first because she can get her haircut done during my processing. So she waited patiently (with Netflix on her Nabi, of course) in the chair next to mine.

When it was her turn, she was all smiles.  (Which is nice.  We tend to see A LOT of attitude lately, more than smiles.)


My big-girl 4-year-old bug.  My kindergartener.  Hard to believe.

She is like a little pro when she’s in there. Loves it.  She really likes the whole process, except the shampooing.  The super chic sinks there aren’t the most comfy for her, so she prefers just a spray to wet it down.  And she knows. She’ll speak up and let you know what’s supposed to happen.


She gets very serious about watching everything that Jessica is doing, but she does sometimes crack a smile.


Of course, we had to pause to pose together. 

The after…  she prefers no blow dry, thank you.  It’s far too hot for her liking.

Her couple inches of trim was pretty uneventful, but the other 90 minutes when she was just waiting for me was the real challenge.  And she did great, not the recently-typical whining, none of the rolling eyes and attitude-laden tone.  She was pleased to do her Fooz Kids Math or English on the Nabi or watch Martha Speaks.

It was a pretty nice outing.  And that’s a good thing.  So since it’s not always the way things go, I wanted to document it.  So I can look back next time I get the growl and scoff along with the “Oh my goodness, Mom.  That is not at all what I want to do. Can we talk about other options?”

No joke.  Verbatim quote.

I’m glad to have these little peeks at the fun 4-year-old days.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Photo sneak

A girl just can’t get a fair photo with certain brother-in-laws around.  Nothing is sacred. Even an attempt at taking a picture of my first freehand rhinestone Bears shirt. I’m a bling girl, yes I am.  And this is way more sparkly than the picture shows.  But it might be because of the goofball dimming my aura or something. 

*sigh* little brothers….

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back on the streets

After a little over 2 months off due to low-calorie eating plan to jump start the healthy lifestyle plan, today was my return to the streets to pick up with C25K plan.

Yep. I'm a planner.

I backed up a little in the sequence to make sure I could handle it. But with almost 20 lbs less of me hitting the pavement, seems to be very doable to jump back in. I managed well and it felt very good.

Now off to the shower and on with the rest of a busy day of school volunteer time and dentist appointments.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Kinlee’s Pumpkin Plant

Toward the end of school last year, Kinlee came home from school with a tiny egg carton cup with a sprout in it. It was a pumpkin plant just starting.

Since I kill just about every plant of which I have had custody, we took it directly to Grandma C’s house.  They planted it in the back yard.

In about 4-6 weeks, it was a full-blown plant, and it had the first flower.

In July, the plant continued to grow. It was pretty amazing to see it get bigger so quickly.  Several flowers came and went, but finally we saw the first little pumpkin.


The plant was bigger than Kinlee in no time.

The pumpkin kept growing. And by early August, though still green, it was getting to look like a “real pumpkin.” 

As every good gardener should, Kinlee watered her plant when playing at Grandma C’s.  It’s turning orange, and that pleased her.  But do you see the size of that thing.  ALL of that green that’s below Kinlee’s shoulder height is that one little sprout of a plant grown BIG.

It’s neat to watch this grow.  It’s neat to think of the symbolism of the seed that was  planted, the sprout that was cared for and then re-planted in the right place, and the way that a little sprout put in the right environment can thrive more quickly than I can imagine. 

It’s a lot like the little sprout that brought that sprout home.  And we’re thankful for people like Mrs. S, who helped her plant that pumpkin seed while at school last year, and contributed to the planting of innumerable seeds of potential.kinleeface1