Thursday, May 19, 2011

Let The Games Begin!

I don't know about you, but right now, after three days of ridiculous humidity and erratic downpours, my lawn looks more like a jungle. A jungle full of drooping dandelions well past their prime. The kids and I chuckle fondly over The Boss's anxiety when he sees the neighbor open the shed and pull out the mower. Never, not once, in all the years that we've owned a home has The Boss been the first neighbor to boast a fully trimmed and newly-edged lawn to start off the Spring Yard Games. That's what we all say, when we see The Boss twitching and itching in his seat while he watches one of our five closest neighbors beat him to the punch.  We say, "Let the Games Begin!" and laugh evilly.

Not even the advent of teaching Shaggy and Dr. D last year to run the mower has eased The Boss's competitive spirit. He now has fully released the job to Dr. D for a weekly salary but he still shivers when he drives in and out of the driveway, cringing at the dandelions and crabgrass interspersed in the clover and grass. (Interspersed is a gentle term. Think more like invasion of the Huns.)  The thing is, it's a game he'll never win. Never. He works full time, an hour and a half or more of commuting time tacked onto the already 8-9 hour day. Our neighbors, for the most part, are retired and/or teachers. They are home earlier. And more often. So while he is totally frustrated at the inability to compete at their level, he is ever so grateful for Dr. D's skills and effort. He'll be more grateful when he doesn't have to wait till Dr. D is done school for the week to enjoy a freshly mowed lawn, but that's beside the point.

You'll notice that I emphasized that we taught Shaggy and Dr. D to run the mower just last year.  That's because we are self-proclaimed safety freaks. Aaaaaand, before last year, we had a riding mower that worked adequately for The Boss to knock out the job in an hour or so on a Saturday morning and he actually kind of liked the relaxing nature of riding round and round and round in big circles around our fenced-in pool and the house.  Then, the time crunch got crazy and we checked in with the boys to see how they felt about hand-mowing.  I will admit, it took some convincing of The Momma that both boys were ready to take the task as seriously as we both felt it should be taken.  You see, both The Boss and I have heard too many horrible stories of accidents with mowers, too many times...  For example, did you know:

Lawn mower-related injuries account for more than
51% of traumatic amputations among children.
Major limb loss is most commonly caused
by lawn mowers for children under the age of 10.

And that's NOT just for the children who are operating those mowers. It's for the ones caught in the blind spots of operators. Or the ones "just running to retrieve that ball" that they threw too far.  It's horrible. It's tragic, and it's completely preventable.

Please, go HERE and read this post. It's not a game. It's life and death. And it's preventable, with just a few safety measures and standards that are easily adapted to your family.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Creating a Network

In the last two months, Li'l E has undergone several different evals and consultations with an eye toward assisting her hearing in the educational setting. While I'm not a fan of picturing my Li'l E heading off on a big yellow bus for her first day of kindergarten, (sob!) I am well-aware that planning ahead and gathering the information and doing the research is the best thing I can to do for us to make the decisions that we need to make. (More on the forecasts of what is coming down the pike for our girl at a later date...)

So. While I'm studying up on hearing assistance devices, hearing support and speech support therapies and more, I have a few questions for you, my readers:

Are you a mom of a child with hearing loss?
Are you a reader of a blog written by a mom of a child with hearing loss?
Do you have a hearing loss of your own that you talk about on your blog?

I am looking to create a bit of a network with this information. For now, I don't envision anything more than a special list on my sidebar that connects us all together. To learn from each other, to share resources and information. To support and encourage each other in the parenting of these little treasures.  Who knows what might come of it?!

I've already been a long-time reader of 5 Minutes for Mom's excellent sister site, called 5 Minutes for Special Needs. And I've learned a lot, connected with some great folks, and used it as a starting point for other resources that I still enjoy today. But that site is a broad umbrella of all kinds of special needs and I am feeling the desire to hone my focus in the search for connection with other families who are living with varying levels of hearing loss.

If you are in that group, please leave a comment today. If your blog is not accessible via your comment, please consider leaving a link to your blog. If you have any suggestions or resources that are especially helpful for this venture, leave a comment.  I'm not quite sure how else to go about creating this network, I just know I'd really like to take a stab at it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunday Snapshot {for esther}

Sunday Snapshot

My heart is breaking for Stefanie and Chris and their beautiful family. The loss of their little Esther is so sad and I can't even begin to imagine how they are all processing it and working through it as they grieve. My Sunday Snapshot is a tribute to sweet little Esther. Her name means "morning star" and is meant to denote a name of beauty pointing the bearer to Yahweh, in worship to the King. I love that Biblical names of the Old Testament did that: point the bearer to the King. Such a beautiful little star, glowing for such a short time but  pointing to the Father in her intricate, unique and fragile life.

So, my friend. These flowers are from my garden. They began the earliest stages of showing their beauty and bloom around the time you received your LOA. And this week, while you mourn and grieve and seek His comfort, they are in fullest bloom and blossom. Stretching their little faces toward their King, bringing glory to His name by pointing their audience to His face. I've never met you in person, sweet Stefanie, but I remember your encouragement and prayer and support in our own, glitchy adoption journey. (Not that what we experienced is even close to your pain. But you were so supportive then.) And so now I stand with you in honoring little Esther's life. And I will stand for you in prayer moving forward.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Can See Clearly Now....

Last week, I picked up my new glasses. To clarify, I picked up my new READING glasses.  Yup, it's official and I can no longer live in the sweet shadow of denial.  I am getting old. As if the assistance to my eyesight wasn't ENUFF already, my LadyBug turned 12. TWELVE, ya'll. TUH.WELL.VUH. Ugh.

It's NO coincidence at all that the day after my eye doctor kindly and gently informed me that getting dizzy while trying to read AND watch my favorite cop show at the same time was, in fact, a sign of my aging eyes, that I decided to take my aging self to the nearest beauty school (Hey, I'm vain but I'm frugal. VERY frugal.) and get some highlights added in to cover the gray.  Er, I mean white.

Cuz, to add insult to total injury, I am finding out the hard way that red heads don't go gray slowly. Or even fade from red to pale pink. They go white. In stubborn little clumps of wiry, willful strands all around my face.  Highlights help me at least FEEL like they are blending in.

So. I'm freshly highlighted. And be-spectacled when seated at my computer or snuggled up with a book. Please, be kind.

I'm not used to having to account for glare
when smiling a big fake smile for the camera.

And yes, that's a doozy of a sunburn.
Had a third grade field trip to Ellis Island with
Baby BlueEyes on Tuesday. Totally forgot my sunscreen
till I felt the heat tingling. Ugh. That's not gonna help
the aging process, will it?!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

This is how I found Li'l E's lamb the other day.
Stuffed into her toy microwave.
I don't even know what to say about this.

For more Wordless Wednesday fun,
head over to 5 Minutes for Mom and link up!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Sunday Snapshot

I had a full and happy Mother's day. I hope all of you did, too. We got up a little earlier than normal and headed up the highway to worship at my parents' church. On the drive up, Li'l E provided a running commentary of the scenery, of her siblings' antics and behaviors, of the music she was listening to in Shaggy's earbuds, of the other cars traveling along the road with us, and so on. One hour and 25 minutes of almost constant conversation. MOST of it aimed at me - lately every sentence is prefaced by "Mommeeee?" But some of it was worth sharing, notably this little exchange:

"Daddy, look out! Der id a bid, bid mownten in dront od you!"
"Thank you, Li'l E. I'll try not to run right into it."
"Oh. Okay, Daddy. Youw wewcom."

She is SUCH a back-seat driver!

Anyway, here's a couple pics from our day of celebrating my mom,
both for Mother's Day AND her birthday.

Mmmmm, I made an Orange Coconut pound cake
for dessert. Thanks to Betty Crocker and my sister's
tips, this one turned out yummy and tender!

See Shaggy peeking in on the action?
It's really hard to get a serious pose in our family.

He made it up to me with a giant hug and a nice pose.
Rare, but nice. (The pose, not the hugs!)

Apparently, our celebration was exhausting!
All three of them were asleep just like this
within minutes of clearing the table and finishing dessert.

It took some doing (multiple calls to gather,
multiple admonishments to smile nicely,
and multiple "takes" of the same pose), but we did it.
Here is my Gang with my mom.

OH! And look!
The rarest sighting of the whole day!
A real hug AND a real smile with Dr. D.
It may have taken all day to coax the hug
(he's not the biggest fan of all the hugging that happens here!)
and some "naughty" words to prompt the smile
(body functions get him every time - he is a boy, after all!)
but it was totally worth it.
And the PERFECT way to end the day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

The Reds were on FIYAH last night!
And Baby BlueEyes was blazing hottest of all...

He scored 7 goals in one game!
It must be those hot new cleats.
Black with flames in orange and red and yellow.

And they beat those green kids, 12 to 1...

Yeah, Baby! That's the way to way to do it!

Link up to join the Wordless Wednesday fun.
And if you've come by today,
leave me a comment. I'll be sure to stop by
and visit your WW post, too!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Such a Creative Ministry!

Recently, I found out about a cool new ministry founded by friends from our adoption agency community. I  just love, love, love how creative our God is! Really, you have to do the links and reading on this one. REALLY.

I'm so excited to introduce you to Mark and Kelly Raudenbush  and The Sparrow Fund.  Their desire is to help families prepare for and bring home their Waiting Children. And they have found a way to do it in such a unique way, one that almost ALL parents waiting for a special needs child can really access and make wonderful use of while they wait. Not only are they responsible for starting up the awesome adoption resource site We Are Grafted In, now they are using what they know and what they have experienced in their own journey to their little Lydia and parlaying that into financial support for other waiting families.  

For a really great introduction to the ministry,
go to this post and read Mark's own words
on the start of The Sparrow Fund.

For another great background peek into the hearts
of this couple and what they desire to do to help families
be prepared and be educated about
their Waiting Child's needs, head over here to this post.

What you need to know, is that for the month of May, The Sparrow Fund will be receiving 10% of the profits of over 30 on-line retailers who have partnered with The Sparrow Fund to get it off the ground with a bang. Click on either of the posts highlighted above for a full list of participating retailers.

Additionally, if you think this ministry to waiting parents is as valuable and creative as I think it is, I highly encourage you to grab their button and put it on your sidebar. Or write your own post about the fund. Get the word out. This creative financial support for families in the special needs adoption community is going to help a lot of families for a long time. And I'm so proud to call them my friends.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Sunday Snapshot

This week, we had a couple visitors.
They come every spring.
I try to be hospitable and make them feel welcome.
The Boss feels quite differently than I about our
annual visitors. He's, in fact, quite grouchy, when
he discovers they have arrived.

Meet Harry and Mary.
According to the previous home-owners,
they've been coming here for years.

I'm pretty cool with their annual appearances.
After all, I know how hard it is to find a great vacation spot
that you can count on for consistent quality and customer service.
At least until the cover of the pool comes off.

Once The Boss opens the pool though?
They will have to find somewhere else to sun themselves.
I'm not a big fan of the tips they leave.

For now, the cover of the pool offers all the
brackish, slimy water they could want.
Teeming with little bugs and other microscopic critters.

Mmmmm, no one walks away from a buffet
dinner at The Gang's house still hungry!