Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Digging out . . .

I am digging out from an incredibly crappy life lately. Dustin is truly embracing the wango tango like never before. I am seeing glimpses of what our future could hold and I am fighting it with every fiber in my being. I will not let it happen. We will get through this. We will be a stronger family. We will give him every opportunity to excel. Teenager hormones suck.

I have been incredibly busy with my photography which is good. I really enjoy it. I am building a my client list and continue to get referrals from my die-hard families.

I broke the news to the kids this year that Santa doesn't leave the presents, we do. We are making a concerted effort to de-crapify Christmas. We are definitely spending less and making it more memorable with traditions and with giving. We are focusing on giving to others in need this season and we are not spoiling our kiddos. They are old enough to understand the true meaning of Christmas and they really don't need a bunch of junk.

We have been having some issues with the littles and their behaviors so we have also started a new behavior mod system. It is working the best of any we have tried. Each child has a small ball jar and they get pennies for good behavior, helping others, kindness, and polite behavior. They can earn anywhere from 1-10 pennies and then they go and physically put pennies in their jar. When they fill their jar they will take it to the grocery and put it in the coin counter. They get what they earn and even a date with the adult of their choice. We shall see if it continues to work.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stuffed Chicken Shells. . .

Totally yummy and super easy!

Here's what you'll need:

Three boneless chicken breasts boiled and shredded.
1 can of Cream of Chicken soup
1 1/2 cups of sour cream
1 box of chicken flavored stuffing mix
2 cups of shredded cheese
Box of large pasta shells

Mix together the soup, sour cream, box of stuffing prepare according to box, shredded chicken and 1 cup of the cheese. (I used colby jack)

Stuff mixture into boiled shells and place into a casserole dish.

Spoon over any leftover mixture and top with a cup of cheese (I used mozzarella). Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. I made mine early in the day and cooked later.


Thumbs up from the whole family! Next time I think we will add mushrooms and perhaps some broccoli.

Thankful? . . .

So I blew my streak of Thankfulness. It has been a difficult week. Things kindof hit the fan on Wednesday and then Thursday blew up in my face. Dustin has been REALLY off and I hope I can blame it on the full moon, but no so sure.

Thursday he had the worst fit he has had since he was about 10. He was actually TRYING to physically harm us which has not happened intentionally in a LONG time. His behavior at school that day was also very difficult which is quite unusual. Friday he ran out of the house for the first time in about 12 weeks. We thought we had conquered that behavior, but it apparently has come back.

Other difficulties at home have required some careful attention. I have been laying low, taking some time for family and trying really hard to focus on the positives. I feel like I cannot blog what I wish because of this Tudu and Lisa stuff. . .

Feeling very discouraged and looking for a better week. . .

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thankful Day 16 . . .

Today I am thankful for men who actually take women seriously.

We had a small issue at work today. I work for a daycare that is in very large church, the largest in our city. Today there was an auction at a house directly across the street from our property. A LOT of people turned out and began parking wherever they pleased. I had no issue with them in our lot, but they were parking all willy-nilly and not even in parking spaces. Everyone was gone today, so I was kinda in charge. I went over to the auction and found the auctioneers. I explained that I was so very sorry, but those not in spaces would have to move so that the buses that drop children off at the daycare would be able to get through. He said, "It'll be fine". I explained it was indeed not fine and they needed to move.

I went back over to our lot and stood in three prime spaces that the buses needed to swing around in our lot. The people began walking over to move their cars. I was well aware that at this point I was the "face of the church" and I really needed to be kind. As they got in their cars, I apologized and directed them farther down the lot where they were welcome to park. As they walked back passed me I thanked them for their kindness. Not everyone was as kind to me. In fact, most were quite rude. Two men told me that where they were parked was fine and they were not moving. I told them they were parked illegally and they had to move. They argued, I smiled and held firm and they hollered and argued and eventually moved. They walked past me grumbling and mumbling expletives, "Damn Women!" was my favorite.

I had to continue to stand out their in my prime spaces because newcomers kept coming and parking in the places that I had just scooted others out of. Seriously people. Do you think you can just make up parking spaces? One man hollered about having to move his truck that was actually parked in the traffic lane facing the wrong direction. His argument? There was not a NO PARKING sign posted. Really dude? Really?

I kept getting the distinct impression that I would not have been treated the way I was treated had I been a male.

Yesterday I frequented a local establishment to check into purchasing a very expensive home surveillance system and the man who was there treated me like I was a child. I informed him that I had done my homework and pretty much understood the systems and done a lot of research on line and that I wanted to give a local business my money instead of the internet, but he still treated me like an idiot. He kept calling me "little lady" and "hun" and "lil darling". It was extremely condescending. A lot of the stuff he told me I knew was completely false and he was trying to get me to spend more for less options. There is no way in Hades that I would give my man my money.

Thankfully these two examples, although close together, are few and far between. Men that take women seriously and don't make any assumptions as to what they know and don't know simply because of their sex are much more common.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thankful Day 15 . . .

Is it enough that today I am thankful that the day is almost over. That's all I got. Bam!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thankful Day 14 . . .

Today I am thankful for family. We met Robert's mom, aunt and sister in Indianapolis today for an early Thanksgiving, so I suppose I am also thankful that I did not have to drive all the way to Bowling Green, Kentucky to see family. woot!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thankful Day 13 . . .

Today I am thankful for Lowes!

I went there this afternoon and got new knobs for McCartney's dresser and desk I got on Craigslist forever ago that had a few missing. I was tired of trying to pry open the drawers that were lacking the knobs. I got some pretty pink porcelain ones for 85 cents each! Awesome when I needed 15! I had to get a large box of 3 inch knob screws because her furniture is freaky heavy and thick. I also bought a 2x4 to fix a door jamb so that I could replace the door that goes between the laundry room and the kitchen. I put a curtain up there about 2 years ago, but I missed my cool old door, especially in the winter months. I also got 2 puck lights for under our ONE bank of upper cabinets (remember we live in a 120 year old house). My old lightbar died last week and I thought I could live without the lights, but I was wrong. I got a pair on clearance and they look fab!

Three projects down for a mere $30.

Woot! Lowes!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thankful Day 12 . . .

Today I am thankful for all of you. Blogging has changed my life and helped me be better mother and a better advocate for my kids. Thank you!

Another one bites the dust . . .

By now I am sure this is old news to some of you, but I have something to say. The "witch hunt" that seems to be effecting some in the blogging world who have traumatized kids has claimed another family.

First it was Foster Abba and Foster Eema. They fought so hard to keep "Danielle" in their home and had their fair share of problems with her behavior and getting "the system" and professionals see that there were some issues there. It did not help that Ms. Teacher was secretly against them and passing "Danielle" without completing her work. The were on the receiving end of some really bad stuff that was initiated by some blog readers. Disgusting. They shut down their blog.

Then of course we had the lovely Lisa. Lisa had made incredible strides with J. in her home. She found a fabulous therapist in Ms. Christy and really made a difference in a child's life. I witnessed first hand the amazing transformation J. made when I spent a couple days with her and Lisa back in April. Lisa took on another child and was working really hard to make that child well too. DFC got wind of her blog and made her shut it down. She is going through some really rough times. It. Is. Sick.

Enter Tudu. Tudu had taken in siblings of her children. She was constantly receiving approval from the workers on all the steps they take in their home to keep the kids safe. She is a wonderful and appropriate home for these kids. They are family. The three children were removed this week by DFC. This is from her facebook page: "The reason they were removed, get ready for this, I have used poor judgement by blogging so the kids are in immediate danger. Seriously. I'm dangerous because I was blogging, have since shut it down, signed an affidavit that I wouldn't do it anymore, and another to say I won't video tape my kids. I couldn't make this stuff up. Our other children are also at risk for removal because of this."

This is wrong on so many levels. I cannot even begin to fathom what they are going through. And the kids sitting in foster care not knowing if they are coming home hurts my heart.

Then we have Atlasien who no longer blogs. Kari who has opened another, more stealthy blog. Linda who has gone private both fearing repercussions from blogging about their trouble kiddos, or just plain worried they are too easy to find. Another favorite, Mom in The Trench in inexplicably disappeared.

I don't think I would be the parent I am today without knowing that I am not alone. I do know that if I had not found the blogging community I am not sure Dustin would be with us today. I am fairly certain he would be in a residential or institutional setting. When I starting blogging I had no support system. Robert and I were floundering. We were alone in this. Raising a traumatized child is hard. It helps to know you are not the only one seeing similar behaviors.

Tudu needs your help. She would like letters sent from readers that have been touched, inspired or helped due to her blogging. If you are interested please email her at tudusamom@mail.com for information.

This has to stop.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Day 11 . . .

Today I am thankful that I am not afraid to try new things.

I do not like BIG change. Change when it comes in the form of moving homes, jobs, etc scares the crap out of me. When my job of 17 years moved buildings I nearly had a breakdown. I do however LOVE LOVE LOVE the new location (on a side of the city I thought I hated) and the building is fabulous! It was a very positive change, but the process? Ugh!

That being said, I am a fan of small change on a daily basis. I cannot for the life of me keep my furniture in the same arrangement for any length of time. I literally change something around each month if not sooner. Please don't go blind in my house, you would constantly have banged up knees! My hair, well, we all know how that goes. My hair changes just about every 2 or 3 months. So change is good. I figure if you change something and you don't like it, you change it back, grow it out, whatever! Changes makes me less bored . . . and forces me to clean in the corners!

When we went to Florida in April, the condo we rented had all glass dishes and cups. I freaked out thinking the kids were gonna break them all by the end of the week. Only one glass suffered a casualty and it was by me. Shortly after that I read an article about plastic dishes and how really bad they are for you, especially when they are heated. We decided to take the plunge and get rid of all our plastic dishes and drink ware. Now, I admit I was frightened. We decided to start saving jars to drink out of (classy!) and we amassed a small arsenal of pickle jars, queso jars, spaghetti sauce and jelly jars within weeks. I also bought a bunch of the smaller size wide mouth ball jars to use. I figured if we broke jars I wouldn't be as upset and they could readily be replaced. I pitched all the plastic cereal bowls and came across a score at Goodwill of white and blue Ikea bowls the same day I found some new Ikea dinner plates that I loved more than the ones I had. Bonus!

We have been using all glass for at least 5 months now and I don't think I could go back to plastic. The only plastic cup we have in the house right now is one the kids use in the shower and one plastic pitcher they use in the bath.

Are we weird?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankful Day 10 . . .

Today I am thankful for Craigslist. I found an awesome lane recliner (the kind that doesn't really look like a recliner) on Craigslist last night for $30. Woot!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Thankful Day 9 . . .

Today I am thankful for hair color. How boring would my life be if I couldn't randomly change my hair? Today? More platinum.

Thankful Day 8 . . .

Today I am thankful for psychiatrists who LISTEN.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Loving . . .

I had dinner with an old friend last week. This friend was a former co-worker and a confidant. We shared lots of good times at the daycare and even better times away from it. We took a vacation together, my first grown-up vacation, and had a blast. I will never forget sitting in the airplane ready to take off and she looks at me all panicked and says, "You know? The last plane I was on had to have an emergency landing, with foam, blowup slides and the whole bit? I'm kinda freaked out." (paraphrasing) Serious, she waited until we were ready for take off to tell me this! We had some times! We were hit on by the mob, I held her hand through her first tattoo, and I still think of her anytime I hear the word Hoover. We were a dynamic duo!

We shared our joys and several heartaches. We watched one another get married and embark on a new life. We kinda lost one another as life and husbands, and babies got in the way. I always spoke fondly of her and her humor. I missed her.

About 6 months or so ago, we reconnected through the magic of facebook! (hardy har har!) It was funny because we both frequent the same small restaurant here in town and it always happens to be within days of one another. We still laugh about our adventures (we actually nearly broke the door off a rental car on the war to Disneyworld. Good times!).

I became obvious due to our conversations on facebook and our status updates that we are still the same people, but our worldview is a little different. She would refer to herself as conservative, and I am anything but. What I like is that we respect one anothers opinions and the right to have them. I got a message from her a couple weeks ago saying that we should plan a playdate and talk about things people say you shouldn't discuss, religion and politics. We set a date.

Last week I got to hug the neck of my friend. She is a mom of seven and homeschools. I have 3 kids and a liberal hubby. She is very grounded in her catholic religion, I attend an evangelical church. She is not happy that Obama is president, I worked for him in the election. We talked and talked and talked until they kicked us out of the mexican place at closing. We laughed, boy did we laugh. I thought I may have an asthma attack at a couple points.

We broached the hard subjects. We talked about politics, we talked about same sex marriage, we talked about welfare, and we talked about religion. Mostly we talked about our lives and our beliefs. Do you know what we found? We found that even though we may disagree on the big stuff we can still see one another's points. WE found we are not that far apart on most things.

She was talking about how she has a friend who closely resembles her beliefs even though she is not catholic. This friend, while holding most of the same values and principles dear, aggravates my friend. Do you know why? Arrogance. She does not value differing opinions. She is right and if you disagree, you are wrong you are of no worth to her. In her book wrong = bad.

My friend gave me an example. She told me about a coworker she had while she was working part-time. This coworker and her were close. They talked, they hung out. This coworker went to Canada and married her partner. She is still friends with this person. She loves this person. This person is welcome in her house. My friend wholeheartedly does not agree with her choices. But she still loves her. She "allows" her children to be around her. This boggles the mind of the arrogant woman. My friend said, "The problem is, she doesn't see her as a person first. I do and I value that."


My friend did not judge me and my choices. She was more than happy to give her opinion and tell me about her choices, but FIRST she saw me as a person. She saw me as a PERSON who happened to vote for Obama, not an Obama supporter who is her enemy. Just like she saw her friend as a PERSON who is homosexual, not that "gay girl". My friend said that her children were aware of this woman's choices and her lifestyle. They know what they as a family believed, but they know that people are able to make their own choices and we cannot disrespect them for that.

In my book she embodies the "love thy neighbor" rule. And I am glad I can call her friend.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Thankful Day 7 . . .

Today I am thankful for leaf blowers. I am not however, thankful for the stuff that comes out when you blow your nose after using them! Ewww! :)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Thankful Day 6 . . .

Tonight, I am thankful for a very productive day. I cleaned 2 kid's rooms top to bottom and rearranged furniture. I did a whole boatload of laundry which is dried, hung up and put away. I also made 9 Christmas presents for my co-workers, the kids teachers and my brother. Those are almost ready to be wrapped. In the time in between all this, we cleared most of our DVR. All this was in my PJs!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Laundry Soap . . .

I finally decided it was time to attempt to make my own laundry soap. I have seen many recipes for it and have always been a little leery of making the liquid. So when I saw one that was a powder I decided to try it. I spent $6 on supplies and it should last quite some time.

I started out grating two bars of Fels-Naptha. It was pretty easy and only took about 10 minutes.

Then you add a box of Borax, a box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, 1/2 box baking soda to the 2 bars of grated soap.

Let's take a closer look at the grated soap . . . it's cute and looks like cheese!

I put mine in a large mixing tub and mixed it with a long spoon. Then I put it in this adorable glass container that used to hold candy. You only need 2 tablespoons for a full load and 1 tablespoon for a medium load. This container holds a gallon and I had another few cups that would not fit in the container so it should last a while.

I know that store bought detergents are full of chemicals and fillers that do not do nice things for your clothing of for your washing machines. This version is also completely biodegradable so BONUS. I hope that I like it. I'll keep you posted.

Thankful Day 5 . . .

Today I am thankful for French Toast. Mmmmm.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Thankful Day 4 . . .

Thankful today for "old" friends reconnecting. Even though we have learned that the years apart have sent us in different directions politically, we can come together and still love one another. Had an awesome dinner with this friend and have civil discussions. We realized that we can come together on some things still!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Thankful Day 3 . . .

Today I am thankful for harding working, kind, and thoughtful teachers. We had parent teacher conferences tonight and I am so thankful my kids have some straight talking, truthful and excellent teachers!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Thankful Day 2 . . .

Today I am thankful that I can vote. I am thankful that we can disagree on issues and still respect one another's views. I am done trying to convince you that I am right and just be thankful we have the right to disagree. Now of course if you ask me my opinion that is another story altogether! :)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Thankful Day 1 . . .

Today I am thankful for healthy children, and a loving caring husband who makes a great daddy! I am truly blessed! (oh and Nerds Candy that I can snitch from the kid's Halloween Candy!)

Thankful November . . .

I have decided that don't look nearly enough at my blessings. So many times I let my day to day life get in the way and all I do is focus on my problems. I know that raising a child such as mine with many complicated special needs tends to wear me down, and life in general is so busy that I don't take time to stop and be thankful for the blessings I do have.

Join me this month in posting something everyday! IT could be something as simple as "Today I am thankful for bacon!" I would love to gather a collection of people who are doing this so I can page through them and see what everyone is saying. I have added a linky thing on the bottom of this post so that we can share with one another. I also have posted a button and I hope you will share it on your blog and get some of your friends to come on over and join us!

Let's all remember the good things that we have in our life and focus on them if only for a bit each day! Perhaps it will make us all more aware of our blessings.

Don't let me down! Link it up . . .