Sunday, August 31, 2008

Shall we Order McCain/Palin t-shirts?

This was the subject line in an email from my good friend, Holly, which arrived in my inbox this morning.

Perhaps it is not the most politically astute decision to be in favor of someone just because they are a mother of five, like I am, with the youngest one having Down syndrome, like ours does. But I believe it says a lot about Mrs. Palin that she knew her baby had DS and she still chose to give life to her child.

And surely there are others in the US of A who are in favor of a particular candidate because of something as non-political as what I am mentioning here.

I don't get very involved in political discourse, although I do vote every time I have the chance. I haven't read the cynical version of why McCain chose Palin, although I'm sure someone out there has cast aspersions on his reasoning. I don't guess we really get to know everything -- all we can do is figure things out the best we can.

I'm even going to get a yard sign. First time ever.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

One Week of Homeschooling Down - 35 to Go

So, we just finished up week one yesterday and I would have to say it gets a big thumbs up. I had two extra long days with my two at-home-full-time kiddos and both days were fun, enjoyable for all of us, and stress-free. Even having Kepler toddling around was pretty easy to handle.

Seems like the difficulties last year helped me figure out what might work better this year, in terms of curriculum and scheduling. And the fact that I don't have to drive to football, soccer, and/or basketball practice at all is making things pretty nice at home.

I was reminded of Stephen Covey's concept of putting the "big rocks" into the schedule first and then fitting other things in as they fit. Defining what the "big rocks" are this year has gone a long way this first week to making sure they actually get covered.

Now that I have gotten a taste of being able to focus on the big stuff, I will jealously guard my schedule from fluff and important things that want to crowd out the most important stuff. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 25, 2008

iPods and Water don't mix

In this picture, someone has cleverly created a tiny aquarium in an ipod looking thing. Yesterday at my house, someone cleverly tried to do the same thing, but that someone decided to just put my U2 ipod INTO the fish bowl on the table.

This raises many questions.

How did he get onto the table?
Was there ever as expensive a beta fish as we have now?
Did he KNOW about this iPod aquarium thing and was he trying to replicate it?
Was he just being two or was there something more to this?
Did you know that you can get water into an iPod far easier than you can get it out?
Even if you shake it?
Even if you suck the water through the headphone jack?

My advice to all of you beta-owning,fishbowl-on-the-table-positioning, two-year-old-badly-supervised-parents out there is this:

Throw away your chairs, so your child can never get on your table.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Long Conversations with ?????

I got up this morning and needed to use the phone. (Ha! I bet you thought I was going to say bathroom!). So, I padded around quietly trying to locate a phone. We have four extensions, and usually at least two are MIA. Those people who came up with phones with cords had a really brilliant idea.

I found the phone under the train table. And noticed it was off the hook. So to speak. And I noted that the current "conversation" had been going on for 532 minutes. That could be a record here.

Thankfully, we aren't charged by the minute, so I just calmly hung up and made my call.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Partly Sunny with a Chance of School Starting

I'm trying to figure out how school is going to work this year. I have four kids I'm homeschooling. Two go to the homeschool program two days a week. The other two will be home full time. I have also chosen to have my older two kids do their math at home, and the science outside of the homeschool program. The only catch is this makes ME responsible for the whole kit and caboodle. I know, I know, I AM responsible for the whole kit and caboodle. The kit and caboodle are just a little intimidating right now. My brilliant 14-year-old son, who truly is not one iota less than brilliant, has a mind that works very differently from mine. Therefore, some of the questions I ask him are taken by him as evidence that I do not trust him. Questions like, can I see that website where the list is? He is able to make decisions on a dime and seems to have almost computer-like abilities to process information quickly. I, on the other hand, can make different types of decisions quickly, and I have my own computer abilities. The types of things we process quickly are pretty much opposite from each other. I am not frustrated or angry or disappointed with him -- I see the process of working with him as a very good challenge, one that I enjoy because he DOES think so differently than I do. I'm still trying to figure out how best to frame my questions, encourage him, etc.

The current struggle is over the chemistry assignment he has to complete before the first day of class. I want him to do it well, to have the finished product show clearly his writing ability, his grasp of the material and evidence that he spent some good time researching, thinking and processing the info. I came upon him this afternoon, switching from window to window -- first the info site, reading a few sentences, distilling the points, then back to the essay page, where he would insert his thoughts. To me, that seems like a lazy way to do the work. Lazy is a pejorative word -- maybe efficient is a better word. Ultimately, though, I don't see that method as requiring much of him. And with the capabilities he has, I want him to use his brain and heart and mind to do hard things well.

He has the ability to see the bigger picture, and the connections he makes are often pretty cool. But those connections come when he really cares about what he is talking about. I don't think he really cares about this essay.

So, after he made his case for doing his way, I said ok. Go ahead. Do it the way you think you should. Two minutes later, he tells me he thinks the way I was suggesting is better and he's planning to work on it as soon as he has some toast. Go figure.

A Post About Posting

What a week! So full, so wonderful, so little time to blog!

I have the intention to get to a place where I post every day.

I have the desire to have regular new posts to read.

Just so you know. Look for new posts coming that tell all about the adventures I've had this week!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Kids -- All That Energy and So Little Time

A few years back, dearest Val accidentally removed the tile wall from the shower. Totally not her fault. But, it required a major overhaul of the bathroom. At the time, one of the greatest ideas I had was to install a laundry chute, making the process of getting the clothes to the washing machine easier than you can imagine.

One of the things that I've noticed over the years is that my kids, from time to time, find the laundry chute entirely too difficult to use. Granted, you DO have to raise a door in order to place the clothes in the chute, and if you have a LOT of clothes, you might have to stuff them down with your foot.

I always love it when I go into the bathroom, just minding my own business, singing a little ditty, and go to get a washcloth out of the cabinet. And what do I spy? Dirty clothes sitting ON TOP of the laundry chute door. Did he/she not notice the door was closed? Was he/she too intent on getting back to the computer or tv? Does he/she feel it is not his/her job to lift the door and that should really be left to the parents who have nothing to do but clean up globs of diaper droppings?

The funny part is that I almost always know who did it because he or she was probably just asked to pick up the clothes in the family room, or do a sock search-and-rescue. I especially love it when the dirty socks are FLUNG into the cabinet, mingling their icky odors with my face washcloths.

Just another sweet family memory that we will no doubt laugh about when these children grow up and start bringing home fiancé(e)s and spouses and we sit around the table telling funny stories about the kids. Can't wait!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

How LOW can you GO?

Glycemically and hydratedly speaking, apparently too low. I found this out the hard way yesterday as I found myself looking up into a circle of concerned faces who were saying, "Siouxsie, do you know where you are?" My first answer to that was, "mmmghj." You see, although I thought I was taking into consideration the fact that I had just worked out and was now giving blood, apparently, I put myself into a deficit situation, and after I perkily gave blood and jauntily answered the "How are you feeling?" question before I got out of the chair, my body had other ideas. As I sat at the table and tried to get some juice and cookies into me, I knew it was going to be too little too late and I croaked out, "I'm not feeling too good!" Next thing I knew, I woke up looking at this circle of faces wondering WHERE in the world I could possibly be.

Well, I'll spare you the gory details of the whole process of getting back on my feet. Let's just say part of it involved a bucket with a red bag in it. I would guess it took about an hour to feel good enough to leave. My blood pressure was fine, start to finish, at least when they were taking it. I suppose it must have gotten a little wonky during the fainting.

I spent the rest of the day resting and feeling pretty shaky and sleepy and weak. I abandoned the low-glycemic eating for the day because I just wanted to make sure I got to feeling better.

So, I'll share my learning with you:

1. Do NOT workout and then go give blood.
2. Do NOT think a protein shake is a "good meal" to have before you give blood.
3. Do NOT workout, forget to drink much water afterward, and then give blood. This leads to dehydration.
4. DO drink water if you faint from dehydration -- it makes you feel much better than nasty old Sierra Mist.
5. Do NOT think you can never give blood again just because you spend an hour of your afternoon on the floor of the Donation Center.
6. DO put a cold cloth on your stomach if you are nauseated -- it helps the nausea settle.
7. DO make sure that if you decide to change your eating style, you still get enough to eat.

Last, but not least, I know this post has been an excellent time for me to exhort all my readers to give blood. It really is an important service and does save lives. So, if you don't give blood currently, just re-read the list of do's and don't's above, and get out there and save some lives!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Welcome to My Kitchen

In the evenings, I usually retire to my bedroom to escape from the sound of the television in the family room. I snuggle up in bed with a great book and my bottle of water and read until Kepler comes in to go to sleep, at which time I go to sleep as well. Am I a party animal or what? (Note that my accompanying photo is also a public service announcement. Am I am civic-minded gal or what?)

Well, last night, my lovely diapered son had one of THOSE diapers and the rest of my lovely family rose to the occasion, bathing him, changing the diaper, fumigating the rooms, etc. which I deeply appreciate. Truly and deeply. They are all great with taking care of Kepler.

This morning, though, as I walked through the kitchen, I noticed they had, uh, forgotten something. How to say this. There was a largish, hardened clump of something. Something that by the looks of it had escaped from that bad diaper last night. (Sorry to all you childless people for whom this is probably incomprehensible).

Don't worry. It's all cleaned up and disinfected now. And while we were at it, we pulled the refrigerator out from the wall. I think, maybe from the looks of what we found under there, it may have needed to be done a little sooner. But it's done now and everything is sparkly and clean and we really enjoyed those raisins. (not really!)

Which reminds me, how is it so difficult for the eaters in this house to get the grapes they snitch from the fridge into their mouth? And the chocolate chips from the freezer into their mouth? Talk about be sure your sins will find you out. Not that either thing is a sin, cause neither is, but I always chuckle when I see the chocolate chips on the floor since I know they (kids, not chocolate chips) all try to be so sly. The darn grapes, though, roll under the fridge, which, as we have established, needs to be moved a little more often. But the grapes do make some LOVELY raisins . . .

Just to finish up here -- under the fridge we found the following items: 5 different types of toys, a plethora of pencils, a myriad of markers, a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, very and sundry bits and pieces of food, and, drumroll please, an envelope from last Christmas.

But let's focus on the bright side, shall we?

I am a Happy Girl

I am losing weight.

I am losing weight.

I am losing weight.

I am losing weight!

There must be a million blog posts on this subject, so I'll keep this one short. Working out and eating low-glycemic has pushed the right buttons and I am seeing a lower number on the scale every day. And I am psyched.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Something SOOOOO Cool

My wonderful family of origin lives just one short mile from me -- in three different houses on the same street. I spend lots of time on that street and while visiting my parents recently, I noticed a high-pitched, annoying sound coming from across the street. I asked my parents about it and they said it goes on 24/7 and had been for quite some time. After another couple visits, I really began to be annoyed by this noise, especially because their street is so very peaceful. So, I put my Siouxsie Columbo trench coat on.

First, I drove around the industrial park that backs up to their street and listened carefully around the building I thought was the one. No dice. Next, I walked into their neighbor's yard across the street, in case it was some annoying bug zapper or something. All the way to the back of the yard and I could see that it was definitely NOT coming from the neighbor's yard. (But they have an awesome backyard.)

I consulted the handy-dandy county auditor's website because now I was sure that it was one of the buildings in the industrial park. I found my parents' street, then found the industrial park street (quite time-consuming because I had to keep entering random addresses) and made my way down the street until I found the building that backs up to the neighbor's house. The street is a U-shape and I was thinking the correct building was the right joint of the U but it was actually the left joint. No wonder I hadn't heard the sound.

I drove over to the correct building and parked my car, thinking that I should probably tell someone where I am (always the safety hound, that's me). I walked toward the left end of the building and VOILA! There it was! I could tell that a fan way up high in the building was the source of the squeak.

Then I drove down to the other end of the building where there was an open door and I poked my head in and waited until I got the attention of a worker. He put me onto "Bob" the shift supervisor, who walked down to the other end with me and told me he would have the maintenance crew look at the fan asap.

Apparently, they did, because my mom told me today that the noise is GONE! Is that not SOOO cool?

I love solving puzzles, especially when they result in additional peace for people I love!

This is What the Tropic Thunder Controversy Reminded Me Of

With the opening of the new movie “Tropic Thunder” I am reminded of my own journey with the word “retarded.” It was part of my vocabulary growing up, as in, “Oh, that was so retarded.” I didn’t think about what I was saying, or maybe I did and it just didn’t matter that much to me. Fast forward to January 2, 2006 when a son with Down syndrome blesses my life with his birth and my understanding and use of that word changes drastically. I don't use the word "retarded" anymore, although I do use the term "mental retardation" pretty much in a clinical way, not in a judging way. I no longer feel that mental retardation is a terrible thing or something to be feared or looked away from, although there are certainly people who have very difficult lives because of the complications of their condition and for whom I have great compassion.

When we were about six months into the adventure of parenting Kepler, I received and accepted an invitation to visit a weekly women’s group consisting of women from my church. I was deep in a time of learning more about becoming authentic, and learning much about being the parent of a special needs child, and dealing with pumping breast milk around the clock for my little son who couldn’t seem to latch on properly, so it was a very emotional time.

The women’s group was a pretty typical group of ladies who brought both pain and love with them to the meeting. Throughout the evening, I found myself feeling very defensive on behalf of one of the women because I felt like the other women were giving her the message, “Just change your mind and get over this stuff.” At some point, I decided to back off and was nursing some hurt feelings. One of the women I was least comfortable with happened to say the following: “I think dogs are like retarded kids. You can only teach them so much.” Since I was still adjusting to the idea of parenting a “retarded kid” I was aghast, stunned, and overcome with grief. Another woman held me as I cried and no one talked about what had happened. The woman who had made the comment did not know about Kepler. I left the group and never went back and never saw her again. Until . . .

Last week in J.C. Penney (two years after the original event), as I shopped, I caught the eye of a woman pushing a stroller and thought I recognized her. I glanced at her again and sure enough, it was the woman who had made the comment. What I was making up about it was that she recognized me but was ignoring me and I had to choose whether or not to acknowledge her. I knew that I wanted to make peace with this woman, so I asked her her name and reminded her of mine and how I knew her. I told her I was so sorry about what had happened that night and I told her about Kepler and how much of a blessing he is and how early it was in our life with him. She told me she knew she had said something wrong but had no idea what it was. I hugged her and again apologized and told her I was so glad I had run into her after all this time. I think it was the perfect time, actually, because I was definitely ready to stop judging her and mend the broken thing between us. She had tears in her eyes and so did I. I love when we get the opportunity to find healing.

And this kid is just such a major blessing.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Finally, a Reason to Read those Church Signs

Crummy Church Signs

This guy's commentary on the church signs that get submitted to him had me truly ROFL. He is very clever. Check him out.

Kids and Recycling

I was reading Stephanie's blog this morning about helping her kids be more green. And it got me to thinking about some of the recycling faux pas we have had around here.

The other day, the recycling bins were out at the street, patiently waiting for the garbo to come along and throw them in the recycling truck which may, for all I know, be emptied directly onto the landfill. Anyway, I spied some recycling in the garage, which I KNEW had been deposited there by the chore-doer. Sought out said chore-doer and asked, "Why is there recycling on the garage floor when the bins are out there at the street?" In his infinite wisdom, he had determined that there simply wasn't another angström of space in the bins so he thought it would be much better to wait until the bins came back empty and THEN put the stuff in (like 3 envelopes and a small box). This time, I HAD an inquiring mind, and I suspected that PERHAPS he did his space estimation from the house, rather than actually walking out to the bins. Since I know that space is the final frontier, and that recycling can almost always be squooshed some more, I directed him to march the recycling right out there and find a spot for it.

And then there was the "recycling" I noticed in the bins the other day. It was the bottom of a baby wipes box (may or may not have been recyclable) which contained: A FULL JAR OF PEANUT BUTTER, an expensive bag of chili spices, a partial box of Lemonheads, and a clip from the dry-erase board. I can see the box and clip being overlooked, but wouldn't one NOTICE that the wipes box weighed like an entire pound and wonder about that? Apparently not.

And lastly, there is the problem of the milk cartons. I buy very expensive organic milk, and God knows it would be nice if the cartons could be recycled, but they can't. How many times have I said they cannot be recycled? One too few apparently.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Strong, Eye-Catching Post . . .

this is not. But I know how it feels to visit someone's blog and have NOTHING new to read.

So, it's Wednesday here. I had personal training scheduled this morning, but with a substitute trainer because Javier is taking an intensive chemistry class for the next three weeks. Unfortunately, in addition to Javier not being available, the sub called and cancelled 30 min before my session. I'm thinking it is possible that I was too understanding. I know how easy it is to say we've "been up all night" even if it isn't the case, not that he wasn't up all night. I don't actually know whether he was or not. But he also forgot about the session, according to him. So, was he up all night because that was a more acceptable thing than oh gee I forgot? Or was he up all night and so he forgot? We'll never know, but inquiring minds WANT to know. Good thing I don't have an inquiring mind.

Let's see if I can carve out 90 -- X that -- 60 -- X that -- 30 -- X that -- 15 minutes today (think Kaizen) to lift some weights. Usually I work out with weights for an hour, then do cardio for 25 minutes. And the driving takes about another 40 minutes. So I manage to set aside 2 hours twice a week to go to a trainer. Let's see what I can accomplish on my own at home today!

Will let you know1

Monday, August 11, 2008

This Weekend

I did not watch any movies.
I did not watch any tv.
I did not sweep my floors.
I did not cut the grass.
I did not get up early.
I did not go to church.
I did not check out any library books.

I did, though, finish the yearbook, take it Kinko's, place the order ready to pick up on Wednesday, and starting percolating with excitement about what the finished product will look like!

I did go to the grocery store.
I did make an outstanding stir-fry dinner Sunday night.
I did use a glucometer to test my blood sugar and see how insulin-resistant I am.
I finished the Dance of the Dissident Daughter.

And now you can see why there weren't any posts this weekend.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Daddy Gets to Help Fix the Lawnmower

When we told Greg's parents we had bought this house with its 3/4 acre yard, Greg's dad's only comment was a dry, "You're gonna spend all your time doing yardwork." Ha! Did we care? Not even a whit.

Fast forward a few years. Cutting the grass with a pushmower takes hours and hours . . . and hours. At that point, between soccer games, work, and cutting the darn grass, Greg's booked solid all the time. Somewhere in there, we had our fifth child and bought a BIG 'OL funky lawnmower which would take less time but had the unfortunate side effect of being SO big that no one besides Greg in our family even had the wingspan to reach the handles of the thing. So, no longer could I "help" out by cutting the front. Actually, it was a nice handy excuse to no longer worry about how tall the grass was getting and whether I should, as my friend Stephanie says, "do a little less dui-ing and a little more yardwork." (As an aside, I must mention that it would be completely impossible for me to do any less dui-ing than I already do. I'm sure you can imagine.)

The BIG OL' funky lawnmower was purchased from a nice neighbor a couple of houses down from us and has served us well. But as you can see, we had to consult our resident repairman recently due to a mower problem.

"Dad, I think you are going to need to get a new belt here. And it should be good as new. But my opinion is that you are just cutting off your pull start to spite your spark plug by not getting a mower that my big brothers and sisters can use."

Lo and behold, what should follow Greg home this week but a brand-new (Consumer Reports Best Buy!) push mower.

So, not only did he take the repairman's advice about the pushmower, he also picked up a new belt for the BOFL, and now we can all mow like the happy family we are.

I think I am still going to pretend like the lawnmowers are either too tall, too wide, or entirely too heavy for me and keep on blogging.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

So If I Get Outside My Comfort Zone . . .

do I HAVE to be uncomfortable?

I guess I don't really get outside my CZ very often, maybe. At least not the way I did today. To make a short story shorter, I decided to do something for a neighbor. But she didn't come to the door -- her grandson did. He was a little different -- singing jaunty songs, speaking in accents, and in the time it took to drive from their house to my house (about 5 houses away), he told me that he and his dad both had received 2 DUIs apiece.

Wow, did my mind go wild after being around him for a few minutes. The grandmother never came out, so I am hoping she is truly in the house watching TV as he said. And I got all worried about him -- he told me he has cystic fibrosis. Also, when he told me about the DUIs, he mentioned that he had a "pot history" which was his "worst crime" unless you count him "missing [my] Bible studies."

I guess all that doesn't mean anything nefarious, but I'm not usually around people who just volunteer the fact that they've been arrested. I decided to walk home after I completed the job (cutting the grass, which was why I was in his car -- he brought me and my lawnmower to his house because his lawnmower didn't work.)

It just threw me off a bit. I believe my motivation was to help this older woman. She had told me her son and grandson who live with her cannot cut the grass for allergy and health reasons. I don't know. It was just kind of uncomfortable. The yard sure looked better, though. I'm sure it will all be fine. Just kind of weird.

Washed the Inside of my Windshield Today

I don't know about you, but we let our windshields get really really filmy and hard to see through and we wait another three months or so before we finally get around to cleaning it. Since I am being chauffeured around by Valerie these days, I figured it might be nice for her to have a clear windshield through which to visually scan the horizon as she drives. So, I cleaned it. And she's driving beautifully, by the way.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Suck Because I Made the Special Speaker Cry*

*thanks to my sister for this title

I've been part of a wonderful group of women who have been meeting for nine weeks with the focus on food issues, although we rarely discuss food. Food issues is what brought us together but we are bound together by many commonalities, not the least of which is larning to simply believe we are ok in spite of our myriad problems. I love these women and this group. We have only one more week and then our time together will end.

Last night, we had a special speaker who has overcome an eating disorder of many years duration. She shared her story, which gave all the glory to God for His help in her victory. She gave us several pages of scriptures and expressed her belief that the Bible addresses every one of our issues and that we cannot make changes without God's truth.

So, it's not that I disagree, necessarily. But as I grew up in several churches (Baptist and fundy), I took in messages, which may or may not have been explicit, that in general, I was not ok. What I wanted, what I felt, what I needed, what I WAS -- none of these things were ok. Verses such as Jeremiah 17:9 (The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?) were reinforcement to me that there was nothing good in me. Never mind that I don't remember ever hearing about the context of this verse, or if there were other places in the Bible that told a different story about me. And then Paul says, "No, I beat my body and make it my slave . . ." Again, context? Again, can we temper this for someone who has shame at the core?

What I have found over the past year is that, IN SPITE of what I learned in church, I have actually come to understand some pretty important things. And I learned them AFTER I had prayed MANY times to have my mind transformed, to be changed. So, one could say that the things I have learned are the answer to those prayers. But I am deeply convinced that the transforming of our mind is not MAGIC. Unless we learn something new to put in there, the old stuff has a way of staying around.

1. What I thought of as a terrible flaw in myself turns out to be wholly related to self-image. I never understood why I saw myself either as superior to someone else or inferior to them. I just chalked it up to pride and made sure to remind myself several times a day about how bad a person I was. Seems that what is required to avoid the superiority/inferiority thing is to learn how to see eye-to-eye. Probably sounds pretty logical and duh! but wasn't something I had a clue about.

2. And speaking of pride, I discovered that it can be incredibly prideful and self-centered to think so badly of oneself. To always, in a conversation, be worrying about what the other person thinks of me, to always think I'm offensive just by being around -- these are not things that come from true humility and love.

3. It is ok to believe I am ok, that I am more than ok, that perfection is not the goal. (Ah, but what to do with Matthew 5:48: 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.'") The way I see it, my former obsession with perfection was all about ME. I was convinced that if I could be perfect, I could be loved. And if I couldn't be perfect, I couldn't be loved.

3. I have come to believe that "You make me mad" is incorrect. My response to you is what makes me mad, not your actions or words. This has gone a long way to helping me understand that having boundaries clarified whose problem something is. Not to say that I don't give a rip if you feel sad, mad, scared or ashamed after an interaction with me. I will always want to apologize or make it right however I can. But your feelings are YOUR feelings. This means that I do not have to carry the responsibility for every person in the world.

4. The bottom line is LOVE.

So, last night as we responded to what the speaker said, I tried to explain my baggage from misinterpreting Scriptures and that I wanted to get rid of the baggage, and for the moment, that means allowing some space and healing to occur around some of the beliefs I internalized. However, the speaker was visibly upset by this and ended up expressing her doubts about really having the ministry she feels called to do. We all gathered around her and prayed for her and it was a really sweet time. I think it was very important for her to realize that not everyone is going to accept her message and for her to see how very responsible she feels for the outcome of giving her testimony. As my sister said, all you can do is hold out the beacon of truth. It is not your responsibility what others do with it.

Before I had the awesome opportunity to learn the truths I listed above, I truly would have felt like I Suck Because I Made the Special Speaker Cry. Instead, I had the opportunity to practice being authentic. I was careful about what I said. I did not set out to hurt her feelings, or discount what she said. In a group such as ours, the point of it is to share ourselves with each other. I shared my resistance to the message and I told why. I know that doesn't sit well with people who hate to rock the boat. I wasn't sure I was going to say anything, but someone commented on my silence and asked about it. I took the risk to express myself. I addressed the fact that it seemed like what I had said was hurtful to her and I told her I was sorry for hurting her. But I'm learning that being authentic sometimes means things are uncomfortable for a while, and that often a deeper relationship and more meaningful interaction are the outcome.

So, I don't really suck. Nor did I make the special speaker cry. But somehow, as God seems to be able to do, He used all the elements to minister to quite a few of us all at once.

Everybody Ought to Know

Greg sent me this link to the actual true-live marriage proposal that Mr. Obama offered to Mrs. Obama. I hope you enjoy!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Morning Glory Ride 2008

A few weeks ago I noticed a yard sign advertising this event, which I had never heard of, but could pretty much intuit what it was about. I registered me and the mister for it and we enjoyed the 10-mile ride this past weekend. We had to get up at 3:45 to get downtown for pre-course paperwork, and then off we went. The road winds along the Ohio River.
It only took about 45 minutes to ride the 5 miles out and 5 miles back. There was a longer route, but the mister preferred the shorter one. I acquiesced beautifully. After breakfast by the river with hundreds or thousands of other crazy people, we had a nice photo taken of us with the river in the background, then drove home to a very busy day.
I'm hoping next year we will do the longer route!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

An Essential Part of Summer

The Lemonade Stand.

Is there anything as fun? We have such generous neighbors, and the kids are always very excited when they receive a nice tip. Usually, just the two boys sell lemonade, but the girls (my daughter and niece) had just made cookies, so they decided to pool their resources.

These resourceful children have sold more than just lemonade and cookies. In fact, on the way back from the grocery store run to buy the lemonade and cups, the boys were reminiscing about the time they sold "collections." These were such treasures as a bucket of rocks (which someone actually bought), a group of leaves, several acorns -- anything they could find in the backyard. I think the boys were about 6 or 7 when they had their "collections" sale.

These two boys have been friends since we moved in here, 9 years ago, when both of them were almost 4 years old. Such sweet memories.

Our Orthodontist's New Lake House

Just thought you'd like to see the lake house we are financing for our orthodontist. We are on family member #4 with braces, and we are so pleased to be able to offer Dr. H. this lovely getaway he can enjoy between counting the thousands we are giving him. Love ya, Dr. H!

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Milestone for my Lovely Daughter

After a heartbreaking morning on Monday, when after counting down for 120 days, Valerie found out that what WE thought was 15 1/2 years old really was not, according to the state, we decided to give it another shot and see if she had reached the magic milestone yet. This time, the computer agreed that she is indeed 15 1/2 and was eligible for her temporary learner's permit. We went to the driver's license bureau which is a mile away, and we got the permit packet, but had to go to ANOTHER location for the test, which she passed. The questions she missed were related to penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol.

As I waited in the waiting room, the girl next to me told me she liked my toenails! Wow! My pedicure has drawn the attention of a lot of people over the past few weeks!

After Val got her official documents, I drove her to a local Catholic church that has a HUGE parking lot and she drove around for awhile. Today she drove for another 20 minutes or so through quiet residential streets, but she is quite content for me to drive on roads that require any kind of speed. I can already see she is getting more and more confident and it's quite the milestone to have one of my children driving!

Watch out, world!

Kepler's Movie on YouTube

Here is Kepler's video on YouTube for anyone who hasn't been able to access it directly from my blog!

And quite possibly, here is a direct link.

New Blog I Found Out About

Our little Kepler began speech therapy this morning with the most enthusiastic speech therapist! One of the things I love about her is that she grew up with three siblings who have DS. She has a blog telling about some of her experiences. Check it out! April Anecdotes