The Right Perspective

Monday, December 31, 2007

Truly, the Right Perspective for the New Year

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. My Best Regards.

Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Perfect Example of Insanity

Here is a headline from the WNDU (South Bend, IN.) online news: BMV letter over driver's license data worries immigrants.

Here is the text of the story:

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles' recent letter notifying more than 200,000 people that information on their driver's licenses doesn't match a government database has left some immigrants fearful that they'll lose their licenses.

Director Rebecca Griffy says Heart and Hands, a Plymouth nonprofit that helps Latinos and immigrants, has been "bombarded" by callers worried about losing their licenses.
Those fears are real because any recipient of the BMV letter who cannot resolve the mismatched data issues will have their licensed revoked.

Griffy says undocumented residents often use false Social Security numbers. She says that if they lose their license it could hurt the economy by keeping people from working and shopping.

Seriously, Americans have lost their minds. This is insane.

First, the headline is wrong. It should read "BMV Letter Over Driver's License Data Worries Illegal Aliens". Legal immigrants have no reason to worry. Legal immigrants to the U.S. have valid SSNs and driver's license numbers. Legal immigrants are employed legally. End of story. No fear for jobs or the economy.

The problem, as we all know, is illegal aliens. People illegally in the United States, for whatever reason, who have either stolen a legal person's identity and/or falsified legal employment and driver's license information now have a legitimate reason to worry. And worry they should. I personally don't care why they are here illegally. I do care that they are breaking America's laws. That's the point. That's why they should be worried. Forget about the economy. There are plenty of legal Americans who will work. Enforce the laws. Don't write new ones. Just read the laws, and then enforce them!

And just as a side note....anyone who knowingly employs or enables an illegal alien should also have to face the consequences.

Ignoring this situation is insanity, pure and simple.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Christmas Q&A

I'm a copycat, but this sounded like fun, so I'm going to play along!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both. I wrap most things, but sometimes I like to mix in some pretty bags. Plus, if I have an older grandparent I will use the bags because they are easier to open.

2. Real tree or artificial? Fake tree here. With two tree-climbing cats, a rambunctious dog and a three-year-old, the pine needles and sap would be too much.

3. When do you put up the tree? As soon after Thanksgiving as possible. This year, we're doing it today.

4. When do you take the tree down? Oh, sometime in January or February....whenever I get tired of keeping the pets and Emily out of it.

5. Do you like eggnog? Never had it, don't intend to try it!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hmmmm...probably my first real bicycle. It got a TON of use.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes. I bought one last year that has scripture verses on each character. Hard to explain.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My mother-in-law. Great mom-in-law, couldn't ask for better, just tough to shop for!

9. Easiest person to buy for? Emily, hands down.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Hmmm.....a globe.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, hopefully before Christmas!

12. Favorite Christmas movie? Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Absolutely hilarious!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually around October/November. I like to be done by December, but it rarely happens.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Christmas cookies...the batter in particular!

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I prefer clear.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Impossible to say. I like them all...seriously. But anything by Josh Groban, particularly "O Holy Night".

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel...always. This year we go to Delaware, next year to Greentown. We switch off.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? I think so.

20. Angel on the treetop or star? Star.

21. Open presents on Christmas eve or morning? Both. We open presents from one side of the family the night before, toys from Santa Christmas morning and more presents from the other side of the family later on Christmas.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Stores ignoring Christmas and making it a "holiday". Also rude people.

23. Corniest family tradition you do, or miss doing? We give batteries in everyone's stocking. Silly, I know.

24. Ugliest Christmas decoration ever invented? Upside down Christmas trees. Why?

25. Theme trees or homey? Either. I like both...someday I'd like to have one of each!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Things For Which I am Thankful This Shopping Season

I like to shop, but I detest the crazed Christmas crowds this time of the year. So I try to do my shopping at odd times (usually during the day on a weekday while most people are working) or as much as possible on one of the busier shopping days. Yesterday was one of those days.

My goal was to hit Kohls during their "Power Hours" sale, which lasted until 1:00pm yesterday, and other various quick stops best accomplished without a three-year-old in tow. Along the way, I compiled a list of things for which I am thankful for.

1. Clean Public Restrooms and paper toilet seat covers. I, like many other people I know, detest using public restrooms and avoid them at all costs, but on a day-long excursion, eventually even the most determined can't avoid them. Therefore, I am thankful for those stores that actually maintain their restrooms (meaning they at least periodically clean them!). On my list of reputable restrooms is Kohl's, Hobby Lobby, Macy's and Nordtroms. There might be more, but those are usually dependable. An added bonus is the paper seat covers which allow me to greatly reduce my public restroom time by not having to build my tp nest. These sanitary little life-savers are MUCH appreciated, especially in an era where people apparently do not believe in wiping their bodily functions off the seat after themselves. YUCK!

2. Emily's stroller and automatic doors. I have found that Emily's stroller works much better without her in it. It works great for carrying my purse, drink, coat and packages leaving my hands and back free to shop. Of course, it would help if the aisles were bigger (JCPenney, are you listening?) and the doors were automatic, but still I may be using that stroller at Christmas time long after Emily has outgrown it. Kudos also to anyone polite enough to hold a door open. It doesn't happen often enough.

3. Clean fitting rooms with doors large enough for above-mentioned stroller to fit through. I greatly appreciate those stores that take enough time to maintain their fitting rooms. I detest rooms (and the people guilty of this) that are filled with clothes to the extent that there is no room to hang the clothes a person brings in with them. People, put your clothes away!

4. Competent cashiers and employees with adequate cash registers. Finding a helpful employee is rare, but great when it happens. I always try to make a point to find a manager and send a good report. On the second point, having enough check-out lanes during a busy season is a must. Again, I must praise Kohls for this one.

5. People with a good sense of humor and a smile on their face. Again, this is a rarity in the "most wonderful time of the year". It goes a long way toward "making spirits bright". (I couldn't resist.)

6. Individual gift receipts with more than a bar code. Having the item description makes life so much easier later.

7. Christmas music playing in the background. This falls into the making spirits bright category.

8. Warm weather. Not too warm of course, but sunny with a little nip in the air is just perfect. No ice, no rain, no wind.

9. Finding exactly what you want, in the right size for at least 50% off. (Then seeing the "you saved $120 on your purchase today" on the receipt.)

10. The all-Christmas, all-weekend long local music station. It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Friday, November 16, 2007

That Kind of Day

Emily painted (with permanent purple paint) the months-old new kitchen table and floor and centerpiece and placemats and base board.

While yelling at her in as controlled a voice as I could manage....

The dog peed on the floor.

Then Emily left a "load" in her diaper while asking me for the 17th time if she could get up out of her chair yet.

It had been a good day....

Still sound so "wonderful" to you now, Chris?

Where's Grandma when you need her?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Newest Member of Our Family

Well, I know that I am about to make my dog-loving blogging buddies very happy. We have a dog.

To be exact, we now own a German Shepherd mix (with what, we don't know!). Her name is Bella and she is 11 months old. She and her brother were picked up by a police officer (not sure of the other circumstances). The story is that the two dogs were so scared that they promptly puked all over the officers' patrol car. By the time the Humane Society worker got to the scene, the officer had puked all over the road. Apparently he doesn't handle bad smells well. (This causes me to wonder if he has ever picked up a drunk, seen a dead body or has kids...)

So now she is ours. We claimed her last night and it took until around 11:15 today for her to bark at all. She's basically a cuddler. Oh, and she likes to chew. A LOT! I woke up this morning to Bella staring at me from about 5 inches away, paws on the edge of the bed. That's gonna take some getting used to!

So far, Emily likes Bella. She told everyone we saw on our walk and in Meijer, that she had a new dog named Bella. The cats are surviving. But that leads me to another part of the story...
Monday, as part of the humane society's requirements, I had to get our cats up-to-date on their shots. So I took Emily and two cats to the vet. I'd say that you can imagine how that went on your own, but really, you can't. Bob, the smaller gentler cat did okay. She didn't like it, but she survived. Puma, on the other hand, was a different story. Puma is MY cat, and only mine. She tolerates everyone else. Monday, she tolerated no one. To sum it all up, Emily was in tears, terrified, Puma was screeching like an angry panther, Bob was cowering in the corner and it took 4 veterinary personel. a huge pair of thick rubber gloves up to the elbow and a muzzle to do even a cursory exam. They didn't finish. They also told us she didn't need to come back in a year...she could wait three...or forever.

Oh and did I mention that Bob, the other cat, gets carsick....and did.

So far, Bella seems to be very gentle and pretty well behaved, but not trained and not perfect. But we'll work on that. My life should be pretty interesting...any tips appreciated!

And now for the pictures...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

It's My Birthday But Please...No Surprises Like This!

Today is my birthday. It's the last one we're going to officially count before we stop. Now, I enjoy surprises as much as the next person, but this is one surprise I can say I'm happy to have never received...

According to Fox News:

"Officials at a U.K. high school were aghast after a stripper visited a student during class and whipped him in front of other students and a horrified teacher, Sky News reported Thursday.
A booking error is to blame after a mother arranged to send a "gorilla gram" to her son on his 16th birthday, an arrangement she cleared with Nottingham's Arnold Hill School and Technology College. Instead, the agency sent a stripper clad in a policewoman costume, Sky reported.

Click here for the Sky News story.

After whipping the teen, the stripper placed a collar around his neck and led him around the classroom with a leash, telling him he had been a "bad boy" for not doing his homework. She then put on a Britney Spears tune and stripped for the shocked class, witnesses told Sky.
The police were not called and no one was suspended from the school in the incident, and officials said they were investigating."

I"ll bet that was one very surprised student and class. But where in the world was the teacher?

Talk about a birthday to remember!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Some Recent Pictures

Sitting on a bench in front of the river

Taking a hike on a nature trail

Our little leopard on Halloween

Cute kitty!

Visiting daddy at his office

Thursday, October 25, 2007


It's 9:50 pm on Thursday night. I have hardly said two words to my husband, my 3 year old is still awake and determined to stay that way and be angry about it, despite having started the bedtime process at 8:00 pm.

Em had at least one major meltdown (the kind where people openly stare and judge with evil looks) in KMart and two minor ones in two other small stores.

She can hardly keep her eyes open past 4:00 and she is crabby and miserable and making us all that way. She has dark circles forming under her eyes. Nothing we do is right or helpful at all.

This has been going on for a month and a half, night after night, relentless in intensity and getting worse.

I can't think of another time in my life when I've been more discouraged, defeated and frustrated. My heart is heavy and breaking and I don't know how to fix things or who to talk with or where to turn next. I'm praying but it feels like no one is listening. I know that isn't true, but still....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Solicitors Will Be Shot On Sight!

Anyone who has visited my house lately has noticed a handwritten sign on my front door. The sign says "NO SOLICITATION!" Apparently, some people can't read.

Saturday morning started off fine. Andrew took Emily with him to get his hair cut and out for lunch so that I could get some cleaning done before the in-laws came. It was a good plan. It should have yielded great results. It had real potential, but I was foiled by, you guessed it, door-to-door salespeople. (Yes, I meant the plural.)

While the other two-thirds of my family headed to their destinations, I put on some make-up and some cleaning clothes, threw a headband in my messy hair and went to work straightening up the living room. I had just gotten the clutter out of the way and was starting to de-clutter the kitchen table when I noticed someone standing at my front door (the outside door is glass).

Now, I'm nothing if not polite, but I've decided that that approach has gotten me nowhere lately. I answered the door and opened it up enough to talk to the young woman on the front step. She handed me a bottle of Glade airfreshener as a "free gift" (I knew I was in trouble right there). Then she said that she just wanted me to answer a few questions for a quick survey that would only take a few seconds. "Seconds" was her exact word. You'll want to remember that. She then said, "Hold on just a second, I have to go get something and I'll be right back." So, I went back to cleaning and then answered the door when the woman returned again. What I wasn't prepared for when I opened the door was that what this woman went back to "get" was the rest of her "tag team".

That was the second sign of trouble. Then I saw what they were carrying....a large box with what else, but a vacuum cleaner, specifically a Kirby vacuum cleaner. Now there were two different women in my house, a vacuum cleaner and one ticked off-but-still-trying-to-be-polite Christina.

From the get-go, I made it clear that I had company coming at an unspecified-but-soon time (completely true), that I needed to clean (obviously true) and that I would listen to their pitch but only to be polite. A lot of good that did me.

First Katie, the aging cheerleading/homecoming queen/man-eater-in-high-heels started in on the pitch explaining that her colleague was just starting out (it was her 3rd day on the job) and that she was trying to win a contest to go to Orlando. All I had to do was listen and she would get credit. Okay fine. So then Brittany, the overweight frumpy-but-shy young woman started in on the pitch. Katie made her exit to check on her other "worker bees" in the neighborhood with the promise to return. (Oh goodie!)

Brittany then started unpacking the box and getting down to business. First she showed me the air compressor feature of the vacuum. (I kid you not.) Then we moved on to the duct cleaner feature, the ceiling fan cleaning feature, the wall cleaning tool, the stereo dusting tool, the upholstery tool, the paint sprayer/insecticide sprayer feature (again, I'm not kidding, but does that sound like a dangerous combination to anyone else?) and on, and on and on.....At the end of the first hour, we were just getting through most of the attatchments.

I was seriously irritated by this time and had already refused several offers to show other features (like the one that would require me to take off the sheets on my bed and let Brittany show me how many dust mites were in my mattress. Somethings are better left unknown....seriously.) At this point, I told Brittany, in the politest tone I had left in me that she needed to wrap this up in five minutes. So what did young Brit do? She started pouring baking soda onto the carpet and then rubbing it in to demonstrate the actual vacuuming part of the vacuum. (This of course after expressing her disappointment in not getting to show me the carpet shampooer attachment.)

Now I will stop here to say that not only am I seriously irritated with the interruption in my morning, but it was also unnerving to see the amount of dirt in my carpet. The vacuum did seem to work well, but that was beside the point.

Meanwhile, Andrew and Emily returned home. Andrew began cutting the grass and Emily hung out with me part of the time. After the baking soda demonstration, I told Brittany that time was up, even if she wasn't done. So she called her manager Katie. Katie came back in and the real sales pitch began. The price of this behemoth machine was a whopping $1875.00! Yeah, right. But after my first, uh...not interested, I suddenly got the "Friends and Family Discount" droping the price to $1300, cutting out part of poor Brittany's sales commission and payable in 24 payments of $70.00. That's all.

Now again I pause. I forgot to mention that Katie has now talked to Andrew while he was outside and reports back to me that it was "cool" that I was getting a new Kirby vacuum. (Yeah right!) I was tempted at this point to buy the dang thing, in part just to get rid of these people but also because I was appalled at the amount of dirt that my own vacuum was leaving behind. So I went outside to talk things over with Andrew. Thankfully he talked me down from breaking under the pressure of the high sales pitch (to which I normally don't yield.) So I went back inside and said no thank you once again.....which led to more begging and pleading and the call for more reinforcements.

So Katie and Brittany begin packing up the Kirby (incredibly slowly) while waiting for the top dog manager who "just wants to make sure that the presentation was done well." Well, I'm past the point of polite by now and ready to be done when Backstreet-Boy-Wanna-be-Jesse comes in. He wants to know why I don't want to buy this vacuum..."is it the price?" Well, duh, of course it is. I said yes, I didn't have the cash and I was trying to get out of debt and didn't want anymore payments. To which Jesse replied, "Well, you're always going to be in debt."

Now that was what pushed me over the edge. I replied, "No, I'm not always going to be in debt. I don't have to be unless I keep doing dumb stuff like this." (I think that started to tick him off.) So he said, "Well you're always going to be in debt, and really, there's good debt and bad debt. Don't you think this is good debt?" (Yes, he actually said this.) I replied that I did not believe there was good debt, that it was all bad and that I didn't always have to be in debt. He might be, but I wasn't going to be.

Finally Jesse tried again and that's when I lost it. I told him "My answer is no and it is not going to change no matter what you say. Now you need to leave right now." (In the same tone that I use with Emily, by the way.) Well, this sufficiently ticked off Jesse and his little band of thugs and they finally left almost 2 hours after they first arrived....

And that is why the sign on my door will be changed to read, "Solicitors Will Be Shot On Sight!"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Not Much to Report

Well, I guess I just don't have much to say these days. My life is currently consumed with caring for Emily from sun-up to sundown these days, with no break in between. Naptime is still a major struggle. If I can get Emily to lay down and be still for 5 minutes (or less) she almost always will fall asleep, but something keeps waking her up about 20-30 minutes into her nap. I finally got to the point where I told her she didn't have to sleep, but she did have to play quietly in her room until "quiet-time" was over. That was just a big joke. She would either yell down the stairs, "MOM....MOM.....MOM....UH...MOM etc... or cry forever, either of which totally defeat the idea of quiet time. So today, I have her trying to sleep in the guest bedroom with the tv on in the background. I'm not proud of it, but if it helps her rest and gives me a little break, then so be it.

Ahhh...the things we say we'll never do.

We go to visit Emily's new doctor tomorrow afternoon for a flu shot and a consultation/brainstorming session. I hope and pray that this new doctor has some helpful ideas.

Let's other news, not much is happening. Emily doesn't love going to "pretty school", but she's got to go. I don't know that I really see any improvement in her speech, but then again, even though she is getting more therapy time per week, it's group therapy as opposed to individual therapy. I expected progress to slow, but only time will tell if this is helping enough. I just hope we're not simply treading water and losing valuable time.

Anybody who says parenting is easy has obviously never done it!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Nightmares and No Naps, Need I Say More?

So I haven't been keeping up with this blog very well lately. It's not that there isn't plenty to comment on, particularly in the realm of politics, but the truth is, there's just too much going on in my own little world right now to think about the other stuff...and frankly speaking, when I do have a chance to relax, the last thing I want to think about or hear is another fight about anything. I just want to relax and laugh.

There's not much of an update to report. Emily is still not sleeping well. Every nap and bedtime is a forever-long battle with lots of tears all the way around. She hasn't been napping the last few days, or if she does, it's only for a short time followed by her waking up screaming and running from her room in a panic. We think she is having nightmares. She remembers waking up and being scared of "sounds" outside her window. (We know the streetsweeper and the trash trucks are loud, but that's been happening her entire life.)

When Emily wakes up like that, she is inconsolable. It's scary and unsettling. I hate having to leave her alone in her room at night, scared and panicky, but I also know that sleeping in her room would only delay the inevitable battle. So we continue to wage this battle a while longer.

Add to this that Emily is now also waking up with the sun (this, the child who has always slept in late) and we have one very tired girl. She is also stock-piling anything she can find that isn't nailed down in her room into her bed. Every day, I find old shoe boxes (with and without shoes), all the clothes she can find on her floor, probably 40 books (not exaggerating here) and various other things in her bed all piled up on and around her in her bed. This concerns me a little. I've never heard of this happening before and I'm not sure why she's doing it.

Of course, this leads me to the conclusion that it's probably time to mention this to the doctor, except that the doctor we've been seeing isn't the easiest person with which to talk. So, I called the office and asked to switch to someone else, just to see if we "click" any better. Now, we have an appointment on Nov. 1, to discuss our concerns, but I don't know if I can hold out much longer. We shall see....

In other Emily news, preschool is going fine, but she is having some separation anxiety (yet again....) I have a hard time with this. While I was always shy, I don't remember being upset about being away from my mom or dad, and neither of them were stay-at-home parents. Now, I spend nearly 100% of my time with Emily, and apparently it's still not enough, yet I know we would kill each other if I tried to homeschool. So we're gutting it out there, too. I know that battle won't take as long, though.

So, that's about it for now. Thanks so much to the ladies and gentleman who encouraged me in my last post. It's been hard to find time to myself to post, but I read your words and appreciated them. In the meantime, I'm just trying to keep going.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Trying to Laugh Instead of Cry

I'm thinking about having some t-shirts made. There will be two in adult sizes and one in a child's size.

The adult shirts will say: I Survived Hurricane Emily!

The child's size will say: Hurricane Emily

So, I told Andrew that I was thinking about this, because sometimes you have to do something to laugh or you'll just end up crying, but he pointed out that we haven't actually survived yet. Hmmmm....

That about sums it up. We're in the process of surviving a massive storm of wills. I bought "The New Strong-Willed Child" by Dobson, and read about 50 pages last night. So far, I'm just discouraged that this seemingly never-ending series of battles truly will never end, but I'm trying to stay positive.

But I'm serious about the t-shirts....

Monday, September 24, 2007

Doing Battle

Where to begin?

How is it possible to love someone with absolutely all your heart and still be so frustrated that you just want to scream? How is it that someone so small and well-cared-for and did I mention loved, turn a normally clam, easy-going person into a crazed, uptight, constantly on edge mom? How can someone so tiny and basically innocent spend every waking (and sleeping) hour with me, almost 365 days a year for the last 3 years (and then some) and yet still need more of me?

How can I give any more when I already feel exhausted and ready to cry far more often than I ever have in the rest of my nearly 29 years combined? How can I possible relax more and ever de-stress when almost every thing I try to do with my child results in a fight, or more aptly put, a battle of wills? I even try to choose my battles wisely, but when so many non-negotiable things are battles, like getting in the carseat, brushing her teeth, combing her hair, putting on clothes, taking a nap and going to sleep are daily huge struggles and have been for 3 years, even a warrior can get worn down. Add to this the beginning of backtalking and hitting, the already present temper tantrums and demands, attempts to potty train, starting our version of pre-school (aka speech therapy in a school setting) and oh yeah....attempting to interpret every single thing she says all day long, and I am mentally, physically and emotionally spent.

I'm sick of fighting a battle of wills. I'm questioning everything about how I have been parenting my child. I feel like a failure as a mom and wife. I don't even know who to turn to for help anymore. I have a good friend from church who understands what I'm going through better than most, because she is dealing with a strong-willed little gal herself, but even she does not appear to be as stubborn as Emily. She also doesn't have the speech/sleeping/sensitivity issues. So while she is an encouragement, there are still things I know she doesn't "get". I don't care for our current pediatrician. She seems competent, but again, I just don't feel like we click. I don't care for my current doctor either, so again, I'm left with no one to turn to.

I'm beginning to wonder if there is more here than meets the eye. Is my daughter just extremely strong-willed, or are her speech issues only the tip of the iceberg? We know she's very intelligent, but does she have something along the autism spectrum that is causing some problems we are not yet aware of? I ask because I know there is the possibility...the developmental pediatrician mentioned it. I could always go back and talk with her, but there's at least a 6 month wait list...again. And do I really want her diagnosed with something, especially if there is any doubt? What will it mean for the future? Will school be yet another source of fighting and struggles? Frankly, I'm not sure I can take even one more battle.

I'm tired.

I don't really expect anyone to plow through this lengthy, frustrated rambling post, but sometimes it just helps to get it out. Sometimes...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

"Pretty School"

Well, after a couple of weeks of meetings and evaluations and many months of therapy, we now know our next step. Emily will be going into the public school system to receive group speech therapy two times a week for an hour and a half at a time. Basically, she's going to a speech-oriented preschool, or "pretty school" as Emily calls it.

Last Thursday, I took Emily for an evaluation to see if she would qualify for school-based services. I was pretty confident that she would, as Andrew and I can still barely understand her many times. The speech therapist for the school administered several tests to determine Emily's receptive and expressive verbal and language skills. The results were not surprising.

On the receptive language portion (language Emily understands), she was amazing. She had to miss so many questions in a row to stop the test. Last week she was 2 years, 11 months old. We were somewhere in the 5 year old category on the test and she still had not missed enough questions to stop testing, but the therapist said she thought she knew enough. Needless to say, her receptive language skills, far from being a hindrance, are a very strong strength.

On the other hand, Emily's expressive language skills are lacking. While she clearly understands far more than her age would indicate, she is quite difficult to understand due to poor articulation and letter substitutions. For example, spoon is "foon", sparkle is "fartle" (that one cracks us up) and Veggie Tales are pronounced "Wedgie Tales"...again, I kind of like that one! Still, all this adds up to about 50% intelligibility overall. Now, this might not be such a problem, but with such a high receptive language ability, the frustration level at not being understood when she understands so much is quite high. So we continue with therapy.

Normally, Emily would receive this either in a preschool that the public school services or in private therapy once a week, but she was recommended for the other class that is typically for older kids because she did score so well on what she understood, plus it was obvious to the therapist that Miss Emily could probably hold her own with the older kids. (No doubt about that!) Plus, factor in the fact that she is the height of most of the kindergarteners there....and she'll be just fine.

We got to check out her classroom and find out all the drop-off/pick-up info and so now we just have to wait until Emily is officially three years old. Emily seemed to like her classroom...there was talk of a sand and water table and that was all Emily needed to convince her that this was the place to be! She's excited and I'm excited because that gives me a whole 3 hours a week to myself....which, for the last 3 years has been unheard-of. Whatever will I do?.....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Moose Gas Bad for Environment

Fox News is reporting that, according to Norwegian researchers, moose (ahem) "emissions" of methane are very harmful to the environment. Their belches and and, umm...toots, create methane in amounts equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted on a car trip of more than 8,000 miles. Factor in that there are more than 100,000 moose in Norway alone and that cows are also equally suspect, and we've got a pretty serious problem (if you're a Norwegian researcher who believes in this "Global Warming Crisis").

Now of course, we all know that America is the worst offender of causing global warming. I mean, we must be since we're the "great satan" and so technologically advanced and capitalists and rich and powerful. That obviously equates with "great satan" and "global polluter", right?

But I have to ask, if this article is correct and the moose and cows are so dangerous, why is America still the worst polluter? Wouldn't it stand to reason that India would be a pretty big contributer? After all, the cows roam free in the streets, worshipped as gods, while the people starve, but no one's blaming them for global destruction. Norway obviously has a disproportionately large number of Moose, probably second only to Canada, yet no one's blaming them either.

Huh...that doesn't seem fair.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Wild Wednesday Night

Well, it started out like any other day. Emily and I woke up, got ready for the day and then met with a couple of friends for lunch at McDonalds. Emily ate more than any of us (two adults and another child) and then we went grocery shopping at Walmart. Nothing too exciting there.

We had a hurried dinner around 7:00pm, but Em didn't eat much, claiming that her food would make her tummy hurt. I didn't press the issue, particularly since she was still willing to eat candy. At 7:30, I left for music rehearsal at church. Andrew had Emily duty and they watched videos together and then he put her in bed.

I got home around 10:00pm , said "Hi" to Andrew and then headed upstairs to change into my pjs with the hopes of going back downstairs, grabbing a cold drink and relaxing for a few minutes. It was not to be.

As I walked upstairs, I hear Emily crying a little, which really isn't all that unusual as she still fights bedtime. I changed into my pjs and got ready to go back downstairs, but something about the way she would cry for a minute, then stop, then start again...made me decide to check in on her. I'm glad I did. She was almost incoherent, rolling around, crying every minute or so and complaining that her tummy hurt. She was obviously not feeling good, plus she had a fever over 102. So I called Andrew up to sit with her while I called the Dr. to see whether we should get her checked out. After taking forever to get through, the on-call doc agreed that we should probably take her to the ER to rule out anything more than a tummy bug, especially since she was complaining that her tummy hurt to the touch in the middle and on one side.

So, Andrew and I took her in our bedroom, he held her while I changed back into my clothes and then I took my turn holding Em. Almost immediately, she vomited ALL over one side of me. Oh joy....but at least it didn't happen in her bed for once. So, we cleaned up as much as possible, I changed clothes again and we headed off to the hospital.

As we were turning into the ER parking area, an announcement came over the radio that we were under a tornado watch (did I mention that it was lightening and raining like crazy already) and that the counties around us were under a tornado warning (as in take shelter immediately). Oh Great!

So we parked in the garage, got out and I stood at the check-in window while Andrew held Emily. About the time that I was trying to talk to the receptionist, Emily started puking all over Andrew and herself again. Poor guy and girl. They had to sit there, covered in yuck, until we could get a room.

We finally got to go back and get Miss Em checked out. This included a temperature reading that wasn't so pleasant (if you get my drift) during which Emily kept crying, "Just put my diaper back on", a blood draw (her first) while Andrew and I held her down, X-rays and a physical exam by the doctor. Then we had to wait for a urine analysis. They wanted to know if she would pee in a cup...Yeah Right! We tried, and failed, at that. There was more vomit, more crying, more fever and finally a special "U-bag" to help catch her urine. If that didn't work, we were going to have to do a catheter....not anyone's idea of fun.

To make a long story short, after some tylenol that we forced her to take and finally some phenergan to stop the vomiting, it was determined that she just had a bad tummy bug. The phenergan was GOOD stuff, though a VILE smelling and looking green. It completely stopped the vomiting and knocked the poor kid out cold.

So all in all, we spent five and a half hours in the ER (from 11:00 pm to 4:30 am), had tornados raging just south of us and got vomited on. But at least Emily is on the mend again, after spending all day yesterday on the couch.

I can only imagine the next time we will have so much fun...oh wait, that'll be the day the bill comes!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Finally, Something to Make Life Easier

These are the new shopping carts at Meijer. For the cost of $1.00, I can rent a few moments peace and quiet while grocery shopping. Okay, so maybe it's not quiet, but there generally isn't much fussing and that is peaceful.

The new carts feature tv's that play either The Wiggles, Bob the Builder or if you're really really desperate, Barney. Emily loves the Wiggles, so for about 45 minutes to an hour, she gets to watch them while I shop. The $1.00 rental fee might seem steep just for a cart, but the proceeds benefit Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis and mom, right here at home, so it's a win-win. At least until the only cart available is Barney....

Just for Bekah and Beth

I really don't like to post pictures of myself, but I thought I'd share my alternative hairstyle with Bekah so that she would recognize me as I look on a non-theme-park, roller-coaster-blown, curly-haired normal day.
It's not the best picture, but there I am....curls all over my head. I don't know if I love it or hate it, but it's the look I have for now. I have grown to like the color, though I haven't had it colored since the end of June and the roots are not growing in much lighter.
Sometimes I straighten my hair....mostly when I'm feeling lazy, but usually I style it with curls. It's quite a change from long and straight, huh!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Disney: The Supporting Cast (cont.)

Crazy Uncle Peter, Aunt Jenny, Aunt Katy and Aunt Jen-Ball, riding with Emily on the bus.

Daddy and Emily on Small World. Em looks very thoughtful, doesn't she?

Dad and Mom, aka Andrew and Christina. Ignore the hair....

Emily and Pa, "hand dancing" while in line for Pirates of the Carribean. She slept through the ride.

Aunt Jenny, Uncle Peter, Aunt Jen-Ball and Aunt Katy (l-r) being silly on and adults-only night at MGM. Emily stayed with Grandma and Grandpa so mom and dad could have a break!

Disney: The Supporting Cast

"Bama" aka Grandma holding Emily line, with Pa looking on.

Aunt Katy, "Aunt Jen-Ball" and Emily on the bus.

Emily and Grandma sharing a chip at the Rainforest Cafe.

Emily and Aunt Katy outside the Rainforest Cafe.

Pa, patiently waiting in line for Dumbo...again!

Disney: The Rides

Riding Dumbo with "Pa". We spent A LOT of time on Dumbo.

Emily enjoying the "horsies" on the carousel.

The view on the way up the Everest roller coaster. Yes, I took it while riding!

The view of the Animal Kingdom, from the top of Everest.

The dancing dolls from the Small World ride. "It's a small world after all..." This was also one of Emily's favorites. I lost count how many times we rode.

Disney: More Characters

Cinderella and our Princess-in-training!

One of Cinderella's mice, visiting during our dinner/show in the castle.

A kiss for Mickey, during a visit at our dinner at Epcot.

Posing with the Stars and Stripes Mickey statue in the lobby of our hotel, Shades of Green. (For military families)

Emily petting Pluto's nose.

Disney: The Characters

We weren't sure how Emily would react to the characters, but she LOVED them. Here she is with her favorite, Minnie Mouse.

Emily, with Donald and Daisy

Emily and Pluto

Ah...a hug for Mickey!

Emily met Cinderella before dining in her castle on our first evening in the Magic Kingdom. I think she was awestruck. Could this picture be any cuter?

Disney: The Scenery

Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, in front of Cinderella's Castle

The view as you walk through the gates into the Magic Kingdom

The most recognized golf ball: Epcot

Still at Epcot, the rainbow after the rain.

Disney's newest attraction, Everest. Very Cool!