Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lost: Writing Mojo

I'm in the process of trying to find my writing Mojo - but until then, I will just have to post some pictures of pure cuteness! And perhaps some nature along the way...

First... we have the Oliva collection...

And the Carter collection....

How about a little touch of family pics...

And a little nature to finish out the mass-photo post!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Commercials that make you go, hmmmm...

Some advertisements crack me up, like the "Baby Come Back" mop commercials. And some commercials just keep me on my toes when little eyes and ears are close by...

Carter: mommy, look how big that hamburger is!

Me: uh, yeah it's pretty messy

Carter: I think she needs a napkin...

Me: you're right buddy

Carter: I think Daddy would like that hamburger

Me: I think everyone's daddy would like a bite of that hamburger

And how about this one?

I really can't stand the cartoon SpongeBob, even though he's really not the problem - it's his foul sidekicks on the program that enjoy calling people 'stupid' and using bodily functions to get laughs. I'm not a prude, but I do care that my kids don't think it's OK to call someone stupid or burp so loud that the neighbor's house shakes... but I'm digressing. So here's another inappropriate commercial luring kids to Burger King toys in their Kid's Meals... geez

Carter: Mommy, why do they have books in their pants?

Me: So they can sit up higher at the table when they eat their Burger King

Carter: Mommy!! (laughter) They're already grown ups, they can reach the table!

Me: Crazy girls!

(The song used in the commercial is a spoof of the 1990's song "I Like Big Butts" by artist Sir Mixalot)

Original lyrics are:
I like big butts and I can not lie
You other brothers can't deny
That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
And a round thing in your face... etc....

I am just thankful that he has never seen THIS commercial.... wow. If you are offended easily, don't watch this one! haha... it's an ad for a woman's razor.

And for those that blush at just the mere thought of a condom ad, whatever you do, don't go to YouTube and type in a search for "Durex commercial"... just sayin'

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What April Means To Me...

Since April is Autism Awareness month, I am moved to repost some blog entries of the past, sharing our experience. Learn a fact about Autism today, and you can help the awareness campaign!

This, is the face of Autism.... our face....

April is Autism Awareness Month. During this month, you will no doubt begin to notice the news media reaching out for pieces of this disorder to put into their articles and tv segments. The world has come a long way in acknowledging the growing crisis of Autism in America. In 1980, approximately 1 in 10,000 children were diagnosed with Autism.

Autism is a complex neurological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. It is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe. -- taken from

1 out of 150 children means there are a lot of families coping with Autism. Seven years ago, we didn't know anyone with Autism, and sadly, what I had in my own mind to reference this disorder, was the character that Dustin Hoffman played in the movie Rain Man. Contrary to that character, my other perception of someone that had Autism was ignorantly only imagined as a feeble person loudly making unrecognizable noises and rocking incessantly. I know that I am not alone in these thoughts, because through the years in talking with people about Autism, these were the same frames of reference others had before becoming aware.

Yes, Autism can and does reflect these same images in some individuals with severe forms of this neurological disorder, but there is also a wide spectrum of disorders and other not-so-obvious characteristics of the disease. Other ASDs include Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (usually referred to as PDDNOS).

Our son has come such a long way from where he was when he was diagnosed years ago. We attribute his unbelievable progress from such intense and early interventions. He showed "classic" autism signs in the beginning which ranged from no eye contact, lacking verbal and non-verbal communications, toe walking which required leg and foot braces, obsessive focusing of peculiar items (clocks, doors, vacuums, noises), "self stimming" such as spinning himself in circles, hand and ear flapping, as well as severe sensitivities to sounds, lights, touch and taste. We can't go so far as to say that he is "cured", because there is no cure. But if we could put him on our own scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most severe, we would have to put him at a 1 or 2 now.

Over the years, we have come to know of and interacted with, families with children that have Autism in the most severe of forms. These parents are angels in disguise. We can't imagine what our lives would have been like without such early intervention. I'm not insinuating that early intervention will always pull a child out of the classic Autistic disabilities, but in many cases it has proven to be very successful in a child's progress. Not all brains are alike - this is not a one-size-fits-all disorder. I think awareness now is helping families much earlier, whereas in the past, so many children were being diagnosed "too late" in the developmental stages where early intervention has the most effect. Experts believe there is a sweet-spot of time in a child's early development where certain skills can be taught and the brain can sort of rewire itself into more typical behaviors when learned through therapies etc.

The great news is that there are so many wonderful ways of helping children with Autism communicate and relate to those around them thanks to the overall heightened awareness of people, and also educators and physicians being called to learn more about it. Studies are being held all over the world to try and figure this disorder out even more. Science has been making some awesome discoveries genetically as well, and people like you are deciding to care enough about it to make a difference in your communities. It's possible, that you can no longer walk through your daily life without knowing someone who is affected by this disorder.

This is a quote taken from D.M. Rosner, author and owner of that really resonated with me, "If Autism hasn't yet touched your life, it most likely will in some way--in fact, maybe it has already and you didn't even realize it. Maybe that quiet girl who wouldn't look you in the eye was more than simply shy; maybe that screaming boy having a meltdown wasn't really a spoiled child after all....... Maybe it was Autism."


You may search my blog using the word 'Autism' to read more posts...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

So, Why Do We Have AAA?

I really don't even need to type words for today's blog, I took enough pictures to speak for themselves. But, because I can't help myself, I have plenty to say about how my Sunday began.

Me: 9:00 a.m., coffee's on, I'm puttering around the kitchen, headed to the garage to toss out some recycling. I notice the garage is missing a vehicle. I head upstairs to wake the party animal (he'll appreciate me calling him that - haha) that has only been asleep for about 6 hours now after a night out with friends (we'll call him "T" to protect the innocent).

Me: Um, did you take a cab home? Where's the car?

T: It's at the McDonald's at 96th & Meridian. I had a flat tire, Steve dropped me off....

Me: ::: eyeballs twitching from doing the calculations of all that has to be done today, besides arranging this (pain in the butt) flat tire scenario ::: Ok then, let's get moving so we can take care of this - busy day ahead! (Dad's bday and the family is coming for dinner today...) Besides, changing a tire only takes a few minutes, right?

So, One of Us showered up to be perky and punctual for the tire escapade that I knew was about to happen, while The Other One at least changed out of her pajama bottoms, brushed her teeth and poured a very big to-go cup of coffee. The Boy was ordered to get dressed, grab his Leapster and head to the van, and The Girl was kept in her pajamas and protested that she did not want to "go bye-bye". Me either Olivia, but we must embrace the task at hand.

We were in the parking lot of McD's a little after 9:30. I was not about to forget my camera on such an occasion, so I was locked and loaded and ready for some blog material! If you have ever seen the movie A Christmas Story, in which Ralphie 'helps' his Dad by holding the lug nuts for him on the side of the road, and suddenly they get scattered everywhere, and Ralphie yells "Fuuuuuudge"... even thought it's implied that it wasn't 'fudge' that was said. I had to be sure and snap a picture of Carter holding the lugs, and show it to my Dad. We grew up on this movie, and that's one of the funniest parts of it - so I knew I had something good to document. And really, how often does your son get to 'help' his Dad change a flat tire?

So, I present to you, the order of events as they unfolded this morning....

Ralphie! I mean, Carter! This one's for you Dad... and right after this shot, the lugs were rolling on the ground - just like the movie!

Cute so far right?
Even Olivia is happy! See? We love changing flat tires! Yay!

Reason number 537 why carrying baby wipes in your car comes in handy... grease removal.

Oh! Look! The spare tire that says, Please Do Not Go Over 50 mph On This Donut - see what happens when you go 30 mph and get 1/10th of a mile past McDonalds?

Oh look! It's only 11:00 now, let's head to Walmart and get this car a new tire. Since we can no longer drive there on the spare, we'll take just the tires to them, and head back here with the new one. Who's "they" that said it only takes a few minutes to change a tire? "They" must have had a true SPARE tire to use, not a donut, and not with two kids in tow who are staring to ask, "can we go home yet?" Because in my world, it does not take a few minutes to change a flat tire....

Where's that big 'ol smiley face in all their commercials? I need one of those right about now!

Oh hi! It's me, taking a picture of myself in the sideview mirror, waiting in the parking lot of Walmart listening to my 2 yr old tell me "I'm stuck I'm stuck" because she doesn't want her seatbelt on. And my 8 yr old telling her, "Be quiet Olivia, I can't hear my Leapster game!"... yes, that is a real smirk on my face, however it's the thought bubble that is missing from above my head that I had to edit out.

Dunkin Donuts! I'm nostalgic - and they are 'new' out here, and I wanted to see if I could talk on the cell phone, drive a car AND snap a picture at a moving target at the same time! Voila! I wonder if they have Blueberry Iced coffee there at that one? I may have to investigate that soon...

We've got the tire fixed now, and back to parking lot #2 to install it. That only took another 40 minutes at Walmart... we're making good progress... (riiiiiigggghhhhhtttt)

Look at this peculiar tree that hung above us in the parking lot! Of all the 1,000 available spaces in the lot on a Sunday, we pulled in under this tree. Glad it's not windy today!

And because everyone has a smile on their face when they have to change a spare tire, twice in the same morning, I had to document the insanity.

THE END. We were home a little after 12:00.... in case anyone wants to know how long it takes to change a spare tire. Just under 3 hours. So, why do we pay to have the service of AAA?

Friday, March 13, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Well whadda ya know? Carter won first place in his Den again at the Pinewood Derby! This year as a Wolf Cub. I think we must have the winning car specs, but we don't want to get too big of an ego just yet - there is some pretty stiff competition as the kids move up a rank! His car was just how he wanted it though, and he loved the process!

He made it to the final heats to determine the overall winner for the day, and came in 5th out of 8 cars. We should have inspected those top cars to see what their secret was for next year, right? ha-ha! Well we accomplished one thing we set out to do, and that was to make sure his wheels didn't fall off at the end of the day like they did last year.

It was a pretty fun-tastic afternoon watching all the boys' excitement at the Derby, we look forward to this event! It was postponed from January because of a storm, so to say they were eager would be an understatement!

Don't let this picture of the boys fool you - it was the ONLY time they were sitting still - I was lucky enough to snap a picture before the chaos began...

And here's the Champ!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ice, Ice Baby!

Usually, the only way to see a penguin in Indiana is to visit the zoo. But last week, I got to witness the beginning stages of a new breed at a friend’s house. I don’t want to confuse you, so I’ll cut to the chase. I’m talking about an ice penguin.

Have you ever made an ice sculpture before? Me neither. Have you ever thought that you might actually be creative enough to attempt one? Nope, can’t say that’s crossed my mind either. In fact, I didn’t even know I had friends that thought they should try this work of art on for size. That was until I saw firsthand, what my friend Allison’s engineering-crazy thinking husband is really like to live with.

Let me set the scene. Us girlfriends gathered in her kitchen, wine in one hand, melted brie on a cracker in another, in walks Erik scurrying through the crowd of cackling women, “Excuse me ladies, coming through!” he says wielding an armful of something filled to the brim with water. He’s headed out through their back door into the cold night. Allison lovingly smiles at him, looks at us and shakes her head, “Erik’s latest project” she says with her head cocked slightly and a giggle in her voice. She doesn’t seem annoyed or a bit surprised at what he was doing outside. Which of course, got us all jumping on this mystery like a bunch of hungry vultures! We would no doubt be waiting like prey to harass him about his latest nutty invention when he returned.

“Ice sculpture!” she says in a matter of fact tone. A whaaaat? We all ask with a laugh… yep, this man enjoys a challenge. When Erik returns, we get the low down on his creation. He was still in the beginning stages of adding water a couple times a day to a giant trash can he was filling outside. He is intelligent enough to understand the reasons to fill it and freeze it in stages. Unlike me who would have just filled it to the brim one time and wondered why it took a week to freeze or busted the trashcan from expansion. But alas, that is why my brain is not thinking about how I can create an ice sculpture. I’m too busy wondering if my kid has a pair of jeans left without a hole in them (the answer is no, by the way).

I’m not sure if the ice sculpture was really the act of Fatherly Love he was claiming it was by wrapping the deed up as if it was something fun to do with the kids. I mean, let’s be real, are the children really going to fire up the chainsaw and blowtorch? Sure it will be fun to watch Dad make a cool sculpture, but this is not something small animals and children can be that involved in. And from what I know about Erik, he’s pretty meticulous. Ask me about what happened when I almost dropped his son’s Pinewood Derby car! Now that was funny enough that I almost popped a vein from laughing at the look on his face. But I’m digressing… This ice sculpture was a serious matter.

Now, I’m not going to sit here typing out a bunch of disses, because frankly, it’s pretty cool! Cool in a number of ways – first, that he has an imagination wild enough to know he can attempt this without a second thought. Secondly, he has enough playfulness in his life to come up with these sorts of projects. And lastly, that he has a family that is totally on board with his unpredictable quirks, but that they can predict they WILL exist and come up often.

I’ve been inspired, and will tuck this tidbit into my back pocket for another cold winter of wondering what kind of project might be fun to try. It’s always fun to find out interesting things about your friends, and this was no exception. I’m hoping maybe I can convince him to create a beautiful fruit sculpture this summer and invite us all over for dessert fondue. He’s probably got a cocoa tree growing out back for dipping chocolate! I’d love to see what he could carve out of a watermelon or something.

For now, I leave you with his masterpiece…. Congrats Erik… see you at the Pinewood Derby, we’ll have our eyes on your kid’s car. Care to have a little wager?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy 8th Birthday Carter!

Carter had a little party today in honor of turning 8! The boys had such a good time together and wore each other out big time. He was ready for bed before 8:00 tonight - between playing Wii and a scrap game of football in the yard with his pals, he was ready to hit the pillow for sure.

Here's some pics from his special day...

And lastly, his annual birthday letter I write to him...