Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thankful Thursday: A Boy and His Dog

When Gabriel was born, my aunt Sue gave him a stuffed puppy named Samson; Samson, of course, being known as a very strong person, both physically and emotionally. Gabe has been attached to Sam since day one. Sam goes everywhere with us; he's been to multiple states, he's had "x-rays" with Gabe, he's been "casted" with Gabe, and has had an "mri" with Gabriel as well. Gabe is a big boy now, he's seven, and he doesn't "need" Sam as much as he used to, but this morning he's scheduled for an MRI (totally routine, but still scary for him) and Sam is coming with us. All of the medical professionals we work with are wonderful; they understand that Sam is Gabe's security item and make an effort to make sure that when he goes in for a procedure (such as an MRI) Sam is on his lap when he goes to sleep and is put back on him so that when he wakes up, Sam is right where he was before he went to sleep.

I'm thankful today for Sam and for those who deal with Gabriel and I who realize how important Sam is to us, and I'm thankful that Gabe has Sam and that I have Gabe.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We're Home!

After a long weekend in Michigan, we're home and catching up on everything...laundry particularly ha ha. I'll be back to blogging regularly later today with lots and lots of pictures!! Hope everyone had a great Easter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wordy Wednesday: Word Power

Today's Wordless Wednesday is different in two ways: one, I'm posting it on Tuesday night and two, it's all about words.

I love playing with words; I love writing words, saying words, and using large descriptive words when a short one would suffice. I like saying things like:
"The word alliteration is alliterative"


"The word palindrome is not actually a palindrome"


"A pronoun is a noun that's lost its' amateur status"

I also like to say colloquial phrases such as "ass over teakettle", "take that jig jog" and  "rule of thumb" I like to know the meaning of those phrases too--and if you want to know the meaning of phrases like that go to this site-thanks DIL!

Sometimes I like to
write in haiku form just 'cuz
it's super fun.

I like the way certain words feel in my mouth for example: "facetious","patronizing" and "onomatopoeia"

More than any of these things though, I love that both of my kids like to play with words. I love hearing Gabe sounding out words and then saying outloud to himself "what does that mean? am I saying that correctly?" I love when he asks the meaning of a word and then later on I hear him working that word into a sentence or two.  I like when Bitsy hears me say something and repeats it, such as "You're making me very cross" or "can you turn that [radio] up a tick?"

Tonight she and I had the following conversation...
Mom: What are you doing in there? [there being the bathroom]
Bits: I'm just using the potty.
Mom: Ok, but go right back to bed when you're done. [major wishful thinking on my part. HA]
Bits: Okay Momma. I mean, MUDDER. [the "th" diphthong escapes her sometimes]

Words are simply delicious (isn't the word delicious delicious? Don't you just want to eat it? Much like the words scrumptious, delectable, and edible just sound like you could eat them)

Not only are both of the kiddos learning words to describe things and the world around them,  they're learning that words have meaning. They're learning that some words give are "warm fuzzies" and others are "cold pricklies" I love when kids get to that age when they hear a word and don't quite know what it means but know that it gets a reaction out of you-I'm not just talking about swear words (though we ALL know that SarahAnne has a mouth like a sailor and I am pretty sure at this point it's not about getting a reaction, it's more that she wants to speak as colorfully aloud as she thinks-case in point: we were having a particularly tasty meal and with a mouth full of said tasty food, she sighed and said "oh momma, this is so damn delicious" and then gave another satisfied sigh. I can't fault her for saying it-though we did tell her we don't say those sorts of things at the table-because sometimes when I eat something *I* want to yell "THIS IS SO DAMN DELICIOUS")

Words like "like" "love" "dislike" and "hate" are words we are currently working on at home. We're working on other words that evoke emotions, such as "heart broken" and "ecstatic". Bits and Gabe have learned that using the word hate is strictly forbidden in our house-we simply do NOT use that word. Nor are we allowed to say that we don't love one another. As we explain it to the kids, we always love one another, even when we don't LIKE each other. It's okay not to like something that someone said or did BUT we still love them and treat them like we love them.

My hope is that Gabe and SarahAnne will grow up to love words the way I do-that before saying things they'll think about the meaning of the words they are about to say-and that in an excited moment, they won't lose the spelling bee because they spell the word "antler" incorrectly. (*sigh* the truth comes out; I once lost  a spelling bee because I was completely and utterly overly self confident in my own abilities to whip everyone's asses at spelling. I started to spell antler, a rather simple word, and skipped over the letter "l" how embarrassing, to say the least!)

and just so this post has one wordless aspect to it...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Parent Teacher Conferences

Friday was a busy day around here-I was so busy I even forgot to do a Friday Five!! Whoops. I had Gabe's third quarter parent teacher conference that afternoon and was really pleased with how it went. He's continuing to improve in all academic areas; he's reading well, he loves math and science, and apparently is a really great kid to be around (which I knew, but I'm pretty biased) I was lucky enough to meet Gabe's gym teacher-whom he IDOLIZES. He said that despite what he KNOWS are Gabe's limitations, Gabriel always gives 100% and never tries to get out of doing something because he can't do it. He said he wished all the kids had the determination that he has, which made me feel really good. I mean, yes, as a former teacher, you always want to paint the child of the parent you're speaking to in a positive light, but that was above and beyond. I was so touched by that statement-I can't explain it. It's been a long bumpy road to get to where we are, and I'm so pleased to see what an awesome young man Gabriel is growing up to be.

Now, as amazing and as awesome as Gabriel is...he's also a little dickens-this is a note that he wrote his uncle this weekend when we went out for dinner. I'm totally biased, but I think Gabe is absolutely hilarious-thankfully so did Uncle Dole when he was slid this note:
But still...he's a little dickens...he he

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thankful Thursday-Siblings

Today's Thankful Thursday is a simple one; I'm incredibly thankful for my amazing and hilarious siblings; I'm so lucky to have them in my life. Even if we are hundreds of miles apart, we talk often and can always make each other laugh. I am SO looking forward to spending a four day weekend with them next weekend! Love you Dave and Buzzy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Be Careful Myself!

Bitsy is hilarious; plain and simple. She's such a funny girl, even when she's not trying to be.

Recently she's started talking to herself out loud. A few weeks ago, she had some birthday money to spend, so she decided to buy herself a fleece Beauty and the Beast blanket that came with a Belle pillow. This made her super happy (and me too, because she's such a bargain hunter-it was only five bucks!! lol) She's snuggling the pillow and says out loud to herself, "Oh me, thank you for buying this for me. It was so nice of me to buy this for me. I love it"

Yesterday on the slide, she got up to the top, she grabbed the bar above the slide and said "okay myself, be careful, be careful. You don't want to fall myself, that would hurt"

It's hilarious to hear her talking to herself out loud. She has one of those very very girly voices which makes it even funnier to me.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Politics and Religion

Two things you're never supposed to talk about with someone--politics and religion. I, however, love a good debate and love to hear other people's opinions. I am not so hard headed that I cannot listen to someone else's view and appreciate their beliefs. Earlier this week, the gov't nearly went into shut down over the budget; one of the biggest issues was funding for Planned Parenthood. Those of you who do not know, I am strong advocate of Planned Parenthood; a lot of people see the words "Planned Parenthood" and immediately think of abortion, but in reality, Only 3%  of their services are abortion-in fact a lot of pp's don't even provide abortion services-they send you else where.

In a passionate fit, I posted a few things on facebook about our congresspeople working for us and how to contact them, I also posted that religion has no place in government because of one of the main principles this country was founded on; separation of church and state. For the record, I'm "Christian-ish" I believe in God, I think the bible is a decent book to guide your life on and I believe that above all, we ought to love one another and treat each other the way we want to be treated.

Imagine my shock when I opened up my email last night to find a "welcome" email from the Christian Coalition. Someone apparently thought I needed a good dose of Jesus in my life. Not only did they sign me up, the also created an account for me-one that I cannot log into because I don't have the password, so until I can get a hold of someone at the CC and prove to them that it was not ME signing up, I'm stuck getting these damn emails (well, in my spam folder anyway, ha ha) I really cannot imagine what would possess someone to sign me up for something like this-I mean, honest to God, I'm happy to listen to your views if you want to talk to me about them. I have great respect for other peoples' religious beliefs even if I don't necessarily agree with them.

Of course, I'm not TOO surprised by the fact that I've started receiving these sorts of emails again; after all during election season when I made it clear that I was a full supporter of Barack Obama I received many many MANY emails from the McCain campaign, the right to life campaign, Sarah Palin's campaign and various other right wing entities. It was such a display of immaturity all I could do was laugh. I am a firm believer in standing behind your words and think it's very amusing when people can't come right out and TELL me that they don't agree with me; instead they sign me up for a ton of email listings that are supposed to show me the "truth" or something.

In the meantime, while I'm busy deleting emails, I'll be waiting for the coward(s) who signed me up to come to their senses and realize that standing behind their words and their beliefs is FAR more influential than typing in someone's email address and sitting back and snickering.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Five-All About Me

Today's Friday Five is all about yours truly :)
Five facts about me you may or may not have known:

1. My favorite singer of all time is, of course, Sarah McLachlan, my favorite band is U2, and my favorite style of music is alt-rock.

2. I'm a book-a-holic. It's not unusual for me to finish a book a day when I really get into an author.

3. One of my biggest fears is choking to death on a pen cap. I read a statistic the other day that said something like 1000 people a year die from choking on a pen. I honest to God shuddered when I read that.

4. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life it would be pizza; I love pizza in all of its' incarnation. Living in Chicago land makes being a pizza lover very easy. Deep dish, thin crust, honey wheat. You name it, we have it!! YUM

5. I feel most at home when I'm near water. I am instantly calmer when I see the lake in Chicago (even if it isn't MY lake) I love going home in August and spending every single day at the beach with the kiddos. I'm so glad they love the lake as much as I do.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday-Music

Today my thankful Thursday is a simple one; I'm thankful for music. This afternoon, particularly, I'm thankful for the Beatles. Bitsy and I are just sitting here enjoying some good mellow music and that makes for a good afternoon. Remember to stop and appreciate the little things when you're being thankful-they're just as important as the big things (and often, when you look back, the little things are actually BIG things!!)

Now you can enjoy some of the Beatles too :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Reading Rules!

Gabe has recently become obsessed with this documentary (which can be seen on Netflix instant if you are interested!)

He loves this documentary because he loves these guys:
and he loves those guys because he loves THESE guys:
and he loves THOSE guys because he loves to read :) Amazing how one simple book has lead to a love of other books, animals, and documentaries!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Facebooking of Our Generation

Facebook (and other social media sights) have changed the way we are interacting with one another; it's easy to be connected to other people through sites like facebook and twitter but is it a REAL connection?

Once a week I see some sort of "Post this as your status if you support breast cancer/special ed/anti bullying efforts and see who REALLY cares about these things" That sort of thing has a label; it's called "slacktivism" and its' sweeping through social networking sites like crazy. Basically it's a quick way to say "oh hey, I care about something enough to put it in my oh so important update space, and now that I've posted it, I can forget about it" which is what most people do. Two seconds of our day devoted to a "cause" and we're done. We feel GOOD that we've posted something like and other people can SEE that we've posted it and it ends there. How many people actually DO something beyond posting some reposted mumbo jumbo on facebook? I'd be willing to bet the number is very low.

Another thing I see a lot of is when people post something really good or really bad and tons and tons of people "like" the status or make little comments like "oh no" or "that's too bad" and let it go at that. There's no follow up and when you ask someone if they saw your status or someone else's status message stating really good or really bad news, they usually cannot remember that they posted. We've become so used to just clicking the like button or posting something mindless that we're missing the point of interacting with one another.

I'm the first to admit that I LOVE Facebook; I absolutely love seeing what my friends are up to, connecting with old classmates, and far away family. It's a great way to connect if you actually use it FOR connecting. I'm guilty as hell of clicking the like button constantly, I find myself looking for the like button on other website as well (and a lot of them are connected via facebook so I *can* click like when I like something) BUT I try to make a point to actually read what I am clicking like on, I try to make a point to follow up with someone when they post that they are sick or a family member passed away or they got a promotion. It's easy to just click like and walk away (or click away) and not give it another thought. We are making a lot of superficial connections that, at the end of the day, don't mean a whole lot to anyone. I read an interesting article about facebook and depression and anxiety. It turns out that so many people are so invested in facebook and their friends list that they are anxious about what people are posting and how much people are interacting with them. People are losing sleep over their friends lists and messages not being answered, etc etc. It's really an odd phenomenon to say the least.

What can we do about it? How can we make sure we aren't part of the superficial facebook generation? Disconnect from the computer once in a while and write an actual note; call someone and see how they are, send an email to someone following up on something you saw on facebook. Plan an outing with someone, go some place and do something with a friend or family member. Physically interact with someone-definitely more fun that just READING about it on facebook...even if you don't get to click the "like" button ;)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Five: Spring Cleaning

  1. What’s in need of a good cleaning? The kitchen UGH
  2. What’s your idea of good, clean fun? Can I say a shower with HH? I can't? Why not? Ohhhh that's right, it's a family blog. Um, good clean fun: playing monopoly with the other Wits :P
  3. How clean is your driving record? Squeaky
  4. When did you last make a clean escape? I prefer to make dramatic escapes, so never.
  5. What are your feelings about dirty language? Orbit gum can apparently take care of it *ting*


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