Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Andrew's love for his Sponge Bob back pack.

9. Kaitlyn loving school so much that she gets mad at me when she can't go on Saturday.

8. Trying to prep the kids that the outdoor pool at our gym is closing after Labor Day. Yep, they are mad!

7. And no, I still haven't finished Andrew's "thank you" cards from his birthday. Etiquette says that I have two weeks, right? And I am making the thank you cards myself....from scratch!

6. A bad, bad, bad first day of preschool for Andrew including puffy eyes and no voice.

5. "The Kissing Hand" and "Llama, Llama, Misses Mama". Love those authors!

4. Who said that McDonald's french fries weren't a cure for mad three year old boys?

3. A better second day of preschool, including a note that said he "had a GREAT day!"

2. Getting ready for the last summer holiday weekend and the festival in our town.

1. I love my family!


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Monday, August 30, 2010

It's My Sad (then HAPPY!) Monday!

And time for our weekly edition of "Not My Child (or Me!) Monday". Sponsored by MckMama, this is the day and the place where you air out all of your dirty laundry!

So this week broke my heart.
I don't think I have felt so heartless or hurt or empty.
Because today was not my three year old's second day of preschool.
And the first day of school was not enough to give anyone irritable bowel syndrome.
And he did not have a sweaty palm from holding my hand so tightly as we walked into the building.
And he did not try every trick in the book to get me to stay longer:
"...come sit down..."
"...hold my hand..."
"...walk this way..."

And that precious little bottom lip and chin did not quiver.
And his eyes did not get as big as saucers and brim with tears.
And I did not get that lump in my throat.
And my eyes did not start to well with tears.
And it did not break my heart that my little baby boy was so scared for me to leave.

And I did not walk out and close the door as the Moms are supposed to do.

And I did not hear him cry and beg "I want Mommmm-mmmmmmm-yyyyyyyy,."

I did not feel like the worst Mom in the world at that point.

And after two and one half hours, I was able to pick him up from school.
And I was not greeted by the sweetest little boy face.
And the note in his back pack did not read "Andrew had a great day! No tears!"

And I was not the proud Mama.
And we did not treat ourselves to McDonald's (again!) for a job well done.
And I am not in love with "The Kissing Hand" book!

And we can't wait to go back tomorrow, since he is actually liking school now!

What has not been going on in your house this week?

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

A New Set of Beatitudes

Being the parent of a special needs child, you can't get through it alone.
Don't even try it.
It won't work.
This post goes out to all of my supporters out there: my family, friends, BFFs, online pals, and everyone out there who has been there for me at one point or another.

I love you all!

-For Friends of Exceptional Children

Blessed are you who take time to listen to difficult speech:
For you help us to know that if we persevere,
We can be understood.

Blessed are you who walk with us in public places,
And ignore the stares of strangers,
For in your companionship,
We find havens of peace.

Blessed are you who never bid us to "hurry up",
And more blessed are you
Who do not snatch tasks from our hands to do them for us,
For often we need time rather than help.

Blessed are you who stand beside us

As we enter new and untried ventures,
For our failures will be outweighed
By the times we surprise ourselves and you.

Blessed are you who ask for our help,
For our greatest need is to be needed.

Blessed are you when you assure us,
That the one thing that makes us individuals
Is not in our peculiar muscles,
Nor in our wounded nervous systems,
Nor in our difficulties in learning,
Nor any exterior difference.
But is in our inner, personal, individual self
Which no infirmity can diminish or erase.

"Expect people to be better than they are,
It helps them to become better.
But don't be disappointed when they are not;
It helps them to keep trying."
--- Merry Browne

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Saturday, August 28, 2010


Was it that easy?
Did I just have to buy a book and read it to him to make him say "OK"?

This morning, when I walked into Andrew's room to get him up for the day, he sat up and said "Go school".
And he held out his hand for me to kiss.


Are you really OK with this, or are you playing a mental game with me?

So I played along and talked a good talk about school.
And he said he was going.
But just in case he changes his mind on Monday morning, I found this great site to help me with my challenge!

Yes, this Mama is always prepared...and one step ahead of her chicks!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Preschool Issues

Who woulda thunk that there would be issues in preschool?
Surely, not I!!!
But, alas, there are issues.
And I am trying my best to get to the bottom of them.

And these issues are best summarized by two words: SEPARATION ANXIETY.
And Andrew has got it bad.
Turns out that he cried for two hours of the 2 1/2 hour class.
The kid had puffy eyes and no voice when I picked him up after school.
And let's not mention the fact that he literally kicked my a** as I went to hug him and threw himself in the street as I tried to help him into the car.
Oh, and let's add a little hyperventilation in the mix, too!
So after a few emails exchanged between the teacher and myself, I took Andrew shopping today and we bought some books.

In this contemporary classic Chester Raccoon seeks love and reassurance from his mother as he ventures out into the world to attend his very first day of school.
It's a sugary tale about Chester, a young raccoon who would rather stay at home than go to school, Jean Kennedy Smith notes that the story is ``for any child who confronts a difficult situation, and for the child within each of us who sometimes needs reassurance.'' Its obvious message is delivered by Mrs. Raccoon, who tells her son that ``I know a wonderful secret that will make your nights at school seem as warm and cozy as your days at home.'' She then kisses his palm, and Chester feels the kiss ``rush from his hand, up his arm, and into his heart.'' Whenever he gets lonely, she advises, he is to press his hand to his cheek and ``that very kiss will jump to your face and fill you with toasty warm thoughts.'' As it may for youngsters in comparable situations, this ``secret'' works for Chester, who in turn kisses his mother's palm so that she, too, will be reassured.

The second book that we purchased is "Llama Llama Misses Mama".

Strange new teacher.
Strange new toys.
Lots of kids and lots of noise!

What would Llama like to do?
Llama Llama feels so new . . .

It's Llama Llama's first day of preschool! And Llama Llama's mama makes sure he's ready. They meet the teachers. See the other children. Look at all the books and games. But then it's time for Mama to leave. And suddenly Llama Llama isn't so excited anymore. Will Mama Llama come back?

Of course she will. But before she does, the other children show Llama Llama how much fun school can be!

So the talk in the house today between Andrew and I has been all about school.
School is fun!
Teachers are our friends!
And yes, Andrew my dear, you will be going back to school on Monday.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Letter To My Teacher

School is starting soon.
For some of you, your child is entering school for the first time.
And you will not be there.
He/She will be alone with many capable teachers, therapists, and other professionals to help them along their way.
Trust them.
Get to know them.
Let them get to know you.
And let them get to know your child.

I found this at www.apraxia-kids.org website and found it to be very reassuring and helpful.
I wish I was able to use it as the words are so perfectly written and I had to stumbled across my own words as I explained Kaitlyn's language one day.

Read this article.
Then read it again.
Send it to school with your child with apraxia.

I believe it has more power than we know.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2010-2011 School Year...And We're Off!

School is here, and this little pumpkin's face was too excited to sleep!

When did they grow up?
Weren't they just babies?
Wasn't I just nursing them and rocking them at 2:00am?
Where did the time go?

But with friendly faces and hugs from friends saying "Welcome back!", I think this is going to be a great year!

And yes, he was a bit hesitant.
And that walk took a little longer than I thought.
But in the end he was OK.

And chose to show off his rockin' fine motor skills!

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Losing my credit card at work after an insanely busy day at work...and having your buddy find it on the floor! Love her and owe her a coffee now for saving me!!!!

9. A wonderful Air and Water Show in Chicago!

8. Swimming. Need I say more?

7. Shopping for school supplies for my daughter and actually having a school supply list this year!

6. Frustration at the styles of back-to-school outfits for a 6 year old girl. Can you say 80's punk rock look? Um, thanks but no thanks.

5. Final preps for Andrew's 3rd birthday party.

4. A super successful birthday party where Andrew knew that he was the center of attention.

3. A big boy bike for my big boy. *tears*

2. The look of surprise on his face at his new Big Wheel.

1. I love my family!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Not My Child Monday

This week, we did not celebrate my little man's 3rd birthday...one week late.
I call it "Fashionably Late".
And he did not realize that he was the guest of honor.
And he did not eat cake off of everyone's spoon.

(Can I get an "eewww!" Out there?)

Not my child!
We don't freak out about germs like that!
Um, yes, this Mom was freaking out about germs like that!

And he did not totally and completely love his big wheel that he got from his Godfather!

Not my son!
He did not try with all his might to ride it on the carpet!
And that Big Wheel was not trumped by a big boy bike on Sunday.

And my boy is not the most loved little man that I could think of right now!

What has not been going on in your house this week?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Two Days, Four Days

Kaitlyn starts school in two days.
Andrew starts school in four days.
I am not too worried about Kaitlyn, as she will be in the same school, same teacher, and essentially the same students.
Andrew, on the other hand, well this is a whole new ballgame for him.
New surroundings.
New people.
No Mommy.
Yes, we (he) is having attachment/detachment issues.

I am predicting lots of tears on Thursday.
Not from Kaitlyn.
OK, a couple from Mommy.
But Andrew?
Like I said, it's a whole new ballgame!

Here's the wind-up.....and the pitch.....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

If This Is Love...

...I don't ever want to experience any other emotion!

Sure gonna miss these two faces when school starts this week...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Making Pancakes

I ran across this short story online, yet could not find an author.

Whoever wrote this is amazing!
Thank you for allowing me to share it!

Six -year-old Brandon decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor.

He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten.

Brandon was covered with flour and getting frustrated He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad.

He didn't know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove and he didn't know how the stove worked!

Suddenly he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to
push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically he
tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas white and sticky.

And just then he saw Dad standing at the door Big crocodile tears
welled up in Brandon's eyes. All he'd wanted to do was something
good, but he'd made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a spanking. But his father just watched him.

Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son,
hugged him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and
sticky in the process!

That's how God deals with us. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky or we insult a friend, or
we can't stand our job, or our health goes sour.

Sometimes we just stand there in tears because we can't think of anything else to do. That's when God picks us up and loves us and
forgives us, even though some of our mess gets all over Him.

But just because we might mess up, we can't stop trying
to "make pancakes" for God or for others. Sooner or later we'll
get it right, and then they'll be glad we tried...

I was thinking... and I wondered if I had any wounds needing to be healed, friendships that need rekindling or three words needing to be said, sometimes, "I love you" can heal & bless! Remind every one of your friends that you love them. Even if you think they don't love back, you would be amazed at what those three little words, a smile, and a reminder like this can do.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

School Supplies!

I cannot believe that school is starting in less than one week.
Five days to be exact!
Where, oh where, did the summer go?!

We really had to cram a lot of things in today before kicking back and having some fun.
Back-to-school physicals: check.
Back-to-school hair cuts: check.
Back-to-school supplies: check.

And this was the fun check mark for me!
You see, last year Kaitlyn didn't have much of a back to school supply list at all.
In fact, there was no list.
No markers.
No glue.
No crayons.

She required more essential items for the classroom like paper towels, hand wipes and sanitizers, some Ziploc baggies, and so on.
The school was providing the "school supplies" and I was bummed.

This year, we were asked to purchase supplies and I was tickled pink!
Glue sticks!
Elmer's School Glue?

So off to Wally-World we went.
Um, I meant Wal-Mart.

It's funny when I think of how many parents out there are complaining about the lists of supplies that they have to purchase for their child for school each year and I get so excited about it!
Hey, maybe next year they will ask for me to purchase construction paper and scissors, too!
It's just another avenue for me to see how my child is progressing in the school setting which she has been placed.

Thank you, WalMart, for making my day!

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What Matters The Most

When I sit back and look at the big picture, all of the fussing and worrying mean nothing when I look at this toothless face...

...and how he has taught me that smiling takes less effort than frowning....

...and that there are bigger obstacles than plastic dinosaurs in this world that we may have to climb and conquer....

....but if we stop and take a good look at what matters the most....

...thank God for the beauty and wonder of the world around us....

...to not be afraid to get our feet wet once in a while....

...or take a chance at something new....

...to remember that someone is always around to help you up if you may fall....

...and like names written in the sand only to be soon washed away with the next high tide...

...it comes full circle back to these two silly faces.
That is what matters the most.

What matters the most to you?

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten

10. An awesome therapy session for Kaitlyn with Miss M.

9. My daughter begging me not to go to work and to "stay home". Tugs at my heart for sure!

8. A wonderful day at the Shedd Aquarium...just the 4 of us!

7. Gettin' outta town for days on Friday....ahhhhh!

6. Never take two kids with sensory issues to and air show. Fighter jets are a little bit loud.

5. Checking into an awesome resort for our family vacation and finding out that our "room" is half the size of our house! HUGE!!!!!!!!!

4. Sleeping arrangements that had ME sleeping in multiple areas in one night, yet not getting any sleep myself.

3. A great family vacation that ended way too soon.

2. Celebrating Andrew's third birthday while on vacation and savoring the sheer joy of that child.

1. I love my family!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Not Me Monday

Since I am on the road in rural Wisconsin, I don't have access to my photos and links as I usually do for a typical NMM and will attempt this blog entry via Blackberry on these rolling back roads. You can still hop over to www.mckmama.com for all of the "Not Me Monday" links, buttons, stories, and more!

So this weekend we did not take a much needed family vacation to Door County, Wisconsin.
We did not feast on freshly caught perch for dinner and farm fresh eggs for breakfast.
We did not treat ourselves to the most amazing ice cream at Wilson's in Ephraim.
We did not play in the park in Sister Bay.
We did not splash in Sturgeon Bay and play on a beach in Fish Creek.
We did not stroll besides shops in Bailey's Harbor.
And I did not run to Target in Sturgeon Bay because I forgot to pack my toothbrush!
And we did not enjoy this much needed break and together-time as a family, appreciating each other, celebrating Andrew's 3rd birthday, and thanking God for allowing us to be together like this.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, my love!

Three years ago today, you blew into our lives like a Midwestern storm.

And we have never been the same since.

You have added such joy to our lives, and it is such an honor to be called your Mom.
You are the little man on a big mission who decided to come 13 days early in your haste to meet this world and its wonder.
And you have my heart wrapped around your little fingers still today.
With your big blue eyes.
And your sweet hugs and kisses.

Happy Birthday, little man.
Happy Birthday, my little love.
Happy Third Birthday, Andrew!

All my love,

Saturday, August 14, 2010

One Flaw

One Flaw In Women
Author Unknown


By the time the Lord made woman,

He was into his sixth day of working overtime.

An angel appeared and said,

"Why are you spending so much time on this one?"

And the Lord answered, "Have you seen my spec sheet on her?

She has to be completely washable, but not plastic,

have over 200 movable parts, all replaceable

and able to run on diet coke and leftovers,

have a lap that can hold four children at one time,

have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart

-and she will do everything

with only two hands."

The angel was astounded at the requirements.

"Only two hands!? No way!

And that's just on the standard model?

That's too much work for one day.

Wait until tomorrow to finish."

But I won't," the Lord protested.

"I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart.

She already heals herself when she is sick

AND can work 18 hour days."

The angel moved closer and touched the woman.

"But you have made her so soft, Lord."

"She is soft," the Lord agreed,

"but I have also made her tough.

You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish."

"Will she be able to think?", asked the angel.

The Lord replied,

"Not only will she be able to think,

she will be able to reason and negotiate."

The angel then noticed something,

and reaching out, touched the woman's cheek.

"Oops, it looks like you have a leak in this model.

I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one."

"That's not a leak,"

the Lord corrected,

"that's a tear!"

"What's the tear for?" the angel asked.

The Lord said, "The tear is her way of expressing her joy,

her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her love,

her loneliness, her grief and her pride."

The angel was impressed.

"You are a genius, Lord.

You thought of everything!

Woman is truly amazing."

And she is!

Women have strengths that amaze men.

They bear hardships and they carry burdens,

but they hold happiness,

love and joy.

They smile when they want to scream.

They sing when they want to cry.

They cry when they are happy

and laugh when they are nervous.

They fight for what they believe in.

They stand up to injustice.

They don't take "no" for an answer

when they believe there is a better solution.

They go without so their family can have.

They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.

They love unconditionally.

They cry when their children excel

and cheer when their friends get awards.

They are happy when they hear about

a birth or a wedding.

Their hearts break when a friend dies.

They grieve at the loss of a family member,

yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.

They know that a hug and a kiss

can heal a broken heart.

Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you

to show how much they care about you.

The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning.

They bring joy, hope and love.

They have compassion and ideals.

They give moral support to their family and friends.

Women have vital things to say and everything to give.

However, If There Is One Flaw In Women,

It Is That They Forget Their Worth.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Someone's Thoughts....

Every day brings unique challenges that can wear us down, or build us up.

For, within each day...

we may have every strength and weakness of our own tested

we will have to fight and advocate for our children

we will choose to protect our integrity and theirs

we will stand firm amongst criticism and in our beliefs

we can choose to embrace their uniqueness

we will love them with every part of our being

we can find renewed hope and strength

we can find peace and love where there may not have otherwise been

we may cry, grieve, and mourn what we can not, or do not have

yet, we can choose to celebrate, value, and appreciate what we do!
(Author Unknown)

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Regular Moms vs Special Needs Moms

This is a REPRINT from an interesting site called, One Place for Special Needs. Thank you Dawn for giving everyone the permission to reprint (with proper credit!)

Regular Moms vs Special Needs Moms

Regular moms tell their kids to wake up and get dressed in the morning. And they do it.
Special needs moms put on battle gear to get our kids ready to start their day.

Regular moms ask their kids if they brushed their teeth.
Special needs moms prompt, “Brush your top teeth. Brush your bottom teeth. Did you get the sides? Open your mouth. My God, give me that toothbrush! You’ve left half your meal in there!”

Regular moms wave goodbye as their kids run off to catch the school bus.
Special needs moms get awesome door-to-door bus service for their child.

Regular moms know the names of all their friends.
Special needs moms know most of their friends by their username.

Regular moms judge other moms when kids have tantrums in stores.
Special needs moms say to themselves, “Hmm, I wonder which disability he has?”

Regular moms complain about driving their kids to sports and recreation classes.
Special needs mom grin and bear the weekly trips to tutors, doctors and therapists.

Regular moms’ kids have a teacher.
Special needs moms’ kids have a team.

Regular moms talk about accomplishments.
Special needs moms talk about skills, as in play skills, conversation skills, life skills, social skills and vocational skills.

Regular moms relax with their kids during the summer.
Special needs moms start their second job as home teachers, therapists and skills coaches.

Regular moms think accommodations refer to hotels.
Special needs moms have memorized the top 20 accommodations for their child.

Regular moms hope their child finds a good career.
Special needs moms are hopeful someone gives our child the chance to work.

Regular moms soak in the tub when they want to unwind.
Special needs moms consider a bathroom break a luxury.

Regular moms enjoy reading the latest best selling book.
Special needs moms should receive an honorary degree for all the disability books they’ve read.

Regular moms go out for dinner and a movie with their husbands every month.
Special needs moms have a date night with their husbands every…wait, what decade is this?

Regular moms complain their kids won’t eat their vegetables.
Special needs moms are so desperate we consider chicken nuggets to be a legitimate meat product and throw in ketchup as a vegetable.

Regular moms’ kids go to play groups.
Special needs moms’ kids go to therapy groups.

Regular moms meet for a ladies night out.
Special needs moms get together at support groups and forums.

Regular moms have medical claim forms that fit in one file folder.
Special needs moms will tell you a small forest was cut down so we could receive our claims.

Regular moms think OT means overtime.
Special needs moms know more acronyms than a NASA engineer.

Regular moms complain their husbands sit on the couch while they do all the work.
Special needs moms…well how about that? Some things do stay the same!

Got more? Let’s hear them! Send your “regular moms versus special needs moms” to info@oneplaceforspecialneeds.com

About the writer

Dawn Villarreal runs One Place for Special Needs, a national disability resource that lets you find local and online resources, events and even other families in your neighborhood. She is also moderator of Autism Community Connection, a Yahoo group for families in Illinois. Dawn has two awesome kids and strives for a day when communities can effectively reach out to support all special needs. Reprint permission granted by including: Reprinted with permission from One Place for Special Needs http://www.oneplaceforspecialneeds.com

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I "LIKE" This!

Thank you, each and every one of you, who clicked that "LIKE" button on that Facebook page.
Because of all 100 of you, you have supported me, my children, and everyone else affected by apraxia of speech in one way or another.
You clicked "LIKE".
You forwarded this to your Facebook friends.
They clicked "LIKE".
And so on, and so on.
If you are a Facebook user and have not had the chance to click "LIKE" and become a fan, you can do so here.

Thank you, again, for helping me raise awareness of the speech and language disorder.

I "LIKE" you all, too!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Celebrating 100 "likes" on my Facebook Fan Page! Thank you all!

9. Spending the day as a whole family at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Love it!

8. Counting down the days until the kids start school. Where, oh where, did the summer go?

7. Less than one week until we celebrate the little man's THIRD BIRTHDAY!!!

6. Planning our family vacation. Oh, it is going to be sooooo nice to get away!

5. Watching my little girl swim like a fish. She is now doing the backstroke.

4. Awesome opthamology appointments for both kids last week!

3. Having to patch Kate's eye for three hours a day. She really hates that!

2. Morning cuddles with both kiddos. Can't get any sweeter than that.

1. I love my kids!

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Monday, August 9, 2010

This Little Boy....

...will be starting preschool in just over two weeks.
...has taught me ways of loving that I have never known before.
...makes me mad and happy, all at the same time some days.
...teaches me patience and understanding.
...has gotten so big, so fast.
...has an energy about him that cannot be explained.
...gives the best hugs and insists on showering me with kisses when he is a sticky, syrupy mess after eating pancakes.
...is the only other man in my life besides my husband that I love beyond words!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Here's Lookin' at You, Kids......

Seeing that I am still rejoicing at our recent ophthalmology visit for the kids, I wanted to pass along a pretty cool site about eye health.
Please do whatever you have to in order to protect the precious vision of our little ones.
Click here to see the site.
And have a wonderful day!

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

For All Moms (um, and Dads)

Please be sure to "pause" my blog music prior to listening to this video clip.
Just scroll to the lower right side to pause the pink box.

I tip my hat to all Moms and Dads out there!

Now, on with this most AWESOME show!

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Thank You, Kodak!

Check this out!

Kodak, the number one in everything photos, just made my life a little easier!

NO more explaining my blog.
NO more writing down the whole H-T-T-P thingy for people.
NO more dirty looks from strangers in stores...just flip 'em a card!
(You thought I was going to say something else, didn't you?!)

I love how you can choose your color, design, wording, font, etc.....
I stuck with the whole theme of my blog on the front side, then put the blog address on the reverse side.

Check out this FREE offer!

I am not sure when this offer ends, but hop to it and take advantage of what Kodak can do for you!

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