Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Giveaway and a Top Ten!


Don't forget....you have until MIDNIGHT tonight (CST) to either post a comment on this blog, become a fan on my Facebook page, or a follower of mine on Twitter to be entered in the Loopeeze Blog Giveaway!

Now, onto the Top Ten...

10. Andrew's successful PE tube surgery on Friday.

9. Dear Recovery Room nurses from Andrew's surgery: I am sorry that he beat you up. Please excuse the post-operative delirium. Thanks, Mom.

8. Coming home to find a listless Kaitlyn on the couch with a Grandma that tried all she could to keep her fever down.

7. A narrowly-averted hospital admission.

6. Rocephin and Dexamethasone: how I love ye!

5. Andrew spiking a fever to 101.5-102.6 just two days post-op. Thanks to either (A) some fluke, (B) something viral, or (C) big sister's strep/tonsillitis infection.

4. Missing the 1st grade trip to the zoo. Sorry, baby.

3. Prepping for Kaitlyn's surgery this Friday. Prayers welcome. Thanks.

2. Hoping this will all be behind us very soon.

1. I LOVE my kids!


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Monday, May 30, 2011

Betcha CAN Tie Your Shoes!

How many times did you tie your shoes this week?
Did you think about what you were doing, or did you just do it?
It's pretty easy for you, isn't it?

Now, think of a child with special needs of some kind.
Maybe it's your child.
Maybe your child has poor fine motor skills or weak clumsy hands and has a hard time manipulating objects and buttons.
If you said yes, then you've got a child that needs to learn shoe-tying-made-easy.

I've got two, and I really didn't want to cross that bridge.
Until now.

Eventually every parent is faced with the task of teaching their child to tie their shoes, but for the parent of a child with a special need of some sort, this task becomes a bit more daunting.
For me, I just don't want to do it right now.

But not for my new friends over at www.loopeeze.com!!!

Loopeez works by accelerating the learning process and eliminating frustration.
Teaching kids to tie their shoes using the Loopeez shoe tying system is simple, fun and most of all requires little time to master.
And for special needs children and adults, shoe tying can be a frustrating process. Occupational Therapy & Rehabilitation patients often times need assistance tying or relearning how to tie their shoes.
Loopeez is the ideal educational and therapeutic shoe tying aid.
It's simple and easy to use design make Loopeez perfect for children in any type Occupational Therapy & Rehabilitation.

Would you be interested in owning this awesome product???


YES! THIS IS A BLOG GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to Courtney and the kind folks over at Loopeeze, ONE PERSON will be chosen as the winner!
And that one winner will be able to choose the Loopeeze product of their choice: boy or girl, lizards, butterflies, baseballs...you name it!

It's YOUR choice!

You can view your choice options here.

To Enter:
1. Become a fan of my Facebook page and leave a comment with which product you like the best.

or

2. Become a follower of my Twitter page, leave a comment on which item you would like, then you must "retweet" my promotion tweet about this giveaway.

or

3. Leave a message on this blog post with which product you like the best. Sorry, no anonymous entries will be accepted.

Winner will be chosen by at random and will be contacted by e-mail.
Please leave valid email addresses.
If there is no response in 48 hours, another winner will be drawn.
Sorry, but there will be no P.O. Box winners.

This giveaway is for US Residents only.
Due to the Memorial Day holiday, this giveaway will start today, Monday, May 30, 2011and end on Tuesday May 31, 2011 at 12:00 midnight CST.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 1st!

Good luck!
You can find out more about Loopeeze at their website here, or on their Facebook Page or their Twitter page here!

***Disclaimer: The product/s mentioned above were provided free of charge from the company or PR firm for the purposes of this review. Opinions expressed belong to ME and were NOT influenced in any way.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Praying and Strength

I am currently driving to the hospital for my son's surgery.
Well, I'm not driving.
My husband is the designated driver.
Which is a good thing.

I am a nervous mess right now.

And while Andrew's surgery is minor (ear tubes) it is still surgery with general anesthesia and all the risks that come with it.

And while we are at the surgical center with the boy, Grandma is at home with the sick girl.

Yes, I said "sick girl".

Kaitlyn came home from school yesterday with a fever of 103 degrees and she has not dropped below 102 degrees in 12 hours.

Currently she is 103.8.

And she is supposed to have her surgery NEXT Friday for tonsils/adenoids and eye muscle revision.

We'll see.

In the meantime, I am just asking for prayers and strength.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blog Giveaway Winner Is......

....let's try this again, folks!

Since DOTCOMKARI did not respond to my announcement within 48 hours, a new winner of my most recent blog giveaway, The Big Book of Exclamations, will be chosen.

And that winner is.....
(cue annoying drum roll)




(Boy, do I feel like Ryan Seacrest right now...dragging out the announcement of a winner on "American Idol"...hee-hee!)


JIM STOECKLY!

OK, Jim. You know the rules!
If you don't respond to this post via email at apraxiamom@gmail.com within 48 hours, I will have to chose a THIRD WINNER!
(Jim, please don't do that to me!)




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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday Top Ten

(Yeah, I know. It's supposed to be on Tuesday, but we had an IEP Meeting!)

10. Two days until Andrew's surgery.

9. Nine days until Kaitlyn's surgery.

8. Kaitlyn learning the Butterfly stroke in swim class...my little fish!

7. Grandma saving the day and babysitting....and carpooling....thanks, Ma!

6. The support of some really great people around me.

5. An IEP Meeting that went the way it was supposed to go!

4. SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.

3. A team on the same page....with only 5 days left of school, but I'll take it!

2. A final Optho appointment for Kaitlyn prior to surgery.

1. I LOVE my kids!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And The Winner Is......

DOTCOMKARI !!!!!!


Hey, girl, congrats!


within the next 48 hours to claim your prize!


(NOTE: If I do not hear from dotcomkari by Thursday, May 26th @ 12:00 noon CST,

a new winner will be chosen and contacted!)


Thanks to all who participated!


And stay tuned.....I've got more great giveaways coming up including an amazing OT product!)

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Monday, May 23, 2011

A Blog Giveaway!


Need a fresh, great way to stimulate speech and language in your little one?
Feeling like you have run out of ideas?
Well, have no fear!
Do I have a blog giveaway for you!

(Please scroll to the bottom right column of my blog page a "pause" my embedded music to hear the entire interview. I am sorry for the inconvenience.)
Meet Teri Kaminski Peterson, author of "The Big Book of Exclamations".

The Big Book of Exclamations is an educational book written by speech pathologist Teri Kaminski Peterson, SLP-CCC and has been designed to promote speech sound development and imitation of gestures, sounds and words.

Perfect, isn't it?
The breath of fresh air that you needed right now!
I can attest that I found it to be the perfect addition to my home speech therapy for both of my children.

But unlike most books, it doesn't have a story to read.
You are the story.
You are the animator.
The book is just the perfect foundation for you to build with!
And each time that you read the book with your child, it will be different.
If your child is anything like mine, they have memorized our books.
There is no longer that element of surprise.

This book is different.

Why, you ask?
Because along the bottom of each page there are prompts which teach parents/caregivers how to act out the illustrations and interact using gestures, sounds, words, or phrases depending on their child's ability.
The book shows parents how to modify what they say about each illustration in order to maximize their child's communication potential.
It is also filled with information which helps parents understand speech language development and it lists resources for those seeking advice.
I consider it a wonderful book for young children with typical speech development and those considered "late talkers".

Yes, you can act super-silly with your child each and every time!

But before using this book, it is very important to understand how it works, otherwise you may be confused.

This twenty-four page book does not have a typical "story" to read to a child.
Instead, there are tips at the beginning of the book that teach parents how to modify what they say about each illustration in order to maximize their child's ability to participate verbally during "story time".
In addition, scattered throughout the illustrations the reader will find fun "exclamations", words, and phrases they can choose to use as they teach their child to imitate sounds, words, and phrases.
This will allow you to use basic speech and language stimulation strategies that entice children to respond and talk at a variety of developmental levels.

The ultimate goal is for parents/caregivers to feel successful as they help their child learn to talk and have fun with books.
And we all know how literacy and speech are so intertwined!
The Big Book of Exclamations demonstrates a new, different way to use books - a way which promotes active participation, shared attention, turn taking, communication, and genuine love!

"The front of the book features several pages of instructions and tips for using the book effectively and for keeping young children's attention and reinforcing their verbalizations. At the end of the book, readers find information about typical child development and advice for parents who are wondering about their children's communication skills."

Ms. Peterson has been so gracious to donate one copy of this book for me to give to ONE of you!
So who is interested in owning a copy of this incredible book?

To Enter:
1. Become a fan of my Facebook page and leave a comment.

or

2. Become a follower of my Twitter page, then "retweet" my promotion tweet about this giveaway.

or

3. Leave a message on this blog post. Sorry, no anonymous entries will be accepted.

Winner will be chosen by at random and will be contacted by e-mail.
Please leave valid email addresses.
If there is no response in 48 hours, another winner will be drawn.
Sorry, but there will be no P.O. Box winners.

This giveaway is for US Residents only. It will start today (Monday, May 23, 2011) and end on Tuesday May 24, 2011 at 12:00 noon CST.

Good luck!

You can find out more about Teri Kaminski Peterson and her book on her website or her Facebook page.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Stop Saying That You Understand...

Well, our IEP Meeting is set for Tuesday.
And while this last semester has been a tad rocky, I won't take blame for any of it.

In fact, I have been nothing but proactive for my daughter.
I am not a lazy parent that sends their child to school and tells the school to "fix" my child.

No, that's not me.

I am the parent begging for homework to maintain continuity between home and school.
I am the parent bringing my concerns to the school staff.
I am the parent asking them to up the ante a bit and challenge my daughter because I know and they know that she has the potential to succeed!
I call the Parent-Teacher Conference.
I follow the chain of command when I feel that my concerns are not being taken seriously.
I request to speak with Supervisors and Administration when I feel that I need to.
I am not asking for state-of-the-art technology to be used with my daughter...just common sense.
I am not demanding anything but what is suitable to her needs.
And I am not bringing in our Advocate or Attorney to our IEP Meetings because it was never necessary.
Yes, I am going to toot my own horn because I think I deserve to.

And then I am told that this blog has hurt someones feelings because they have read it.

I am a professional as well.
Many of you know that I continue to work part-time as a Registered Nurse.
And every month my boss shares feedback on surveys from our previous patients.
And occasionally we receive surveys that may be critical or damaging, questioning our capabilities and care that was provided.
I don't sit there and cry and feel sorry for myself.
I use it as constructive criticism.
This blog of mine is just like one of those surveys where our previous patients comment on the care they received while in the hospital.
There is nothing in this blog that I would not say to someone directly.
As you can see, I don't use names in my blog with the exception of my children's names and the names of the physicians and surgeons my poor kids have to see W-A-Y too much!

People don't live in perfect harmony.
People differ in their opinions.
People don't always see eye to eye.
This example is no different.

Having a child with special needs is no carnival ride.
And I hate it when someone at the table during a conference or IEP meeting says "I understand how you feel...."

Really?
Really?

No you don't.
So stop saying that.
You don't have a child with special needs.
You don't have your dreams shattered.
You don't have your heart ripped out and stepped on when someone tells you how the weaknesses and deficits are interfering with progress.
I am a nurse.
I am in the caring profession.
I care for very sick people with cancer and pain.
I don't tell them "I understand" because I don't.
I empathize with them.

EMPATHIZE.

Yes, I cry with them, but not tears of sympathy.
Tears of humanity.

STOP. SAYING. THAT. YOU. UNDERSTAND.
Because you don't.

Have empathy for those parents sitting around that table.
Try and put yourself in their shoes, listening to someone slaughter your dreams and hopes.
Don't make their lives any harder than it already is.
We all have crosses to bear in life.

This is my cross, and I think I am doing the best job that I can!

So if you are a parent with a special needs child of any kind, you are probably nodding your head in agreement with me.

But if you're the parent whose child is "perfect" and in a general education setting and is perfectly healthy and excelling through school and you have the picture-perfect marriage and you live in that perfect house with the white picket fence....

...you don't understand.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Coming To A Mailbox Near You.....


Oh how I love to give stuff away!

Back in December 2010, I hosted a month-long blog giveaway with everything from WikkiStix to Mead products to Thumballs....you name it!
I needed to slow down and take a break, but now I am ready to start up again with FREEBIES for some lucky readers!

This is all still in the works, but I expect to begin again next week.
Just keep watching and keep reading.
You just may be the next winner of some AWESOME products!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bugs Be Gone!


So I get a phone call on Tuesday from the Outpatient Surgical Center for Andrew's surgery.
She asks all the health questions.
I answer all the health questions.
Then she tells me "We will call you on Thursday to let you know what time to bring Andrew to the surgical center for his tube placement".

Cool.

Um, not cool.
Why?
Because this Mama's gut told her to listen to her little boy's raspy voice a little closer this morning.
And this Mama's gut told her to call the pediatrician to get him checked over a bit before his surgery on Friday.

And this Mama's gut was right.
Then again, isn't it always?
Because not only does the little boy have yet another right ear infection, he also has strep throat.

STREP. FREAKING. THROAT!

So he is on yet another antibiotic.
And surgery has been postponed from this Friday to next Friday.
And I need a vacation.
Or Valium.
Or both.
Badly.
Oh, and did I mention that I don't have a babysitter for Kaitlyn now.
Any takers out there?
I guess I will have to pull her out of school that day and take her with us.
HEY! I can make it a learning experience for her!
"Road Trip to the Surgical Center" Day!

I still need that Valium.
And a vacation.
Or both.

Please go away, bugs.
Puh-lease!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten


10. Three days until Andrew's surgery.

9. Seventeen days until Kaitlyn's surgery.

8. Two kids waking up at 0515 every morning to play together with their Leapster Explorers. Cute, but not that cute at 0515 on a school day (or weekend, either!).

7. My two kids are best friends. Can't ask for anything more, can I?

6. A meeting with an administrator which was genuine, reassuring and validating.

5. Refusing to let my guard down and to continue to speak from my heart.

4. Never realizing how strong I really was as a Mom until just recently.

3. Family love and support.

2. An upcoming IEP Meeting for Kaitlyn.

1. I love my kids!

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Great Article on Parenting Children with Learning Disabilites


Welcome back, Blogger!
I am so glad that you got the bugs outta your system...seeing that I have not been able to get on this site for the last 48 hours!

WHEW!

Anyway, here is a great article that I found that I would love to share with you all.
It is titled "Parenting Children With Learning Disabilities" but I am sure that many of these tips can be used for general ed students as well.
Learning disabilities (LD) affect some 15 percent of the U.S. population. Today, almost 3 million school age students receive special education services because of learning disabilities.

Have a great weekend and I will see you again on Monday!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Of Prisms and Tubes

Yet another trip to the Optho today.
He is happy with Kate's glasses.
He is happy that she is happy with them.
It's nice when everyone is happy, isn't it?

But today he rained on her happy parade and added prisms to her glasses.
Prisms to fine tune things for the next two weeks before we head into surgery for her revision of the muscle surgery which she had 4 years ago.

But why prisms, you ask?
Prism lenses are necessary to aid in getting the eyes to work together.
One or both eyes tend to pull up, down, to the left, or to the right.
The use of prism in the lenses tricks the brain into thinking the eyes are working together by shifting the image only slightly up, down, left, or right.

They really aren't obvious unless you are really looking at her glasses and are studying them.
They are only a couple of millimeters thick, and they have vertical lines.
They blur her vision a bit, so that makes her mad.
But it's only for two weeks until we see him again.

And then there is Andrew.
Andrew needs tubes in his ears.
Yes, he has tubes and they are the original tubes from almost two years ago.
But that darned right one fell out and then he got two ear infections in two months and his tympanogram sucked big time today.

So he is getting new tubes on May 20th.
Yes, 10 days from now.
I chose that day because there is no school.
Good planning, huh?
This way, he won't miss anything in school and will be right as rain on Monday to go back.

Tubes and Prisms, prisms and tubes.
My life is so colorful lately, isn't it????
Yes, this will be behind us soon.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten


10. A wonderful Mother's Day! I love my kids and husband!

9. Another ear infection for Andrew. Can you "tubes"?

8. Another case of strep throat for Kaitlyn. If you're counting, that's 3 since December.

7. Revising and reworking Kaitlyn's IEP goals.

6. Trying to make educated people do their jobs. This shouldn't have to happen, people!

5. Taking my case to the highest courts and getting some action! Thank you for listening to me!

4. Counting down the days until surgery......24........

3. A bad haircut. That's OK, it'll grow.

2. 80 degrees in Chicago today!

1. I love my kids!

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mappy Mother's Day!


I received this email from a friend.
Someone who has become a very good friend of mine.
And because of what she had written to me (and several other Moms), I chose to share her email with you all!


Happy Mothers’ Day.

I have come to a very simple and profound conclusion. We ROCK.

You need ANYTHING? A hug, advice, kind word, unquestioned support, child care, place to sleep, humor, time to cry and shoulder to cry on, recipe, ride home, bail money?
Who you gonna call?
Another Mom.

When you’re down…so far down that you don’t really recognize yourself … who is it that:
(1.) notices
(2.) calls to check in on you
(3.) brings you alcohol?
Yup, it’s another Mom.

When life just really messes with you…. and you are shaken to the core, who is it that helps you find your way back?
The only person qualified is, of course, another Mom.

And when you are on top of the world, so full of joy that you could almost burst, who is it that can truly celebrate with you?
Who can relish in your accomplishments without the need to compete or diminish your success?
Whose words of “Congratulations” or “I am proud of you” really takes your breath away?
Another Mom.

On Sunday, I will celebrate myself because I’ve been proudly and gratefully playing the role of “Mom”. I will also, however, celebrate that each of you are in my life.
In all sincerity, you have touched my heart, and I am a better woman for knowing you.

On Sunday, I celebrate us. Because we rock HUGE!

Happy Mothers’ Day!!!

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Touch Math


I hate math.
I always have, and I always will.
I can do math...when I want to, that is.
And trust me, it comes in very handy when I am at IEP Meetings!
One whip of the calculator and service minutes change really quickly!

But I see that my daughter is actually struggling with math.
She doesn't hate it.
She actually enjoys it!
And now that the school is working on math with a program that the state of Illinois has standards on, it is coming much easier for her!

Peeps, meet TOUCH MATH!

Every student learns more effectively when taught according to his or her learning preference. Some are primarily visual, some are auditory, and others are tactile-kinesthetic.

Touch Math has uniquely addressed individual learning styles since this is a multi-sensory approach first became part of math. Touch Math contains dots and circles.

What Touch Math does:
*Involves visual, auditory, and tactile experiences.
*Reinforces number values.
*Eliminates guessing and reduces errors dramatically.

Touch Math is a different way for children to look at and think of the numbers, zero through nine, in order for them to learn the value of the number at the same time that they learn what it looks like. Used widely at schools to help students in kindergarten and first grade, as well as students who have learning disabilities such as autism, using Touch Math numbers gives children a visual aide to help them to learn addition and subtraction and to eventually be able to do it in their heads without counting on their fingers

The numeral one is touched at the top while counting, "one."

The numeral two is touched at the beginning and the end of the numeral while counting, "one, two."

The numeral three is touched at the beginning, middle and end of the numeral while counting, "one,two,three."

The numeral four touched and counted from top to bottom on the down strokes while counting, "one, two, three, four."

The numeral five is touched and counted in the order, "one, two, three, four,five." The fourth touchpoint may be referred to as the "belly button" to help students remember it.

The numeral six starts the use of dots with circles. Six is touched and counted from top to bottom, "one-two, three-four, five-six."

The numeral seven is touched and counted from top to bottom, "one-two, three-four, five-six," then come back up and count "seven." The single touch point on the seven is referred to as the nose. Tell students, "Come back up and punch the seven in the nose."

The numeral eight is touched and counted from left to right, "one-two, three-four, five-six, seven-eight." Tell students that the eight looks like a robot. They will count his head first, then his body.

The numeral nine is touched and counted from top to bottom, "one-two, three-four, five-six," followed by the single dots, "seven, eight, nine." Tell students that the nine has a face-eyes and nose.

I really wish I had this in elementary school.

*sigh*

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Tribute To All Those Wonderful Teachers Out There...



All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten



by Robert Fulghum



(an excerpt from the book, All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten)





All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.


ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten.


Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School.


These are the things I learned:


Share everything.


Play fair.


Don't hit people.


Put things back where you found them.


Clean up your own mess.


Don't take things that aren't yours.


Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.


Wash your hands before you eat.


Flush.


Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.


Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.


Take a nap every afternoon.


When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.


Be aware of wonder.


Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.


Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die.


So do we.


And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.


Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.


The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.


Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.


Take any of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if all - the whole world - had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap.


Or if all governments had a basic policy to always put thing back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.


And it is still true, no matter how old you are - when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.



************************************************************


Thank you, Mrs. Caldwell...the best Kindergarten Teacher in the world

(God rest her soul.)


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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten


10. Prepping for a conference call with the Special Education Supervisor on Tuesday afternoon.

9. Prepping for Kaitlyn's surgery....ugh!

8. Glasses for my little girl.

7. Rewriting an IEP for Kaitlyn. This time, it is on my terms.

6. Hiring an advocate to help us obtain the appropriate services for her in school. Sad that it has to come to this, isn't it?

5. Andrew having an ear infection. Boo.

4. Andrew needing two rounds of antibiotics to clear said ear infection. Double boo.

3. My kids are best friends! Love it!

2. Counting down to the end of school.

1. I love my kids!

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy May!


Thank you, Teri, from About.com for allowing me to share this!






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