Friday, September 30, 2011

Field Trip 2011

Today is Kate's field trip.

She was in an awesome mood this morning and couldn't wait for me to get to school so that she could board the big yellow bus for her trip.

In school this quarter, the focus has been on "The Community" and things or places that one would find in the community: stores, banks, restaurants, etc...

So today her class is taking a trip to a local "big box" type of store and then off to a great burger joint for lunch.
Kaitlyn loves to shop!
She is like her Mama!
She loves to look at the sales ads that come in the paper and the various catalogs that I get in the mail.
But something tells me that she is going to beg and plead and use whatever tactics that she has in her arsenal of tactics to get one of the chaperones to buy her a new baby doll.
I know it.
I just know it.
It happens every single time we go to a store that has a toy section.
I hope, for their sake, that they are stronger than me because I can't say "no" to her and those long eyelashes!

And as for the burger's right up her alley!
I can't wait to pick her up from school today!
I can't wait to hear all about it!

Field trips rock!

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Thursday, September 29, 2011


by Alysia Butler
I am stuck
Buried under the weight
Of unwashed laundry, unpaid bills, and
Unmet obligations.

I can’t breathe
Smothered by the pain
Crushed by the special needs mother that I have become
Versus the mother I thought I would be.

I can’t move
Held down by incompetence
Trying to do everything for everyone
Accomplishing nothing.

And then…

I see my boys
Giggling, tumbling, playing
Like siblings should.

I am weightless
Lifted by their laughter
Buoyed by their love
Ready to take on another day.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Drives You?

That face.

That smile.

Those eyes.

That boy.

His progress.

His happiness.

My heart.

My mission.

My job.

My son.

My drive.

Yet even MORE proof why I fight for my kids everyday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our "Do-N-Slide" Winner!

Congrats go to......


Congrats, Mandy! Please email me at with your mailing info and we will get this great product out to you ASAP!

If Mandy does not respond with 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Thank you, Do-N-Slide, for a great product!

Thanks to all of those who participated and stay tuned next week for yet another great giveaway for our special needs kids!

Have a great day, everyone!

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Giveaway on My "To Do List"

I cannot live without my "To Do List".
I make a new one every Monday morning for the week.
Phone calls, doctor appointments, follow-up phone calls, chores, stores, etc...
My husband laughs at my "To Do List".
I am a Type-A person and have to get things done.
And with two children with special needs, my time is not always my own.
Therefore, a "To Do List" helps me focus and stay on track.
Plus, with the bright yellow highlighter that I use when something is done, I like that sense of accomplishment that I get.

So that got me thinking.....
Wouldn't a "To Do List" for my children serve the same purpose for them as it does for me?
Would they get that same euphoric feeling of accomplishment?
Would they be able to use a visual reminder as a tool to complete a task?

Well there is a company that helps children organize their little thoughts while providing that visual tool which they need....thus leading to accomplishment.

It's an honor for me to introduce you to Do-N-Slide!
Your child seems confused when you ask them to clean their room. Maybe they just don't know HOW or WHERE to start!
Do-N-Slide can help them learn the steps.
Maybe you'd like to help your child with autism get through an unexpected change in their daily routine.
Use Do-N-Slide to represent the unexpected event.

Trying to find and easier way of teaching new skills to your child, such as
making a sandwich, packing their lunch, or setting the table?
Set up a
Do-N-Slide and watch them take control and learn new tasks faster.

Each Do-N-Slide kit (each sold separately) comes with a board and brightly colored "tasks" which the child can slide from the "TO DO" to the "ALL DONE" columns as they are completed.
The boards can be placed in an area which would be convenient for your child, either on an easel, hanging from a door knob, or on the refrigerator (if you purchase your own magnets and attach them).

Below are examples of "Do-N-Slide" products:

There is Toddler's Day (including help around the house),

Potty Training,

and Preschool Day

Each kit comes with:
*20 picture cards
*7 Days of the Week cards
*6 Blank cards which you can personalize
*1 case to hold all unused cards

The boards are so easy to use and it allows your child to have a "say so" in things that are done.
Simply slide the day of the week into the top of the board, then add the appropriate picture cards in their respective spaces for what you want your child to do on that specific day.
You do not have to use all 5 picture card spaces, so choose what is best for your child.
Remember, as the parent, you know what would work best for your son or daughter.
This product will help to promote your child's independence by allowing him/her to choose some of the activities to take place.
Because of this, you may even see a reduced resistance to less favored tasks!

With the extra blank cards that you receive, you can use them to represent a person, place or activity not covered by the cards in the set.
Attach a photo!
Draw free hand!
Have your child draw something!

The options are endless with this visual schedule!

'Visual Schedules' are a form of visual prompts, particularly useful for
children. A visual schedule is the display of a planned activity or sequence in
pictures, ordered in the way the activity or sequence is to take place.

How does it help?

A visual schedule helps children in 3
fundamental ways:
1.It helps them to understand what is to take place.
2.It helps them to anticipate what will come next.
3.It helps them
participate in the activity displayed on the schedule.

Helping children in these 3 ways, also has the cascading effect of lessening the anxiety associated with unexpected changes to routines, and to move between activities with less fuss and hesitation. It also encourages an understanding of organizational sequencing and the passage of time.

You can follow Do-N-Slide on Twitter or on Facebook for more ideas as well as announcements of new product lines!
So here is what you need to do for a chance for ONE PERSON to win this giveaway:
1. Visit the "Do-N-Slide" page on Facebook..."LIKE" their page...and tell them that Apraxia Mom sent you.

2. Leave a comment on the "Do-N-Slide" Facebook page of which product you would like if you are chosen as a winner.

3. Make a suggestion on the "Do-N-Slide" Facebook page of a NEW product theme you would like to see them add to their choices.

This giveaway begins on Monday, September 26, 2011 and ends on Tuesday, September 27,2011 at 12:00noon (CST).
Winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email and announced on my Facebook page.
Contest valid in the United States only.
Sorry, but no PO Box entries will be allowed.
No anonymous entries.
You must have a valid email address.
If the first winner does not contact me within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen at random.


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Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall: My Favorite Time of Year

I love fall.
With the cool crisp air and bright sun, it has to be one of my favorite seasons.
The scent of pies baking.
Warm sweaters.
Flannel bed sheets.
Chicago Bears Football!!!

And fall is also a great time for crafts!
My two don't like to do crafts in the summer as they would rather play outside or bike or swim.
But with the cooler air, I am able to entice them to work on socialization skills, fine motor skills, and creative imagination as well!

Now, I found this online and copied it, but I cut off the author.
So no...this is NOT mine.
But if the real author is out there....PROPS to you for a great project!

Here is what you'll need:
*Construction paper (green, brown, red, orange, yellow, blue)
*Glue stick

How to make your Fall Tree:
Cut a tree shape out of brown construction paper and glue it to the blue piece of paper.
There’s no template for this because it is another part of the craft that an older child could help create.
Once you get the trunk glued down, the limbs are just long and short rectangular pieces of paper glued on.
Cut a wavy, thick strip of green construction paper to be the grass.
Use a ruler to draw two to three straight lines on the red, orange, yellow and brown construction paper.
Ideally you want to create two ~ inch long strips.
Have your child cut along the line to cut the strips out if they are able.
Then have your child cut the strip into small squares.
These will be your leaves.
Use the glue stick to attach the leaves to your tree.
Remember, it’s fall so the leaves can be on the ground, falling to the ground, or floating through the air above the tree!

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Math and Me = Oil and Water

Have I mentioned that I don't like math?

Well, I don't.
Like oil and water, we don't mix.

And please don't let that scare you.
Yes, I am a nurse.
Nurses need to do math.
Yes, I do math on a daily basis.
But that is medication dosing math.
Complex math that I use to keep my patients alive or save their lives.

Not the easy stuff that Kate is learning.
Nope, I can't teach my daughter the fundamentals of math.
I can keep a patient alive by titrating Heparin infusions but I can't do 1-2-3 math.
So I leave the math portion of homework and education up to my techy-husband.
He works and thrives on math.
Math is like breathing to him.

So are you like me?
Do you like math or avoid it?
How do you teach your children math?
Yes, of course I have an article to share with you!

Click here to see new ways to teach your child (or yourself...*cough cough*...) MATH!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Can You Really Teach Your Child To Focus and Listen?

I recently read an article written by a Mom named Mary Beth Sammons about how to teach your child to listen and focus.
Being the Mom to two children who have a tendency to look at me like I have two heads, act like a "spaz" or just simply ignore me as I speak to them, her words validated that what I was doing was correct.

WHEW! Thanks, Mary Beth!
For a while, I thought I was talking to the walls!
So the answer to the question is a resounding YES!
YES, you can teach your child to focus and listen.
But it is not something that comes overnight and it takes a lot of work...on your part as well as your child's.
So I would like to share her article and examples with you as well:

1. Get Down to Your Child's Level and Make Eye Contact
Speaking to your child when you can look him right in the eye is the best way to get a toddler's attention.
Get down on his level.
If you are not already doing so, get down to his level and make him look at you when you are talking to him.
It helps to take away distractions.
Otherwise just keep doing what you are doing and follow through with the discipline if he is not obeying or listening.

2. Be Firm, Be Clear, Be Consistent
Don't harp on it, just tell him simply and clearly that you expect him to listen when someone else is talking — at home or at school.
The best thing is consistency.
Make sure you, your husband and the daycare/preschool teachers are all on the same page with how you handle his behavior and what he gets time outs for.
If there are any differences it will confuse him.
Also make sure to point out the positive behavior as much as possible.
This is just as important as consistency.

3. Follow Through Quickly
Make it clear to your 3-year-old that you mean what you say by following up immediately with a timeout if he continues to talk or shout over you or someone else he is supposed to be listening to.
Being swift to correct a child will pay off quickly.

4. Keep Reinforcing Your Message
Repetition matters.
Repetition matters.
Repetition matters.

5. Model Good Manners and Listening Skills
You can't just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk when it comes to modeling good manners and listening skills for preschoolers.
Modeling manners will go a long way.

6. Remember, It Gets Better
Hang in there even if your child comes home with reports from the teacher that he is jumping all over the place when she is trying to get the class to sit on the mat and listen.

So if you are doing all of this at home...hang in will get better.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten

10. A school meeting for Andrew on Friday.

9. A Domain Meeting for Kaitlyn this morning.

8. Juggling for babysitters. *sigh*

7. An ever-growing "To Do List".

6. Language explosion (both expressive and receptive) updates from our private SLP!

5. Loving our new private OT.

4. Cooler, Chicago fall weather!

3. Planning for Halloween and Kaitlyn's upcoming birthday.

2. Going for flu shots today.....oh my.

1. I LOVE my kids!

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Monday, September 19, 2011

A Circus With Soul




We’re on a Mission to be the Most Liked Circus in the World!

“The Awesomest Show Ever” to take place under the big top is heading to Chicago as UniverSoul Circus brings the most electrifying and interactive single ring extravaganza to Washington Park, Sept. 21-Oct. 16.

Tickets are on sale now!

There’s no doubt about it – the 243 year history of the modern circus has finally been reborn in the form of UniverSoul Circus, nationally recognized for its unique brand of high energy audience interaction and thrilling circus artistry.

Whether you’re dancing in the aisles with the Ringmaster,

rapping to The Sugarhill Gang,

volunteering for the “Soul Train Line;”

singing 2,200-part harmony with the kids to Sponge Bob Square Pants,

or enjoying a musical finale with the entire cast line-dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” – there’s something for everyone to interact with at UniverSoul Circus!

Recently proclaimed by a youthful online fan as “The Awesomest Show Ever.”

WHEN: Sept. 21-Oct. 16

WHERE: Washington Park 5531 S. Martin Luther King Dr., Chicago, IL 60637

TICKETS: Tickets prices $12 to $30.

Children under 1 are FREE!!!

All tickets available by Ticketmaster at

or by calling 1-800- 745-3000.

SHOWTIMES: Opening day, Wednesday, Sept. 21 @ 11:00 a.m. and 7:30 pm

Tuesdays thru Fridays @ 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Saturdays @ 12 noon, 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Sundays @ 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Visit for more info, show times, and schedules in a town near you!

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Friday, September 16, 2011

The Best Laid Plans....

...sometimes actually work and fall into place nicely!

Well how 'bout that?

This morning, I had a mini-IEP Meeting to discuss the addition of OT to Andrew's IEP.
Since his private OT evaluation has brought some "issues" to the surface, I realized that many of those same issues may (could?) affect him academically.
And the only way that OT will be added to his IEP is if they come to the same, if not pretty darned similar, conclusions that indeed his "issues" may affect him academically if they are not appropriately addressed in the school setting.

So the meeting went well, and I didn't even need my trusty cup of coffee or calculator!
It was very relaxed...7 ladies sitting around the table chit-chatting about the boy wonder and how well he is doing as well as validating my concerns on the OT front.

Especially the whole regression thing that's been like the elephant in the room for me.

In the end, the papers were signed and the plan was put into motion.
Data will be collected, evals (both subjective and objective) will be done, and we will reconvene in 5 weeks to make determining decisions based on the above.
In the meantime, he will continue to attend weekly OT sessions to work on a few kinks in his system.

For a change, this was a nice way to end the school week and start the weekend!
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Thursday, September 15, 2011


To relapse to a less perfect or developed state.

Unfortunately, there has been some regression in both kids.
Kaitlyn has regressed with handwriting.
Andrew has regressed with some fine motor skills as well.
I blame Kaitlyn's regression on her June 2011 surgery...and myself.
I didn't push her during that 3 week recovery period.
Hey! Who would want to write when all you wanted to do is take your pain meds and sleep and hope that your nasty sore throat would go away from a tonsillectomy?
So I didn't push.
And now we are paying for it.
Then ESY started and there was speech therapy and summer fun.
We didn't work that hard on handwriting.
Therefore, we have regression.

And Andrew?
I blame his horrible ESY experience.
Six weeks of a summer program that allowed him to fall through the cracks on the OT front.
No thanks to that horrible 3rd grade teacher who "thought" she could teach preschool ESY.
Yeah, maybe she could if she put down her phone and refrained from yelling "STOP IT!" and "STOP DOING THAT!" and focused on what really mattered: the kids in her class.
Oh, I let my husband write the complaint letter about that one because if it were left to me, heads would've rolled and that girl would never be allowed in an ECE setting again.
So now we are dealing with regression in Andrew.

So what proactive steps have I taken to fix this?
Well, first of all, I have had Andrew evaluated privately by an OT.
And thanks to her, we have an action plan in place.
And I have also contacted his school (during the Meet-n-Greet) to get an official school OT eval going.
You see, if it is affecting him academically, he needs an addendum to his IEP and he needs the services to start ASAP.
And from what I see and what the private OT eval sees, it WILL affect him academically.
Fortunately, he has a super-enthusiastic teacher and we have an official IEP meeting set up for tomorrow to get the ball rolling, so to speak.
And I am coming armed with an official OT eval detailing his "issues" that she sees.
There will be no arguing that.

And as for Kaitlyn, a brief phone conference with her school OT has set forth some great homework assignments and aggressive plans for this semester.
We are on the same page when it comes to having expectations and knowing what is expected from each other.
And let's not forget Kaitlyn's amazing teacher this year!

It really helps to have a great team in place when it comes to the success of your child in school.
Hopefully by December, we can cross off "conquer OT regressions" off of our "To-Do List".
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reading: Cause and Effect

(The following excerpt is taken verbatim from Reading Rockets. I liked how it explained cause-and-effect and the ways that you can teach your children.)

Cause and Effect
By: Reading Rockets (2011)

"If you drink your milk, you will grow big and strong!" "If you clean up your toys, you can go play outside." Most parents and caregivers talk to their child about cause and effect long before we expect our children to understand those terms. We teach cause and effect every time we help a young child recognize a relationship between two things, or when we demonstrate that one event is the result of another.

Science seeks to explain and understand the natural world. Things happen for a reason: there is a cause for every effect. In science, the cause explains why something happens. The effect is the description of what happened. Many simple activities can be done at home and in the backyard that will help develop your child's understanding of cause and effect. Consider these ideas:

Ask your child, "What do you think will happen if we leave this Popsicle out in the sun?" Allowing the Popsicle to melt provides an opportunity to talk about the sun's heat and its effect on the icy popsicle. During the winter, do the same thing with small cups of water. "What caused our water to turn into ice?"

Play a simple game in which you orally provide a situation (or a cause). Ask your child to fill in an action (or an effect). For example, you could say, "It was snowing outside." Your child could fill in, "All the kids got their sleds." "Someone rang the doorbell," could be answered with "Our dog began to bark." This game is perfect for helping your child realize that there is not one single right answer — as scientists they will learn that there can be several causes and several effects.

Keep track of the plants in your yard. As you observe a plant thriving and growing, ask your child why. Is the plant receiving good light and water? If the leaves on a plant are drooping, ask your child what could be causing the droopy leaves. Does the plant need more sun? More water? What effect could a new location and some water have on the plant?

Share the children's book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie with your child. Point out the use of specific cause/effect words used in the book, including if…then. Keep a running tally of all the causes and effects that happen in the story. For example, if you give a mouse a cookie, he'll want a glass of milk to go with it. If you give him a glass of milk, he will ask for a straw, etc.

Young children learn by engaging in activities that are real and meaningful to them — activities that encourage the development of skills, knowledge, and ways of thinking and learning. Parents can help teach children the early skills for literacy as well as science and mathematics development by creating simple settings that encourage learning.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A StarFall Winner!

Thanks to all of those who participated in this week's blog giveaway.

More than that, thank you for casting your vote for LOUD MOMMY to win her campaign

Now, without further ado...the winner of this week's giveaway is.....


Congrats, Joeal!

Please email me at with your mailing info and I will get these gift certificates to to you ASAP!

If Joeal doesn't contact me within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen at random.

And thanks again to Starfall for this great offer!

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Monday, September 12, 2011

A StarFall Giveaway!

At age 9, young Stephen Schutz was still struggling to read. What came easily
for some children required many more hours of Stephen's work, and he was
consistently toward the bottom of his class in reading. Now a PhD in physics
a successful publisher and artist, Dr. Schutz wanted to make sure
children in
his situation today have a resource that can help. He turned to
the Internet and
conceived a program that would be available online across
the world to all
children who are learning to read in English. opened in September of 2002 as a free public service to
teach children to read with phonics. Our systematic phonics approach, in
conjunction with phonemic awareness practice, is perfect for preschool,
kindergarten, first grade, second grade, special education, homeschool, and
English language development (ELD, ELL, ESL). Starfall is an educational
alternative to other entertainment choices for children.

I was never a fan of computers in the school.
I always felt that reading and writing were more important than mouse skills and staring at a screen.
But my opinion has now changed.
And it's all because of a great program that my daughters' school uses.
Last year, Kaitlyn came home daily and excitedly proclaimed "I did StarFall today!"
I couldn't understand her enthusiasm.
I didn't get it.
I didn't know much about what Starfall was at the time.
One night, I googled it.

I was impressed!
So impressed that I added the link to my "Favorites" and now use it at home for Kaitlyn to supplement what she is doing at school.

But there is much, much more to StarFall than meets the eye!
And the key word here is MORE!

If you log onto, you will see what I mean.
Not only does this extension of the site help teach ABC's (sounds/phonics) and learning to read, but you can also take advantage of the following:

Math Songs
Motion Songs
Nursery Rhyme Videos
ABC Rhymes
Backpack Bear's Books
Learn to Read
Short Vowel Pals
More Phonics
It's Fun to Read
I'm Reading
Talking Library
Historical Folk Songs

Now you can see why this portion of the site requires a membership.
For families, up to three authorized users are allowed for the cost of $35.00 per 365 days.
However, Starfall would like to offer you a FREE 3 month membership!
Try it out!
See if you like it!
See if your children like it and respond to the programs as positively as I know they will!

And yes, they even have apps for your iPhone and iPad!

So who is interested?
Who would like to WIN a FREE 3-month membership to this great site?
Here's what you need to do!
But pay attention, because this time there is a NEW requirement to enter this giveaway.......
1. Go to Facebook and "LIKE" Starfall's page and tell them that I sent you.

2. Vote for LOUD MOMMY in BOTH campaigns that she is entered in:
Campaign #1: Julie's Corner Store

Campaign #2: Burger Barge's Halloween Campaign

For those of you who may not know, Loud Mommy grants iPads to children with apraxia of speech and other speech and language issues.
Both of my children have apraxia, so Loud Mommy, her foundation, and her vision are very close to my heart.


This giveaway begins on Monday, September 12, 2011 and ends on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 12:00noon (CST).
Winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email and announced on my Facebook page.
Contest valid in the United States only.
Sorry, but no PO Box entries will be allowed.
No anonymous entries.
You must have a valid email address.
If the first winner does not contact me within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen at random.


And thank you to Starfall for this great donation!
(Please see "Discalimer Tab" for this and all giveaways on this site.)

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Holy Homework, Batman!

Be careful what you wish for....or ask for.

When I met with Kaitlyn's teacher on the second day of school, I specifically asked what kind of homework would be sent home with her.
I was told that homework would be sent home for the entire week and it would encompass most, if not all, of what she would be working on in school at that time.

And the only way that a parent can see what kind of work that is being done in class is in the homework that is sent home with the student.

And yes, I am that type of parent who requests homework.

I have a daughter with special needs who is behind her typical peers, for goodness sakes!

I can't expect the school to "fix" her.

I have to pull my end of the weight as well.

Hence, the request for homework.

Well, that homework folder came home this week!


And this was much different than last year's homework which was sent home.
Last year...every Monday...I would receive a sheet of paper which listed what assignment was to be done on Monday, what was to be done on Tuesday, and so on.

This a whole new ballgame, folks!
We are overflowing with homework!

*Letter handwriting pages.
*Specific handwriting pages focusing on specific lines and angles.
*Math homework.
*Reading homework.
*Speech sounds homework.
*Books to read.

I know I am missing many other topics, but I am still so shocked and amazed by what I saw.
Now, the rule of thumb for homework is typically 10 minutes per each grade:

10 minutes
x 2nd grade
20 minutes per night
of homework

Now you know why I titled this post "Holy Homework, Batman!"
Yes, seeing this makes me even more excited about what this year will continue to offer and the leaps and bounds my girl will continue to make!

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Looking For ONE VOTE...

Who wants to help a dear friend of mine (Loud Mommy) win $500 for her organization to purchase an iPad for a nonverbal child?

She helps children with speech issues...the same one (apraxia) that my daughter has been battling since she began speech therapy at the age of 16 months.
She is now 7.11 years old.

1. Go to Julie's Corner Store on Facebook.

2. You have to "like them" for you vote to count.

3. Next, Look on the left hand corner and find the tab that says “Vote Here for 500" and click that tab.


Simple as that.
You only vote one time.
Simple as that.

Maybe the next child that Loud Mommy helps will be yours.
Good Luck, Loud Mommy!

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

10. Two kids' teachers that rock! Then again, 99.99% of them do!

9. A great overnight getaway. More info to follow later.

8. Sleeping with a four year old boy is no easy task. Take my word for it.

7. Kids that look like prunes.

6. A great start to a new school year.

5. An upcoming consent meeting for Kaitlyn's 3-year re-eval. Oy!

4. Trying to figure out what testing to allow and which ones to say "Heck no!" to.

3. Cool, fall-like Chicagoland weather.

2. Planning the girl's upcoming birthday party.

1. I LOVE my kids!

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