Monday, June 30, 2008

Resolution Check!

It was a 7 months ago that 2008 came charging in and in my usual fashion, I fancied myself up some resolutions. Time to make myself accountable and check in on my progress. As I plagiarize myself, here they are:

#1. I resolve to go green. Not jealous....not Incredible Hulk....not Jolly Green Giant....and not rich. I want to learn more about toxin free living and try to adopt it into my lifestyle as much as possible. I am proud to say, I have made several steps for improvement in this area. I am now recycling. I am appalled by the amount of trash it saves me....probably 2-3 bags per week of recyclable goods were just going straight to the dump. I also tested out various kinds of dishwashing and laundry detergents. Laundry has been ok so far, but as far as dishwashing goes--after testing 4 different kinds of very expensive, very environmentally friendly detergents, I have decided plain ole Cascade is the only thing that really stands up to my dishes. Now, it is not on the earth friendly list, but washing the same load 3 times is not good for the water supply. SO it is the lesser of two evils. Resolution complete? check! but still a work in progress.

#2. I resolve to learn more about advocacy and Special Ed rights. The boy has been speech delayed and sensory seeking since he was one. Now that he is in First Grade the word Asperger's is floating about. We are still waiting for an official diagnosis from a developmental pediatrician. But in the meantime, I want to advocate for my son in the face of a unsympathetic (indeed PATHETIC) school and staff. I have read a few additional books....bookmarked a few additional sights....and gone to a few extra doctors. We are really not too better off than before.

# 3 I resolve to go on two family vacations. I also made this promise last year and went on three. *wink* Well, you know I have Wandering Wednesdays--which is a mini vacation each week. In addition, we went to Chattanooga in the spring and will go to Disney World in August. Resolution complete? check!

# 4. I resolve to grow a herb garden. Check! It is out there, but I have no idea how to dry them for future use...still working on that one.

# 5. I resolve to go to an allergist sometime this year and start immunotherapy shots again. No......not even started....

#6. I resolve to pursue our own avenues for therapy and related services. Check! We have a private OT now.

4 out of 6 is not bad at all! Much better than my previous track records. Have you kept your resolutions this year?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Little Known Facts About Me--2nd of a miniseries

I cry...
.............A lot.

Everything from small, insignificant drops to huge ugly, face sobs. Anything can make me cry....a bad day, a good day, a tv commercial, a movie, my kids, my anger, my happiness. I once cried cause I saw a duck with a missing foot. I once cried at the song "Rocky Top." Ok, I was pregnant and overly emotional, but still. It does not take much to make me cry. And it feels good too. Especially those gut wrenching, from the soul wails. And those I know well. The kind that your knees buckle, your eyes clamp shut, your voice no longer sounds human. While I am usually in that mode in my deepest, darkest moments, to have that raw emotion come out of me is terribly cathartic.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wandering Wednesdays

This week we focused on excrement, waste, ca ca. Ewwwwwwww, right? Yeah pretty much, but very educational! Our little neck of the woods is well known amongst paleontologists. We are home to the Gray Fossil Site. They have found all sorts of interesting fossils and complete dinosaur skeletons. (Read more about the Gray Fossil site here.)

Last time we ventured to the museum, T-Rex Sue was there. She is the most complete T-Rex skeleton every found and our museum borrowed her from Chicago. Sue packed up and headed north in April and left in her midst was another traveling exhibit which hey lovingly call "The Scoop on Poop." Poop, you say? For weeks, I heard a squeal every time we drove past and children asking when we could go see the bones and the poop.
Now, poop is more valuable than you may know! They can use it to trace the nomadic journey of early man to the continent. They can study it to find out how a animal eats, how old it is, where it lives, and many more characteristics. In some cultures, they build houses with poop, they eat poop and they sell poop. Yes, ca ca is a commodity.

The Dung Beetle Rally!
This demonstrated the size of Elephant poop.....They look a little scared....

Oh, that's just me--getting the "Scoop on Poop"

One of the fossils they have unearthed at the dig site.

They boy getting his scientist on....

The Girl bound and determined to find a fossil...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Little Known Facts About Me--A mini series

I love interior design. So much so that at one point in my life, I was interviewed and accepted into the design program at ETSU. However, it was a odd time in my life--I had just finished my BA in English and was trying to decide if I wanted to pursue Interior Decorating or go for a Master's in Education. My safe side won out and I opted to go for the Master's degree. However, I have never given up on my passion for design and want to share with you, dear reader, a few of my favorites sites for inspiration!

The Nesting Place I was turned onto her blog via the BabyCenter Bargain Hunters Board. She has a grace and style about her that I admire and when I cruise into a craft section, finding treasures, I ask myself, "How would the Nester use this?"

Craftster My favorite part about decorating is creating. Sure, I love to buy things right off the shelves, but I also love to have one of a kind designs that I know no one can duplicate. This site gives me plenty of ideas.

Pottery Barn I cannot afford Pottery Barn. But I do love to look at the catalog. Let me rephrase that--I study the catalog. I love the color and texture combinations. I love that they mix old with new. I love that anything goes. And for that reason, I strive for the Pottery Barn look, without the Pottery Barn price.

HGTV Not only do I love the site, I love the channel. Some of my favorite shows are on this channel. I love watching the work of other designers, learning their tricks and methods. You get a great sense of what is in style from this channel and can also learn how to do it yourself.

Bargain Hunters This is a bulletin board I have followed for years. Now, it is not all about decorating, but about bargains. And sense do it yourself projects are a bargain (most of the time) the ladies post a lot about cheap ways to do home decor.

Better Homes and Gardens BHG is my favorite magazine and I so look forward to that day each month when it comes in the mail. I could just eat up every page!

Someone loved the 80's a little too much....

It was a groggy Sunday morning...I shuffled my way to the kitchen and made myself a bowl of cereal. As I started my first bite, I did my morning ritual--looking out the kitchen window to see what Man Boobs was up to today.

He was out and about unusually early--shirt off, hat on. He had a friend with him and they were working on a new project. Painting their house. Pink. Yes, just like the John Cougar Mellencamp song. *hangs head in shame*

I do have an update on the Battle of the Small Corner. It will cost us $689.00 to move the fence line. I am still calling around!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wandering Wednesdays

And before you say anything, yes, I know it is Friday. The point of Wandering Wednesdays is to take the kids out and have a computer free day...and then yesterday, my computer was having a person free day (ISP issues). So Wandering Wednesdays actually started for us about a month ago. I just decided this week to add this to the RHSC because in a few months from now I want be able to look back on the great summer we had. Why Wednesdays, you ask? Well, that is the only day I have off during the week. I work from home for a large distance education based company. After sitting in the house all week with children running wild about me, I think it is vital to have one day where we get out and just have fun. We started out slow--the first Wednesday we went shopping around town, had a oil change in the car and lunch out. The second Wednesday we really ramped it up, going to a local amusement park--Dollywood.

The third Wednesday we took it a bit easier and went to a really cool park in the area called a Boundless Playground. It is specifically made for kids with sensory issues, but is fantastic for any kid. Of course, The Boy revels in the spinning, sliding and climbing, as any self respecting child should! We ventured off into the woods for a bit--following a Frisbee golf course that the kids imagined was a old dinosaur trail. We even found scat (dog poop) that The Boy was convinced meant a cougar was near by. On the way back, we kicked around in a small creek and then headed off for lunch with Techo Geek.

That brings us to this week--our fourth Wednesday. This week has been absolutely wild. Not only are we in the middle of tball tournaments--which seem to be abnormally cut throat this year--we were also working on renovating our basement family room, starting Taekwando classes, working on summer lessons and projects, trying to organize a fence move (see Man Boobs below), figuring out bills, and still to come this weekend--a company picnic, family reunion, remaining Father's Day dinner for my Dad, all while working my weekend rotation. Somehow in the middle of all this, I had to figure out what we would spend our free day doing. I knew of two things that could not wait. In the midst of figuring out who I had to pay what, I realized I had let my car tags expire and had not paid my car insurance. I had no choice but to head downtown. I could have spent the rest of our day catching up on cleaning which is pitifully behind, painting trim for all the new flooring, or running any other number of errands. But we yearned for a Wondering Wednesday. SO a Wondering Wednesday we got.

It just so happens that our downtown area is a Historic District. Jonesborough claims to be the oldest city in the state of Tennessee. Of course, no one knows for certain which is why there is a ancient fight between the folks of Jonesborough and the folks of Rogersville for rights to the first city in the state. But I digress.

The Boy and The Girl tagged along as we went to the old, old courthouse. They loved the stockades outside...

and the cannon...

Our wanderings found us in a store full of handmade imports. Items from Peru, Argentina, and the Amazon line the walls. Here is a hand carved chair that the kids found hilarious.

We found our way to the antique store, too. The Boy found arrowheads, a passion first discovered on an earlier trip to Dollywood. We had a lot of fun finding old objects and guessing how they were used.

Sometimes the small details are the best...

A couple of shops down is The Lollipop Shop. This building has a really freaky history for such a happy candy store. It was the original courthouse in town and had a riot in the 1800's that resulted in the death of 7 inmates. Later it housed the first brothel in the state and the owner said upon her death she wanted to be buried at the front steps. If you looked down as you are exiting, you see her name on the doorstep. They say that is her tombstone. ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww When you look on the side of the buildings, you can see scratch marks up the wall caused by the stagecoach wheels.

The Boy and the Girl sitting next to "May," unbeknown to them. *wink*

Next we had lunch at a downtown eatery named Main Street Cafe. They had really good Dr. Pepper and a decent lunch. The Boy appreciated having a never ending supply of straws on the table.

The Girl enjoying her Dr. Pepper...

We ended this Wandering Wednesday with another trip to a park for about an hour and then off to OT. Having a mini-vacation mid week is so worth it!

Friday, June 6, 2008

They are everywhere!

I know you have heard my sagas of Cousin Eddie and his lampoonish lifestyle. However, I have more than one less than desirable neighbor.

Meet Man Boobs. Man Boobs lives behind us. He has Rude Wife and 3 Brat kids. Man Boobs likes to shoot birds in his backyard. He also likes to drive as fast as he can down the road trying to showing off for those who could care less. Man Boobs likes to show off his Man Boobs on a almost daily basis and the really sucky part about that? He has a pool. Man Boobs bought a used above ground pool a couple of years ago. He loved bringing in the caterpillar to dig the hole in the yard. As he ran back and forth leveling out his ground, he bumped into his sad little wood fence on more than one occasion, making it fall to the ground in a few spots. But never fear! Man Boobs (who co-owns a fencing company) had a professional plan a foot! It would seem that he has a spare pair of closet doors that fit that wide gap just perfectly. That worked for a while, but who would have thought that hollow core doors would not hold up to two years of Tennessee rain, snow and heat?

Techno Geek and myself were a bit put out with their dog helping himself into our yard via the outside closet Man Boobs had created, so we put up chain link for the perimeter of the yard. Finally! A defining boundary. Life was good--despite Cousin Eddie on the other side. But then, Man Boobs decided he needed to build a new fence--a fort if you will. And large privacy fence and by all that was holy in the south, he needed us to move our newly constructed chain link fence so that he could build this mother of all fences. Now, I am all for Man Boobs hiding his man boobs. And I love not watching Rude kids day in and day out. But he is making issue over about half a foot on one corner of the fence line. No biggie--they can have it. We are not into stealing their land.

So I am calling fencing companies-not his--trying to find someone to move it. No return calls. And while I am in holding pattern, guess what I see? His fence guys messing with our fence! Anybody ever heard of patience?

Cousin Eddie is all up in arms. Turns out he likes us and doesn't want Man Boobs to win the Battle of the Overgrown Corner. Our neighbor on the other side--the one nice, decent person we have surrounding us--feels like it is "just not right." My father in law wants us to get a lawyer.

Who knew such a small patch of land could cause such a ruckus? I can't even stand on it.

It is all about the lines--and I guess boundaries are just as important to Man Boobs as they are to us. I just wish the fence company would call me back!

Fly on the Wall

The fly on the wall heard this today:

The Boy: Get out of my room!


The Boy: I am the big brother and big brothers tell little sisters what to do!

The Girl: No, I am Iron Man.

The Boy: And Mom tells me what to do.

Me: Oh really?

The Girl: I AM IRON MAN!

The Boy: And Dad tells Mom what to do.