Friday, October 30, 2009
He spotted my Grinding article and invited me to visit there pretty darn cool site. They are the originators of the Do Not playlist for school dances; songs that have excessive profanity, sexual or violent lyrics. And, demystify what those wacky kids are up to.
They also have some good information on how school can handle the Grinding issue at their school.
And, come to find out he is just some dad from here in the NW that started this whole thing up. Good for you, Ric!
Check it out!
"My name is Richard Mattson. I am a father of a teen, a former radio station manager and a friend to administrators at every age level. I created the School Dance Network to help school districts, principals, dance administrators and parents sort out teen trends, and find the best ways to provide a great school social event, that’s not only fun for the students but in good taste.The School Dance Network provides usable updated tools for administrators to create fun, appropriate and positive dance events at schools. There is no charge....just register your school and start taking advantage of the many tools. Your input is always welcome and our phone line is always open to our members: 1-800-217-9930."
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Yarn, pieces of string, leaves: all the things on my messy floor are toys!
Our day time position when the kids are at school. It works well until she wants to sleep on my mouse hand.
Halloween spooky cat impersonation!
All photos were taken my miss molly-moo and she should get all credit and critique.
I think of coffee first and then a tool called a "grinder" and then the sandwich.
Never do I think of a simulated sexual act preformed fully clothed in a room full of people at a school dance.
Or I used to not but now I do.
Remember when a certain 6th grade girl (that shall remain nameless) went to her first dance? We mommys had an eye opening with the 8th grade grinders wowing all the little kids.
I risk being totally bagged for being a prude-y mom because I was such a rascal myself and you would be correct. But, I am not the only one.
The latest editorial in the Vashon Beachcomber, describes it exactly. Apparently the latest high school homecoming dance shocked and horrified enough parents that they get together on a Sunday and discussed how shocking it was! Full disclosure: I was not there.
The only rule for dancing is the girl can't bend over! Wow. Ok. I am not even sure what to say about that.
But obviously it has gotten the conversation going which is always a good thing. And one of the really nice thing about Vashon; we are a good size to have a real dialog in the public forum and can actually have a well rounded airing of an issue.
I guess I am just trying to figure out what is about this that is really bothering me. Is it because they are so young? Middle school does seem young to me; 11 - 13. And, there is a big hormone difference between 6th and 8th grade.
Maybe it's because they are doing this supposedly "private" thing right out in the middle of everything apparently without modesty?
Or is it that we are just letting them get away with too much? How bad will it backfire if we try and lower the boom on this sort of thing?
I guess finally I am afraid of the objectification and how the girls just seem to naturally slip into that role. I find it disturbing. I also want to hand them free condoms and birth control, STD information.
As parents, we are damned if we do, damned if we don't. If we lower the boom, it looks even sexier and if we allow it we are saying ok to sexual behavior in a public place.
So, what to do?
Instead of the Halloween dance tomorrow night, I am taking 4- 6th grade girls "over town" Bowling then back here for slumber party after. There are always other dances.
How would you say goodbye to your family? Its hard to even think about. What if you were 6 years old and had brain cancer?
Elena Desserich wasn't really supposed to know she was dying, her parents didn't want her to dwell on it the last days of her life. Her parents always told her the treatments were making her better. They always remained hopeful so Elena could live around optimism.
But the brave, beautiful, sweet, charming, artistic Elena did loose her fight with brain cancer. She did end up having to leave her family and left a hole a mile wide.
Her family started finding the notes right away; tucked into drawers, in a briefcase, with the Christmas ornaments, under things. Little notes from a little girl, mostly about how she loved her family and sister. Colorful drawings with hearts, she left hundreds all over the house and the family is still finding them.
According to an interview with the Today Show, her parents explained, “It wasn’t just a random collection of notes. She was actually hiding these notes for us,” her father said. “It was her way of letting us know that everything would be OK,” added Brooke. “You hope that it never ends.”
They found so many note, they wondered what to do with them. Such a pure, honest display of love and bravery, they felt they should share them. Maybe they would bring hope and solace to others who had to say goodbye to their families or had lost a child of their own.
The parents compiled them and posted them to an on-line journal, then self-published excerpts in a book that included reproductions of many of Elena’s notes. After selling several thousand books in just a few weeks, HarperCollins bought the book and published it, with proceeds going to the charity founded in memory of their daughter, The Cure Starts Now.
Life offers so many lessons and sometimes the most profound teachers are children.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Here she is doing "Cat in the Hat" for Halloween.
Why now? Our good old timer cat, Hector, has gone to the great big litter box in the sky. 17 years old. He had a good long mellow life and was a particular friend of Shea's. Back when Shea would only bestow words on us very sparingly, he willingly chat up a blue streak with Hector. They spoke the same language.
So now Hector is gone and we have adopted a new kitten, not just for Shea but for all of us. We could all use a dose of kitten antics in this house. Watching this little critter charm our socks off is pretty fun.
We're still naming though.
Bat cat (Shea's offering)
It's a real toss up!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
at the Vashon Theater
Sunday, November 15
1:30 p.m. (Doors Open at 1 p.m.)
30 minute discussion period following the film
FREE TO THE PUBLIC
America's boys are in trouble. They are the most violent in the industrialized world. Many are unable to express their emotions. On average, boys are doing worse in the classroom than they were 10 years ago.
Who is responsible for this situation? How do we learn to listen to and support our boys? How can we guide them on the path to becoming responsible, caring men?
The documentary, Raising Cain: Boys in Focus, provides answers, insights, ideas, and hope. Hosted by child psychologist Michael Thompson, Ph.D., co-author of the best-selling book Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys, this documentary explores the emotional development of boys in America today. Thompson consults with some of our nation's most respected psychologists, social activists, researchers and educators to probe the issues facing boys and find solutions to their dilemmas.
This two-hour documentary provides surprising new research about boys' inner lives, dispelling a number of commonly held misconceptions, and highlights innovative programs that are bringing out the best in boys.
Please feel free to forward this invitation to others in our community. We hope to see you there!
P.O. Box 1912
Vashon, WA 98070
Friday, October 23, 2009
Parenting a child with special needs is a challenge, a promise, a gift, a heartache. It can be life transformative and may just be the hardest thing a person takes on in their life. At time, it can be a heavy load to bear and can be terribly stressing on marriages.
But the human spirit can be dazzling in its creative drive while searching for hope and purpose. We see this in special needs parents every day. Learning to cope is a difficult process and different for each of us but the passion and focus that comes out of the journey can literally change lives near and far.
The term warrior mother is almost getting familiar with its connotation of a controversial vaccine crusader. But there are “warrior parents” out there around every corner blazing trails, improving lives, making a difference. These parents are hidden in plain site pushing strollers, wheelchairs, playing with their kid in the park, trying to find the right school placement, sitting at IEP meetings, driving to specialist appointments. These parents, simply by the fact of working to better the life options for their own child, are advocating inclusion for all kids with special needs. These parents and the caring specialists that they gather around them create something bigger than the sum of its parts. A family, in a sense, that shares common purpose, knowing that there is a place in this world for all of us.
Introducing some of these "warrior parents" and connecting them with other parents of kids with special needs is a focus of an upcoming series. I encourage anyone to contact me with suggestions of "warrior parents" you would like to see profiled. But, this time allow me to introduce:
Kelly’s Kidz – Kelly and David Hermann wanted to do something to honor their daughter Maggie who has Cerebral Palsy. They got the idea of starting a non-profit that would help provide financial assistance and resources to physically-impaired children with special needs and to create an opportunity for them to lead the best life they can possibly live.
From the Kelly’s Kids website, the Hermann's frankly share their story and say, “Because we have been so fortunate, we wanted to create opportunities for other families like ours to be able to provide their special needs son or daughter with everything they need. Not everything is covered by insurance and not everyone can afford all of the special needs equipment that they would like for their child. So we started Kelly’s Kidz. Our goal is to be able to use our resources to help provide for others – regardless of income level – what they cannot obtain on their own. Additionally, we’d like to create awareness. So many people are seemingly ignorant to the ways of the disabled. They feel that they should either stare or just look away in pity. If you have a special needs child you know that both of these actions result in anger and disappointment. If the public were just a little bit more accepting and courteous to the disabled, it would make our jobs as parents easier.”
Monday, October 19, 2009
Here's to staying healthy!
At a recent PATH seminar in Fargo, Dr. Goyal gave some very important, yet easy to follow, recommendations on ways to avoid getting sick.
Dr.Vinay Goyal is an MBBS,DRM,DNB (Intensivist and Thyroid specialist) having clinical experience of over 20 years. He has worked in institutions like Hinduja Hospital, Bombay Hospital, Saifee Hospital , Tata Memorial etc.. Presently, he is heading our Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad (W).
The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.
While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps, not fully highlighted in most official communications, can be practiced (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu):
1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).
2. "Hands-off-the-face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat, bathe, etc).
3. *Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust salt). *H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don't underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.
4. Similar to 3 above, *clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. *Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.
5. *Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). *If you have to supplement >with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.
6. *Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) as you can. *Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.
This is so interesting! Hat tip to my gal pal, Judith, for bring this to my attention.
I knew that having a good girlfriend was therapy but come to find out its like drugs! Good drugs!
UCLA STUDY ON FRIENDSHIP AMONG WOMEN
By Gale Berkowitz
A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more.
Scientists now suspect that spending time with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It's a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research, most of it on men, upside down.
"Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible," explains Laura Cousino Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of
Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study's authors. "It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.
Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just "fight or flight."
"In fact," says Dr. Klein, "it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the "fight or flight" response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect.
This calming response does not occur in men", says Dr. Klein, "because testosterone, which men produce in high levels when they're under stress, seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen", she adds, "seems to enhance it."
The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic "aha!" moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. "There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded", says Dr. Klein." When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own.
I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something." The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant
implications for our health.
It may take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other women, but the "tend and befriend" notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men.
Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. "There's no doubt," says Dr. Klein, "that friends are helping us live." In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%.
Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses' Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight!
And that's not all! When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend, confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate.
Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That's a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls and Women's Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998). "Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women," explains Dr. Josselson. "We push them right to the back burner. That's really a mistake because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another. And we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they're with other women.
It's a very healing experience."
Taylor, S. E., Klein, L.C., Lewis, B. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Gurung, R. A. R., & Updegraff, J. A. Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight
So on to my Mr. picky eater!
Because Shea won't eat much fruit or veggies, she is concerned about B vitamins. She did say that him eating cheese was fine. And, she was literally thrilled that he was getting Hemp Milk every day.
She suggested smoothies. Well, as you may know, I am the smoothy queen and have tried. Oh believe me, I have tried but to no avail.
If it looks like fruit, he won't eat it. I know, very weird.
So a light bulb went off over my head while I was there.
"What if I call it a milkshake? And poor chocolate syrup all over it?"
"Sure. Whatever it takes!" She also said if I could get him to do some sort of berry that would be great. They are full of all sorts of Bioflavonoids.
So, I got some vanilla ice cream, some berries and made a milkshake to great success.
What did I put in it?
Shea's Magic Milkshake
1 cup Hemp or Rice Milk
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 cup vanilla ice cream
Handful of berries (strawberries, Raspberries or Blackberries)
1 drop Vit. D emulsion (2000 IU)
1 chewable B12 (crushed up)
1 tsp. liquid Zinc
Place in blender. Block the view of blender as berries, banana, yogurt and supplements are put in. Blend very, very well. Berries need to be completely pulverized or suspicion sets in.
Does he drink it all? No. But makes a good dent and then I pour the rest into those "make your own Popsicle" holders and they make surprisingly good fudge pops! Even Molly likes them.
He doesn't quite get why he is so lucky to be able to have milk shakes all the time now. As an after school snack is a good time for it.
Wish us luck!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Well, my doc told me yesterday it was the dreaded "Swine Flu". (insert really scary horror movie music right here)
She said it was making the rounds and that is why it took so long for him to mend.
Interesting. I hadn't planned on vaccinating him anyway and now I am glad. He has been hit by the swine and now has the antobodies and will be stronger the next time around.
I guess we all are a little stronger because we lived near him the whole time, sharing the house, couches, snuggies.
Interesting turn of events.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Oh he hangs out with his sister and the neighbor girls but he is the littlest therefore he is a minority of one and not always treated as well as I would hope for him.
I have tried to do playdates but they really are tricky. I have to be honest. Seeing my kid next to a typically developing kid just hurts. Still does. Oh, we do plenty of it anyway but it hard for me to witness.
I have tried making connections with the other special kids in Shea's class with not much luck. Remember; the special kids are picked up and dropped off with door to door service by the fabulous special bus. We happen to live very close to the school so I do a lot of dropping off and picking up but not many special parents do.
I have written about this before. It is easy to just let them be. It is easy to not really be very plugged into the classroom happenings when you aren't there. Believe me, all the other typically developing parents are there. But special parents usually aren't.
So it has been slow going meeting other special parents who would like to connect. That is why I was so thrilled to run into one mom recently. Of course, I met her at Granny's and her eyes lit up when she realized I was another special mommy too.
So we planned a play date at my house last weekend and it was a great success. It made me realize that Shea really needs this and I need to provide it with more regularity.
He was so excited he could barely spit his words out but they got along pretty good. Shea was thrilled to show off his treasures but there was a little bit of scuffling over "stuff". Pretty mild really.
When his mom came to pick up, I am afraid I blabbed her ear off.
I guess we could all use a few more playdates with the right people.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Fabulous Autumn Beef Stew
1 lb. or so of Beef cut into chunks
1/2 cup (approx) red wine
4 potatoes cut into pieces
1 cup baby carrots
1 Sweet potato cut into pieces
1/2 bag frozen corn
1/2 bag frozen edamame beans
lg. container of Beef stock
more water if needed
salt & pepper
Saute onion & garlic until limp, toss in beef and brown. And red wine let simmer. Add both kinds of potato and beef stock bring to boil, add carrots, reduce heat.
Cook until potato falls apart and is soft. Add corn, edamame beans and water (if needed) simmer. Sprinkle paprika and nutmeg and any more salt & pepper needed.
Cool and serve. I served toasty bread points for dunking. Why are the called "toast points"? Because they are pointy!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
A very nice lady with a pretty darn cool blog sent me an award! Yes, an AWARD! How fun is that?
She says I get to revel in the glory for a bit then pass it on to 10 blogs that I would like to nominate. Ten?! Ten blogs that I love and adore. Gladly.
I will revel then I will pass it on. As it should be. But first I just have a few words to say... ahem...
Tossing things out there into the blogosphere is fabulously fun. I didn't really know it would be when I first started. At the beginning it was painful. I would cry while I wrote; feeling exposed somehow as I hit the post button. This was writing therapeutically; a pressure release during those early "acceptance" days with Shea. I am thankful that I had it.
Those early days are dark for any parent, only connecting with other parents seemed to help. A lot. I love it that I can throw out my tales and find people who can relate. I love that it is so easy to say, "Hi there. We have a big thing in common." to someone across the country or across the world.
My blogging is way beyond just therapy now although still very helpful, it is the community that keeps me typing tidbits and treasure from my life.
Everyone has a story while friendships can happen anywhere and anytime. So with that thought I would like to introduce you to my nominees for the Lemonade Blog Award.
I like that your posts are short and sweet but you always have something deeper to say; the quintessential "less is more". I wish I could hang out in your garden and we could do some "zen" weeding.
Fearless Folks...autism and beyond...
I can't make any nominations without including you. Somehow I feel like you are part of my family. I just love reading your frank, open, thoughtful and often hilarious perceptions on life. Your posts stick with me for days. I wish we could sit down and sip one of those fancy martinis you make.
Because without my best buddy I would never have started to blog.
Your honesty, poise, strength and fortitude while sharing the good, the bad and the ugly inspires and humbles me. I wish I could invite you for brunch and hug you and the kids very tight.
Because my incredibly beautiful, creative and funny daughter has made her own website and she could use a little pub.
Over the moon and back again
Because you were my first friend I made through my blog. It was so fun to actually talk on the phone in real time. I still love keeping track of what you are doing. I wish we could meet at the park so our boys could play.
Notes from the cookie jar
Because you were so friendly and supportive at the beginning. Your own story gave me so much hope in those dark early days. Plus your food porn shots make my tummy growl. Jeez, how do you do it? I wish we could meet over one or more of your cookies.
The Quirk Factor
Because you totally crack me up! Even in the face of the super scary, like loosing your house to fire, you kept it all together with grace. You are a force to be reckoned with. I wish I could take you shopping at my favorite thrift store, Granny's Attic.
Ends with 8741
Poet, philosopher, writer, parent. Where else would I get to hear about an Oprah sighting and get to see excellent rock sculptures all in the span of a week or so. You, my girl, are diverse and I love that about you. I wish you could show me the hot spots of Chicago.
Because I liked how you were thinking big with Jon's Room. You inspired me to try and reach a broader audience. I wish we could meet for coffee and brainstorm.
And, that is my 10. So congratulations to us all.
Keep up the good work, each and every one of you.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Even this guy!
Soren Khalsa, a refreshingly unusual looking Beverly Hills doctor writes extensively about how wonderful it is.
From the LA Times:
Soram Khalsa is on a mission to get Americans to up their levels of Vitamin D. Why? To protect them against a myriad of illnesses, including cancers, heart disease and diabetes. He even had a patient from his who's-who-studded medical practice in Beverly Hills hand deliver a copy of his book, The Vitamin D Revolution, to Michelle Obama. "In the front, I wrote, 'Vitamin D can help the country's health-care crisis. Please contact me if you are interested' and included my phone number. I haven't heard from her yet, but..."He suggest taking it to boost the immune system during the flu season. He even ventures to say that it can "prevent" swine flu.
Vitamin D? Don't we get that from sunlight? I am so behind the times, glimpses of "sunlight in a jar" flit through my brain. Naa. Probably not.
But it was suggested for Shea. He seemed so weak and peaked after his last bout. I was nervous for him and asked at the Naturapath's office. She was singing the praises of Vitamin D too, "Boost that Vitamin D! Whenever I feel a little tickle in my throat or achy, I just power up on the D."
Ok. Now that is some advice I can follow but what about my picky, won't take vits, gotta hide everything or he will turn up his nose and refuse it boy.
Bio-D-Mulsion Forte'. One drop is 2,000 IU. At it has really made a big difference right away.
His color is better and he seems stronger. I hide it in his morning hot chocolate.
Now if I could just find a mult- that I could hide so well.
What other immune-system strengthening measures are you taking this year? For yourself? For your kids?
Friday, October 2, 2009
By Nancy Greggs:
I wish I didn’t care that some children sleep
Hungry and cold, too weary to weep
Too hopeless to know that others could share – but won’t
I wish I didn’t care
I wish I didn’t know that some people die
Alone and friendless, without knowing why
Wanting to question why no one is there – but don’t
I wish I didn’t care
I wish I didn’t see what’s there on the news
Meant not to enlighten, but just to amuse
Designed to remind me what I could do – but can’t
I wish I didn’t care
I wish I didn’t know in my heart
That I am meant to do my part
To speak, to write, to sing, to plan
To do whatever it is I can
To give, to teach, to help – assist
Those who fight, speak out – resist
I wish I didn’t know I could
Change the world – if only I would
I’d be free, and unaware
If I could just not care
This is my burden, this is my task
To have to wonder, deign to ask
Why some have what is deemed their lot
Why some are valued, and others not
I wish I didn’t care about it all
Who lives, who dies, who heeds the call
Who listens, who hastens, who risks the fall
Of the concept, the dream
That we can be all that we seem
And never falter on our way to where we’re going, if only we go there together
I wish I didn’t care that my brothers are mine
That my sisters are sisters, subdued but sublime
That they are in my keeping, as I am in theirs
I wish I didn’t care.
But I do. And so do all of you.
It’s not about who they are; it’s about who you are.
Just care. A little goes a long way.
So try it.