Sunday, August 31, 2008

Say a Little Prayer

Cathy has started a new blog devoted to praying for others called Say a Little Prayer. People can email her their prayer requests, she'll post them and then you and I can pray for them. She also has posted links to the blogs that give more information about these families and their prayer requests. She has even posted a list of Prayer Warriors, so that you know for sure that people are praying with you or for you.

The Bible tells us to prayer for others, I found a really nice short introduction to praying for others here. I believe that focusing on, praying for, and loving another can only be helpful. Obviously, God does not always answer our prayers in the way we might have expected, but if you look back... they were answered. That is why keeping a prayer journal is such a great idea.

There are a few ideas on prayer journals here, here, and here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

ONE: Fighting Poverty


Hi,
Senator McCain finally announced his vice-president choice - and I just took action with ONE.org to make this national political moment a meaningful poverty-fighting moment.
Click the link below to send Governor Sarah Palin a digital postcard letting her know that you want leadership as committed to ending extreme poverty and global disease as we are.
http://www.one.org/mccainvp/index.html
It's important we contact her now, before she gets swept-up in an inevitable blur of coast-to-coast campaigning and crushing national media attention.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Banishing Binky: Help Wanted!

I could really use some brilliant ideas, opinions, and guidance. I'll take anything you've got. How do we get rid of the binky without getting rid of sleep? Right now Fisch only uses it for naps and bedtime, but he looks forward to going to sleep so that he can have it. Sometimes if he is upset, he'll tell me he wants to go to bed (so that he can sit there and suck on it). It is obviously very comforting and very soothing for him. He is 2 1/2 exactly, isn't it time? Other transitions haven't been too problematic... like the transition to the toddler bed, to underwear, to sippy cups... but this one seems HUGE. I'm aware that it could just be me... but I really don't think so. He is very particular, and will only use the Soothie infant pacifier (at right). These binkies show no signs of age. I did cut one once, and gave it to him... but he just wailed that he wanted to go to BFF's house (she has one there for him). Not, that I'm actually afraid that he will run away... but what Mommy wants to hear that her son wants to live somewhere else??? Help!

Oh... heh heh heh... totally off the subject, but on the subject of BFF. She slept over at our house on Saturday, and Fisch spent the entire evening telling everyone that he and BFF live together!

Then, when Sheila came to pick up BFF the next morning, Fisch and BFF were "fixing" some toys by using crayons as screwdrivers. Sheila asked what they were doing and BFF replied, "We're just screwing".

And since all of that was OK with me... I guess you could say that Andy and I are very progressive parents!!! ;)

Anyway don't forget to share your tips. What's worked for you, or someone you know, or on one of those Nanny shows?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Listening and Learning

Fischer and I recently had the opportunity to attend an incredible international children's music festival. There were choirs, dancers, and orchestras from the United States, Japan, Kenya, and Nepal. It was a four hour performance and we both loved it. I couldn't believe how well Fischer did (that is a really long tome to sit!!!). During the performances Fischer and I whispered about the different instruments used, and since then we've been reading and talking a lot about them. We picked up Those Amazing Musical Instruments by Genevieve Helsby at the library and have had a good time learning. The book includes a CD-ROM to listen to all of the different instrument sounds. The book is obviously "too old" for Fisch, but we've loved looking at the pics and listening to the sounds.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blogs for a Cause

How do you like my new design? Nikki from Blogs for a Cause, is designing blogs as a way to raise funds for her humanitarian efforts in the Dominican Republic and in Africa. She is a college student in Ontario. She is really saving the world. I'm excited about her work and would definitely recommend her to design your blog. She was quick, very professional, and patient with me (you know that can be tough). She got started with all of this through a program called Hero Holiday. You can read more about Nikki and her current projects at: Ends of the Earth, or at any of the links above.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Technical Difficulties

My blog is having troubles keeping her columns in order. Please bear with me while I beg for help from an expert.

Fischism

During a playdate with good buddy Z...

Me: "Fischer, did you know that Z is a big boy now and doesn't use a binky anymore?"

Fisch: Thinking...long pause... "Does Z wear diapers or underwear?"

Point taken.

(Fisch is in underwear, Z is not)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fun and delicious

Thank you Dutch Country (and Fisch's Aunt Bekah and Uncle Chris). Fischer, Andy and I had a great time making and especially eating these!

By the way, if your kid went through as many outfits as mine does, you'd have him do his baking sans clothes too!

PS I'm trying not to use the "n" word anymore ... you wouldn't believe how many people have landed on this page of my blog from all over the world. In fact, it is the single most looked at page on my blog (besides the front page)! Yuck! Usually they are searching in google images. What in the Hell are they looking for??? I don't want to know!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fischism

Last night after playgroup, Fischer, Andy and I were laying on the bed talking. I was talking to Andy, but for Fisch's listening benefit.

Me: "Daddy, Fischer did such a good job at playgroup today. He played nicely with his friends, he shared all of his toys and he listened to mommy. He did such a good job!"

Fischer: "I not do good job to BFF."

Me: "What?"

Fischer: "I not do good job to BFF, I try to take her toy away and she cried."

Oops, I missed that.

Weighing his career options

"I got to be a fireman, drive a fire truck, help people, take them to the hospital, then... ... ... Mommy, what do I do after I take the people to the hospital?"

"You go back to the station and clean the truck, or eat dinner, or sleep or something while you wait to be called out to help someone else."

"Oh. I will eat dinner and go to sleep."

Although Fischer is dead set on being a fireman, he did test out some other options last weekend.


He tried to be a runner.


He tried to be a trucker.

He thought about being a policeman.

He tried being a rock climber.

He tried being the MC for a truck show while driving a cow train. (MamaBarb was the only one who dared to ride with him - fortunately for her he couldn't drive and talk at the same time!) He is open-minded.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Run run as fast as you can...

Last weekend Fisch ran his second 1k. The first was last year (when he was one) and was nothing short of hilarious, as he and his buddies did everything BUT run and probably finished the race a good half hour after the rest of the pack!

This year went much better.
He did his pre-run stretches (I know, I know, pre-run stretches are controversial).
He ran with his friends, but mostly with Daddy and MamaBetsy while I took pics of everybody. He did some running, some walking, some hanging between their hands, some riding on daddy's hip, but he kept moving......well of course, he did have to stop to check out an interesting storm drain (but who wouldn't?).
Twelve minutes and seventeen seconds later... he finished!!!

He received his finisher's medal which was in the form of a stuffed rhinoceros. Fisch and his running partners posed for the fans. (Ummm, totally impossible to get a pic with all 5 of them looking and smiling in the same direction!)

Afterward, he worked on his post-run refueling, very important.

Mommy is so proud!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The cup cake pop queen has done it again!!!


Bakerella has come up with yet another deliciously darling idea. She has turned her niece's artwork into cake decor. How fun, and supposedly you and I can do it too! Check out her great idea, and while you are at it, scroll through all of her fab pops. They were one of my first posts on this blog... and now she is totally famous and has even been on Martha!! I'd like to think I had something to do with that. Ha! Are you rolling your eyes at me?
Anyway, what a fun way to show off your little darling's work. I'll have to wait until Fischer is actually creating recognizable objects, or at least until his scribbles don't take up the entire page!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Artist with Autism: Kim Miller

A while back I posted about a website that highlights and sells art that has been crafted by artists who have autism. I also posted an incredibly beautiful painting called "The Violinist" by Kim Miller. I told you a bit about her (after I had read her bio on the site).

Anyway, I did not have the rights to post that image (geez I'm causing a lot of trouble lately), and therefor I removed it. However you may still go look at it, and unfortunately it is still sold.


BUT here is the exciting thing... Kim's mother has very kindly given me permission to post this image of her glazed clay sculpture called "Serenity". I love the blue she used (the yellow is the watermark), of course, I love it - blue is my signature color ;)

Kim's artwork is displayed in her new book that will be released next month, called The Girl Who Spoke With Pictures Autism Through Art, written by Eileen Miller and illustrated by Kim Miller, foreword by Robert Nickel, MD. Release date September 2008, 208 pages, 90 illustrations, paperback, ISBN 9781843108894, Jessica Kingsley Publishers jkp.com

"For many years Eileen Miller's daughter Kim, was unable to verbalize her
experiences and emotions, but she was able to communicate using a less
conventional language:her art. The Girl Who Spoke With Pictures tells the
story of a young woman with autism, and how her enlightening drawings enabled
her to share her view of the world...." more on jkp website.

Available at jkp.com, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Target, and fine independent bookstores. Available in Canada, UK, Germany, Norway, Australia, South Africa...limited release in Japan and India. Do a websearch for a location near you.

Kim Miller has also illustrated a children's book, titled: Apples for Cheyenne, written by Elizabeth Gerlach, Release date: anytime, Sensory Resources publishing.

BTW Sensory Resources has many helpful books about sensory integration and sensory processing. I have used a number of them with my students. They also have other great products that address these issues.

I'll keep you all posted as more information is released. Kim and her mother will also have a website in September.

Thank you Eileen for sharing your daughter's talents with others.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Brighter Vision... brighter future



A noteworthy and respectable company for learning materials for your 1-5 year old.


Each month you receive a shipment of appropriate leaning materials for your child's age. You'll get a great reusable workbook that is filled with songs, stories, activities, lessons, etc. You also get a hard cover book or board book (for the one-year-olds), a hands-on activity like a craft, toy, or game, stickers, a CD with fun tunes, and a parent guide. Everything that comes goes together nicely in a theme. All of the products are quality and engaging. AND it is for less than $20 (or at least it was last year).


We ordered the free shipment of materials (you can too) and were so impressed that we immediately signed up. Fischer and Andy and I loved the books and all of the items that came along. Everything was really great with lots of ideas for individualising the lessons for Fisch. Around Christmas time, money was a little tight and i cancelled the shipments. SO easy! No run-around, no guilt, no nothing.


This company is incredibly fabulous!!! It is indeed a book-of-the-month-club but WAY BETTER! NO SCAMS! In the past I have felt quite suckered by book of the month clubs and ended up spending way more than I had anticipated. Brighter Vision Learning Adventures is great because there is no minimum to buy, and no extras to buy. You just pay each month for your shipment and if you don't want to, just return it. I was even late on a few payments and never encountered any penalties. I just really feel confident in this company's products and their business ethics. I had forgotten all about them, although we still use all of the materials we received, and last night as I was telling my SIL about them, I decided to look up to see what kind of materials are for 2 year-olds. I think I'm going to sign up again.
If nothing else, try the free shipment and then cancel - nothing to lose and you get a bunch of stuff to keep. I have mounted the reusable stickers, that come with the workbook, on card stock and laminated them so that we can keep them nice. You always get a strip of stickers (2 of each) and I've mounted and laminated those also for matching games. Anyway, the possibilities are endless and oh-so affordable.
Maybe I should get a job with these people!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills." (Napoleon Dynamite)

Fisch is testing the waters on some new skills. He and BFF are taking a soccer class together. Here are some pics of him showing off his new skills with MamaBarb. BTW, MamaBarb is brushing up on her own soccer skills so she can rival him!! They were using the patio furniture ottoman for a goal, but it made a much better place to climb on and take a rest while sitting on the ball.

Fisch and Daddy and i went with MamaBetsy and Fisch's cousin to test him out on hockey skates. So funny! He could barely stand let alone stay above them, but he loved it! I don't think Andy was too excited when Fisch kept pointing at the figure skaters and their jumping apparatus and begging to do jumps and spins like them!!!


I think he liked sitting on the bench just as much as he liked skating.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Momma's Boy

After reading yesterday's post, Liz thought I might like this video - so funny! Little does she know that if you ask Fischer where he is getting a tattoo when he is 18 he'll tell you on his butt. If you ask him what it will say he'll point to one butt cheek and say "Mommy" then point to the other and say "Daddy"! Seriously folks. (Thanks for the tattoo inspiration Aunt Bekah!)

Oh, and I've been kicking myself for not picking up the toddler briefs with the heart mom tattoos all over them. I saw them last year - hilarious!!!!!

Ha!!! I'd be proud to have a Momma's Boy!!!

(By the way, I DON'T want him getting a tattoo when he is 18 - unless it is the description above - because then that is just funny!!! I'd be making him drop his pants for everyone! LOL)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Boy Moms: Celebrate

Ahhh, being a mom to a boy is a unique experience (not that I know what it would be like to be a mom to a girl). We get to experience things that girl moms don't, and we miss out on things that girl moms get to experience.

In celebration of boy moms, I'd like to offer up a few fun sites:

  • Linda Marie Ford's It's good to be the Queen (where mom's of boys reign) is a fun site for all things boy! It is like a support group and party for boy moms. So great. In fact, in a few states they have started actual clubs and chapters from this site. What fun!!
  • Amy's Boy Mom Designs is an online t-shirt store with shirts designed for, you guessed it, boy moms! I love them! They have slogans like "we fight bad guys" and "boy moms rock".
  • Cafe' Press also has some fun mom of boy designs.
  • Of course we've all probably seen the Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden, but have you seen the The Big Book of Boy Stuff by Bart King and Chris Sabatino? Both books are bursting at the binding with information, ideas and activities to keep any adolescent boy busy doing boy stuff (which by the way some of the activities in both books are a little much for this mom of a 2 year-old, so I hope I can loosen up before he turns 8 and starts wanting to do experiments in my kitchen, and list off all of the names for flatulence, and tie strings to flies, and make rockets and... you get the point).
  • For more camaraderie from other moms of boys check out MOBS Lounge and Moms of Boys Internet meeting place.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Favorite Lullabyes

Fischer loves to fall asleep to his music. Over the past 2 1/2 years we have definitely developed some favorite tunes.

Our favorite Lullabye CD is Nicolette Larson's Sleep Baby Sleep. Every single song is beautiful and very soothing. When we listen to it now, it immediately brings me back to the teeny tiny days of rocking Fisch to sleep. So sweet. This music is specifically for the tiny ears of newborn infants. Fischer and I both still love it.

Fischer really liked the Disney's Winnie the Pooh Lullabies when he was younger. We haven't listened to it for awhile.

Most of our other favorite tunes are on compilation Cd's that we made through iTunes. Here are a few of the songs that are near and dear to our hearts:


  1. Step By Step - Cedarmont Kids Cedarmont Worship for Kids, Vol. 1 (Fischer's Favorite)

  2. Before I Knew Your Name - Chris Rodriguez & Dennis Patton

  3. Blessed Be - Alison Krauss

  4. Baby Mine - Michael Crawford

  5. Rock a Bye Baby Blue - Mary Stahl

  6. Hush Little Baby - Mary Stahl

  7. What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

  8. Godspeed (Sweet Dreams) - Dixie Chicks

  9. Momma Will Rock You to Sleep - Netha Larsen-Schrimpf

  10. Daddy's Love - Chris Warren

  11. Beautiful Boy - CĂ©line Dion

  12. A Mother's Prayer - Carnie Wilson & Jim Brickman

  13. He Gave Me You -Sierra Sing Me to Sleep

  14. Now Thank We All Our God - Brian Green & Toni Becker

A little bit political, a lot 'saving the world'

Hi,
Senators Tom Daschle and Bill Frist are about to meet with the committees that write the governing agendas for the Democratic and Republican party.
They are going to ask the political leaders who make up these committees to add anti-poverty planks to their platforms, making ending global poverty official party policy. And they need our help.I just took action with the ONE Campaign and signed their petition to the platform committees.
Senators Frist and Daschle will deliver our signatures and send the message that Americans want a strong commitment to ending the suffering caused by extreme poverty and global disease.
You can take action too, here:http://www.one.org/platforms/?rc=platformstaf

Friday, August 8, 2008

Shot through the heart at Costco

As I walked into Costco today, I could hear the singing and drumming coming from the breezeway in front of the building. As I came closer I could see a large group of children singing and dancing, They were the Singing Children of Africa and they were singing to benefit the Samson Chivatsi African Appeal, an organization that is feeding, educating, and housing many children in their village called Utange in Kenya. I listened, I donated a few dollars for their brochure and then I walked in to Costco with my giant cart to begin my shopping. As I walked in and saw all of the TVs and electronics, I had a fleeting thought about what those kids might think if they were to come in the building. Then a few moments later, I saw them! They were taking a tour of Costco, an employee was pointing out the meat department and telling them of the cleanliness of the kitchen and the butcher equipment. Then he started talking about catering, then he was pointing out the mountains of water bottles stacked to the ceiling, and saying how people here love bottled water and buy a lot of it....

I suddenly felt very sick, very embarrassed, very ashamed... very sad. I rushed to another aisle to get away from them, and had to keep moving till they were out of my sight and out of my earshot. I couldn't take it. I stood there next to the sky scraping stacks of toilet paper, and burst into tears. I just couldn't imagine what they could be thinking. How do you go from extreme poverty, no food, no clean water, no sanitation, never having been in a car, going for years just praying for an education, watching your family and neighbors die from diseases that they cannot get treatment for... to the other side of the world... to Costco! I was so embarrassed as I stood there with piles of meat and fruit and giant what-nots in my cart. I wanted to leave my cart and leave the building and go home. I just cried.

These children sing of hope and the future and they praise God every chance they get for their many blessing... what?

How can a child live in a mud hut that washes away in the rainy season, watch their parents die because of insufficient medical care, go many days starving and thirsty and dirty and sit outside a school and beg to be let in to learn... think that God loves them?

I don't get it. I believe that God loves all of his children, but I don't understand how entire countries can be in such need. How do they know God loves them? I can understand faith and hope and prayer... but how could it not be shattered after walking into a Costco in the US and seeing everyone trotting around with enormous carts full of enormous food? Someone please help me understand how God can let this happen, for so long?

Nothing against Costco, I shop there and I find that it helps me spend less and stay closer to my budget, I'm just saying that I couldn't handle being seen by these kids. I don't even know what they were thinking, or if they were comparing at all, or if they were happy or sad or in disbelief, or if they were just plain angry (I think I would be). These children are on tour for about 17 days, then they go back to their orphanages, back to their very poor village, back to porridge.

Now, I know that these particular children are quite lucky to be sponsored by the charity, and probably have very bright futures ahead of them, and like we've talked about before... they're education effects the entire community. It was just such a huge eye-opener, I didn't quite know what to do or how to react.

I know that guilt is the wrong emotion, and that it is not my fault that I can get groceries easily and have clean water to drink and ... and that they do not have these same opportunities... however I sort of felt like them seeing me with my cart was a little too 'in your face". Am I making any sense?

I need to do more. I need to do something. I realize that the people of Africa have been on my mind all week, with the Matsiko Children's Choir on Monday, the letter from Renee's friend about Mother's Without Borders on Wednesday and now the Singing Children of Africa on Friday. I have to do something. I'll start with prayer for understanding of how this can be, and hope that you all can help me to understand also. I'm going to do something. Please do something.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A random bit of catch-up

The past couple of of weeks have been quite busy.

  • We had a lot of family in town for Fischer's Uncle's wedding. Fisch got to see grandparents he'd only met once before and meet aunts and uncles he'd never met. His highlight was a cousin he'd never met and she was a cutie! (He also had a HUGE crush on the bride - his new aunt!)


  • He has been playing with friends a bunch and taken more than a few trips to the farm. In fact Dino made a new friend that seemed quite happy to see him!

  • I had a fantastic birthday and a Day o' Fun with "Sheila". We realized we hadn't been out together alone since BFF and Fisch were born!! We have got to figure out how to make that happen more often! We went to lunch, and to a movie (Swing Vote - I liked it and we both cried), we lounged at Starbucks, we went to see the Matsiko Choir, and finally wound up back at my house for chocolate cake ( a fabulous one from my MIL) and margaritas with Andy. A great day! The night before we'd had dinner with my parents to celebrate. We had my dad's famous fried chicken and my mom made a really yummy strawberry cake. Am I spoiled? I think so!

  • Yesterday Fisch tried out the ice excavation. I put it on an old towel so that it wouldn't slip around and he could work easily. He enjoyed finding coins in the ice and rescuing all of his sea animals from it. I will say, that his favorite part was watching Sophie do all of the work and he just reaped the benefits!!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Matsiko means Hope

Yesterday I had the opportunity to see the Matsiko Children's Choir. These children hail from Uganda and have come from devastating circumstances. They are at risk and orphaned children who have been scooped up by the International Children's Network (ICN). The children are given all that they need and a chance to join this choir and travel the world as ambassadors for their country. They sing in churches, schools and other venues to relay their message to the world. They are raising money for the children of Uganda to get clean food and water, medicine, shelter, safety and an education. Their stories are unimaginable, yet they sing of hope and thanksgiving and a future for themselves and their communities. They have a large responsibility to get an education and help their villages and their country. The ICN provides an opportunity for people to sponsor a child for $30 a month. The sponsor "parent" is providing the supplies, education, and health care with their money. The children are sponsored through ICN until they have completed their course of study (university or vocational school). Sponsors not only donate, write and receive letters, they also have the opportunity to actual meet their child in their home! The ICN appears to be currently sponsoring children in Guatemala. Peru and the Philippines. You can go to their site and actually see pictures of and read profiles on children who are waiting for sponsorship right now.

This is Eric, he is one of the children who sang with the choir last night.







ICN educates children all
the way through the university level and allows sponsors to meet their children face to face. In addition to these two unique qualities, International Children’s Network has one of the highest financial giving ratios at over 95% to the intended purpose!!! These three attributes define ICN as a sponsorship organization and are the main reasons why ICN is so significant in sponsoring a child and trusted with every penny and pound. International Children’s Network wants its sponsors, and anyone else who may be interested, to personally see how ICN operates behind the scenes. ICN is committed to meeting the needs of deserving children around the world in order to allow them to be a helping hand for their nation, instead of another hand out.






As we've read before, education is the key to saving a child, his or her family, their village/community, their county... the world.

Obviously we do not always have the means to do exactly what we'd like to help, but there is always something... some small way that we can do our part. Check out the Matsiko Cd's.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cold blooded squirter?


Let's talk about guns for a moment. I thought that I had decided that toy guns were bad and I didn't want Fischer around them. I really don't want him to watch any show where people are shooting each other. Up until recently it had never came up. Of course, he is only two! At the beginning of the summer someone gave him a tiny squirt gun... I didn't quite know what to do or say... so I said nothing. Fischer didn't know what it was, he thought it was a tiny red boot! Well then as the summer has progressed more and more squirt guns are showing up. Grandma has a bucket of squirt guns and toys that she likes to take to the pool. Fischer's cousin loves to play with them and now so does Fisch. I know that he still doesn't really know what a gun is and I know that it makes me uncomfortable to "play guns" with them.... but I'm not sure if I am just overreacting. In Denver, the kids LOVED playing squirt guns and squirting each other and everything else. The bigger boys also made guns out of tinker toys, and Fisch loved playing with those too.

When I spoke to Andy about it, he didn't seem to have any problem with squirt guns. So I said, "well, we'll just teach him not to squirt at anyone". He did not see the fun in that. And my dad agreed with Andy. Hmph.

I can't make all of the rules and I am sticking to no other toy guns... but what about marshmallow shooters? Fischer was at a party at his grandparents house and one of the guests brought these really fun marshmallow guns for the little ones to play with. Before becoming a mom, I even had a marshmallow shooter that I played with with my students once (gasp)!!

We don't actually own any toy guns, except that tiny squirt gun, that is probably lost, and Fischer doesn't ask about them... but I have found him holding sticks like guns (although not making shooting noises - so I don't know if it is my imagination). The bottom line is that I do not want Fisch to be a killer nor do I want him to think light of killing.

I grew up with squirt guns and my brother had toy guns, and neither of us have killed anyone (although, my bro does like to shoot targets and possibly rabbits now as an adult).

What do you think? Am I overreacting, or am I completely valid? Do you think you can play with squirt guns and not have other toy guns and be good - or is it all or nothing? I have a friend who made the rule that you can't shoot water guns at the face... well that seemed odd as the kids were shooting at the heart!

Please help me get some perspective on this topic.