Thursday, April 7, 2011

Yanni Definitely Has the Truth of Touch

As a member of the One2One Network, I was recently given the opportunity to listen to and review Yanni's newest CD, Truth of Touch.

To be quite honest, I almost passed on this opportunity.  I thought "Yanni?? Isn't he that weird guy with the oddball music?"  But then I thought "What the heck, I've got nothing to lose. I'll listen while I write for my blog." And so I did...

And I am SO glad hat I did not let this opportunity pass me!  The music just simply flows like a peaceful river from my computer speakers.  A difficult post seemed to pour forth from my fingers as I listened to each and every song.  It's hard to write about dealing with a special needs child, but not this time. I wrote like I've never written before.  The music touched a nerve deep inside of me, made me feel like all will be alright with my little corner of world.

And as the tones flowed from my speakers, it wafted through the house drawing my children in.  My oldest, who has Asperger's, fell in love immediately.  He asked if this was his new night-time music.  He sat on the floor and just listened, humming the melodies after the tunes were long gone.  Music like that is a welcome part of our life.  It soothes, it calms, it heals, it helps keep us on an even keel. All of these make this CD well worth the purchase price!

I'll certainly something we'll keep playing over and over again!  We're sold, and hope that you will be too.


Now for the business part of my review:

I received absolutely no monetary compensation to write this post.  The opinions expressed here are purely my own and not those of any other person or entity.  In exchange for my membership with One2One Network, I received, for review, a free download of Yanni's "Truth of Touch" CD.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Who Says Amazing Things Don't Happen?

So we went to Oakland mall today and an amazing thing happened..... 
Click here to read more. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Seven - It's OUR Lucky Number

"It's A Boy!"  Those were the words of  Harry A. Ludwig, D. O., the world's most knowledgeable, loving and caring obstetrician.  We just called him "Doc".

Doc was there with us when we got out positive test results with our first child, Samantha. And he was there with us after her death, sobbing tears of pain and sorrow, tears of hopes and dreams crushed.  That man had THE most consoling hugs EVER, the kind you get from your grandpa. The kind of hugs that said everything is going to be all right.  Warm, loving hugs full of hope and happiness.  

That was the reason that a year and a half after Samantha's death, we went back to our good friend wanting to try again for another child.  Doc knew the routine, Glucophage three times a day in conjunction with Clomid.  First month we tried, BINGO! We were expecting.  And Doc was the first person we called to share the news!

The first 26 weeks were the most harrowing.  Waiting, each passing day, with baited breath; we wanted, no, we NEEDED to get to 27 weeks this time to know all was well with our baby-to-be. Through it all, Doc was there promising us "poopy diapers at 3 AM".

It was decided that our new family member would arrive two and a half weeks before my due date of March 28th.  When March 12th arrived, we were filled with so much anxiety, but mostly with joy and happy anticipation.  Up until this point, we didn't know whether it would be a girl or a boy.  The mystery was going to be revealed and our world will change for ever, for the better!

Seven years ago, we heard the most wonderful and amazing words we've ever heard, "It's A Boy!" On Friday, March 12, 2004, at 8:36AM, Eastern Standard Time, our little Buddy came into this world, in the warm, waiting hands of Dr. Harry.  He got his first hug from that great man.

Seven years ago, we heard the saddest words ever "Call a priest, he might not live past today."

Seven years, he's had to over come one medical milestone after another....

In seven years, he has proven all the neo-natologists wrong!

In seven years, he's blown them all away!!

These have been the best seven years of my life and I would not trade them for all the riches or wonders in the world!

Seven years ago, Buddy was gently brought into this world by a wonderful man; a man that we will never forget even though we are separated by time and eternity!  Without him we would not be celebrating another milestone in our lives!  Thanks Doc for one of the best gifts ever. Thanks for our lucky seventh year.  We will love you forever for it!

Happy SEVENTH birthday Buddy! And thank you for being one of the best things to ever happen to me! I love you to Pluto and back again.... and I always will!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

They're Going Bald for a Cause

I've been living in my neighborhood now for just over nine years. In that time, I've gotten to know a few of my neighbors, some more than others.  Some are cool, some not so much.  Some friendly, outgoing and fun to hang out with, some, well, not so much.  This is the story of the cool ones...

Last year at this time, my neighbor Kathy, and I were chatting and she asked me what I thought of her husband's newly grown beard.  I said it was a new look for him and asked what made him decide to grow it out.  Her response blew me away.  Very calmly Kathy said, "Mike is going to get his beard and head completely shaved bald the week of St. Patrick's Day." I think she was expecting my response of  "What? Is he nuts? It's so dang cold here in Michigan.  He'll freeze his fool head off."  That was the day I learned about the St. Baldrick's Day Foundation.

2011 Team Clintondale Shavees - Mike, Dennis, Ryan & Jason

What an amazing charitable foundation this is!  Their mission is simple: "The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives." Can't get more simple than that, now can ya? 

That evening a check was delivered to the neighbor's house. 

My neighbor's husband, both sons and their best friend will be shaving their beards and their heads to benefit St. Baldrick's.  Our check has already been forwarded and we're looking forward to seeing our bald neighbors. We're extremely proud to say that we've helped work to kick childhood cancers' collective asses!!

Mike, Jason & Dennis - Post Shave March 2010
Want to help make a difference? Just visit Team Clintondale's page and make a donation. Every PENNY helps. Together we CAN and WILL show kids' cancers just WHO is in charge!

NOTE:  I "borrowed" these photos from our participants. Thanks for sharing guys! And thanks for your bravery!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Project 365 - Chapter 3

Ok, so I made the commitment to take a new photo one a day for 365 days. And so far, I've only missed a day or two. And now without further ado, here's the next Chapter in our lives.

Lego Creations Abound in Our Home
January 17, 2011

Working on My 101 in 1,001 Days
Making My Own Greeting Cards
January 18, 2011

Junior Chef
January 19, 2011

No Pictures Today Mom, PLEASE!
January 20, 2011

A Pleasant Pick-Me-Up from the Big E.
January 21, 2011
A Day Well Spent With  Buddy's Best Friend
January 22, 2011

Thinking of My Angel in  Heaven, Samantha Marie
January 23, 2011

I LOVE Turtles!
January 24, 2011

Testing Out the New Purex Complete Crystals
January 25, 2011

Thinking of A Future Vacation in Holland, Michigan
(Maybe I'll get to meet Julie)
January 26, 2011

My Favorite Souvenir from Our Holland 2006 Trip
January 27, 2011

Waiting for Warm Summer Nights to
Swing, Sip Wine and Star Gaze
January 28, 2011

Thirst Quencher - My Daily AddictionJanuary 29, 2011
My Other Daily Addiction
Jalapeno Cream Cheese Poppers and Pretzel Nuggets
January 30, 2011

Counting Down the Days till We go to Illinois
To see Jim Henson's Fantastic World
at the Lakeview Museum of Art and Science
January 31, 2011

And so we bid a fond farewell to the first month of 2011. It was an interesting, snow and illness filled month for our family, but we survived. Here's to a great February, 2011. Hoping it's filled with all the love St. Valentine will allow!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

For The Love…Of Blogging Top Ten Tuesday

OK, so I moseyed on over to Sluiter Nation today as I usually do and came across Katie's top ten reasons that she blogs.  So, I thought I'd give it a go...

10.  Freedom. Blogging gives me the freedom to say the things to the world that I would otherwise not say to their face.  If I get annoyed with some one, I blog about it.  If someone hurts me and I can't face that person, I blog about it.  I can even share a good joke or laugh.

09.  Therapy.  Blogging helps me prepare for the next session with my son's therapist.  When I write posts about how things went or what I'm hoping for I sometimes hope that my little thoughts will help some other Mom going through the same things as I face with my son.  It also helps me get through the rough and dark days whe n I can't deal with the death of my daughter.

08. It's an Amazing Support System.  This wholeheartedly connects to # 9.  When I have a bad day with my son and he's not doing so well, I can post a blog and know that someone out there has walked in my footsteps already and can lend a supportive shoulder to lean on.  We can cry, laugh, scream and even sing together.

07. The Sisterhood That is Dear to My Heart.  I've "met" so many amazing women in just the six months I've been blogging.  If I post a question on a forum or just stop to spread some blog love, I know that they will genuinely appreciate it.  They are there to listen, lend a help when you're stuck in writer's block prison and will give you honest to goodness feed back when you ask their opinion.  And these women? They don't care what size you are, whether or not you own the latest fashions or designer purses or even the brand of cheap wine you drink.  They just care about YOU.

06. Seeing the World Through Others' Eyes.  I've met so many great people from all pover these United States.  I've learned about life in Missouri, California, Texas and even about life in our neighbor to the north, Canada.

05. Reading Others' Blogs.  I love to read and just don't have the time to devote to reading an entire novel.  Blogs are short (mostly) and to the point. It's a great escape for me.

04. Reviving the Creative Juices.  Many, many moons ago I wrote poetry when I was just a wee school girl.  Then I grew up and got a life and slowly stopped writing.  Blogging has revived my love for the written word.  Once I start typing I just can NOT seem to stop.

03. It's ALL MINE.  No one can tell me what to write or how to write it.  I can write fact or fiction.  I can be overly dramatic or cleverly subdued.  No one can edit away my words to meet their hidden agendas.  I can chose to accept or delete their comments if they get too personal or too nasty. It's MINE and no one can take it away from me!

02. Leaving a Legacy for My Children.  Years from now when my memory has faded, I will be able to log in to my computer and share my life with my sons and their children.  They'll know the REAL Mom and what she felt and what she dreamed. 

01. Just For Me To Remember Who I Am.  Sometimes we, in the many roles of wife, mother, daughter, friend, get so lost we don't know just exactly who we are.  Blogging gives me the opportunity to remember just who I was before all of the life changing events that happened to me actually happened.

So tell me, why do YOU blog??  Jot 'em down and share with the class over st Slutier Nation.  Go ahead, what are you waiting for?  Join  our BLOG HOP, won't you?

I'm A Purex Insider... And I Like It

A little while back I stumbled onto a website looking for Purex laundry detergent coupons.  I googled it. Didn't find the coupons I was hoping for, but I found information about becoming a Purex Insider. "Well", I thought, "I've GOT to check THIS out!  After all, I am the Purex Queen!" (At least in my own little world I am.)

So, I took the plunge and I signed up. (Yay me!) And I waited and waited and waited for what seemed forever to get to try out the free sample of their newest product Finally last week, the package arrived. (Yay me!)

I have to confess before we go any further... I don't like, despise, loathe hate doing laundry and anything laundry-related! You see, our laundry "room" is a big open space in our super messy (think aftermath of an F-5 tornado) basement.  It's not a place I want to frequent and I avoid it at all costs.  It's just too stressful to deal with without a glass (or three) of wine.  There, with that confession off of my chest, I can go on further. (Yay me!)

And there it was, laundry day, me with mountains to conquer and a fresh bottle of Ultra Purex Free and Clear and my newly obtained sample.  (Yay me.) And what, you ask, was the sample product? It was their newest fabric softener for the washing machine.  They are sweet smelling crystals - Purex Complete Crystals Softeners. 
And oh what great little crystals they are.  They are 92% natural, non-oil based crystals.  You add them directly to your wash water when you add your detergent. Simple enough.  Even this blond could handle this mission. (Yay me!)

On top of being 92% natural, they:
  • Preserve the flame retardant benefits of your children's clothing (what Mom doesn't love that?); 
  • Retain your athletic wear's wicking ability (a gym-rat's dream);
  • Maintain your towel's ability to absorb water (no more needing multiple towels to dry off); and
  • Keeps your whites from yellowing or graying (woohoo! Less bleach against my family's skin).
I opened the bottle and shook away. It was premeasured on the side of the bottle so there was no guesswork involved with how much to use.  (Yay me!) Something I rarely use is scented products as we live in an eczema-laden household.  Every soap, detergent or skin-related product is hypoallergenic, fragrance and dye free.  Well, this product was not scent free, but it did have a delicious heavenly scent.  (It is available in three scents.) So I thought I'd give it a try on something that doesn't stay on our skin too long, the mountain of towels.

At first the scent was quite strong but after a trip through the washer and then the dryer, the scent mellowed and was enjoyable.  Everything felt as soft as if I'd used my fabric softener sheets.  (Yay me!) My only disappointment is that it doesn't really reduce the static electricity like the fabric softener sheets do.  Maybe they can work on that (hint, hint Mr. Purex)

We tested the freshly laundered towels against our sensitive skin and VIOLA! NO REACTION!!  (Super Yay me!!)  So, it was off to conquer the rest of Mt. Washmore.  After all of the laundry was complete I still had enough of the crystals left over to do about three more loads.

Overall I was satisfied with this product, but would love to see them develop a hypo-allergenic version that is fragrance, dye and color free.  Here that fine people of Purex? Please!!

I received no monetary compensation to write this post.  The opinions expressed here are purely my own and not those of any other person or entity.  In exchange for my membership with Purex Insider, I received one free sample to test of their product. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Final Farewell -- A blessing during tragic times

In April of 2007, I stumbled across an article in The Catholic Standard & Times regarding the founding of Final Farewell.  It was a pleasure to see that its founder was an old friend from my childhood, a fantastic and caring person with a heart of gold!

Having known Patricia (Trish) most of my life (we attended the same grade school and high school), it doesn't surprise me that she has worked diligently to establish a foundation that cares so much for grieving parents and their families.  Trish knows first hand how hard it is to overcome life's obstacles with hard work, dedication and love.  She and her group are truly dedicated to helping families in the darkest of all the hours in their lives, the death of a child.

I'm pleased that Final Farewell was born and that Trish and her team can help countless families get the help and support they need.  It is my prayer that they continue to grow and receive community (and financial) support for their most worthwhile cause.  To aid a parent and help with the arrangements for a  dignified and compassionate farewell to their child is one of the greatest gifts that anyone person can share.  Small gestures mean so much to a grieving parent.  

As I type this post, Final Farewell is seeking funds to give a family of four who perished in a Philadelphia house fire on January 13, 2011, a proper burial, including a memorial head stone.  Final Farewell's goal, via CrowdRise, is to provide this family with a gravestone marker so that they will be forever remembered.

I wish Final Farewell a huge success with this fundraiser and its  upcoming major fundraiser in April. This is a compassionate ministry that in these times of financial hardship is greatly needed and appreciated by the grieving families.

May God continue to bless Final Farewell and everyone involved in this MOST IMPORTANT mission to give comfort to the grieving.

If you would like to help  the family mentioned above, please click here. Any donation, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. 

Please note that I  have received absolutely NO compensation  or favors of any sort in exchange for this post.  The opinions/comments in this post are expressly my own and I have no personal stake in the raising of funds for Final Farewell.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Working Class" is Coming to CMT

What do you get when you combine a real-size gal, three lovable kids, two hot looking guys and a crotchety old man? A sitcom that left me smiling and looking forward to more!

CMT has produced its first scripted series for their network.  I was fortunate enough to be chosen to see a sneak preview of the first episode and I must say, for their first outing, CMT did a fantastic job!  Per their website,
"The new 12 episode, multi-camera series follows Carli Mitchell (Melissa Peterman), a single mom from a rough and tumble background, trying to give her three kids a better life by moving them to an upscale suburb. She quickly finds that making the transition to “the good life” is harder than she thought. She's unwittingly befriended by her cranky neighbor, Hank (Ed Asner), her only “career” prospect is a glorified deli job at the local grocery store, and the man she falls for not only already has a girlfriend – but he’s also her boss, Rob (Patrick Fabian). With her ladies-man brother, Nick (Steve Kazee), to help her out (when he’s not acting like one of the kids himself), Carli faces the challenges of parenting, dating, and making friends in her new community by doing more with less,staying true to herself and approaching each day with a touch of working class."
Carli is like many of us moms, working hard to keep their families afloat and give them a life better than she had.  One thing that impressed me about this program? Carli is a real size woman, not a skinny bean pole of a gal  that isn't representative of most of today's society.  And her character plays well off of her co-worker and neighbor, Hank (played by Ed Asner). Hank is a war veteran who has such a wit about him that it was a sheer pleasure to watch, waiting for his next great zinger.

The very best part of this sitcom is that I was able to preview this show in its entirety without having to shield it from my young boys. It was good clean humor, nothing overly provocative or sexually explicit. None of the humor attacked anyone, no crude butts of anyone's joke. A true family-oriented show. How refreshing!

Will I be back for more? You better believe it!! I'm looking forward to the double play next Friday night. :) See you Friday night at CMT - 8PM!

P.S. As a member of One2One Network, I was able to watch the sneak peek of "Working Class" in return for a review. I received no compensation in exchange for my review and it  is solely my personal opinion.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Project 365 - Chapter 2

Here it is, Sunday night again. Time to share my latest photo creations. 
I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I loved taking them.

Winter Berry Tree
January 10, 2011

Heart of Roses
January 11, 2011

Always Faithful
Snuggling while sick
January 12, 2011

Most delicious cake pops I've EVER tasted
January 13, 2011

Happiness is finding a cold Coca-Cola in your car when you thought you had none!
My afternoon pick me up
January 14, 2011

De-constructing Christmas 2010
January 15, 2011

An ice cold Mike's = Sunday evening delight
January 16, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Photographs and Memories

Click, click, click, click.... that familiar sound is music to my ears. The sound of a camera shutter opening and closing quick enough to capture life and it's moments. 

While perusing Twitter (yes, I know, I know... that's where I find EVERY one of my new challeneges), I stumbled across mentions of #project365 or #365project. Curious, I asked Julie from Dutch Being Me what exactly was this Project365. Being the sweetie she is, she explained that it's a commitment to take and post a new photo every day for the entire year.  Hmmm, a challenge I can definitely take on since I LOVE to take photos of everything and everyone.  It would be a breeze. Hell, I already have 4 amazing subject living under my roof - two very precocious little boys, a curious cat and a precious puppy. And I live in an amazing town that has loads of photogenic locales.  Let the photo taking begin!!!

Ok, so I'm nine days late on posting pics. Nothing new for me as I always seem to be a day late and a dollar (or two) short.  I've modified my version of Project 365 just a bit to reflect my crazy life.  I  will take my photos daily, but post them every Sunday after the kiddos are fast asleep.

So without furter ado, I present to you Week One and a half of my Project 365...

January 1, 2011
Pure, perfect love

January 2, 2011
Buddy's gonna learn to play the guitar

January 3, 2011
And the lion shall lay down with the lamb

January 4, 2011
Poor Thomas kite... still stuck in the tree.  Even a tornado couldn't set you free!

January 5, 2011
Winters Amazing Beauty
January 6, 2011
Buds trying to hang on through the new fallen snow

January 7, 2011
If only I could get through this window... that squirrel would be dinner

January 8, 2011
Caution! This puppy is NOT a morning kind of dog!

January 9, 2011
Chrismtas removed from the All Seasons tree and
winter birds and berries added in

Monday, January 3, 2011

One Courageous Mama and One Very Precious Little Child

Tomorrow will be one of the shittiest days in the life of a great woman. It is the day her son will celebrate his 10th birthday.... in heaven.  No cake to enjoy, no candles to blow out, no gifts to open, no photos to record this life milestone.  And the worse, no hugs and kisses from Mom, Dad and his siblings.  It's a day in her life that I can truly relate to.

I buried my daughter nine years ago. And let me tell you, it effin' sucks! We are supposed to OUTLIVE our children... not BURY them! Every single holiday, birthday and life milestone has been stolen from us, never to be given back.  No New Year's celebrations, no Valentine's sent home from school, no Easter baskets to fill, no Mother's Day or Father's Day cards, no fireworks to enjoy together on the 4th of July, no first days of school, no Halloween costumes or trick or treating, no Thanksgiving feasts to share, and worst of all no Christmases filled with joy.  All stolen away in a moment's time.  Just a void where our child should be.

The anger, the rage, the pain...  they are never gone. We just try to hide them well enough to make others happy. And unless you have walked the proverbial mile in our moccasins, don't tell us that you understand. You do NOT and you NEVER will.

I still lay in bed at night begging God for my baby girl back.  If He "really" loved me, He'd grant my wish right? He'd take away the pain? He'd make me whole again?  NOPE, not a chance in hell.  And people wonder why I question my faith? Wouldn't you?

Holes exist in our hearts that will never be filled. And with each passing day that we don't obsess over our child makes our pain worse because we feel we are betraying our child. Yet we don't mention our child often because we don't want to make others uncomfortable. Each time we do this, we die a little inside. And that is just NOT effin' fair!

So if you are reading this post, please stop and say a prayer for Moms like Tanis and me, say a prayer for our children.  And by all means, ask us about our children because they were REAL and they DID exist!