Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Monday, June 30, 2008

How to pour milk 101

I dunno....I went to school to learn to read. I took classes to learn to drive a car, and ride my motorcycle. I don't know that I should need a class to pour my milk without spilling it. So, what do you think? Will you buy the new milk jug? Will you be able to pour it? Read the New York Times article about the new milk jug they're trying to get us to buy. I understand the reasoning, but it seems they need to make some other changes. Besides, my kid just figured out how to pour milk, and now I gotta teach her all over!

By the way, according to my husband the meat wholesaler, whenever you see a dramatic change in packaging, you can also expect to see a change in the volume the package holds. He said the next time you guy buy a pound of bacon, or a package of brats, bring it home and weigh it. They can decrease the amount by as much as 4.5 ounces without changing the label, and yet the price is going UP. It all adds up after awhile!


Ever heard of Twitter? I hadn't either, till my friend Tom posted about it. All I can say is, 'THANKS A LOT TOM!'

Twitter is for those of us who are truly addicted to the internet. But, it's even more than that. It's a tool to keep those who care updated about those little things in your life that only certain people really care about. It's kind of like "Big Brother" in a way. Yes, the world of technology is getting quite scary.

So lets take this trip I'm headed on. By my sending a text to twitter, anyone who cares can find out what really cool place I'm eating lunch at, or what the goofy lady at the next table is wearing. If I have a child headed into surgery I can text that to twitter, and anyone who cares will get updates such as, "Just took her to the O.R"....or..."Doctor said things are going great!" etc. And, for fun, all my twitter updates will post to the sidebar of my blog.

Fun huh? If I have any friends on my twitter, their updates will go to my phone if I want them to. If I don't, I can shut them off. Only those who I allow can follow MY twitter, unless of course they're reading my blog. I can turn off Twitter at any time.

Now, some of you are shaking your heads, thinking, "This has gone too far!" and, well, it probably has. But it's so much fun! I thought Tom was nuts, until I tried it out. Now I can quickly see the possibilities!

And I'm having trouble getting to Canada!

My friends the Urbans had this video posted on their blog today. All I can say is, "Wow!" Look at all the places this man has been? Look at all the people who join him in his dance around the world. I think it's amazing! And all I want to do is get a tiny bit of money so I can make it to Canada, and send some postcards to a woman who is disabled and craving some outside correspondence!

To cancel or not to cancel

That is the question.
UGH, I'm so frustrated! Because I am owed several thousand dollars, which was supposed to come in monthly installments over the past several months but hasn't, I have to decide if I'm canceling my trip.

Today I paid the household bills, which leaves me a couple hundred dollars to get through the rest of this week. The money I have left set aside is just enough for gas and hotel for the week. Which is fine, unless of course I decided to EAT while I'm gone! And when you go on a motorcycle trip, just like a car, you still keep a cushion aside just in case there were any emergency repairs that need to be made, etc.

God always makes sure I have what I need. He ALWAYS does! If the money doesn't come in this week I'll know this trip just wasn't meant to be, which is hard to swallow when you've been planning for so long. And so I'll wait on Him.....patiently.....sigh....I really want to say, "Tick Tock God!!!"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Praying for Kennedy

Some kids have it rough, and then some kids have it ROUGH!!!! Meet Kennedy. She just turned 4 years old, and isn't she a doll? Well, here is what Kennedy has been up to in the last year.

Kennedy has Down syndrome. For parents of kids who have DS, the "L" word (Leukemia) is one of our biggest fears. We always feel like we're one blood test away from this horrible diagnosis. Well, a little over a year ago Kennedy was diagnosed with AML (this is a type of Leukemia) The treatment for AML is very aggressive chemotherapy. Thankfully, kids with DS have a higher cure rate than typical kids, but still...we loose many to this horrible disease. Kennedy and her family made it through her treatment. It was a rough road, but they made it. She's not completely out of the woods yet, but things are looking very good.

Just about the time Kennedy was finishing her treatment for AML, she needed to have her neck x-rayed. You see, kids with DS can also have this thing called Atlantoaxial Instability (or AAI) which is an instability in the neck. Only a small percentage of our kids have it, but it's still something they're routinely screened for around 3 years old. Apparently Kennedy didn't think life was interesting enough dragging mom and dad through the AML thing, so she popped up with another surprise. She doesn't just have AAI, she has AtlantoOccopital Instability (AOI) which is even worse. In Kennedy's case, hers was so bad that she was IMMEDIATELY put into a neck brace until they figured out what to do. To put it in very basic terms, Kennedy's head was just "resting" on top of her spine. One wrong move and she could be paralyzed for life. Kennedy's AOI is as bad as it gets.

But Kennedy's medical history is quite complicated, so it took the doctors awhile to figure out the who/what/why's and wheres of doing surgery to fix her neck. Tomorrow she'll be traveling from TN to Philadelphia, then next week she'll have surgery to have her neck permanently fused. She'll come out of surgery in a halo, then spend a week in the hospital, then a month in Philly before she can return home to TN. She'll be in her halo for the next six months!!!! and then they'll return to Philly to have her halo removed.

One has to find good things in everything. Kennedy's daddy has been serving our country in Afghanistan. (his second tour!) Tomorrow morning, as they get off the plane in Philly, Kennedy and her brothers and sister will see their daddy for the first time since December!!! He'll be here for her surgery, and stay until they return home to TN. I praise God that they have this opportunity to see their daddy, even if it's not for the best of reasons. They'll have the weekend together for some much needed family time, then Kennedy will be admitted on Tuesday, with surgery on Wednesday.

Please pray for Kennedy and her family. You can follow their story here on her mom's blog.

Monday, June 23, 2008

6 things you want to know about me

My friend Alyssa tagged me with a "6 things you want to know about me meme". Ok, so here they are:

1) I used to be painfully shy in high school. No...really...
2) I am scared to death of water. I will swim if I have to, and can even tread water. I just don't go under....ever. Funny though, that I want to put in a pool.
3) When Dean is out of town all the dogs sleep with me. Freaks me out if they bark though!
4) I have 4 siblings, but was only raised with 2 of them. YOU figure it out. If you know the story, don't cheat and tell.
5) I have a tic disorder. Certain articles of clothing set off one of my tics (which happens to be my worst and most noticeable one), so I avoid that certain article as much as possible, and buy clothing accordingly. If I don't wear that item I can hide my tics.
6) I joined the Army at the age of 17, and was in until I had Tyler 4 years later, and was discharged from IRR right as my unit was leaving for Desert Storm in 1990.

Ok, so now I'm tagging Kathy, Karen, and Kathy

Epic Journey

In a couple weeks I'll be leaving on my "Epic Journey". This trip was actually started by my friend Tink, a fellow SIS rider who has a big birthday coming up, and is kind of doing it as one of those milestones in life kind of things. We decided to make it a group venture, each of us making the trip for our own personal reasons.

My reason? There are many....

1) Because I'm a big girl, and I can.
2) Because Dean says I can.
3) Because Angela has a dad who can take his time with his daughter and I can let my mom-guard down a little bit.
4) Because I want to take a big trip, but Dean doesn't want to.
5) Because I want to do something fun with a bunch of women I've never met before, only talked to online.
6) Because, much to the frustration of some of my extended family members, I'm kind of into taking risks right now.
7) Because I want to be able to say, "I did it!" when I tell my grandkids what their crazy grandmother did when she turned 41.
8) Because I can't walk away from a challenge.
9) Because it's something none of my friends have done, and I've always had a need to be "different".
10) Because I suddenly have this strange independent streak flowing through me. Well, I think it's always been there, but I seem to act on it more in the past couple of years.
11) Because I never want to look back on my life and have to say, "I wish I didn't pass up the chance to do that."

For reasons of security (this IS a group of women traveling!) I can't post the map of our route. I want to though, so I'll post it as soon as we get back! In the meantime, if you could say a couple prayers for me. The first, and most obvious, is for my health and safety, as well as for the other women in the group.

Secondly, finances are definitely an issue at the moment. There is money that is SUPPOSED to come in, and is owed to me, but the source is unreliable. I have no way of knowing if it's coming today, next week, or a year from now. If the money doesn't come in, I'll have to cancel my trip.

Prayers for Angela who will be with her dad, in his semi. You may remember the last time she went for a week in the truck. It's been very hard for me to say yes to her going again. But her safety is not the only issue. The other is her health, which is kind of in limbo at the moment. Unfortunately her dad isn't very well...ummm...well he can't handle most of the stuff that gets thrown her way. (and omg...what if she got her period for the first time while she was with him? That is both funny and scary at the same time!)

Prayers for Dean as well. He'll have some time with his brother, and lots of time with the 3 dogs. I hope he doesn't get lonely for me, but I hope he misses me! He needs to stay safe in the fishing boat, AND on the road!

Well, that about does it I guess. Oh, if you're REALLY curious where I'll be going, look at a map, and draw a big circle ALL THE WAY AROUND Lake Superior, including up into Canada!

Adventure Wednesdays

When my boys were little, and before Angela was born, I needed a way to spice up our summer, both for them AND me! Money was tight, so it needed to be something really inexpensive. Or, even better, free!

One Wednesday we were out running errands, and I decided to pull into a park we'd never been to. We ended up spending a couple of hours there as the boys, then ages 9, 8, 7, 6 were really having a blast! The following week on Tuesday my good friend called, "What can we do with the kids tomorrow? Mine are already bored and we're broke!" I told her to pack a lunch and I'd take them somewhere. I didn't know "where" yet, but somewhere! We loaded all the kids into my van and off we went on our first "Adventure Wednesday". I took us to a really cool rope park in Plymouth, MN which was about 45 minutes from our house. We spent half the day there and the kids really enjoyed themselves, and I made a discovery.

I was a young mom with all these kids, and realized I didn't have to spend a lot of money to have fun with them. All I needed to do was add the word "adventure", pack a cooler, load them up, and not tell the kids where we were going. To be honest, there were a few times here and there that I DIDN'T know where we were going until we got there. I had to drive around a bit to find a new park, or other interesting place that I could tell on the drive-by that my kids would love.

Adventure Wednesdays continued even while Angela was in the NICU 75 miles away and I was recovering from a c-section. The boys, then ages 10, 9, 8, 7, really needed some sort of normalcy to their suddenly disrupted routine, and Adventure Wednesdays fit the bill. During those 6 weeks they could count on Mom's undivided attention being there on that day every week. One week someone gave us tickets to a local amusement park, and there was was, three weeks post c-section, riding a roller coaster! LOL

Now that the boys are all grown up, and Angela is having her first ever summer without summer school services (we opted out this year!) she and I will be picking up the Adventure Wednesday tradition and adding our own spin to it. Took me 12 years, but Angela will finally get her adventure.

Do you have a fun way to keep your kids busy over the summer? Write a blog about it, and share it in the "Do It Yourself Daycamp" blog carnival!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Downward Spiral?

I feel like we're on a downward spiral with Angela's health again. A couple 3 weeks ago I noticed her hair was starting to fall out. I mean...handfuls at a time. I immediately suspected her thyroid is malfunctioning, but decided to do a "wait and see" for a few days until we got back from our trip and the family party was out of the way. On the trip my sister said she looked "puffy", and then her skin started getting scaly. All symptoms of thyroid problems. If that's what it is, it's a pretty easy fix, just one more pill to her already established daily pill regimen.

Right before we went "Up North" Angela started to get sick, of the sinus variety. The day before we left I got her on antibiotics knowing it would turn bad while we were gone. Her nose cleared up, but the rest of her did not. A couple hours ago she came home from her dad's with a horrible cough that sounds like it's of the pneumonia variety. He picked her up on Saturday morning and said she fell asleep in the truck, then slept the rest of the day, and most of today as well. She doesn't sleep like that here! Granted she had a busy couple of days with the state track meet, etc. but she wasn't "over done." She always gets sick when she goes with her dad. Lately they've been staying with his mom, and both he and his mom are heavy smokers. Angela can't be around that smoke and I've about had it.

So, at the end of last week, as I was rushing around cleaning for this party, (thank God that's over with!) I kept thinking I needed to call and schedule an appointment for her with the dr. Funny...the doctor called ME on Friday to say that Angela needs a recheck before her meds can be refilled again, and also her 12 yr check-up. I mentioned that she also has some other issues going on, mainly thyroid, and how soon could we be seen? I was told that she hadn't had her thyroid checked in...hmm....about 18 months! ACK! (for kids with DS, this should be done AT LEAST yearly, more often for her because she already has endocrine problems.) While we're there, I'm going to have the dr. write a letter to Angela's dad about the smoke. He just doesn't get it. He thinks that if he doesn't smoke while she's there, everything is just fine. Never mind the smoke that has permeated all the furniture, carpets, etc.

Tomorrow morning is swimming, but I guess I'll have to wait and see how she feels when she gets up. She's not running a fever or anything else, but the cough is bad. Then again, as in the past, she could have this cough for months and we just learn to live with it......sigh...... Dr. appointment tomorrow at 4:00, so we'll see what she has to say!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

How cool is THAT?

Check out the Bob95 FM Radio website. They have a weekly "Pet of the Week" feature, with a lovely red doodle pictured on the logo. That doodle happens to be Lola, one of my puppies! How cool is THAT? Don't they look like giant stuffed animals?

What does your blog title mean?

Naming one's blog is a task that some people put a lot of thought into, while others prefer to just come up with a couple clever words that sound fun together. Some blog titles make it clear what the theme of the blog is, while others are a bit more ambiguous.

My title, "Garden of Eagan", is one of those that I don't think is completely obvious. While our yard is definitely beautiful, I wouldn't call it a garden. If someone were to do a google search about blogging and gardens, my title would come up somewhere in their search. Sadly, I do very little gardening. Instead I prefer to "un-garden", which is what I call it when I try out various plants to see which ones die the fastest in our yard.

I chose my blog name because it describes what I'm trying to do with my LIFE. I also included my favorite quote, "If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone." My mission in life for the past several years has been to try new things, and in order to do that, you have to step out of your comfort zone. You have to put yourself out there a little bit, take some risks.

The first time I decided to take a big risk was at the age of 17 when, unbeknownst to my parents, or even a single one of my friends, I enlisted in the U.S. Army. I didn't tell a single person I was going to meet with a recruiter, or take the asvab's. Since I was only 17 my parents needed to sign for me. When my recruiter and I sat down to talk to them about it, the first thing my mom asked was, "How many of your friends are doing this?" She was sure this was one of those "everyone else is doing it." kinds of things. When she realized this was all on my own, she was willing to sign.

Stepping out on a limb...yeah, I've done that a few times in my life. Most of the time I've had good results, but there have been a couple that were not-so-great. Like the time I decided to audition for the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. HA! Like I thought I had the kind of talent and SCHOOLED TRAINING required in a place like that! Oh, to be a fly on the wall and hear what was said after my audition! LOL

But the good results far outweighed the bad. I don't remember exactly how this came about, but when I was 21 years old I spoke in the rotunda of the Minnesota State Capital building about the closing of the State Hospitals for adults with disabilities. (they had a more horrible name at that time.) I think it's interesting that way back then God found a way to stick me into a position of advocacy for a group of people I *thought* I knew quite well, but would soon become far more intimate with! Funny how God does stuff like that.

And so, I spend my days tending to my "garden" that is my life. Growing in my relationship with God, while at the same time growing myself as well. Planting some seeds here and there, watering them with life experiences that aren't always easy, then sitting back to watch the flowers bloom with the changes God brings about by them.

So tell me, how did you name your blog?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Got Talent?

I have to say, this kid has more guts and determination than most adults I know! A couple weeks ago each student who wanted to participated in their grade-level talent show. There were about 15-20 kids who did the 5th grade show, Angela being one of them.

A couple days later it was announced over the loud speaker who the 6 winners from each grade were, and Angela was one of the 5th grade winners! They would each perform at the ALL SCHOOL talent show on the very last day of school, which was today.

But Angela started getting sick. She had her birthday sleepover on Friday then went to her dad's where she slept until Sunday afternoon. The child who rarely cries was in a fit of tears on the couch, she was so miserable. Itchy, watery eyes, dripping really bad allergy stuff. I put her to bed and in the morning she woke up spunky and ready for school! Monday was ok, Tuesday was not-so-much (when she's getting sick her behavior is horrid!) Weds we had the practice for the talent show, and decided to simplify her act a bit.

Meanwhile, between not feeling 100% AND having HUGE anxiety problems about the end of the school year, loosing her teachers, going to a new school (moving up to middle school) AND anticipation of the talent has NOT been a very good week!

And then came today. The last day of school, and the day of the talent show. I wondered how she'd be feeling when she got up. She didn't seem too bad, but MAN was she crabby!!! OMG....every swear word she knows was flying out of that little mouth of hers, all before *my* eyes were even open! She had picked out some clothes (stripes of course) but she is going through HUGE growth spurts and I have rules for her clothes. No tummy showing, no butt crack showing, must wear a bra (she can't quite get them on herself) yada yada yada. Apparently there weren't any stripes in her drawer that fit my criteria and it was irritating her.

Eventually we got out the door (late, which makes her crabby to be rushed along when SHE got up in plenty of time, it was MOM that was late!) and on the way to school she's saying, "Fine! No show! FINE!" and I'm thinking Lovely...just lovely.

Her turn finally rolled around, and as I handed her Dudley's leash, I realized she either had a fever and a really bad case of the chills, or she was super nervous and trembling. I asked, "Are you cold or nervous?"

"I'm SO NERVOUS!" she said, and I thought she would cry. When she went up on stage, she was flustered. It was about that time, as the music started, that I....horrible mother that I am....realized she wasn't wearing her hearing aids, and couldn't hear the beginning of her music. From there she had a hard time catching up to it.

But she did it. Croaky sick voice and all, she did her whole song, remembered to introduce herself and the dog, AND tell the stage lady that she was ready to start. She even got Dudley to take a bow at the end.

When I was done recording her act, I turned around to see all the moms I know crying, and all the staff wiping tears, and Angela's aids were about beside themselves. I knew all along that she could do this, but they didn't....they had no idea...and again, Angela shatters the misconceptions.

And so, here's the video. I wanted to tell the lady to start the music over, but I didn't. I did NOT want to be the stage mom and step in. I let her go it alone. After this I had to go say goodbye to all her staff that have been so wonderful to her since we moved here in 2nd grade with a kid on death's door. You'd never know to look at her now.
(for those on reader, there's a video here.)

Aaaahhhh let the summer rush begin!

Angela's last day of school was Thursday, June 12th, can you believe it? Friday we left for our 13th annual family Christamas at Ivanhoe weekend (which hasn't been at Ivanhoe for 3 years, but I digress.) This is Christmas gift from my parents. They rent out all the cabins of a local resort up in Walker, MN (just happens to be right down the road from their house.) and all my sibings and I, along with our families, take over the resort for a long weekend. It's the one time every year that I know I'll see my sister from IL. This year I got to see my great nephew Payton and great niece Madison for the first time. Beautiful babies who I got to love on for four whole days!

Ivanhoe weekend is the official start of our summer. Seems weird this year since we're already to the middle of June! Today I'll run Angela to swimming (she missed the first couple of days since she was still in school) then come home to start working in the house! We have a big party here on Saturday. Here's what needs to get done before Saturday morning:

1) Finish painting kitchen. 2 coats of 2 different colors.
2) tile downstairs bathroom
3) replace broken deck board
3) pressure spray 3 season porch
4) repaint said porch floor
5) wash basement windows
6) pick up odds and ends around outside
8) Clean carpets in upstairs bedrooms
9) clean, clean clean the rest of the house.

Thankfully Dean's parents will be around to help out over the next couple of days. Needless to say, I won't be around much. Oh, and I have PCA lined up for all day Thursday and Friday so Angela will be busy, although I don't know what I'm going to do about the state Special Olympics track meet. I *really* don't have time to spend the day down there. Her PCA can take her, feel like a rotten parent if I miss it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

School Denies Access to Service Dog

Meet Adam and his dog Kita. Adam has Fragile X Syndrome, and his service dog Kita helps him get through live. Federal Law protects Kita's access everywhere else, but school wants a court order before they allow access!

Kita and Adam are still in the bonding process, and have only been together for a few weeks, so they're still "learning" each other. Kita does several things for Adam, one of which is interrupting self injurious behaviors. She also alerts to impending seizures. School says "But we have other students and teachers who are allergic to dogs." And, I'm sure they do. Those same people will run into service dogs out in the community too! They probably haven't even noticed the service dog laying under the chairs at a neighboring table last night when they went out to eat, or the dog at the ball game, or in their church. Service dogs don't have to be big! I've seen King Charles Spaniels as service dogs, and most people don't even realize the dog is there.

The funny thing is, if Adam were blind, school wouldn't deny the dog, because the dog's services would be obvious. But when people have disabilities that are hidden, it can be difficult to see what service the dog is providing. It really shouldn't matter. It's not up to the general public to decide weather or not a person's service dog really provides a service. Once the dog has had the necessary training and testing, and been deemed "service dog", nobody else gets to say, "But I don't think he really needs that dog, so we're not going to allow it."

Monday, June 09, 2008

Angela's New Ride

Here's Angela, the coolest kid in the 5th grade, refusing to get out after her first ride. LOL

For those on reader, there's a video here.

If you do it, I will chase you down!

Picture this:

You're in your car, driving down a two-lane highway. Speed limit is 50, though most do 55, a few do 60. You're driving the speed limit of 50 mph, of course!

There is a car in front of you making a left hand turn. They're stopped in the lane waiting for oncoming traffic to pass. You have two choices:

A) Come to a stop behind them and wait.
B) Without slowing and disrupting traffic, move to the right shoulder and pass.


Do you KNOW that when I'm making the left turn onto my road, 99% of the people choose B? Do you KNOW why that's ILLEGAL? Because people get KILLED that way!!! But how does that happen if you're being careful when you pass them?

Lets pick up that same scenario at the point where you need to decide what to do. You choose to move into the shoulder and pass the waiting vehicle, but the car BEHIND you couldn't SEE that there was a car stopped there, and suddenly here is this car STOPPED in front of them! Now THIER choice is to SUDDENLY veer off onto the shoulder, or rear-end the waiting vehicle. The car behind THEM is now suddenly in the exact same position!

Now, make that waiting vehicle a motorcycle, and you have ME! Three years ago, my neighbor, while driving her car was rear ended by a car moving at high speed in this exact same scenario in that very spot. Every day, when I take that corner, I watch my mirrors carefully, hoping I'm not the next one, while also watching the oncoming cars so I can hurry up and turn.

Today it happened again, only THIS TIME the woman didn't even slightly slow down, and she was yacking away on her cell phone. She didn't even glance my direction! I'd had it...I was fed up with idiot drivers putting me in this position over and over again. There were no other cars behind her, so I was safe to change my mind and NOT make my turn. Instead, I chased her down.

Ok, if you haven't seen my in my biker gear, I might looks a little scary pulling up to you at a stop light, especially if I'm pissed off. There is a stop light about a 1/2 mile down the road, so I hoped she'd have to stop in a spot where I could have a word with her. She pulled into the left turn lane, and I pulled into the lane going straight. It's a long light...I had time! LOL I turned and gestured to her. Her passenger shrunk in the seat while trying to get the woman's attention. After several attempts she finally put her phone down.

Me: "Do you know why it's illegal to pass on the shoulder?"
Her:"I didn't do anything wrong, you had your turn signal on."
Me:"And I WAS turning, but you passed me on the shoulder. DO YOU KNOW WHY THAT'S ILLEGAL?"
Her: "But you were TURNING! I didn't do anything wrong! You were turning!"
Me: "Go back to driver's ed. One of these days you're going to pass someone like that and get them killed BECAUSE YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY IT'S WRONG!"

She rolled up her window, understandably frustrated. Why shouldn't she be? SHE didn't think she did anything wrong! After all, I had my turn signal on!

So if you're in Eagan, MN, and happen to pass a way cool looking sidecar and decide to pass it on the shoulder, know that it's ME, and I just might chase you down!
If you'd like to verify this law, here's a link. You'll want mn stat 169.18 subd 4.4

Now, if you'll excuse me while I go look up the road rage laws.

Friday, June 06, 2008

It's done! It's Done!

My sidecar is DONE!!! And just in time for Angela's birthday too! Ohhhh I can hardly stand it! I have been waiting for so long for this. (ok, so has Angela, but I don't think it's bothered her all that much. LOL) Tomorrow Dean and I will cancel our plans to tile the basement and make the 2 hour drive to pick up the rig. And then there is the whole weather thing. It's been storming here for days, and tomorrow is supposed to be much of the same. The weather channel says something about "severe storms in the afternoon for southern MN. Great...that's just where we're headed. And then comes the adventure of driving it back! You see, I've never driven a sidecar before! LOL We'll have to take back roads so I don't have to go real fast and can avoid traffic. But, should I decide it's too much, the sidecar is mounted in a way that we can disconnect it and put it in the truck and I can ride home "two up". Here's what my new baby looks like.


It's My Birthday! (by Angela)

Big yawn.....stretch....rub my nose...

Oh my gosh, it's morning! Today is Friday! It's June 6th, my birthday! Yep, my birthday today! Oh my gosh!

I get dressed FAST! These pants? Nope, too tight. I'm not liking those tight pants. These pants? Nope, that button. I'm not liking that button. These pants? They're black. Perfect. They fit perfect. I look in the mirror. My socks are there, Mom says that's too short. I say perfect!

Get my shirt. Mom says no tummy showing. Red shirt. What? No stripes in my drawer? UGH!!!!!!! That's ok, I just want to get to school. It's my birthday at school too! Red shirt is perfect, even if no stripes.

I go in the hall, and open Mom's door. She's sleeping. Snoring. HAHA Mom is snoring! Shhhh be very quiet so Mom doesn't wake up. I'm dressed for school, time to go! Wait, eat breakfast first!

Open the fridge...hhmmm....Maybe pickles? No, that's not breakfast. I know, peanut butter toast, and an orange. Oranges are hard to peel. Tyler will do it for me. I go downstairs, open Tyler's door. He's sleeping too. "Tyler, will you peel this orange for me?" He did! He didn't even open his eyes. Thanks Ty!

Breakfast tastes good. Time to brush my teeth, and my hair. Done! I'm all set for school. Get my jacket on, and my shoes, and my backpack. Bye Mom! By Ty! Ohhhh It's dark out here. Kind of scary. It's not supposed to be dark when I go to the bus. Oh well.

Today is my birthday! I can't wait to get to school!

Note from Mom: I was woken up at 6:00 this morning by the slamming of the front door. I looked out the window but saw nothing. I threw on some clothes and ran to the door, noticing that Angela's shoes were gone. I ran outside and there stood Angela, in the semi darkness, waiting for her bus. The one that won't come for another 3 hours. I walked down the driveway and told her to come in the house, that she was too early for the bus. "Besides, you need to eat, and brush your teeth and hair and all that stuff. I see you found your clothes. Good job. You're sure excited for school today huh?"

"I did! I did brush my hair. I did brush my teeth. I did eat breakfast! I'm all set!"

Sure enough, I can tell by the toothpaste on her mouth that she did do her teeth. And embedded in that toothpaste are crumbs and bits of orange, so I know she ate breakfast. (though I didn't know we had oranges. Hmmmm) I can also see that the front and sides of her hair is brushed. She's dressed in matching clothes (though the pants are a little on the short side, at least she doesn't have plumber butt in them.) Now we just have to work a little more on that telling time thing. She can tell time, but doesn't understand that things don't happen UNTIL a certain time, and that just because you're ready for them doesn't mean they will happen sooner.

Twelve years old. So much more independent, even from a year ago. So grown up (in all kinds of ways Shocked ) and ready to take on the world!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Why Parents Drink

The boss wondered why one of his most valued employees
was absent but had not phoned in sick one day. Needing
to have an urgent problem with one of the main
computers resolved he dialed the employee's home phone
number and was greeted with a child's whisper. "Hello?"

"Is your daddy home?" he asked.

"Yes" whispered the small voice.

"May I talk with him?"

The child whispered "No."

Surprised and wanting to talk with an adult the boss
asked "Is your Mommy there?"


"May I talk with her?"

Again the small voice
whispered "No."

Hoping there was somebody with whom he could leave a
message the boss asked "Is anybody else there?"

"Yes," whispered the child "a policeman."

Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee's
home the boss asked "May I speak with the policeman?"

"No he's busy." whispered the child.

"Busy doing what?"

"Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the Fireman." came the
whispered answer.

Growing more worried as he heard a loud noise in the
background through the ear piece on the phone the boss
asked "What is that noise?"

"A helicopter." answered the whispering voice.

"What is going on there?" demanded the boss now truly

Again whispering the child answered, "The search team
just landed a helicopter."

Alarmed, concerned and a little frustrated the boss
asked, "What are they searching for?"

Still whispering the young voice replied with a
muffled giggle...

"ME ."

Scrapbookers and Crafters Unite!

I would like to introduce you to Parker Hodson.

Please, I beg you, to go read his story. Parker has the most extreme health issues, and health insurance isn't covering the cost of his care. He's on several very expensive medications and uses a lot of medical supplies. (read his mom's blog post from today!) But his family continues to pay, and continues to sink further and further into debt as they continue to pay bits here and there on his medical bills.

A group of bloggers has set up a fundraiser called Pages4Parker to help raise funds for this family. It's simple...put together some scrapbook pages that someone would want to buy, and send them to the address below. But other crafters have jumped on the wagon and asked if they could send other stuff as well. YOU BET!!!! All items will then be listed on ebay for a virtual craft sale! All proceeds go into an account for Parker to be used for his medical care.

Pages and craft items can be sent to this address. If you're not crafty, but would like to make a donation, you can do so through his paypal account here.

Parker Hodson
10865 North 6000 West
Highland, Utah

Monday, June 02, 2008

Wrist update

A few people have asked how my wrist is doing, so I thought I'd post a quick update about it. My wrist is doing great...most days. There are some days when it's not so great, usually when I've done too much with it! I keep forgetting that if I'd had a cast, I would have just gotten it off a couple weeks ago! My hand strength is nearly 100% of what it was prior to my meeting with the ice. I can rotate everything the way it's supposed to rotate. My ARM strength is definitely not what it was before though. Sometimes I'll go to grab something and my arm will collapse.

I do have one complication from the surgery to install the plate and screws though. The median nerve runs through the area where the plate and screws went in, and sometimes the scar tissue compresses it, causing carpal tunnel syndrome. My thumb and index finger are always tingly, and my other three fingers vary from tingly to numb. I go back to the doctor in a couple months to have some tests done to determine how much damage is done, and weather or not I'll need surgery to release it. And...the best can handle a whole day on the bike! Cuz that's what really counts, right?

Death by trike

OMG, she's gonna kill me with the bike!

Lets go back to Saturday. Dean and I were on the Ride For Wishes motorcycle run, so Angela was home with a brand new PCA. Brett is 15, and also has a brother with DS. He's a GREAT kid, and Angela really had a blast with him. Could it be because he was willing to play dress up with her? Or "Jail"? Or could it be because he doesn't say no to things that require a lot

When Brett first got there, Angela got out her little Thomas the Tank train set. Really, it's a tiny set, and one that annoys the heck out of me setting it up. But Brett was game! He got it set up and they played with it for about 8 seconds when I saw that twinkle in her eye.

Angela: I'm done with this.
Brett: Ok...what d'ya wanna do next?
Angela (with evil grin): "Play dress up."
Brett (with eye roll and cringe): Ok
Me: "Don't worry Brett, we don't have anything in there that will fit you. But, maybe I'll make a stop at Goodwill to get some stuff for next time."

So they played dress-up, which evolved into Angela's most favorite game of "Jail". This is a common playground game, and one that Angela can never find anyone to play at home. But that Brett, he was all for it! He got arrested and handcuffed a bunch of times. Don't worry, they're not real handcuffs. What, ya think I'm stupid?

All that happened in the 1/2 hr before we left. It was gonna be a long day for Brett!

I did tell Brett how to get to the closest park, just in case they decided to take a walk. However, I forgot to put the stroller out, and there is no way Angela can make the walk to that park. Angela knows the way to the park, (Angela knows how to get to anything within a 10 mile radius, I swear!) so I didn't give him super directions.

As soon as we were out the door, Angela said, "Let's go for a bike ride!" Ok, for those who have never been here, our neighborhood is not exactly new-bike-rider friendly. Even our driveway is a death trap, with two huge, very steep hills. Brett managed to get the bike down the driveway and they headed out. The park is about 1/2 mile away, and it's uphill almost the whole way! Yeah, well Angela didn't take him to THAT park. Instead she took him all the way to the elementary school, which is a mile and a half away! They got to the school and played at the park a bit, then had to ride all the way home! She was pretty tired when she got back. I felt sorry for Brett, but was glad it was him and not me.

And then Sunday happened.

Angela wanted/needed to burn off some steam, so we got the bike out. We ended up doing about 3 miles. Now, when Brett went with her, he is a young, physically fit 15 year old boy. I am an old, not-so-fit mom who thought she was done running alongside bikes years ago. Angela would get that look in her eye, then crank up the gears and start pedaling really fast. Laughing hysterically at the mom who was trying to keep up! Let me just say that by the end of the summer I will have no excuse for not loosing weight.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ride for Wishes

Yesterday was the 4th annual "Ride For Wish". A HUGE motorcycle ride to benefit the Make A Wish Foundation of Minnesota, specifically raising funds for two kids in particular who are waiting for their wish to happen.

I have to say, the Make A Wish Foundation is the neatest organization I've ever had anything to to do with. The things they manage to pull off are often of the miracle variety. But, sadly, every month we get the MAW newsletter, and there is a list of former wish kids who have passed away. Sometimes there are kids listed who passed away before their wish could come true. Reading these names, and thinking of their families and all they have gone and are going through, always puts tears in my eye.

So back to the ride. There were somewhere around 250-300 bikes on this ride! This is BY FAR the biggest ride I've ever been on, and THE MOST ORGANIZED! These guys really know how to do a big ride and keep that huge group safe. We occasionally ride with another group on their weekly ride, and it's always a little bit scary because there are some people who do some really stupid stuff. But most of the people who ride these huge charity rides do it all the time. They understand how it SHOULD work, and they make sure it DOES.

I can't begin to describe the energy that comes from a group ride like this. When the signal is given "Let's roll!" all the engines start. That's 200+ motorcycle engines, and the adrenaline rush that goes along with it. My sidecar still isn't done (soon...soon...soon) and it was killing me that Angela wasn't along for this ride. After all, SHE is the reason we're connected to this amazing organization! SHE would have loved the energy, and the thrill of the ride.

When there is a group of this size, we stretch out for a mile or so down the road. It's really an amazing sight, and is always met with hanging jaws from spectators. When we go through small towns, people come out their doors to see what the racket is about. They point, and wave, and try to count the bikes (which is impossible!) It really is a lot of fun! Another cool part of a ride like this is the business it brings to the small towns. Local bars are notified of our decent upon them well in advance, and are advised to have extra wait staff on hand. If you figure 250 bikes, about 1/2 of them having two people on the bike, that's a lot of business. For some small towns, that's a week's worth of business in just an hour's time. Because of the added stress to the business, bikers in a group like this often tip generously as well. Some businesses will then turn around and donate some of their profits for the day back to the ride's intended recipient.

Of course, I didn't bring my camera along on the ride. I can't believe I didn't! I realized it when I turned to look behind us, and saw the mile or so of bikes still coming, then turned and saw the 1/2 mile of bikes ahead of us. An amazing sight.

You won't find a more caring, generous group than a group of bikers. That tough exterior you see is just that, the exterior. What you can't see until you spend some time with them is the inside...the heart.

After the ride was a street dance with eight different bands, a silent auction and raffle. Of course food, etc. And the St. Paul Vulcans where there as well, marking people's cheek. We went home to pick up Angela so she could join in the street dance part of the day. She asked the vulcans, "You good guys or bad guys?" They answered her with mardi gras beads and a pin. LOL I did get a few pictures from this part of the day, but I can't find my camera to post them!

Anyway, a lot of money was raised to benefit two different kids who are waiting for their wish to come true. The Make A Wish Foundation of Minnesota is there to see that it does!