Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow Angels, Hula Skirts, Polar Plunge Team Update

It snowed in Virginia Saturday.
In my part of the state that is truly a rare event.
We received inches of snow, inches(!) also a rare event.

Chris, that friend that asked me if I was "in" for the Polar Plunge (I wrote about it a week or so ago here) posted the following on her facebook page on Friday:
Cold, Cold, Cold... 6 inches of snow? Just what we needed to get in the mood for the Polar Plunge... Tomorrow Hula skirts and sleds! I double dog dare you!

Still need more donations. Click the link below.

Special Olympics Virginia - online fundraising made easy for any nonprofit organization - Chris Hoch
Special Olympics is a year-round international program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop...

So of course we did what any mature thirty something year old women would do: First Jamie donned a bikini and a hula skirt and posed in the snow... and then Chris answered... feeling a touch left out (they all live in one neighborhood on the other side of town) I decided to join in the fun:

so in case you were wondering if we were gonna really go through with it... we are practicing...

Note the "X" hat; DataXstream is a team sponsor. Thank you DataXstream!

Members of the Hula Around The World Tour, and my travel group from last January's trip to Hawaii: (yes, that is the above mentioned Jamie and Chris as the 'base' in this pose)

so far we have raised $1,732.26 as a team. Our goal is $2,500.00. We have one more week to raise funds!!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I get talking about anophthalmia, but to focus on the ultra sound seems trite to me

An article from ABC News begins with:

"When Taylor Garrison gave birth in October, she was astonished that doctors whisked her daughter, Brielle, out of the delivery room without much explanation.

Garrison also learned this rare diagnosis was one that is almost always missed by ultrasound -- even though hundreds of genetic diseases and deformities once discovered at birth can now be detected with the latest ultrasound technology.

"A lot of worse things could have happened and thank god they didn't," Garrison said. "I see her just as any other baby. She does everything any other baby would.""

Born Without Eyes and Ultrasound Couldn't See
Ultrasounds Can Detect Hundreds of Deformities, But Not Babies Missing Eyes

ABC News Medical Unit
Jan. 28, 2010

I think it is interesting that the article makes such a big deal out of ultra sounds not being able to show that the baby would be born with anophthalmia, a condition that means the child does not have eye tissue.

I get that know things in advance allows for parents and medical staff to prepare to deal with the situation, but it sounds like that, despite not having eyes, the child is healthy. I'm not a doctor but it looks like this is an medical challenge that allows the mother, and hopefully her parents since she is so young, and the medical teams TIME to build a plan. It seems to me that the importance of knowing about challenges ahead of time really centers around challenges that affect the baby's ability to survive. I am not trying to suggest that being born blind is no big deal. For me, to loose my eye sight would be HUGE and I cannot imagine the challenges in raising a child without eye sight, but this whole article about this not being picked up by ultra sound, I just think it is over kill.

At the end of the article the writer states that the mother decided to 'go public' with her baby's condition because not many people have heard of anophthalmia. I think that is probably true. And public awareness is known to make a difference in research dollars.

Perhaps the article could have focused on that perspective a little more. Or maybe the editor just thought the title would get more attention this way? But to try to focus on the ultra sound? We are not gods people. We don't know everything. I am willing to bet that is designed like that on purpose. Because when we do think we know what we are doing, we as a species do a darn good job of messing things up for selfish reasons.

I mean, does the editor think that anything different would, or should be done if parents know about this medical situation in advance? Surely the editor doesn't feel that blindness is a reason to abort a life. I would expect that members of the blind community would speak out vehemently against such a statement. I would/do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Looking Forward to American Idol

I am a hit and miss t.v. girl. I usually prefer to have the kids in bed by 8 and be working out or finishing chores instead of watching t.v. but this winter we seem to have the t.v. on plenty. Its been Football (okay, to many of you that is a no brainer but my husband is not a football game guy. And then he caught a live Colts game and is suddenly watching the Colts on t.v. and they just happen to be Super Bowl bound so...) and my Jr. High Student asked if we could maybe watch American Idol. Of course we can. I am so not going to make her tell her friends that she is in her pjs reading in bed at 8 everynight. Besides, a few years ago I was a dedicated American Idol watcher and I hear it is Simon's last season. WHAT?


I'm completely disappointed.

but anyway-

last week we got to listen to Matt Lawrence -
I really liked him. I hope he makes it way into the season.

I like listening to him!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Yoga Man


There is this FABULOUS studio near my house called Body Balance.” I love it. I recently started taking Hot Yoga classes on Fridays there. It is a wonderful way to end the week. The heat in the room allows my muscles to relax to a depth that doesn’t even happen during a massage, and after 75 minutes I am all stretched out and relaxed.

This evening I walked in last minute to a crowded room. One of the girls got up and moved so I would have a spot, which left me directly behind a college guy with no shirt on. WHAT? I mean, yes it is hot but keep your damn shirt on.

It made it hard to concentrate. Not because he was hot – okay the room was hot but he wasn’t so much – but because I am always so damn self conscious not to be looking that it gets awkward. And worse because I had a running commentary of my friend J- in my head. About 7 years my junior J- and gang seem to have taken me on as a bit of a pet project – as in – they are making it their job to get me to loosen up before I get too much older. We played “I never” last year in Hawaii and they decided that I need homework before the next “I never” game. (luckily they haven’t been checking up on that) These are the same girls behind the Hula Around the World Tour Polar Plunge to support the Special Olympics. (please note the link and feel free to offer support in the form of donations.)

Not sure where this post was going – except to laugh at the guy without his shirt on. Whatever! I wanted to tell him he so did not have anything on my man, and I seriously doubt he has my man’s experience “so wipe that look off your face” but then again hey, maybe I should say –more power to him- for his confidence level. I wish I was confident enough to walk around like that- ha! But I’ll spare you the view.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Adventures in toilet training

The hallway toilet is clogged.
It is my fault. I felt like the entire episode should have been on t.v.
Bitsy is toilet training. She is doing pretty well staying dry. She is doing not so well with the b.m. situation. So a week ago... I was rinsing out a soiled training panty in the toilet. Envision if you will, 3 year old Bitsy dutifully holding up her tunic top, black hair in a pony tail holder on the top of her head fountain style, yabbering at me non stop in her quasi toddler English. "poop mom. yucky mom. what mom doing? yuck mom. poopy! poopy in potty? mom? poopy!" and so on.
I hold one side of the training pant and trail the pant in the toilet and flush it - to loosen up the messy (did I mention they were messy and squashed onto the training pant?) poop. I have done this at least one hundred times. This is my fifth round of toilet training and I had hands on experience with this as I was 12 years older than my baby sister and my mom used cloth diapers.

It slipped.
It slipped at the last second and got pulled into the flushing toilet.
With my right arm I am trying to keep Bitsy out of this mess and with my left arm I am trying to grab a pink, padded, toilet training pant as it is sucked slow motion down my commode! I actually had my hand on the darn thing and couldn't get a good enough grip and the darn toilet beat me.
Seriously... where are the Punked! cameras???
Realizing I had lost I turned off the water, "lefty loosey, righty tighty" my hands are wet and slippery and it takes way too much effort to turn that knob but I get it done.

Now the fun part,
"Honey... I need to talk to you about the toilet..."

You should have seen his face.
"You did WHAT?"

It appears toilets are not on the top of his "fun projects around the house list" it has been 'out of order' with blue painters tape in an x across it for an entire week now.

ah... never a dull moment.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fundraising - Polar Plunge

Sanity... or lack there of

So my good friend and general leader into adventure says to me on New Year's Eve... "are you in?"
I answered, "of course! what are we doing?"
She grins wickedly... "the polar plunge for Special Olympics Virginia. We need a team."

Oh. dear.

I consider myself a desert rat.
I do not go into a pool unless it is 90 degrees out. Or better.
We are running into the Atlantic Ocean in February?

So... since I am doing this... I am unashamedly begging the entire planet to make it the best fundraising event ever. So PLEASE consider visiting my personal page and making a donation if you can. And please, if you are into tweeting links, or sharing, help me spread the word and make a 'splash.'

I do believe in the mission of the Special Olympics. We all need to be challenged to be OUR PERSONAL BEST. It is a great cause.

Link to My Page HERE



Your donation will also assist Special Olympics Virginia in reaching our total fundraising goal of $1 million dollars. That's 1 great reason for you to donate and 999,999 reasons for me to jump in the Atlantic Ocean in the height of winter!

Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate, too.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


It is funny to see what people remember about Disney Vacations and Disney Parks. I went as a kid in the 1970's to Disneyland in California and most of my memories involve meeting characters. My husband tended to visit parks in Florida at an older age and his memories involve the technology and information in Epcot as well as certain rides. As we were going with a 4 year old I really wanted to see characters, my older kids did too they were just less likely to admit it. Although you should have seen their reaction when we saw Stitch without a line early one morning in the Animal Kingdom. STITCH! They had practically tackled him by the time I realized where they were headed.

Ariel can be found in the Magic Kingdom in her grotto. Belle tells a story near the castle but is not available for personal photos or book signings. We saw Mulan in Epcot near the China Pavilion. We saw Snow White in Epcot near the Germany Pavilion. We heard that sometimes Belle and even the Beast could be found near the France Pavilion but somehow, in two days, we never made it that far! We saw our princesses in the Magic Kingdom's Show at Cinderella's Palace (Malificent was even there! So was Captain Hook! It was great!) in the Parades. The Princesses were even escorted by their princes both at the Castle and in the parade.

But the BEST princess experience was lunch. We did not do the dining at Cinderella's Castle but we did have lunch in Epcot's Norway where there is a Princess (in our case Belle) waiting to greet you and take a photo, and there are princesses visiting during dining.

I wrote about it here 'Lunch in Epcot's "Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus"'

I also wrote about my four year old's likes and dislikes in Epcot (here). Even though it is my husband's favorite park, I wasn't sure the smaller ones were going to like it much. They did prefer the Magic Kingdom, but we found some good options in Epcot too.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

An Unusual Cake

Ah! Friday was M-Lyons's 5th Birthday!
We received a touch of snow, unusual for this part of this state, and so we had a two hour delayed school opening. YES! Yes because that menat that Beans would be leaving at 9:15 instead of 7:15. Which meant we could have M-Lyon's special "Waffles and ice cream breakfast" without missing the bus. M-Lyons doesn't tend to wake up before 7 so my options were all ugly without the delay. AND because of the delay, my mom was able to come and join us. She tries hard to make it to Birthday Breakfasts, it is tradition on her side of the family to eat home made waffles on your birthday. Mom's sister gives everyone a waffle iron as a wedding present. Couple that with mom's brother who gives everybody a mixer and you've got a good start to all you need in you kitchen!

She had a little party with her preschool friends planned at 2 PM. She had asked for the cake I made for her brother's birthday in November. "chocolate, chocolate Mom!" The cake trned out well except that it didn't cook exactly flat. The icing was scrumptious (I use the recipe on the back of the Hershey's Cocoa box) but a little soft... The cake kept sliding... like something out of the "Sleeping Beauty" movie. I decided it need some pink to make it more of a girl's cake. I have these cool accordion tubes from Pampered Chef for icing. I've only used them once before. So I made a little pink (buttercream) icing and then M-Lyons wanted to 'help" and there was a split second internal battle and I said "yes." The star/flower shapes were a bit droopy, and the pink icing wasn't stiff enough, and every now and hen a tiny clump of butter would clog up the tip, and everything just sort of melted into it self.

I have to hand it to M-Lyons. Her favorite Disney Princess is Aurora and she started quoted the movie... "well, it is an unusual cake, isn't it dear?" "Of course it will be better after it is baked!" and cracking herself up and giggling. My five year old self would most likely have been in tears but she just thought the whole thing was funny. We put the cake in the fridge so the icing could firm up a bit.

Most awesome cake ever. It tasted amazing; funny, all her little buddies kept telling me, "Miss Cailin this is really good cake!" Even a few mommies broke New Year's resolutions and tried some.

And she had the BEST party at Jumping Joey's. "Mom can we come back here for my six year old party?" was the first thing she said when were strapped into the car to drive home.

same chocolate cake recipe I post in November:
You or your friend requested the recipe below:


1 c. butter
1/2 c. shortening
3 c. sugar
5 eggs
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. cocoa
1 1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Cream butter, oil, and sugar (I melt my butter and
shortening in the microwave). Then add eggs, one at a time.
Add flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa. Then add milk and
vanilla. Beat with a mixer until well blended. Pour in a
greased and floured bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for
about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


my cousin owns this gym:

he is currently in need of some good karma.

if you have a minute; click on the link. If you know someone who needs help with fitness related New Year's goals or is already a fitness fan and frequents Cape Cod perhaps you'll share the link. He has flexible memberships to allow non residents the benefit of working out away from home. It is a first rate set up and one that a life long goal and a lot of thought has gone into.


the biggest 2T 3T on the planet-

rough day today and I was gonna post all the little bitty pieces of hay that broke the camel but you know - like who want to read it really?

and then at Target I bought Gerber training pants for Bitsy. They are water proof thankfully as the particular Target I was in did not have those plastic covers I was looking for. Okay, they are horrible things but they do do the job. Well, sort of. Anyway the size on the Training pants say 2T to 3T. I just opened the package.

Like 3T godzilla!!! My 3 year old is a bit small, I will admit! but seriously? My 5 year old would be swimming in these. In fact I went to grab my camera to show you but... it is awol. So... I'm just telling you for now.

I seriously gotta get myself organized and do reviews or something. And someone, please tell Gerber, that no matter how many jars of babyfood you stuff into your kid, they don't fit into these pants!

Monday, January 4, 2010

My husband's fortune cookie

So. I think it was Dec 26th(?) and we were in the Magic Kingdom, Disney, Florida. It was the only not fabulously perfect day as it was a bit cold and very rainy... at some point we sought shelter and food from the noodle place ther to the right of main street looking at Cinderella's castle and not quite in Tomorrow Land.

The noodles were excellent by the way.

Afterwards we gleefully opened fortune cookies, for some reason we always get a kick out of fortunes. But this one was priceless. My husband, man of a household of seven, on vacation over the holidays, received the following fortune in Walt Disney...

we HAD to take pictures

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy Holidays from the world of Walt Disney

written 12/23/2009
but not posted as I was having photo issues and pictures were half the fun!

Sometime this fall I asked (begged) my husband if we could get the heck out of dodge and away from some family drama and go visit Disney or something equally crazy. We took our two oldest kids to Disney Florida 7 years ago (give or take) while waiting on news of our third... I haven't been since and our three youngest haven't either. Since my man travels a LOT he was able to cash in some travel points, and some credit card points, and work some magic and voila. Here we are!

We spent Tuesday in "HOLLYWOOD" which I think used to be called MGM Studios??? Anyway - we went on the Star Wars ride which was cute and funny. And then we split up because there wasn't as much for the younger two to be entertained by. We did see the Ariel Show which was beautifully done (but lots of Ursula which we generally fast forward through at home; so a little scary for my two small ones) One of the vendors told us to catch the Buzz Lightyear ride (there is one in the Magic Kingdom and this one is like it minus the laser guns or something) but we caught some of the High School Musical Show and then a parade instead. At one point there was a band on stage playing "Exit light, enter night" and I found myself wondering if anybody else thought it was weird to be listening to a Metallica cover in Disney. But that is pretty much the only Metallica song I recognize so maybe they play lots of them and I don't know any better!

On my way down the main drag there was this little man on daddy's shoulders and his drawers were just pulled way down with some crazy plumber's crack going. I don't know why - it just struck me funny. He had the cutest mom, all dolled up and skinny with her fabulous sun glasses and long perfect hair and she kept trying to pull his britches up but if you have a toddler you know, it is just impossible to do anything about their pants. People who design clothes follow adult trends and there are NO pants around that hit at the waist and FIT. They are all low and don't quite cover the diaper even. I know this. For a fact. So I just thought it was funny. And I actually chased him down "Main Street" trying to get a picture for my blog(!) without being out right obvious. I lost them in the crowd but then when I stopped to watch the parade guess who I saw???

And then to top it all off as we were leaving "Hollywood" there was a man just stretched out sleeping on the street. What? Is this an actor trying to make us think we are in California? Or is there some poor fellow really so tired that he is just going to catch a nap right there?

Can't say why.
Struck me funny :-)