"When a great adventure is offered, you do not refuse it." Amelia Earhart

Friday, August 27, 2010

Keeping it out of reach

Phew! It has been a very busy past couple of weeks. I have so much to reflect on, record, and celebrate. New discoveries and happy get-togethers have been abundant and are ongoing. Once I get a chance to breathe, I will elaborate.

For now, here is something that I have recently been reminded of that is so very important. Every day is an opportunity to be better version of yourself. As difficult as it may sometimes be, start it fresh. Cleanse the palette. Forgive the indiscretions and forget the shortcomings of yesterday so you can move forward today.

In my line of work as a brain trainer, this positive attitude is crucial to success. Not merely my success, but to the success of my young clients. Most of the children and teens I work with have been through the gauntlet.

Many of our clients have some form of ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, are on the autism disorder, or have any other number of issues that cause moderate to severe learning and social problems. Due to their struggles, many of these bright but frustrated children often have behavior issues and low self-esteem.

Every child that walks through the door is completely unique with a different set of obstacles to overcome. Sadly, some of them hear more about their failures than their successes. Many of them have learned from teachers, friends, family, and others to aim for mediocrity, or to do whatever it takes just to get to the next step.

One thing I've learned from this job is to try to not set expectations. Learn to expect the unexpected. If I ask my clients only to do what I expect they can do, then that may be all I get in return. That would be the greatest disservice of all.

For example, I have had the privilege of working with some extremely challenging children in the past few months. By challenging, I mean oppositional.

One teenager had learned at school that misbehavior was "rewarded" by out of school suspension, where he could be lazy and fool around at home. He was bound and determined to prove that our program was some kind of farce or scam. He tried to get out of working through debate, complaining, and even making inappropriate conversation or remarks (yup, sexual in nature). He was hoping I would send him home to mommy. As much as I would have liked to relieve myself of this menace, I never buckled.

However, a couple of times I made the mistake of going to work with the expectation of little work getting done. Let's just say those sessions were a couple of the worst and longest sessions ever. That was my lesson in always going to work with a clean slate and an optimistic attitude.

Guess what?

That particular teenager yielded the best results (in cognitive gains) of all my clients to date at the end of his program.

Where would any of us be if we only set the bar within our reach?

The impossible can always be broken down into possibilities.
~Author Unknown

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Thursday, August 19, 2010


It's that time of the week again: Friday !!! Woo-hoo!!! That also means it's time for another edition of Five Question Friday with Mama M.

1. Do you have any nicknames and if so how did it come about?

Nothing exciting or interesting. DadMan calls me "L."

When I was a baby my mom called me "punkin' puss" -- endearing, I know. And I was the happy baby. My sister screamed her head off nonstop and she got "Snookums." What gives?

2. What is your birth order amongst your siblings?

I grew up as the oldest and exhibit the typical "first born" qualities. Responsible, independent, people-pleaser, got good grades, somewhat uptight, all that and a bag of chips.

The thing is, I found out when I was 22 that I am not the first born. Gasp! At least not to my father.
Not only that, but my brother is just two years older than me. Scandalous!

And for those of you who have been dying to put a face to the blog, that's yours truly on the right!

3. In a movie of your life, who would play your significant other?

Honestly, I can think of no one who could portray DadMan. He's one of a kind, that's for sure.

4. What is currently your favorite song?

Always has been and probably always will be: Stand By Me by Ben E. King

5. Are you saving your money for anything right now? Big or small purchase?

I wish I could say I was saving. We're pretty much paycheck to paycheck right now.

Well, I am trying to scrape a little stash together to get Dozer into a fun music or gymnastics toddler class. I've been feeling pretty guilty about the fact that he's stuck with adults most of the time.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Where is This?

This is where I vacationed last summer. Let's see if you know where I went!

Linking up this Wordless Wednesday with Kristi at Live and Love... Out Loud and Alicia at A Beautiful Mess.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Visits from the family

I love my family.

Love them to pieces and pieces. And not just my little family.

I'm talkin' 'bout the whole famn damily. The sweet aunts, crazy uncles, naughty cousins, and yes, even the in-laws (mine just happen to be the most awesome, by the way).

I love them so much that I am torn to pieces when they leave.

Every time.

Even after spending a few days crammed into a 1600 sq ft townhome, most of that time the 10-14 of us (plus two dogs) were all squished together around the breakfast bar/kitchen/dining room/family room "great room" area. Even after three nights on an air mattress and an aching back. I would gladly do it for another week to be able to spend more time with them.

My Aunt Mare is the coolest. She is one of the most gracious, generous, sensible, fun, sincere people I know. Being the youngest (and only daughter) of seven, with six of the most rambunctious, mischeivous, antagonizing, and over-protective brothers, I am amazed and awed that she turned out to be so tolerant and loving. With everything they put her through (especially my dad), she had every right to be a total princess or be-yotch and she isn't close to being either. She is the glue that holds them all together.

I strive to be a little more like her and hope that some day I am half the wife, mother, sister, and friend that she is.

Her husband is also ubercool. Impeccable taste in the categories of (but not limited to): music, beer, and literature. He educated my little sister in "Tequila" (the song, people!) and had her singing and doing the PeeWee Herman dance in public when she was three. He does crosswords in ink. He has had some hilarious socially awkward moments but is also very charming, gracious, and likable so he can get away with it without being thought of as a jackass.

The kiddo dances to a beat all her own. At sixteen, her highlight of this trip was the visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. To each her own. But she totally embraces her geekiness and kudos to her for that! She is a thinker, a writer, compassionate, unique, and funny. A beautiful and thoughtful girl.

This visit was all about spending time together. No pressure to entertain or anxiety over whether they were bored or uncomfortable. We ate, laughed, walked on the beach, drank wine, watched movies, played games...

simply enjoyed each other.

And Dozer soaked up the extra attention like the thirstiest of all sponges.

And looked very sad to see the packed bags going back into the rental car. He even cried. Hard.

Broke my heart.

Must work harder at convincing them to move south.

Friday, August 13, 2010

5QF: This blistering Belle went to Costa Rica with Jack last autumn

Linking up with Mama M. over at My Little Life for another Five Question Friday.

1. Have you ever visited another country?

When I was seventeen my family went to Costa Rica for five days. It was such an amazing experience. First of all, the rainforest and coastal areas are paradise on earth. The second place we stayed was awesome. I'm talking lush greenery everywhere, an open-air dining area, and monkeys that came down from the trees at exactly 5:30 every evening to be hand fed bananas. Secondly, aside from all the fun, it was an eye-opening experience to visit a third world country and I came back with a sincere appreciation for all that I had in life.

2. Where is the strangest place you have ever been?

I used to do all of the estimating for my dad's window treatment business. Every once in awhile, I would find myself in some pretty weird homes. In one house I was surrounded by clocks EVERYWHERE. I mean there wasn't an inch of bare wall to be seen. But that still doesn't beat the time I went to an affluent neighborhood to find a middle-aged man in nothin' but his skivvies and red "sneaker" slippers eating cereal with a bottle of Jack and CMT blaring so that you woulda thought the concert was in his living room. At ten in the morning. I got out of there as fast as I could.

3. What is your favorite season?

Hold up... there are seasons?!? Here in Central FL we have chilly (below 70), beautiful and comfortable, blazing and stifling, and some more comfortable. As such, I love it all with summer being my least favorite.

The season I miss the most is autumn. Every year when late September sneaks up I get this insatiable desire to go north. Growing up in Pennsylvania, fall was absolutely beautiful driving through the hills of amber, red, and gold.

Sigh... what I would do for a big pile of crunchy leaves and a chilly hayride right now...

4. What one song will always cheer you up?

Gosh, there are so many...

Right now the irresistible bassline of the Violent Femmes' Blister in the Sun comes to mind. I wanna jump up and dance just thinking of it.

5. What Disney character do you resemble most?

hmmm... probably Belle (in looks and nature), as boring as that may be. (And DadMan even resembled the Beast well in his long-haired days. heehee)

Off to finish up the housework before our company comes for the weekend. Woo-hoo!!!

Have a fantabulous weekend!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

When Mom's Away, The Boys Will Play in Their Special Way

It's no big secret that fathers do things waaay differently than moms, especially when play and bedtime are involved. Last night was my latest lesson on this particular gender study.

At 8:30 pm, I was summoned to the very ER room I sat in all day with DadMan ten days ago. Exactly how I wanted to spend my Friday evening! But there was a minor family emergency involving a bad spill (the beer overfloweth and so did this particular loved one) and precautions were to be made. Everything and everyone checked out okay and we were able to write it off as a "better safe than sorry" incident. More could be elaborated upon and enjoyed but I will spare said loved one any further embarrassment.

Meanwhile, back at the nut house DadMan decided to forego the whole brush-your-teeth-read-a-few-stories-turn-out-the-light-sing-a-few-diddies-wrestle-tickle-snuggle-til-he-finally-gives-in-to-sleep extravaganza that I like to call bedtime. DadMan's version is let the overtired kid run himself into the ground until he craps out.

Brushing of the teeth? Hellz to the NO-O: he'll know what time it is.

PJs? P-shaw. Who needs 'em?

Going gently into the night? No way! It's a fight til the end. A fierce battle of willpower -- who will break first? Ultimately, DadMan did come out of this one victorious. After a good wrestling match and enduring twenty minutes or so of Dozer screaming like a wild banshee, that is.

And in case you were wondering earlier what I meant exactly by "running into the ground," here's a little video DadMan took of the exciting new activity he devised. I must say, it was pretty darned innovative. I never would have dreamt up this baby.

But right before bed? Is it really any wonder why it was such a struggle? I mean after all that bright fun new stimulation, who would want to sweetly resign themselves to slumber?

Kinda takes the laser pointer fun with the dog or cat to a whole new level, huh?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thankful to be getting back to (our version) of normal

I'll just start out by saying the past two weeks have been one huge steaming pile of a *hot mess*! (see how far behind I am on the WOW?)

As many of you know, poor DadMan was going through an absolutely terrible flare-up of his mystery ailment. And I was up to my elbows in puke buckets, sweaty sheets, soiled blankets... you get the lovely picture. Last Wednesday we spent the entire day in the ER getting him hydrated, poked, prodded, scanned, etc.

Thank goodness, by Friday he was beginning to feel better, slowly gaining back weight, energy, and his sense of humor. He was *effervescent* even -- in more ways than one! He was light on his feet, making a million plans a minute (like the fantastic one about taking a spontaneous road trip to Michigan the very next day - yeah, like that was really gonna happen), and serenading the entire neighborhood with deep delicious belches.

We still have no idea what is causing these episodes as once again, the CT and bloodwork showed nothing. But we did get a referral to a new GI, so hopefully he will be able to shed some light on his situation. Unfortunately, these problems can only really be examined in the midst of the episode so we will have to wait for the next one. It would be awesome and I would be forever grateful if that day never comes, though!

A week later and I am still a bit behind on laundry and housework and have some major cabin fever! It's getting there, but we have relatives coming in from Pittsburgh (yay!!!) so there's a lot to be done.

Also, around here school starts on Monday -- can you believe that???

This means that I go back to working afternoons (another big YAY!).

Working afternoons = mornings with Dozer!!!

I have been feeling like the worst mother lately because he has spent most of the summer inside. It was just too stinking hot and humid by the time I got home from work to play outside! If we don't play outside by 11 am, it's just not happening because:

A) it's just oppressive and
B) I don't want to risk him getting third degree burns from a sizzling swing or slide or the sidewalk (seriously - there are crispy crunchy dead earthworms everywhere this year - blech!).

This was probably the most boring post ever, but that's where I've been. I'm pretty sure you didn't really want all of the juicy details from my vomit-infested week anyway, right? You can thank me by putting in a good word with the Nerd Mafia. And you betchyer sweet assnick that pun was intentional!

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