Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

It has been one week today since we added a teenager to our household!  Of course things have changed a bit around here, but none for the worse and way more for him then for us!  He sure faces all of the changes like a trooper!  Like I told Ry; with any child you add or even a pet- there is an adjustment time and after you adjust you can't remember what life was like before!  We're working on it!

So, what are the changes we have experienced so far with a teenager from a different country becoming part of the family?  I am doing a bit more running around right now, but that won't be forever.  A didn't come with much clothes and the things he has aren't appropriate for Michigan weather.  So we have had to go find odds and ends to fill in the gaps in his wardrobe.  We did most of it on Saturday.   I hope he didn't say yes to things just because we pulled them out!  At first he stood back and just nodded his head for everything.  Later, after we coaxed him, he began to look on his own and pick out some things.  I told Ry I was stepping back to let him look, but really I was looking at clothes for myself - but honestly, how many times do I get to shop for myself without at least two kids hiding in racks, pushing each other, or hanging on my legs???

I also have been bringing and picking him from school.  I am still too nervous to put him on the bus.  Would he be able to find the right bus when they switch and would he know which stop to get off?  I speak English and have lived in the same house for almost 3 years and I don't know if I could find the right bus!!  It isn't the most ideal situation dropping him off in the morning and then putting Jackson on a bus and then bringing Lola to school, but it won't be forever.  I have to say that the best part of my week so far has been when we picked him up from school on Monday afternoon.  The little ones and I went inside the building to wait for him because I didn't think he would know our car. (and no I am not a mean mom to have him in school already - we are required to have him enrolled within 5 days of him being here!)  When I saw him come down the hall we stood up so he could see us.  As soon as he saw us the biggest smile lit up his face!  It was like the glow of a lightning bug - it just flashed on quickly and seemed that bright to me!  The little ones jumped up and down, called his name, and waved wildly! (no, I didn't do that with them - I know better then to embarrass a high schooler publicly that way- at least I'll wait until he feels more comfortable before I do that...)

Food has changed a bit as well.  We have way less leftovers each night and of course I have been doing my Betty Crocker impersonation so he has good quality food to eat every night.  Not sure how long that will last.  He has eaten everything I give him and seems to like most of it!

Another big thing that has changed is that I am speaking a lot of Spanish.  I'm sure I sound like a fumbling crazy person, but he is too polite to correct me even when I ask him to!  Because of this, everyone in the house is hearing a lot more Spanish and I find myself using common phrases with the kids in Spanish more often.  I guess that is good so everyone is learning, but I have to remember to say it all in English too so A can learn English!

He has fit in very nicely with our family.  He is very polite and considerate.  He cleans up after himself as well as others without being asked - so different from having to trick the other kids into doing things like that!  I am definitely using him as an example for the other kids!  "See what A is doing and I didn't even ask him to do it!"  The little ones adore him and don't want to let him out of their sight and he and Jackson are having a blast playing "big boy" things like Wii, basketball, computer games, and soccer together.  Last night I could hear the two older boys giggling like crazy while they played Wii.  Such a great sound!

I'm sure there will be more changes as we get his schooling all figured out as well.  Right now my goal is to go over basics in math and help him learn English as his homework each night.  I discovered pretty quickly that explaining quadratic equations and light refraction wasn't going to happen in Spanish or in English for that matter!  Oh to be a fly on our wall to watch myself during those times!!!!

I'll leave you with one of my favorite songs which is on a Shrek movie by the way.... Changes

It Works! Wednesday - Get Rid of those Saggy Baggy Elephant Thighs!

I don’t think there is anyone that is pleased with their appearance that suffers from having cellulite. Cellulite is tissue on the skin that makes your skin look dimply or lumpy. Most of the time, women are affected by it. Cellulite appears mainly on the bum and the thighs. There are different ways a person can go about treating the cellulite and reducing anymore from showing up on their skin. Thank goodness!! 

One way to reduce the the look of cellulite is by applying Defining Gel twice a day in a massaging circular motion to your affected area.  I use the gel in place of a moisterizer each day when I get out of the shower.  You will really notice a difference!!  I have also had clients say the gel helps rid them of pain in their joints or from fibromyelga.




Defining Gel is an intensive skin care gel that hydrates the skin, while also firming areas such as the abdomen, back, legs, and upper arms. When used regularly, Defining Gel minimizes the appearance of skin dimples and varicose veins. It's the perfect companion to our Ultimate Applicator.
Use Defining Gel twice a day to hydrate, soften, tone, and firm all over. Immediate and progressive results

This product is one of my daily staples!  You will LOVE it!!

Of course I had to research some of the other ways to get rid of the cottage cheese look.  Read below to find how what you need to do to your diet to get rid of the elephant in the room!

The most natural way to go about reducing the cellulite is by eating the right foods, and avoiding fatty junk foods that build up toxins and also cause you to gain weight.
Avoiding saturated fats is one of the keys to reduce cellulite on your skin. You will need to avoid things such as red meat, and diary products that have full cream in them. You will need to go with white meat products and low fat dairy products instead.
Carbohydrates, such as white flour, bread, and rice, will quickly increase your blood sugar level, and store excessive fat in your body, so you will want to avoid these foods. In addition to this, you will want to eat lots of foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, such as avocado, fish, and nuts. These foods will aid in help the fat burn from your body.
You should have a great intake of antioxidants, as they will increase the chance you losing more weight, by expelling all of the toxins in your body that are causing the fat to build up. In this case it is good to consider eating some citrus fruits.
You will also need to be reducing the amount of fluids being stored inside your body, as having too many fluids is what can cause the cellulite to be on your skin as well. Celery, Parsley, and Dandelion leaves are some green veggies that can help absorb the extra water fat from your body. A good source of potassium will help you as well. Try eating some bananas!
Reducing sugary and salty foods is something that would be a must if you want to keep the water tissues from building up inside your body. Your health tissues can be highly damaged if you consume too much salt or sugar, which is crucial to having smooth skin.
Do not drink alcohol as it increases sluggishness and causes your blood flow to slow down, which is bad for the radicals in your body, and can damage your healthy skin cells.
There foods that keep you form having cellulite, and there are foods that make your cellulite worse. Be sure to reduce your intake of carbohydrates, and eat more citrus fruits, and green leafy veggies. Also eat fish, whole grains, and lean meats, white meat. By doing this, you will be on your way to healthier skin and a healthier body overall.
(found on dietnext.com)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

So Many Blessings on Easter!

I'm a little late on the Happy Easter, but Happy Easter!

What a wonderful Easter it was as I hope was all of yours was as well!  Our day was so filled with blessings!
Our day started out differently as planned, but ended up really great!  We skipped church because A wasn't feeling well.  This bummed me out big time for very selfish reasons!  I wanted to introduce our new son to everyone and show him off! :)  It was good we didn't go though.  In addition to having a sore throat, I think he would have been overwhelmed and stressed out by all of the people and trying to understand everyone.
 
Just listening and trying to understand everyone is very tiring!  We have noticed he turns the TV up pretty loud because he is trying to hear all of the words so he can understand the programs.  He can't fill in the things he misses to make sense of it all yet.  Learning a new language is a full time job and can wipe you out!  I started reading the Easter story to him in Spanish and WOW!  That was difficult!  I would have liked a nap when I was done!  I'm sure he felt like he was listening to a kindergartener read!

We wanted the kids to all sleep in, but of course the three little ones were up at 6:30!  We let them get their Easter Baskets and had them go back upstairs so they wouldn't wake A.  Unfortunately, he was up by 8 so the egg hunt began!  He caught on really fast as to what was going on, but was baffled and I am sure he still is by what we were doing!  It is hard to explain hunting for eggs and why we would do such a silly thing!

After the festivities and breakfast we loaded up in the car to head up north to have dinner and another egg hunt with my parents and sisters.  All afternoon the kids asked when we could find eggs.  It was pure torture having them wait until their cousin got up from her nap!  Thankfully there is enough to do to keep everyone busy!

It was a gorgeous day and we were able to spend some time outside in the warm sun!  We are so blessed to be able to spend such fun times with family!

We felt even more blessed after we got home and the kids went to play outside.  The neighbors came over and all greeted A.  They presented him with a gift card to the mall!  He wasn't quite sure of what it all meant or what to do with it!  He was a bit shocked and handed the card over to me! (yipee!!  Don't worry I won't use it on me!  We spent most of Saturday shopping for him and still have some more to buy so he is prepared for Michigan weather!)  It is so wonderful to live in a neighborhood where we are surrounded by such wonderful, caring people!
Below are some pictures of our Easter Events!



Our eggs!


Lola and her egg

Finding eggs!!

Out on the dock enjoying the nice day!

We can't wait for it to be nice and put this in the water!

My niece enjoying her mashed potatoes!  She eats them like they are ice cream!

Tyce and my niece

Ry, Lola, Jackson, and A tried to fly a kite, but there wasn't enough wind!

We celebrated my dad's birthday too!  Aren't my parents cute???

My grandparents:  Oma and Opa

My sister and our youngest niece!

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's High School all over Again!

Today I took A and the two little ones to sign up for high school.  The staff were very receptive and kind which made the experience super easy!  There is a lot of paperwork and  things that I just don't understand or know about yet so that tripped me up, but the the staff just shrugged and said they would find the answers. (bless their hearts!)

After the paperwork, we took a tour of the school to go over exactly where each class was.  They were pretty close together and only down two hallways so I was relieved that A wouldn't get lost. (unless he is like me and then it could possibly happen)

I have to admit that I was super nervous and continue to be!  A took it all in stride, he was as calm as a cucumber while I was all nutso feeling!  He starts on Monday!

I guess all of the memories of getting turned around, not being able to open my locker, (for 4 years -honestly I never could get that stupid thing open!!) finding the right bus, and feeling out of place when I first went to a new school all came back to me!  If I thought it would be helpful I would go to his first day with him!  Don't worry I won't do that to him - well not for very long anyways....!

I watched all of the kids wondering how he would fit in and if they would be kind.  I wondered who his friends would be and how long it would take for him to make friends.  I also wondered how I am going to know what work he has to do in each class.  I feel like I am back in high school all over again!  I've heard about parents living through their kids, but isn't that supposed to be things like excelling at sports?????


...... ok so maybe A is more stressed then he lets on or maybe the little ones and I are just tiring him out - I looked over at the couch and he and the two little ones are all in a row watching TV, only he is fast asleep!

The First Day with a Teenager who doesn't speak my language - literally!

It is 8:15pm and even though I am fully aware that this is the honeymoon phase, things couldn't be better!  The little ones are in bed and the two older boys are outside playing basketball together.  I hear laughter and see huge smiles!  What a fantastic end to a wonderful day!

The two younger kids followed A around all day!  He was like a brand new toy!  They wanted to hold his hands in the parking lot at the store and fought to sit next to him on the couch!  They absolutely ADORE him!  The first thing Jackson said as he came through the door after school was to ask where A was!  I know the novelty of having an older brother will wear off sometime, but right now it couldn't be better!

A has been very considerate, has wonderful manners, and has been so helpful.  I haven't requested a thing of him and yet he carries bags, helps put on shoes, clears plates, and waits until everyone has been served before eating.

I have been thrilled to be able to speak Spanish with him.  I told him that he needs to correct me when I mess up so I can learn from him, but he is quiet so far and won't correct me.  In time I am sure he will.  At times I fumble around, but we haven't had a problem yet.  (of course it has only been one day!)  Being that adults and teenagers already seem to speak a different language from one another I wonder how actually speaking a different language will come into play!  So far I love it!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

He's Here!!

I feel like I just had a baby.  Not in the pain after birth sort of way, but that complete euphoric feeling you get after you hold that precious little bundle in your arms!  I am walking on air and have been since we saw our son walk down the ramp at the airport!

Yesterday was a roller coaster kind of day!  We had a scheduled flight time and I had the day planned out to the minute so dinner could be in the crock pot, the house could be cleaned, and Jackson could be picked up from school.  If you have been through any sort of foster care, adoption, government, or anything to do basically with children in general you know that things have a tendency to not go as planned!  So of course they missed their flight!  The day was quickly rearranged and they came in on a later flight.  That just meant more pacing and agonizing over nothing and everything for me!

As we rode to the airport Jackson asked us if I knew what A looked like.  I told him that he probably had darker skin and hair but I hadn't seen any pictures of him.  Tyce piped up and asked if he was a girl.
"No, he is a boy."
"No, he can't be a boy!  Boys have blue eyes and girls have dark hair and eyes!"
So cute!  The girls in our family have dark hair and eyes and the boys are lighter so Tyce thought for sure A had to be a girl if he were dark too!  Amazing how those little minds work!

At the airport I had a complete feeling of deja-vu.  We waited with our sign and gifts, but we didn't know who we were looking for!  We knew that there would be two boys arriving with an escort, but we wouldn't know which boy was ours!  When we went to visit Lola for the first time in Guatemala we sat on the balcony for hours waiting for her arrival.  When she finally did arrive she was with another little girl.  We didn't know which baby was ours!  Of course we figured it out really quickly as we did at the airport yesterday!

Maybe it is a mom thing, but the moment I saw him I wanted to squeeze him like crazy!  He reached out to shake my hand and I went right in for the bear hug! :)  The kids were pretty shy at first, but as I type this today, the little ones are following him around like ducklings!  They jabber and jabber to him and he just smiles and nods without comprehending a word and they are in heaven!

Our drive home was rather quiet with A in the front seat taking it all in.  He had a really long day!  Once home we sat with our case worker and went over a lot of paperwork and questions!  So much to take in all at once!

By the time we were done it was well past dinner.  We all sat down to eat and were able to chat with each other in Spanish!  (it does come back!)  After the little ones were put to bed A watched our favorite shows with us.  I'm sure most of it is not understood, but it was still such a wonderful feeling to sit with our new son watching TV!  Such a simple little moment but so awesome!!!



Waiting at the airport!!  I know you are probably waiting to see all of the pictures with him in them, but unfortunately I'm not allowed to post pictures of him on my blog or on facebook so you will just have to meet him in person!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It Works! Wednesday - Stop the Flashing!

If you are a woman you need to read this!  You may not be at the point in your life that you are worrying about any of this, but you know someone who is and you will get there eventually!

At a certain point in life women enter a phase called menopause.  During this time women's bodies slow down their production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone and then they cease to produce them all together.  I'm sure you have all heard of menopause and men and women both cringe at the thought.  Hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, weight gain, and memory loss are just a few fun things to look forward to!

Even if you think you can suffer through the side effects do you know what else menopause brings on?  A weaker you! 

What is the leading cause of death in women?   - Heart Disease.  Did you know that estrogen and progesterone keep your heart healthy?
What about Osteoporosis?  Did you know that these hormones also enable your bones to absorb calcium?  So without these hormones you are setting your body up to not function as well and efficiently as it could!

Doctors know this; which is why they have synthetic hormones to take the place of the ones your body is not producing.  Did you know that legally if you ask them they have to tell you that those hormones can cause cancer?  You can only be on the hormones for so long and at a certain dosage or your risk increases.  The risk is so great in fact that studies have had to be stopped because too many of the women participating in them were getting cancer!


So if you need the hormones but shouldn't take the synthetic hormones what should you do?  Of course I have a solution for you!

Estro-Rhythm is the world's first naturally based, single-use daily system for menopausal symptoms. Its superior formulation uses all natural active ingredients to help you "get your rhythm back" without the worries associated with synthetic solutions.  Customer-tested in multiple studies showing improvements in participants over 40.  Estro-Rhythm is a two-part daily solution that includes a supplement and conveniently pre-measured, daily balancing cream application for no mess and no guess.

I have clients on this product who have noticed significant results in as little as 4 days!  You will get the you back that you know and love!  This product is designed for women who are pre-menopausal, menopausal, and post menopausal.  If you are feel safe with rubbing a yam on your arm you will feel safe about using this product because the hormones are plant based!  Take the ingredients to your doctor to check out but don't wait!  You need this and you won't be sorry you found it!!

Today is the Day!

Around 5:00 yesterday we found out when A's flight is coming in today - nothing like waiting until the last minute!  Yesterday, you would have thought that I would have spent the entire day preparing for A's arrival, but instead I took the kids to the Children's Museum, went to a charity luncheon and got my haircut!

We did spend time making a sign for A at the airport and practicing his name!  When we asked Tyce what his new brother's name is he responded that he is naming him Tyce!  We tried to explain that he already has a name and it isn't Tyce, but Tyce insisted that is what he is going to call him! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's a Boy!

Yes, it is a boy - a 16 year old boy!  We found out yesterday afternoon that A, who was born in Guatemala, will be coming home on Wednesday this week!!  I will officially be a mom of a teenager!

We were able to talk with him over the phone yesterday -through an interpreter- which was pretty cool.  Everyone was nervous and excited, so I'm sure many of his questions weren't asked and I have a ton more going through my head now!  I could barely sleep last night and had dreams all in spanish - well broken spanish!  I find myself trying to interpret everything I am thinking and saying to the kids into spanish! (he doesn't speak any english)  I am so excited!  I can hardly stand it!! (can you tell???)

So yes, I have basically a day to prepare for his arrival and this day is already jammed packed with activities, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mom of the Year moment???

So the rule in the house is that EVERYONE including Mommy must go potty before we get in the car.  -Can you already see where this is going??

Saturday afternoon just Lola and I were going to go to the store to pick out new dishes.  (We have what's left of the original set from 14 years ago that we got as shower gifts before getting married -so it is definitely time)  Daddy got Lola ready while I got in the car.  Lola and I stopped in one store, but didn't find what we wanted so we went to another store.  The rain that had been drenching us as we hurried through the packed parking lot turned into icy snow and it slowed us down- yes in April!!!

We got into the store, went up the escalator, and found the dishes.  I had just picked up a dish to look at the price tag when Lola said something.  I'll give you one guess! (you won't guess right though!)

"Mommy!  Something is happening right now!"

"What is it?"  I turned to look at her and saw she was doing a little dance.

"I'm going potty RIGHT NOW!"

Yup, she did a little dance, stopped, and peed right there in the middle of the store!  For Pete's sake we just got in the store and I had serious shopping to do! - yes that was my first thought...

Being the awesome mom I am, I took her to the nearest bathroom.  Of course she didn't have to go anymore and she was wet right down to her socks!  Awesome!  So I did what any other awesome mom would do.  I gave her a very concerned look and said, "Oh this is so super sad!  We have a lot of shopping to do and you are going to have wet pants.  They are going to get cold too - and those jeans you have on, well that is not going to feel good at all!  What a bummer!  Let's go!" 

She insisted I give her new pants so she would be dry, but shoot I don't carry extra clothes in my purse!  So I took her hand and we walked through the mall to the next store to look at dishes.  I didn't find what I wanted so we went back to the original store.  By this time her pants were cold and she wasn't happy about the situation.  Mission accomplished - well the teachable you better tell Mommy when you have to go potty and go before you get in the car mission was accomplished.  The original dish buying mission didn't quite happen as planned, but what ever really does when you take kids with you to shop???

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oogly Balls!

Grandparents are fabulous.  Let's get that out of the way right now!
At times though, the very cool things they give the kids should just stay at their homes and never enter mine!
One such cool thing are these balls:
They look really pretty in vases with water don't they?  They are also cool to watch because as they suck up water the balls get bigger!  Unfortunately with little kids it isn't enough to just look at the balls.  We want to touch them!  As Tyce puts it - "They are ooglie"  So soon the balls go



from this....

to this!!





They are basically what is inside a baby's diaper that sucks up liquid.  So if you mash a bunch of them up they get stuck all over EVERYTHING and are impossible to to remove!  It has been days and I am still finding what I refer to as the insides of diapers around the house!
Yes, I should have put them up and out of reach really fast, but my kids are faster and ultimately figure out how to scale walls to get what they shouldn't!
Next time, we'll just keep the pretty oogly balls at Grandma's to play with the next time we come!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Four Year old Teenager

Today I heard my teenage self in my four year old daughter!

She stood in front of me with her hands on her hips.  She swung her head so her hair flew behind her shoulder and she had the most defiant look on her face.  With a very grown up sounding voice she said,
"Mom, you never let me do ANYTHING!"  She let out a "humph" and stomped to her room.

This is bad.  This is VERY bad!  If she is already acting like this at four what will she be like at 14???

I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a little bit scared!!! (maybe a lot scared!)

HELP!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

All Skate!!

Do the sight of these bring back memories?

We used to have roller skating parties with our class when I was a kid.  That was the huge thing!  It was the social event of the year!  I specifically remember "Lady's Choice".  I remember the sound of that over the loud speaker made me nervous, but I don't remember if I ever went and grabbed onto a sweaty hand to skate around the rink!

Although, some of the songs have changed, the atmosphere has not!

We took the kids skating for the first time ever the other night!  I started off without the skates so I could walk the little ones around the rink. After being begged by Ryan and the kids, I put on skates only to find that I skate exactly the same way I did as a kid - unable to stop without running into a wall!  This is of no help to my children so what a sight we all were!

Jackson was tenative at first, but once he got over his initial fear he took off around the floor!  Lola voomed off on her own very quickly, but Tyce wanted a hand most of the night.  For having such an atheletic husband, I had no idea about his lack of skating abilities!  He looked like Mr. Roboto out there on the rink!  I think he fell more times then our son!  (I didn't fall, but I am no elegant skater!  Bouncing off of walls takes its toll!)

This was a boy scout outing



Take a close look at who is on the ground!

Here he goes!!!
 Through it all, we had fun and the kids want to go back again!  Maybe after Mommy and Daddy recover!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It Works! Wednesday - Pain Reilf

A newer product that has everyone on it raving about how awesome it is is Relief.  Relief feels like you are taking an aspirin.  It takes the pain away.  Relief is used by people who have pains in their joints such as arthritis sufferers.  It repairs the cartilage and makes flexing and bending easier!  I have had clients take this product and tell me that within 4 days they are noticing a huge difference and won't go back to their old medications but continue on Relief!

More kids - but what does it mean???

I have mentioned before that we are increasing in number over here through refugee foster care!  We are super excited and it looks like we may have new children in our home within the next 60 days! 

I have been getting a lot of questions about what this exactly means.  To put it bluntly we will have up to three new family members!  They will be with us until they can be on their own which we would hope is around age 18 - 21 for all of our children!  They will most likely be 12 - 17 years old when they come to live with us.

Our new children will be refugees from another country.  This means that due to some factor they fled or were forced to leave their country of origin.  They either were in a refugee camp or actually arrived in the US.  Officials search for their families and evaluate their situation.  If it isn't too dangerous and there wasn't abandonment or neglect the youth will be sent back to their families.  If their family can not be found or there are other circumstances that make it unsafe to return them, a foster family is found for them in the States.  The process is actually long with a lot of different agencies being involved before they get to us.

The need for families is huge right now!!  If you know of anyone or you yourself may be interested you can look at Bethany's website for more information or contact me!

Here are some Questions I have been getting:

Are you CRAZY?
Pretty much!!  Yes, we do already have a busy household!  An 8 year old, 4 year old, and 3 year old take up a lot of time and effort!  Yes, there are days when I need a well deserved break and I can barely find extra time for myself, but we don't feel our family is done growing!  We have a beautiful home in a fabulous neighborhood in a fantastic school district with supportive family and friends.  It only makes sense to me to share all of this with others!  In my eyes it is a win win for our family.  My children get to know what it is like to grow up with siblings from a different culture.  They will learn first hand how to be sensitive and caring to people who aren't exactly like themselves.  We will all learn so much from each other!

Are you going to adopt them?
We wish we could, but no, we can not adopt the youth who will be in our home, but they will be our children and we will be their forever family. 

Why Refugee Foster Care and not Foster Care here?
We chose refugee foster care for a variety of reasons.  One is that we have ties to a country outside of the US already.  We try to incorporate some of that culture in our home and welcome others as well!  Another reason is that refugee foster care is a more permanent situation.  With foster care the goal is always to reunite the children with their birth families.  The parents have 12 months to follow a program that has been set up with them to work toward getting their children back.  At the end of the 12 months the children may or may not go back.  With having children already in our home we didn't think it was fair to have brothers and sisters coming and going.  Our children are a bit too young to fully grasp what that is all about.  With refugee youth they will be placed with us and stay with us until they can be on their own.  There is no uncertainty with that.

Will they have family back in their country?
Maybe.  They may have family in their country and they will be able to talk with them if they want to by phone!

How did they get here?
That question is just too big to answer!  There are many different ways they could have gotten into the refugee program.  I guess the thing to remember is that it is by no fault of theirs and we are happy they are now safe!

What are the questions you have for us??  I would love to answer them!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Dark Day

Today is my "dark day".  Today is the day 9 years ago that I thought my entire world had ended.  We lost our first son, Nathaniel J when I was 15 weeks pregnant.

I don't want to be depressing, but each year on this day I like to take some time and remember him.  I know that I never really "met" him or got to play with him, but the minute you are pregnant you have an image and a dream for your unborn child and the loss for me was just as great as if I had been able to cuddle him.

Of course for everyone it is different, but I found different things that helped me through the pain, grief, and guilt.  Today as I remember Nathaniel, I wanted to share these in the hopes of helping someone else.
  1. We named him.  I didn't want him to be forgotten.  He was a significant part of our lives even as an unborn child.
  2. We gave family members cards with a verse on it that the funeral home gave to us.
  3. I wrote him a letter and I wrote about the entire experience. (don't read these if you don't like all that personal stuff)
  4. I finished his baby book.  I had started a baby book or at least collecting pictures and things for his book.  Ryan and I sat down in the living room one day and finished it with all of the pictures of the nursery, congratulatory cards, ultrasound pictures, and sympathy cards we had.
  5. I read a book called, Grieving the Child I Never Knew by Kathe Wunneberg - highly recommend this book!!
  6. I joined an on-line community where many other women had gone through the same thing.  It was a huge comfort to chat with people who knew, but wouldn't be hurt by my pain because they didn't know me.
  7. I wanted something tangible because it was important to me not to forget our first child.  Ryan and I had a ring made.  It has both of our birthstones and Nathaniel's is in the middle.  I have since had another ring made with all of the birthstones of all of the babies we lost as well.  No, it isn't a happy memory, but there was a purpose and a plan behind all of it and that is the happy, celebratory part!
Through it all you have to do something to be able to move on.  The pain doesn't go away just because you want it to!  Sometimes it hits you at the most inopportune moments with a force that is like no other!  Take time to have your "dark day".  Give yourself permission to grieve for your losses and celebrate what they have brought you! (as crazy as that sounds!)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Let Me Introduce You....

To my tub.

Isn't she a beauty? 
I'm sad to admit that she is by far the most neglected out of our entire household.  She is so neglected in fact that I have to dust her off and search for her under the dry cleaning before she is functional!

But oh how I have missed her and love her!  Slipping into that hot water, being massaged by the jets, feeling relaxed by the bath ball disintegrating next to me.  Why don't I do this all of the time??  What serenity, what peace, what joy! 

"What?" "WHAT?"
"Just a minute!"  "Just a minute!"  "JUST A MINUTE!!" (me yelling to the children-and having to get out of my serenity!)

And that would be why she is so neglected......

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Just Wait 5 Minutes and it will Change...

I'm not normally a "weather" talker unless I am really bored or a bit nervous, but today is an exception!  In Michigan you don't often see a day like today in April!  We hit a high of 85 today which is a new record last set 80 years ago!

We took full advantage of the day by cleaning out the garage and cars.  We got all of the summer toys out and the kids even wanted to run through sprinklers!  We didn't turn on the outside water quite yet so they rode their bikes back and forth on the sidewalk instead.

We fully enjoyed the day outside and the just the fact that I didn't have to wear socks or slippers on my freezing feet in the house is enough to keep me happy!  Now, if you know anything about Michigan weather, you will know that you only have to wait 5 minutes and it will change.  It is forecasted that tomorrow it will be back to normal - a high in the upper 40s! 

You will get a turn... be patient....

People - tourists - get a little crazy at the Disney Parks.  Most of the adults are worse then the kids! 

On one particular day I was standing in line with my two little ones to see Tinker Bell.  We had been by the line twice before and weren't able to get in the line because they stop taking people after a certain amount.  Lola REALLY wanted to see Tink so we finally got there early enough to get in line and wait for our turn.  You see, Tinker Bell is really popular at the moment and is only at Epcot in one location so this was our only chance!

It was really hot out that day and we were standing in the direct sun.  Rather, I was standing in the direct sun.  Lola and Tyce were relaxing comfortably in their strollers with their shades overhead and their sippy cups filled with cold water.  The wait was long and hot.  When I got into line a mom, dad, grandma, and two little ones got in line behind us.  The little ones were cranky and hot so the dad and grandma took them around to see things and get drinks while the mom waited in line.  The mom and I chatted a bit and the dad came back with the kids every once in awhile.  When the line finally started to move the dad brought the little girl and stood in line with the mom.  After about 10 minutes the lady behind us asked if we were all together.  We said we weren't and she started to get a bit huffy.  She started saying things like she didn't want to take away the chance for their little girl to see Tinker Bell and on and on and on.  It took me a minute to understand what was going on.  She thought they had cut in line.  She was getting more and more irrate as her rant went on.  The dad kind of gave me a look so I politely interupted the irrate lady and told her they hadn't cut in line as the mom had gotten in line behind me and had stayed there the whole time.  No need to worry.  Deep breaths Mom.  You will see Tinker Bell.

On another day we went into Hollywood Studios.  If you know anything about that park you know that the most favorite attraction is Toy Story Mania.  We got to the park when it opened and rushed with the mob of people over to the ride to get a space in line and a fast pass before they were all gone.  We had a plan of attack.  Ryan got in line for the fast pass.  I held Jackson's hand and walked in front of the stroller to hopefully clear a path while Dad pushed it.  The mob was so intense that we were separated a bit and could no longer clear a path.  A woman was rushing and not looking where she was going and ran into the stroller getting her flip flop stuck under the wheel.  Not only did she start hurling obsenities at my Dad who was too shocked to say anything but she took her fist -swung around and smacked him hard on the back! 

Ryan saw the entire thing as did my Mom or I may have thought she hit him accidently.  After the shock wore off we laughed and hoped her day went better then it stared because obviously at 9am she was ready to take someone out!  Good thing it was my Dad she tried to pick on and not a small kid! 

We rode our ride and when we got out we were joking about my Dad being accousted by a woman in Disney and another woman came up to us and told us she had seen the entire incident as well!  She was flabergasted and wanted my Dad to know that he was right the woman ran right into him and did hit him on purpose!  Wow!  Calm down!  Take a breath!  It is just a ride and you will get a turn eventually!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Playing Frogger in a Parking Lot at Night!

I know how easy it is to be soo excited that when you finally get to your vacation destination you don't look around.  We arrived at the Disney Parks each day, unloaded the stroller, cooler, backpack, tickets, camera, and the kids.  We raced to the entrance to get through the gates as soon as we could so we could race to the most popular ride to be sure we had a chance to enjoy it in a timely manner!  Somewhere along the line we forgot to look around us!  We forgot to pay attention to not only where we parked, but the people around us, the smells, the sounds, and view in amazement at what we had before us.  In actuality if we had stopped we would have been trampled, but we are going to have to remember to do that...next time???

On our last day in Disney we went to Hollywood Studios.  We stayed until it was dark.  We left after Fantasmic, which is a fantastic show that features lights, fireworks, real characters, water, and sound.  The day was fabulous and everyone was in good spirits, but exhausted.  We walked out of the park and were rushed forward with the crowd.  We hurried along until suddenly it dawned on us that we weren't sure we knew where we were going or where we parked!  Was it Mickey, Minnie, Goofie, Pluto?  Disney does a nice job of labeling each lot and marking each row with a number, but after 5 days of parks we couldn't remember which character we had left our car with that day!  So note to Disney: Mark the lots with different characters at each park!  Don't repeat them!  I know they have different words under them, but really I'm not going to remember if it was Imagination, Staging, or Active after a long day!!  Give me a specific picture with a color to remember and hopefully by the end of a hot day, with three kids, spilled ice cream, a lost camera case, 30 minute lines for 3 minute rides, and a water/firework show I will remember where to walk in the dark with three exhausted children to find my car!  My Mom must have looked particularly lost because a Cast Member actually asked her twice is she was ok!  We were redirected to an entirely different area and direction and felt pretty confident.

When we reached our lot, which was a picture of Mickey with the word staging under it, we stood in the dark a bit baffled.  We were all turned around.  Was it today that we parked near the middle or the end or the front?  I was sure we were in the first line, but was that on this side of the parking lot or the other side?  again someone stopped to see if we needed help.  (We must have been a forlorn looking group!)

After walking around a few rows we did what every other person in the parking lot was doing that night and started pushing the car alarm!  It was like a Disney show all over again!  Those alarms were on surround sound accompanied by flashing lights and running figures!

I had to laugh because we must have looked a sight darting across rows of cars to each alarm we heard only to find it wasn't our car!  It was almost like another amusement ride!  Dodge the parked cars and moving cars to follow the noise to the prize!  Try to stay in a group and hold onto hands!  First one to spot it wins!  Now if we could only find the winner, who was my Dad after maybe 30 minutes, that separated himself from the group to find it.....

What you can expect to see in the Magic Kingdom Lot

Yes, we did finally find my Dad with the car which was a rental so I think that made it even more difficult to find in the dark!  (He looked in each alarm sounding car for his sweatshirt he left on the front seat so he probably looked like he was casing cars out to break into them!)  Don't make that your last adventure of a long day- maybe take a picture of your parking area with your digital camera or phone before you hurry off to that ride it may save you a lot of time, panic, and odd looks!



Thursday, April 7, 2011

Disney - Our Last Day - Hollywood Studios

Monday was our last full day in Disney so we got up to be at Hollywood Studios when it opened.  Of course I had a plan of attack!

I was told by more than one person that Toy Story Mania was the most popular and funnest ride so I was supposed to get a Fast Pass and then wait in line for the ride itself right away.  The mad rush to the ride, which of course is toward the back of the park, was unreal!  People were trying to run without running.  You could just feel the frenzy in some people and that kind of thing is contagious!  It was not pleasant!



Jackson and Dad getting ready!

Lola and Nana ready to shoot!
Ryan took all of our tickets and got us all Fast Passes for the ride while the rest of us got in line for the ride.  Unfortunately he didn't make it on to the first ride with us.  The ride is an arcade game with 3D glasses.  You have to shoot things and get points for it.  At the end you see your score so you can go on again to try to beat the score.  From the looks of some of those scores many people do just that.  The kids enjoyed the ride as did the adults, but I was a little baffled as to why it is as popular as it is!  I think Tyce and Lola liked it mainly because of the Toy Story characters and Jackson liked it because he wanted to try to beat everyone's scores, but we didn't HAVE to go on it a second time.  We did use our Fast Passes to go again with Ryan and by mid-morning all of the Fast Passes were gone and the line for the ride was 70 minutes long!

After our first ride we ventured The Studio Backlot Tour.  This is a two part adventure where you watch a presentation and then ride a tram.  You see things from movie sets and they show you how some special effects work.  It was a 30 minute ride.  Personally, I thought it was ok.  I would save it for the afternoon when you want to sit and be entertained.
We then headed to the Muppet Vision 3D.  You go in a theatre and watch a show with 3D glasses.  It was cute, but we all agreed out of the 3D shows we had seen we liked Mickeys Philharmagic the best.


Tyce wasn't interested in a picture! He wanted to ride on the cars!

Right as we got out of the theatre we saw Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars so we had our pictures taken with them and headed over to lunch at Mama Melrose's.  I was expecting more of a pizza joint, but the food was more Italian.  It was good and the portions were large!  This wasn't a character dining experience although they do offer that at Hollywood and Vine for breakfast or lunch.  I wanted the Fantasmic package so we could get VIP seating for the Fantasmic night show and I couldn't have both a character dining experience and the VIP seating. 

The Fantasmic show is an outdoor presentation that includes, fountains, fireworks, characters, music, a story line, and even some fancy projection work!  When you reserve a meal to include the Fantasmic package at one of three restaurants in Hollywood Studios that offer this package you get VIP seating for the event.  I chose to take the kids to this show over the other fireworks simply because they were scheduled to happen the soonest in the evening!  I am getting a little ahead of myself with my day, but since we are on the topic of Fantasmic I will tell you about it!

Lola and Daddy waiting for the Fantasmic Show

The characters on the boats during Fantasmic!


Jackson and Tyce clowning around~ I brought our own glow bracelets from the Dollar Store for the kids.  Big hit!!

The VIP seating was the better seating as the actions of the show tend to be centered right in front of that section.  You sit on closed bleachers (you know the kind you can't fall through) and there are concessions nearby as well as vendors going through the stands.  I don't want to say too much about the actual show so you can enjoy it for yourself!  It was rather amazing and entertaining, but it was way too scary for our little ones.  The villains in the show are literally larger then life and Lola had her face buried in my shoulder for half of the show!  I had to tell her when it was safe to look again.  The fireworks and other noises didn't bother the kids, but the villains were super scary so keep that into consideration if you decide to go to Fantasmic.


After our lunch we hit Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular which Jackson really enjoyed.  He especially appreciated the show after we arrived home and I let him watch one of the movies.  He was excited to tell me that some of the stunts he saw were in the movie and that the sounds were the same!  We also went to Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show.  For both of these shows we sat on bleachers in the shade.  The Motor show was full of cars and motorcycles doing stunts and crashing.  There was a lot of fire and explosions.  I appreciated seeing how the stunts in movies are actually done.  It was very interesting and entertaining although at that point I had a very wiggly 3 year old on my lap who was super distracting!  We had wanted to hit the Star Tours - Star Wars ride, but it was closed down.  Instead we watched a little of the training of young Jedi's.  Kids can go in line and get a laser and train to be a Jedi and battle Darth Vader.
Lights, Motors, Action show
Star Wars

At one point I had gotten in line to see Woody and Buzz because Tyce was begging to see Woody.  The are housed inside a building across from Toy Story Mania.  While I stood in line with the two little ones, Ryan and Jackson took all of the tickets and got Fast Passes to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Rock'n Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.  This worked out very well as later on while I took the little ones to Playhouse Disney Ryan and my parents went with Jackson on the bigger rides.

Army Men roamed the area


Daddy getting prepared for more signatures

The kids had fun props to play with while waiting for Buzz and Woody

Lola was only too happy to strap her little brother to a rocket!

Yay!  Buzz and Woody!

Exactly what Tyce wanted!  A hug from Woody!

Jackson's favorite thing about this day was the Rock'n Roller coaster.  Ryan and my parents also enjoyed it.  They said it went really really really fast and at first Ryan was a bit nervous about what he had gotten himself into!  The Tower of Terror is a ride in which you are in an elevator and it drops unexpectedly.  They enjoyed this ride as well, but not as much as the roller coaster.

Disney Junior Live on Stage was a big hit for the other two kids!  You go inside and sit on carpet.  There are puppets on stage that carry out a story.  The characters that were featured were from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Little Einsteins, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  Bubbles and streamers come out of the ceiling and the kids LOVED it!

After venturing around and looking for Cast Members to trade pins we headed over to Fantasmic.  There can be some splashing involved especially if the wind is blowing so be sure to sit back at least 15 rows unless you want to chance getting wet!

Our longest day was at Hollywood Studios, but if you go to the shows and rides you have to plan for a long day simply because most of the shows are at least 30 minutes in length!  When you get to the park be sure to grab a time schedule and plot things out right away or you will miss out on some great events.  Many of the shows do not play continuously.  Indiana Jones, Lights, Motor, Action, Playhouse Disney, and Beauty and the Beast are a few of the ones that have certain times so watch for this so you don't miss the performances! Oh and one event I could do without was the Journey into Narnia - Prince Caspian.  It was a preview of the movie and then costumes afterwards.  You are ushered into a small circular room and stand there watching the movie.  I actually sat right on the carpet.  Definately didn't need to see that one....

Feel free to check out my notes on the rides and events at Hollywood Studios.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It Works! Wednesday - Keeping it Moving..

Whether you are focusing on weight loss or becoming healthier, this next supplement is perfect for both purposes!

It's Regular is exactly what you may think it is!  It  keeps things moving through and out of your body in the way your body is supposed to work!  You need to think of your colon as your "toxic pathway".  Whatever your body doesn't want, or can't use goes into your colon to be disposed of.  If everything your body can't use or want just sits there then all of those toxins and bad things just seep right back into your cells!  Gross!  This is why you will feel sluggish, get headaches, acne, and all of the fun stuff I know you really look forward to!!! ;)

You can store up to 6 meals in your colon!  Get that stuff moving!  I have heard some people say you put three trains in and three trains should be coming out!  We know this is true for babies!  Adults should be going at least once a day.  If you aren't, there is something wrong!!

Take one pill before bedtime.  I have some people take up to three at night because the product is gentle and sometimes those who are really backed up need a bit more help!  I have never had stomach cramps, or any bad side effects.  In fact, it may take a few days for you to know it is working.  It's Regular will assist in you losing weight, getting rid of toxins, and feeling all around great!!

It Works! Wednesday - The Opportunity of a Lifetime!

I love it when It Works! does this!! 

They have dropped the price to sign up as a distributor and have added things to your business builder kit that have never been in it before!

Sign up from now until April 30th and you will get 8 wraps which you can sell and make $200 from!  You will have a replicated web-site, catalogs, blitz cards (coupons), a folder, other promotional materials and forms, and a tape measure (my favorite!).  The price to sign up is only $99 (regularly $199 and you don't get all of the things I have listed above in the regular kit)
When you sign up 4 loyal customers in your first 30 days you will also get $100 in free product!  In addition, if you sign up distributors yourself and they get 2 customers in their first 30 days the company will give you $100 for each distributor that does that that you sign up!!

I can't help sharing this amazing deal!  I am now able to stay home with my kids and do the things that I need to and want to do for my family!  I have a ton of fun at parties, expos, and businesses meeting new people and helping them get healthy and I also make cash from selling wraps and facials as well as commissions from sales! 


My friend signed up at the same time that I did with It Works.  For the past 18 months she hasn't had any parties or done a thing with the company!  I don't think she has even opened emails from them!  Yet, each month she continues to get a check for at least $500!  There are not many companies out there that have such an amazing compensation plan that you can literally do nothing and make money!Why not try it out!  It's a great company with great products!!  You really have nothing to lose!! (except inches)  Book some parties and I will run them for you and give you all of the customers and cash from the wraps!  I even have all of the invites and start up materials that I will provide you!  It is soooo easy!!

I hope to hear from you soon so we can get started and you can pass on this amazing deal to your friends and family as well!  Who knows, you could build a huge team in just a month and be getting at least an extra $500 a month too!!!


Just go to the links on this blog to find out more or contact me directly!  I have teams all over the United States and we are open in Canada, Europe, and Australia!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Now I Know!!

Now I know.
I never understood before.

Why would you go to Disney every year for vacation?  It can be crowded, maybe redundant, maybe just for kids, and not to mention expensive!

I now understand why you would want to visit Disney year after year.  It took me a few days at Walt Disney World visiting all of the parks, but it finally hit me!

First, let me address my assumptions about Disney. 

Yes, it can be crowded, but if you plan things out appropriately and go with a plan you can see as much as you want in a short time!  The first day at the Magic Kingdom I didn't stick with my plan because we got to the park later then I had wanted and it really threw everything off.  As a side note, when traveling with small children if you are able to have a day just to hang out after your travel day before going to Disney - do it!  My kids were so excited to be in a hotel away from home with new sleeping arrangements that they didn't get to sleep until maybe 3 - 4 hours after normal bedtime!  This made our first full day start off late because who wants to wake up kids knowing they will be cranky!?  The second time we went to Magic Kingdom we arrived right as it opened.  I had a plan of attack and we went to it!  We rode every ride that we wanted to get in before lunch!  The waits were 15 minutes at most and that wasn't even using a Fast Pass!  There was not much of a crowd at all!  As the day went on however, the crowds became denser and the lines that were non-existent only an hour earlier were winding around every roped off area for a wait of longer than my kids would have tolerated! (and I had no desire to spend my day waiting)  So arrive early and the crowds will not be so overwhelming!  I can't tell you about the night because my kids didn't last that long.

I thought that Disney may be redundant.  I thought that if you came back each year it would be to the same thing.  I have to give it up to Disney.  They embrace change.  They change buildings, parades, characters, shows, and of course merchandise.  I find myself thinking about when we can go back to see the new renovations to Fantasy Land - the drawings we saw look incredible with more castles and rides!  Even without the major renovations I would still go back to see new characters and the new shows.  They are fun and exciting and I most likely won't remember what song they sang or dance they did, but I will remember how much fun Tyce had dancing with Woody and how Lola had a smile a mile long holding her Daddy's hand in the street next to Jessie.

Disney is not just for kids.  Yes, I went because I wanted my kids to see it all and enjoy it, but I wanted to go for me too!  There are roller coasters, shows, and other tamer rides that all adults will enjoy.  Of course I enjoy living through the joys of the kids.  To see their faces light up as a character tells them hi is just priceless!

Yes, Disney is expensive, but there are things you can do to save.  If you stay on the resort, you should sign up for the Meal Plan.  That will save you bundle right there.  Bring a cooler into the park.  We had one character meal or special meal a day at each park and carried in snacks, sandwiches, fruit, and bottles of water to have as well.  We filled up our bottles of water from the water fountains around the park and saved a ton of money that way.  If you decide to get ice cream (which you should) ask how big the portions are first!  You may find that a small soft serve in a cup is enough to feed three kids and they will give you as many extra cups as you need!  Another way to save money is to plan what souvenirs you may buy.  Decide before hand if you are going to buy your kids things or not and TELL them!  We let our kids pick out one thing from Downtown Disney after having gone to 3 of the four parks.  We figured they had seen enough of the merchandise to know what they wanted and we didn't really want to carry toys and things through the parks. (although they do have a package pick-up area you can send your stuff to and pick up on your way out of the park)

The biggest reason I can see going back to Disney year after year came to me as we left Magic Kingdom.  We were heading out of the park and we saw some Cast Members (Disney Employees) with pins.  I am going to have to go off on a tangent here...

Here is another money saving tip.  If you want your kids to feel like they are getting new things without you spending any money in the parks then get them pins!  Disney Cast Members wear lanyards around their necks and many have Disney Pins on them.  If you have a pin and ask to trade they will give you any pin that you want and take any pin that you don't want!  I went on eBay and bought a huge batch of pins for super cheap!  I bought 40 pins for the same price as 5 pins in the store!  The kids of course didn't get all the pins they liked which was good because we brought the pins they didn't like to Disney so they could trade!  It was fun and inexpensive!

So back to leaving Magic Kingdom.  We saw Cast Members with pins and asked one if we could see her pins.  Within minutes we had maybe 6 Cast Members around us to see if we wanted any of their pins.  They pointed out pins to the kids that they thought they may like.  They made sure the kids gave them pins they the kids didn't want!  It wasn't the first time we had traded pins, but each time we did the Cast Member stopped whatever they were doing to trade!  Then the kids began to become interested in some of the games Cast Members had out.  They had big and small hoops to play with.  Things were going well and then some big catastrophe occurred - you know the kind-a bug lands on you, your brother looks at you the wrong way, someone laughs across the street and of course it is at you- and Lola turned in a huff, crossed her arms, and marched across the street down Main Street USA.  Awesome!  Tantrum here we come.  I followed her at a distance.  She would glance back and check until I sprinted to catch up and snatch her up before she could see me.  As we walked back a Cast Member came up to her.  He must have been watching.  He called her princess and asked her if she could turn her frown upside down he would give her something special, but only if she promised to listen to her Mommy too.  She smiled right away for him and he gave her stickers.  To an adult stickers may not be much, but to a four year old they are like gold!

So my point is this:  I would go back because of the service.  There is no place on earth that I have personally been to where every single person that works there is smiling and goes above and beyond.  I felt that way at Disney.  I felt like my family was the most important family there and the Cast Members were going to make sure we knew it.  From the people cleaning the street who stopped to ask how our day was to the ride operators who made silly faces at us, to the characters who had to be sweating to death in those costumes in the heat but spent an extra five minutes chatting with the kids to make them feel comfortable so Mom could get a picture the Cast Members were amazing!  We even experienced this at each of the restaurants we went to in the parks.  The service was phenomenal!  I was a waitress at one time in my life so I pay attention to things like that!  We had new drinks before we could even sip our last sip from our existing one.  Conversation and courtesy was overflowing.  Again we were treated like we were the most important family there!  Who doesn't love that?

So even though Disney has wonderful rides, shows, atmosphere, food, and good times, I would return year after year simply because of its Cast Members.  To be treated the way we were treated every day in each Park made any other mishap fade quickly away!