Just call me Jiji

…me, just pretending to be me ….now, where did I put that cape??

Archive for the tag “Happy”

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Here is a (very belated) update on “Leon’s Locks for St. Judes Kids Fundraiser”.

As you may or may not know my son, Leon, had been growing his hair since 1st grade to help a child at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Four year’s later my little guy isn’t so little anymore and is going into 5th grade (I KNOW! Right?) and met his goal to donate his hair. He also has met part of his goal to help the children of St. Judes. While he did not meet his personal goal of raising $5,000 he sure as heck did an amazing job in raising over $1500. His story ran in a local newspaper a few weeks ago. You can find the story here, but please note that the link provided in the story has been unfortunately closed, we are looking to reopen the event.

We are just so proud of him. He is just such an amazing kid.

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Duck Tape!!! Bigger on the Inside!

From One Differently- Abled Child to Another

My Wild Child

Leon is 9 years old and he has Asperger Syndrome /High Functioning Autism. He is an extremely  bright boy with big ideas and an even  bigger heart.

One of  the many wonderful characteristic of Asperger’s is Determination, and he’s got  plenty of that.  When Leon has is heart set on something, he cannot be derailed. When Leon was in 1st grade, he watched a video presentation in school about St. Judes Children’s Hospital, on that day he decided he wanted to help the kids of St. Judes, because, in his words, “I can help kids who are really, really sick” .  He then told me he wanted to cut his hair

In 2008, sporting his blue mohawk

(which was  Mohawk  at the time). When I asked him why, he said “because, I want to donate it to the ones that are bald”.

  Leon has not cut his hair since and that was back in 2008. In that time he has been teased, mocked, and bullied by other kids. He is often mistaken for a girl. But Leon takes it all in stride. He simply explains to those patient enough to listen, “ I am not a girl, I am a boy. I am  just growing my hair to donate to St. Judes Kids”.

In 2011, we found out that there was no guarantee that his donated hair would go to a  St. Judes Child. In fact it was unlikely. This did not sit well with Leon at all. He was very upset in fact. Although he knew that his hair would still go to a good cause, it was the children of St. Judes and their story that had touched his heart.

This is why he began hosting the “Leon’s Locks for St. Judes Kids Fundraiser”. It was important to him that he still do something for St. Judes Kids. Leon set his goal quite high, at $5000. We know it is a long shot but we have always taught him to reach for the stars and to believe in himself.

We worked together as a family to get donations where ever we could. His father and I reached out to our contacts via email, Facebook, and this website.  We also had cards made up for Leon to give out when the opportunity presented itself.

Leon’s Story Card

He gave them out to friends and their parents, at birthday parties, and communions. We carried them with us where ever we went. We even had a pin and a T-shirt made that said “ask me about my hair”.

Then when asked he could tell his story and give out a card. This worked out very well, because Leon did not always feel comfortable approaching people he did not know. But when asked he was always more than happy to tell his story about why his hair was so long. He spoke to people on the train, in restaurants, and we even hung out in Times Square for a while, giving out information cards.

Times Square NYC

 

.Both his dad and I are very proud of how much bravery and confidence he has shown when approaching and being approached by others. We love how much partaking in this, has helped him improve on his social skills, something that is greatly hindered by his Asperger Syndrome.

Being a part of this fundraiser has helped us grow in so many ways, both individually, and together as a family.

Tomorrow, July 7 2012, we will celebrate with our friends and family at our Annual BBQ that we have every year in July. At some point in the evening Leon will cut his hair for donation to “Locks of Love”. And while we  are happy to report that since Leon began this fundraiser in March 2012 , he has raised $1385.00;  we hope to continue in spreading the word and getting more people to donate to his fundraiser for St Judes Children’s Research Hospital.

Folks can donate with a credit card via this link https://waystohelp.stjude.org/sjVPortal/public/event/page/displayEventPage.do?sectionStyle=subMenuFour&eventId=310924&programId=2002

Please forward and share this story as much as possible!!

Leon’s self portrait

Getting My Artsy Fartsy On

I love handmade things and I love being creative. My latest obsession in regards to getting my artsy fartsy on is Etsy. For those of you unfamiliar with www.etsy.com I strongly recommend you take a peek. I first discovered Etsy back in 2008 while planning my sister’s baby shower. I was looking for ideas and inspiration, and I found plenty!

Weddings Products are huge on Etsy too. I found tons of inspiration for my sister-in-law’s wedding there.

These are some of the items I’ve made  for Suzie & Eddie’s wedding;

Bride Hanger for the special once in a life time gown

Wedding Signature Board in use.

Wedding Signature Board Personalized with Initials and Wedding Date

Wedding Signature Board close-up

The Toasting Glasses I made especially for Suzie and Edwin

Mr. & Mrs. Chair Signs (which I personally love love love because they can be repurposed after the wedding as wall decoration, mail baskets, etc. )

And the Mr. & Mrs. in person

My favorite creation, the personalized Cake Topper

...and with the date on the back

I was very excited to see it all put together so nicely

One of my New Year’s Resolutions involves me getting my Artsy Fartsy on in 2012. And getting it onto Etsy.

So get ready for some more coming soon

Nine Years Old and Already Breaking Hearts

A couple of days ago Leon came home from school and I could tell he wasn’t himself. Well not his, get off the bus and get the homework done right away, to get it out-of-the-way, so he can watch TV and play, self.

His ODD was in full force and rearing its ugly head. Everything was an argument or a fight, he asked for things he knew I would disagree to and then would have a huge fit when he would hear the word no. He lashed out, got fresh, and as a result he had to suffer the consequences of his actions. The consequences in this case being no video games for the rest of the day, including his newest addition to his collection; Skylanders.  He had just gotten it for his birthday the week before and was becoming obsessive about it. I felt he needed a break from it. Which he did. But the storm that came after that, resulted in a huge temper tantrum. There was yelling and crying, and screaming and runny noses, and soberly “i hate you’s”, and “i hate myself”, and “i just want to be left alone”, and screaming into pillows, and pinching and scratching at himself, and me grabbing a hold of him in my arms to cradle him and love him and keep him from physically hurting himself.

Phew! I see more and more of myself in this child every day! Memories and things long forgotten and tucked away in the far back of my mind. And now as I watch him go through so many of the things I went through in my own childhood (things that had made me feel “wrong”); and now to see him go through it, and not know how to deal with the intense emotions that come with it,  just kills me. I only hope that I can parlay my understanding and feelings to him based on what I have already gone through and cushion the blow even just a little. Let him know, he is NOT alone, there are others who understand, who get it, who have the same difficulties and differences.

This poor child carries the strain of always having to restrain and keep in check his natural ADHD impulses to do his own thing, his own way, while he is in school all day and for just long enough after school to get his homework done. The meds that he is on helps him to do that, and for all intense purposes work great, but some days are a bit more challenging than others. Sometimes the smallest monkey wrench puts a crimp in his day and throws him completely off course. It could be anything, maybe his schedule was unexpectedly interrupted, maybe he isn’t feeling well or maybe someone said or did something that he just can’t get off of his mind. What ever it is, it can cause the storm described above…

and below….

Leon: MOM! I am having a REALLY bad day! All I want is to come home and relax by playing my new game and you won’t even let me, And I am just really really stressed (pleading now, with tears running down his cheeks) PLEEEASE let me play with my Skylanders I just need to forget today happened!! Pleease!!! I DON’T WANT to go to fencing, I just want to RELAX!!! and I can’t do that if I can’t play my game!!

ME: (cradling my poor sobbing little boy whose trying desperately to sway me into changing my mind about taking away his video game privileges as a result of consequential behavior) I know you are upset, Leon. I am sorry that this hurts your feelings, but you know the rules if you get nasty with mommy you lose certain privileges and telling me you feel too sick to go fencing but just fine to play video games is not going to cut it.

Leon: I’m sooorrrrrry! I won’t do it again. Pllllllleeeeeeaaaassssseeee can I play my game. I had a bad day and besides I got some bad news at school and I am stressed about it! I just neeeeeeeeeed to playayayayay my GAME!

ME: What bad news? Do you want to tell me about it.

Leon: I just don’t want to talk about it OKAY!!! (screaming) Just let me PLAY!!!!!!

ME: eh, there is that tone again. (remaining as calm as any parent who just wants to strangle their beautiful child can)  Lets just try to stay calm and talk things out and we can see were we go from there.

Leon: If you knew this bad news you’d know why I am so stressed!

ME: So tell me about it

Leon: I don’t want to

ME: Okay you don’t have to tell me. But I am a little worried, can you tell me if it’s bad news about you?

Leon: no

ME: is a teacher involved?

Leon: no

Me: a friend?

Leon: yeah…

Me: did someone get hurt or sick?

Leon: no it’s not like that, it’s, it’s it’s just to horrible to say, I’ll write it down.

Me: (a little concerned now…. takes the folded up paper from his hand – reads his scribble and…..) (SMILE) Leon, is this what is upsetting you so much?

Leon: yes!

The note says: ” _________ has a crush on me! (It’s shocking!)”

ME: (inner voice) AWWWWW how freaking cute!!!!!!!!! (outer voice) This is flattering news, it should make you feel good about yourself. _____ is a very nice girl and she obviously has good taste. Don’t look at this as a bad thing, think of it as a good thing. I thought you liked ______.

Leon: I do! but I don’t want a crush, I want a friend!!!!

ME: All you have to do is just tell her that.

We talked a bit more about how he came to this knowledge….

Leon: Her friend came and told me, and then _____ said she was too embarrassed to tell me herself.

ME: what did you say?

Leon: nothing, I just fainted!

Ah the complexities of a fourth grader.

Today he came home in all smiles, we talked a bit before my bronchitis sent me back to sleep and he had a very nice evening playing with his dad.

I had asked him if he had spoken to ______. 

Leon: yeah, I told her that I didn’t feel the same way about her, and I asked her if we could still be friends. and she said yes.

Alls well that ends well!

I just hope ______  is okay! I mean who can blame her? My kid has always been a looker…… 

and he is an AMAZING KID to boot.

“I LOVE my Feral little child.”

Early in the morning through bleary eyes, I peer out across the sun lit room at my child, and a grin slowly forms on my lips as I think to myself;

I LOVE my Feral little child.”

Sitting cross-legged on the floor wearing only his PJ bottoms, with his fuzzy blanket draped around him like an animal skin of sorts, with his long, wild and crazy hair all messed up and draped over his shoulders; he really does look like a feral child!!

He looked back at me, and I fully expected him to say “Me Leon, You Mommy, Me hunt and gather food, You wait here.” instead I got “Mooooom, I am huuuuungreeeeeey!” To which I replied, “Me Mommy, me tired, go now, ask your father to forage for food”; his reply … “you’re weird!”

Yes, yes I am!

I later opened up my laptop to look up the meaning behind “feral child” , I wanted to be sure I was thinking of the right word. Wikipedia not only spit out the meaning, but provided a picture in example as well:

Oh look!! It’s a picture of my very own sweet child!

It looks just like him!!!  At least I think it does.

It’s fitting though, and not just because he looks like a feral child with his hair all tangled, and mussed up, going in all different directions. But also, because he is a wild child at heart. And I mean that in the best possible way.

He certainly dances to the beat of his own drummer. As I’ve often maintained, he is a strong-willed child with a mind of his own, and once it is made up there is no changing it.

Such as it is with his long luscious locks, which I am happy to say, we have learned to tame (somewhat anyway).

He made up his mind to grow his hair long just short of 2 years ago in January of 2010, I remember the date because I blogged about it here.

It was late in January when he came home all excited about doing the Math-a-thon to raise money for St Jude Children’s’ Hospital and helping other kids his own age, who were sick with cancer. It was on that day that he asked if he could donate his hair to the kids at St. Judes. When we told him he would have to have a lot more hair than what had just recently grown out from his mohawk, he said he didn’t mind at all.

Leon in Disney sporting his blue mohawk

Leon's Hair as it was the day he came home and declared he was donating his hair to a kid like him with cancer

I also told him that it would probably take him a few years before he would have enough to donate. It didn’t phase him one bit. Both Ron and I  were pretty proud of him for wanting to do this, but we also thought it would not last. Boy were we wrong. It’s been two years and he still has an inch or two more to grow before he can donate it. Despite being picked on and teased in summer camp, and consistently being called a  girl by strangers, he is more determined than ever to reach his goal.

We’ve come a long way….

   He is such a beautiful child, it is no wonder strangers call him a girl

In the end it will be so worth it. And that long hair suits him, it suits his personality. And yes he does occasionally look like a feral child, possibly raised by monkeys. It was after all just yesterday that I caught my wild little child in the act of standing on his chair in the pizzeria attempting to swing on the lamp that hung above his table. But no matter how wild my little child gets or looks, he will always be MY little wild child!

“I LOVE my Feral little child.”

And So It Begins….

7:00pm

Telephone -(ring, ring)….                                   
Me: Hello?
Little Girl Voice: Hi, Can I talk to Leon?       
Me: Sure who’s calling?
Little Girl Voice: This is Samantha
Me: Okay Hold on a sec.
Samantha: ok
Leon: Hello?
Samantha:Hi    (….yes I was listening in)
Leon:   Hi (….trying to hide his grin)
Samantha: What are you doing?
Leon: Um, playing Monopoly with my dad
Samantha: Oh, okay I’ll let you go play monopoly
Leon: Wait, why did you call?
Samantha: I just wanted to say Hi
Leon: Hi
Samantha: Hi
………(silence)……..
Leon:  Okay, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow   
Samantha: Okay, bye
Leon: bye (GRIN)
Click

ME:  (suppressed smile)  

Voices in my head:  O-M-G!!!!! How freakin cute!!!!! Leon got his first phone call from a girl!!!! (SQUEEEEEEAL!!!!)

Leon certainly lit up when he heard her voice.  Could it be???? …..Puppy Love???  – tee hee……

It’s my party and I can run myself into the ground if I want too!!!!

With this year being as difficult as it has been, doing something I truly enjoy hasn’t been much of an option.

One of the things I really enjoy doing is planning something special and hosting parties for special occasions and holidays. Traditionally, we host big Christmas and Easter celebrations for our family of 17 every year with special extras like traditional Weinachts Teller and Easter Egg Scavenger Hunts, birthdays of course are also real big here, and I plan big too complete with banners, balloons, and birthday fairies. Then there are the smaller  holidays and events that I try to make fun and memorable, like New Years Eve where Leon gets to stay up late and bang pots and pans at midnight; Valentine’s Day where we decorate the windows and make heart cakes; St. Patty’s Day where Leon leaves out a decorated treasure box at night for the Leprechauns to fill with gold and greenery; the last day of school where we have a big get-together in our yard complete with wet and wild summer activities to welcome summer vacation; 4th of July BBQ, which Ron has been hosting for 20 + years; Halloween… etc… etc… etc..  .

But due to all my health issues this year, I just haven’t had it in me to make these special events happen, I even had to cancel Easter at the last minute this year because I was too, too sick to make it happen, and that is saying a lot. I was so incredibly disappointed in myself. And for as much as everyone reassured me that it wasn’t a big deal. It WAS a big deal to ME! I loooove hosting the holidays, it was a big letdown for me and I lost out on doing something that makes me happy doing it. Even the Leprechauns made a poor appearance this year because I just could not do it.

Leon always looks forward to the backyard party we have on the last day of school and I was not about to disappoint him or myself. I knew full well that I would pay for it in the end, and that it probably would end up being a bit too much for me, but there was no way I was not going to have our year end “Welcome Summer Party” for Leon and his friends (and for me and my friends too).

The invites went out, and the responses came in. As the date came closer I started to have some doubts. Every day has been a painful one for me at some point during the course of it. There was no reason to believe that this day was going to be any different. I wondered if I would make it through my own party without excusing myself to take a nap. I started begging Ron to take the day off so he could help me get through it (that was unfair of me I know).While he could not take the day off, he did go above and beyond in helping me turn this hoarders paradise back into a home.

Leon’s last day of school was a half day on June 25th. I spent the morning rushing around and breaking a sweat as I was working hard to get the yard ready for 20 + kids and 10 + moms; that I had absolutely no time to wallow in the pain.

It was a really great day, despite the threat of rain. The kids arrived with their moms and headed straight for the water slide, while us mom’s headed straight for the Coconut Pineapple Mohitos.

I didn’t get to sit in a chair for any good length of time with all the running around I had to choose to do. I had a bunch of fun summer activities planned.

While we waited for the rest of the guests to arrive, the kids jumped from pool to pool and discovered the big box of prefilled water squirters.

Once all the guests arrived we picked teams for the water balloon fight. The kids had a BLAST!

There where plenty of other activities for the kids as well.

Like jumping on the trampoline;

playing with Lego;

drawing with chalk;

 building a castle;

 huddling together in pop up tents;

and just all around having fun with good friends.

It was tons of work to put it all together and keep things rolling! By the time I finally able to really take a seat and relax; I was exhausted and in pain. The pricklies on my arms were feeling hot and hurtin, and my legs were heavy and aching pretty bad. As the party was winding down I was dreading the worst part of the party, and that is the clean up. All the work to get it together and only a few hours later it needs to all be broken down again. I was NOT up for it any more.

As luck would have it I have some really amazingly terrific friends!! Everyone just chipped in and helped put everything away in no time, despite my arguments to “just leave it”.  In a blink of an eye the pools were drained, the castle was boxed up, as was the Lego, the chairs were stacked by the garage and the dishes were done. I don’t know what I would have done without my good friends to help me.

And now here I am just days later and I am still paying for it. I may have spent the the last 2 days in bed, but it was definitely worth it to see this smiling face;

And hear him say “mom, thanks for inviting all my friends over and having a party; I had so much fun!”

Yup, it’s my party and I can run myself into the ground if I want to!

… Cause it’s worth it!

The truth about housework, sex, and fibromyalgia

I like sex. Most people like sex. Some people like it more than others and some don’t like it at all.

I cannot speak for everyone, but I am pretty sure that the majority of people tend to experience a more frequent and active sex life in their younger years.

As life goes on, it seems as if, frequency, activity levels, and even desire seem to fade.  Some even feel that, it is marriage that does it. I personally don’t think it is marriage that does it, it’s just plain ol’ life that get’s in the way. Too much work, too much stress, not enough time, not enough privacy (kids around), too tired, and for some folks like me, something like illness or disability can get in the way too.

Fibro flares have a number of different triggers. Physical activity and exerting one’s self is one of those triggers. And let’s face it if you are not physically exerting yourself in the bedroom then maybe you aren’t doing it right.

So suffice it to say that my fibromyalgia has the potential to ruin my love life.  In fact for a time it really did. With flare-ups and the exhaustion and pain that come with it, something always has to give. That is just a fact of fibromyalgia.

With fibro too many things get put to the back burner. Projects and activities I want to plan and do rarely get further than being just an idea in my addled brain. The energy to do the everyday things in life, like housecleaning or even personal maintenance has to be sparingly doled out. Too many things get pushed to the side, with the intention of getting to it eventually.

The time, attention, and affection we give to the people we love, should not be one of those things that get pushed aside, or put on the back burner. But because the people we love, know us so well, and are more understanding of our limitations they often bear the brunt of it.

At the beginning of this year Ron and I had a moment to sit back and talk about how much we missed each other. Which would not be so strange if it were not for the fact that we were the first and last person that each of us saw and spoke to each day.  What we missed was the physical attention we gave to one another.

Yes, we were talking about sex, but not just about sex. We also missed the little touches in between. The touch on the shoulder, the arm around the waist, the holding hands, the kisses and the occasional butt squeeze, and yes, the sex that many of those things could eventually lead too. Where did all those things go?

We had plenty of excuses; too stressed, no time, too tired, too busy, no energy, too many body aches, too much to do right now, too much to do tomorrow.

Granted these excuses fit anyone and everyone, fibro or no fibro. But unless you have a trapeze in your bedroom, how many people have to worry that a night of sexual activity might put them out of commission for the following day or two?

And that is without the trapeze in our bed room 😉

Our talk led to the promise we made to each other. Which was to make more of an effort to be more physically attentive with one another on a daily basis. To snuggle on the couch instead of sit at opposite ends of it, to kiss more often, and hold hands when our hands are free. To rest a hand on each other or give a little squeeze when then opportunity presented itself. And yes, to make time for sex, even if it has to be scheduled in.

So we’ve kept our promise. We have made more time for just the two of us. We have a monthly date night scheduled. And we  are a lot more physically attentive to one another, both in and out of the bedroom.

I’ve got to say, life is a lot sweeter and happier in the arms of the person I live and breathe for.

The only downside is that, the energy that goes into the physical activities in the bedroom tends to trigger a fibro flare in me.

And with fibro flares, something always has to give. Fibromyalgia could be riuining my sex/love life. but we REFUSE to let it!

So please excuse my filthy house; but if you had to make a choice between making love or housework, what would you choose? 🙂

…and so what, if I can’t function at 100% the next day or two, at least I have a smile on face,as I am trying to figure out how I am going to catch up with life that is still proceeding on with out me.

TMI????

Gettin’ my Creative Juices Flowin’

I have often heard;

“you are so talented, you should start a business”.

That would be WONDERFUL, I’d love to do that.

The question is; how? I have no business sense and the coin purse is empty. And you know the old adage; it takes money to make money.

And then, there is the lack of confidence in my talents

It’s not that I do not believe that I have any talent, it’s just that I feel there are people out there that are so much more talented than myself.

It doesn’t stop me from enjoying the creative process though. And sometimes I even impress myself with the outcome 🙂

My creative talents have included:

Drawing – it’s been a while, I did a lot of drawing as a child and in my teens. I have only recently taken it up again. I even tried some creative drawing on the computer to make some matching t-shirts for our trip to Disney;

Trip Planning – YES I definitely consider trip planning a creative talent!! And I do it well, especially when traveling with a highly sensory child with ADHD/ODD. Accommodations for travel require quite a bit of creativity. Like the badge I made for him to wear that clearly outlined the rules with a visual prompt.

Badge that "MICKEY" sent to Leon

Event Planning – like my DIY wedding where I made everything from the centerpieces to the floral arch to the ring box to the 150 hand-painted Champaign glasses I made to give as wedding favors to each of my guests.

The wedding arch

Close up

One of my centerpieces and a set of hand-painted champaign glass favors

Enough people told me that I should go into business selling my Glass Painting that I decided to give it a try.  I successfully sold a few pieces but in the end I wasn’t making enough money to cover the time, effort, and money it took to not only paint each piece , but then to pack everything up and transport them to a little craft fair, where I paid $60 for a table, only to sell a couple of pieces that maybe made me $40, and then have to pack it all back up and bring it back home. It just didn’t pay.

I also have helped to plan a few showers, my sister’s wedding, and quite a few themed birthday parties for kids. I love doing it. Especially the themey stuff

I was very proud of the School Bus cake I made on Leon's 1st Day of School

Leon’s 2nd Thomas Birthday Party  – he didn’t know how much I put into this party but I had fun doing it

I made one cake for the adults and little individual ones for each child

Leon’s 5th Pirate Birthday Party – yes my spoiled little child had 3 parties and 3 cakes

I hand-painted this shark to use as a game, it was fun as a photo prop too!

Leon’s 8th Lego Birthday Party;- this was a really fun party!

Lego Mini Marshmellow heads - real easy to make

Kiera’s 1st Ladybug Birthday

Ladybug Themed tutu I made for Kiera's 1st birthday

If I knew how, I would love to make money as an event planner.

Photography  – …is another talent I have. More specifically I have an eye for. Ron, often tells people that I am a photographer, and it bugs me, because I am SO NOT a photographer. I WISH I was, but at best I am a photo enthusiast. The difference being that although I thoroughly enjoy photography, and have an eye for capturing great shots; I pretty much have no education in photography at all.

I can really relate to the guy in this Panasonic Lumix commercial:

..see it’s not me,  it’s my camera! (which btw is a Canon)

…plus some creative digital photo editing too.

Basically I am just winging it.

When Leon was born, my love for photography grew, and my need to share it grew too. I started showcasing my photos on my smugmug website for all my friends and family to see.

First time using a spoon

(btw -gardening is NOT one of my talents)

As a result I was asked by two different sets of friends to photograph their weddings. Of course I said yes, it was an honor to be asked. I never expected to be paid, but when one of the couples thanked me with $1000.oo check , it gave me the confidence to try to make some money doing what I loved.

I got a few jobs and made some money, but most of my jobs were for friends and I had a hard time charging them, so that didn’t last too long. I also  needed better equipment in order for my photography to live up to my own standards.

In general I don’t know that I am so much talented as I am creative and crafty

And recently I have been inspired to try a new craft;

I was honored when my sister -in-law asked me if I could make a few things for her wedding. She pointed me in the direction of Etsy.com where she had seen a few things she had really liked. I was already familiar with Etsy, but I had never really perused the wedding category. One of the things she had pointed out to me, started to get my creative juices flowin again. It was something that I have tried my hand at before, but I didn’t really feel that there was a big demand for it. But with the trend of weddings being a bit more green, the rustic look of woodburning seems to have become a bit more popular.

Woodburning – is now a talent I am trying to cultivate. And I am really enjoying it. And who knows maybe I can even sell a few pieces on Etsy….

This is just a practice piece - but it gives you an idea of what I am going for

Besides what else is there for this SAHM to do?…uh, besides taking care of an ADHD child, managing my Fibro, keeping track of $800/month medicines, PTA volunteering, School Newspaper editor and author, caring for my 3 year old niece, plan playdates, etc.., etc…, etc…                            …oh yeah and maintain this blog.

Happy Birthday to ME!!

I celebrated my birthday this week, and despite my grumblings about the weather, it was very nice!!

I’d like to thank all the people who made my birthday special, and in case you don’t know who you are:

~ my Face Book friends, some of which I see on a regular basis and some I haven’t seen in many, many years or even ever met before (Lynn 🙂 ) for all your  well wishes from around the world.

~ well wishers who emailed, phoned, or sent cards, from NY, AZ, TX, and Germany 

~ friends and family baring gifts, from CD’s, DVD’s, tickets for two to a show in Manhattan, orchids, balloons, a family night at home, a fun – albeit VERY LOUD  night out – with both family and friends, CASH (thanks Mom), two tickets to see the cast of GLEE in concert, to being made Queen for the Day by my precious son, Leon.  I gotta say I really did get a kick outta Leon answering everything I said with “Yes, my Queen” or “As you wish, my Queen”  😉

I am one of those people who loves celebrating birthdays; especially my own. And definitely not because I am enjoying the aging processes; but because I am enjoying the living process.

Yes, yes, I know I’ve been grumbling a lot lately about how difficult it has been for me of late, living with FMS. HOWEVER, that is just what is at the surface of my life at this time. But beneath that layer of unfortunate… crap; lies many other layers of my life.

My ever-growing and never ending love life with my husband; the joy, wonder and pride  of watching my son grow and become; my sisterhood and friendships with friends – new and old; my ever-changing, ever maturing relationships with my family near and far, whether blood-related or bond-related; my accomplishments and achievements as a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a woman; life lessons I have learned and passed on; events and experiences I have yet to encounter; these are all layers of my life. These are the things worth celebrating!   

Happy Birthday to ME!!!    

A Message from Santa

 

Dear Jill,

Hello from the North Pole. I bet you are surprised to be hearing from me, here, on your blog. I hope you don’t mind me posting this note on your blog, but I wanted to make sure that your son Leon get’s my message. And who better to trust with such an important task then his own mother?  You must be extremely proud of him. He has come such a long way. I’ve been keeping my eye on him and I have to say Mrs. Claus and I are very proud of him too. Not only was his report card filled with 3’s and 4’s but I heard from my elves today, that he just won 1st place in the category of photography for his school in the PTA Reflections Contest. I hope he saves the Target gift card he won for something really wonderful. 

He is maturing very well and becoming such a responsible young boy. I really enjoy seeing how well he does his homework right after school. I would urge him to slow down a bit though, it is important to take time and work carefully when doing school work. I have noticed some improvement in his handwriting too! There is more work to be done, but I have every confidence in him. I’ve seen him do great things.

He is taking after you artistically, isn’t he? The combination of his wonderful imagination and the talent he is showing  when he draws make for some beautiful and creative artwork. I especially like the winter scene he drew, with me in my sleigh sailing through the sky. That one is by far the best work of art I have seen him do so far. You really should add it to the art gallery in your livingroom if he will allow you to. 

He also has the potential to be a great musician too, if only he would practice his instruments. He seems to be doing very well in orchestra with his cello, according to his teacher, just  imagine how good he would be if he actually practiced, I do hope you will urge him to practice! And not just his cello but also the guitar too. Did you know he wrote me a letter asking for a piano keyboard AND an electric guitar, along with some Lego and an Xbox? There is only so much I can do. Between you and me I think the electric guitar should wait a bit. I’d like to see him practice the instruments he is already learning more often and on a regular basis before I get him the electric guitar. Please tell him I said so.

He will be getting at least one thing he asked for in his letter under the tree, on Christmas morning as well as a few other things that the elves and I have overheard him talking about. And I will admit that we do check out his Universal Wishlist on Amazon regularly. What a smart thing to do. Kudos to you Jill, for making things a bit easier for folks.

There is something else I have noticed about Leon lately and I am very glad to see it. I see him being even more caring and generous with others and in life, than he has been in the past. It is truly wonderful to see Leon getting into the true spirit of Christmas. As you know, Christmas is not about getting presents, it is instead about giving, just as God gave us his son, Jesus Christ.

Leon has a lot to give this world and he is off to a wonderful start.

The message I would like you to pass on to him is in this link, I was able to record a video just  for him through my portable North Pole, please have him watch it; 

 http://www.portablenorthpole.tv/watch/guest/i0o2DZwhRB515cEvAUZugg

And don’t you worry Jill, I haven’t forgotten about you either. I received your letter too. It was very unique of you to write your letter to me on your blog, although in this new age of technology it isn’t surprising, you wouldn’t believe all the tweets I get, and don’t get me started on all the “Dear Santa” Facebook status stuff.

Regarding the wishlist in your letter, I am not so sure I can do anything about the time thing, you might want to try Father Time, but I don’t think he takes requests. All I have to offer you is advice; if you want more time in the day to have to yourself , you are going to have to make it. Try not to be so accommodating. It really is okay to say no every once in a while and take care of yourself first.

The will-power to continue to lose weight is already within you, so I will work on sending the soft-serve calorie-free, fat-free ice-cream your way. I’ll have to remind the elves to pick up some dry ice, before we depart the North Pole on Friday.  But incase we can’t get Jack Frost to share, rest assured you will find a gift under the tree from Santa. Afterall while looking under Leon’s name for his wishlist on Amazon.com, I looked up your name, and Ron’s too.

As far as the last thing on your list in your letter to me, that too, is something you already have. God has provided you with the perfect family just for you. Just as he made Ron for you; he made you for Ron. And then he answered your prayers and gave you Leon.  Praise God always and anything you could ever need will be yours!

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

                                                                                            Love,

                                                                                                Santa

P.S. I actually prefer Kahlua and cream with my cookies but I don’t drink and fly, so skim milk will be just fine. 

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