Monday, November 19, 2012

The good news is your son doesn't have dyslexia...

My son Bubbie has been struggling in school.  Not your normal "Your son is slightly behind," or "Your son is fidgety and disruptive" kind of struggles either.  Bubbie can not write.  You can BARELY read his own name when he writes it down.  He also can not spell....not even simple words like "the."  He is in 4th grade, so this is totally unacceptable.  I have been to numerous meetings with the school, but was told that because his overall academic performance fell within the "normal" range he was ineligible for services.  In my heart I knew something major was going on.  Bubbie is a people pleaser by nature and was very depressed and self-critical over his academic and sports performances.  He WANTS to do well and he just couldn't.  

I took him to be independently tested by a Developmental Neurologist.  She ran her tests and came in and said:  I have good news and bad news.  The good news is Bubbie doesn't have dyslexia.  The bad news is he has Dysgraphia, fine-motor dyspraxia, severe vision disturbances, and ADHD.  

I was floored.  All these years I have been telling everyone that would listen that there is more going on with Bubbie than just ADHD. But it was falling on deaf ears, or if his teacher KNEW that Bubbie needed special help his hands were tied by the fact he did not have any formalized medical diagnosis.  

Dysgraphia:  a learning disability that affects writing, which requires a complex set of motor and information processing skills. Dysgraphia makes the act of writing difficult. It can lead to problems with spelling, poor handwriting, and putting thoughts on paper. People with dysgraphia can have trouble organizing letters, numbers, and words on a line or page. This can result partly from:

  • Visual-spatial difficulties: trouble processing what the eye sees
  • Language processing difficulty: trouble processing and making sense of what the ear hears

    Here is what Bubbie's writing looks like:
Most times he can't even read it

Dyspraxiaa term that refers to a specific disorder in the area of motor skill development. People with dyspraxia have difficulty planning and completing intended fine motor tasks. 
  • Coordination difficulties can be particularly problematic in physical education classes and other sports activities.
  • Writing difficulties such as poor letter formation, pencil grip and slow writing can make school work frustrating.
Visual Disturbances:  Bubbie has visual disturbances both in eye tracking and eye teaming.  In a nutshell, this means that his eyes do not work together.  So for him, most writing looks like the bottom line to the right.  This means that his brain then has to decode what he sees and/or decide which eye is going to dominant, neurologically shutting down all inputs from the non-dominant eye.  Because the brain does this, he is unable to track moving objects in his field of vision.  So, for example when playing sports he either sees 2 balls coming at him, or he can not "follow" the person carrying the ball.
Bubbie the next Gatorade spokesma
Add ADHD into the mix described above, and basically it is a miracle and a testament to Bubbie's intelligence level and temperament that he has achieved as much as he has both academically and physically.  He has played football (not well, but not horribly either) for 4 years.  He played baseball for 4 years and actually made some pretty good catches and plays this year.  He reads above grade level and can do long division in his head (even though he can't write down his answers).   He is well liked by his peers, and his classmates actually protect him and stand up for him.  He does have a lot of anxiety and frustration levels, but has been working really hard to be in "better control" as he calls it.  I am so VERY proud to have this wonderful child in my life who is teaching me that when life hands you lemons you make lemonade.  I strongly feel that BECAUSE Bubbie has had to overcome so many obstacles as a child, he will be a very successful adult who will not quit or give up when presented with seemingly insurmountable problems.  He will have the skills to break them down into manageable parts and realize that he can DO ANYTHING he sets his mind to achieving.  

There is a lot of hope and hard work in the next couple of years for Bubbie.  He will finally be getting and Individualized Education Plan through his school.  This means he will be getting occupational therapy, assisted technology (laptop or tablet), as well as any accommodations he needs to reach his full potential academically, interpersonally and physically.  He will also be going to occupational therapy to help him train his right and left sides of his brain to communicate with his body (he can't skip, or successfully touch his right hand to his left foot, for example).  He will also be seeing a developmental optometrist to work on the eye teaming and tracking.  Of all the developmental concerns he has this one is probably the easiest to overcome through vision therapy.  

The best news is WE FINALLY have a diagnosis and are working on a plan!  It is like a huge boulder has been lifted from my shoulders.  Bubbie is also relieved to know that all of his academic problems weren't "because he didn't try enough."  

To all you parents and families and individuals that struggle with learning disabilities, I salute you and have much respect for the paths that you have forged allowing my son to be able to get the help he not only needs but deserves!

With much gratitude to medical science,

Monday, October 15, 2012

Stop and THINK before you post!

Warning, this is a rant post.  If you are here today for some humor, you will most likely be disappointed.  Granted, there may be snippets of sarcasm, but this is a subject matter that is serious and deserves a serious post.

Recently I posted a link to a YouTube video of a very pretty, talented and sad girl named Amanda Todd on my Facebook page.  Since then (and NO I am not taking credit for the blow up, lol, I am sure it was coincidental), there has been a lot of discussion about this young lady and her tragic story which ultimately led to her suicide.  Her story has gone viral, and I see at least 30 - 40 people re-posting either the original video or links to a page dedicated to her on my oldest daughter's Facebook page.  Does this girl deserve to be remembered?  YES!  Does my heart break for her? ABSOLUTELY!  Do I think she could have avoided what happened if she had the ability to think of consequences? Maybe.  I urge us all to look at the entire story and the circumstances that went into what led to her ultimate decision to take her own life. Use this not only as a lesson about what impact there is when a child is bullied, but as a lesson to teach our children that there are consequences for their digital actions. Stop and THINK before you post!

I am CONSTANTLY telling Manudo to think not once, not twice, not three times, but 100 times before posting a photo of herself on any of the multitude of social networking sites to which she currently belongs.  The list includes: Twitter, Facebook, GifBoom, Skype, Instagram, etc.  Some of these give the false impression that if you post something, decide it is inappropriate or you don't like it, that you can choose to edit or remove the content.  I have news for you: Once something is on the Internet, it is there FOREVER.    All it takes is for one person to save that image to their personal computer and repost it...just like what happened in Amanda's case.

If you have kids in the 12 - 17 age range, I am sure that they have at least a Facebook page.  My challenge to you is to log into your child's Facebook page (and if you don't have access to your minor child's page, then shame on you), and look at what they are posting, Instant Messaging, and HIDING from you.  Also, look at what their so called friends are posting.  I will guarantee you that you will find any number of inappropriate posts/pictures/comments that will make you want to wash your eyes out with bleach.  On my daughter's feed I have seen "friends" calling each other: Gay, Homo, Loser, Ugly, Bitch, Slut, Dick, Asshole, Stupid, Thug, Retard, Nigga', Butt Buddy, Fat, Anorexic, Pimple Faced, the list goes on and on and on.  Seriously, if you have "friends" who do this to you what would your enemies be saying?  What is even more disturbing to me, as a mother, is the way that girls and boys are constantly "pimping" themselves out there by asking for "rates" on their photos.  Some will take multiple photos daily and post them to the site.  Not even an hour will go by  and they post they are depressed because their photo didn't get as many "likes" or comments as they felt necessary to make them feel like a worthwhile human beings.  I have seen 12 and 13 year old girls posting pictures of their "cleavage", full length bikini pictures (with the caption, do I look fat?), pictures of their asses, and sexually suggestive photos of themselves.  I have seen 12 and 13 year old girls posting about liking sex, wanting to "blow" someone, and pictures of themselves kissing and making out.  Whatever happened to the saying "Pretty is as Pretty Does?"  And the girls aren't alone, boys are doing just as inappropriate texting/posting/etc.

I was very surprised, and impressed, when one of my daughter's friends posted this picture:

BOTH stories are sad, but, could one have ended differently if they thought about the consequences of their actions?  Bullying is a very serious issue.  I also know I have been guilty of thinking "Well, I was bullied as a kid, and I grew up and was fine."  However, kids who are bullied today face the fact that their torment is documented and shared virally, while the rest of us older than 20 only had to make it through the day at school.  These poor kids are stalked in ways we can only imagine.  It makes me nauseated to just think of it, and even more ill to think of how I would handle it if my child was the target of such bullying as Amanda or any number of other children who are just trying to fit in today.

All I know is I am and WILL monitor my children's social media until they are 18.  Our deal is if you want access to these sites, you have to give me your log-in information.  Same rule applies to cell phones and texting.  It isn't because I am nosy and do not respect my kids privacy, it is because I am their mother and my first job is to protect them, not FRIEND them.

Rant over.  I am sure many of you disagree, but if you think I made any valid points, please talk to your kids and better yet, share this post with your friends.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Anxiety....Why do things have to come out?

We all have anxieties or things that make us feel anxious.  I have quite a few, but none are as embarrassing as my fear of things that come out of the human body.

One of my biggest ones is lutropublicaphobia (OMG, I want to use that in words with friends so bad).  This is the fear of "going" in public restrooms.  I really don't have a problem with using a public is I just freak out a bit if ANYONE else happens to be in said restroom.  AND, I get uber-panicked if I don't have to just pee.

My favorite type of bathroom...NO stalls!
There have been more instances than I can ever count when I have to "go" so I head to my work restroom.  All the while I am PRAYING and talking to myself that there PLEASE not be ANYONE in there when I open the door.  Most of the time, if some poor soul has had the gall to actually use MY bathroom, I will simply leave and then stalk the door waiting for them to leave.    

Thursday, August 16, 2012

They Call Me Mama Bear

Kids and sports is always a hot topic.  Especially when it is YOUR kid playing a sport, and you (the parent) feel your kid has been wronged.  Let me preface this rant by setting the facts:

  1. My kid is 25% for height and less than that for weight small.
  2. He plays tackle football, some of the kids are DOUBLE his weight or more.
  3. I do NOT want him to play, he is the one who is insistent and always ready and anxious to go to practice.
  4. He has not missed a single practice and is there giving his best 10 or more hours per week.
  5. He is no where near being the best on the team, nor is he the worst.  But even if he was the worst, he still loves to play and deserves a fair chance.
  6. I have never, nor would I ever, even dream of telling a coach how to teach the game of Football to his team.  I know NOTHING about it other than the fact that the helmet and pads are pains in the ass to get on and off.
Olympic runner  Oscar Pistorius 
Now, I DO know some things about motivation from my past as a children's counselor and my present as a team leader at work.  Here are some of the truths that I believe, as a leader and as a parent, that are a MUST to be a successful role model/leader/coach.
  1. When kids are young, they respond to positive reinforcement.  Ignoring or exclusion is NOT the way to get them to do their best for you.
  2. At 12 years old and younger it is MOST important to teach kids the fundamentals of the game, the value of team work, and to do so in a way that raises their confidence levels and allows them to have some fun.
  3. Winning is NOT everything.  At young ages it really is more about HOW you play the game.
  4. Not everyone deserves a trophy, but everyone deserves an equal and fair chance at earning one.
  5. 99.999% of the kids on pee-wee leagues will never ever be good enough to get college scholarships for sports, much less play in the pros.  However, the confidence and lessons they learn from being valued as a team member MAY help them to become future leaders and successful in their careers.
  6. Focusing on a perceived negative feature of a person will not help them to overcome their fears.  If a kid has determination and desire, they have the ability to overlook their short-comings and work through them.  Do you think Oscar Pistorius' coaches focused on the fact he was a paraplegic, or do you think they focused on ways to help him be the best in spite of his limitations?
  7. Singling out a child in a negative way will ALWAYS backfire on you, especially when the child did NOTHING wrong.  It is noticed not only by the child being singled out, but by every other kid on the team.
  8. Breaking or bending the rules to fit your needs as a leader will always be noted and unfavorably received by your team.  What is good for YOU and YOUR child, better be just as good or better for the rest of team or you will suffer great criticism.
  9. If you do make decisions that will make a child upset, have the courtesy to explain the reasoning behind your decisions.  Kids are smart and they know when they are being discounted or underestimated or disrespected.
  10. If a parent comes up to you with a concern, DO NOT LIE to them.  Trust me, they have been watching and for every one concern they bring to your attention, they have held back 100 for fear of retaliation on their child.
  11. Parents of other kids do respect and have gratitude for what you do....even more if you do it in a fair and equitable manner.
Rant over.....for now!

If you want to read more about my adventures in team sports, check out this blast from the past: True story about Bubbie, Football and Bugs

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What the Hell?

I do not label myself based on politics.  I may be labeled a liberal by conservatives or a conservative by liberals, but I really do not give a rat's ass.  What I am is a self thinking adult, I like to call myself a Humanist.  I do not blindly follow ANY doctrine just because it is affiliated with a certain party/religion/group. I try to base my decisions on rational facts.   I look at the pros/cons and then I make my own decision....some of which are based on emotion, I will confess.  For example, I do not, will not ever, shop at Wal-Mart.  I would rather spend extra money at another store, or drive extra miles than to give my money to them.  I base this a personal decision on their policies towards women, benefits, and "take over the world" mentality.  Hooters is another establishment that doesn't get my money.  It isn't even based on fact, but just my emotional feeling that women shouldn't have to dress provocatively to make money.  Do their wings taste bad if the girls aren't in hoochie clothes?  The difference is I have the right to choose who gets my money, but I do not think that companies can morally say who they can take their money from.  

Recently all the hoopla about Chick-fil-A has been making me confused and angry.  I do not know if it was a brilliant way to get fat, lemming like Americans to eat more Fried Chicken, or if the ownership of that company really does not like 1/10th of the human population and feels that their money isn't good enough for them.  Whatever it is, I will NOT be eating there (although admittedly I don't know if I ever have eaten there).  To PROFIT off of alienating a group of people who just want to live their lives is shameful.  I thought being a Christian meant that you have love and forgiveness for ALL people?  I thought that being an American means protecting the rights of all?  I don't even care that they label themselves as a Christian establishment and are closed on Sundays.  What bothers me is that they label themselves a Christian establishment and PROMOTE the hatred of human beings who are different.  

When did Americans get so sanctimonious?
The Statue of Liberty tells us: "Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breath free/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore/ Send these, The homeless, tempest-tossed to me/ I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"  I do not see anything in that statement about not letting in someone based on their sexual orientation.  

I get that people join certain organizations (and I am pretty upset with the Boy Scouts right now, but that is a rant for another day) because those organizations are in line with their personal belief systems.  However, an establishment that is for profit really should be open to ALL people, and their policy shouldn't be to not hire/serve/cater to humans who are different.  Would it be okay to start a restaurant that says no one with Autism can eat there because they may disturb the other patrons? It would be wrong because people with Autism are born that way....Just like people who are LGBT.  Would anyone choose to be something that they know will result in them being the target of hatred, fear and persecution?  Not if they have one ounce of intelligence in their brains. A better idea would be for Chick-fil-A to limit their service to obese people, however I guess the part about gluttony being a sin doesn't matter as much to them as other passages in the Bible.

I have friends who I adore, love and cherish who believe differently than me and have different lifestyles than mine, and that is Okay!  I would never base my friendship on if someone believes like me or agrees with me.  I welcome their differences and always learn something or think about an issue I have not had to face before.   I have friends that are gay, friends that are tea-baggers, Muslim friends, funny friends, serious friends, friends that are liberals, and friends that are just as confused as I am.  It makes my life more enriched and allows me to better formulate my own personal opinion based on FACTS and not what I see on the news or am "instructed" to believe by politicians and other organizations.  

Life is only black and white until you are forced into the gray.  Usually you are forced into the gray because someone you love and adore goes through something that makes you open your eyes and have empathy.  I hope for my children that they are not gay, because every parent does not want their child to be persecuted.  However, if one or more of them are, I will still love, support, and make my own damn fried chicken for them!

I encourage you all to think about if someone you love dearly was told they were wrong/sinful/an abomination because of a circumstance of their birth.  Does any other human being really have the right to judge?  And, if we are judging, shouldn't we judge on all criterion not just the ones that suit us and allow us to feel superior to others?  Pride from self-righteousness  is a sin too.......

Rant over...sorry if anyone was offended by my opinion.  That's okay if you are different, I will love and respect you anyway!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

No, I am not the stripper, I work here!

As most of you know, I work in a traditionally man's job.  I am a facilities engineer/energy conservation champion for a 2.4 million square foot manufacturing plant.  I have worked at manufacturing plants as an engineer for over 12 years.  I like it, I really do!  There are times when I hate it, but isn't that pretty much every person's job?  I was first introduced to the "joys" of being a female in a plant environment was when I was 18 going on 19.  You see, Momginerd wasn't ALWAYS the biggest studious Nerd I grew into.  I had a short period in college when life was more about boys, partying, sports,  and anything BUT studying.  I was lucky in high school in that I made really good grades with minimal effort.  However, the rigors of a challenging college where everyone was intelligent was a different experience for me.  All of a sudden, I was making letter grades that I had never even seen before!  I got a C on my semester report card, and a bunch of Bs but the usual A's were woefully my family an A- was questioned, so you can imagine how a C went over like a turd in the punch bowl.

"Nic, clean all of these with toxic chemicals and a paint brush"
My wise father decided that it may be time for me to learn a lesson.  I do not come from a family of Office Workers.  My grandfather was a Coal Miner, my grandmother a Seamstress, my dad started his career as a skilled trades worker, and continued to work in automotive manufacturing for over 35 years.  The value of hard work was one that had been instilled in me my whole life...second only to the value of the dollar and the importance of an education.  For Pops to believe that I was wasting all 3 of his hard taught lessons led him to scheme the ultimate revenge:  He arranged for me to work in a machining shop for the summer....not in the office, but actually IN THE SHOP, as the only female.  Mind you, this was quite a few years ago, and this was an "old school" shop that was not unionized (thus how he could arrange for his 18 year old daughter to work 72 hours a week, I am sure).  I worked 12 hours a day 6 days per week.  I wore: Safety glasses, long sleeves, long pants, hair in a bun, mesh gloves, and steel toed shoes.  Isn't that the ultimate outfit for a cute little 18 year old to wear? Oh, and in case you don't have the full picture of this "opportunity," I had to drive about 30 minutes each way for a start time at 6:30 AM and there was NO air-conditioning in the shop.  Not only did I look gorgeous, I smelled FANTASTIC by the end of the day.

This is an industrial press similar to the ones used in my shop
Since I obviously had no skilled trades experience, I was informed that I would be the shop machine cleaner, and if I was really lucky, I could work my way up to loading/unloading parts from the presses.  Oh Goody!  Anyway, I show up for my first day with my required safety equipment and my brown bag lunch.  On that first day, my start was later than normal since I had to go get a physical and drug test prior to starting.  I walk into the shop and a guy comes up to me and says: "Oh you must be here for the retirement party!"  I replied, "I don't think so...."  My confusion was at a high level at this point.  He then escorts me to an area of the plant and asks me, "Where is your boom box?"  Confusion mounting even more, I replied, "I really didn't think this would be the sort of job where I would need one."  Now, he is looking at ME very quizzically.  We continue walking through the plant, and I notice I am getting a lot of very "interested" stares, and the guys are following along like I am the Pied Piper or someting.  Now, this was not normal for me at all, but I was beginning to think I may like working there!  We finally reach the back of the plant and everyone starts gathering around and staring at me.  I was thinking, "Wow! they must be SO happy to have a fresh face in here, look at how eagerly they are looking at me!"  So, I said, "Thanks for gathering together to welcome me here, do you know what I will be doing?"

At that point, 45 men started realizing that there may be some confusion as to who and what I was doing there.  One of them, after a very long pregnant pause, said, "You aren't here to strip for Fred on his last day of work?"  I then stammered, with much embarrassment, "Um, no, I am your new employee."  That response was met with many people talking at once.  Some of the snippets I remember included:
1.  WTF? A GIRL in here?
2.  Ummmmm.....where IS the stripper then?
3.  She won't last 2 days after this! (I detected much glee with this one)
4.  Who did she piss off to have to work here?

The stripper did end up showing up about 15 minutes later, much to the relief of the guys and the mortification of myself.  I oftentimes wonder what the hell my dad thought of the fact that his lesson led me to be mistaken for a stripper....I do chuckle, now, but at the time you can believe the lesson was learned, and I can honestly say all that hard earned money, stripping machines of their grime, not me of my clothes, led to a marked improvement in my study skills and grades.  Lesson learned, Dad!

I think the funniest (Now, not then) days must have been when my dad or uncle would visit the shop for business and see me working covered head to toe in metal shavings and grease.  I literally had to strip to my skivvys at the entryway to the house before my parents would let me enter.  I spent much time that summer with a needle digging out shavings from my hands, face, scalp, neck, etc....If nothing else, that experience taught me to work smarter not harder, and to dress ALWAYS in a way to NOT be mistaken as a stripper!

Until next time,

Please leave a comment or share this story with your friends!  I LOVE visitors!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Giving birth does NOT make you a mother!

This is not going to be my usual informative or quirky post.  I recently went through an emotional trauma, and need to voice my rant.  If you are offended, I will apologize in advance.  If you are moved, saddened, irate, etc, then I hope it moves you to be more aware that you should be kind to all, for everyone is suffering their own battles.  This is also the hardest post I have ever written, since I have made it my policy to not bare myself emotionally naked to anyone. 

My birth mother died 3 weeks ago today.  She was never a "mother" to me.  She was guilty of atrocities that in today's society would warrant her losing parental rights and perhaps even being charged with neglect/abuse.  This post is not about MY history of abuse.  It is about breaking the chain and putting on your big girl or boy underwear and moving on.  It is not easy....not by a very long shot.  Everyone can't do it either, I know this and I accept that fact.  I consider myself one of the LUCKY people.  I have always had a brain that divided everything up into "logical" and "illogical."  Sometimes, that made it even harder to deal with.  I mean, what little girl doesn't want her mommy to love her? To buy her Christmas or Birthday Presents? To hear the words "I am proud of you?"  Those are things I never received from my birth mother....and now, the little girl who still resides way deep inside her armoured house has to deal with the fact she never will.  But, the "logical" part of my brain accepted and embraced that I was better off without her in my life.  I have a wonderful life with a loving Partner, and 3 talented, beautiful, and kind children.  Am I perfect? No, I am far from it...I do know that I have some lasting psychological damage from my early childhood that I fight daily...I am insecure, defensive and hold people at arm's length.  I strive daily to overcome these, and frankly, I believe that almost everyone who KNOWS me would be surprised to hear about the circumstances of my childhood. 

I firmly believe I was saved because SHE did manage to give me up to my Dad when I was 8.  This must have been a huge thing for her....not because she harboured of any love for me, but because of the money she lost from child support.  I am sure that could have purchased her a lot of booze and drugs, because heaven knows she never spent a cent of it on me when she did have custody.  She made the decision that she wanted to run off somewhere (Alaska, I think), so she gave up custody to my dad.  Thankfully, my dad was, and is, a wonderful person.  He was hard and had extraordinary expectations of me, but I know it was because he was fearful that I may become a lot like Her.  And truthfully, I am still unsure of if he even knows everything that SHE did to me when I was with her.  She would threaten me with even worse torture if she ever found out I told anyone.  And I believed her....who was I to not?  She was my supposed "mother" after all.

Unfortunately, the circumstances of HER death were horrific.  She was murdered by a 23 year old drug addict in her own bedroom.  Because of these circumstances, the police and DA from her area have found and contacted me as her "next of kin."  I find this very ironic, because honestly, if you would have asked me 4 weeks ago where she was or if she was alive, I would have had no clue or care.  In my mind, she was dead to me over 20 years ago when she dropped off the face of the earth.  Now, however, I have had to deal with the police, the morgue, the coroner, HER family (most of whom never attempted to contact me either), the mortuary, the victims of violent crimes task force, and best of all the damn media...all over a person who didn't give two shits about me. You cannot imagine the awkwardness of the conversations with these people who are looking for information, of which I have none.  Hell, I think I only have 1 or 2 pictures of her and they were from when I was an infant.   

The DA even mentioned that I may be subpoenaed for his trial.  I couldn't keep the sarcasm out of my voice when I asked "as a witness for the defence or the prosecution?"  I had to honestly tell him that any testimony he received from me would most likely not garner any sympathy for HER from the jury.  I told him that I want justice, as I would for any stranger who died in those circumstances, but that as far as personal investment in the case, I would give it as much effort as she gave to being a mother to me.  I somehow do not think I will be subpoenaed any time soon.  Yes, this sounds harsh, but I have worked hard to have a "normal" life, and more importantly to create normalcy for my precious children...none of whom she ever even saw a picture of and probably didn't know existed...just like they don't know about her.  I will continue to work hard to protect them from her and her "family" for as long as I live.  My kids deserve happiness and the confidence gained by being loved unconditionally, and not to be like me and always waiting for HER words of "You are a ugly horrible person and no one will ever love you" to come true in my life. 

At the end of the day, I firmly believe I have thus far lived my life in a way to make my DAD proud.  I KNOW that when I die, people will not be fighting over who HAS to take care of my remains, and I will not be a burden that no one wants to shoulder.  My epitaph will hopefully read:  Here lies a woman who brought joy, love and humor into the lives she touched.  And, hopefully, it will be a big party with lots of wine, laughter, and joyous stories of experiences shared and enjoyed. 

So, I guess this turned out to not really be about being a mother, but more about accepting that your past does not have to be the mold for the rest of your life. Accept that it has happened, figure out what works for you, and then move on to become the best authentic person you can.  There will be obstacles in the path, but if you keep you eye on your goals, you can get there....With some help from friends, loved ones, and perhaps a little vino wouldn't hurt either!


P.S.  If you are one of my wonderful in real life friends, I'd appreciate your discretion about this when I am with my kids. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kids say the Darndest Things!

I am sure all kids do this, and I love hearing the stories about how they were coined.  My kids have all made up words that have become part of my family's everyday conversations.  In fact, I have even heard some of my kids friends' parents use some of them on occasion.  Shouldn't my kids get royalties or something?

Here are some of the more stellar words:

1.  Yesternightago - Sometime in the past couple of days.  Manudo coined this when she was about 2 years old.  She would use it to recall some event that had occurred somewhere between 2 - 3 days in the past.  "I took a bath yesternightago, so I must still be clean!"

2.  Mahtato - Some genetic cross between a potato and a tomato.  Princepessa does not like tomatoes, she loves potatoes, but mahtatoes are just okay.  WTF?

3.  Jenky - Something that has a flaw or defect.  "Mom I booted up the computer, but the screen looks jenky."  At this point it was giving us the famed "blue screen of death."

4. Ogrit - Yogurt in a tube, preferably with Shrek on the packaging...lmao.

5.  Aberolli - Like ravioli, but with pesto sauce instead of red sauce.

6. Bombfire - A really BIG bonfire.  Bubbie is always asking us to make a Bombfire in the back yard. 

Of course there are the words that they just plain said wrong growing up too. 

1.  Bubbie called a Truck a Fu*k for about 2 years.

2.  All my kids called spaghetti Pahsghetti.

4.  Bubbie was actually coined by Manudo who instead of calling him her little brother called him her little bubbie and it just stuck!

5.  You don't take a vacation, you go on becation.

6.  Princepessa once told a waitress at a restaurant we stopped at while driving to my parent's house for becation that we were going to see Grammy's Vagina.  We were travelling to Virginia!

What are some of the funny words your kids have made up or mispronounced?  I'd love to see your comments!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Things overheard by my offspring lately.....

So, as you may be aware, my offspring/demonspawn/trolls/angels/kids (all depending on the day), have had the misfortune to develop my sarcastic sense of humor.  Recently I have overheard them say the following things to each other:

Bubbie to Manudo:  "I am so sorry that it didn't work out with that boy.  I hope you don't become an old lady who cleans houses and has like 90 cats and lives in a creepy house (Manudo is 12, btw)".  After I recovered laughing hysterically, I realized he was referencing the term OLD MAID!  When I asked him why he thought that she would be someone who is old, cleans houses and has a lot of cats, he responded:  "Well she does seem to like cats more than me, and if she treats her boyfriends like she treats me, no one will want her, and she is so much better at cleaning the bathroom than me!"

Bubbie to Princepessa: Hey, did you know you are adopted?
Princepessa:  You are such a liar, I know for a FACT that is not true!
Bubbie:  REALLY? How? 
Princepessa: Mom already has said, 100 times, that if she didn't give birth to me she would have sold me on eBay!
Bubbie: *crickets*

Manudo to Princepessa:  Why are you so annoying?
Princepessa:  Because one day you are going to be grown up and move away, and I am making sure you remember me!
Manudo: Aren't you going to grow up and move away too?
Princepessa: No, why would I?  Mom is here to cook all my meals, drive me everywhere, and clean up all my stuff!

Princepessa to me:  Can I have some bacon?
Me:  Sure, why do you want some now? (It was 1:00 PM)
Princepessa:  Bacon makes all the world's troubles go away!

Me to Bubbie:  Get in here and pick up this mess, NOW! (after the 3rd nicer request)
Bubbie:  Meow!
Me:  Who are you saying "Meow" to? Me?
Bubbie: Because you said it first! (I am now thinking I have stepped into some Laurel and Hardy routine)
Me:  No I didn't!  I said clean up your mess NOW!
Bubbie:  Meow
Me:  What are you doing?  Go clean your room!
Bubbie: Stop saying for me to clean my room "meow" because you know I can't resist meowing back when I hear a cat.
Me: Jesus Christ!  Just go clean your room THIS INSTANT, please.
Bubbie:  My name is NOT Jesus, I thought you would have known that by now, mom.
Me:  You have until the count of 3, 1! 2!
Bubbie:  sounds of muttering accompanied by opening of drawers.

Me to spawn:  What is the matter with you guys?  Do you need written instructions on how to change the toilet paper roll when it is empty?
Manudo:  Only if it has a flow chart and pictures, please. 

What gems have you overheard lately? 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Household items I would rather sell my children for than live without (not really, but maybe somedays)

Since I have been in "list mode" lately, I decided to add just one more (for today...shut it, I like lists).

Here is a list of my favorite gadgets that are not games/phones/etc, or battery operated and no this isn't a post about B.O.B.s!...let's step UP to the gutter folks!

1.  Rice Cooker.  We LOVE rice.  Brown Rice, Basmati Rice, Jasmine Rice, Spanish Rice...they all are in regular rotation in our menus.  In the past, I found making rice on the stove top to be hit or miss.  Sometimes the rice would come out okay, but most of the time it was either too mushy or too dry.  I purchased a Rice Cooker a few years back and now we have PERFECT rice every single time.  You can do other things with the rice cooker, like steam veggies and the like, but I use mine for cooking rice...duh. 

2.  Pressure Cooker.  I grew up with the sound of the pressure cooker hissing in my mom and mamaw's kitchens.  Older versions have this counter-weight you put on the pressure valve, and when the pot reaches pressure the valve swings back and forth making a sound similar to the sound of cicadas in the Summer...anyway, I have a newer version and it saves so much time cooking.  You can cook a pot of green beans in literally 5 minutes!  You can make a whole pot roast in less than 30!  It is a working and/or just busy parent's savior.  One of the added benefits of the pressure cooker is you use very little water when cooking veggies/meats so that means many of the good flavors and vitamins are locked in via the steam pressure.  Roasts come out fork tender...I kid you not!  It does take some getting used to, because I am a pot-peeker.  I like to open the lid, sample, and peek at what is cooking.  You have to learn to TRUST the pressure cooker, there is no peeking or opening the lid to check it out. 

3.  Trampoline.  YES I know how unsafe they are...yadda, yadda, yadda.  I also know that my kids saved up their money for a whole YEAR and paid for 75% of the trampoline.  It is used within sight of an adult and with rules.  We also researched (you are shocked I know) and found the "safest" one we could buy.  It is not the $150 special, trust me.  Anyway, my kids LOVE the trampoline.  They have had it for about a year now and have spent countless HOURS jumping away.  They get lots of good cardio, and mommy gets to drink her wine and watch them...just kidding...sometimes I don't watch them. 

4. DVR.  I adore my DVR.  There are some shows (Have you checked out Duck Dynasty or An Idiot Abroad?...hilarious), that I really enjoy watching.  I am also very busy running mom's taxi service, so I don't really have a lot of time to watch said TV.  So, I rely on my DVR.  It is also awesome for recording kid appropriate shows, although mine is usually so full of episodes of Game of Thrones, True Blood and other things there isn't room for kid shows.  Hottie Husband and I will usually pick a Sunday every few weeks and call Pajama Day.  We all keep our jammies on all day, eat breakfast food and get caught up on our shows.  I call Pajama Day a day in HEAVEN! The bestest feature of all on the DVR is you can fast forward through commercials, so you can watch an hour show in about 42 minutes!

5.  Whirly Pop.   This is a stove top popcorn popper with a paddle in it that you spin to keep the popcorn from burning.  I can't stand microwave popcorn, and this makes the most awesomist popcorn.  This thing should be plated in gold and given an award.  I kid you not!  I got mine from an Amish store many years ago, but I now see they are readily available from and other places.  We have a local popcorn distributor and if we are feeling really gourmet, we will go there and buy different types of popcorn (did you know they have BLUE popcorn, and popcorn with no hulls?). 

6. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.  I cook a lot.  I looked through the calendar and in the last 60 days we have gone out or had take out only 3 times.  Cooking is almost like therapy for me.  Unfortunately, with working full time and running Mom's Taxi Service as a second job, I do not have as much time in the kitchen as I'd like.  So, I love my stand mixer because it does a lot of the work for me.  I have the meat grinding, pasta making, and slicing attachments.  I can get an indentured servant (kid) to do the grinding/slicing/kneading while I am doing something else towards the meal preparation.  When we remodeled our Kitchen (see remodel from Hell parts 1, 2, 3), I took the measurements of my mixer with me when working with the designer.  I had to be SURE that my mixer would fit exactly where I wanted it on my counter top.

7.  Keurig.  OMG, the only thing that keeps me going is coffee.  The Keurig makes the BEST coffee I have ever had.  It even has a timer on it, so the water is ready to brew my first cup of awesomeness as soon as I come down the stairs in the mornings.  I do not even miss what used to be my almost daily trip through the Starbucks or Big B coffee stands anymore.  As a bonus, I have more money to spend on k-cups and get to work 15 minutes earlier every day!

Until next time,

P.S. Did you know there is a Momginerd FaceBook page?  Also, some of my best sarcasm can be found on my Pinterest!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Favorite "Time Fillers"

I have the sort of job where it is either running at full tilt in a total panic....or waiting.  I have to say I much prefer the panic days as the work hours go by much more quickly.  Unfortunately, there are periods of waiting for a purchase order or similar that can last a week or longer.  During those periods, I try to do work related research...but, honestly I also spend time on some of my favorite time filler websites and aps.  Since I started using my iPhone, I have found that there are really cool time-fillers in the form of Aps and Games.  I am not putting the ususal suspects like FaceBook or Twitter, but more of the places/Aps I personally like that may be new to you.

Here they are, in no particular order (again, lists rule my life)

  1. Angry Birds:  Pretty much any version of this game will suck me in and make me beg one of my children to defeat a level for me.  Lately, I have been on the Angry Birds Space edition.  It is SO awesome because you have to take into consideration the orbit and gravity.   
2.  Sh*t My Kids Have Ruined: This is a website dedicated to users uploading pictures of items in their households their children have either destroyed, ruined, or added some artistic flavor to with their permanent markers.  This website is definitely not to be used as a parenting manual, but it has some truly epic parenting FAILS that will make you laugh till you pee on yourself (okay, maybe not YOU but I have had 3 kids so don't judge).

I am sure the dog didn't mind...NOT

3.  Regretsy:  Oh my Maude, if you can look at some of the craptastic stuff on this site and not go WHUCK? Your brain is made of different stuff than mine.  This site puts up REAL items that are for sale by Etsy or eBay that truly show how some people will call anything Art.  Even what looks to me like a bunch of melted wax vaguely resembling a nose with light bulbs for boogers.  The biggest shocker is this was SOLD to someone.  Who, what, where....I don't even think I want to know the type of person that would put a light bulb booger blowing nose up in their house.  I am sure someone in that house is instructing it to put the lotion on.....
4.  Go Away:  This is a blog by David Thorne.  This blog will make you laugh until you cry.  He basically makes it his mission to use sarcasm and wit to annoy his co-workers.  Please be sure to check out his post called "Missing Missy."  I love that post so much that I actually read it aloud to my department and showed the pictures....Unfortunately, they really didn't understand what I was saying because I was laughing so hard my words were unintelligible!
5.  Pinterest:  They need to call it CRACKerest, because it is that addictive.   I have the mobile ap for my phone, a "Pin it" button on all my browsers, and check in on my pins or pin something almost as much as I check my FB account.  It is an invite only type thing, but they aren't too picky (obviously since I got an account) on who they let in....if you need an invite leave me a comment and I can send one to you.  It really isn't only a waste of time, because I use it almost like a virtual post-it note.  If I am looking for ideas for my garden, I will pin the picture to refer to later....same goes with recipes to try, places I'd like to travel, etc.... If you have never been to this site, please consider this your warning to check out a 12 step program prior to becoming addicted ;-).

6. Damn you auto correct:  I have to put a disclaimer that this is not an at work time filler.  Big Brother blocks it, and it is a good thing, because most of these contain strong adult language.  However, it is SO funny.  I don't even care if they are all fake, I enjoy them just for the laughs.  Anyone who has ever had a smartphone and likes to text has been the victim of autocorrect.  Personally, my autocorrect kept turning the my Hottie Husband's name into the word Tuna, so now his poor kids are known as the Tunas in our house (not to their faces, but as in "what time are you picking up the tunas?").

7.  Words With Friends:  LOVE this ap on my iPhone which is also linked to my FaceBook account.  It is scrabble that you can play with your friends (duh!).  I usually have 6 - 8 games going simultaneously and have learned so many new words that I just thought I made up, but were actually REAL words!  Did you know that "Metope" is a REAL word, and not just a cool way to use the letter P (turns out it is an architectual term for the distance between 2 I want to use tryglyphs in Words With Friends!)?

What are some of your favorite time fillers?  Not that I need another addiction, but I am always on the look out for a great laugh!

Until next can follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and check out my Momginerd FaceBook page!

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Gadgets and Aps that Make My Life Easier

Being a self-proclaimed Mom-Engineer-Nerd (momginerd), I am often asked for advice on technological items that I would recommend.  Although I am not really an expert on gadgets and tech, I LOVE them.  So, I thought I'd share some of the items/aps that make my life easier or more enjoyable and hope that you will add a comment at the end of the Blog on some of the things you like too!

These will be in no particular order, but I like lists ;)

1.  iPhone
 I used to be a die-hard BlackBerry Girl.  I would look down my nose at iPhone or Droid users and think that those are TOYS whereas I have a real workhorse in my crackberry.  I liked the blackberry because I could get my work email and calendar delivered directly to the phone.  This was HUGE as a working mom with 3 kids, as it gave me the ability to stay in touch with work, while still taking the kids to the doctor, going on field trips, etc.  When my company announced they were going to start supporting iPhones with Good to do the same thing and simultaneously my Bold started acting up (for the 3rd time in a year), I took the plunge and ordered my iPhone.  And let me tell you, it has been a double edged sword.  Whereas before my phone was used as, well a phone, for email and calendar and texting, that was about it.  Now, my iPhone is like an umbilical cord attached to all aspects of my life. Without it I wouldn't remember to take my meds, read the news, or check FaceBook.  Because of this flexibility I also have become entrenched in the Curse phenomena known as Words With Friends.  I also check FaceBook a lot more since I can now do it on my phone more easily. 

2.  Evernote

This is an Ap that is available for all smartphones, PC's, and Tablets.  It is basically a "get yo' shit organized" Ap that is FREE!  In order for me to maintain any semblance or sanity and not lose my schmidt on a daily basis I do a lot of list making, note taking, calendar planning.  Evernote works in that I can do this and COMMUNICATE the lists I have made to Hottie Husband seamlessly.  For example,  HH was grocery shopping (yes, he does this, NO you can't have him), and I remembered I forgot to add kale to the shopping list.  I simply went to the Evernote Ap and added it to the list.  Meanwhile HH was shopping from his Evernote Ap and didn't even know that I had added this item.  This also works for adding things I want but am too guilty to buy (Ice Cream).  *Ahem*

3.  Say Mmmm

This is a website that allows you to plan menus, store recipes and create and organize grocery lists.  It has made menu planning SO much easier for me.  I religiously plan the weekly menus every Sunday.  the BEST part about Say Mmmm is that it LINKS TO EVERNOTE!!!!!  So I can create my menu, look up recipes and then send the weekly menu, recipes and grocery list all to Evernote.  I also send it to my kids Evernote accounts and I no longer hear 100 times per day, "what's for dinner." Bonus, bonus, bonus!

4. Kindle

This is version of Kindle I currently own.  It is my second Kindle. I read voraciously, probably 3 - 4 books per month.  I also like to read 2 - 3 books simultaneously.  An eReader is a great invention for me, because I don't have to carry around multiple books, just the light and compact reader!  Of course now I am drooling over the newest version the Kindle Fire.  AND here is the thing, I will still be keeping my old one for reading during lunch breaks, taking to kids sporting practices etc.  I just need want the Fire for the backlit screen, ability to watch movies, play games, and for magazines.  Why not an iPad, I have been asked.  And for me, it is mostly a matter of cost.  Why spend $500 for an iPad when I can spend less than half that on a Fire and have all the things an iPad does?  I already have an iPhone, so I just am (for right now) not interested in investing more money into an iPad which is an overgrown iPhone, without the phone.  We are already avid supporters of, so streaming movies from their Prime site is very appealing.  That is, of course, not to say I would not accept an iPad if it were offered, feel free to let me know if you'd like to donate one to me ;).

5. Waze
This is a navigation application for SmartPhones.  It is a unique approach to navigation because it crosses navigation with social media.  As you are driving, if you see an accident, traffic jam, etc you simply push a simple icon on the screen and it sends your report to all other drivers near you.  Every time you stop, it will flash the local traffic  issues on your screen.  When you use the navigation portion of the application, it will look at your route and suggest alternative routes to save time if there are reported traffic issues.  I commute 40 miles each way to work on the busiest roads.  This application has saved me countless lost minutes and episodes of road rage already.  Waze is a must, in my opinion for commuters!  I also found this neat dash pad mat for my iPhone that allows it to stick to the dashboard without doing any permanent damage.  I have been using it for 2 months and it has never allowed My Precious (iPhone's nickname) to fall! 

What are some of your favorite Aps and Gadgets?  Any I need to add to my (ever growing) list?


Monday, February 27, 2012


My community has experienced a tradgedy.  One of our own has taken his own life.  He left behind a wonderful family including a lovely wife and 5 children.  This has affected me in many ways, and forced me to take a good long look in the mirror.  Why?, you may be asking.  My answer is because it is very easy to be irate and sad.  Instead, I am forcing myself to try and look to the positive.  I know this sounds so very contradictory, but if I allow myself to wallow in the negative feelings, it is easy to ascertain that I too will become depressed and in a negative mind frame....Oh, don't get me wrong.  I was there.  I was SO very angry for survivors of this tragedy.  But, I decided that my anger is misguided.  I need to do something to help, because my anger is not going to make this family's struggles any easier.  This family is going to have a very difficult struggle not just emotionally, but financially as well. 

I went to the memorial service, and I believe this is where my focus began to change from anger to empathy and compassion.  There were SO many people there all there to support the family.  There were children, parents, family, friends, clergy, teachers, principals, acquaintances and even strangers.  All there to let this family know that WE will not desert them.  There were donation cards for a trust set up for the children's education, and when I went through the line, almost all of the envelopes were gone!  I am part of a group that are gathering our collective financial and experintial resources to assist the family in getting their home in order.  They were in the middle of a major remodel that the husband was doing himself.  The remaining family does not have the skills nor resources to complete the job, and I would guess they will not be able to afford to pay a contractor.  So, we are gathering money, construction materials and people with experience to go and get the house at least livable.  It is a small thing in the grand scheme, but to me, as a mom, having a HOME to live in that is safe and welcoming is an important part of helping this family to heal. 

I am proud of my community.  Let's face it, I live in a major metropolitan area, and many of us do not even know the names of the people who live in our neighborhood.  Yet, in the face of a tragedy we all came together and took joy in the fact that the family seems to be doing okay, given the circumstances.  Also, when a tragedy like th is happens, it has an effect on everyone. 

 This family is admired by all who have ever had the good fortune to meet any of them. The children are all gifted in thier own ways, but mostly in their ready smiles, politeness, and uniqueness that has inspired others.  Their mother is a saint, I mean, would't you have to be to have 5 well adjusted, well mannered, educationally successful kids?  But, if nothing else I have learned that how people appear to casual acquaintences, and maybe even to close friends, is not how people really are behind the closed doors of their homes.  All I know is that he was not in his right mind.  I knew him as a very loving father, dedicated worker and compassionate partner to his wife...not the type of person who would take his own life.  It is so very sad that it took a tragedy to bond us together.   We all need to realize that the phrase "one never knows" is so very true.  You may THINK you know, but at the end of the day, we are all cluelessly going on with our lives and hoping we are doing more good than harm.

Stages of Grief

This tragedy has opened my eyes to look at people differently, and I think it has had a similar effect on many other people as well.  All of us who knew this family are greiving in our own way, but none more than the family.  As much as we all want to help, sometimes our ideas of helping are not that helpful.  I ran into the mother at the grocery store and she commented to me that everyone is trying to be so helpful, but she needed to go to the grocery on her own because it was "something normal."  And I felt guilty, because I was immediately angry for her that she had to go to the store!  Talk about opening my eyes, and I am ashamed it took the person most connected to the tragedy to point out to me that for her doing something "normal" is how she is coping.  Everyone experiences grief and healing differently, and it is not for us to judge.  We need to accept and support, but never ever judge, because at the end of the day, you really do not know HOW you would react to an event of this magnitude unless you have lived the person's life. 

So, I am going to focus on being empathetic and not being angry.  If I happen upon any of the family, I will greet them in the same manner I always have, and IF any of them want to talk, hug, joke around, whatever, I will gladly join in without judgement for how they are grieving.  Grief is personal, pain is subjective, and healing is individualized.

Until next time,