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Friday, March 6, 2009

Looking at the Sky on Friday


I am so proud - I finally captured a sky shot that was worthy enough to be posted. Every time my teenager and I try to get a good picture of the sky, particularly at night, we always end up with something weird looking. This is a beautiful picture, but if you look closely there's an arrow. (No, it's not a plane.)

I took three pictures and two of them had that in them. That's why I call this one Arrow to Heaven.

Check out Crazy Working Mom for more Looking at the Sky on Friday.


Stop to smell the roses

More than nine years ago I was planning my wedding and that season is almost upon us again. As the Spring and Summer months approach lots of women will be finalizing their wedding plans. They're excitedly planning their big day and making decisions about their wedding cake, bridesmaids' dresses, reception location and decorations including wedding flowers.

Oftentimes the most important part of decorating is the flowers and FiftyFlowers makes it easy for the DIY bride to get the arrangements she adores at prices she'll fall for. FiftyFlowers delivers gorgeous wholesale flowers that are put together by the bride (or I'm sure she'll recruit her bridesmaids for that). The fresh flowers are delivered straight from the flower farm and shipped overnight.

Need fresh flowers for another occasion? FiftyFlowers can handle that as well.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Say it loud

Last month the children at head start learned about notable Blacks in history. Yup, that would be for Black History Month. The children - including my two middle ones - worked hard on their presentations for the Black History Month Program.

Excuse me one moment while I get on my soapbox: Not too long ago I read a post (I don't remember what blog) that said it was ridiculous to have one month designated for Black history. The blogger also stated, very rudely, that there isn't an Asian History Month, Hispanic History Month and so on. Although I try to teach my children "Black history" year round - I completely disagreed with that perspective. Every culture has had their rough, for lack of a better word, moments in history but no other group of people has been used as property and animals as our ancestors were here in the United States (and some abroad). Therefore, if it takes a Black History Month to educate other races and cultures about the numerous contributions we've made to this society and this world, then so be it. But, truth be told, if everyone regardless of upbringing, race, culture, religion, etc., was taught of the truth of our history there would be no need for it. We - as Blacks - often celebrate our history regardless of the month, however, it doesn't often extend beyond our community.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming... uh, posting...

I was pretty excited to see the children in action. My daughter Amareah had a part and Andre, my only son, was performing with his class. Amareah practiced her part over and over again.

"I am Maya Angelou. Still I rise."

We worked on her speaking clearly, loudly and forcefully. We practiced how she would move and what she would do: After she said "rise," she was going to push her fist into the air above her head. As she continued to practice, I watched how her personality came out with it and she would jut out her hip when her arm raised.

The teachers asked that the children dress for their parts, but not to worry about buying anything. As soon as they said that I thought of the perfect dress that someone had given Amareah almost two years ago. She put it on the day of the program and I found a scarf I already had to wrap around her head similar to the way I'd seen Angelou on occasion.

Amareah was excited and confident as she prepared for her day.

When I saw her come into the area where the program was held I could see she was nervous and was much more subdued then when I saw her earlier. She kept her cheeks sucked in (the first sign of her nervousness), but behaved like the perfect little lady. At first I couldn't get a good picture because she was inconspicuously hiding in the second row. Once the teachers saw her there they moved her to the front because she was one of the ones with a part.

I had been taking pictures and filming the entire time waiting for Amareah to say her part. Before I knew it they gestured her to the front, she walked up quickly and I tried to get the camera up and ready, but she said her part in less than five seconds - quietly and barely raising her hand above her head. She turned to leave before I could get a picture and this is all I saw...

...Amareah walking away.
I was very proud of her nonetheless.
I shouldn't complain about the pictures I didn't get of Amareah because it's way better than what I got of my son. He stayed behind the other children almost the entire time. No matter how much I tried to get his attention or make him look to take a picture he just held his bashful, embarrassed smile and pretended not to see me. I was able to catch him on video thanks to his assistant teacher who moved him from behind another child so I could see him.

This is the picture I caught when he briefly turned his head.

And he totally pretended like he didn't know me when they lined up to leave the room. I thought it was extremely funny and I felt very proud.

I was so happy I was able to attend the program and see my children in action. I know I have about a million more programs to attend before my younger children graduate high school, but right now I am enjoying every moment.

Top Entrecard droppers

These are my top Entrecard droppers for the last 30 days. This linky love is to show you how much I think you totally rock.
I don't know how, but Youniquely Chic and Life's Perfect Pictures had 31 drops.

Wordless Wednesday: Second cup

For more Wordless Wednesday check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Snow day

There were several areas here on the East Coast (and south of the Mason Dixon line) that were hit by a little snow. Schools were closed or delayed, cars slid across ice, homeowners had to shovel or use their snow blowers, and children played and constructed snowmen.

Of the pictures below that are taken in two different states, which set of pictures do you think was the location of school closings? (Did that make sense? LOL)

Here in Georgia?

Or in my home state of Maryland?

You'll be surprised to discover that my children were out of school yesterday. Yes, here in Georgia. Isn't that crazy? There was hardly two inches of snow on the ground and cars were sliding in certain areas and schools were closed.

When I've laughed at native Georgians (especially Atlantans) about how silly I think it is to close the schools when the roads are clear, they have went into the "we're not equipped to handle snow" talk. I could understand if there was 10 inches and sheets of ice all over the road.

I guess my seven years of living in Upstate New York has tainted my cold-weather view. :)


Fashionable scrubs

Just because you have to wear scrubs everyday does not mean you can't express your style and fashion sense. It will soon be time to shed sweaters and coats to reveal colorful Spring clothing and those who have to wear medical scrubs can explore the wild side of the season with animal print scrubs and nurses can feel fashion forward as well as comfortable in stylish nursing clog shoes.

In fact, with my daughter participating in the medical organization at her school she has been wearing black scrubs when they do blood drives, but for Valentine's Day her boyfriend gave her scrubs with red hearts on them. That was actually the perfect present for her because she really likes to express herself with her clothes. Amber likes to stand out and I can just imagine her in pediatrics, which she wants to do for her career, scouring the scrubs catalog for the perfect set of scrubs that will represent who she is.

Medical professionals, like everyone else, like to look and feel good about themselves. They are sure to purchase some for themselves, but you can let them know you care by giving them the gift of new scrubs from the Scrubs & Beyond 2009 line.

My pain screams

My health and weight loss journal

The medication I have been taking has been managing my fibromyalgia very well. I don't think I've had an "attack" for quite some time, but - unfortunately - my pain and discomfort has been increasing lately. One of the keys to dealing with fibromyalgia is to have consistent days of activity: Daily strength training, stretching and exercise along with similar paced days with minimal stress.

Realistically that doesn't always happen. In fact, I haven't been on my exercise bike in about two weeks and it's been several days since I've stretched. Now I am wondering if those things, in addition to chillier weather, are contributing to my increased pain. For the last few days the pain and discomfort in my wrists, knees and ankles has increased. It's a burning type of pain that causes tingling and a sort of numbness. It's a pain that I didn't miss when it was reduced by the medication.

For more than a month or so, when I squat to reach or look at something it's painful to straighten my legs back out and extremely difficult to get up. I have to push on my thighs as I rise. Yesterday, while I was in the store with Amber we were inspecting some fingernail polish (on sale!) that was on a bottom shelf. About five minutes later when I tried to stand up I could barely make it. I was surprised to discover that the pain is getting worse.

It doesn't help that I haven't slept well the past few nights. Not getting enough rest and sleep contributes to the pain because my body doesn't get a chance to rejuvenate. Sometimes even when I'm asleep I am tossing and turning, which is one of the reasons I was prescribed a sleeping pill. I am running out and waiting on the refill from the veteran's hospital so the last couple of nights I have been only taking half. Reduced quality of sleep equals increased pain. Terrible timing since my pain has been bad lately.

I am hoping it will subside some soon. Living with fibromyalgia involves dealing with daily pain and discomfort, but I am thankful to be one of the sufferers who has mobility. The 11 pills per day that I take help with that. One day I hope to reduce my medication intake and find a more natural means of dealing with this. For now, I do the best I can with coping with it and continuing to take care of myself and my children.

If you're interesting in learning more about fibromyalgia, take a look at the Fibromyalgia Center at WebMD. There's comprehensive information there to help you understand this chronic pain condition.

When you get a chance, check out my other health and weight loss journals. Oh, by the way, I actually had a little fun taking the picture of myself. Jo, Liss and a few other blogging friends are always telling me to keep trying with the pictures and be a little creative - so that's the result.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday's Muse: Letting go

Normally every weekend from Friday evening to Sunday evening I get ready for the next week. On the weekends when the younger kids aren't here the cleaning, laundry and the rest of the chores are completed fairly easily. The weekends that they are here are a little less organized.

Oftentimes I am trying to keep them occupied, trying to work or taking care of someone. Then when I try to get something accomplished I am interrupted or have to do something for someone like change a diaper. That's when I decide, "Oh, I'll just finish laundry while they take a nap." Then I change it to, "... while they're outside."

Sometimes before I get around to what I want to do my teenager comes in and says, "What are you about to do?" That means: "Let's watch t.v. together." There are times when I tell her that I can't at the moment, but there are times when I do. When it's just her and I stopping to watch an hour or so of television doesn't deter me from getting my chores done. But when all of the children are here it's an either/or type of thing.

The problem comes in when I feel guilty about what I didn't get done over the weekend. I usually get stressed by the disorder: For instance, if I don't finish laundry then I have to search through clean clothes all week and the hamper overflows.

But I am getting tired of being stressed about that. I am tired of beating myself up over what I don't get accomplished and realize I need to lift myself up over what I do accomplish. (Yes, Frankie, I know this is what you've been saying. :D) So, I've implemented a new rule:

On the weekends when the younger children are at home I won't worry about what I get done and what I don't. If I don't feel up to doing the laundry or if I decide to do an activity with the children instead then I'll be happy with that. I'll live in the moment and let go of any pressure I put on myself.

In reality, I am the only one pressuring me. I have enough stuff to worry about - the laundry getting finished is really unimportant. As long as my children have clean clothes to wear and they're well taken care of; what more is there? (You know what I mean, right?)

People - and moms specifically - need to give themselves a break. Here it is in black and white (well, purple and white!) to remind me if I ever forget. If you "hear" me complaining about not getting something done or that my to do list is overwhelming me, like I have in the past, I give you permission to remind me of this post. ;)

I hope you have a relaxing week.

Writer's frustrations

Today, I am pretty proud of myself. I spent quite a bit of time re-reading my children's book manuscript and perfecting my cover letter to a prospective agent. I read my letter about 10 times - give or take.

When I was satisfied with the way it was written, I clicked on the print button. While the letter was printing, I grabbed my professional, white mailing envelope and the sheet of plain white labels. I glanced at the printer and was a bit disappointed by what I saw...

You do not need to adjust your monitor...

Yup, my printer is out of ink. (Could I have gotten a little warning - I mean, really!) Nowadays it isn't always easy to just jump up and run to the store. The main issue is money (of course!). Although I have a little bit of extra money, I am hesitant to spend it on something that isn't really a necessity. Something more important could come up.

I bet you're thinking, "Why don't you just email it?" Well, this agency - like most when it comes to children's books - requires the entire manuscript and doesn't open attachments. I don't want to paste a five-page document into the body of an email along with a cover letter. It also takes them a little longer to respond to email queries so I plan to mail them a packet.

The only thing I am happy about is that I didn't get very upset about the ink running out and not being able to mail it today. Thankfully, I have had a good day, mood wise, and this is only par for the course. Hopefully, the rest of today's work/writing activities will go as planned.

Join the fight against Gaucher's Disease

If you're a regular reader then you know one person who really touches my heart is Little Miss Hannah. Her mother is raising money to fight Against Gaucher's Disease, which this precious baby has been diagnosed with.

Take a look at her video, visit her site and whatever support you can offer (financial or otherwise), please do so. It's up to us - everyone - to take care of our children. We are the village.

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