December 02, 2011

Say What??


One of the sweetest conversations I have with my older three children is telling them what Bridger would say to them if he could speak. We talk about how after we leave this life, and are reunited as a family in perfect wholeness and form, all those things that Bridger will tell them about what he was really thinking -- what he wished he could say to Lance during all their cuddling watching tv (Lance sweetly tolerates countless episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba), what he would tell Evie of the things he was thinking as she reads to him in bed (patiently enduring the hair pulling and kicking Bridger does because he is so excited), all the fun words he would say to Sadie to describe the fun he has dancing with her until they are both lathered in sweat, and his mischievous thoughts going through his mind as he delights in chasing a screaming Eliza around in his wheelchair trying to make road kill of her. Thinking of that future moment takes the sting out of the every day non-verbal, non-ambulatory life.

A sweet smilestone is upon the horizon, however. Bridger now can say about 10-15 words. Of course, they are words that only myself, Alan or the other kids can understand. But they are words nonetheless that Bridger knows he is saying. In order of frequency:

- Mom
- Ipad
- Apple (also referring to the ipad)
- Dad
- Evie
- No!
- "I DO!" (when I ask the kids, "who wants to [insert anything]?" Bridger will always respond. If I ask who wants to eat broccoli for breakfast? - as long as I ask it enthusiastically, Bridger raises his hand and shouts, "I DO!")
- More
- Cup
- Book
- Car
- Amen (after every prayer:)
- Up (when he gets on the wheelchair lift of his school bus to tell them which way to go)
- Alta (his friend)
- and a few initial syllables of teachers/friends names

Even more amazing, he is putting together several words to form sentences with his augmentative communication device. He read me a complete little story about Winnie the Pooh using his corresponding icons on his device. This thing is no small task to figure out. The icons and selections are constantly changing as you further embed yourself into categories. i.e. when Bridger presses the chair symbol, all his seating options appear, or the eat icon will then change the top two rows for his food choices. It is fantastic to watch him figure out language. Now that we have taught him the 20 key verbs and nouns - it is time to teach him the power of a pronoun. Before he could say "eat pancake". But to tell someone "YOU eat pancake" has a motivating commanding power that he can make someone do something with his words. The speech therapist was trying to teach the concept of "I" to Bridger and modeled on his device, "I" "sit" "chair" and she sat down. Bridger looked at her, as if to say "move over small potatoes" and said on his device, "I" "sit" "chair" "play" "playdoh" and pointed to the playdoh on the shelf. Her jaw dropped.

I know there are times when we wish our children would stop talking and allow our brains a much needed moment of silent respite. I am grateful for every sound, the miracle of consonants, the miracle of facial expressions, the miracle of Bridger. We have a long way to go to teach Bridger functional communication basics that will allow him to share what is really going on inside his cute head, until then, I am grateful to the 1600 facial expressions that God gave him to make up for his lack of communication that clearly let me know what he is thinking.

We just got his school picture back. You tell me, can you tell what he is thinking here?


October 24, 2011

ROCK THE VOTE!!!!



It is time to VOTE for the Building Bridges Fun for ALL Playground

to win the $50,000 Clorox Power a Bright Future Grant

How to vote:

Text:  txt clorox0877 to 44144

online:  go to http://www.powerabrightfuture.com/gallery/detail/?nid=762  do a one time registration and then vote!

Vote TWICE daily - one txt and one online!

Ages 13 and over can vote so have all your teenagers and their crazy texting friends to participate!!!

With your help we can WIN this grant which would close the gap in funding needed to build our accessible playground!

Thank you to everyone for helping support Bridger and our family!
xoxo
Cindy


October 16, 2011

All in a Day's Work

So much happening so little time. . .

A brief update on the playground status.

My church was encouraging congregations to perform a day of service.  In conjunction and recognition of this, our governor declared Sept. 24th to be a state-wide day of service as well.  My church congregation wanted to build the retaining wall needed for the preparation of the site of the future playground.  Our congregation is wonderful and includes a dozen or so children with special challenges, so this chosen project for them would reflect their unique and special chemistry as a ward.

I worked all week long with the general contractor to excavate the site, brought him lunches and dinners on site to keep him going as he and his men worked overtime to keep our project deadline.  I worked with the county to be granted a waiver for the 150 tons of dirt and asphalt we hauled out.  This saved us over $12,000.  I coordinated with a local stone company for the gravel base to be hauled in, which they donated to the project -- which saved us over $10,000.  I met building professionals at Home Depot where I purchased all the materials and had them delivered for the big day -- using our Home Depot Foundation grant - that saved us $3500.  Then came in my wonderful congregation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for the day of service.  We had children to grandpas and every age in between helping out.  We had the expertise of many skilled craftsman in our group that greatly aided our efforts.  The church members laid over 1000 linear feet of retaining wall, installed a french drain, back filled with gravel and capped off the wall.  We had 150 members whose work offered over 500 man-hours of volunteer labor - you can figure out what we saved with that!  The local paper was there and wrote an article of that day.


There have been many mini-miracles associated with this playground already.  During that week it was supposed to storm heavily all week.  Each overcast day the skies held tight and a more severe storm would be predicted for the next day - when, again, all was still dry.  And so the site prep was completed with a day to spare - on which, it poured.  Saturday, the day of service, was supposed to be the worst weather of all.  I got a sunburn that day.  Some may choose to see it as a coincidence, I choose to see miracles.

Prior to the site preparations there have been windows opened and leads that have resulted in more donations or words of encouragement and gratitude from others - particularly families of special needs children that has been a blessed boost at a time when I would need one.  When I think that we will never reach our fundraising goal we receive another grant or two to encourage me.  Just this week we were awarded 2 more grants from a local bank and from CVS.

After working on the retaining wall all day, Alan and I went out that night to a fancy dinner date in Annapolis.  As soon as we got there, we got a call from our babysitter that Bridger was having a tonic clonic seizure and vomiting all over.  (can't a tired couple even get a date?!) We shoved an appetizer down our throats while we fielded phone calls from the neurologist on call and returned home.  Bridger had an adverse reaction to the seizure-stopping medication and to sum it up, he was screaming non-stop for the next 5 days with intermittent seizures and a couple days in the hospital.  I have learned how to survive these bumps by turning all of that negative energy and stress created by these situations into a positive direction.  This only fuels my desire for the playground that much more as these children need a happy place to go to balance all of the not-so-happy things they have to endure.

Now I am calling on all of my friends and family for help. . . ready?? :)

We are nominated for the Clorox Power a Bright Future grant.  This is a $50,000 grant that is VOTE-BASED.  Yes, a simple popularity contest!  The voting period is from 10/24 - 12/9 and you can vote twice a day, once via text and once online.  I need every single reader of this blog (all 7 of you:) to think of 25 friends that you can talk to and get their commitment to vote for us, vote every day, twice a day and commit them to think of 25 of their own friends to do the same.  This will FINISH our fundraising needs and we will build this playground!

Go to www.powerabrightfuture.com and search by keyword "building bridges" to see our nomination.  Go ahead and do the initial registration so you can be ready to vote.  You know I'm going to be reminding you:)  Can you do it?  Can you help me?  Can you vote, tell your friends to vote - will you be part of this initiative?  More info to come on this.  Go check out the website and learn more in the meantime.  You can recognize us by our logo. . .
Happy places, happy faces.  Let's make it happen!!!

September 10, 2011

I Heart NY

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I Heart this girl too.




When each child turns 8 they get to choose a solo birthday getaway with either Alan or myself.  This sweet birthday girl chose a weekend with mom in New York -- which was a fun birthday getaway for me as well since we celebrate just a couple days apart from eachother.  So we boarded the train, with grandma too, for a birthday adventure together.

And what's on an 8 year old's "must hit list" in NY?

Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, American Girl, M&M store, Toys R Us, The Beast (crazy speed boat ride down the Hudson), NY Pizza and Cheesecake. . .





And she did it all!  We ferried to the Statue, explored Ellis Island (including looking for ancestors in the geneology center there), chose the cool "Statue" color assortment at the m&m store, rode the Toys R Us ferris wheel and bought some unexpected fun, dined and shopped at American girl and had some late night NY carbs.


What made me love her even more was that despite it being a heat index of 115 degrees, despite waiting in fabulously long lines in said heat, despite walking way too far for way too long carrying her heavy backpack, despite being thirsty, hungry or possibly bored, despite an lengthy wait in the train station because we missed our train home -- she never ONCE complained.  This sweet soul has the gift of gratitude.  She rolls with the punches and gratefully accepts what she gets, when she gets it.  Every day, she says, is the best day of her life.  And this scene pictured below -- eating some treats in the window seat on the 43rd floor overlooking Times Square, she said. . .





Was the "best moment of her life".  And just watching her, it was mine too. 


I've always said that she truly is a perfect child and my job as her mother is to just not mess her up.  So far, so good.

August 28, 2011

Hurricane Eliza


Irene is getting all the footage lately.  But she is only a category 3 and not my biggest concern.  I am dealing with a category 5 and I'm not sure if there is a FEMA suggested preparedness kit for this one.

Hurricane Eliza's destruction this week:

My makeup drawer -- she got into every container, tube and vial.  every.    single.    one.    Every lipstick had little fingers which burrowed down the holes of the tube.  Creams were mixed with powders which were then stirred with the wands of the mascara.  The damage was immeasurable.

This is how she sleeps.  She was the 11 month old that would fling herself out of her crib.  Now she flings herself over the gate in her room in total Kamikaze style and a broken arm or neck has narrowly been avoided.  If I would show you the image of the storm behind this gate you would see a little girl with her snuggie zipper pj's on backwards so she can't access the zipper to get out of them -- which she would do every night, take off her diaper, then put her pj's back on and then proceed to wet her bed.  That, of course, is with the exception of the night that she somehow snuck a bottle of nail polish into her room with her and painted her nails. . . and face. . . and body. . . and sheets before falling asleep.  I went to to check on her and was immediately suspicious of the little angel sleeping peacefully with fumes pouring out of her room.

Oh, and while we are on the subject of nail polish I should mention yesterday's storm damage.  While I was away at the store buying replacement makeup and she was on hurricane watch with Alan, she got into my drawer of nail polish and painted her nails. . . body. . .my stool and white bathroom cabinets.  Alan left Bridger's side to clean that up and while attending to her Bridger's tummy tube came out while feeding so the entire bolus contents spilled all over the carpet.  While cleaning that up Eliza decided she needed to go potty so she took off her diaper (yes, she is a 25 month old potty training herself because I refuse to right now) and while pottying she decided that a towel needed to be inside the toilet too.  At that point, there was nothing that could surprise Alan.

The path of the hurricane also went eastward earlier in the week towards the kitchen where the display of fake fruit has bites taken out of every single piece.  I also came down last week to find a pile of Oreo tops.  I have to applaud that one, smart girl, she knows the cream is the good stuff and not to waste calories on those gross chocolate tops.

Then there was the time. . . *sigh*. . . there are too many times to recount.  The challenge for me, is that I know the alternative.  I know what it is like to wish my child could get into everything and being willing to pay millions if it would make him sneak downstairs, open the pantry and eat Oreos.  And because of this, I have to be grateful.  I am grateful for Hurricane Eliza and the skills, abilities and craftiness she has to reap such destruction.  really. . . really. . . grateful (I'm tell myself that over and over again in my head.)

One day I was trying to express to my husband my wit's end that I was reaching with this girl who was sneaking outside every second she had, who insists on being buck naked every second of the day and when I answer the door after getting her clothed for the 50th time that day and welcoming in a guest who looks past me wide-eyed and I turn around to see her displayed in her birthday suit again who is always trying to jam Bridger's feeding tube port into her belly button (any other 2 year olds trying to gastroenteral feed themselves out there???).  He looked at me calmly and smiled saying, "She is simply our grand finale."

Yes, that explains all of it.  She is just our grand finale.  Sometimes I place more emphasis on "grand" -- other days on "finale" depending on the happenings of that day.  I remind myself how grateful I am to have such a capable and strong little person in my life.  Her health is a miracle to us.

Irene was finally downgraded to a tropical storm.  Will Hurricane Eliza ever be?? 

Until then, I dare her to keep trying to ride her nonambulatory brother like a horse (while drawing with a marker on his head).  I have warned her, he will kick.

August 08, 2011

Time is Flying




lazy mornings-water parks-movie nights-library trips-mom store-museums-slurpees-firefly catching-late night football-juicy peaches-kings dominion-bike riding-chuck e. cheesin'-sunscreen smearing-playgrounds-snow cones-cabin trips-berry pickin'-birthday cakes-block parties-lunch dates-metro rides-petting zoos-concerts-new yorking-backyard sized slip'n'slides-bike rides-basketball camps-super scoutin'-hay rides-homemade ice cream-pool splashin'-miniature golfing-american girl stores-free movies-squirting fountains-pretty toe nails-beach beach beach. . .


(if you scroll through real slow and sing as you go it will be kind-of like one of those fancy-schmancy slide shows that others put their photos to that have more talent and time than I)





  














so much summer.  so little time.

(beach pictures to come -- those really do deserve a fancy slide show)
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June 09, 2011

Work Hard Play Hard

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That is our family's mantra.  The good news is that we work very hard.  Too hard.  So we have to play just as hard.  The bad news is that it is hard to play hard.  There are so many limitations to what we can do and I am taking steps to change that.
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Too hard to play when you can't even move.  His wheelchair actually broke trying to push him through this.

I wanted to share with you a project that I am doing that will allow all children to play hard. I am designing, fundraising and constructing the only fully accessible, barrier-free playground to be constructed at a school in our county. It is also the only accessible playground in the western half of our large county. There is no such thing as a playground for handicap children and a playground for typical children. Either a playground is fun for everyone or it is not. This will be a playground that is fun for everyone, where challenges and limitations, created by disabilities, will be forgotten. This playground will provide inclusive play where dignity, respect and appreciation of differences will be promoted among typical peers.


The ecstatic face to be able to "run" with everyone else at a accessible playground (an hour away)
Elements in this playground have been carefully considered to allow meaningful and appropriate play for every child, regardless of their disability -- ramps and play surfacing for easy wheelchair and gait trainer access, quiet enclosed spaces for those children easily overstimulated and need their calming area, tactile and musical spaces for those that have visual impairments that are easy to manipulate by even the most challenged of fine motor skills, shady spaces to not aggravate kids with seizure disorders, rocking and motion for the sensory input many kids seek. Most importantly, it is fun for everyone and typical kids will enjoy the unique, nontraditional elements this playground includes. It has been reviewed by therapists, special education teachers and special needs moms and has been given the smile of approval by all.

Happy to be playin' like one of the guys

The typical playground that our school was going to build was budgeted for $30,000. Our school is a magnet school for a large special education population (approximately 10% of our student body). Because of that I stepped in and suggested that perhaps they should consider an accessible playground where every student could play. They let me run with it and I did. To make an appropriate, accessible (and totally cool) playground will cost $135,000. I promised I would make up the difference through fundraising and grants. I am proud to say that I am half way to the goal.

Please visit our website to see more about this project and how you can make a tax-deductible donation online through paypal and change the lives of hundreds of children with special needs and allow their peers an opportunity to learn a lesson in humanity that is promoted through inclusive play.


I hope to reach our fundraising goal by July 15th.
Thank you, friends and family, for your continued support.

Bridger's name is not by coincidence.  He was given a blessing as an infant that he would be one "who would build bridges".  This is the largest initiative thus far in my campaign called "Building Bridges" -- with the mission of helping children with special needs and their families enjoy lives of inclusion within their community.  Bridger has touched the lives of so many and has proven already in his few short years, indeed, to be a Bridge Builder.



May 23, 2011

Rolling up my Sleeves

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I'm not one to brag . . .


usually,


not keen on boasting . . .


except on rare occasions,


prefer humility . . .


unless the situation reeeeeally calls for otherwise. 

So pardon the self flattery here when I just have to announce that I rock.

Our homeowner's association had just released new nazi-esque regulations that would require approval (and certain rejection) of new exterior projects to your house.  The new rules would take effect in 3 days.  I had just purchased an in-ground basketball hoop and tetherball set that I was hoping to hire a contractor to install in the coming weeks.  With 72 hours of homeowner freedom until I had to go through a whole bunch of red tape for these projects, I scraped together some free minutes and rolled up my sleeves and opened the instruction manual to face step 1 of the 89 installation steps.

Notice the concrete that I mixed and poured, the perfectly level pole that was lovingly tended to into the wee hours of the night while the concrete cured.  The picture also doesn't do justice to the enormous hole that I had to dig.  See the whole raising and lowering arm with its 105 embedded parts -- yeah, that's impressive.

Project 2: Tether ball set.  Also dug, mixed and poured concrete and leveled continuously.  This turned out to be a bigger hit than I even imagined and has clocked dozens of hours of playtime already.

No need to leave comments and reinforce what I already know.  This is awesome;)  Sometimes it feels really good when I am stirring dinner with my right hand and tube feeding with my left hand while simultaneously changing diapers with my toes and talking on speaker phone to the insurance company and at the same time keeping my right and left eye, respectively, on two kids doing their homework -- to set that all aside and simply roll up my sleeves and realize I can do hard things.

Thank you to those who read to the end and tolerated my self-congratulatory ego stroke.  My ego needed the boost today.
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May 05, 2011

The Sedan Pulling Up to the House

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Today is the anniversary of this.  Almost at this exact moment last year I walked into Bridger's room and found him in a very lifeless state which progressed into a full tonic clonic seizure that wouldn't stop.  He wouldn't breath on his own for the rest of the night and his seizure only ceased when they put him in a drug induced coma.  I'm not one to acknowledge or even remember anniversaries of sorts.  That one happened to fall on Cinco de Mayo and we had feasted on take-out Mexican that night (which I wanted to throw up for the next three days).  So all of the Cinco de Mayo talk today made the memories of last year come back.

For the weeks preceding that event I had a bee in my bonnet to get a family picture taken now that our family was "complete".  The photo session was scheduled for May 7th.  I remember walking the hallways of the emergency room and seeing the beautiful family photographs that line the hallways that were coincidentally taken by the same photographer that we had booked for our shooting.  There were only a couple of thoughts that my brain was able to process during that time in the ER, the one that kept coming to the forefront, however seemingly shallow it sounds for what was happening, was that we never got our family picture.  We thought we lost him that night.

I had a physical last week. The first one in 20 years. I thought the 600 obstetrical appointments I've had over the past decade were sufficient for the time, but now I must be a grown up and take grown up care of myself. The doctor got around to the subject of stress and asked me about Bridger's health. I touched on the "highlights" and she then likened the stress to a woman whose loved one is away at war and every day wondering if that black sedan is going to pull up to the house. She is right.

Every morning since that day there is a fear when I walk to Bridger's room for what I will find, every sound that comes from his room at night (which is a LOT) makes me worried, every call from the school comes with the skip of a heartbeat, every pneumonia. . . every fever. . . everything.  Even this morning I greeted him and opened his curtains to the sunshine to turn around and see him have a seizure.  The worry is never ending.

What I have to remember is that each of us has a journey and that no person's time line is more guaranteed than another.  None of us know when that sedan will pull up to the house for any of us.  However, having many more of them drive "down our street", I am flooded each day with the feeling that today is a miracle, just as yesterday was and just as tomorrow hopefully will be.  That is what gives the petty minutia no space in my life.

I am grateful for the miracle of today.  I cherish today and I cherish my priceless family picture -- which we took just days after he was released from the hospital.  While the under-eye bags of sleepless nights and exhausted smiles are more pronounced than I would like them to be, whenever I look at this picture which hangs above my piano, I see miracles.

Happy Cinco de Mayo.  I had Italian for dinner.




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April 07, 2011

Mother of Hurl

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*warning*
*this post may contain language that is offensive to some and is not for the gastrointestinally weak*

Lovely early spring evening last night.  I spent it watching the neighbors walking their dogs, joggers passing by and listening to children playing in their yards while I was in my driveway, fully armored with my surgical mask and rubber gloves, scrubbing down feeding chairs, iv pole, support mats, etc. that had just taken a direct hit.  Double bolus tube fed super hurl.  I cannot even stress how voluminous that is and will spare the details of just how much square footage that can cover in a family room.

I have mentioned the "stinging moments" before.  That is the only way to describe them -- brief moments that I feel an acute sting in realizing the loss.  The loss for Bridger, for myself in what was lost as I took on this new journey.  Waving to my neighbors with my rubber glove, cleaning up vomit as they walk by enjoying a blissful walk = sting.  Even more sad, was that was how my day started as well - just a different room.  Actually, my day didn't start that way, it started at 4:00am when Bridger woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for the day and there was no convincing him that the day didn't really start for 3 more hours.  So the earlier vomit episode really felt more like mid-day to me.

To summarize the past 30 days for Bridger:
virus
flu
pinkeye
stomach flu
strep
pneumonia
c-diff infection
lots of trips to the doctors, luckily only one loooong ER trip, lots of midnight and early morning steaming sessions and sleepless nights

Almost all of the above include lots of vomit as Bridger struggles to manage his secretions and therefore everything triggers more hurling - and that's not including the sensory-induced fun that occurs when I may present him a pancake when he brain was thinking he was going to see a waffle, or when a crumb of bread gets stuck on his lip, or when he sees his brother eating a wheat thin.

I declared to Alan last night that the latest batch of towels were now disposable as I couldn't bring myself to clean one more.  That is the best $20 I have ever wasted.

One friend feels the need to keep telling me how tired I am looking lately.  I have mirrors.  The obvious need not be stated.  Instead, please tell me that you like the shade of lipstick I am wearing - even if I am not wearing any.

I have learned a lot about energy in this journey.  Every challenge and stressful episode creates a certain amount of energy.  Left alone, that energy will naturally turn into a negative energy and be a very big weight to carry.  I have learned that I can immediately channel that same energy into a positive direction and rid myself of that weight and feel the therapeutic benefit of changing that negative energy to positive.  So all of the negative vomit-schlepping energy over the past 30 days has been channeled to this new hat I am wearing which is my personal mission to help families with special needs children enjoy lives of inclusion within their communities.  The head of the local hospital (after hearing of my latest ER nightmare) invited me to join him, some of his board members and charge nurses for dinner to tell them ideas and strategies that their hospital adopt to better serve our [special needs] community.  I invited several of my special mom friends to join me for that.  I have arranged with the local bounce house arena for a bounce night exclusive to special needs children and their sibs for a gentler safer bounce time.  I also am spearheading an effort to build an "accessible and inclusive" playground for our school, which will be the first playground in this category in our county -- just finished working with the company to design, busy now writing grants for the $150,000 price tag. 

I'm ready to have less negative energy to have to channel though.  But as I watched Bridger sleeping last night while Edelweiss played in the background, I was reminded that vomit is such a small price to pay for something so precious and beautiful. 

March 14, 2011

3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197

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Happy Pi Day!

My husband's favorite book:


We had only been married a couple years when I discovered this about him and it was an eye-opener to me that my husband truly was an engineer to the inner-core with a little bit of lawyer on the outer crust.  He would not only pour over its pages, but then come to me excitedly reading excerpts and expect me to nod with furrowed eyebrows with my thinking finger on my chin and then engage in discussion over the mysteries of pi with him.  uh, no.  Put me in an apron and add an "e" to the end and then I can talk crusts and fillings with the best but I can't even feign interest in this one.  I give him my best blank stare and sometimes offer a sympathetic smirk to let him know that his inner-geek is showing too much.

But every nerdy interest can be given a moment of respect in our home as some national association of some discipline of engineering has lobbied hard to institute the holy Pi Day on March 14th.  And so, much to my husband's delight, we paid our homage. . .


What I really needed was a video of this happy occasion.  Bridger is just out of the picture on the right watching it all.  All of the smells and sights of the food overloaded his sensory system and just after I snapped the picture he proceeded to gag and vomit all over (luckily, the table was spared).  He had just been g-tube fed which makes it -- to summarize without grossing you out, very voluminous.  But since this is just about a daily occurrence with him, I have developed some sensory saving strategies for myself.  Mother's best friend. . . the disposable surgical mask:

I collect a stash of these every time we are hospitalized and every hurl episode I take on in my house starts with this.  Add my yellow rubber gloves as the must have companion accessory and I can take on anything, no matter how voluminous that anything is.

So Alan came home with a big smile on his face to see our celebration of him and his weirdness, then saw me in my hospital mask hanging retired around my neck and offered me a sympathetic smirk -- kind of like the one I give him when he reads me his weird book.  I guess we all have our quirks.

March 13, 2011

Through the Woods and Over the River

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I love that we are still in the stage of cheap thrills.  I know one day that my kids will be severely underwhelmed with the tricks and treats that I pull out of my sleeve, but until then, I am loving the simple pleasures that still put big smiles on their faces.


We went down to the river by our cabin and threw waders on the kids and they wandered through the river.  If you are 6-9 years old this is apparently quite thrilling.  Lance said it was the 4th best day of his life.  When I asked him what the first three were he said that they were all Disney.  So I'm glad something free can rank right up there next to Space Mountain. 


The fun was almost short-lived when Eva lost her footing on a slippery rock and fell in the freezing water.  With her waders full of water I took her crying to the back of the suburban and told her that she won the prize.  Confused, she paused in her crying to hear more.  I told her not to tell the others (that always gets them excited) but that I had a prize for whoever fell in first.  The prize. . . I had to scramble to find that. . . but it turned out to be a can of squeeze cheese I had packed in the back of the car and a box of wheat thins that she ate while resting in a chair on the bank of the river as she dried off in the sunshine.  Near meltdown averted and the fun went on for a couple more hours.


ahhh, simple pleasures.


March 02, 2011

Seeing Green


With all of the free time I have I thought that I could use another hobby.  I have been under the tutelage of some fun friends and had my eyes opened to this new (for me) phenomenon called "Couponing".  Previously, I avoided those little paper squares like the plague.  I would curse myself for buying something on the shelf because it had one of those peel-off instant coupons to use at the register -- only to then have to stare at that same peel-off sticker every time I would use the product in my pantry because I would forget to take it off at the register.  Well, I am reformed now.  I have caught the bug - not to the point of addiction like some - BUT, who wouldn't get an a homemaker's adrenaline rush at getting all this:


 for free.
  
All this: (it is actually really good gravy to add to the frozen turkeys I have left over from Thanksgiving)
  
I got PAID to buy this - yep, came out of there with $1.86 more in my pocket than I started with.

And all this:

Total was over $70 and Mrs. Souper Couper herself brought it down to $24.  Just the toothpaste and tampons alone would have cost that at Target.  The $8 bag of salad and block of cheese (the only which things I didn't use a coupon for) are making my total artificially high I think.  But considering there is a $20 tub of Crayola Model Magic in there(paid $2.50 for) - super score!  My kids love that stuff - it's like play-doh that you can color with markers.  I highly recommend it for rainy days.

My motivation for spending my only 18 minutes a week of free time on this??  All money saved goes directly to fund my favorite hobby of all. . .
  

This hobby, I admit, I am fully addicted to and will take whatever measures necessary to feed my habit. 

See you at the spa!