14 December 2011

homecoming

As much as I sometimes want to punch my brother in the mouth (he's a staunch libertarian, I'm very left-wing liberal), I still love him... Kind of.

And today, he is starting his journey home from serving in Afghanistan!! I'm so happy for him and his family. I know it's been rough for his wife and three kids; hopefully he's done with deployments. As for me, I know I'll be sleeping easier at night, knowing he's not having bullets whizzing by his head (Once heard from my mom that he said "It's just like TV, you're running and you can see the bullets hitting the ground" OMG!)

A bit of good news as an early Xmas present. :)

12 December 2011

wheat!

So I've been off wheat for two weeks now. And I have to say, I'm doing great! I've also severely cut back on my refined sugar and caffeine intake.

I've gone from having bowel issues (sorry, TMI) to having none. Well, except when I used apparently contaminated garlic powder (Great Value from Walmart. "May contain traces of wheat, soy, etc, etc). Stupid garlic powder :(

I'm sleeping better. I used to wake up sooo groggy and I wanted nothing more than to crawl back in bed and stay there. I had about 4 hours a day where I felt energized. Now, I wake up and while I still want to crawl back into bed and stay there (because my thermostat is set on 60 so my house is cold, but my bed is WARM WARM WARM), I wake up fairly quickly and easily. I'm energized All. Day. Long.

And most importantly: I'm not constantly hungry! I used to be hungry ALL the time. I would eat, then twenty minutes later, I'd be starving. Now I stay full! It's awesome. I had dinner two hours ago. I'm still full. Yes!

02 December 2011

where i've been and where i'm going

I haven't been anywhere. Especially here at the blog. It would be nice if I could say "Oh, I was SOOOO busy doing homework, I just had no time to blog." But that's not true, as my newest addiction to Pinterest would show. So, truthfully... I've been thinking about my life and going "it's not THAT interesting, so why blog about it?" Really. A lot of my life feels like it's the same thing day in and day out. How many posts can I make about the hilarious stuff that comes out of Cam's mouth? Too many, probably.

I've been thinking about the point of having this blog, too. I started it as a way to work out my spirituality (and get some feedback on it), but my spirituality has changed since I started this blog over two years ago. Hell, it's changed since last year, since the spring, since the summer. I've lost a lot of my religious trappings, and have settled into a fairly laissez-faire spirituality. What I believe is too personal/individual to be called a religion, I think.

When I changed my blog from Witch at Church to One Witch's Story, it was so I could write about my life, which included spiritual beliefs. And my story is changing, I guess. I have self-diagnosed myself with Celiac disease, on the basis of a high incidence of gallbladder disease (my gallbladder was FULL of stones when I was 18 and started developing problems. Had it removed 5 years ago next week) and gluten allergies and a statistically relevant incidence of kidney stones (had a few stones in my right kidney, which were taken care of surgically two years ago, still have one hanging out in my left kidney) and gluten allergies.

So I'm going on a gluten-free diet. A grain free diet, really, because I'm planning on starting the Primal diet near the end of this month (no grains, no legumes, no refined sugar, limited dairy.) And of course, I'm dragging Camden along for the ride. I'm taking him to the doctor next week so he can be tested for gluten allergies/intolerance. For myself, I'm doing the self-test (day 2 and going strong!) where I cut it out for a few weeks, then reintroduce it to see how I feel. I can't do that with Cam, though, because his daycare provides meals and won't let the kids bring in their own food... Which means that feeding him gluten free stuff at home then having him get it at school REALLY defeats the purpose. But if I can get the test (hopefully) saying that he had allergies or an intolerance, the school will provide the gluten free food (or let me pack his breakfast/lunch/snack, I'm not sure). Woo-hoo. Wish us luck for a positive, will you?

Also, I got everything in for grad school. My application was sent to the review board yesterday, so I'm playing the waiting game to hear back. I'm deathly nervous, but I'm trying not to think about it too much. Everything will work out in the end, I'm sure.

27 October 2011

grad school

Today, I turned in the last bits and bobs of my graduate school application for the MAE program. It should be noted that I only decided to apply less than two weeks ago; everyone was certain there was no way in hell I could get everything in on time. But I did. So HAH!

Reviews of applications begin on Tuesday. Here's to hoping that I'm accepted!

16 October 2011

city museum

I made plans several weeks ago to go to St. Louis and talk to UMSL about their teaching program. And because I've been to St. Louis many times for school field trips, I know that there are quite a few fun things to do. About a week before we went, Camden and I sat down at the computer and looked at pictures and videos of the different places I knew: the science center, the magic house, the zoo, and the city museum.

From pictures and videos, the city museum was the obvious choice. Tunnels to crawl through, slides to slide down, gorgeous artwork, a bus perched precariously on the rooftop, etc etc! The city museum is a cross between a museum and a GIANT indoor playground. (Almost) Everything is hands on.

Of course, the week before we went, Camden came down with the pox. I was really worried that he wouldn't be able to go... Thankfully, however, he was deemed contagious no longer! So off we went!

My trip to UMSL was a waste, because it turns out that everything they had to tell me I could have found online. (Just want to say that when I called, the person I talked to said it was very hard to explain over the phone, and I should schedule an appointment to come in and talk. Thanks, person!)

Then on to the city museum! (And lucky for us, rooftop access was FREE that day. YES!)






A slide made of rollers (like rolling pins). Very bumpy and very uncomfortable! Camden loved it, though.



The fossil, bug, and skeleton room. The walls were covered with tons of displays of pinned insects. There was a nifty diorama of dinosaurs and a jungle area. And there were skeletons, including a cat skeleton, which was both cool and kind of creepy.



If it wasn't for all the other fun and awesome stuff, I'm fairly certain Camden would have stayed in this room much longer than he did.



They also had a room of architecture elements (I'm assuming they were pulled from buildings about to be torn down). Camden was not nearly as enamored with this room as my mother or I.



This column is in the food court area. Cam has a thing for frilled lizards, so he absolutely loved it. It hovered over us as we sat and had some snacks (we were planning on lunch, but the food was ridiculously over priced... What can I say? I'm cheap!)



The roof! See the school bus? The front end is hanging over the side of the building... 11 stories up. Have I mentioned I'm terrified of heights?



Oh, there's also a giant sculpture of a praying mantis. Why? I have no idea!



Do you see me? I crawled up the tiny stairs into the wire cage, which is perched on the roof. Again, I'm not good with heights, so I was pretty shaky the entire time. LOL It was fun anyway!

15 October 2011

to be a witch

To be a witch is to...

love and be loved

know everything and nothing at all

move among the stars while staying on earth

follow the moon

change the world around you and yourself

live with the earth, not just on it

dance and sing and hold hands with the universe

share and give, while receiving all the while

BE magic, not just perform it

be honourable or nothing at all

accept others

harm none

know what you feel is right and good

see beyond the barriers

honour the gods and yourself

be one with the gods

study and learn

be the teacher and the student

acknowledge the truth

be truly free

Found an image with this listing on it, except the listing was in a super random order (and it likely still is even after my tweaking) and had some grammatical errors... so I fixed it up. Every time it comes up (with a new person) that I'm a witch, they tend to ask me what that entails/what I believe... I'm thinking I should print this stuff out on business cards to hand out to the nosycurious people who should really just mind their own business.

09 October 2011

joys of the pox

Camden has chicken pox (as we well know). Since we'd be visiting my parents next weekend anyway, I decided that to save both my (and Camden's) sanity, we'd just extend the trip by a weekfew days. In the Ville, it was just me and Camden. And since he was ordered by the doctor and the woman from the health department to remain at home, no exceptions, we were both stuck at home. (I failed to ask them how I was supposed to buy groceries for the week if I, as a single parent, couldn't a) take him into the store with me, b) take him with me and leave him in the car, or c) leave him home (alone). But I digress.)

But at my parents, there would be three adults available for Camden-watching. Huzzah! Not to mention the acres of people-less land that Camden can enjoy, even if he is poxed up. So away we went!

Fun that we've had so far:

-Purging my room at my parents' of junk and old stuff

-Wading in my dad's new pond (he just built it a month or so ago, so it only has about a foot of water in the bottom of it. We need some rain so it'll get some water in it!) and throwing mud balls at each other

-Playing with Cat and my parents' dogs

-Making a mess in the living room with trains and monster trucks! (Camden's fun)

I'm planning another doctor's visit for Cam on Wednesday, to (hopefully) get the go ahead to take him in public. We've been planning a trip to St. Louis on Thursday for a few weeks now, and I know he'll be super disappointed if he doesn't get to go. I've once again marked his belly spots with marker (orange this time, so I guess he's fire belly, with his red spots and orange circles) to keep track of new spots. Praying and hoping for no new ones. If we go 24 hours without any new ones, he ought to be in the all clear! (But we'll still get the doctor's okay, I think. I REFUSE to be responsible for someone getting the pox.)

07 October 2011

christmas belly

Camden has the pox! Chicken pox. Despite being vaccinated against it (okay, only halfway so, but still) and not being around anyone who has it, he's covered head to to in itchy red spots. Last night, I was still thinking (hoping!) that they might be bug bites, so I circled them with a green marker (it was all I could find!). Have you heard of this? Circle the spots with a marker, then check the next day to see if there are new spots, and voila, it's chicken pox if there are more or voila, it's probably not chicken pox if there aren't. Well, we woke up this morning and there were new spots.

Voila.

Luckily, I had scheduled a well-child check up for him for today. So we went in, they made us sit in a private waiting room, then took us to the exam room where we sat for an hour before the doctor got there. She did the well-child stuff, then looked at his spots. "Yep, it's chicken pox."

Great.

So he and I are both out of school for the next week. He may be out of school for even longer: I'm not sure what his school's policy on chicken pox is, if he just has to be not contagious, or if all his crusties have to be gone, too. Either way, once he's not contagious, at least I'll be able to drag him to class with me.

(And just in case you didn't get it, christmas belly is because of the red spot and green circles on his belly.)

26 September 2011

beginning of fall

Camden and I really enjoyed our first weekend of Autumn. Saturday was really like any Saturday, but Sunday was spectacular.

Camden managed to drag me out of the house and to the park (I didn't want to go, because it was still chilly). By the time we got there, however, the temperature was feeling quite nice. So we spent some time playing on the equipment: throwing toys up and down the slides to each other and me chasing him around a bit. Then he wanted to go down the hill and check out the cannons (there is a veteran memorial type thing at this park). So we went down the hill and over the bridge and made it as far as a walnut tree, where Camden decided it would be more fun to pick up walnuts and throw them at the trunk. ... I agreed. ^_^

Then we went back across the bridge, and as we did so, the wind picked up and the leaves started dropping. So Camden and I decided to spend some time chasing leaves. We took off our jackets and shoes and ran around like the heathens we are, jumping, and spinning, and laughing as we tried to catch leaves out of the air. After a wee bit of that, we just lay in the grass, watching the sky and the trees and the gently falling leaves. After a bit, Camden decided it was time to go home.

As we walked up a hill that was (thankfully) more grass than rocks, Camden decided he wanted to roll down it. So he did. Eventually we made our way home. In the field of grass next to our house, I just happened to catch a grasshopper.

And this grasshopper just happened to meet his end, thanks to a spider Camden and I have been feeding moths and other bugs to. Should I feel bad for feeding the grasshopper to the spider? Perhaps. But Camden enjoyed it, and afterwards we looked at pictures of spiders (and other bugs) on the interwebs and learned a bit about them. Teaching opportunities, I say!

17 September 2011

declutter nation

So, as you may (or may not) know, I've been trying really hard to a) clean my house and b) keep it clean.

Well, let me tell you: it is hard to clean when a good amount of the STUFF in your house is just that, STUFF. Clutter, clutter, clutter, and, you guessed it, more clutter. So I haven't been focusing on cleaning my house this last week or so; I've been focused on decluttering. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I'll be moving in December, and I don't want to have to pack/move more than is necessary. So I've purged the closets and dressers, Camden's toys, the kitchen, the bathroom. I've thrown away a lot of STUFF that I didn't even know I had (which means it was obviously unimportant). I think I managed to donate at least half as much again as I threw in the trash.

So my "messy house" is still somewhat messy, but just being rid of all those bags full of unnecessary STUFF makes it seem so much more manageable. (The little bit of organization I did in the process doesn't hurt, either!!!) I'm still not quite finished. I still have my desk in the living room with four drawers filled with random STUFF and my TV stand, which has amassed DVD cases and video games (that I don't play, so I may be making a trip to Hastings to sell them off and maybe earn a few dollars).

What's so great about having an uncluttered house? (Aside from not having all that extra STUFF to find places for and keep picked up and organized and cleaned, I mean.) Well, I don't know about you, but clutter stresses me out! Seeing all that STUFF all the time, never knowing what to do with it... It makes for a relatively stressful living situation. And inviting friends over (or having surprise visitors) is just a mess. Before I could invite someone over, I had to make sure I had time to pick up the house. Now that I'm enjoying less STUFF, I can invite someone over for dinner (the same night as the invitation) and not rush home to clean like a madwoman. I can go home and straighten up for ten minutes or so, because that's all it needs.

Things seem so much easier when I have space. My counters are not clear by any means, but they are clear to the point where I can set something down without worrying about knocking over seven other things. My coffee table and night stand are the same way. Will I ever have completely bare surfaces? Not likely. Am I happy with what I have now? Yes, totally. And that was the point of this whole exercise. To make my house comfortable--for me. And now it is (and is becoming more so as I continue to find the odd thing that I'm okay with letting go).

16 September 2011

why i love...

the fall

-Beautiful colours. The leaves are changing, turning a green summery world into a riot of oranges, yellows, and red. What's not to love?

-Cool weather. Temperatures are bearable again!! We can play outside without sweating through our T-shirts. And the cool weather also makes good hoodie and sweater weather.

-New beginnings. Who would have thought a witch, of all people, would see the Fall as a time for new beginnings? Well, I think a witch who has been in school for the majority of her life would. New teachers, new classes, new friends. And we are reminded of future new beginnings, as the year and wheel are reaching their "end."

-The food. I love fall (and winter) food. Stews, heavy casseroles, soups. Things which I make throughout the year, but as with the weather sentiment, I can enjoy these things in the fall without sweating through my clothes. Oh, and apple pie!

-The holidays. Mabon. Samhain. Thanksgiving. All are wonderful reasons to celebrate the fall.

-The bugs die! So this is near the end of the fall season, but it still counts. Cam is allergic to bug bites (mosquito bites swell at the source, and tick bites swell at the source and all about it), so to be able to go outside without worrying about "what's going to get him this time" is a huge relief.

-Miscellaneous: hay rides, scare crows, pumpkins and pumpkin pies and jack-o-lanterns, marching band, hot cocoa, crisp mornings, the first frost. And on and on and on.

14 September 2011

this day

Five years ago today, I met the man who would change my life. For all the hardships I've endured in my life, he made them all okay. For all the challenges I face, I do it with love in my heart for him. He has made me who I am today, more so than any other person I've met. He helps me be a better person; just knowing him makes me want to be a better person. When I am down, he has the ability to bring me up; when I am up, he makes me soar to greater heights. Even as he wears me out, he fills my soul and spirit with life and energy.

My son. My beautiful, funny, smart man. It has been quite the road we have traveled, and its end is nowhere in sight. I am so happy to have you in my life, for this is a road not made to be traveled alone. You guide me, as I guide you. We were meant for each other.

A very happy birthday to Camden, my son, my sun, the light of my life.


09 September 2011

on a roll

Camden is one nutty child!

This morning, I mentioned that someone was being mean to me, and he says "What he do to you?" Talk about melting my heart.

On our way home, he asks if he can tell me a joke. Of course I say yes!

Camden: Who drives their cars on sidewalks?
(Here we have a five minute interlude, because I say "I don't know, who?" and he gets on to me for saying anything. So he asks me again, and this time I say "dogs" and he says again that I'm not supposed to say anything. So I roll my eyes as he asks me again, but I say nothing.)
Camden: The Transformers!

Obviously, he came up with this joke himself, and I'm very proud of him for it. (My friend liked to tell the story of his sister who came up with a joke at a similar age: What has four legs and doesn't move? A horse!)

This evening's events are equally amusing.

Camden: I'm thirsty
Me: What do you want
Camden: Your blood!
Me: o.O

And a little later

Camden: Your cherry pies are the best!
(I made some little pie pockets from fresh cherries. Very exciting!)

I love my child. :)

01 September 2011

quest for a clean house (again...still?)

My house/apartment/living quarters is generally a huge mess. Not necessarily dirty, though sometimes it is that, too, but toys/projects spread out everywhere and on every surface, beds unmade, clothes here and there (clean or dirty), papers in every corner imaginable, etc. Ever so often, I'll clean a room top to bottom (usually when I'm wanting to move a piece of furniture about) and I'll tell myself that this time it will stay clean. And... It never does.

I think I've figured out what my problem is. Okay, well, I have lots of problems. My first is that I was never required to pick my stuff up when I was a kid. (Glad my mom doesn't read this blog. She'd kill me.) So I never developed that habit. And keeping a whole room is a lot of work. Okay, it's not. But when you don't have that cleaning habit, it becomes a lot of work, because you have to remind yourself about every little thing. (Maybe I'm just a messy, lazy person looking for excuses?)

So instead of tackling the entire house, I've decided to build up to it. While the majority of my house exists as the usual messy state, two areas are clean! And they've been that way for a week. I've been making my bed every morning. Not a big thing, but like I said, I'm building up. I've also been washing dishes before I go to bed. I either do them after dinner, or right before I go to bed. Last night I was focused on homework and ended up not getting to them until 11.30, when I thought "I'll just get them in the morning" but then forced myself to wash them anyway. Took five minutes.

My next step? Keeping the living room floor and tables clear. Starting Monday.

I'm hoping this will help me form these clean habits, and I'm hoping even more that the habits will stick from this apartment to the next.

27 August 2011

Bedtime Story: The Final Chapter

Summary of parts I and II:

Girl wants a tall bed. Girl gets tall bed. Tall bed dies. Twice. After second death, girl buys flatpack bed from IKEA, thinking it's the right size. 'Tisn't. Girl is still left sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

And now, what we've all been waiting for: The Final Chapter.

So the girl is getting really tired of sleeping on the floor. Her knees have mysteriously taken a leave of good health which makes entering and vacating the bed a less than graceful operation.

So she searches.

And she plans.

And she draws poorly drawn plans, because she hasn't a visually artistic bone in her body.

And she talks shop with her father, which was very exciting and very nervous-making. Every time she had a plan for building something, she would ask her father for help, and he would end up taking the entire project out of her hands. But not this time! This time he helped edit the plans, and he provided helpful tools.

Finally the girl decides "This is the day!" She draws yet another plan (for all the other drawings disappeared) and takes last minute measurements and off she goes to the hardware store! Pine! Carriage bolts! Nuts! Washers! Drill bit! Candy bar!

As she's watching the helpful hardware store employee cutting the boards, she feels a moment of horror. What if it doesn't fit in my car? Thankfully, it did. With a whole three inches to spare.



She totes the lumber into her house and begins work! After much cursing and swearing and candy bar-munching and a few extra holes here and there, the girl has a bed!


(I am terribly embarrassed by how fuzzy this pic is. Took it on my phone to send to my dad, then sent it to facebook, only to realise it's fuzzier than a bunny. Oh well.)

And the best news is that it holds the weight of the mattress. And the weight of the girl. And a boy child. And two rats. And no wibbles or wobbles. Sturdy as a rock. Needless to say, the girl was (and still is!) very proud of herself.

23 August 2011

Georgia Aquarium


Camden, my mother, and I drove down to Atlanta, Georgia Thursday/Friday to visit my sister. I hadn't seen her since Christmas and she asked earlier this summer if I'd visit her. And to celebrate, Red bought us all tickets to visit the Georgia Aquarium. I've been to the aquarium in Chicago, so I was excited, but Camden has only been to zoos, so he was super excited. Plus, he's in love with sharks and octopuses and squid.





My sister, rather like myself, likes to get to things on time. And by on time, I obviously mean early. So we ended up getting to the aquarium about 30 minutes before it actually opened. Luckily, there was still fun stuff to peruse outside, like these dolphin statues. Cam's favourites were the super hero dolphin (when he saw it, he said "What!?" in the tone of WTF is going on here) and the "Bob the Builder" dolphin, as we called it.



They had five or six that were roped off and not readily available for posing with, but Camden really liked the "Peace" dolphin.



Flash wasn't allowed in most (read: any) of the aquarium, so my pictures of the animals all came out very poorly. Except the penguins here. Guess something made them all hold still for the five secondstime it takes my camera to open and close the lens.



This is another one that held still. He was in Camden's favourite tank-the ray and shark tank. They said it was around 100 yards long. There were two viewing windows on either end, then a big tunnel that you could go through to watch the fishes swim over you.



Cam's favourite part of the whole thing was the divers in the shark tank. I think this guy had a sense of humour, no?




14 August 2011

job hunting

I'm graduating in December. YES YES YES! Originally, this graduation barely elicited a rather apathetic "yay" because I knew I'd have another year and a half of school. Buuuuut.... I'm skipping grad school. I don't want to teach; I don't want to teach music. I don't have the vocal ability to teach elementary children, and I don't have the ear to teach middle school+. So after 4.5 years, I'll be graduating with a fairly useless degree in a time of economic recession. Will the job market turn around by December? By gods, I hope so. But honestly, I don't see it getting better. (And to add my pessimistic view to the end of that statement: I don't see it getting better, ever.)

In the mean time, I'm scanning classifieds and job websites, hoping to find a place that will be a good fit for my talents.

Just today, I sent in my resume for a solar energy tech company in St. Louis, MO. And while my chances of getting a job with the company (they don't have any openings listed, but have a "Interested in working for us? Send your resume!" on their site) are likely incredibly small, I'm excited by just the possibility. I have no sales experience, but I know I could sell solar panels. This is a product I definitely believe in, and I'm hoping and praying and lighting candles and blowing on dandelion puffs to get this job.

But if not, I'll find something else. Probably it won't be as gratifying as I'm making the solar tech job out to be, but it will be a job. And if I don't find something else, I'll go build a hut on my parents' land and be self-reliant.

05 August 2011

Bedtime Story Part II

So the girl's bed had turned into the teenage dream of a mattress on the floor. She didn't mind--not really. Then she started working. The work wore her out, to the point of barely being able to move. Suddenly, she missed her tall bed, where getting into it was nothing more than a step on this box then crawling in. Now, she had to lower herself to the floor, with a sore body and one knee that refused to cooperate. More so than climbing into her old bed, she missed climbing out of it, which was really nothing more than rolling over and putting her feet to the ground. TAH-DAH. None of this ridiculousness that is now involved, leveraging her entire weight from the ground to standing.

But she had promised herself (and anyone who would listen) that that bed was not coming back into her house. No how, no way. Besides, it was broken. So she decided to look online for a NEW bed. A factory-made bed. Flat-pack. And she found one! Inexpensive (and, considering where it was coming from, probably cheap as well), and, she thought, the right size. So she ordered it, checking and double checking and even triple checking to make sure that there wasn't a choice between Full/Queen/King listed. It came up in the "queen size bed frame" search, so it must be a queen size frame. Obviously.

Then it came. It came, it came! She did a happy dance and sliced open the box to look at the lovely pieces of wood. It was here!

That night, she pulled out her tools, moved the mattress up against the wall, and set to work putting together her shiny new bed frame. Suddenly, it was together! She danced in excitement, pulling out her queen size bed slats and laying them on the frame.

Wait.

What's this?

Why are they hanging over?

What?

What?!

FUCK!

She ran to her computer, pulling up the website, looking again. No, it doesn't say it's a full bed. It came up when she searched "queen bed frame." Why is it the wrong size?!*

Alas, the girl's dreams of a bed off the floor were no closer to fruition. Except now she has plans of building one on her own... Will there be a part three to this bedtime story?

*Footnote to add to the bitter tale of the new bed (don't want it ruining the amusement of my adventures in finding the perfect bed). I took apart the frame and called the company, hoping that they would pay for the return shipping, since it was due to their lack of size information that led to me ordering it in the first place. But the most they said was "sorry for your confusion." And looking up shipping prices, it would cost more than twice as much as the original price of the bed to ship it back to the company. So I took it to a consignment shop, where I'll get about a third of the price back if I'm lucky.

31 July 2011

my coffee table


(Maybe I should have taken a more flattering picture of my coffee table? Eh, too much work!)

I picked up my coffee table a few years ago at a thrift shop. It was, I believe, ten dollars. Or maybe it was five? Or maybe it was even free. Like I said, it was a few years ago. I got it because the one that I had before this one bit the dust when Camden happened to fall on it--it was pretty unstable. It was the usual darkish wood flavour of coffee table--nothing too outrageous.

About a month (or more) ago, I picked up a small can of oops coloured paint with the plans of painting my rather bland coffee table. And like any good DIY project, I waited for ages to get around to it. And today when Camden came to me, carrying the can of oops paint asking to paint the table, I realised I had run out of reasons not to. So we did. And... Why didn't I do it sooner?! I love it!

Except now I'm worried that it will further fuel my SFMA(serial furniture movers anonymous)... No need to move the furniture--just paint it! Because now I'm really wanting to paint my TV cabinet. And my desk. And my desk chair. But I think that much light grey/off white might drive me crazy. We'll see.

(In other news, I have another bedtime story to tell--hopefully sometime later this week. )

27 July 2011

my life

My life has been crazy. Well, maybe not crazy, but it's definitely been full. The Walmart here in town is going through remodel, and I was lucky to get hired on the remodel crew. While I'm thankful to have a job, I really can't stand it, and I'm definitely ready for school to start up. So my days for the last month have been spent at Walmart, moving stuff then moving it again, and dealing with the supervisors' BS. I generally like the job, and I generally like the people I'm working with, but several of the supervisors just drive me crazy (and everyone else, too).

So I haven't really been doing too many exciting things to be blogging about. Hell, I work all day then come home where I make dinner as quickly as possible, then spend the rest of the night trying to avoid standing/walking. Doesn't really help that the heat index has been around 110 for the last week (with a slight reprieve for the weekend).

I'm hoping that once school starts up, things will settle down and I'll be able to resume with my usual posting habits.

04 July 2011

my weekend in pictures

Cam and I spent the weekend with my parents. And despite some serious drama caused by my dad's ex, it was a good weekend. Cam and I took off Saturday morning to visit Haha Tonka State Park, which has the most beautiful views.




The rest of the weekend was spent playing with the hose, building fires, playing with fireworks (including mining out cicada holes with bottle rockets), and enjoying a thunderstorm. We left last night to take advantage of the cooler night temperatures. Glad we did, because I got to snap this picture of the clouds and moon, which looks like (to me) a bear trying to snatch the moon.



Happy Fourth, ya'll.

19 June 2011

living with purpose

First off, happy Solstice! As usual, I've (obviously) failed to manage a holiday post. Luckily, I can keep trying. Camden and I didn't do much to "celebrate," but we did enjoy the summer, although it was fairly cool. He and I talked about the Oak and Holly Kings fighting, and the Holly King winning to lead our march toward Yule (where they'll fight again, with the Oak King as victor). We went to a local nature center to stare at some honey bees (a small inside hive (with a pipe leading outside) made of plexiglass so you can see the bees doing bee things. We also ogled a bull snake that was apparently not hungry, since it wasn't munching on the (live) mouse in its tank. Then we came home and grilled chicken for dinner. All in all, a fun day.

And on to the topic of the hour:

I've known about Transcendentalism since high school or junior high. But I only knew about it in the general sort of way. Last fall, in my AmeriLit class, I actually read the Transcendentalist authors; Whitman, Thoreau, Emerson. And I fell in love. Then, earlier this year, I was introduced to the term simple living, in reference to modern life, as opposed to "back in the day" simplicity. I think that if every one would strive to live simply, the world would be a better place. Less waste, more community. Less stress, more time. Less hate, more love. As a world-wide community (Western/modernized world, anyway), we have a consumerist and materialistic ethic. We want what we want (or what they want us to want), and we want it now. And to help us get this stuff we have to work long hours at jobs we may or may not enjoy. We want our children to want stuff too, so we help them "get ahead" by over-scheduling them.

That's not something I want from my life. I don't want the hectic schedule of work, soccer practice, music lessons, dinner at McDonald's, TV, bed, rinse and repeat. I want my life to be my own. I want my life to belong to me and my family, not to the world at large. A book that I am reading suggested making a purpose statement for one's family. Because part of living simply is living with purpose. And it's hard to live with a purpose that hasn't been defined. My purpose statement? (Rather: my family's purpose statement.)

Enjoy Life; Love Others.

That is the shortened version. Both are basic yet vital to my spiritual and religious beliefs. The (only slightly) lengthier version is:

Enjoy life by
-making our home a place of creativity, love and laughter
-living within our means
-being environmentally conscious
Love others by
-loving (family) unconditionally
-participating in community service
-having faith in god, nature, others, and one's self

I am sure that at some point this will change. Not greatly, maybe just a tweak here or there. But for now, it is enough.

07 June 2011

Bedtime story

Once upon a time a girl wanted a bed. Not just any bed. A bed that she could store stuff under. Or build forts under. And so, her dad built her one. An amazing four poster bed with plenty of crawl space beneath. The girl loved her bed, except that it wobbled to and fro. When she leaned on the foot of the bed, it would move an alarming amount. This wobbling to and fro eventually led to the destruction of the bed's metal parts.

"But do not be alarmed, child; I will fix it. I have new steel hangers that are indestructible," said her father.

So her father came to visit. He took the broken, flimsy hangers off the bed parts, and put on the new indestructible parts. It was not easy. They did not want to fit. "Ah, but this is good," thought the girl, "for if they are this tight putting together, my bed will no longer wobble to and fro!" And much cursing and hammer pounding and more cursing later, the girl's bed was as good as new. Better than new, for now it had indestructible parts. And lots of screws to help steady it even more.

After five months of having the bed against wall A, the girl decided she wanted the bed to be against wall B. She pulled and tugged and huffed and puffed and cursed and spat, but the bed would not budge! "No problem," said she, "I'll just take off the mattress. Sure then it will move!" So she easily slid the mattress off the bed, only nearly knocking a shadow box from the wall.

"But what is this strange button?" she asked, finding a black circular peg thingy. Looking closer, she sees that it's the peg from one of the hangers. One of the indestructible hangers. Looking even closer, she sees that both the tabs for the hanger is missing! "Noooo!"

Instead of further defying a sure death from sleeping on a broken bed, the girl decided to dismantle the bed. But, alas! As she was removing all of those extra steadying screws, two strip! And another broke off at the head. She looked and searched for something to help, but nothing she found could.

Of she went, on her quest to remove the screws from the bed. First to one store, where an employee handed her something saying, "This will work!" Back home went she, only to find out that the employee must have been the villagestore idiot, because there was no way that tool would work, since it was designed for a specific type of screw. So she returned the failed merchandise and searched out another store. Here, they sold her a tool that she was sure would work. So she got home and tried it... Only to find out that she's not quite smart enough to make it work.

Eventually, after much man-handling and more cursing and spitting, huffing and puffing, and pulling and tugging, the girl managed to get the boards free from the defective screws.

And from that moment, she decided that that bed would never enter her home again. And she lived happily ever after, even if she was relegated to sleeping on a mattress on the floor like some teenager.

05 June 2011

acceptance

A week or so ago, I mentioned my "secret garden" in passing to a friend, and when he asked about it, we both thought it would be easier to simply link him to the blog post I made. Either the address of my blog, or the name, led him to ask me if I was a witch. When I said yes... He said the oddest thing. He said good. Good that I was a witch!

And and a few days ago, I was at the doctor, and he saw my tattoo. And suddenly he started gushing about how beautiful it was (and at that point, I noticed how dry and ashy my legs were and was mortified that I forgot to put lotion on) and asked if it had any meaning. So, I told him it was a pentacle and he pipes up, "Like in Wicca, right?" And I hesitated... Because I'm not a Wiccan, but he took it as me being worried about the usual persecution we non-book religions suffer and said "Oh, it's cool! I've studied Wicca a bit and it's a really neat religion. ... You classify it as a religion, right?" LOL So I said that I was Pagan, and yes, it is a religion. I'm assuming he thought it might be classified as a spirituality?

Anyway, don't mind me. I'm just basking in the warm glow of acceptance. I hope that, someday, it is something we all can experience. Actually, no. I hope that someday this is the normal way of things, and there will be no warm glow because it will just be how things are.

02 June 2011

my secret garden



Six-ish years ago, I decided I was going to revamp a little piece of the yard, where (who knows how long ago) my mom had planted mints and lemon balm, and various other herbs. This garden is next to a little building that was a chicken coop turned playhouse turned horse shed turned abandoned shack that you couldn't pay me to go in. Anyway, when I first got this idea, there was nothing there but a square of overgrown mint and lemon balm. (See picture above.) My mom also had a collection of sandstone; I think she was wanting to make a patio, but didn't have enough. So I liberated them and used them to outline the space. We also had a large pile of bricks in the back (in the space that is the intermediary between the backyard and the woods), so I liberated some of those, too, to make a little square in the middle.

Unfortunately, this first summer of working on the garden, I came down with mono... And couldn't do nearly as much work as I wanted... You know, because heavy lifting with mono can make your spleen explode. So it went back to the weeds.

And the next summer, I was pregnant. Who wants to do yard work when they're pregnant?

And then for several years, I wasn't living there, so why bother? My visits were only for a few days, and I didn't really want to spend those days working.

This last weekend, though... Something changed. Maybe it's just that I was tired of seeing my garden overgrown and weedy. Or that I've been craving working in the dirt with plants. So with Camden's help, I pulled out the weeds. This took forever. They were everywhere. Most annoying were the weeds that had sprouted between the bricks, because they, more than any of the others, gave the garden such an air of neglect.

garden 003


My next course of action was scouring the woods for moss. I love the look of brick pathways with moss set between the bricks. I scoured the woods and spent a ridiculous amount of time tearing the moss into little strips and shoving it into the cracks.

garden 002


I also found some wild flowers. Two spiderwort plants and my dad dug up a big clump of daisies for me. And on Monday, my mom and I stopped by some nurseries and bought some plants. I can't remember what all I bought (bad me!) though I did buy quite a few creeper/crawling/ground cover plants that I'm hoping will grow and shade the ground to keep the weeds down. Yay for living mulch.

garden 010


I also attempted a faerie house. I am soo not crafty at all (as much as I try and want to be). Guess I'll have to keep practicing and hopefully one of these days build a nice-looking faerie house, as opposed to this one, which while not bad, is nowhere near as nice as some that I've seen.

01 June 2011

Kids say the darndest things

I fully accept that this was entirely my doing. But, you see, I've spent the greater part of my life learning about the natural world around me. So when Camden asks me something about nature, I am usually able to give a fairly detailed answer. I try very hard to keep it pared down, due to his age, but usually, I can't and usually, he understands because he's so intelligent!

So when we came across two cicadas doing it yesterday, and he asked me what they were doing... I told him. Okay, I told him they were "making eggs." He looked at me, then looked at them, then ran off to play. Wow, easy question with no follow ups. Awesome.

Later on, inside, he asks me to help him draw a cicada. So I draw a slightly cicadaish bug with a purple crayon. "I wanted it orange!" he says. Of course. So I draw another slightly cicadaish bug in orange. Then he asks me to cut them out. No problem.

I'm watching him play with his slightly cicadaish paper bugs, when he starts putting their butts together. "Look, they're making eggs!"

Oh gee.

23 May 2011

Beetles!


This weekend my garden was invaded by beetles. Cucumber beetles. And the little bastards ate half of my garden, considering that half of my garden is their favourite foods: cucumbers, zucchini, and watermelon. They also ate several of my green bean plants.

I am so frustrated! I didn't check anyone else's plots to see if they were infested, but I'm sure they are. (Hopefully the beetle things didn't focus on my garden. Grr)

I went and bought some organic pesticide and sprayed the little bastards this afternoon, though it didn't seem to have much effect, except that they were crawling away from the plants I was spraying as fast as their little legs could carry them.

In other garden news, though, my cabbages and tomatoes are looking good. One of my tomato plants even has a flower on it! And my bell peppers are starting to grow some true leaves, though they're a little leggy.

And Camden's sunflower house is looking promising!

18 May 2011

My Dad's Parents

I never really got to know my dad's parents. Papa died when I was only three months old. Nanny died when I was in the sixth grade, but I don't really remember spending that much time with her. I loved her and I loved her cooking, but when we went to visit her, I was always playing in the hallways or the elevators or the stairwells of her apartment building with my brother, sister, and/or cousins. I loved Papa, too. Still love him, though I've never met the man, at least not to remember. I love to hear stories of him: how he cheated at Uno is the only one coming to mind at the moment. And the story I love most of all: him claiming me as his baby. My Papa was not the type of man to hold newborn babies. Ever. But I was three days old when I was "introduced" to the family and he said "Give me my baby." My mom thinks it was because he knew his end was close (though I don't think he was sick or anything... I should find that out) and he knew he wouldn't be around to know me when I was older.

I cry every time I think of this story, this little bit of my history. I cry because I am overwhelmed that I, out of his millionsseveral grandchildren, and the youngest of those at that, was held as a newborn when he wasn't a baby person. I cry because I never got the chance to know this man who claimed me as his baby.

Why bring it up? My aunt has been posting old pictures of Papa and Nanny up on FB, and all these thoughts surge to the surface.


After a coyote hunt with two friends




A close up of him.




Papa and Nanny on their wedding day.




Picture of Nanny. She was absolutely beautiful, no?

Bees!

Camden has been absolutely begging to be filled with information about bees the past few months. Sadly, I can't remember what set it off. A random book from the library? The day he was pretending to be a bee and stinging me? Something very odd or cosmic? Who knows. What I do know is that we've read about five books on the subject. Some were age appropriate, some were a little advanced for him (but... maybe not?) Anyway, the boy is very well versed in his bee knowledge (for an almost 5-year-old).

Case and point:

I had a late doctor appointment (still trying to get my wrist issues under control) so I hadgot to take Cam with me. He had a notebook and a pen from the car (somebody forgot to grab some toys... oops!) that he was writing in and drawing in, then showing me and the doctor the pictures. One of the pictures he drew was of a bee, and he was talking about its stinger and how the bee was a girl bee and not a boy so it could sting some body. And the doctor said she didn't know that boy bees don't have stingers. So Camden got to teach a doctor something: how cool is that?

14 May 2011

Thor, god of thunder!

In the past Camden has always said he wants to be a policeman. Or a fireman. Or a soldier.

But those professions have all been abandoned by my fast-growing young man.

Yesterday, he told me he wants to grow up to be...

THOR

God of Thunder!


Love him so much!

08 May 2011

Little bee



We found this bee on the way to the park while looking for silly earthworms that crawl onto the road and can't get back into the dirt before the sun bakes them.




I don't know why it let us harass it. I think something is wrong with it's wings, and now it can't fly. :(



At first I thought it might be a drone, but then I noticed the pollen baskets. I never did see a stinger on it, though.



"Imma get you!" she says.



Cam's happy to have a new friend for the day. Right now, she's living in one of our flower pots outside munching on a dandelion. Or maybe the clover.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. Hope your day is full of wonderfulness (mine most definitely was; bees are so cool!)

07 May 2011

What a summery day!

Today was the BEST. Mostly because I finally got to play in the dirtplant my garden. And... What a garden! It's probably going to look terrible and all half-hazard, because, well, because I had a 4.5 year old helping me. I'm okay with that though.

What I planted:
tomatoes
bell peppers (six of these puppies, WAAY too many but I'm really only expecting one to make it, so it'll be okay)
cabbage
bush beans
carrots
cucumbers (for Camden; I think they taste terrible)
yellow squash
zucchini
watermelon
sunflower house
flowers (marigold, zinnia, and... something colourful; I gave these to Cam to plant)

I don't know what I'm going to do with all that produce... Eat a lot of green beans with zucchini, I guess.

Camden and I also walked across town (really, about a mile from the house) to return a textbook I'd rented for the semester. And we went to the park a couple different times. To top it all off, we grilled some hotdogs and ate a junk-food dinner. (Once those veggies ripen, we'll be eating healthy enough, I think.) All in all, a fun filled, action-packed summery day. But mostly, I can tell it's summer because of the terrible sunburn I got over the course of the day. Ugh!

This is a very scattered post, and for that, I am sorry. I'm terribly exhausted (6+ hours in the sun will do that to you!) and I really just wanted to gush about my garden.

03 May 2011

Just writing...

I keep telling myself I'm going to get back in to the habit of writing here... But then my life goes crazy, or I just spend several boring days where there's nothing to write about. And when something does happen that I'd like to write about, I can't seem to find the time.

Such as: last week Camden and I planted strawberry plants. While my parents were here for my recital, we stopped at a garage sale, and I found a strawberry tower planter...thing. Of course, it was freezing cold and you can't plant strawberries when it's cold! But it warmed up (kinda) so I bought some fresh potting soil and four and a half strawberry plants (one had a runner that was already sprouting roots: two for one!) and Camden and I planted them. Now we are looking forward to fresh home-grown strawberries... if it ever warms up enough for the strawberry plants to bloom. (Which reminds me, my parents house is surrounded by HORDES of wild strawberries, and it seemed like EVERY SINGLE PLANT was blooming. Nom wild strawberries!)

And another: I think NEMO worms are suicidal. Those things are all over the sidewalks, and it hasn't even rained for... two whole days! Okay, they're not all over the sidewalks. But today I had to throw one off into some shaded grass. Yesterday, I found one. The day before that Camden and I found one on the way to the park trying to cross a road. What is with these guys? Don't they know they'll get caught in the sun and burn to such a crisp that even the birds won't eat them?! Luckily for them, though, I haven't lost my youthful compunction which leads me to pick worms out of mud puddles or off of sizzling frying pans sidewalks.

Oh, yeah. Happy Beltane! One of these days, I'll actually get the post on the holiday instead of 1-7 days late. :)

25 April 2011

Easter Weekend

After having spent last weekend with my parents at my place, I can't say I was too terribly excited to go visit them at their place this weekend. (Not that I don't love my parents, but seeing too much of them just annoys the hell out of me.) But it was Easter, and I haven't been home since before it was too cold to do any outside stuff. So off we went. And I have to say, it's much more springy in Southern MO. There are more dogwoods, which from 20+ years of exposure to during the beginnings of spring, just shout "Spring is here!!!" And there is a decided lack of dogwoods here in the north, for whatever reason. (Maybe if I went to a more wooded area than the actual town of Kirksville, I would see some.)

Of course, thunder storms also come with spring, and there was an average of 3 a day all weekend. Luckily, Camden had his rain boots (and it was warm enough for me to go without shoes!) so we got to splash around in the mud and puddles and grass. We caught two toads, which were put into the toad house we made last spring; one left fairly quickly, the other stayed for most of the afternoon. (We tried to feed the second one some earthworms, but I think he was rather pissed off with us and not interested in eating.)

All in all, it wasn't a bad weekend. My dad made Camden a slingshot from a hickory stick, inner tube, and a piece cut from a leather work glove (whose partner is MIA). I also heard some news about my brother, although I think I would have rather not heard. (He called the parentals and was telling them that "it's just like the movies. You're running and you can see the bullets hitting the ground around your feet." Uh, no, I don't want to hear about people shooting at him. Four months and he's home for good, though.) And while Easter was cold and rainy, Camden still got an egg hunt (inside, in the living room) and a TON of candy, along with a Transformers backpack.

17 April 2011

Recital

Whelp... My recital is finally over with. Just in time, too. It went really well. My wrists held up for it (thank goodness, I think if it had been any colder they might not have) and I didn't get as nervous as I usually do. Typically, when I go to play for an audience, I get shaky and my legs tremble. My first piece, I had some trembling in my legs, but worked through it (and luckily my hands never shook). My third piece was a duet that I played with a friend, which went really really well. We didn't have any guidance on it, except for a few comments one time from our studio professor, so it's nice to know that we can throw together music and have it turn out really well. And my last piece was another marimba piece, which didn't go nearly as well as I had hoped or expected, but I'm okay with that (mostly).

On to pictures!


I did my recital with my friend Bob, who plays tuba. He ordered the cake, asking for it to say "Congratulations Sydnii and Bob" and the bakery asked if they could decorate it. (I'm assuming they were looking to practice, since they didn't charge.) Anyway, this is what we ended up with, a cake that we have jokingly named our "engagement cake."


Picture of myself and my high school (and college!) friend Cody playing our duet. I really wanted to do a duet on my recital, and I'm glad that Cody, who've I've known since he was a freshman in high school, was willing to help me out.


Playing some marimba.


Playing some more marimba, and looking fierce

15 April 2011

Oops, I did it again

It being disappearing for a time. I've just been so busy! And by busy, I obviously mean busy playing in the park and reading books and drawing and coloring and sewing and any other myriad of things with Camden. I've also been cursing my bad wrists. We've had mostly gorgeous weather, but every so often a cold front moves through, the temperature drops, and it rains. And my wrists (I have carpal tunnel syndrome) hurt like hell. Today, I lost all strength and dexterity in my hands. And I have a solo/senior recital on Sunday. Luckily, I've been playing my recital repertoire really well recently, so I don't think one day off will kill me.

On the good side of the spectrum, though... My parents are here for a weekend-long visit (due to senior recital, of course). And even better: my dad found some morels this morning before they drove up here, so I got mushrooms for dinner! First time I've had morels in at least a year, maybe two. We also had hamburgers and asparagus spears. Sooo good. More good: I ought to be able to sleep in in the morning. Both my parents are early risers, so Camden will bug them instead of me in the morning!

And this is a terrible update. Will update more Sunday night, hopefully with some AWESOME recital pics ^_^ (Maybe video, too!)

05 April 2011

Don't name livestock

Yesterday, Camden learned (and I remembered) why we shouldn't name our food.

Halfway through a bag of gummiworms, he decided they needed names. After which, he said we had to keep them and not eat them. What a weirdo! (And on a side note, growing up, my family raised beef cows and pigs and chickens. And they all had names. Luckily, we weren't as sentimental as my kid. lol)

01 April 2011

Summer Skies

Today, I started dreaming of summer. After school, Camden and I went to play at the park. It was around 60 degrees, the sun was shining, the wind was blowing. It was cool without being cold. The grass is just beginning to really turn green. Oh, and there were clouds. Great, beautiful, puffy, white cumulus clouds. I spread out a blanket and just lay there watching them for about five minutes (before Camden was able to get me to get up and play). Watching clouds always reminds me of when I was a kid, during the summer I would watch clouds from the roof of an old milk barn that had been lost in a hillside forest. (Just recently, the owner of that hillside forest has cleared out all the trees, so it's just a hillside of scrub and cows and ruins of a house and milk barn. Such a shame, to lose all those trees.) Anyway, the sky reminded me of summer and I had/have a longing for a lazy summer afternoon, where nothing is due for class and I have nowhere to go and nowhere to be. Where time can be spent doing something as simple as lying in the grass watching the clouds go by as they morph from shape to shape. It takes me away, staring into the clouds, so that I am also a cloud, floating in the endless sea of blue skies with children running to stay in my shadow or to stay out of my shadow.

Alas, it is only just spring. We're still waiting for the soil to warm enough to plant our garden. (Which I am very excited about. I absolutely can't wait!) And waiting for it to be consistently warm enough to play outside. Ah, summer. Why must you be so far away?

30 March 2011

Wish Bottle

Since I had a bit of interest in the wish bottle I made I thought I would write up a post giving a few more details about how I did it. (Either follow my example or make it up yourself)

The idea of the wish bottle comes from several different sources.

First, the idea of wishes. Everyone knows that if you blow on a dandelion puff while making a wish, it will come true if all the seeds are blown off. (Or, it will come true in as many days/weeks/months/years as there are seeds left on the stem.)

In Cecelia Ahern's book If You Could See Me Now (fiction), there is a part where the three main characters are catching (if I remember correctly) some sort of floating seed, telling it their wish, then sending it off where the Imaginary Friend Community (or whatever, it's been a few years since I read it) receives the wish and grants it or not. Since then, Camden and I have been wishing upon floating seeds of one sort or another and sending them to the fairies.

Also, the idea of the bottle came from some (non-magical, but very lovely) jewelry I saw on Etsy. I saw it and thought the idea of bottling a wish was clever. And I have a thing for glass bottles. They're just so pretty! Also, bottle spells in general aren't unheard of (a witch's bottle, anyone?), and they're fairly common in hoodoo. So, yay.

Anyway, on to the actual creation of my bottle.

Stuff needed:
Bottle of any size (I used a small glass vial, about 3 inches tall).
A small feather
A floating seed

Clean and purify your bottle. If it's actually dirty and you have to wash it, you might want to do this a day or two before working the spell to give it time to dry.

If you cast circles to work your magic, go ahead and do that.

Keeping your wish (for a specific thing, or a general idea like happiness, health, etc) in mind, put the feather into the bottle and say "Give my wish wings that it may soar to where wishes come true."

With your wish still in mind, put the seed into the bottle and say "Help my wish take root and grow so that this may be where wishes come true."

Speak your wish to the bottle. "I wish for a job/happiness/health/cool funky socks/what-have-you." Quickly cap or cork the bottle.

You can keep the bottle on your altar or display it elsewhere (mine is in a shadow box in the bedroom).



Or, for a simpler version (or if you just can't find the right bottle), pluck a dandelion seed whisper your wish to it, and let it go on a breeze.

28 March 2011

Speech stuff

Next week I'm taking Camden to COMO for a dr's appointment with a developmental pediatrician, where he'll be screened by a number of therapists/specialists (speech, occupational, physical, and so on). He's been diagnosed with apraxia, which is a neurological expressive speech disorder. With this appointment, I was really hoping to get him tested for food intolerances/sensitivities so we could determine whether or not a change of diet could be useful. Unfortunately, when I called today to see if I could set that up, they said that they would have to refer us to an allergist. Which is just as well, since I wouldn't be able to try a GF/CF diet until May, when I'm out of school and have time to prepare all his meals (including those he eats at school, since his school meals are almost entirely based off of grains and dairy). Anyway, despite the fact that they won't be able to test him for that, I will hopefully be getting more strategies and ideas to work with/pass along to his speech therapists here in KV.

I didn't know that living with his apraxia would be such hard work. I didn't realise that it would involve a lot of translation (I feel bad leaving him with people who don't know him, because he's just so hard to understand, and he gets frustrated and the person he's with gets frustrated). I didn't think he would have to fight so hard to make a sound that is easy for most people (thinking /k/ and /g/ here). I didn't think that I would be driven to tears multiple times a week, simply because I can't understand something that he's wanting to tell me. I didn't know that I would want to punch people (okay, certain person--unnamed) for telling me that he's not doing it because he's lazy (the apraxia dx was a huge in your face). I didn't realise how frustrating it would be to have to drill the same idea over and over and over every day, several times a day.

Of course, I also didn't know how my heart would soar with happiness and pride when he automatically uses the right word (saying I want instead of me want for example) or puts the right sounds together for the word that he wants. Or when his speech therapists tell me that he's their favourite patient. I didn't know that he would work so hard to be understood, by repeating what he says, trying to enunciate, saying it a different way, gesturing, etc.

We are far from the end of our journey with apraxia, but every day Camden makes improvement. He says I with increasing frequency, though not nearly as often as we would like. A year ago, he couldn't tell a story. He can now tell a short story about his day. A year ago, he used 1, 2 and 3 word sentences almost exclusively. Now his sentences can reach up to 6 or 7 or 8 words long, though he still uses a lot of shorter sentences. He does a lot more creative and imagination play now than he used to (though that might just be part of growing up/normal development?).

He makes my heart sing every day that I know him, and every day that I know him I love him more.

A story (not mine, obviously):

WELCOME TO HOLLAND


I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability
- to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand
it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip -
to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The
Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some
handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags
and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in
and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm
supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and
there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting,
filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different
place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new
language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have
met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than
Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you
look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and
Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all
bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your
life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had
planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of
that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy,
you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ...
about Holland.

by
Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

23 March 2011

My week is AWESOME


This week has been surprisingly good. I think I owe it to the wish bottle I made on Tuesday. In it is a little feather and a flying seed. (Ever since it got warm, Cam and I have been picking up these seeds, telling them our wishes, then sending them off.) I didn't make any specific wish, just made this be a focal point for growing happiness, love, etc. So maybe it isn't a wish bottle, per se, but, eh, whatever.



And the same night I made the wish bottle, Camden decided it would be fun to help me with dishes. So I let him rinse. I tried letting him actually washing stuff (he wanted to), but he wasn't doing so well with that.

And today, I passed my prelim! My senior percussion recital is this semester (in three weeks, actually) and I had to play through everything today for three faculty, who then told me that I was free to continue on to my recital! I have no idea what would have happened if I hadn't passed, but it doesn't really matter now! This has been a big cause of stress for me this week, and I'm just happy that I did well and passed. I still have some stuff to work on before my recital, so I'm not quite out of the woods yet, but I'm closer.

(I also had a good week at the thrift store... Finding two tee-shirts, a dress shirt, dress slacks, skirt, ACORN earrings (these are just amazing!), and a dainty little bird necklace. Usually my finds are not this great, or as plentiful.)

Of course, the week hasn't been all great. On Ostara, it was close to 80 degrees outside. It was beautiful. Last night, it snowed. And the snow stuck! Well, it stuck to trees and grass and bushes and cars. Okay, it was actually kinda pretty and I wish I'd gotten a picture of it. Hopefully this taste of winter won't last too long and we'll be back to the beautiful spring weather.

21 March 2011

My Books

Okay, so I stole this idea from Nellie over at A Bit of Gardening Spirit... Posting (most/some of) the books on my bookshelf.

Actually, to pare it down a bit, I'm going to stick to my fiction books and save my reference/music/new agey books for another day. And I'm also posting series by their series titles and the book numbers that I have.

Books 2-13 and prequel of the Wheel of Time Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson (I lost my book 1, sooo mad!)

Mistborn Trilogy (complete) Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker Brandon Sanderson

Way of Kings Brandon Sanderson (First of a series)

Books 1-4 of Runelords David Farland (I think there are more in this series)

Onion Girl Charles de Lint

Life of Pi Yann Martel

The Kin of Ata are Waiting for You Dorothy Bryant

Freak the Mighty Rodman Philbrik

About a Boy Nick Hornby

True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Avi

Phantom Tollbooth Norton Juster

1984 George Orwell

Walk Two Moons Sharon Creech

Maniac Magee Jerry Spinelli

The Birth House Amy McKay

She's Come Undone Wally Lamb

I Know This Much is True Wally Lamb

Enchanted Forest Chronicles (complete) Patricia C. Wrede

Earth's Children, Books 1 & 2 Jean Auel (I've been trying to find the other three used, and the sixth one is supposed to come out this year!!!)

Dies the Fire S.M. Stirling (This is the first of a series)

Alas, Babylon Pat Frank (One of my top two favorite books)

Watership Down Richard Adams (The other half of my top two favorite books)

Brave New World Aldous Huxley

Garden Spells Sarah Addison Ellen

Among these are some others that I haven't gotten around to reading yet. As you can tell (if you're up to date on children's literature) I have a fondness for books that I read and loved as a kid. (Which reminds me, The Giver should be on my bookshelf, but it's at my parents' house right now, bah!) The ones that I still have are also ones that I've read and loved as an adult. I also have a soft spot for epic fantasy (14 books of Wheel of Time? Yes, please!) and survival books.

What are you reading?

15 March 2011

Bedtime

It's really no surprise that bedtime stretches out to two hours when getting Cam to bed goes something like this:









(Guess who was going through old pictures tonight... These are from sometime in 07)
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