Tuesday, August 23, 2016

God's Answer

I came back from vacation earlier this month with a new painting...........and a new project. We had too much empty wall space. By hanging that painting, I found my birthday gift. I talked about it in the post "Finding Yourself". But now, my walls are mostly full. I ended up with three 5x7 Thomas Kinkade Brushworks and three 16x20 HD computer prints on canvas.

"Autumn Lane"
"the Garden of Prayer"
"Bridge of Faith"

Those are the 16x20s. Van Eyke sells these and many more. They are beautiful. The are ready to hang but unframed. So I also ordered frames and framed them myself. "Autumn Lane" and "the Garden of Prayer" are the fall and spring paintings. I wanted something different over the computer. Bridges have a lot of positive meanings. "Bridge of Faith" seemed like the perfect choice.

Autumn Lane

the Garden of Prayer

Bridge of Faith

"Evening Glow"
"Conquering the Storms"
"Yankee Stadium"

"Yankee Stadium" is for Josh. We finally took down our degrees, I moved a NY Giants painting we had to it's place. Under it, I put the "Yankee Stadium" for Josh. "Evening Glow" is the winter painting and "Conquering the Storms" is for summer. These are the 5x7s from Thomas Kinkade. They came framed.

Yankee Stadium

Evening Glow

Conquering the Storms

THEN there is the unplanned.

When "Bridge of Faith" arrived there were two surprise prints in the box. All the other's from Van Eyke came on a wood frame. These are just on canvas. But, they were clearly God's answer.

"Beauty and the Beast Falling in Love"
"Cobblestone Bridge"

Beauty and the Beast Falling in Love

Cobblestone Bridge 

Those pictures aren't the ones I got. Mine are being framed now. There is one wall left that is more empty then I want it to be. It does have something on it though. So I originally planned to leave it alone. These two are going in that place. The Degas poster currently there will be in our bedroom soon.

With "Beauty and the Beast Falling in Love" God is reminding us what it was like 18 years ago to fall in love. It arrived on the anniversary of when we first said "I love you". God is reminding me to celebrate our life together. Even though it's been so many years.

"Cobblestone Bridge" is about God's presence in the home. The cross and church are reminders that He is there for us. I haven't lost my faith since that day the line was crossed almost two years ago. But, I wish I understood why some things have to be how they are. This is God saying "'why' doesn't matter. Know that I am here for you always".

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Night I Understood Hillary

It's the late '90s. I'm in high school. It's nighttime and I'm in my parents' room. The news is in the background. For weeks the news was dominated by Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. As Bill Clinton gave a speech from the podium Hillary Clinton was in the background. The good wife. Supportive in spite of being cheated on quite embarrassingly by her husband. Yet there she stood, with dignity and grace. In her eyes were wisdom and kindness.

"Mom, why didn't Hillary divorce Bill?" (me)

"It's a personal choice. We'll never really know why. But, marriage isn't black and white." (my Mom)

"What happened? What made him cheat?" (me)

"Being President is a really hard job. Hillary is really into politics. Most likely, she wants to talk about politics a lot. It's something they have in common. He probably was just looking for a break from that. It doesn't make it right, but everyone needs a break from their job sometimes. Maybe she understands that and that's why she forgave him" (my Mom)

That was long before Hillary became Senator Clinton and later Secretary Clinton. My mom is a wise woman. I think back to that conversation all of the time. Bill has been a very supportive husband. Staying married has been good for both of their careers. I don't know about the marriage in general. Their situation could be more like The Good Wife the CBS show that ended in May. Publically married because it's good for their careers, but living separate lives privately. Does it really matter? If it does, then you are nitpicking. The state of a marriage doesn't dictate the ability of a person to lead.

Hillary has been in the situation room. She has been part of tough decisions. Blaming her for Banghazi? Then you aren't aware that defense cuts from the Republican congress are really to blame for that situation. Emails? Ummmmm Condi Rice, Colin Powel and David Petraeus. No one is perfect. But, she was singled out because of her party. Investigate them just as thoroughly as she was investigated.

Strong and ambitious women scare some people. She's been working hard for a long time for this. When a man is intimidated by a powerful women, he tries to hold her back. But, I've come to learn it's not the job or wealth that makes someone powerful. It's not a lack of fear or the ability to fight through suffering either.

It's dignity, grace, wisdom, and kindness. Like it or not, Hillary is all of those things. When faced with everything Republicans have put her through for years, she shows dignity, grace, wisdom, and kindness.

The New York Times looked it up. Hillary and Bernie agreed in the senate 93% of the time. Link below. They want the same things. Hillary knows what she can realistically negotiate with Congress to pass. We won't get everything either candidate promises. But, realistically, she can push through some very helpful legislature.


Hillary is respected by many because of her dignity, grace, wisdom, and kindness. That includes Republican politicians as well as Democratic politicians. It's those qualities that make her powerful. It's those qualities that have earned her both respect and hate. Those spouses who didn't stay when cheated on think she is a fool for staying. Those with dignity, grace, wisdom and kindness understand.

That was the night I understood Hillary Clinton. It was the night I wanted her to be our first woman president. I voted for Obama. We can't accept a woman until we accept a black man for President. After all, first black men were granted the right to vote and later women were granted that right. But, I knew Hillary would have her chance.

That was the night I understood Hillary Clinton. I had never had a boyfriend at that point. But, I always wanted to know what to do to make marriages last. When faced with that level of embarrassment how can you stand there in support with dignity, grace, wisdom, and kindness? She was never hateful to Monica. Bill was never serious about Monica so Hillary never took their dalliances seriously.

Dignity, grace, wisdom, and kindness. No matter their political party all of our best Presidents have those four qualities. Diplomacy is one of Hillary's strengths. Diplomacy is more productive then aggression. Because leaders only negotiate with people they respect. You don't respect someone who doesn't respect you. When negotiating with other countries you need to understand, respect, and appreciate their culture. You have to have dignity, grace, wisdom and kindness.

Hillary never had to say anything for me to finally understand her that night. She just needed to stand there with dignity, grace, wisdom, and kindness. This was a woman in emotional pain. But, her power was in her dignity, grace, wisdom and kindness.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Last Kiss

We have a house rule, when Zach is home with us, Mommy gets the last kiss at night. That last loving kiss on the cheek. I always have. I only miss the days when he sleeps over with Grandma and Pop. There, Grandma apparently gets the last kiss. I think I know where I get it from :)!

When Zach was 3, he was hospitalized with a severe asthma attack. That's when he was diagnosed. I'm petrified of heights and he was on the third floor. I visited, but once the panic attack started, I had to leave. He entered on a Friday night and left that Sunday. Daddy stayed with him. The only time in Zach's life Daddy got the last kiss.

I don't know why it's so important to me to get that last kiss. Zach knows he's loved. He tells us all of the time that the most important thing to him is his family. Family that wants nothing more then to show him we all love him. I am glad to share his hugs and kisses all day. But, the last one is MINE!!!

He likes it. Josh and I have joked about me being possessive over that last kiss. We go through so much together during the day. Ups and downs every day. That last kiss ends it in the best way possible. A reminder that no matter what happened that day, we love each other deeply.

Zach is turning the tables. Since camp let out he wakes me up with a kiss. Before Daddy can. He wants to be the first to kiss Mommy :)! We snuggle and he gets himself breakfast. A reminder at the start of each day that we love each other no matter what's ahead. Words can't describe how good that feels!

I won't get the last kiss forever. Someday, he won't want goodnight kisses from us. He might still be up for a hug. But, he won't want Mommy kisses. He'll be up later then us. We'll get a distracted "night" from him when we go to bed.

I lived with my parents when Josh and I were engaged. We were 24 on our wedding day, remember. Until then, I always gave my parents a goodnight kiss on their heads when I came in each night. They were in bed. Mom was asleep and Dad was trying to but never quite went to sleep. Not until my brother and I were both home safe. I always kissed him last.

Josh gives me my last kiss each night. I don't know which parent did it when I was growing up. They both probably got opportunities to be the last kiss for both me and my brother. But, I hope they felt good about being the last kiss. The last kiss is special. It's hard to explain why. But, it is. I'm going to miss it when Zach doesn't want it anymore. Will he kiss me last? Just like I used to do for my Dad? I hope so.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Managing My Shellfish Allergy

I'm allergic to shellfish. I wasn't always. In fact, when I did some research, it is most commonly developed in adulthood and more common in women as adults. I'm learning more about it. I'm also learning how hard it is to avoid. Just because you aren't eating shellfish doesn't mean your food didn't come in contact with some along the way!

I used to LOVE fried calamari. About a year and a half ago I had some and my throat started to close up. I took a Claritin and felt better. I have avoided it since. My parents serve shrimp at their New Year's Eve party. I always eat some. I wasn't showing a reaction. Then again, I had gotten into the habit of taking a Claritin before parties just in case.

A couple of weeks ago we were on vacation. The only thing that looked good at this one restaurant were the crab cakes. As I felt my throat closing up without a Claritin around I had to wait while everyone finished eating and we drove back to the hotel. I felt my breathing get shallow and my throat get tighter. Luckily, we weren't that far away and I got that Claritin on time. Now I take one every day with breakfast just to be sure.

Okay, so avoid every type of shellfish. I don't eat much of it so that's easy to do. But, it's not that simple. Last night we were at a party. There were mussels there. I didn't take any. But, I've been sick all day. Because of the Claritin it's not life threatening. But, it's there. The mussels were cooked in a small kitchen and likely came in contact with something else I ate from the buffet.

We didn't order anything with shrimp on Thursday night from that Chinese place. But, I felt the same way on Friday. What was in that egg roll? General Tso's Chicken? Chicken and Veggies? I didn't tell them I had a shellfish allergy. I called and they said the pork in the Pork Fried Rice is stored next to the shrimp. THERE'S the culprit!

Now I know to tell restaurants about the allergy. I also have to ask if they use the same cutting boards, pots, pans, utensils and oils for shellfish as they use for non-shellfish foods. I  have to make sure nothing on my plate came in contact with shellfish and that nothing used to make it came in contact with shellfish. Don't give me anything that came anywhere near shellfish!!!

Symptoms include:

  • Hives, itching or eczema (atopic dermatitis)
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, or other parts of the body
  • Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
  • Tingling in the mouth
  • Weak Pulse
  • Coughing

  • Allergies can cause a severe, potentially life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. An anaphylactic reaction to shellfish or anything else is a medical emergency that requires treatment with an epinephrine (adrenaline) injection and a trip to the emergency room.
    Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
    • A swollen throat or a lump in your throat (airway constriction) that makes it difficult for you to breathe
    • Shock, with a severe drop in your blood pressure
    • Rapid pulse
    • Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness

    Shellfish include:

    There are several types of shellfish, each containing different proteins:
    • Crustaceans include crabs, lobster, crayfish, shrimp and prawn.
    • Mollusks include squid, snails, octopus, clams, oysters and scallops.
    Until the Crab Cake reaction I didn't even know that calamari was a shellfish. I'm glad I am doing my research. I'm already a selective eater. This makes it a lot harder to find food in some situations!!! Luckily, I don't react as severely as some people do. I'm learning a lot about a shellfish allergy. Nut allergies are what most people think of when they hear "food allergy". We can't forget dairy, gluten, and shellfish too.

    There are some things that are common for all food allergies. Most of the symptoms for example. But also the need to be aware of the entire preparation process. What is your food kept near? Do they use different cutting boards, utensils, cookware and oils? You have to tell those serving your food about your allergy and ask for these accommodations.


    I read that article recently. A lot of people claim to have a food allergy but clearly don't. Don't say you are allergic to gluten then order a beer. What most people don't realize is the extent a lot of restaurants go through to accommodate food allergies. Below is part of it. When you say you have an allergy and it's really a food preference, it's a real problem in restaurants. But, for people like me, it's necessary!!!

    ".....................please stop describing your food preferences as an allergy. That is a very specific medical term, and invoking it triggers an elaborate, time-consuming protocol in any self-respecting kitchen. It shouldn’t be tossed around as liberally as the sea salt on the house-made (gluten-free) breadsticks.

    I know you want your dietary preferences to be taken seriously, and you think invoking the A-word is a harmless little white lie. But you have no idea how much trouble you’re causing and how much you’re helping to erode hard-won progress for people with genuine allergies and disorders.  

    In a stunningly short slice of history, we’ve gone from food allergies being met with ignorance or indifference in the restaurant world to their domination of the discussion between server and diner, starting with the greeting and continuing all the way to dessert. The seriousness with which most chefs now take allergies has opened up the restaurant experience to a whole group of people who previously couldn’t risk dining out. That progress should be celebrated.

    But it shouldn’t be taken for granted. And we’ve come to a tipping point, thanks to the explosion of faddists and bandwagon-jumpers and attention-seekers who wrap their food dislikes in the packaging of allergy and disease. After witnessing enough diners who make a big fuss about how their bodies can’t tolerate gluten and then proceed to order a beer or dig into their date’s brownie dessert, fatigued chefs and managers are beginning to adopt a less accommodating approach. But the people who may ultimately pay the price for this pushback won’t be the “free-from” fabulists. They’ll be those with serious conditions."

    ................................................................(later in the article)..........................................

    “People have to understand why it took us so long to get restaurants up to speed,” she says. “It was like getting an ocean liner to change course. We don’t want to go backward because the restaurant industry can’t trust that people are really being honest.”

    Every time the cooks see the word “allergy,” they have to assume the customer’s condition is life-threatening. The big danger is cross contamination, where an allergen is inadvertently transferred from one dish to another, often through a shared cutting board or utensil, or through the oil in the fryer or even food dust in the air.

    That means with every allergy, the action must stop in this kitchen jammed with cooks and dishwashers. The cooks consult a printed breakdown of ingredients in each dish to make sure the allergen isn’t hiding out in a component. They either grab new cutting boards, knives, and tongs or put theirs through the sanitizing dishwasher. And when the plate is done, they use disposable wipes to hold it by the edge.

    Imagine doing that repeatedly across a breathless night, disrupting the choreography of the kitchen each time. I asked numerous chefs how many tables have a diner asking for these special accommodations on a typical night, and I heard estimates ranging from 10 percent to a jaw-dropping 60 percent."

    Helpful websites.



    Friday, August 12, 2016

    Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!!!

    I admit to being one of those people that treats reading facebook like people used to treat reading the morning newspaper. Every morning there is at least one coffee related graphic. Almost all of them are funny.

    Most Americans drink coffee in the morning. This isn't something I need a chart to prove. Saying "there's a Starbucks on every corner" is almost literal in some areas! That doesn't even mention all the other places people get coffee in the morning. Fast places like Dunkin Doughnuts and McDonalds are big. Diners and other restaurants too. Making coffee at home has so many options. So many flavors. You can use a percolator, coffee pot, or a Keurig. There even is the Coffee Ninja to make your own coffee, iced coffee, and cappuccino!

    Coffee is one of the few things almost all American adults agree on. You might disagree with someone about politics, social issues, religion, and science. But, there is a strong chance you both like to drink coffee. Even if it's a different blend or one person is drinking decaf and the other isn't. There is a very strong chance you both like coffee.

    I don't drink coffee. I used too. With my GERD I had to switch to decaf. I can't have that much caffeine in a day. I get mine at lunch and in the afternoon. But, that's not why I don't drink coffee anymore. I don't like it too hot. So often it has to cool for about 15 - 20 minutes before I can sip it. I decided to drink orange juice instead and sleep that extra 15 minutes.

    We need more things like coffee. It's hard to find topics you can talk about with someone who you almost completely disagree with on all the major topics. Coffee is a safe topic in most of these situations. My personal favorite is Maxwell House French Roast. Even the decaf is really yummy. I might not drink it anymore, but I remember what my favorite is! That's coffee!!!



    Saturday, August 06, 2016

    Looking For Yourself

    Many people have heard or said the saying "finding myself". Most of us are around college age when we say it. What we really want to say is "I need to rediscovery who I am and what I want the rest of my life to look like". Most of us with time and experience behind us laugh.

    You're not going to find yourself. Life is a journey. We all go through internal changes every once in a while. When that happens, we need to explore the new us. By the time you have figured out the new you, you're starting to change again. With experience comes the knowledge that to truly understand yourself you can't search. We always need to be open to trying new things and sometimes relearning old lessons.

    For me that old lesson came in an unusual place. To get respect you have to give it. That works with parenting too. But, parenting is exhausting and sometimes we forget that. If your kid is being mean to you maybe you are being mean to them. Sometimes, we forget that.

    Zach hasn't been listening lately and we've been punishing him more. His behavior changes and we end up being nitpicky about what we punish him over. When that happens, I take back the punishment. I apologize for overreacting and we talk about him being a better listener. That isn't new that's just what we call "post-camp summer".

    Something changed today after a big change yesterday. We were on vacation. Josh and I were alone and stopped in a favorite Art Gallery on the boardwalk. I have never bought anything before but felt the need too. We don't have a lot of things on our walls. After years of too many spaces, I was on a mission to fill them. So we got this one painting of the ocean. The day before I had gotten a seashell LED painting for Zach.

    We got home and it was time to remodel. The new painting went at the end of our hallway between our bedrooms. The next day it was moved again. The waves are very calming and it seemed like a great place for it. The new place is better! It took my breath away at first. Now, it just makes me smile. The waterfall painting that was there is now next to the AC in the kitchen. The Ocean painting is now above the hutch. Perhaps that was the most important move of all.

    The painting that was above the hutch fills the empty space above the TV in the living room now. It's called "Emerald Isle Cottage" by Thomas Kinkade. I bought it for our second anniversary a decade ago when I worked at a Thomas Kinkade gallery. It's not the real painting. It's the $200 framed gifty version of the painting.

    Having that space filled has made me smile all day. It also helped me rediscover my patience. I've looked up at it several times while typing this. We never really looked at it in it's old location. But, here, it's a centerpiece. I see more then just the painting differently now.

    My time at the art gallery kicked in and I ordered from Amazon two small Kinkade paintings and two reprinted in canvas Kinkade paintings (no Authenticity letter but they are the same painting). One for each season. I printed out pictures of them and taped them to the walls the real paintings will be hung on.

    A friend got married, one had a second child two days ago, my brother's wife is due with their second child in September, and my cousin out of the blue wants to have dinner together on Wednesday. I needed a happy change in my life too. This painting project is doing the trick!!! The new perspective has made me see Zach's perspective better.

    I had a talk with Zach. I said "we aren't showing each other respect. I don't want to punish you so much so I'm going to try harder to only punish you for the big things."

    He responded with "and I'll do better at listening. I know that's why you get frustrated". We are also trying to offer more rewards for good behavior instead of punishments.

    Where did Zach choose to put his painting? We don't have anything above our beds but that leaves three walls. One had a cool Lego Star Wars framed poster on it. But, that left two empty places. Zach decided to put his seashell painting in the living room behind the front door. It's now the first thing you see when you walk into the living room from the kitchen.

    Mommy and Daddy have things all over the house. He wants to have more then a small end table with his decoration on it outside of his room. It looks perfect where it is. So I rewarded Zach. We went to Target to fill some of his wall space. The first thing he said he wanted was a mirror. Smart kid! Even as a teenager he'll want a mirror. When she showed me the space for it, I smiled. A perfect fit! Exactly where I would have put it!

    We ordered him a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle painting from Target. They didn't have that many choices in the store and I thought he'd be better off with something he really liked. He took the last Star Wars painting they had. It's now over his desk and looks great!!! His room is more personalized and cheerful!

    Our kids treat us like we treat them. If they seem bratty, we need to think about how we are acting towards them. The only real place I have ever found myself is in Zach. He's a mini me! We have very similar personalities. We have similar taste too. I would have put the seashell painting exactly where he wanted it! But, that means he shares bad traits as well as good ones.

    You stop looking for yourself when you have kids. It's no longer important. If you feel lost, sometimes a small change is all that's needed to make sense of things. But, making sense of your world is not the same as finding yourself.

    Work with what you're given
    You get what you get and you don't get upset
    You don't plan life, it just happens
    Appreciate what you have,
    The grass is not always greener on the other side

    Monday, August 01, 2016

    Just Ask


    It's a popular blog post. Almost two years and 361 readers later. But, I understand why it is recently so popular. My hats and wraps project is the perfect example of OCD. That post gives the facts about each. That includes the definition of what OCD is. It's been on my mind lately too.

    July was a very busy month for me. I was in charge of something big on Saturday. That was the last big event in a month full of big events. It started with a funeral for one of my favorite people. The friend who was my maid of honor married her soulmate last weekend. mixed in were a lot of other activities. For the past week a lot of people have asked me if I am okay. My answer, "no". Including an employee we joke with at a place in town that we frequently go to.

    I have been overwhelmed a lot this month. So overwhelmed, I've needed to nap almost every day. I've become forgetful too. Too much noise, too many crowds, too much mess, too much chaos, too much to sort, to much to make decisions about, just too much. Too much to process.

    When I was in school I was diagnosed with a processing disorder. To me, that makes perfect sense. I frequently have to double check that I have the information correct. This weekend I found myself hanging out with friends. I only processed about half of what was said. It's making me question if the processing issues are separate as originally thought, or a part of my anxiety.

    With General Anxiety Disorder your mind never shuts off. I always have trouble sleeping but it was significantly worse this past week. When you sleep is when your brain is processing things. Interrupted sleep means less is being processed and retained.

    I wasn't functioning right but made it through anyway. Until I made a mistake on Sunday that I never would have made otherwise. One folding table was closed and sideways. I needed it set up to use. I didn't want to ask anyone for help. I had been asking for help for Saturday's event for weeks. Almost everyone was happy to help. Many people even offered to help. One friend said that's because I am so appreciative of that help. But, I didn't want to ask for too much help. The table fell on my foot. THAT'S when I had no choice and got help.

    I ended up sitting on the side icing my foot. Currently, it's past black and blue and is purple now. I needed more help then if I had just gotten help in the first place. Believe it or not it made me laugh and cry. Five years ago I broke the same foot. I did a blog post on that.

    It seems like God always finds a way to force me off of my feet when things get too hard for me to handle. He forces me to do what I can't do without his help. Stop. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in something I have to tell Josh to make me stop. He literally has to pull me away from it. Because I can't bring myself to do it.

    The OCD, GAD and PMDD are getting worse. As I reread that blog post, it never rings truer. It's probably the best I can offer for those who want to understand me but have trouble. A friend was helping me organize the day. She told me to never feel like I shouldn't ask for help. I am truly grateful for everything everyone did. It's time to listen to God.............and stop.

    Sunday, July 24, 2016

    Je M’appelle Fran

    When Zach finished Kindergarten, I mentioned that he would start learning Mandarin in the second grade. In that same blog post, I listed a bunch of languages I wanted to learn. I've narrowed them down to the following:

    Sign Language (ASL)

    In May I got a tablet. I downloaded apps to learn each of these languages. I recently downloaded the same apps onto my computer. The only one I can't find is a good sign language app. I've asked my deaf friend, Anthony, to make one. He teaches sign language. He was one of the people featured in my "The Peace of Silent Darkness" post.

    French was always a priority. My degree is in Dance. That meant I took a lot of Ballet classes. Ballet uses a lot of French words. In French it means "to dance". I might not be great at spelling them correctly, but I am enjoying learning. I used to think "je amour vous" was "I love you" in French. "Je" is I, "amour" is love, and "vous" is you. Below is a small sample of the French I know. Some of it I knew already, some is new. I'm learning I actually knew more then I thought I did!

    Je t'aime (jet am) = I love you
    Merci (mer sea) = thank you
    enchante ( en chant A) = delighted
    pourquoi (pour qu wa) = why (my first word apparently)
    livre (leave ra) = book
    soleil (soul ay) = sunlight
    tout le monde (toe lay mond) = everyone
    écrire (ek rear) = write
    Beau (boo) = beautiful
    Belle (bell) beautiful
    merci beaucoup (mer sea bow coo) = thank you very much
    bonjour (bon j oar) = hello
    au revoir (oar ev wha) = goodbye
    s'il vous plaît. (sea vooo play) = Please.
    excusez-moi. (excuse am wa) = excuse me
    Oui (we) = yes
    Non (none) = no
    Bon appetite (bon app et eat) = Enjoy your meal
    Rendez-vous (Ron day vooo) = see you

    French is a latin language. I took Spanish in High School and college. Some words are similar. Livre is book in French. Libro is book in Spanish. I start with the quiz for each section and review the words if I struggle with the quiz. When Zach was in camp, I spent at least half an hour on it waiting for him to get out of class. Now, I do it at night when he's resting but not in bed yet. Lately, I've enjoyed it so much I've been doing an hour a night! I have a long way to go, but am enjoying it. Most of the apps I use are the Microsoft versions (example: F in  a blue circle for French).

    Wednesday, July 20, 2016

    Zach's New Stage Of Development

    Zach is in a new stage of development. Eric Erikson would call it "middle childhood". His interests are changing. I look forward to this. As I have looked forward to all of the previous new stages of development. That interest of mine started when I saw two lines on the Dollar Tree pregnancy test informing me of his existence.

    He doesn't play with his action figures that much anymore. He's more likely to play with his Legos or Wii U games. As for outdoor play, he's more interested in playing sports or swimming. He likes to play with his Nerf guns and Nerf bow and arrow too. He asked for a skateboard yesterday. He never used to be interested in riding his bike. I told him "no skateboard until you're off training wheels". Now he's interested in riding his bike.

    He's also getting more adventurous. Last year, he wasn't comfortable on the diving board or going down the dark blue slip and slide at the town pool. Now, they are the first things he does when we arrive. For the first half hour or so I do laps while he bounces between the slip and slides and the diving board. There are other things, but these are good examples.

    He's more independent. This being a condo we park in a parking lot. Often, my car is close but out of sight from most of the apartment. Lately, I have been letting him take my keys and walk alone to the car to look for something left behind. I didn't used to let him out of my sight like that. He can handle it. There are other things we let him do now but, you don't need me to list all of them. The more responsible he is, the more freedom he'll get. He's not fully independent yet, but it's a process he's moving forward in.

    I'm enjoying the person he is becoming. He used to wear character shirts, now he wears the funny shirts. He's smart, funny, active, and strong! He also wants to do chores to earn money. He's learning that Mommy pays better then Grandma and Pop. Maybe I'm more impressed then they are. The last time my Mom had a boy doing chores for her it was my brother and he was in his 20s. Zach's just now at an age where some things are appropriate for him to do. Its a new experience for me. He asked us for an allowance

     He got the idea from one of his new TV shows. He used to watch shows like Wallykazam and Peppa Pig (Nick Jr.). He still likes them, but his new favorites are Henry Danger and Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn (Nickelodeon). With each age I like most of what he chooses to watch. That's still true. Now he's asking for an allowance and talking about "when a boy gets three hairs on his chest he's a man". THAT was interesting to wake up to today!

    Some things haven't changed. His favorite color is still green. He still loves Breaded Chicken and to help me cook. He has some of the same favorite places and he's still addicted to Legos. I have a picture of him at 18 months building with Lego Mega Blocks. THAT interest will be around a while!!!

    Yesterday, he wore the t-shirt and cap that were his baseball uniform. He LOVED being part of a team. He enjoys baseball. He also has been doing the camp though the town school system. His favorite parts are all the science experiments. He's connecting with this town like Josh and I have. That's the best part of all this!!!

    Monday, July 11, 2016

    Yes, ALL Lives DO Matter

    Lately, I have seen some things criticizing the saying "All Lives Matter!" It started with an article I read. After that, I started seeing facebook graphics about it. They make a good point. They say it minimizes what "Black Lives Matter" is supposed to be about.

    Originally, "Black Lives Matter" was about ending violence against black people. Unfortunately, it has become an anti-police movement. When we say "All Lives Matter" we aren't saying black lives are less important. We are reminding people that everyone's life matters. We need to end violence against everyone.

    When you say it minimizes what "Black Lives Matter" is about, are you saying black people's lives are more important then law enforcement lives? That their lives are more important then anyone else's?

    No, their lives are not more important then anyone else's. They are equally important. That's actually kinda the message of "Black Lives Matter". It's fighting racism. In some states, you can shoot someone just because you feel threatened by their presence. That doesn't mix well with racism. Racists feel threatened by black people. Hence the higher amounts of violence against black people that needs to end.

    But, some people are saying it's racist to say "All Lives Matter". How is that racist? Racist is saying "White Lives Matter". But, "All Lives Matter" is a reminder that we are all equally important. That saying started when "Black Lives Matter" became an anti-police movement.

    When police officers started to get killed because they are police officers. When it became a war between black and blue we were trying to remind everyone to end the violence overall. No one said that black lives don't matter. But, when an anti-violence movement becomes violent against a specific group, they need to be reminded that the people they are harming or killing matter too.

    I will continue to say "All Lives Matter". If you consider me a racist, then you are buying into the media and not really paying attention. It's not about minimizing the message that racism needs to end. It's not minimizing the message that we need to end violence against black people.

    It's about reminding everyone that ALL violence needs to end. We need to live peacefully together. Everyone's life is important. Are "Black Lives Matter" people saying a raped black girl is more important then a raped white girl? Both of their lives matter. "All Lives Matter". Think about the entire message.

    I'm not minimizing what "Black Lives Matter" is about. In some parts of the country racism is still very strong. Saying "why can't they just move to a less racist state then?" IS minimizing the problem. Saying "All Lives Matter" ISN'T minimizing the problem. Because it acknowledges that black people do face a lot of racism and violence. But, racism isn't the only form of prejudice. ALL forms of prejudice need to end. That's what "All Lives Matter" means.