Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Miracle 1: He survived.
Miracle 2: Despite his numerous injuries, he did not sustain any head injuries.
Miracle 3: Other than a punctured lung, he did not have any injuries to internal organs.
He's had several surgeries already, including a very long day of them yesterday. If you pray, please add Andy to yours. He and Ashlee have 3 young children. If you don't pray, please send positive thoughts.
And if you can, please donate to a fund set up for them.
You can send a check in the mail made out to:
Gudmundson Donation Fund
Send the check to:
3580 S 2700 W
Salt Lake City UT 84119
Enclose a note asking them to deposit it in the Donation Fund account for Andy Gudmundson.
Ashlee is one of the sweetest, nicest people I've ever met (and an online friend that I have gotten to meet in real life!). She's one of my Signing Time! friends and her son is in Baby Signing Time! during the Diaper Dance.
If you visit her blog, let her know you're thinking of her & Andy. The pictures might be a bit too much for those who are squeamish about post op images.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The school is looking for a new 1:1 aide for him. The amazingly awesome aide he had this past year is not returning. Maybe it had to do with the fact that when the principal of a local school called me recently to follow up on the letter of reference Robert and I wrote for Miss M, I told him that he, his school and the students would be very lucky to have her. Or maybe it was when the principal asked what other thoughts I had and I told him that I was jealous because I really would have loved to have her stay to be William's aide forever. Or it could have been when he asked me if I had anything else to add before he offered her the job and I told him that he'd better do right by her because she deserved only the best.
So, alas, our principal called me this afternoon to tell me that William had a great day in school (she was in his classroom for a little while), and that she had some other news for me. Miss M would not be William's aide this year because she took the position of being a full-time preschool teacher (the school that had called me)! Congratulations M!!!! The regular classroom assistant/aide will be overseeing William's needs until they hire a new aide for him. I trust that the principal and teachers know William well enough by now to hire the right fit for him.
I have an HP Compact Photosmart printer, which is great when you scrapbook away from home (like when you're putting the finishing touches on a scrapbook for your daughter's college graduation and want to give her the completed scrapbook that night!), but the one I have only goes up to 4x6 inch prints.
The new one from HP can print 4x6, 5x7, panoramic 4x12, 4x8, photo stickers, etc. Sounds so versatile & a definite upgrade from the one I have. I'm entering the drawing ... How about you?
Doug is a senior in high school this year! When did my little Snuggy Dougy grow up so big? It seems like yesterday he was starting kindergarten. Wow.
Sarah is now a 4th Grader. She has a new teacher this year; new to the school. I have had at least *ONE* child at this elementary school every year for the past NINETEEN school years!!! I moved here in November of 1988, and Jim transferred into the second grade here. There were years I had two children in the school, and sometimes three! William had the same kindergarten teacher that Mariko, Steve, Doug and Sarah had. This year William is in 1st Grade, and he will have the same 1st grade teacher that Steve, Doug and Sarah had. I can't wait to find out how his day is going. The kids have a half day today, so just a few more hours left!
The first day of school is incomplete without pictures, so without further ado....
The oh so cool William
This one cracks me up!
I thought if I let William use my small digital camera, I might get a few more pictures of him with Sarah, but no.... silly me!
Need to teach him not to put his finger over the lens.
I LOVE this picture of me that William took!
I must admit, I feel a little lost without the kids home. I'll get over it, lol.
I saw this in one of Robert's catalogs, and told him he should get it. Who is he to argue with me? Well, since we've never argued (the kids joke that we almost did- once, years ago.. I'll tell ya at the end of this post), he ordered it.
This is why I wanted him to get it~
It sounds sooooo sweet!
Okay, so about the one time the kids like to joke about. I was pregnant with Sarah, and we were all packing into the truck to go somewhere, and Robert said it was cold out and I should put my coat on. Well, being pregnant, I had my own little furnace going, so I was quite warm, so I declined. He sweetly suggested again I should put it on, and again I declined, at which point he asked if I could at least bring it with me, just in case. The kids laughed loudly and said, "Oooh, you guys are almost arguing!"
Have I mentioned how much I love Robert? Yes, there really is 'and they lived happily ever after'~ we are proof of that.
We've known each other online for six years now, but have yet to meet in person. Meeting her face-to-face will be wonderful one day, and I know that when we do, the hug will be long and the tears plenty.
"The Nice Matters Award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award.”
Only 7? Just how am I supposed to choose 7 out of all the blogging friends I know? They are ALL nice and good friends and inspire good feelings. Truthfully, I only visit the blogs where the people are nice, because, well, I have no time for the negative ones.
And since I really don't like making choices (it is the Gemini in me), I am awarding this to you, my blog reader. Accept the award and pass it on to 7 people. Unless you're like me and: A) either only have 7 blog-readers, B) are a Gemini too, or C) You only have nice friends too.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I'm talking about the other type~ the kind of person who advocates for others. With the school year getting ready to start, this seems the perfect time to re-visit a speech that made the internet rounds earlier this year. I give you a speech by Soeren Palumbo, followed by the video of the young man himself:
I want to tell you a quick story before I start. I was walking through hallways, not minding my own business, listening to the conversations around me. As I passed the front door on my way to my English classroom, I heard the dialogue between two friends nearby. For reasons of privacy, I would rather not give away their race or gender. So the one girl leans to the other, pointing to the back of a young man washing the glass panes of the front door, and says, "Oh my gaw! I think it is so cute that our school brings in the black kids from around the district to wash our windows!" The other girl looked up, widened her slanted Asian eyes and called to the window washer, easily loud enough for him to hear, "Hey, Negro! You missed a spot!" The young man did not turn around. The first girl smiled a bland smile that all white girls – hell, all white people – have and walked on. A group of Mexicans stood by and laughed that high pitch laugh that all of them have.
So now it's your turn. What do you think the black window washer did? What would you do in that situation? Do you think he turned and calmly explained the fallacies of racism and showed the girls the error of their way? That's the one thing that makes racism, or any discrimination, less powerful in my mind. No matter how biased or bigoted a comment or action may be, if the victims can defend themselves and effectively convert their aggressors, the discrimination will not perpetuate. What would be infinitely worse is if we discriminated against those who cannot defend themselves.
What then, could be worse than racism? Look around you and thank God that we don't live in a world that discriminates and despises those who cannot defend themselves. Thank God that every one of us in this room, in this school hates racism and sexism and by that logic discrimination in general. Thank God that every one in this institution is dedicated to the ideal of mutual respect and love for our fellow human beings. Then pinch yourself for living in a dream. Then pinch the hypocrites sitting next to you. Then pinch the hypocrite that is you. Pinch yourself once for each time you have looked at one of your fellow human beings with a mental handicap and laughed. Pinch yourself for each time you have called someone else a "retard". Pinch yourself for each and every time you denounced discrimination only to turn and hate those around you without the ability to defend themselves, the only ones around you without the ability to defend themselves.
If you have been wondering about my opening story, I'll tell you that it didn't happen, not as I described it. Can you guess what I changed? No, it wasn't the focused hate on one person, and no it wasn't the slanted Asian eyes or cookie cutter features white people have or that shrill Hispanic laugh (yeah, it hurts when people make assumptions about your person and use them against you doesn't it?). The girl didn't say "hey Negro." There was no black person. It was "Hey retard." I removed the word retard. I removed the word that destroys the dignity of our most innocent. I removed the single most hateful word in the entire English language.
I don't understand why we use the word; I don't think I ever will. In such an era of political correctness, why is it that retard is still ok? Why do we allow it? Why don't we stop? Maybe students can't handle that – I hope that offends you students, it was meant to – but I don't think the adults here can either. Students, look at your teacher, look at every member of this faculty. I am willing to bet that every one of them would throw a fit if they heard the word faggot or nigger – hell the word Negro – used in their classroom. But how many of them would raise a finger against the word retard? How many of them have? Teachers, feel free to raise your hand or call attention to yourself through some other means if you have. That's what I thought. Clearly, this isn't a problem contained within our age group.
So why am I doing this? Why do I risk being misunderstood and resented by this school's student body and staff? Because I know how much you can learn from people, all people, even – no, not even, especially – the mentally handicapped. I know this because every morning I wake up and I come downstairs and I sit across from my sister, quietly eating her cheerio's. And as I sit down she sets her spoon down on the table and she looks at me, her strawberry blonde hair hanging over her freckled face, almost completely hiding the question mark shaped scar from her brain surgery two Christmases ago. She looks at me and she smiles. She has a beautiful smile, her face lighting up. Her two front teeth are faintly stained from the years of intense epilepsy medication but I don't notice that anymore. I lean over to her and say, "Good morning, Olivia." She stares at me for a moment and says quickly, "Good morning, Soeren," and goes back to her cheerio's. I sit there for a minute, thinking about what to say. "What are you going to do at school today, Olivia?" She looks up again. "Gonna see Mista Bee!" she replies loudly, hugging herself slightly and looking up. Mr. B. is her gym teacher and perhaps her favorite man outside of our family on the entire planet and Olivia is thoroughly convinced that she will have gym class every day of the week. I like to think of it as wishful thinking. So she finishes her cheerio's and grabs her favorite blue backpack and waits for her bus driver, Miss Debbie, who, like clockwork, arrives at our house at exactly 7'o'clock each morning. She gives me a quick hug goodbye and runs excitedly to the bus, ecstatic for another day of school.
And I watch the bus disappear around the turn and I can't help but remember the jokes. The short bus. The retard rocket. No matter what she does, no matter how much she loves those around her, she will always be the butt of some immature kid's joke. She will always be the butt of some mature kid's joke. She will always be the butt of some "adult"'s joke. By no fault of her own, she will spend her entire life being stared at and judged. Despite the fact that she will never hate, never judge, never make fun of, never hurt, she will never be accepted. That's why I'm doing this. I'm doing this because I don't think you understand how much you hurt others when you hate. And maybe you don't realize that you hate. But that's what is; your pre-emptive dismissal of them, your dehumanization of them, your mockery of them, it's nothing but another form of hate. It's more hateful than racism, more hateful than sexism, more hateful than anything. I'm doing this so that each and every one of you, student or teacher, thinks before the next time you use the word "retard", before the next time you shrug off someone else saying, "retard". Think of the people you hurt, both the mentally handicapped and those who love them. If you have to, think of my sister. Think about how she can find more happiness in the blowing of a bubble and watching it float away than most of will in our entire lives. Think about how she will always love everyone unconditionally. Think about how she will never hate. Then think about which one of you is "retarded".
Maybe this has become more of an issue today because society is changing, slowly, to be sure, but changing nonetheless. The mentally handicapped aren't being locked in their family's basement anymore. The mentally handicapped aren't rotting like criminals in institutions. Our fellow human beings are walking among us, attending school with us, entering the work force with us, asking for nothing but acceptance, giving nothing but love. As we become more accepting and less hateful, more and more handicapped individuals will finally be able to participate in the society that has shunned them for so long. You will see more of them working in places you go, at Dominicks, at Jewel, at Wal-Mart. Someday, I hope more than anything, one of them will be my sister.
I want to leave you with one last thought. I didn't ask to have a mentally handicapped sister. She didn't choose to be mentally handicapped. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have learned infinitely more from her simple words and love than I have from any classroom of "higher education". I only hope that, one-day, each of you will open your hearts enough to experience true unconditional love, because that is all any of them want to give. I hope that, someday, someone will love you as much as Olivia loves me. I hope that, someday, you will love somebody as much as I love her. I love you, Olivia.
Thank you Soeren.
This morning I was making one of our favorite slow cooker meals, one that actually takes some prep work. I went into the corner cabinet to find some whole wheat pastry flour to dredge the beef in; lo and behold, in the back of the corner, were my little four-cup serving filters of Starbucks that I spent way too long looking for a few weeks ago!!! Thing is, I had searched that shelf at that time; I even had taken the things off that shelf when I was searching for Starbucks. Dang mischievious house elves~ I hate when they hide things on me.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
See, twelve years ago today he arrived in Massachusetts. We had met each other five weeks before, at a trade show. Love at first sight. We corresponded over the five weeks, and one day he loaded up everything he could fit into his extended cab truck and made the drive from East Texas to Western Massachusetts. Straight through, stopping only to get gas (and to pee). He made the trip in 27 hours. Determined man, my Robert.
Today I slept in, something I do on the weekends, as Robert is an early bird and I'm a night owl. He plays with the kiddos and surfs the net whilst I get my beauty rest. When I came down this morning, he was in the kitchen, cooking, and going on about how great it's been for the past twelve years, how he can't believe he's lived in New England for twelve years, etc.
That was my "D'OH!" moment. Oh, right. Today's August 25th! The day he came to be with me forever. And when he realized that HE remembered this important date before me, well, that's when his dancing started. And the gloating. He is cherishing the feeling.
Then when I sat down to enjoy the perfectly round, hot, whole wheat pancakes he'd made for breakfast, I reached for the smart balance spread and began to get some out with my knife.... Only to discover he'd already put some on my pancakes. Ahhhh, he is soooo perfect for me.
Gosh, I love my husband. So much that I'm going to let him gloat as much as he wants.
Friday, August 24, 2007
What's in a name?
1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.
2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.
3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts.
4. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
Since you are so curious about what my middle name is, Christie, it's...
Well, actually, do you want the middle name I was born with, or what it is legally on all my current legal documents? Coz the latter would be my maiden name.
Okay, okay. Here is the middle name I was born with .......
Yes, Stella. I hated it when I was a kid, but grew to love it. Then when I got married the first time my husband filled out all the legal papers and decided that traditionally, the maiden name is supposed to take the place of the middle name. Whatever. When I got married to Robert, I just decided for the ease of paperwork to keep my maiden name as my middle name.
Anyway, Stella means 'star'.
S~ Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious~ that's just so me.
T~ Tremendously grateful for everything in my life.
E~ Eccentric~ I can be a bit eccentric at times. Just ask my kids.
L~ Loquacious~ I fit nearly all the definitions of the word~ again, just ask my kids
L~ Love~ I have an Unlimited supply
A~ Artistic~ I've been drawing since I was a little girl, and am quite good.
Now, who should I tag..... Hmmmmm
Stacey at HayHouseNews7
Tara Marie at Emma Sage (I'm counting this for the 'E' too)
Laura at Now I'm A Mom (I'm counting this for both L's)
Amy at The Fledge Farm
Sarah & Mariko
Monday William had an ophthalmology check up in Boston, which went well, and we stayed at a hotel that night because we were bringing Mariko to the airport Tuesday.
Mariko & her friend Jessica
William, deciding whether to give Mariko a hug or not
Which, of course, he does
Me, Mariko, Sarah, William (back of his head anyway), and Robert
1) William has mastered working the little touchpad area on the laptop, all while maneuvering which arrow key to use, or whether he needs to tap the touchpad, or click the right-left buttons below it.
As if that wasn't enough, once we were done with our hotel stays for the summer, I loaded the games into the kids' desktop. Which means he had to learn to use the mouse the way he'd been using the touchpad. That took him all of a ½hr to learn. I'm still trying to figure it out.
2) William has learned to pay attention on when to make his character 'jump' at the right time onto a moving platform. He also searches around the rooms in the game, for hidden areas to spell and collect the necessary items.
3) William knows how to boot up Mom's laptop and the desktop if Mom doesn't get up early enough. He's also mastered the volume/on/off teeny dial on the desktop speakers. I've learned he likes to turn it up! He's learned Mom likes it turned down.
4) A long time ago, he figured out the switch user and log on user features on the desktop. Yesterday I realized he also knows how to shut down the computer. Correctly, too. Thing is, Sarah was wanting to use the computer, lol, so she booted it back up. Ok... confession time... when we got our first windows based computer 10½ years ago, I didn't know how to shut it down. I was 35½ years old. William is 7 years old. Kids really are smarted these days.
6) William is really trying to learn to take turns. He's really good about turn-taking in board games, but he's working on turn taking for computer time. Then again, it's something Sarah needs to work on too.
I've learned that I have yet another computer geek in the family. Oh, wait, I knew that one.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
We have a groundhog that lives in/under our yard. Today, he was about 10 feet away from our sliding glass doors. As I stealthily went to get my camera, William ran to the door to get a better look. I didn't get a very good close-up of Mr. Groundhog, as I was too busy laughing as he ran off. Why? Because William ran to the window, saw Mr. Groundhog and yelled,
and now the groundhog has a name.
Last weekend Scabbers was checking out Robert's weed trimmer
Saturday, August 18, 2007
So, I totally goofed up today, as I forgot that Steve & Doug would be leaving for work a little sooner than usual, so the celebration wasn't as complete as I had planned. Add to the mix that Robert & I had our 6 month dental cleaning and our dentist is a little over an hour's drive away. Plus Mariko & Sarah were going to hang out at the mall while we were at the dentist. By the time we picked up William's cake and got home, Jim & Steph (who arrived at 2am, gabbed until 3am with Stephen, and then got up to watch William at 8:30am) were being entertained by William, but Steve and Doug had already left. Bummer. Though we did get some great pictures~
A new lunchbox!
Jim and Mariko are both thinking that Mom is nuts for always pulling out the camera
Robert decides to get a lil' group hug for my scrapbooking plans...
And Jim, Steph & Mariko mug it up (and hug it up) for me...
Rachel Coleman! Yes, Rachel from Signing Time! is scheduled to perform~ I'm so excited!
For more information about the Buddy Walk, visit their website. Please, if you can, make a donation on behalf of Team Signing Time!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The Mannington 'Stand On a Better World' Award honors those who strive to make difference in the world around them. By creating the video series, Signing Time!, Rachel and her sister Emilie set out to make a difference in the world of Rachel's daughter Leah, who is deaf. In doing so, they've helped children of all ages and abilities communicate with others. This includes our William~helping in his communication needs and with helping him learn to read.
Your vote will help Rachel win $10,000 for the charity of her choice. You can only vote once, so please pass this email along to your friends and family. Once you vote for Rachel, you will receive an email with a link to confirm your vote.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Singing "Happy Birthday" to himself~
He is so into blowing the candles out this year!
He loves opening presents... Birthdays are all about the presents right now!
Monster Book of Monsters
Putting a spell on the book
There are more pictures on my flickr site~ just click on a picture to go there.
And, stop by our friend's blog~ Nathanael is TWO today!!!
Tonight's celebration will be a small one, since the older siblings won't be home. Sarah, William and I will get out Sarah's easy bake and cook up some lil' cakes and cookies so we can have a tea party birthday with Daddy tonight for William. As long as there are presents to open, and a candle to blow out, William will be thrilled. On Saturday, with all his siblings here, we'll have a Harry Potter birthday for our little wizard. I did make William an invisibility cloak and gave it to him yesterday.
I'll post pictures of tonight's celebration later, and will take lots of pics this weekend. Until then, here's William's birth story.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
"Harry Potter games on Mommy's 'puter!" Yep... I have a young computer geek. Surprisingly, he didn't mention the hotel pool.
So, at the hotel, while Sarah read Harry Potter (she was nearly finished with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), William played one of the Harry Potter games on my laptop. I marveled at how he manuevered the laptop keys (I didn't bother hooking up a mouse), and how he would throw his arms up accompanied by his own proud, "Yay! I did it!"
Now, while I should be catching up on laundry and other stuff, I've decided to veg out and surf the 'net today. Robert's already been outside mowing and is now sitting here enjoying some iced tea and playing guitar.
It's just sooooo great to be home!
Monday, August 6, 2007
Well, my little fix-it worked today. Tomorrow I will actually be going by a Starbucks drive-thru, so I'll get my fav.
Now, I just need some really good chocolate. Robert's picking that up on his way home. Ahhhhhh.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
William love Nagitora, our cat. The feeling is mutual, and the cat will often seek William out just to be near him.
Kisses for the cat
All Nagitora does is purrrrr... and loudly!
William purrs right along with the cat.
Pretending to snooze with his buddy.