Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Words of Wisdom from Bill Gates...

Someone sent this to me via email and I'm sure you have seen this but if you have not it's a good one...

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a high school about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own


Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

I love it!  Think I might print this and post on the fridge for the kids to read everytime they are looking for a snack :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter Wreath

This Christmas I saw this awesome Christmas wreath here and decided I would attempt to make my own.  So I got to work, made a couple of changes and ...

So ever since I made it I've been dreading the fact that I would have to take it down after Christmas so the girls and I hit up Michaels this afternoon for some inspiration and some super big after Christmas sales and got all of this....

The ribbon and swag were 70% off and I used my 40% coupon off for the H my total at the register was $8.40. 

I wanted something glittery and "snowy" so I came home and went to work and here is what I came up with for our winter wreath...

I threw the little cardinal in to add a a little color...what do you think?

Now, what shall I do for Valentines Day? 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to your family!

Luke 2:13-14

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, (14) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Homemade Christmas Gifts for Teachers...

With 3 kids in school, buying teacher gifts every year can get expensive so this year we decided to make gifts.  I LOVE receiving homemade gifts.  The kids got involved and we decided what we would do and than we hit up the dollar store and here is what we came up with...

 We used blue totes from from the dollar store for Jake and Gracie's teachers and Jake's Gifted/Talented teacher.  We used a cricut to cut out yellow vinyl (school colors) and put each teachers name on them.  Anna Claire picked red and black for her preschool teacher.  I figure they can use them to store stuff in like books or papers after the holiday!

The kids helped me come up with the wording for the antibacterial soap.  We bought a big bottle of soap and peeled off the front label. I had some left over transparencies from a project Jake did a couple of years ago.  We typed it up on the computer and printed it out, rolled it up and put it down in the bottle.  We personalized each one for the teachers.  Teachers always need antibacterial soap and I figure they can refill it when it runs out.  The ribbon was left over from another project.
 This was fun and easy!  The board is from the Dollar store, the kids sanded it down, spray painted it white and I printed off vinyl using the cricut and personalized for each teacher.  We drilled holes in the top, used some left over ribbon and hot glued it to the back.  Each kid wrote a message on the back for their teacher and wrote the date on it with a sharpie. It's small enough they can hang it on their tree or on their door knob in the classroom!
 This was Anna Claire's job - she filled each dollar store jar with soft peppermint candies and ate a few along the way :)
All wrapped and ready to go and since school was cancelled the last two days they will have to wait to get them after the new year! Except, Anna Claire's teacher was lucky enough to get hers already!
Oh, and we made these goody bags for the Preschool helpers and other favorite teachers of Anna Claire's.  We made Cracker Candie and filled 'em up... have you ever had Cracker Candie?  Holly Cow, it is delish, and I saw someone refer to it as Crack Candie 'cause it's that delish...Try it for yourself....

Preheat the oven at 350. Line a cookie tray with aluminum foil, spray with Pam, line the entire pan with saltine crackers, melt 1 cup of sugar and 2 sticks of butter, pour over the crackers and put in the oven for 7 minutes.  When the timer goes off, turn the oven OFF.  Sprinkle an entire bag of chocolate chips on the top and return to the turned off oven for 7 minutes.  When it is done, use a spoon to spread the melted chocolate all over, put in fridge to harden.

Don't say I didn't warn you....

So all in all we spent about $15 for a total of 9 gifts...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Girl Time...

I love spending time with my girls and it's so much fun now that Anna Claire is getting older!  They both had a friend over on Sunday and we decorated cookies, made Christmas ornaments and played some Candy Land...So MUCH Fun!!!

Here are pics of our fun day...

I made cookies and had them all ready when they arrived...

Gracie and her friend Ally - they have been friends since preschool!  Such a sweet friendship, I hope they always stay friends!

Anna Claire and her friend from preschool - Madalen, this little one has the prettiest red hair and longest eyelashes you have ever seen :)

Love how the big girls were helping the little girls learn how to play Candland!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

True Strength

What a week this has turned out to be.  Many times I had to remind myself of one of my favorite quotes:

“Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength.” Christopher Reeve

This time of year is a very busy one for us, with 3 of the Little Hams having  birthdays in November and 1 in December, getting ready for Christmas and of course the end of the year is the busiest time for me at work.  I also live in constant fear, fear of every little sniffle, sneeze or wheeze that comes out of Ethan.  Some nights he lays between Chris and I sleeping and I watch/listen to him for hours. Paralyzed with fear and my mind goes to places that I HATE. 

I woke up Monday excited and ready to take on the week.  Over the weekend we celebrated Ethan's 2nd Birthday and thanked God for what a blessing Ethan is to our family.  He inspires us all every minute of every day.  In lieu of gifts this year we asked that our friends and family make a donation to CJSTUF.ORG.  This is a local organization that provides funding to families who have children with life threatening or chronic illness.  This foundation was started after the death of a sweet Angel named Charlotte.  Charlotte died at the age of 4.5 after a brave battle with cancer.  It was such an honor to host a birthday party and raise money in her memory.  I know that I have readers from all over and if you would like info on how you can host a CJ Party just pop me an email at energy4ethan@yahoo.com.  Jake and Gracie even got in the spirit and donated their weekly allowance.  Just made my heart swell with pride!

I think a lot of my problem on Monday was that I was dreading Tuesday.  Tuesday we had to take Ethan over to the hospital for his 6 month renal testing.  So the roller coaster of having a special needs child started for me bright and early.  Shari (Ethan's daytime Nannie) met us at the hospital and the testing began.  I have seen enough ultrasounds and dye tests to know when something doesn't look normal.  The tech became very concerned and stopped and just stared at the screen.  I already knew just by looking at the ultrasound that we might be in a bit of trouble.  The Ultrasound Tech left and went in to talk to the radiologist....FOREVER...

After the test results disk was made I took it over to his Urologist who called me right away to discuss options, obviously one of his kidneys looked like it might be in trouble.  I'm pretty much an open book so I immediately asked for prayers from family and friends and the prayers started coming in.  The Urologist needed to get in touch with our Nephrologist to discuss.  Now, I already know what lies ahead for Sweet Ethan.  You see he has Grade 4-5 Kidney Reflux and has already had a Pyloplasty, a failed deflux surgery and creatnine levels that hover around 1.5 on a good day.  He is at risk of losing a kidney and because both are damaged we could be in real trouble if we don't keep an eye on it and pay very close attention.  We know that another surgery is in the future for Ethan (reconstruction/reimplantation) but we (docs and us) really want to wait until he is a little older and stronger. 

So after not much sleep on Tuesday night, I headed into work this morning scared and afraid.  Scared of the unknown and than the lovely "What ifs" creep up on me ... What if he has to have the surgery now and the skills that we worked so hard to achieve are lost, what if he doesn't make it and I have to be one of "those" Mom's.  I know "those" Moms the ones who have empty arms, the ones who struggle to answer the question "How many kids do you have" when one is no longer with you.  Yep, thats the crap that goes on in my head.  Nice stuff, huh? 

So I'm at work and my wonderful hubby starts sending me sweet little text messages reminding me that I'm not alone.  I get a facebook note from a friend that I had lost touch with after college and have recently reconnected with sending me love and hugs (thanks Belynda).  I get an email from one of the "Baby Mamas"  and I won't mention her name because I didn't ask her if I could share but I'm gonna anyway. Here is some of the email that she sent me today:

I really do hope everything goes as good as possible with this whole nephrology issue. You should know that I am frequently inspired by you. Not to be flattering or anything, but here lately, when I have been exhausted and I feel like phoning it in as a mom I think to myself, "I only have one kid and he's healthy. Laura has 4, with one who she frequently stays up all night worrying about, and still has the umph to decorate a fake mantle with stockings for her kids Christmas. I think I can wash the dishes! =)" For what its worth, I think you are a pretty BadAss person.

And that made my laugh out loud for sure!  I love how people think I have it all together and I'm a BadAss, cause the truth is I try, really, really hard but I have my moments, the ones where I cry on the phone when someone calls to check on things (thanks Jenn F for listening to that yesterday), the times when I yell at my husband for something really stupid like not starting the dishwasher, the moments where I stop in a parking lot on my way home to get the kids off of the bus and have a quick cry and than go into the bathroom at McDonalds and wash my face so they don't know.  The times when I just need to have lunch with my BBFF and rant about everything and nothing important at all and than stand in the freezing cold outside and feel the warmth of her arms around me and know that it's all gonna be ok (thanks Anne Marie for helping my heart today)

And than I get home and see his sweet face

and I am reminded by Angel Charlotte that "Everyday is a Bonus" and I keep going and I get a phone call from the Nephrologist saying that she reviewed the disk and thinks we dodged a bullet and we can buy a little time and I sigh and thank God and am reminded:

“Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength.” Christopher Reeve
So while I can't always hold it together I know that I have the most amazing friends and family to fall on when I can't stand any longer...and a God who will never forsake me.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Life Like Yours...

This morning The Hanover Arc hosted a Holiday Breakfast with Santa at our Bass Pro Shop.  The breakfast was catered by  Islamorada Fish Company, the restaurant at Bass Pro and it was delicious!

The Hanover Arc, Inc. is an organization serving those with or at risk of intellectual disabilities and their families living in Hanover County, Virginia. It is devoted to promoting and improving supports and services for people with disabilities and their families. Members of the Hanover Arc include 200 families, self-advocates, professionals and concerned citizens. For just $25 a year you can become a member and help families just like ours!  If you are looking for a great cause to support, this is it!

They have been so helpful to us.  They have helped us navigate the Medicaid Waiver System as well as provide a Respite Grant that helps pay for Ethan's classes at Romp n' Roll.  Their Motto is "A Life Life Yours".  I am so grateful for all of the wonderful things that they are doing for children and adults here in our community who have intellectual disabilities.

Today was even more special because today is Ethan's 2nd Birthday!  What a lucky kid getting to have breakfast with Santa on his birthday :)

Happy 2nd Birthday Sweet Sweet Ethan!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I won! I won! I won!

Oh yes I did, I won!  I entered a contest to win 2 tickets to Disney on Ice and I won, Love me some Richmondmom.com!!!

Anna Claire is so excited. When Gracie was 4 I took her and now Anna Claire is 4 and she gets to go.  She has already planned out what she is gonna wear!  So cute.  I can't wait...I don't think you ever grow out of loving The Princesses!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Stockings Were Hung....

One thing that is definitly on our list for the next house is a fireplace.  I love decorated mantels.  So when I saw this beauty at the Thirft Store for $8 I knew it was for me.  I brought her home, painted her real sloppy with some brick red pant, distressed her a little, used a Cricut and cut the words out and than I ....hung the stockings!

What do you think?