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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #20: 13 Things I Miss in the Winter

13 Things I Miss in the Winter

1. Sandals

(Photo Credit: Damgaard)

2. Cherries

(Photo Credit: Bolt of Blue)

3. Fresh lemonade

(Photo Credit: Mewtate)

4. Open windows

(Photo Credit: Karenwithak)

5. Birds

(Photo Credit: Miichan)

6. The sound of crickets

(Photo Credit: dolomitico)

7. Swimming

(Photo Credit: lookin glass)

8. Bonfires and s'mores

(Photo Credit: wallyg)

9. Longer days

(Photo Credit: skipsteuart)

10. Green leaves and green grass

(Photo Credit: tobym)

11. Thunderstorms

(Photo Credit: Chrisirmo)

12. Lightning bugs/Fireflies

(Photo Credit: Jamelah)

13. Wearing sunglasses

(Photo Credit: CTD 2005)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Linky Lovefest

Since I read Buck Naked Politics' Thursday Thirteen on how to increase your blog traffic (and giving them dutiful linkie love for it!) I'm a re-thinking the whole blogroll thing.

I mean, why do we blog in the first place? I created the blog to connect with friends and family, kind of let them know what was going on in our lives. But now I find I have more strangers reading my blog than family and friends. Not that I mind. It's kinda cool. Since I've started reading other people's blogs, I've found some really interesting people and ideas. Always a good thing.

So really what we blog for is to be read. There are literally millions of blogs, and there's only so much room at the top. Not that I aspire to the top or anything... but more readers? Sure, why not. Everybody loves comments, right? (Or am I the only comment whore out there? Come on... I can't be!)

So I'm putting a call out to all ya'll who read this blog and write one of your own. Let's exchange some linky love! If you want to be on my blogroll, sign your name in Mr. Linky below (and put your blog link, of course). Put me on your blogroll, and I'll put you on mine (as long as you're not doing anything illegal or too Republican! *grin*)

So join the little Linky Love fest below! (And what's wrong with a little linkie whoring, I ask you? It's free love for all! Let's share it! ;)
EDITED TO ADD: I'm going to leave "Linky Lovefest" at the top for a while, to see if anyone else wants to join the blogroll... so sign up! :)

EDITED AGAIN TO ADD: I've added all to my blogroll who I found linked to me. I've you've linked to me but aren't on my blogroll, please let me know and send me a copy of the link. Thanks!


Do boys take longer than girls to night train? I can't remember...

Dmitri is still wetting the bed every night. And in spite of a Pull-Up, he ends up leaking at least twice a week, which means more laundry. I can't wait to stop buying Pull-Ups - and changing sheets.

Anyone have any ideas?

We tried putting him in underwear and letting him sleep on an airmattress on the floor (easier to clean up) but that didn't work. He just wet the bed anyway, even after several nights of giving it a try.

He's getting to the point of being embarrassed about it, although we're careful to be encouraging and supportive. He wants to stop. I wish I knew how we could help!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Spelling Bee

Our local school's mascot is the yellowjacket. Mostly because there are a million of them around here in the summer time. The kids, of course, just think it's a bee. There are bees everywhere around the school - cartoon pictures taped on cinderblock walls, stuffed bees lined up in display cases.

Dmitri got a note mailed home from his teacher saying, "Bee proud, your child counted to 89 today!" A bee was prominently displayed on the front. Zoe got the same one from her teacher, "Bee proud, your child counted to 100 today!" When they got home and I showed them their postcards, they danced around with them.

"B-E-E... that spells 'bee!'" Dmitri showed me. "I can spell bee. I'm a spelling bee. Bzzzzzzz!"

Zoe said, "The big kids do a spelling bee at school."

I suddenly flashed back to my own sixth grade spelling bee. I missed the word "iceberg." Spelled it with a "u."

"Do they, Mom?" Dmitri asked

"Yep." I nodded.

He scrunched up his nose like he does when he's confused. "They fly around and spell?"

Both of the littles started giggling at the thought.

"No. A spelling bee just means they take turns spelling words until they miss one. The one who hasn't missed any words wins."

"Why do they call it a spelling BEE?" Dmitri asked. "B-e-e!"

Because it stings, I thought. "I'm not sure... But I like your kind of spelling bee better, 'Mitri."

He started flying and buzzing again. "Me, too!"

Sunday, January 27, 2008

One of These Things Is Not Like The Other...

The littles have found all the "workbooks" mixed in with the coloring books and have spontaneously started working on completing them. They're interested in numbers and letters now, so the workbooks have come onto their radar.

The other day, Dmitri was doing a "matching" game in one of them. On one side of the page, there was a picture of a bucket - the kind with the handle a little kid takes to the beach. On the other side were two pictures: an inflatable swim ring and a chicken.

"Bucket..." Dmitri said thoughtfully, frowning. "Goes with..."

I glanced over and saw the pictures he was considering: inflatable swim ring or chicken?

"Bucket goes with chicken!" He smiled proudly as he circled the hen.

I couldn't help but laugh.

I think we need to stop eating out at KFC. :D

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Brusha Brusha Brusha

I saw Joan Lunden on The View the other day. (Hey, I was folding laundry and there was nothing else on, okay!?) Apparently, having seven children and being in the media spotlight makes her a great spokesperson for the American Dental Association. She wants to get out the word about dental health, which is great and all, but she suggested that parents stop giving bottled water to their children - why?

Because it doesn't contain fluoride.

woppitywoppitywoppity <--sound of my head shaking in disbelief

I don't care how many kids Ms. Lunden has - she is seriously misinformed about fluoride and just fed that misinformation to millions of viewers. Way to go, Joan!

Fluoride is toxic, even in small amounts. You're supposed to call poison control if your child digests more than a pea-sized bit of toothpaste! The ADA actually has stopped recommending using fluoridated water to make infant formula, because studies have shown that giving fluoride to babies whose teeth are just forming causes dental fluorisis - white, yellow and brown spotted and pitted enamel.

(Now if they'd just stop recommending formula altogether...!)

Think fluoride is good for you? Well read on:

"The fluoride added to 90% of the drinking water is hydrofluoric acid, which is a compund of fluorine that is a chemical byproduct of aluminum, steel, cement, phosphate, and nuclear weapons manufacturing. Such fluoride is manmade. In this form, fluoride has no nutrient value whatsoever. It is one of the most caustic of industrial chemicals. Fluoride is the active toxin in rat poison and cockroach powder. Hydrofluoric acid is used to refine high octane gasoline, to make fluorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons for freezers and air conditioners, and to manufacture computer screens, florescent light bulbs, semiconductors, plastics, herbicides -- and toothpaste. It also has the ability to burn flesh to the bone, destroy eyes and sear lungs so that victims drown in their own body fluid." *


Of course, now you're going to say, "But they've been putting fluoride in our water for over fifty years now! It has to be safe! And hasn't the rate of tooth decay gone down?"

Yes. But remember, correlation does not equal causation. Studies done by the World Health Organization have actually shown that tooth decay has decreased at the same rate in countries whether water was fluoridated or not. Other studies have also shown that rates of tooth decay haven't gone up when fluoride was taken out of the water (and sometimes - the rate of decay even goes down!)

On top of it's ineffectiveness, fluoride is still being added to our water, our vitamins, processed foods, soda, tea, you name it. What is it doing to our bodies? It penetrates teeth, yes... but guess what? It also penetrates and stays in our bones. Yummy! Fluoride is actually contributing to osteoporosis. Studies have shown that it may be lowering fertility rates and interfering with the production of melatonin (it's a hormone that helps regulate the onset of puberty.) It also depresses the immune system by suppressing antibody formation and may increase the risk of cancerous tumors.

Many European countries have banned the use of fluoride altogether, and there are actually few countries that use fluoridation. The science behind this mass dosing of our entire country with a potentially toxic substance is not only dubious - it's highly unethical.

So why is it still being used in the U.S.? I bet you've already guessed. Money! Fluoridation is a multi-billion dollar industry, and thanks to Joan Lunden, now even more sheeple will have their belief in the whitewashed version of the truth about fluoride in our drinking water reinforced. Thanks, Joan!

I will say this - I'm glad we're on a system with well water now. My water isn't bleached and chlorinated and stripped of all its nutrients. We're not being exposed to fluoride anymore through our skin, in the shower, in our cooking water. And we drink bottled, filtered water - with no added fluoride, and use unfluoridated toothpaste.
I'm angry with Joan for spouting the party line and I feel bad for her seven kids. Elizabeth Hasselbeck went on and on about how Joan was such a good mother, and a shining example for all mothers out there. I couldn't help rolling my eyes and swearing at the television. Look, if you want to really be a good mother, do your research. Don't follow mainstream ideas just because they're mainstream. Don't do everything your doctor tells you, just because they say so.

The truth really IS out there.

You just have to open your eyes and look.

Friday, January 25, 2008

BOB Books

The kids are reading! Actually reading! I love this part :)

We bought them the first three series of BOB books for Christmas. I actually learned about these books ages ago when a good friend recommended them to me for the older kids. Her child was a year ahead of my oldest and was doing well learning to read with them.

The great thing about these books is that once they know their basic letters and sounds, they can sound out the words in the Bob Books quite easily and then have the satisfaction of saying, "I read it all by myself!" It's so great to see the excited, proud look on their faces.

Now we play a game on the way to school every day: "How Do You Spell?" I say a word: rat, cat, pig, dog, and they sound out the word and try to spell it. I'm amazed at how quickly they're learning, how it's all just sort of bloomed wide open in the past year.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #19: 13 Things on my Altar

Thirteen Things on my Altar

1. Candles - I burn them when I pray for something or someone.

2. A bit of my best friend, Deanna's, ashes.

3. The birthing bracelet made at my baby shower by the women there, that I wore during my last birth

4. The bracelet I made at my friend, Kyrai's, Discovering Woman Together workshop

5. A birthing statue

6. A rune with the symbol "Open" on it

7. A butterfly pin my daughter gave me

8. A dolphin charm a girlfriend from graduate school gave me

9. A Petosky stone I picked up on my honeymoon

10. A charm I got from the Renaissance Faire with the symbol "Om" (the first sound) on it

11. A butterfly charm Michael gave me

12. A black stone I use to hold my anger

13. A white stone I use to hold my hopes

How's that for woo-woo? *grin* Bet I'm freakier than you are!


Wordless Wednesday: January 23, 2008


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thirty-Eight and Counting...

I'm frosting a home made birthday cake.

Zoe: "Happy Birthday, Mommy!"

"Thank you, hon."

Dmitri: "How old are you again?"

Sigh. "Thirty-eight."

Zoe: "I can count to thirty-eight!"

Me: "I know."

Zoe: "Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineteneleventwelvethirteenfourteenfifteen

By now, the cake's frosted.

Me: "Good job!"

Zoe: "I'm gonna go lie down."

Me: "What's the matter?"

Zoe: "Counting that high made my head hurt!"

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me

I turn thirty-eight tomorrow.

When I was sixteen, thirty-eight seemed ancient.

I know, everyone says that.

Because it's true!

My mother's youngest child is almost forty. That's me! Two more years. There's a thought. I'm the mother of an almost-eighteen year old and almost-fifteen year old.

I'm not sure how I feel about being thirty-eight. Feels bigger than thirty-seven for some reason.

Yet when I look back...

Dawn - 18 months

Dawn - 2 1/2

Dawn - 4

Dawn - Kindergarten

Dawn - Age 6

Dawn - Age 8

Dawn - Age 10

Dawn - Age 11

Dawn - Age 18

Dawn - Age 20

Dawn - Age 25

Dawn - age 37

Those years feel like a million years ago.

Why is that?


Happy birthday to me - almost!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Where Do The Children Play?

I heard a statistic on the radio this morning.

What do only 20% of all middle schoolers have in common?













Only 20% of them get recess.

When I was a kid, we had not one, but two recesses in elementary school. By the time I got to middle school, though, recess was out the window.

We're dealing with an "obesity epidemic" in this country, and yet we're chaining children to school desks - why? So we can later chain them to the desk in their cubicle?

What's wrong with this picture?

"Free play is slipping away from children’s lives. Yet time spent building forts or exploring outdoors, caring for animals, pretending or problem-solving with peers are now being shown by a wide body of research to be essential to healthy development, spiritual attunement, and emotional survival. Open-ended play in places that offer access to woods, gullies and gardens, ditches, boulders, and bike paths enhances curiosity and confidence throughout life. Play takes many forms. It may be best defined from within as a spontaneous human expression that relies on imagination and a sense of freedom. Players invent alternative contexts for conversation, visualization, movement, and interactions with real objects. They find release and involvement, stimulation and peace. Although play may arise anywhere, even in a cement cell, children are beckoned by the natural world to enjoy sensations of being alive."(Taken from the Where Do Children Play?" Website)

I'm glad we live in a place now where my children can go right outside my back door and explore the wide world of nature. They have a place to go to play that's safe, exciting and physically challenging. I don't worry that they're going to get kidnapped, or hit by a car or run into a drug dealer on the corner. I can look out my kitchen window and watch them build snow forts, climb trees, and play "sword fighting" with sticks.

I don't think I'll ever live in a city or suburb again. I guess I'm a convert! Not that there aren't dangers, of course. Including things like poison ivy and rattlesnakes (believe it or not.) But I've found that playing in the grass and picking flowers and collecting insects really holds their interest much more than being contained by cement and fences ever did.

Michael and I saw a wonderful documentary on PBS a few months ago that illustrated this point perfectly (and is the source of the quote above) - unfortunately, I didn't tape it, and they only showed it once! But they are bringing it back, and they are having special screenings of it as well. There's one in our area (sort of - it's a hike for us!) which I'm considering attending:

Where Do The Children Play
Detroit Screening
Wednesday, January 23, 2008.
Reception, film screening, and panel discussion.
Detroit Waldorf School, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
For more information call 313-822-0300.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Intervention to Recovery

Michael started his new job last Monday and we're getting used to all the newness. His work his much less hectic, which means he can call me more during the day. His schedule is very different - no more just 9-5 days. Two nights a week he'll work until 9pm, but that comes with outpatient therapy territory. That also means he won't have to go in until noon on those days. Feels weird.

He's now working with various clients, instead of in residential treatment with just substance abusers. Since he started work with addicts, we've been watching a lot of Intervention. He's been interested from a clinical standpoint, and I find them fascinating. It's like watching a train wreck - you just can't look away. I see a lot of myself there... my personality is highly addictive.

We always do two things while we watch. In the beginning, we guess what they're addicted to, just based on the short snippets of the person we get before they tell us. Nine times out of ten, Michael's right on. It's amazing. Then, we predict whether or not they will stay sober, which we find out at the very end of the show. Both of us have a 50/50 shot at that one most of the time.

It's funny, but there doesn't seem to be a way to really predict who is going to stay in recovery and who isn't. Addiction is strange that way. What does it take for someone to get there and stay there? It seems like a complicated thing...

I imagine we'll watch less of Intervention now that Michael's not working primarily with addicts. I'm gonna miss it. I root for every single one of those addicts, and hope they're going to find recovery and peace and really start living their lives fully. And I know some part of me wants that for myself, too, in certain areas of my life...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Teen Slang

Half the time I can't understand what the heck my older kids are saying. I often have to ask for a translation. Here are some terms I've learned since they hit the teen years:

Bad - an adjective that means "good"
Biscuits - old shoes
Bling - anything shiny, specifically jewelry
Booyah or booya - used to express happiness or accomplishment. Can also mean ‘gotcha'
BF, GF: abbreviation for "boyfriend" or "girlfriend."
BF4L: abbreviation "best friends for life"
BFF: best friends forever
Busted: In my day, it meant to get in trouble. Today, it means "ugly." Go figure!
Cheddar: money/cash
Crew - a term that means "a bunch of friends"
Crib - house or apartment
Four eleven - information, news
Grill - face (Get your finger outta my grill)
Ghetto - raw, raunchy
Hang - spend time with
Loved up - this verb can mean in love, been loved or even on drugs - particularly ‘ecstasy'
Minute - a long time
My bad - sorry, didn't mean it
Chillaxin: cross between "chillin'" and "relaxin'
Crunk: cross between "crank" and "drunk" and for some reason it means "awesome!"
Emo: it was once a category of music, but now it means someone who listens to those songs, or someone who is the rather depressed type.
G: a friend
Home skillet: also a friend
Money: cool - as in "That's so money!"
MOS, DOS, POS: abbreviation for "mom over shoulder" or "dad over shoulder" or "parent over shoulder."
Off the chain: cool
OMG: abbreviation for "oh my god!"
Peepz - friends or people you're hanging out with
Poppin' - happening (What's poppin'?)
Pops - your own dad or someone else's dad
Posse or Possy- a group of friends
Punk - fool someone
Rides: sneakers
Tope: cross between "tight" and "dope" - means "cool"
Whacked - weird or crazy
Wanksta: a "white gangsta"
Wigger: a white... well... a white person trying to be African-American...
X - the drug ‘ecstasy'

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #18: Thirteen Ways to Keep Your Hands Warm

13 Ways To Keep Your Hands Warm

1. mittens

2. gloves

3. sit on them

4. put them in your pockets

5. wrap them around a warm drink

6. blow on them

7. pull them up into your sleeves

8. hold a bowl of soup or oatmeal

9. pet your dog

10. Put them in someone else's pockets

11.warm them by a fire

12. use handwarmers (they scare me though)

13. wear a muff