Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve - Winter Break, Day 10

Ten glorious days off.  How fantastically awesome.  For whatever reason, I am thoroughly enjoying this break.  Perhaps documenting the days is proof that they really are not "flying" by--that every day has the same 24 hours?  Who knows?  But I'll take it.
  • Got up.  Cleaned the basement a bit after McDonalds oatmeal and an English Muffin.  
  • Used my Zumba Fitness 2 for the Wii for the first time with Kim.  I really liked it.  I like "real" classes better, but when "real" classes are not an option, this is a viable alternative.
  • Cleaned up and headed to Meijer, what I will label as a "zoo."  We were there Tuesday morning and it was dead.  Man I wish I could work from home, so leisurely Tuesday morning Meijer visits were in the realm of doable.  There's always my "breaks."
  • Took some photos for our new "adventure," Move More Eat Well 2012.  I also printed out some of the things we needed for the album.  We needed a photo of the shoes that would be "moving us," and of, well, us.  Here were the money shots:

  • We attended church, where, for whatever reason, I kept getting choked up.  It happens every now and again.  Songs usually.  We sang lots of Mary songs, including Hail Mary, Gentle Woman and What Child Is This?  Heck, even Father Luke got teared up during the Eucharistic Prayer.  Don't know what happened, but he's had quite a year of changes and loss, so I can only imagine which emotion took over.  He's such a good guy.  We are blessed to have him with us.
  • We had some homemade pizzas when we returned.  I will confess, that's my favorite kind of pizza.  However, a bit of cheese fell to the bottom of the oven--enough to cause a puff of smoke--then causing a cranky Scott (he felt I should have gotten the cheese off the 425 degree one bottom, despite it's immediate melting--and, eventually, causing the smoke detectors to go off (thus amplifying Scott's discomfort with the whole situation).  The pizza still tasted great, however. :)
  • Ignatius was invited to see the new Mission Impossible movie at 8:30, so he was dropped off at the theater to meet his friends and a set of parents.  And thus, an Asperger's/teenager moment.  So many things to pack into one social story, as, typically, he goes to the movies with one of us.  How to pay for the ticket?  Do not forget that the money needs to go toward Steak N Shake afterwards.  When at Steak N Shake, you will have to tip.  Here's how you figure that out.  So there I sat, watching my "prepared" son go in to the theater without buying a ticket.  As I exited my car to help, I saw he came back out to the ticket booth, so I did not enter.  I know he has to figure all of this out by himself...I could at age 14 with little dilemmas.  I was not Ignatius.  He survived and enjoyed the evening.  they decided not to go to Steak N Shake, so that portion of the preparation was unneeded.  Next time we're out somewhere, he will be determining the tip. 
  • Watched the ball drop in NYC at 11 after sharing a bottle of Spumante with the man and watching some marathon on BBC America.  Max was sound asleep in his martial pajamas.  It was kind of nice.
On to 2012!  And more Winter Break!

    Friday, December 30, 2011

    Winter Break - Day 9

    A rainy Friday...the last Friday of 2011!  On today's docket:
    Can't believe tomorrow is the last day of 2011.  This year went by really quickly!

    Thursday, December 29, 2011

    Winter Break - Day 8

    The sun was out and the weather mild.  Still, I could not convince Max to leave the house.  He adores being home.  I think the pace of the first semester just about wore the kid out.  His vacation is just being home.  I gotta respect that.

    As you can see, I was busy piling things on to my plate.  I should not say it so negatively.  I am setting up projects for myself that I will enjoy completing and will keep the creative side of my brain from dying out completely.  So, two scrapbook projects, in addition to ones already in motion.  That's what 2012 will bring.

    It was interesting, because the first part of the Move More, Eat Well project involved Scott and I coming up with 5 things that we are good at.  This was terribly hard for my hubby, which made me realize that he honestly believes the things he can list are things "anyone" can do if they just try.  Now, one would think he was just being irritatingly humble, but, in truth, this was a very challenging task for him.  We had--I guess it was a "discussion"-- about this for quite some time.  I did not want to give him the answers.  I wanted them to come intrinsically, as that is what the true spirit of the exercise included.  I had to be a very creative interrogator.  Eventually, I think five things came to the forefront.  More on this as the project unfolds.

    I attempted to work on science grades today.  It'll get there.  I swear.

    Did some Zumba. Great class.  I plan to try out my new Wii game on Saturday.  I think we will also be de-Christmasing the house on Saturday.

    Scott is currently watching The Big Bang Theory on TBS.  Laughing his behind off.  Made me come see Sheldon/Ignatius.

    I am still pining for snow.  I think I am out of luck.  Will this be one of those years where we get snow in April?  Because that will tick me off.

    An Instragram Metaphor

    Head on over to my crafty blog to read of my pursuits with Cathy Zielske's 2012 Move More, Eat Well scrapbook/life class.

    So, I shot this photo with my iPhone before I ate lunch today, as it looked so tasty.

    If you have used the Instagram app, you know that, once you snap the shot, you have an abundance of action choices, which is what is nice about the app.  Some of these actions would take either forever to come up with on Photoshop (if you are an amateur like myself), or forever to search for and try out via wonderful people who post them (and at times charge for them) on the web.  Instagram puts it all there, and you can browse through what its different actions do to your picture.

    My mind went a little overboard with this today.  Some of the actions made the food look downright revolting, others washed out the brilliance of the colors, and still others found that right balance to make this look as appealing as it looked to me.  And, isn't that life?  Sometimes, we sabotage our abilities to eat well with the "actions" that go on in our own minds. We say, "Ugh, I have to eat a salad today for lunch."  This salad was made with Butter Bliss lettuce (I love this stuff a little too much), baked ham from Christmas, a sprinkling of shredded cheddar, and my own dressing (a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 packet of Truvia, a bit of oregano, and a bit of garlic powder).  I also had a banana and some water with a bit of lemon juice.  Everything tasted delightful, yet my attitude could have harmed its taste.  It's all the perspective through which I look at this.

    Move More, Eat Well will, I think, be a continuation for me, not a beginning. That helps, too.  I am not starting up some crazy January 1 thing, only to be pissed by January 9.  It's a documentation of what is already true, and an accountability to myself.  Plus Scott's doing it with me.  Which is awesome.  More later.  Gotta go to Zumba. :)

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    Winter Break, Days 6 and 7

    OK, so yesterday apparently flew by in a blur.  Here's what I know to be true of the past two days:

    • Ignatius completed a Cross Country running workshop over the last two mornings, held by Lake Run Club. Today he ran a mile in under 7 minutes.  He seemed to actually enjoy himself.
    • I went to Zumba yesterday AND got Zumba 2 for the Wii.  Good times.
    • Max is getting harder and harder to get out of the house.  He likes lounging and pretty much being a hermit. I am beginning to understand the attraction.
    • I have been trying to keep up with water drinking.  I feel like my insides are floating, but it's flushed out the ookies.
    • We got a wee sprinkling of snow, nothing major.
    • Pizza night on Monday.  Hot diggety.  I love Pizza Hut.
    • I watched a stupid show about Sasquatch on History Channel.  I also watched a series of American Pickers and Pawn Stars episodes that balanced out that stupidity.  
    • I signed up for an Ali Edwards scrapbooking class focusing on my "One Little Word" for 2012: Strength.

    Monday, December 26, 2011

    Winter Break - Day 5

    Today consisted of:

    • Post-Christmas chillaxing.  Max played with his car wash and crayon maker.  He won't mix colors with the crayon maker, which cracks me up.  He will only melt the same color and make the same color, rather than creating a rainbow type of effect.  We go with his flow.
    • I ran (jogged) 3.1 today.  It started out sunny and nice and ended up cloudy and chilly in the course of my 41 minutes of running.  We did some exercises when I came home as well.
    • I worked on a wee bit of school stuff today.  I have been adding some audio to my website for students to follow along as they read.  That takes some time!
    • My brother, George, called, and we chatted for some time.
    • We all enjoyed down time, as no one had to be anywhere in particular today.  It was pleasant.  
    • The night ended with some snow.  Not much, but a nice dusting to break the grayness.

    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    A Very Merry Christmas - Winter Break, Day 4

    Does this about sum it up?  We had Max getting his beloved car wash plus lots of other fun things, like a Slinky and blocks and a crayon maker.  Oh, and sour Gumi Worms.  Yum-mo!

    Ignatius hit the jackpot, too.
    Yes, I know you heard the heavens open and choirs of angels singing.  And you thought it was all about the Lord?  He acquired a new Dell Inspiron laptop with animation software and a Bamboo pad.  Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  I am so excited for him...if we can get the blue screen of death to stop popping up.

    What about mom and dad?  No complaints.  Santa left mom some cold hard cash and a variety of gift cards (woo hoo! I really do like gift cards a whole lot), not to mention a snazzy pair of gloves from the Coach outlet.  Dad got an aluma-wallet (not sure if he's keeping it, not big enough for all of his wallet needs) and various gift cards.  We all got good health and the finances to be able to have a nice Christmas.

    We spent our traditional evening with the Nicoson family.  We exchange gifts and just chill to a delightful dinner and good friends.  In all, I am feeling pretty blessed, though I do miss seeing my PA contingency.

    Saturday, December 24, 2011

    Winter Break, Day 3 - Christmas Eve

    • Slept in again.  This time until 10.  My family is spoiling me a bit too much.  I won't be able to go back to work!
    • Went for a run and then did some other toning exercises with Ignatius.  It was rough.  I have let myself get pretty "untoned."
    • Went out and about.  I love Christmas Eve.  All the Black Friday suckers do not know what they are missing.  It's such a calm afternoon.  Returned Scott's broken gift with one that works.
    • Had the best ribs for dinner.  Because of the unseasonable warm weather, Scott was able to use the Kamodo Joe.  Yum-mo.
    • Ignatius continued his quest for world latch hook domination.
    • Got all dressed up for church.  Snapped this pic of the family.
    • Attended Mass.  Max was wondering what happened to the candles (Advent wreath).  He loved the addition of the trees and all the lights.
    • Came home and popped open a bottle of Asti.
    • Max is now in his jammies watching The Polar Express.  Love his reaction to it!  Perfect Christmas Eve movie.
    Merry Christmas to All!

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Seize the Break, Day 2

    Today's highlights:
    • Slept "in" again until around 9. Much needed.  Woke up to sunshine.
    • Took some pictures of the boys in hopes of getting a holiday card completed.  We'll see.  Here's one I have been toying with.
    • Let's not forget my little diva and his love of the camera.

    • Finally got my box sent to the PA contingency.  A Christmas miracle!
    • Went out into the world of shopping.  Found a few additional items.  I think I am "done," but who knows?  One of the things I got for Scott does not work, so I must return it (maybe tomorrow if I feel brave).
    • Took an afternoon nap after the sun hid back behind the clouds.
    • Spent some of the evening wrapping gifts and helping Ignatius with the latch hook project.  He is really going to town on it.  Good purchase!
    • Worked a few minutes on a scholarship essay. Less than 500 words = torture JoLynn.  I'll do anything for a thousand bucks, though.
    • Spent some time on Facebook.  Became irritated hearing how WalMart employees must say "Happy Holidays," and are forbidden to say, "Merry Christmas."  Wondering where the ACLU is when it comes to these types of freedom of religion violations.
    And now,  we enter Jesus' Birthday Weekend!  Woot!

    Thursday, December 22, 2011


    Over the summer, a few of my pals and I dubbed ourselves the "Pinky Swear" ladies.  We are all teachers, and we were all bemoaning the scurrying summer months as we sat by a good friend's pool.  We reflected on the fact that this stretch of time each summer is a wonderful gift which very few professions have.  I remember pondering, about two weeks before school began, as we let "we only have two more weeks" slip through our lips, that the two weeks of Winter Break seem like a blessed gift from God, and we should try to make the last two weeks of summer "feel" like the two weeks of Winter Break.

    Here we are, months later, at the start of the coveted two weeks of Winter Break.  The first half of our school year is over.  Report cards for second quarter will be completed over this break.  Plans for serious ISAT prep will happen as we return.  But, for now, these fourteen days are precious and it feels great to have a break.  My goal is to document, at least here if not in scrapbook form, how we spend our days.

    Today was my first day of "break."  Here's a run down of the day:
    • For whatever reason, I was able to sleep until about 9:45 AM.  What a blessing!
    • A friend called me a little after 10 to tell me she was engaged.  That was very good news.  I have constantly called her guy a "keeper."  He is incredibly thoughtful of her.  I continually asked, after every trip or special evening, if a ring was involved, and this time, it was!
    • I traveled out to get my teeth taken care of at the Foehr Group.  Three teeth drilled, two temporary crowns, lots of novacaine.  I had already broken one of the teeth, so it was a much needed visit.  I found out that Dr. Foehr, my previous dentist who recently retired, has ALS, which is manifesting itself first in his throat.  He is unable to speak, communicating through his iPad.  He recently had a feeding tube put in.  Dr. Foehr is a great guy, and I hate that this is happening to him.  
    • I went to Lincoln Leisure and, still quite numb in the mouth, shook my boom boom at Zumba.  Good times were had by all.
    • We had a lovely dinner of carry out Olive Garden, sponsored partially by a gift card from one of my students.  Where I teach, those types of gift cards are few and far between, so I was really touched by the thoughtfulness of this parent.
    • Ignatius and I ventured out to Hobby Lobby.  I needed adhesive for the "Holiday Cards" that might eventually get made by me before 2012.  We bought some latch hook kits, inspired by a conversation I had with some younger colleagues regarding latch hook (and their blank stares as I mentioned it).  I figured it would be nice for him to learn something crafty from his old ma, and for him to have something non-electronic for passing the time.  He took to it pretty nicely.  Max was VERY interested in it as well, and wanted to help in any way he could.
    • As the night wound down, and the children finally went to bed, I began wrapping the gifts that have been needing attention.  I packed a box that will finally be heading to PA (hopefully FedEx tomorrow). Truly, I only have a few other odds and ends to get together, and then I think we're set. 
    Now, it's really Friday, but I am backdating this.  Friday will have a narrative all its own.  To bed!

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    In Which There's a Little Self Pity

    I go about my day-to-day in a day-to-day manner.  There are ups, there are downs.  Yin meets yang.  And so it goes.

    Sometimes, the most unexpected thing, however, can stop me in my tracks.  Like a simple video.  I just watched a video of a scrapbooker's nine month old twins.  Adorable!  Yet, there it came creeping back.  That feeling of being robbed.  The two were acting completely developmentally appropriately.  They were starting the babblings of a typical child of their age.  And in the cuteness of it all, I just felt robbed.  

    Now, mind you, Ignatius hit fairly regular milestones...surpassed some of them.  He was able to show much of what I had seen in that video.  It was Maximilian who was robbed of these critical milestones.  I am not just wallowing in the past.  We are dealing with that in the present.

    He is so proud of himself this year.  He is a "big boy."  A first grader.  He has been in the gen ed room pretty exclusively, with the help of an aide.  The homework comes home, and it is BRUTAL.  Writing and reading.  Reading and writing.  I have never seen a child try so hard to read and write.  I know I should seize the day...he's on his way.  But I can tell that, to Max, being with the other kids in his first grade class is critically important.  However, I also know as a teacher that he is behind where they are.  As his mother, I truly do not care.  He will get to his destination when he gets there.  

    What I care about is that I think he will care as the gap becomes more apparent.  What happens when he gets just a wee older and differences are pointed out to him with shocking bluntness that only 4th graders can deliver?  I try to stay in the now, but living with ASD means you rarely get to do that.  You are constantly thinking one step ahead...what might trigger a bad situation?  How might this trip, perhaps your 100th, to the grocery store end in sure and certain disaster?  Once you get him in to Chuck E. Cheese, and he has dealt with that overstimulation, what's your plan to get him out?  What education plan is best for him?  What might be detrimental?  When has damage been done...when did you wait too long?  Did you hover too much?  Did you not advocate enough?

    Every parent of a child on the spectrum will tell you that s/he loves his/her child.  But they would be lying if they said there are not days when you just ask why they couldn't be like every other kid their age, at least academically.  Why must they struggle this much?

    And then, after your pity party, you wipe off the tears and move back into reality.

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    A fitting "Re-Blog"


    We Remember

    We remember...
    ...the firefighters
    ...the police officers
    ...the veterans
    ...the civilians
    ...the innocent victims
    ...the sadness
    ...the horror
    ...the strength
    ...the American spirit to overcome
    ...September 11, 2001

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Autism Run 2011

    Today, 9-10-11, I participated in my 4th Autism Walk/Run.  The key difference this year? I was a runner, not a walker.

    And run I did.  I ran 3.1 miles in 38 minutes and 41 seconds.  It's been a long time since I have been able to finish 3.1 in under 40 minutes. It was epic (for me, at least)!  I think it was also epic for my friend, Sally, who was running her first 5K and was running in honor of her daughter who passed away.  We all do Zumba, and we all feel its positive effects on our mental health, so our group was called the Zumbalicious Runners.

    And of course, there was the cause: Autism Society of McLean County.  I am grateful for its outreach to the community and all the services it provides.

    This week was also major for me because I hit the 50 lbs lost.  So it's time to look at where I have been and where I am:
    Sally and Karen wrapping it up

    June 12:
    Chest (sports bra on) 39 7/8"
    Right arm 14 1/2"
    Left arm 14 1/4"
    Waist  33 7/8"
    Hips 42 1/2"
    Right Thigh 27 1/4"
    Left Thigh 27"
    Weight: 194.6 lbs 

    July 10:
    Chest 39 1/4"
    Right arm 13 1/4"
    Left arm 14"
    Waist 33"
    Hips 42 1/2"
    Right Thigh 26 1/2"
    Triumphant (and sweaty) at the finish
    Left Thigh 26 1/2"
    Weight: 195.6 lbs

    September 10:
    Chest 38 1/2"
    Right arm 13 1/2"
    Left arm 14"
    Waist 32 1/2"
    Hips 42 1/2"
    Right Thigh 25 1/2"
    Left Thigh 25 1/2"
    Weight: 188.8 lbs

    In other Plato news, Ignatius participated in the Woodruff Invitational in Peoria today, which is why he could not run with me.  He ran 3 miles in 22 minutes, 50 seconds--a personal record for him.  He keeps shaving off time!  So proud of his efforts!
    105th finish

    In all, a fine day for the family.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    The Next Phase

    Hear that?  That's the sound of life speeding by...

    That little Kindergartner is now a high school freshman.

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    When OCD and Depression Collide

    In the decade of the 1990s and early 2000s, I was the sole reason that manila folder companies like Mead were living high on the hog.  I filed everything.  In December (or February depending on the year), the year's files went from our file cabinet into a box, lovingly numbered with the year.  Alphabetized files?  Yes.  Everything one could possibly want to save?  Yes.  An organized hoarder?  Yes.

    In 2007, when the rubber hit the road and depression knocked me on my ass, I really think the depression was having a bitch-slap festival with my self-diagnosed OCD.  I have filed NOTHING since then.  I have a stack in my basement that is waiting to be filed.  Important papers have been placed in various baskets.  However, if we needed a paper, my former self would have known which box and file to look in to locate it in 20 seconds flat.  Now, there's a pile somewhere.

    Do the math.  I was married in 1992...when this file frenzy began.  I did this until 2007.  That's about FIFTEEN boxes.  They are now stacked in my garage, awaiting being hauled away by a shredding company. Enter depression again.  It's much easier to sit down and stare at a computer screen (and I mean stare) than to go through these boxes to remove anything vital (yes, Mother, I found your living will!).  So, I realized I needed help.  I asked Scott to bring just one box in at a time to let me go through.  So far, three boxes have been gone through.  Here are some snippets of conversation:

    "Did you ever transfer your 401K from KARMAK?"

    "I don't know."

    "What is this life insurance policy?  Is it still active?"

    "I don't know."

    The list goes on and on.

    And in the time that I have taken to write this?  Another box bit the dust.

    So, I guess my message is sometimes, depression has to be looked square in the eye and told to f-off or pay rent.

    May this year be the year that I start scanning stuff and getting rid of paper copies of what I do not need.  Maybe.  Or maybe I should just celebrate getting through these boxes.

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    It is what it is

    May 6, 2011
    July 10, 2011
    July 10, 2011
    July 10, 2011

    I have not run for quite some time because my foot has been murderously hurting and I wanted to save it for my first love, Zumba.  My beloved Zumba goddess, Karen, has been at the Zumba Convention in Orlando.  The last Zumba class I attended was Wednesday night.  I have been doing a sit up/push up challenege (100 of each every day), but my cardio has been slacking.  She has been getting her groove on and will return, I am sure, ready to work out butts off.  So tonight, when the sun goes down a bit more, Ignatius and I will do a 2-mile jog.  I took some pics of me as of today and have included my pic right before Race for the Cure.  Here's the latest measurement update:

    June 12:
    Chest (sports bra on) 39 7/8"
    Right arm 14 1/2"
    Left arm 14 1/4"
    Waist  33 7/8"
    Hips 42 1/2"
    Right Thigh 27 1/4"
    Left Thigh 27"
    Weight: 194.6 lbs (yeah, I posted it)

    July 10:
    Chest 39 1/4"
    Right arm 13 1/4"
    Left arm 14"
    Waist 33"
    Hips 42 1/2"
    Right Thigh 26 1/2"
    Left Thigh 26 1/2"
    Weight: 195.6 lbs

    So, my weight has hovered, which makes total sense, as my eating habits are not great, and I have not been tracking.  But my measurements have changed, except for my hips, which includes my lovely butt/butt area.  I can definitely feel a change in my arms and thighs.  The push ups have assisted with that immensely.  With the situps, I am hoping to work my lower ab area as well as upper.

    For the next month, I will try less crap, more good: veggies, fruits etc. more than (not instead of) candy and such.  I will not be "giving up" things, just expanding my circle of eating to include more of what it should.  I have been good about water intake, which is usually the case in the summer months for me.

    I also want to find workouts that will target my lower ab/hip/butt areas as well as the part of the back right behind the arms and in the bra area.  It seems everything around these parts is toning, but these parts are not, so I am missing something for sure.  Probably where the weight is that won't shake off.

    I should return to 10-Minute Trainer.  I left it when I had some severe foot pain and I had to pare down.  It was a great set of workouts.  This week, I will add it back in.

    Until August!

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Kindergarten Documented

    Did some digital scrapbooking of Kindergarten.  Click on each for a larger view.  I left out some of the things that have already been scrapbooked and blogged.  More on my digi-process here.

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Horton Hears a Holla!

    Hard to believe a week has gone by since I have invested 14 minutes a day to 10 Minute Trainer.  I have to say, I appreciate how short it is.  That is what got me doing anything tonight.  Apparently, today, there was not enough refined sugar ON THE PLANET to assuage my binge.  Hot fudge sundae... check.  Lemonheads...check.  Peanut butter toast...check. (No, not the, "I-love-Mother-Nature-organic" crap...Jif, baby!)  So, at around 9:45 tonight, I had talked myself in to and out of working out.  Then, I came to the realization: How lame would it be, JoLynn, if you cannot even do 10 minutes of something?  And so, I sit here, waiting for my sweat factor to die down before I can try to go to bed.

    Sweat? (you say incredulously)  How can you possibly be sweating?  Well, you have to recall two things: (1) I am a walking hormone.  I have had issues with body temperature since my early 30s, thanks to a lovely little condition called PCOS.  So, putting on socks makes me sweat.  (2) It's Tony Horton.  Have you done any of his workouts?  The man does not mess.

    To summarize this week:
    Monday: Warm up---Cardio---Cool Down (14 minutes)
    Tuesday: Warm up---Total Body---Cool Down (14 minutes); Zumba (60 minutes)
    Wednesday: Zumba (60 minutes); Fine Toning Express (30 minutes); No Tony Horton...are ya kidding me?  Why did I need it?
    Thursday: Zumba (60 minutes); fatigue setting in; no 10 Minute Trainer
    Friday: Warm up---Yoga Flex (12 minutes)
    Saturday: Warm up---Total Body---Cool Down (14 minutes)
    Sunday: Warm up---Cardio---Cool Down (14 minutes)

    Foodwise, I have hovered between the same two-pound range.  Depends on the day.  If I had eaten and not worked out, I would have definitely gained.  No question.  Too much convenience eating.  At least when I was in school, I was in control of lunch (which was usually an Uncrustable).  This week was sad for me AND my kids.  We will be correcting that next week.  My complexion and my attitude will thank me.  But that sundae was awfully good. :)

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Let's be careful, Generation X

    Today, I am waxing philosophical about my generation of parents.  We have the opportunity to open up a world for our children that is beyond anything we could have imagined when we were younger.  With opportunities come responsibilities.

    Portable electronic devices
    We can now have access to our children anywhere there is cell phone service, and that is just about anywhere.  What a blessing!  They can grab information anywhere they need it from small handheld devices with network capabilities.  The world is literally at their fingertips.

    But they don't need them at dinner.  And they don't need them at church.  And they don't need them to avoid a conversation.  It's so easy to make the iPad the new babysitter.  I came face to face with this on Thursday night.  There was an Open House for Autism Camp in my son's school district.  This is an extended school year program specifically for students on the spectrum.  It is to bridge both academics and social skills for the students.  Many parents brought their kids to the Open House, but I am still wondering why.  Many of them sat with their Samsung Galaxy or their iPad or what have you... totally ignoring the speakers.  Now, granted, Max did not last long, either, but that was due to the fact that it was a large crowd in a school cafeteria with horrible acoustics.  Scott walked around with him and let him explore the school rather than let him sit there and ignore the world as he delved into a game. 

    Being at everything
    I am still fuzzy on how this started.  It was somewhere between when I was a kid and when I became a parent.  I am reading a book right now about teaching literacy in the classroom.  One of the core parts of this method goes well with my philosophy of teaching: stay out of the way.  There is a LOT being said right now about teachers getting students to be "college ready."  The US Congress is discussing re-authorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), lovingly dubbed "No Child Left Behind," as it will sunset in 2012... a school generation after its ill-advised conception in 2000.  The reauthorization, we are told, will be tweaked to stress college readiness skills. 

    My question is: What are college readiness skills in 2012?  It isn't your parents college readiness, that's for sure.  I went to college with a typewriter, and graduated 4 years later in 1991 using 5 1/4' floppies and the earliest version of Word Perfect (black screen, green font...holla!).  Within 10 years, I had e-mail and the Internet at my disposal.  I had graduated with an online Master's degree.  Times are a-changing rapidly.

    As parents, we can provide our children with laptops, cell phones, iPads, and, oh yeah, money...whatever the college believes is needed for an education.  But we MUST provide them with skills of independence.  How are we doing that by micromanaging?  Do we really need to be at everything?  I am not talking about the big things, like games and graduations, and such.  I am talking about practices.  I am talking about being at every game.  I am talking about interfering with the coaches and what they are trying to teach the children (that is not our generation of parenting, but it's becoming way too commonplace).  I am talking about constantly contacting teachers and fighting children's battles for them.

    Remember the chant, "Let them play!"  It rang in my head as I took Ignatius to the park when he was younger.  Full sized adults on playground equipment.  An anachronism to the highest degree.  There's a reason we don't fit down the slide anymore.  It's because the intent is for the children to play and potentially socialize with other children. 

    When I send my son to college (or whatever school he needs for animation) in 4 short years from now, my goal is to give him the gift of independently making decisions that are in his own best interest. I hope to send him with the ability to problem solve, to work with other people, to be known as the dependable group member and not the slacker.  I hope to send him with the skills to advocate for himself, to respectfully disagree, and to always be polite to others.  At the same time, I want him to be able to stand up for himself and let a bully know that his parents will support him giving a good ass kicking when called for (sorry folks, with boys, sometimes, it's called for).  I also want him to acquire the gut instinct when the odds are stacked against him, when things are not safe, and when he needs to remove himself from a situation.  Those are some heavy duty goals.

    I know, I know.  If we're not at everything, our kid might miss out on something.  Yes, the ability to listen for important information and relay it to the people who need to hear it.  That's what they miss out on. 

    Jacks of all trades, masters of none
    I was involved in an incredible amount of activities when I was younger.  I was not pushed into any of it.  I wanted to do it all.  That meant going to school on the bus at 7, having track practice after school until 5, walking to Wendy's for some dinner, returning to a 6:30 - 10:00 PM play practice, and waking up the next day to do it again.  That meant spending Saturdays at volleyball tournaments without my parents because I did not need them to be there as I sat through a bye and chatted with my friends. (They did come for some of the games though.)  It meant one parent taking and another parent picking up from weekend basketball games when I was cheering (called "carpooling").  It was all commonplace.  I did not feel rejected.  No therapy needed.  I could care for myself.  That was the underlying theme.

    Why do we believe that our children must be involved in 10,000 activities at our urging?  Why are we unable to just give kids time to play... to chill out... to (gasp!) do nothing... to self-entertain... to possibly play a (non-electronic) game with a sibling?
    Don't get me wrong
    I sound as though I am beyond reproach.  I am not.  We all get sucked in. I love all things electronic.  I am typing on my laptop right now.  I enjoy the socialization of social media (Facebook especially) and playing Words with Friends.  Ignatius just got off the Wii (he has a 1 hour time limit) and Max just got off the iPad.  What's going on now?  Ignatius is helping his dad in the yard (oh yeah, there's reluctance, but one day he'll realize the value of what his dad is teaching him... and I mean being able to do something instead of paying someone else to do it), and Max is "making money" from paper and making his own wallet out of paper.  Am I directing any of this?  Nope.  Do my children feel unloved?  I challenge you to prove that one.

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    10 Minute Trainer Day 2

    Max and I worked hard for 10 minutes this afternoon. We participated in the Total Body workout. Holy smokes. This is no joke.

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Tony Horton Abridged

    The same information gurus who snagged me into buying P90X have succeeded again.  They succeeded mainly because I love Tony Horton.  I loved P90X, and, if I did nothing related to working or raising kids, I would have no problem doing P90X.  It just fatigued me after 45 days to the point of being nonfunctioning.

    So, having consistently completed Zumba for a couple years and inconsistently running for the past 6 months, I decided to indulge in Tony's newest endeavor: 10 Minute Trainer.  Here are the tiers, according to JoLynn:

    Tier 1: Complete a 2-minute warm up, a 10-minute activity, and a 2-minute cool down every day.
    Tier 1.1: Complete a 2-minute warm up, 2 or 3 10-minute activities, and a 2-minute cool down every day.
    Tier 2: Tier 1 plus Tony's eating suggestions (which include Shakeology...which literally made me sick to my stomach...)
    Tier 3: Tier 2 plus add another 10-minute workout or two

    Many things come with the program, but I will warn you: the salespeople on the phone are barracudas.  They try to sell you everything under the sun.  I hung up one time (and they called me back!) because they were so pushy.  I was nice and said I was hanging up, but she was ruthless, this gal.  Well trained at the art of the Beachbody sell.  But no means no, man.

    With the informercial's offer, you get:
    • Cardio
    • Yoga Flex
    • Total Body
    • Lower Body
    • Abs
    • a tape measure
    • an exercise band (I got the 20 lb one as I have many varieties of lighter bands at home)
    • a cardio belt door set-up
    • the 2-day jump start (Shakeology recommended... expensive and really gross...sorry Tony)
    • a 4-week workout schedule
    • Rapid Results Guide Book
    • Measurement Tracker
    • the Lean Jean plan (lose 1 jean size in 10 days claimed; eating plan + 2 workouts a day)
    • Tony Horton's 10-Minute meals
    Since I am still doing Zumba 3 to 4 times a week, I am starting with just a 10-Minute workout a day with warm up and cool down.  After the first 4 weeks, I will add another workout, if I feel it's necessary.

    On Day 1, Tony recommends taking some photos.  I did, and they are locked in Al Capone's vault.  He also suggests measurements.  So, here goes blogland--->
    Chest (sports bra on) 39 7/8"
    Right arm 14 1/2"
    Left arm 14 1/4"
    Waist  33 7/8"
    Hips 42 1/2"
    Right Thigh 27 1/4"
    Left Thigh 27"
    Weight: 194.6 lbs (yeah, I posted it)

    Tonight I did the Cardio workout with the Cardio Band.  Whew.  I was definitely sweating.  Is was not too hard or too easy.  And it really was just 10 minutes.  He has you do moves that work more than 1 muscle group at once, so you are maximizing the workout you are doing.  Could definitely feel Zumba helping with this one.  I felt pretty good about my ability to do the exercises.

    I might try some of the recipes he offers, but food plan wise, I think I will just stick to what seems to work for me: a modified version of Weight Watchers. 


    Friday, May 6, 2011


    Due to the bravery of one Cathy Zielske, I decided to go ahead and take a self-shot in the mirror.  She does this regularly as part of her Move More Eat Less regimen. Though I was not brave enough to do a true "before" shot (I have some a la my P90X period, but I am not about to have those go viral, thank you), here is a "during" shot before my run this morning. 

    Throwing all other caution out the window, and brainwashed by the seductive sunshine, I decided to be just plain CRAZY.  I changed my route AND I allowed my iPod to shuffle through my Top 25 Most Played playlist.  Yes, I had seemingly lost my mind.

    You know what?  It was the best set of decisions ever.  I did not realize how Pavlovian my running had become.  I had certain cadences that went with my running playlist, even though I changed it up a couple times.  I knew that when "Lose Yourself" came on, that was my hardest stretch... between miles 2 and 3.  I knew that, in a typical 5K, "Where the Streets Have No Name" was my last stretch of the run, even though, when using just my iPod and Nike+, 3.1 came a bit before that.  Visually, I knew how far I had gone in my run by where in Tipton Park I was, and how much farther I needed to go.  Sometimes, I slowed to a crawl because of that.

    The result of throwing caution to the wind: I clocked my fastest mile at 10'46".  I was not even trying to run faster or slower than usual, but the songs that flowed got me running just the right pace.  So, not worried about song order or where I was on my typical run, I thought about the music choices and how each one had a reason for being among my Most Played. 

    Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
    I never thought to run to this song until my first Lake Run, when they had this blaring at the start of the race.  It was awesome, and perfect on that chilly may morning.  It still gets me running.

    Fake It by Seether
    The rhythm of the song is great for running, but it's the words of the song that give me what I need to trudge on.  Usually, I think of someone with whom I am particularly disgusted, and, sadly, that gives me the energy I need to get through the song.  Anger as a motivator. 

    My Hero by Foo Fighters
    The first time I ran to this, I could not believe my pace.  For whatever reason, I pick it up for this song.  I've always dug the lyrics.

    Switch by Will Smith
    How appropriate for today. "It ain't really that hard to do and..."  That's what I'm talkin' 'bout, too, Will.

    Club Can't Handle Me by FloRida
    I like how this song builds.  It gives me a little break to slow it down, and then forces me to not stay there long.

    Let's Get It Started by The Black Eyed Peas
    This was my very first song, and it was crazy how my body responded to it in the middle of the run (again, cue Pavlov).  I started becoming super conscious of my breathing, like I am when I first start out.  I do LOVE this song, though.

    Only Girl (In the World) by Rhianna
    Again, my body was reacting to our Zumba routine to this, which was a cardio-bitch, if I may say so.  My breathing is always a little labored, but it's such a great song!

    Raise Your Glass by P!nk
    'Nuff said. 

    Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor) by Pitbull
    Great pace.  Love this song. Something about Mr. Worldwide and T-Pain...makes this a great running song.

    Lose Yourself by Eminem
    I would have been the last person on Mother Earth to have an Eminem song on my iPod.  For a long time, I could not stand him.  I thought he was Vanilla Ice shaken and stirred for another generation.  However, this song has stood the test of time.  His little preface, "If you only had one shot... one opportunity...." is actually really motivating when I am jogging.

    Where the Streets Have No Name by U2
    Not sure I like keeping this one in the run.  It slows me WAY down, but I love the song.

    OMG (featuring by Usher
    "Honey got a booty like pow pow pow..."  That part of the song CRACKS me up.  The rest has a beat that is just awesome.

    So there you have it.  I survived the Amazing Mix-up.  Tomorrow, I will be run/jogging Race for the Cure in Peoria, probably in the rain from what is predicted.  Always a moving run for a good cause.  But way too early in the AM!

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Well allrighty then

    This was the photo that made tonight's run happen:

    Taken at the tail end of the CCHS 5K, when I was pushing myself beyond what I believed I had in me, I noticed something about my stride/stance.  I don't know if it's a common thing, but I was leaning way forward.  WAY forward.  For tonight's run, I tried to stay conscious of that, and when I felt the pull, I had a little chat with my core and my legs.  Core muscles tight, use the leg span and get the legs a bit forward.  Lo and behold!  I could have probably kept running...dare I say to the 10K level...this evening.  That's crazy, as I felt nauseous and migraine-ish off and on today.  The weather was perfect, the sun was setting, and I finally figured out how to keep myself from feeling like someone was trying to pull my lungs up through my throat.  Here's the exciting news from Nike (click on image for a larger view):

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    What About Your Friends?

    Today, my friends and I ran a 5K.  It is 78 degrees and the winds are being clocked at 30 mph.  But we looked good, as we all had on our Zumbalicious Runners shirts that we had done some fancy craftwork to.

    The additional cool part was that it was a fundraiser for Ignatius' future high school, Bloomington Central Catholic.  Much love to all of my Zumba pals for running with me. I did not run the entire thing as I had planned, but I ran more than I ever had before.  The wind was quite a contender to my breathing. :)

    Sunday, March 27, 2011


    As a child of the 70s, I did a great deal of pretending.  Even though many people judged TV as the harbinger of doom that would forever change our generation into a bunch of coach potatoes, most of my friends and I played outside or at each other's houses.  What did we do?  Pretend.

    We were Luke, Han Solo, and Lea fighting Darth Vader.  We were the Hardy Boys solving a mystery.  We were the Pink Ladies.  We made snow angels and chad snow ball battles.  Recent WWF moves were re-enacted (most of the time with me as the guinea pig, but I digress).

    No, this is not a walk down memory lane or an intro to a lecture about the evils of technology.  It is a reflection on something VERY challenging for children on the autsim spectrum: pretend play.

    Ignatius would often be seen having many worlds going on inside his head.  He would walk down a store aisle with me as his fingers were going a mile a minute making some bizarre gestures.  He understood what he was doing.  In his pre-school years, I recall a chat with one of his teachers who presented this concern, "JoLynn, he just goes over to the corner and reads."  At the time, I chalked it up to yet another characteristic of introversion, and saw nothing atypical about it.  He was just making different choices than other kids.  That was allowable.

    Max made similar choices for play.  He preferred repetitive things, like his ball table or spinning the wheels on a car, or lining up pieces of a puzzle.  He was not interested in engaging in pretend play.  I had been down this road before.  Although he pretended to be at his favorite thing---a car wash---his play was repetitive.  He often wants to do these things alone.

    I have to add, this was one area in which I felt a little cheated.  I LOVED pretending as a child, I LOVE to act on a stage, and I believe I became a teacher because I LOVED playing make-believe with kids.  The incentive for many of these things were my own... not requiring adult micro-management.

    This week, finally, after six years, Max gave me a little gift.  He typically plays with the little rubber edges to our workout mats (they become part of the car wash repetition).  This week, they became magic wands!  We turned his dad into a stone (that was particularly fun for me).  He has also had patches of make-believe here and there that I am sure have been building through his socialization at school.

    So, what's the big deal?  My personal opinion is that pretending gets us ready for the big game.  I have watched both of my kids struggle to make social connections with others... to engage in play or show they did not wish to engage in play with others.  Pretending is practicing for the multiple social mergers we all do in life.  It's a risk-free time to try out conversation and see if we can get another to play along with the scenario we are creating.

    Those with kids on the spectrum are not always given this opportunity.  I appreciate the blessing.  Carpe diem!

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Spring has Sprung!

    I just realized that the blizzard was the last thing I blogged about.  What a difference a month and a half makes!  Today was warm, windy, and a bit delightful here in Central IL.

    It is finally Spring Break, much needed for all of the Plato family.  Yesterday and today, Ignatius and I ran/walked together.  Yesterday, we were outside.  Today, we went to 4 Seasons 1.  I ran the track, he walked the elliptical and treadmill.

    The exciting part was that I REALLY ran.  I walked the first 5 minutes or so as a warm up (through the song, Dancing Queen), then I ran/jogged the rest through to the distance of a 5K (well, I stopped running at 3.2 miles).  It felt pretty good, I have to say.  I had been doing a run/walk for a while to save my foot, but I found today that just slowing my running pace was an OK thing as well.

    The kids are great.  We had Max's IEP annual review.  That seemed to go well.  It's very difficult to plan goals when he changes so much within a year.  They are always willing to revisit his plan, which is nice.  I have to start gearing up for continuing his education throughout the summer months.  He's not always as receptive to mom wanting to do "academic" things with him.  He will be attending "Autism Camp" for 5 weeks.  That will work on social-emotional goals and maintaining social gains (I hope) that he has made this year. 

    Ignatius registered for high school at Central Catholic.  He is really excited.  I find it hard to believe he is of age, but it's coming.  It hit me when we did not have to register for Holy Trinity for the first time in 9 years.

    I am still crossing my fingers that the ministry at St. Pat's will catch on.  We had a meeting during "Blizzard Week," where myself and Ellen were the two participants.  We are trying again on April 9, this time offering child care and a bit lengthier blurb in the bulletin.  If that doesn't work, this just might not be the time.  But I can't say we didn't try.

    So glad spring is here!  

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Jack Frost Bites Hard

    This week, we were visited by one of the biggest storms... ever.  See!

    Now, do not get me wrong.  I love snow.  Truly.  You can't live in Illinois and hate it.  But when there's wind and ice, and snow, and subzero temps, my love is tested.

    Without further adieu, here is a video compilation of the storm from here in Bloomington.  Enjoy the music, sit back with some cocoa, and be as glad as I am that it's part of history.

    Saturday, January 22, 2011


    Whenever I fill my tub for a bath, I follow pretty much the same pattern.  I clean out the tub, then I start the water, double-checking for just a moment that I got all the stray hair and dust out.  If not, I stop the water and do one last sweep.  Then I start the tub with what I think feels like an appropriate temperature.  If something leads my attention away, I can end up with a scalding hot bath or a lukewarm one.  It's happened once or twice.  Since we have a large tub, there have even been times when the hot water was depleted and icy cold water was undoing any warmth the bath once had.

    My school dealings with Max are a lot like this.  I worked like crazy to get him ready for Kindergarten, including therapy, early childhood, and lots and lots of social stories.  I hoped and prayed I was making the right decision putting him in when I was not 100% sure he was developmentally ready.  The tub was cleaned, I believed.

    School started and some things were still floating in the bathwater.  So, we turned off the water for one more sweep.  We had an IEP meeting and tweaked some areas of concern.  Water resumed.

    His return to school since winter break has been tumultuous.  He has said to me more often than not that he does not want to go to school.  He wants to stay home.  He has been refusing to do things at school, mainly in the gen. ed. classroom I fought to get him to be a part of.  Lying down on the floor.  Saying no.  And, on Friday, kicking and hitting his PE teacher.  Temperature of the water is a bit too hot.

    So here we are, with a child who is cognitively able to handle the content of Kindergarten.  Has a bunch of sight words under his belt.  Recognizes and writes his name and various other words.  Can play a problem solving game on a laptop PC using its touchpad.  Simultaneously, he is showing the behaviors that I know will make it quite difficult to convince people of where he should be placed.  It's not that I have anything against the special education room.  [Ringing in my ears, Seinfeld's, "Not that there's anything wrong with that!"]  I just know that being in a gen. ed. room will get him the exposure he needs to continue his content attainment.  A separate space does not guarantee that same level.

    So, I'll put my hand in the water and give it a swirl.  I'll give it some time for nature to run its course and for the water to cool.  Sometimes I do not do that.  Sometimes I get in the tub and regret it, as my skin turns a bright red and I actually sweat in its heat.  I am wondering if I did that... pushed for him to be in too much gen. ed.  Assumed that the gen. ed. situation is a strong fit.  As a teacher who teaches students with similar schedules, sometimes they are in my room, sometimes not, I know the effort it takes to make everyone feel like they "belong."  The magic does not occur without a great deal of comfort and commitment.  We decided to have a meeting in January to check the changes in his IEP on the day we made them.  So, we shall be meeting soon to determine how to get his bathwater temperature to be better.

    Ironically, this week, we got the class composite for class pictures.  His class?  The special ed. class.  Now, you must understand that this is the very thing Scott said last year that he did not want... the yearbook picture of him in a special ed. class.  This is the very reason my husband did not want him on "the short bus."  No, he's not in denial.  I think he is being somewhat realistic.  Just one more way for peers to note his differences, and one more time (I know there will be lots more) for us to be smacked in the face with the fact that our child is different.  In that sense we step in to the tub after the water turned ice cold.

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Well, that went well!

    My meeting at my parish this morning went really well.  The outcome is that we will be doing an "all call" for parents in the parish who wish to meet about a new ministry to parents of children with special needs.  We will be meeting on February 5 at 10 AM at St. Patrick's of Merna. 

    I met with Fr. Jerry, Becky, and Sr. Rita, and the things I was praying for last night truly did occur.  I learned that there are options with our parish school of religion for students with special needs, and that there is a SPEC program at Holy Trinity Church.  I spent some time relating different things that occur with the boys that stray from the typical (I mentioned about Ignatius' serving experiences and anxiety and his anxiety relating to Confirmation).  We discussed some things regarding Max's needs and how some of the parish outreach (like Vacation Bible School and Kid Spot) can be somewhat overstimulating because of the sheer number of children involved.  From several of the comments made. I really felt as though they would be very helpful in helping Scott and me decide how to proceed with Max's schooling in the Catholic faith.  Fr. Jerry was appreciative of my wanting to share these things, and it seemed to really open his eyes to the need for outreach to parents. 

    So, onward I go.  I am creating a bulletin announcement for the next couple of weeks, and touching base with some of the persons suggested to me regarding the direction we take with this.  Prayers are still welcome! 

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    What Seek Ye?

    A few years before Max was born, I participated in a Bible study with a group of ladies in my parish.  One of the first things we were asked to do was to write a "What Seek Ye?" letter to the Lord. This was to guide our study of the book of John, the Lord's beloved disciple.  We used Beth Moore's Beloved Disciple as our guide.  Here's what I wrote, painfully unedited:

    "What am I seeking?  It depends on the day.  Right now, today, 1/13/04, I seek knowledge that my decisions to NOT do certain things for the church are grounded.  I'm trying to place family first, while sacrificing things I could do.  Yet I add on more with my career without too much thought.  Still struggling workaholism, balanced with perfectionism.  I seek another child.  Just ONE more.  I seek to know why Jesus allows people who fail at child rearing to have children (and lots of them), yet Scott and I are left yearning, pining for more.  Does God know I can't handle more?  Is he trying to tell me that?  If so, how do I fill the hole in my heart?  I'm seeking to control my eating habits.  God has already placed Kim in my life to keep work outs consistent (thank you!).  Now how do I work to eat the way I know I should?  

    I seek to realize and reciprocate how much Scott and Ignatius love me.  How do I show them how much I love them?  I seek wise words.  I have leadership abilities.  How am I using them?  Do I exude positivity or bring others down?  I seek to listen, to not make everything about me.  To balance, be 'understood as to understand.'  To NOT sound like a know-it-all.  To let others arrive at their own conclusions.  I seek to bury old wounds.  Let go past bad experiences.  Open myself up to the new, yet have learned from the old.  I seek to see each of my students' unique situations and bring them Christ when I can, though I cannot do so overtly in my job.  I suppose that'll do for now. :) "

    I like to journal thoughts, especially my prayers, because I think the best part of the experience is going back and allowing the Holy Spirit to show how God answers prayers.  The human mind has the tendency to forget at times the most desperate of prayers.  Within that next year, I was pregnant with Max, though very close to giving up all hopes of having another child so that I could move on to other paths in my life.  I was feeling tremendous guilt over not being as active in my church as I had been accustomed to.  I was at that point feeling the burden of the many hats I was wearing, unsure of which ones God wanted on me, and not wanting to toss aside "the one."

    Well, here I am again, seven years later, with that same question, "What seek ye?"  I am at the verge of asking our church to embark on a ministry.  I am willing, yet feeling inadequate, to lead this ministry.  I am seeking assurance from God that I have been hearing his calling correctly and am here to do his will.  I have not been "knee deep" in church activities for a decade, as the closer I got to the workings of the church, the more its humanity got in the way.  I preferred the unflawed version, which meant not being in the "inner sanctum."  I dropped RCIA, Ladies Auxiliary, Habitat for Humanity, Youth Ministry, lectoring, and eucharistic ministering.  My focus was to raise my child(ren) without other "things" taking up my precious time and without gossip destroying my faith.  Now, I stand on the threshold of breaking that... of asking for a ministry and being involved with its inception.  Is that REALLY what I am seeking? Isn't it enough to try to raise my special needs sons?

    I have felt this voice for some time now.  It seems to be saying that there's more need out there than just my own.  The spirit moved me to persistent action, but it was not just for my benefit.  People are in need.  Parents need to know how to take a non-traditional path to forming their children's spirituality in a church steeped in tradition. 

    What do I seek in my meeting tomorrow?
    -Understanding: making my point known without becoming overly emotional (and thus losing credibility, in my opinion); having the people with whom I am meeting validate my perspective that a need exists
    -Fortitude: to say what needs to be said, yet not alienate or place blame
    -Wisdom: the ability to take what I know and "pull it out" when I need it, keeping the aforementioned "know-it-all" at bay

    I want to leave the meeting with a feeling like real change can occur, that I am creating an opportunity, not a burden.  And I hope I can come away with an idea of what my part needs to be in all of this.  

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    Color Me Excited!

    Happy New Year to all!

    My first week of 2011 will include a meeting with my pastor regarding the needs of special needs children and their parents in our church.  In doing a quick web search of what's out there, I "found" (as if it was hiding?) the National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry.  JACK-POT!  Imagine that... others in the Catholic Church who recognize that we need to individualize cathechesis to meet the needs of  those who stray from the "norm."  Oh happy day!