Sunday, August 30, 2009


Recently a question was posted on a cleft site about how to handle teasing on the playground. I thought about replying but others did. I'm posting a few of my thoughts here. My first thoughts were to ask are these children strangers? class mates? family? children of friends? I mean how much effort do you want to put into resolving the situation? Talk just to your child, try to talk to the other children, parents or teachers? This is no one-sided issue.

But then I realized that maybe all the years of difficult "playground" situations I have encountered have just been preparation for what may come for Holly.

My other three children are not cleft effected. But every single one has encountered teasing to down right bullying on the playground, classroom, school pick-up line. There is nothing outstanding or unusual about any of my first three children. Just your average kids, if your looking for a reason to single some one out, I can't think of why my children have been picked on. No glasses, no buck teeth, not over weight or under weight, not slow learners or over achievers... (of course, I am proud of my children for many reasons) but as for a bully? Why? I don't know.

Holly on the other hand may very well encounter children who mention her lip, her nose or her speech. Maybe not. In case she does though, here's "All I needed to know about teasing I learned on the playground"
  1. Sometimes children don't know better. They are growing and learning how to behave just like my kids are still learning.
  2. Life seems to be more like D.W., Emily and the Tibble Twins than like Arthur, Buster, Francine and The Brain.
  3. The best thing to do if someone is teasing you is to walk away.
  4. When some one says something untrue and unkind about you, do not believe them.
  5. Even your really best friend will have a bad day, forgive them.
  6. Sometimes we will never know why children say or do the mean things they do, our job is to forgive them, pray for them...and stay out of their way. Especially if the teasing turns to bullying.
  7. Jesus is always your BFF. No matter what.
It is hard enough to know exactly what to say to your child in difficult situations. Especially when the parents or teachers involved don't DO anything to help.

My first prayer is that Holly will not have to live through the experiences of her brothers and sisters. However if she does, I know we will all be here to encourage her, to reassure her and love her.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ahh! The view is terrific.

My friend, Michele, loves to use actual scenery as the background pages for her scrapbooking. When I saw this umbrella on the beach, I knew I had to try. I love the finished page and took two other "scenery" shots to use on other pages.

Traveling Light with The Lion

Food Lion that is. My oldest is 14 now and we have tried every trick to making travels as hassle free as possible.

I've tried:
  • packing snack bags for each child & stopping only at rest areas
  • winging it with fast food joints
  • shopping super frugal and bringing all our groceries with us
  • splurging with pre-made entrees and spreads (think pimento, chicken salad, lasagna)
All these approached have different positives and some obvious negative (fast food, hello!)

But my Simple Solution to Traveling with a crowd this summer is Food Lion. Here's what I liked about this plan for our summer vacation:
  • Food Lion prices are the same everywhere. I knew what to expect.
  • The Lion is located in almost every community we passed on Hwys 52 and 74. About time for a break and just like the commercials say, Food Lion is in the neighborhood.
  • The bathrooms are clean and not crowded.
  • The walk from the car to the back of the store was "just enough" for a break.
  • Everyone could pick out one piece of fruit for a snack and a individual juice (on sale!) near the milk section.
  • No packing coolers and cramming the car.
  • No hauling now crushed and man-handled food all the way back home.
  • Most of the stores offer coffee by the cup!
Once we got to the Oak Island, the Food Lion there is super nice and clean. We bought what just we needed for the few days we were there and didn't bring back too much (laundry detergent and cereal).

The plan worked for us this great this summer and I think we'll try it again on our next trip.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oak Island

Loved this trip. Wanted to share a few quick photos and am hoping this link will work. If not, I post more later. The weather was great, the children enjoyed the time we got to be at the beach. Even Holly did remarkably well. Slept two whole nights, am trying to replicate the success by lowering the temp in our house here at home :-)

Oak Island is such a terrific family destination. Really, it's you and the beach. Not much else there at all.

Hope the link works!

Monday, August 17, 2009

If you give a baby the car keys...Part II

Found them. Whew. In the cushions of the recliner.

I'm pretty sure I didn't put the keys there.

Thank you St. Anthony.

If you give a baby the car keys...

Absent-mindlessly to get Holly off my lap, I grabbed something shiny and said "here play with these."

I'm pretty sure it was my car keys.

Since, you know, I can't find them now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Race for the Cure

Back in April with just a few weeks left of school, I needed a challenge for my oldest. I gave him a choice: write a research paper or train to run a 5k race. He choose the race. No surprise there. But still, I am so proud of him for setting a goal and achieving it. Before the race he had worked his way down to an 8 minute mile.

My brother, John, has participated in the Race for the Cure in Raleigh and invited Lee to join him. My sister's family participated too. It was a hot, hot day in June. But Lee finished the race in a reasonable time, and with his group.

As for the scrapbook pages, well they have stumped me. I liked the inspiration page I found and these turned out ok. Papers from Scrapbook flair, embellishments from My Memories Suite. I think know that these are done, in the book and on the web :0, I can move on and get caught up with other fun events.

Congratulations, Lee! So super proud. Thanks Uncle John for challenging Lee to participate in the marathon.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Plan

The nutritionist from the CDSA came today. At long last, someone "professional" said YES, your child has both milk allergy and lactose intolerance. She may be outgrowing one or the other, but YES, doctors are reluctant to say that a baby has both because the percentages are small, that does not rule out the possibility that your daughter does actually have both.

I am not crazy, over cautious or paranoid. Holly and I do need a plan to get her off the bottle, know for sure about the milk/lactose and off the Nexium. We should not just do it all at once.

So here's the plan: 1. Make the switch from bottle to cup to increase her desire to eat food and need less formula.
2. Once we accomplished this switch, begin to introduce soy milk and transition off the toddler soy formula
3. THEN introduce lactose free milk to see if Holly has any milk protien allergic reaction.
4. THEN try Lact-aid type supplements to help with lactose intolerance symptoms.
5. FINALLY, step down the Nexium again.

She said so much, I can't put it all down. Most important she helped me process the steps we need to take to move forward. Oh yeah, one more thing. Holly is at the 75 percentile weight and 10-12 percentile for height. As she takes in more protein these should even out.

(If you have a child with cleft, look for the CDSA to provide the in-home speech therapy that our little ones need.)

Just so much info to take in, a plan and validation to what I have trying to get help for so long!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

County Fair Food

Zucchini Fritters

1 cup Bisquick, 1/2 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella, Parmesan or cheddar), 1/8 t salt, 2 eggs beaten, 2 cups shredded zucchini, 2 T finely chopped onion.

Combine all ingredients, fry 1 T at a time in butter. Place on paper towel. Add more butter as needed.

These are THAT good. My mother sent one over just for me to enjoy, with flat bread and a little chopped Vidalia onion. I added Cucumber Ranch dressing. The only thing that could have possibly made this better would have been DJ's Restaurant tzatziki, a fresh cucumber spread. Mom suggested marinara sauce, too.

Simply Sunday

How do you "keep holy the Sabbath"?

Our usual Sunday includes Mass and then as little as possible. Sometimes friends come over or we go, sometimes yard work (that's actually a break from regular house work for us).

However the best idea I heard recently is from my sister. I overheard her say that they have implemented "Text-free Sundays". What a great Simple Solution to really what can be rude habit. Unrestrained texting is like whispering, which you would never do in front of other people, because of course, how rude.

Unless you want to share what you and the other person are discussing, and that's like listening to a golf tournament announcer: Ok for a little while, but tedious if you have to watch for a long time.

Text Free Sunday is my sister's way of encouraging her children to be really present to the people they are actually in the room with. What a great idea!

Friday, August 7, 2009

You've Just Got to Love Monk!

I wish we had the full cable channels, just to see this one show. But am satisfied catching reruns at odd hours of the day. Found this article about good ol'Monk. Thought any other parent might like it too!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Crash! Boom!

Holly will say the most amazing things for her Speech Therapist. Words like walk, knock, down, Pooh, dog, duck, up, jump.

Lee, Anna and Bill all "crashed" things. Blocks, Power Rangers, Trains, Dolls, Cars, Pots and Pans. All went "CRASH". So, I've been "crash"-ing things for Holly this past week. In the hopes that she would say it too.


With Ms. Shelby today: I said "CRASH", Shelby said "BOOM."

Holly said, plain as day, "BOOM."

BOOM teddy bear, BOOM book, BOOM table...BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.

Who knew? All I needed was an interpreter.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Simple Life...

of Noah Dearborn. That was a TERRIFIC movie. Even Lee said "We can't ever sell Meme's farm. I think I'll start growing tobacco tomorrow."

Beautiful, beautiful movie. Watch on Netflix now.

And just because we try to enjoy simple things around here too:

Simply Sophie
Anna got Sophie a new collar, not pictured. But that inspired Anna to start creating all kinds off new collars for Sophie from donated ribbon, lace, yarn and fabric paint.

Simply Soft
Nothing like a fresh from the dryer big fluffy bathrobe, right after a bath.
Especially if it is your big sisters.

Simply Soaked
Nathaniel, just for you :-)