Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gather Dust or be a Gift?

I don't know what is in the water, but there are babies/baby bumps everywhere! I've already attended a couple of baby showers in recent weeks, with many many more sure to come. Yesterday I went through Liam's room and a couple of cupboards and closets, and took any baby/toddler stuff that we have yet to use, and put it in a pile. Joe came into the room and asked what I was doing. His eyes were wide, and I could tell that he was panicking just a bit. I told him that I was gathering up all of the unused things I could find in preparation for a season of baby showers. The look of shock did not leave his face.
"You're going to give people these things?", he asked.
"Yes. We clearly won't use them, and I'm sure they will."
"What?! That's horrible! Why would we give people stuff we won't even use?"
"Because we had a million of them, that's why they were not used.", was one of my replies.
"I don't like it. It doesn't seem right.......Wait, will it save us money?"
"Oh, ok. Good idea!"
So I feel the need to ask others. Is it really wrong to give people the stuff that has been gathering dust in your closet, but is perfectly fine? The items only made the cut if they had tags, were never opened, and contained all the pieces. I think that it would be crazy to go out and buy someone a bottle of infant shampoo when I have three unopened bottles in the closet, or buy them another outfit when Liam has four in his closet that he was never able to wear before he got too big. Maybe I'm crazy.
Would you care if you knew?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ideas, Projects, and Dads! Oh My!

My husband always says that I am so similar to my dad. I have never been able to see it more than in the last couple months. My dad owns his own remodeling/repair company and it's his job to come up with ideas about how to make houses and properties better. I so have this trait these days! My mind can not stop coming up with ideas and projects that could make our house our own and amazing! The problem is, #1- having the funds to support the ideas, and #2- we are not sure how long we really plan to live in our current home, so some projects may be pointless. I think that this process is fun and exciting, but I do tend to get overly excited and then feel crushed when reality hits me.
My dad is so creative and can do amazing things, and I am starting to think that I may have some of his interest in design. It is so funny how alike we seem these days! A couple of weeks ago I was trying to explain one of my ideas to Joe. When he looked confused, or maybe it was stress, I pulled out a piece of paper and pencil and said "Let me draw a picture for you." Classic Dad move! I then spent hours after our discussion, measuring, drawing, erasing, re-drawing, and perfecting my own plans for the project. I loved it!
I got into this mind-set in early January and so far, I'm not slowing down! Project after project floods my mind daily. This, of course, is driving Joe insane! He is extremely practical and will not get excited or even interested in something like this, without knowing that we can absolutely afford it and without hours of my blabbing 0n and on about how great it would be. I'm sure that this is exhausting for him, but I'm thriving on the constant creativity that is flowing from my mind.
Luckily for both of us, it looks as though at least one or two of my wonderful ideas will/could be a reality in the near future. This will be good for both of us, because I will get to see some of my ideas come to be and good for Joe because (hopefully) I will be satisfied for a bit and he can relax. We'll see!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


On Friday a co-worker handed me a packet for the NAAFC (The National Alopecia Areata Foundation Conference) that will be held in Washington D.C. this year. I have never been to one of these conferences and my co-worker (who has a son with Alopecia) has been telling me how wonderful and supportive these conferences are. For the past few weeks I have been considering the trip. It would be nice to take a family vacation to Washington D.C. Neither Joe nor I have been there, and it would be nice to meet some people who I can relate to in the Alopecia sense.
When I got up this morning I remembered the packet and took it out of my bag to look it over, in preparation for a discussion about the benefits of going with my husband. The first few pages are what you would expect: a page explaining who the NAAF is and what they do, an itinerary for the weekend of the conference, conference highlights, guest speakers, etc., but right in the middle of the packet is the page that shocked me. This page is titled 'Conference Registration Form'. Now, I knew ahead of time that there would probably be some sort of fee to get in. They have to pay for the conference some how. But as I looked at the fees, I was appalled!
It would cost $210 for me, $170 for my husband, and (thankfully) my son would be free. This is if I were to register before June. Otherwise it would be $520 for me and $240 for the hubby. So, best case scenario- $380 just to get in the conference, worst case- $760! This is not counting airfare, hotel, food and anything else we would need to do to get/stay there.
Is it just me, or is this completely ridiculous?! I wanted to go for support for a disease, and for my son to meet other people like me, just in case he ends up having it as well. But apparently, support costs a lot of money these days! I am fed up with the "support" we get. "We support you in your baldness, but here is a million expensive products that will "fix" you". "We would love to support you and your just pay us an arm and a leg!"
I have nothing against the foundation or the people who choose to go to the conference, in fact I'm so glad that they can go, but I just find it frustrating that not only do I have to pay by being 'abnormal', but now I have to pay money to feel 'normal' for a day or two.That's crazy! If this is the kind of support that we get, I don't want it! I will take the support of my wonderful family and friends who do it without fees, advertisements about shampoo, plane tickets, suggestions for wig makers, and an underlying tone that there is something wrong with me that should be fixed.
Why is that, because I was born with something that makes me different, I'm either made to feel like I need to hide it, or I need to shell out tons of money to find others like me? Why doesn't the average person need to change to accept me? I'm the one who has had to learn to adapt, I think it's someone else's turn! Oh yes, and please do it for free.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I See Red!

Every time my husband and I go out together without our little guy, I feel the need to spiff up a bit more than usual. Last night he took me out to a wonderful dinner at one of our favorite places. As I was waiting for him to get home, I thought I might as well paint my finger nails. I NEVER paint my finger nails. It's way too much work for something that I can't do well, takes forever, and will start to chip and look terrible in hours. But I did anyway.
I chose a very fiery red to match my feelings at the time. No not for Valentine's Day or for 'love', but because I was feeling a bit fiery myself. It wasn't until this morning that I thought about how painting my nails may actually be of serious benefit! My students walked in, and one of them said "Oh, Mrs. B has red nails today. We better be good!
Having red nails isn't just useful in signaling silence from 11 year olds, it also gave me a new attitude. I feel sarcastic, confident, like a force to be reckoned with. I like the painted-side of me, and it makes me wonder if different colors would give me different moods. Hmm. I may have to take the 30 minutes to do this more often, even if it does only last until the paint begins to chip.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Open-Mouthed Kisses

I'm a very sentimental person, which has been difficult to deal with since Liam was born. It's hard to be the type of person who needs reminders of the past, when your son seems to grow years, daily and right before your eyes. Although all of the normal, major milestones that he reaches make me sad that the stage has passed, I also think that I do a pretty good job of keeping it together. I can honestly say that, until last night, I have made it through the first 21 months without weeping about his growth.
I say, until last night, because one of the most amazing, adorable baby-isms that Liam has participated in, is now over. I can take the rolling over, the crawling, the walking and talking, the first hair cut, and his first birthday without so much as getting teary-eyed, but when my beautiful boy stopped giving me an open-mouthed baby kiss, that's when the flood gates opened! I LOVE his open mouth, slobbery kisses. Now that they are gone, he seems to be much older some how.
When he gave me a kiss right before going to bed last night, it was a normal peck of a kiss. When I said something about this, my husband said, "Oh ya. He gave me a kiss like that last night too. He must be over the open-mouthed kisses." Instantly, I felt my eyes begin to water, then the sobbing began. Both Liam and Joe looked at me in disbelief. Joe was confused and Liam concerned. Liam crawled into my lap, touched the corner of my eye where the tears were coming out, and then gave me a big hug. This almost made it worse! It was so sweet of him to be concerned and caring, but that's my job and he is too young to know what to do. Or at least I wish he was.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Apple Mummies and More!

Every year, I'm thankful that I get to teach things that I'm interested in. My favorite subject to teach is Social Studies, my favorite section is Ancient Egypt. As part of the curriculum, the students learn about the embalming and mummification process that the Egyptians created. To help them "see" the process for themselves, I have always had them do an activity where we mummify apple slices. The kids LOVE it, but I have to say, I think it's more fun for me. : )

Here is how/why we do it:
Step one: Cut the apple into slices so that the students can see the effects of mummification on both the "skin" and the "flesh". Apples react to this process very similar to a human body, which is interesting.
Step two: Mix 1 cup of salt with 1 cup of baking soda. This will create a substance similar to natron. Natron occurs naturally in Egypt and is what was use to dry the bodies out.
Step three: Pour a bit of the salt/baking soda mixture into the bottom of the cup (we don't want the apple to touch the sides of the cup), put the apple in holding it up so that it doesn't lean on the cup, pour the mixture all over the apple until it is covered.
*You will need to let the apple sit in the mixture for 7-10 days before it will be completely dried out and ready to be taken out.

Step four: Take the apple out of the mixture- the salt/baking soda will be hard, because it has sucked out all of the apple juice. There also may be a yellowish tint to the mixture (due to the juice as well). The apple will be shriveled and brown, but will not smell or grow mold.

Step five: mix white glue with a little water, dip strips of gauze into the glue mixture. Cover it completely and then wring it out so that it is only damp, and not dripping.
Step six- Wrap the apple completely. Take extra care not to leave the ends open. Then put back into the cup to dry.
*It will take a few days for the wrapping to dry completely.

At this point the apple mummies are done. I extend the activity by having my students make a sarcouphagus for their apple mummy.

I also think that it is very important to display the students' work for all students to see. It creates a lot of excitement about learning.

If you have any questions/comments/thoughts feel free to ask away! I love this project and would love to share it with anyone and everyone!

Friday, February 3, 2012

From the Mouths of Babes

So, everyone thinks that their child is the most beautiful, perfect child that has ever walked on this earth......guess what!? I know that it's true in my case. ; )
There is evidence that supports my thoughts. Do you need to hear it to be convinced? Well, here it is:
Everyone we meet out and about comments on how completely adorable my son is. Just last weekend, while getting his hair cut, several people said so. Then there is the usual infatuation with every picture that he has ever been in (none of which are less than amaing). But the last, and most crucial piece of evidence came at school today.
While getting ready to show my students a powerpoint presentation about the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, I was hooking up my computer to the document camera. When my students saw the picture of my beautiful boy that covers my screen, they did a collective sigh and the "how cute!" and "he is so adorable" comments were flying. Then (and this is the most important part) one student spoke out, "Is that a model baby?" My heart skipped a beat and I smiled from ear to ear. I said, "Nope. That's my little guy." He face was one of utter suprise. "But he is just so cute! He should be a baby model!"
I will NEVER forget the day that one of my six graders proved that what I have thought all along is in fact the absolute truth!

The Luminous (not bright) Side

Being part-time has been amazing for my family, my work, and myself, but there has been a few downsides too. Two weeks ago I signed a contract saying that I'm officially a part-time employee. This means that I may not be able to get my full-time status back. Being home with Liam has been such a blessing for our family in so many ways, but lately all of the drawbacks are what have been plaguing me! My husband and I have given up a great deal so that I can be, movies, resturants, date nights, a bigger/nicer house, and most importantly, our financial security.
Now I'm not saying that we can't make it with what we've got, we can- no problem. But there are things that are important to us that can't be as important anymore. Our son is, by far, more important than anything else in our lives, which is why this is all worth it. Lately I have been dwelling on all the things we can't do because of our situation. I made my decision and I know it's the right one for me and my family, and I never want to be one of those people who make choices and then complain about the consequences, so I have been working very hard to remind myself of all the good we have (now and in the future).
I don't think that these sad feelings would have surfaced, except for the fact that so many people in my life are just a bit ahead of us. I always feel like I'm trying to catch up. But that's wrong! I have things that they don't because I made choices and I have things that I will never be willing to give up and I need to learn that I can't have it all. I love my husband so much, and it makes me so sad to see the kind of pressure he is under being the "bread winner". He is already the stress-out-about-money-type and this situation could have flung him over the edge, but it didn't. He is so calm and thoughtful about everything we do, and I hope he knows how much I love that about him.
A friend recently told me, "Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not, remember that what you now have was once among the things you hoped for." and I can't thank her enough, because it's true!
I have a beautiful home, an amazing husband, the best baby boy ever, my loving pets, wonderful and supportive friends and family, and a job that I am thankful for everyday. Really? What do I have to complain about?! Nothing!

Oh ya! My next blog will be about the apple mummies!!