Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I Dare You.

So what is all of the fuss about this Nerium business?

I'm so glad you asked.

I don't normally advertise for anything or anyone on my blog, but this is just too good for me to stay quiet.  Quit rolling your eyes.  Stay with me for the duration of the post.  Trust me on this one.

I was invited to try Nerium AD and wasn't really interested.  It is marked as an anti-aging cream, and quite frankly I didn't think I needed that.  And I wasn't looking for anything else to do.  But I went along with it because really, what does it hurt to give something a try?

I was in for a surprise.  Nerium AD was an accidental discovery by MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas.  They were working on a cure for melanoma, and noticed that during their clinical trials, everyone came back looking fantastic.  So they started to think, Hmmm... maybe we are onto something.  The Nerium Oleander extract in their product seemed to be making really awesome things happen to peoples' skin.

After a lot more scientific experimentation and research and clinical trials that I can't even begin to understand, they realized that they had created a miracle cream.  A genuine breakthrough.  For real.  So they debated about what to do about it.  After much consideration, they decided to market it themselves, and Nerium AD was born.

They made it available to the public through direct multilevel marketing.  It is very new and the results and growth are astounding.  Not only that, but the price is very comparable to other products on the market AND 30% of the profits go back to Nerium Biotech Research.  And they have rights to the Nerium Oleander plant so that no other company can duplicate it.

So anyway, I gave it a try.  And I loved it.  Even though I don't have a wrinkled face, people told me that my skin looked softer and smoother.  I started to see breakouts disappear.  I felt like my makeup went on smoother.  And I was hooked.  Not only that, but my husband, who tried it to humor me, really liked it as well.  I moved it one night and then heard him in the bathroom looking through the cabinet.  Then he said, "Hey!  What did you do with that face stuff?!"  And this is coming from the man who uses a bar of soap to shampoo his hair, folks.  

Nerium AD can help get rid of acne, shrink pore size, help with eczema, resolve discoloration, and promises a 20%-60% reduction in fine lines and wrinkles (and that is based on objective clinical studies).  It is amazing.  And I know it sounds unbelievable.  Because not only does it promise all of that, but it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.  At the risk of sounding like an infomercial... that's a risk-free trial!  AND they are so confident in their results, they request that you take a before picture so you can use it for comparison later.  How many skincare companies are that sure of their results?!

Hold on to your hats.  I haven't even gotten to the best part.  If you refer three customers who sign up for the product, you receive yours free every month that they remain customers.  Breakthrough product in your mailbox... free.  I can live with that.  Besides which, even if I didn't get it free... I've gotta look at my skin the rest of my life.  I'm pretty sure I spent money all of the time on really temporary things like having my nails done or even getting fast food.  So I think I could swing the funds to pay to improve and protect the face I gotta look at in the mirror forever.  But it isn't that hard to get three friends to sign up for the product... because everyone loves it.

So that is my spiel about the incredible Nerium AD product.  I also fell in love with the company.  Besides selling a product they believe in, they encourage servant leadership and honesty.  I truly believe they are real with their employees and customers.  They want people to succeed and they want to improve the lives of others.

So anyway.  That's the real deal, ya'll.  I dare you to try it.  Sign up to be a preferred customer.  If you decide after 29 days and an empty bottle that you aren't happy with it, send it back and get a refund.  Nothing to lose.  And I'm pretty sure you won't hate it.  ;) 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Secret Sorority

Many of you I have never even met face to face, but I've searched you out every day. I've looked for you on the Internet, on playgrounds and in grocery stores. I've become an expert at identifying you. You are well-worn. You are stronger than you ever wanted to be. Your words ring experience, experience you culled with your very heart and soul. You are compassionate beyond the expectations of this
You're my "sisters." Yes, you and I, my friend, are sisters in a sorority. A very elite sorority. We are special. Just like any other sorority, we were chosen to be members. Some of us were invited to join immediately, some not for months or even years. Some of us even tried to refuse membership, but to no avail. We were initiated in neurologist's offices and NICU units, in obstetrician's offices, in emergency rooms.. We were initiated with somber telephone calls, consultations and evaluations.

All of us have one thing in common. Yes, one minute everything was fine. Then, whether it happened in an instant, as it often does, or over the course of a few weeks or months, our entire lives changes. Something wasn't quite right. Then we found ourselves mothers of children with special needs.

We are united, we sisters, regardless of the diversity of our children's special needs. Some are unable to talk, some are unable to walk. Some live in a different world. We do not discriminate against those mothers whose children's needs are not as "special" as our child's. We have mutual respect and empathy for all the women who walk in our shoes.

We are knowledgeable.
We have educated ourselves with whatever materials we could find. We know "the" specialists in the field. We know "the" neurologists, "the" hospitals, "the" wonder drugs, "the" treatments. We know "the" tests that need to be done, we know "the" degenerative and progressive diseases and we hold our breath while our children are tested for them. Without formal education, we could become board certified in neurology, endocrinology and psychiatry.
 We have learned to deal with the rest of the world, even if it means walking away from it. We have tolerated scorn in supermarkets during "tantrums" and gritted our teeth while discipline was advocated by the person behind us in line. We have tolerated inane suggestions and home remedies from well-meaning strangers.

We have tolerated mothers of children without special needs complaining about chicken pox and ear infections. We have learned that many of our closest friends can't understand what it's like to be in our sorority, and don't even want to try.

We have coped with holidays. We have found ways to get our physically handicapped children to the neighbors' front door on Halloween, and we have found ways to help our children form words, "trick or treat". We have accepted that our children with sensory dysfunction will never wear velvet or lace on Christmas. We have painted a canvas of lights and a blazing Yule log with our words for our children. We have pureed turkey on Thanksgiving. We have bought white chocolate bunnies for Easter. And all the while, we have tried to create a festive atmosphere for the rest of our family.

We've gotten up every morning since our journey began wondering how we'd make it through another day, and gone to bed every evening not sure how we did it.

But we, sisters, we keep the faith always. We never stop believing. Our love for our special children and our belief in all that they will achieve in like knows no bounds. We dream of them scoring touchdowns and extra points and home runs. We visualize them running sprints and marathons. We dream of them planting vegetable seeds, riding horses and chopping down trees. We hear their angelic voices singing Christmas carols. We see their palettes smeared with watercolors, and their fingers flying over ivory keys in a concert hall. We are amazed at the grace of their pirouettes. We never, never stop believing in all they will accomplish as they pass through this world.

But in the meantime, my sisters, the most important thing we do, is hold tight to their little hands and together, we special mothers and our special children, reach for the stars. ♥


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Day of Preschool

Man, it sure was hard to sit in the car and watch her walk away... but she had a wonderful day and wants to go back!  My babies are growing up! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Dearest Kindergartener...

I can't believe this day has arrived.  Oh girl, I prayed for it. 
Do you remember all of those nights that you insisted on screaming your head off and not sleeping at all?  I do.  I remember sitting next to your crib just praying for 20 minutes of silence.  Or 10.  And Lord, I'll settle for 5.  Just make it stop screaming.  Man, it'll be so much easier when she is five years old.

Or how about those potty training years?  And I do say years because it literally took me years to potty train you.  I remember mornings that you would take your diaper off and decorate your crib with the contents, and oh boy, did I wish for the day when you'd be school age.

 How about when you started telling strangers everything?  I had to tell you not to tell the grocery store cashier everything that happened to you that morning because quite frankly she really doesn't care.  And you really don't need to loudly announce to everyone in the doctors office as you touch my legs that they are prickly.  So I didn't have time to shave today.  Now everyone knows.  Thanks, kid.  Man I bet she won't do that when she is five.  (You still do.) 

When you were a baby, you used to hate to ride in the car.  You'd scream bloody murder everywhere we went.  I used to pray for green lights.  People used to claim you'd get tired and quit.  I laughed at them.  And thought... when she gets old enough to go to Kindergarten, everything will be different. 

And it is.  But in a lot of ways it is the same.  You are still my baby.  I always think of you as the child of my youth.  Because I think I was still growing up and figuring things out when you were born.  And you taught me a lot.  And you still do.  Because when you are a kid, you think your parents know it all.  And that is a lie.  They are totally making it all up as they go, and hoping it works.  You may be embarking out into the world now, but you are still my first baby.  That won't ever change.

You are still the strong, determined, spirited, dramatic child I've always known.  You'll do so well in school.  You are confident and not the least bit worried about making new friends.  I can't wait to see what you accomplish in the next year, and many years to come. 

You still like to snuggle and think that having your mom watch a movie with you, or sleeping in my bed is the best thing ever.  And I love that you still need your blankie with your thumb through the tag.

Things really are different through.  I've seen you become a little girl from a toddler, and it happened right before my eyes.  You still teach me things... and your wisdom sometimes astounds me.  I love it when I overhear you singing songs you've learned at church, or when you remind me of a truth you hold in your heart.  I like to watch you mother-hen your sister, and I smiled when you lost her for ten seconds at McDonalds and quickly organized a search party from the kids in the playplace.  And you commanded their attention, and they listened to you.  You are a born leader.  You will do great things.  I love your compassionate heart, and the way that you truly hurt when others hurt.  This is a gift.  Use it.

It sounds so cliche but it really seems like just yesterday you were marching around in the house in a pull-up and rainboots and declaring "Me do it!" about everything, and getting up so many times at night that I wanted to list you on Ebay with free shipping included.  And now you are strapping on a backpack, and heading off without me.  And though you look a little shy (I know its just momentary nerves), you don't cry or cling to me.  You proudly head off for your very first big adventure.  I'm so proud of you. 

We have a lot more adventures ahead.  Thank goodness.  Time goes way too fast.  But being your mom is the true adventure, and I'm loving every minute.  Okay, that is a lie.  I do not love it when you are nocturnal or when you tell everyone after you misbehave that I'm going to beat your booty when you get home.  But overall, I love it.  And I love you.  I'll be waiting to get you off the bus, and I can't wait to hear about your day.  And I'll probably miss you and think about what you are doing 2498573486 times until then.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cincinnati Walks for Kids

We are going to be walking in the Cincinnati Walks for Kids Fundraiser on October 20 with thousands of people to raise funds for Cincinnati Childrens Hospital.  Our family is making up Team Brooklyn and we'd love for you to support us by making a tax-deductible donation in honor of Brookie.  All funds raised by our team go directly to the neurology department of the hospital and have the potential to help the doctors there improve Brooklyn's life.  To donate, click here.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Farewell Summertime

 Summer is drawing to a close, and school starts next week.
We decided that we just hadn't had enough fun, so this week was our last hoorah.

We ate popsicles (which Brooklyn thought were too cold, apparently).

We had lots of goofy times.

 And then we went out to the ballgame.

Someone got sleepy.  Besides Daddy.

We finished up the week with frozen yogurt, purchasing a goldfish, watching movies, eating popcorn, and having lots of snuggles.  Farewell, summer!  See you next year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Momma Bear Growls Again

Here's the thing.

When you have a child with special needs, you realize that people say a lot of stupid things.  No judgement here... I'm quite sure I was probably once one of them.  Not that I ever put my foot in my mouth or offend anyone.  Ever.  Ahem.

However, there are a few that say things that I'm pretty sure I never would have said.  And those things can make the blood of mother of a special needs child boil faster than anything you can imagine. 

Back by popular demand, may I please present things you should not say to the parent of a special-needs child.

1.  "Maybe he/she will grow out of it."
I'm sure that is meant to be a consolation.  However, it really is quite insulting.  We spend a lot of time with experts in the field... and if they really thought it was something our child we just grow out of, we probably wouldn't be at the therapy office or CVS nearly so often. 

2.  "What is wrong with your child?"
This one really makes me want to respond... what is wrong with you?!  Everyone is different... a child with special needs is just a little extra different.  

3.  "Have you tried..."
This phrase is usually followed by recommendations of all sorts.  Special diets, vitamins, videos, therapies, massage, herbs.... you name it, they recommend it.  Lets just leave it to the specialists, por favor. 

4.  "Why do you need an aide?"
Uhm, because we have to puree food, clean our house before the therapists come over, research a compounding pharmacy, call the out-of-town hospital, check weight gain, wash laundry that has been vomited on, administer multiple meds, wash syringes, attend therapy, change feeding tube bags, go to the lab to have blood drawn, call the school about the IEP, talk to the doctor that returned the call, and its only just noon.  And did I mention we are also keeping up with a "normal" child and spouse as well?  So we may as well add run to the store, make cookies for the PTA meeting, and make sure you don't miss the bus to that list as well.  Did I forget anything?!

5.  "Let me know if I can do anything."
This seems like a nice gesture, but its kind of a cop-out.  We are so busy and worn out and probably too darn proud to call you and say, "Hey, I'd really like you to babysit my normal kid" or "We could really use dinner."  So how about you just call and say, "I made an extra casserole.  What time will you be home this afternoon for me to run it by?"  or  "We are headed to McDonalds Playplace... can I swing by and pick up your other child?" 

6.  "He/she doesn't look like he/she has special needs."
I'm not really sure what all of the rare syndromes and abnormalities look like combined together... but whatever.  I still trust the experts on this one. 

7.  "Aren't you glad you get to go home and get back to normal now?"
People have said this to me as we are leaving the hospital.  Again, I know that sometimes people really are trying to be nice.  But normal in our house is just a setting on the dryer.  For any confusion, please refer to #4 above.

8.  "Are his/her glasses real?"
Now this one wasn't said to me personally but I heard it said to a friend whose child wears glasses for severe vision impairment.  I mean really?  Who puts fake glasses on a toddler?  Yes, genius, they're real.

9.  "I'm sure she'll catch up soon and one day nobody will know anything is wrong." 
I'm sure one day America will be out of debt too.  
And that there will be world peace.
And we'll all hold hands.
And sing.  And skip over the rainbows.  With unicorns. 

10.  "How old is she?"  "She is two."  "Ohhhh."
Yeah, that is just awkward.  If you notice a kid doesn't talk or walk very well or do anything independently but seems to be the size where they should, you are better off not asking how old the child is unless you have a response of some sort prepared.  Bless your heart. 

That's all for this episode.  The way this week has gone...stay tuned for next week!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


 "The soul is healed by being with children."  - English Proverb

“Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God. Be a person in whom they can have faith. When you are old, nothing else you've done will have mattered as much.”

"Children see magic because they look for it."  - Christopher Moore

Monday, August 13, 2012

Silly Stylish Sassy Soccer... Star?

 First order of business, my camera has been repaired.  Two hundred dollars and five long weeks later... it is back in my hands.  World, prepare to be inundated with blog posts now. 
[You're welcome?  I'm sorry?  Whichever is applicable.]

Savannah decided to play soccer this year for the first time.  
She's having a blast, and if anyone needs free entertainment for two hours per week, call me.

 There are times that she appears to be doing well and I think that she may surpass her mother's athletic skills (wouldn't take a whole lot) and then there are other times...
...when I look up to see things like this...
...and I'm just not so sure.

 I guess somersaults, silly faces, and bear hugs are all a part of the biddy soccer league.
As is socializing.  The entire game.

Then there are other times she looks like a legit soccer star.

I guess the potential remains to be seen.
Until then, Go Tunas!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Stories of New Kitchens

Once upon a time, there was a house.
It was quite charming and not in need of much work.

After living in the ghetto and remodeling the entire former house, 
the royal family was quite content with the newer charming house.

Except the queen really hated the kitchen.

The cabinets were very small, with wasted space above them.  And they were constructed out of three different woods.  And nailed and caulked to the walls haphazardly.  And the microwave was not centered over the oven.  And there was a bunch of wasted space in an area that was too small to be an eat-in area as well.  As if the person who constructed the kitchen was highly intoxicated.  Hopefully.

Lucky for the queen, the king just so happened to have been a carpenter in his former life. 
So he agreed to give the queen a new kitchen.
So he tore out the kitchen, and began a remodel.

And then went to the academy, and then tore his ACL and needed surgery, and then...
But I digress.

The king finished the cabinets this past weekend.  And the queen is very happy.
All is well in the kingdom. 
Except that the queen's camera got knocked onto the ground by a princess and thus is in the repair shop, so she can only show off her new kitchen with phone photos.  
Which incidentally explains the lack of recent blog posts as well. 

Alas, I present... the kitchen.