Aug 29, 2012

The blog in which I share with you my thoughts on my volunteer position I just quit.

Today was the first class of religious education.  I have a second grade class.  Correction.  I had a second grade class.  I have already emailed my volunteer position resignation.  Here are just a few of the thoughts that are bouncing around in my head, and I am not even kidding, they are not made up, but honest thoughts, that I will share with you.

  • Maybe it's not too late to be Jewish again.  I bought a tree from those people today.  Maybe it's a sign.
  • Do they really speak to other adults like this?  Their parents?  If so, how do they walk straight?  
  • Am I going to hell, or do I need some extra time in the confessional over this?  And by extra, I mean, some. Any time would be appropriate I think.  As the truth is, I am angry as hell with the parents for not raising their children properly.  STOP WORKING and start raising your kids to be decent!  I mean, yes, you need money, but not so much that you drive an expensive car, afford cable, a bazillion activities for your kids, and no time with your family.  Stop procreating for the love of all that is good!  I mean, I understand that we are to grow our families and our faith, but this is NOT what He had in mind.  I am sure of it.  
  • I don't know that the church will continue to allow us to attend, as we don't make enough money to support ourselves, and yet, they are asking more and more of us to help support it.  If they don't allow us to attend I need to find another church where there is a priest that speaks English as his first language, and by my past experience, that is hard to do- unless you don't mind a priest that is in our area that is less a man of God than the rock I stumbled on getting out of the car today.  Whew... I have venom tonight.  Stand back. 
  •  My daughter told me today that Fr. Pat makes her feel good inside because of what he says, and that he smiles while saying it.  I tried to smile as I grit my teeth to apologize to a child for interrupting her as I was speaking and she had verbal diarrhea.  I don't know that either one of us felt particularly good after I spoke.  
  • How is it that a handful of second graders made me feel so much more uncomfortable than that time I had to hold a man's tushie cheeks open so that the doctor could slice and pull out the hemorrhoid?  Correction.  That should have actually read "time(s.)"  Sad.  I suck at "rock, paper, scissors-- when it matters.  
  • If I thought I could get off the floor from the fetal position, I would have been in it while rocking and saying, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna' let it shine..."  
  • I doubt the Mormon's would take me.  I insulted them once with a blog.. or two.  But they seem so nice.... I'll have to suck up to a few just as a back up....  Then, find the store to get the appropriate attire.  You know they have their own clothes?  Well, technically, it's more like religious garments that are hidden pretty well, but I was learning about the faith, and found that there is an undergarment they wear, and it is not a whole lot different than any other faith and their religious coverings.  I mean Jews have a talis, a yarmulke, etc.  The priest wear vestments,  the collar, the nuns and their penguin suits (Okay, I'll be in line for confession next time, and you will just nod and keep walking.  It's going to be a long visit.)  I don't sing well enough to be am Mormon.  And I think they have closed the adoption line with the Osmonds anyway.  It was just a thought.  

The blog in which autism learns emotions.

MAN DOWN!  MAN DOWN!  Oh wait, that's not true.  So, while Charlie does not know why we had to cut the tree down, he did know I was making plans to have it come down.  He kept saying something about not wanting it to come down, about death, and such, but I thought he was worried about the person who was to do the deed.  I finally put it together, as he finally was able to verbalize it. The tree was going to die.  He was so upset about it.  I put a request out on Facebook, to pay $75 to anyone with a saw and the ability/desire to cut this tree down.  I immediately got some offers, and one, from a sweet neighbor friend whose boyfriend has experience doing this, and said he could do it this coming week.  So, as soon as we got in from gymnastics last night, around 7:PM, they were at our door and got right to it.  It was down and cleared within the hour, and all the while, I was outside and Geoff was at work, but I could see Charlie was not right.  Shay understood that the tree had to come down in order to put the trampoline in.  Charlie doesn't even know about it.  So, I started wondering...  why the sudden fear of cutting trees?  Then, it hit me.  The Lorax.  Awe... I felt horrible, and Geoff was seeing a much bigger development- sympathy.

*We do not allow more than about 2-5 hours of TV a MONTH.  However, we took the migits to a free viewing of The Lorax in a local park a few weeks ago.  While Charlie was panicking through most of it, as movies, in general, are hard for him to separate real from not real, he must have learned something.  Going to a no TV house is not only a huge financial win, but a win for childrens' development.  Everything from attention span, to other learning opportunities come from a house that limits TV.  If you don't believe me, go ask any doctor or teacher.  I do pull up Youtube videos of gymnastics, or fun science experiments, and I include that in my calculations of how much viewing they receive.  We have been TV-free now for three years.  Think of how much money we saved.  Allowed for a few extra local theater productions in the Spring time for us.  We even took them to Seusical the Musical and loved it!  (Look into the Spring plays at your local high schools.  We went to The Sound of Music, Seusical the Musical, Grease!, Annie, My Fair Lady, etc,  over the past two years.)

While Charlie is admittedly on the higher functioning side of autism, he has never had sympathy or empathy.  In fact, if someone gets hurt, he keeps going.  (He would make a great nurse.  Do the job, and don't allow too much emotion to get in the way of what needs to be done.)  Last night, he was oblivious to the train wreck happening around him at gymnastics.  I would post video, but it was graphic, and I don't feel like getting sued for sharing other people's children and their inability to safely do gymnastics.   I mean, a dive roll people... you tuck your head in!  It was the scariest thing to watch these kids fall flat on their faces after diving over the apparatus.  Charlie was clueless.  He did what the teacher demonstrated, and moved on.

However, a tree coming down, hurt him.  He thought it would hurt the tree.  He verbalized it would hurt and that it would die.  Wow.  So, the tree did come down, and he watched most of it.  Then, he went up to bed, and when I checked on him, he was asleep.  First thing this morning, he asked about the tree.  I didn't know what else to say, and promised we would plant another tree.  I wish I had more emotion for this tree, but the only emotion I have is elation for its' removal.  Seriously, that thing took up space in the smallest back yard you have ever seen, and it dropped leaves, which made a mess, and we all know how I feel about a mess- it's over medicating inducing- on a good day.

I went to look up Arbor Day Foundation online, and the website is not working well.  So.... here's what  will happen.  I don't know how much it costs, however, I will donate to have a tree planted in his honor for his birthday since the tree removal was a gift.  Angie's boyfriend refused payment.  I mean, after an uncomfortable verbal plea to take my money, he ripped up the check with a smile on his face AND thanked me for allowing him the opportunity.  Wow.  I had never even met the man before!  It was amazing.  I wish I could do something so helpful to someone, someday.  It was crazy.  Man sweat, lost blood, and worked crazy hard for an hour for us, and refused to allow me to compensate him.  And Angie, jumped in and started raking and throwing leaves over the fence!  (I was going to do it today, as I was being eaten alive, it was getting dark, and I was fresh from a shower at the Y after my laps, before gymnastics.)  Good people.  She said, "Buy the kids something and say it's from me."  Done, Angie and Arnie have just bought my son some comfort, knowing that a baby tree will be planted for him.  Thank you friends.
Photograph © Erin Ahrens 2012

Acts 20:35

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Aug 28, 2012

The blog in which I decode a page from a user manual for you.

For the big seven year birthday surprise we have planned for Charlie, a trampoline, I read, reread, and cross referenced until my eyes and my brain were ready to explode.  I ended up with one I feel meets our needs, mostly, it obviously fell in the price range, however, it met the weight requirements I had, as well as reviews that said mostly positive things about it's use.  The one notable snippit I took from more than one reviewer was regarding how to put it together.  They all said that the directions in the box are not as good as the online manual.  So, I dutifully went online, and printed the relevant pages.  Plus, one, that I felt was confusing to the unknowledgeable.  My brother asked for a trampoline for his Bar Mitzvah.  (I do not know if those words need to be capitalized, however, I did, so as to not piss of G-d, who I might have already pissed off by not staying in Hebrew school long enough to know the proper way to write that.  And the word "Hebrew?"  Capital or not?  And shouldn't there be a "ch" in that word?   I thought the pre-requisite to to that language was the sound a fur ball extraction makes.  Hmm.  Think amongst yourselves.  The page I printed is here, for me to share with you since I have trampoline experience.  I have numbered each smaller picture so that I might reference them.  

Photograph © Erin Ahrens 2012
  1. This one is asking that we not jump to the left or right on the trampoline.  OR, that we are to not jump off the trampoline.  Even this was not very evident to me, the self proclaimed trampoline expert since I had one growing up.  Interesting fact- the trampoline comes with an enclosure netting, therefore, I think number 1 is irrelevant.  Let's move on.  
  2. Here, they are showing that it is acceptable to jump up and down.  I personally think this is redundant, and insulting to even the simple minded people they are selling this too.  (Just because I dropped out of "CH"ebrew school, (Jewish liberties taken with the addition of the "C," it's a birthright) doesn't mean I am simple.  Just that I can't speak "c"Hebrew, nor can I be buried in a Jewish cemetery since I am tattooed and have my ears pierced.  
  3. This box is showing that a jumper is not to jump onto the springs/pad area with their head.  Okay, that seems legit.  I guess.  Not really.  Moving on.  Still feeling more insulted than informed at this point.  
  4. You are not allowed to have two stick figures jumping on a trampoline at one time.  We will have a hard time with that one.  But, rules are rules...
  5. Do not allow jumping on the head.  Look, laws of natural selection should apply on this one.  
  6. One stick figure may be jumping while another stick figure watches from the ground.  That one will be tough for us to accommodate.  Have you seen Geoff or me lately?
  7. That is clearly a blood culture bottle, and it appears that it is not recommended to collect a blood culture whilst on the trampoline.  I understand that not everyone is as educated as I am-- even though I don't even have a college degree.  Grateful for my phlebotomy and medical assisting certifications and that I have the opportunity to share my expertise with you.  I am sure this is on the list due to the difficulty in maintaining a sterile environment and the potential for injury is elevated.  
  8. The "Super Man" move off the trampoline as a dismount is a no-no.  I get it.  I just think the picture would have been self explanatory if they added a cape.  Like this-
Super Man move being demonstrated in this illustration.  Photograph © Erin Ahrens 2012
    9. Umm... I could be wrong, but number 4 and number 9 look the same.  Going to assume this was a mistake on the part of the person who was assigned this task, and when his boss said, "Look busy," this was all he come up with.  
   10.  Okay, I see what is happening.  The boss really said, "Come up with ten ridiculous pictures to confuse the heck out of the buyer."  Sadly, the employee couldn't come up with any more ridiculous than the blood culture bottle, as he thought that was pretty freakin' genius, and gave up trying, so numbers 6 and 10 are also the same as well, and luckily, he snuck it past the boss and we are now viewing it.

I can not write a review on the actual product as we are still awaiting it's arrival, the home owners associations approval of the addition to our back yard, and the birthday, which is not until September 23.  By which point, we will hopefully have resolved the rat and GINORMOUS snake issue, and taken a tree down so that we might be able to assemble the trampoline.  We can do this.  We can do this.  We can do this.  (My mantra for the day.)

Aug 27, 2012

The blog in which I share random stuff with my migits.

Interesting facts about me....  Geoff was reading a recent blog, the one in which I shamefully admitted my fear of a Sesame Street puppet, and he was surprised.  Then, he continued reading, and came back to me, and said, "Until you were ten?!?!"  Okay, so I think there are some other things that my kids might one day find interesting.  I find it interesting that my husband was spraying cupcake liners with Pam this weekend in a cooking lesson with my daughter.  I was grateful that I walked in on this cluster mess, and could make the correction.  He will be 40 in December.  Please don't sign him up for a cooking lesson as a gift.  It will be wasted on him, unless of course, they are teaching water boiling 101.  I did teach him to make grilled cheese a year ago.  He has successfully burned it twice now, so I have not requested it since.

Here's my list of interesting facts....

Tongue pierced- twice.  Both times- AFTER I was married.  And seriously, I loved it.  But Geoff did not.

Tattooed-twice.  Not fond of tattoos at all now, but don't regret having them.

Maintained pregnancy- twice.  (But pregnant many times before these two migits popped out in rapid succession.)

lived in NY-twice.  Born there, and then moved back after high school.

Used the name "N.Y." as my nickname at a resident camp- twice.

Two surgeries; wisdom teeth (woke up during the surgery) and my gall bladder

Married when I was 26 years old.

Grew up with a cat, had parakeets, frogs, fish, one teddy bear hamster (the cutest rat I have ever seen), and had two dogs while with my hubby of nearly ten years.  Brody, my current dog, is a rescue Collie and looks just like Lassie.  I watched Lassie as a child, and if I didn't get a Mr. Ed, I wanted a Lassie.  Dreams do come true. One parakeet was flung from a ceiling fan in my room, and lived.  However, the injury caused his beak to lay crooked, so it looked like he had a screwy over bite.  Whatever.  He was fine.  Until he died.  And I would say the death was unrelated to the beak malformation.  But I am not a vet, nor do I remember all the deaths.  Just one.  That was a cockatiel that died in my moms' hands, and she was attempting to do two finger CPR before I realized what happened.  Love you Ma!  Thanks for that moment.  I will forever remember you yelling, "Oh Zippy!"

I wanted a real Jeep as my first car, but my father refused to allow a Jeep in his driveway.  Don't ask why.  He wasn't paying for it.  Anyway, I worked my tail off, and bought my first car at 16 years old.  I bought a grey 1988 Suzuki Samurai.  It was a five speed.  I LOVED THAT CAR!  However, years later, when I was ready for air conditioning and the ability to go faster than 63 miles an hour, I told my father I was going to sell it, on my own.  Originally, I paid $3,200.  Six years later, I sold it to a man for $3,400.  NICE.  Most proud moment of my life.  My father is a salesman, and I like to think that he should have been proud of my achievement in salesmanship.  All I remember was, "You aren't going to get what you want for it."  Suck it Dad!  I took that money, and bought a used Ford Explorer that had leather interior and was custom built as a five speed.  LOVED THAT CAR TOO!  Then, I taught Geoff to drive on that car, and then I got pregnant and obese, and didn't fit in the car anymore.  Sold it.  And two cars later, I am in my new favorite car- Honda Odyssey.

I learned to ski when I was 18 years old, and did it most every day the winter of 1995.  There was the most impressive snow fall accumulations that year in recent history, and I met Starr, and we went almost every night after work, except for Fridays and Saturdays when we hung out at the pool hall/bowling alley.  Free pool with Mitch, and super cheapo unlimited bowling for hours.  And that is where the infamous bowling through the legs accident of 1996 happened.  Starr, I am so sorry for that.  Glad to see you were still able to have three gorgeous kids after that stunt.  (I totally have a picture of you walking out of the E.R. that night, but thought you might not appreciate it going pubic.. I mean, PUBLIC.) grin.

I taught myself basic sewing at 33 years old.  I didn't even trust myself with buttons or small tears until that point. On Father's Day of that year, I ended up with a needle sewn right through my finger.  It was just as painful a you might imagine, if not, more so.

As a kid, I was kicked off a go cart track--- more than once.  My driving was questionable, even then.

I belonged to the Thespian Society in high school.  I was essentially kicked out of color guard though.  Too stupid to remember where to stand.  True story.

Played the flute all three years in middle school.  Never learned to read music.  Don't ask.  I don't understand it either.

Was afraid to drink alcohol as a teen, but putting my face to a nitrous oxide tank (laughing gas) didn't seem to phase me.  (Hindsight- was that before or after the color guard days?)

My initials, for real, were E.T.  (Didn't have a middle name.)  Really.  Have a Hebrew name, and it was essentially, Rachel.  (Hence, my daughter's middle name, and her G-d Mother's name is Rachel too.) E.T. came out in the theaters when I was five.  It was one of the 6 movies I went to as a child.  I was afraid of it.  I thought he was heinous, and the whole tent/oxygen scene was frightening to me.  The other movies I remember seeing in a theater were The Secret of Nihm, a Muppet Movie, not sure which one, a Star Wars movie with my brother, my cousin Douglas, and his mom, but she no longer talks to me, because... well... she's not too bright.  I guess I know which side of the family my intelligence comes from.  and honestly, I can only come up with 4 movies, so maybe it wasn't even a half dozen.

There you have it guys.  I hope that you appreciate that I can not for the life of me remember where to stand after months of practicing marching in a group, but remember that I forgot.  There are times now that I wish I could have had one more time to ask my grandparents random questions that I never understood or remembered the details to.

Aug 26, 2012

The blog in which I fill you in on our wildlife. (Warning, graphic picture)

Wow.  When put in perspective, this past week really sucked scissors.  (That is Melanie's term, and I will forever o it with her voice in my head.)  So, I told you about the two day migraine from over a week ago, that I followed up with the worst neck/shoulder pain that is still working itself out?  Well, after learning that the West Nile Virus is on the loose, I realized that I probably had a less dramatic form of it, but nonetheless, I still think it was W.N.V.  I'm serious.  It's too late now to go and get checked for it, but I think we should all be grateful that I am okay.  (sorta serious about the WNV... it's the only thing that all that could have come from.)

Then, we had that day where I heard a clunk clunk sound that was in the walls of my downstairs that came from the air conditioning unit outside and when I went to check, I saw a snake poking its' head out of the outside of my house where the wires come from.  He then went back into the hole in my wall, and that's when I called Scarlett, and she came, with a shovel the size of her arm.  All in all, it was less effective than calming, but as soon as she left, he very quickly saw that I was unarmed, and he high tailed it out of there, all the while, me video'ing his departure.  He seemed safe, and was fairly small, maybe about 5 feet in length, and I could tell, he was skinny, so whatever he went after, he had not caught.  Scarlett was closer to his head, and saw that he was all messed up from a fight he obviously lost.  That was not a good sign.

Starting last winter, I told Geoff that I had heard sounds of an animal, assuming it was a mouse, but that I had heard it doing something in by the fireplace or the wall near that AC unit.  Well, about two months ago, Geoff went to the back yard, and he said a HUGE A$$ rat ran past his feet, and he had no doubt that what I was telling him about had to be this Chuck E. Cheese on steroids thing.  So, when I informed him about the snake and the clunking sound I had heard, we knew it had to be going after that rat, and apparently, that rat is the size of a small hippopotamus.  I don't know why the rat is getting bigger by the minute in my story, but I have proof, that the snake does.

While I am typing this, my husband just snored and gassed at the same time.  Is that even possible?  I mean, wow.  My day just gets better and better.  (Everyone is asleep but me at this time, and it is only 8:PM.  I guess I should be happy for the quiet, except, as you can see, it's not super quiet in the room I am in.  Nor does it smell particularly good.)

Moving on.  So, days after that happened, it was Sunday night, and my neck was still very painful, I was exhausted from the lack of sleep from the week of migraines and neck pain, along with the wildlife, excitement, and I head to grocery shop while Geoff and the kids are out.  I get a call from a friend of ours who has heard of our issues, and says he would like to come take a look and see if he can close off the opening.  I arrange to have Geoff call him when he gets home.  Geoff gets home, goes to start the grill, and when he opens the grill, MOMMA RAT hisses at him.  I think she was telling him to be quiet, since her FOUR babies were sleeping there- In. My. Grill.  With a nest, made of SNAKE SKIN, a plastic bag, leaves, and a little of the steel wool I had added to another part of the house so that no animals would get in.  Ummm.. excuse me?  I didn't think steel wool was particularly comfortable, however, this freakin' rat decided to flick me off by using it as bedding for her babes.  Nice.  So... Geoff noticed that when he slammed the grill top down, it caught the rat's tail, and there was bloodshed.  It was nasty peeps.  He video'ed the release portion of the removal, and then, after Momma Rat made her escape out the back of the fence, he took my ladle and scooped all four babies and flung them out the back of the fence.  They squealed.  It was really upsetting.  Geoff prayed.  Then, our friend came, and he did close up the area where the the dinosaur size rat was entering from.  We thought we were done, until....

Thump thump!  That was this morning, before I was going to leave for noon Mass.  Frantic calls to our friend, and while I was making calls, Geoff decided to go investigate the outside area, to see if we could see where it was getting in from.  That son of a b. has eaten MORE of the insulation from the wires, enough so that it could squeeze back into the tiny opening.  GRRRRR. But, Geoff did make one interesting find...

Exhibit Freakin' A.  And no Yvette, my husband is not one foot tall, and this is an amazing demonstration in proportion.  This is a snake skin that was found right by the entrance to where Momma Rat is coming from.   I so wish Yvette was right!  photo © Erin Ahrens 2012

That was it.  I was done when I saw that.  I posted it on Facebook, and I got numerous offers from concerned family and friends that wanted to have our family stay with them until the anaconda and the elephant sized rodent have been evicted.  (Not true.  Actually, part of that is true.  The sizes.  Not the offers.)  I wish.  Seriously.  I am ready to be done with this version of Survivor- The island in Canton known as "The Ahrens Home."  I have been hearing scurrying/building noises in my bedroom wall over the past month now.  Not all the time, but when it's there, you know it.  I assume that the rat is making it's way around the walls of the house.  Nice.  I guess the snake is following?  Oh goodie.

So, after Mass, the kids and I made our way to Lowes, and found $70 worth of traps and one electrocution box.  It says it can kill up to 50 rats on one set of batteries.  That is fantastic.  I'm eager to report back with some news on that.  I also put large sticky traps down under that box opening.  After we catch it/them, we will then go about having the foam stuff sprayed up there and taking care of the wires.  In the mean time, we wait.  And pray.  And if that doesn't work... get the guest bed ready- we're coming!

PS   We headed to the YMCA for some exercise lap swimming this afternoon, and ran into a little friend from swim team today.  When the mom asked how my knee was, I was thrown.. Wait.  What knee problem?  HAHAHA   I got other issues... we have FINALLY moved past the knee issue.  (I think the swimming this past week was great physical therapy for it.)

Aug 25, 2012

The blog in which it's picture time!

I cleaned my garage today.  And here's what you guys get- PICTURE TIME!
Wait?  What? I thought...This seems obviously ironic.  
 the joy radiating from my soul in this picture?  Notice my father?  Not as joyful in front of a Christmas tree.  Here's your sign! I do not know what a practicing Jewish family would have a picture like this, but I am glad I found it.  I think it's my Uncle Bill's from when we helped him decorate it.  It was my first and only childhood hood tree experience.  I loved it.                       
You see, after doing the whole tree thing, I couldn't imagine this was something to smile about.  I mean, oil?  Those goy get a freakin' Savior, and we get over excited about oil?  Whatever.  Even at a  young age, I TOTALLY GOT IT.  Notice the color of my brother's hair?  I think he was adopted.  Just sayin'.  
Here's the deal with that sweatshirt.  (Can we pretend the bangs are normal to be that high?)  Moving on.   I saved all my birthday and Chanukkah money, and I was able to purchase one Guess sweatshirt and one Coke long sleeved polo.  That was the thing at the time, and I wore that sweatshirt like mad.  I LOVED it.  
Teen years.  I started out simple enough.  Wearing tie dye was like my gateway "clothing" to start my hippy-headbanger stage.  Wait for it....
Right.  So.  The black combat boots totally went with that ensemble.  See?  Fashion has never been a friend of mine.  I wore that EVERY DAY.  The red nail polish?  I dunno.  I thought black was extreme.  Must be a lady.  I was 16.  
That's my brother.  He is smiling because he knows what a freak I am and he is happy that he doesn't have to look at me from that angle.  I get it.  
This is my Aunt Carol.  She is a real hippy.  However, I think asked to borrow some of my garb to make fun of me.  I get it now.  OR she was high.  Honestly, that is more likely.
These are two of my cousins.  I loved the snot out of these kids when they were little.  SOOOO adorable.  Now, Scott is 28 (?) and Marisa is 25 (?).  Both out of college, and still adorable, in their own way.  It is evident that Marisa was slightly insulted that he parents would entrust her to sit on a freak's lap for a picture.  Scott, ever afraid of the freak.  He was no less than 3 feet away from us.  
Seriously?  That is what they grew into.  It's like all the good looks in the family were saved for them.  I love them.  
After highschool, I moved to New York for a year.  I was a live in nanny, and on the weekends, I would head to Queens and stay with them.  I had blue eyes.  I made too much money back then.  I really liked the blue eyes, but it freaked my mom out.  
This was our first Christmas together.  I dropped the blue eyes by the time I met Geoff, but I rocked that fake tan look.  I was tanorexic before my time.  

This is my favorite picture.  Someone took that picture of me and gave it to me.  I was living in the apartments with Geoff, had my baby, Tai, out for a run, and stopped at the courtyard to say "hi" to some of the neighbors.  I was thin, after I starved myself in ketosis for about a year, and stayed that way for about, say, 10 minutes in my life.    Glad that neighbor snapped the shot.  

1 month before we eloped.  We were at my brother's wedding, and Geoff caught the garter.  It was meant to be.  We had a blast!  I looked smokin' hot, and he was full of life at that wedding.  I'll never forget how he danced with a two year old.  Everyone loved watching them dance.  It was a night I will always remember with fondness. 
One of my favorite pictures of them- ever!  This was taken at the 60's themed "Sock Hop" at their preschool.  Child's Play Early Learning Center does the most amazing family parties, and this picture was actually taken by the owners' hubby.  He was so sweet to share this picture with us.  

And now, the finale.  If you have made it this far, you deserve this.  I promise, it makes me wonder how anyone kept a straight face.  We were at the old Cabbage Patch museum in Cleveland, GA.  It was a day trip we took with my favorite grandparents, Charlie and Eve, while they visited with an old family friend, all from Florida, at the time.  Grandma's only complaint, ever, was that my hair was in my face.  Really Grandma?  That was an ongoing issue for her and me.  From the time I stopped letting my mom do my hair, that's all I ever heard her complain about.  I miss them.  I hope the picture makes you smile.  It was taken on my 16th birthday.  

Grandpa Charlie is next to me, my mom in the middle of the picture, and my grandma on the right.  The family friend is on the top of the picture.  The ugly as sin dolls are the only thing that seemed out of place, right?  

Photographs © Erin Ahrens 2012

The blog in which I feel sad that I am letting go of a fear.

When I was a child, I had some irrational fears.  (I know... no irony there.)  So, one, the most debilitating of them all, was flushing the toilet.  My fear- that the Count von Count from Sesame Street was going to come whooshing out from the toilet and start counting in that ever so villainous voice.  Well, that voice, voiced by Jerry Nelson, has passed on, and for that, I am sad.  Sad that he will not be able to share the love of numbers with "count-less" of youngsters again.  However, more sad that I am not able to appreciate the loss as much as feel a sigh of relief each time I flush the toilet now.  No, really.  Rest in peace Mr. Nelson.  (PS  I was at least 10 when I started flushing without running from the bathroom.  Don't judge.)

As I contemplate how to explain my weird anxiety disorder to the people at the church that I have just probably pissed off by not attending the catechist certification today, I wonder if simply sending this blog their direction would help understand that my disorder is real and real weird.

Them- Erin, why did you skip out on your obligation to attend the certification meeting?

Me- Because I freaked out.

Them- Did you pray about it?

Me- No.  When I have anxiety, G-d sorta leaves me in a lump on the ground to have a moment to myself.  He's like that parent that says, "I'm leaving."  Then, He leaves.  I totally get it.  I do that to my own kids.  It's a vicious cycle, and if you read the blog, you will see that the cycle of tough love is ever present with my Heavenly Father and my own children.  I love teaching, but I don't love the sitting in class all day to get certification that I copied and gave to you people THREE times last year since you seemed to have lost it THAT many times.  This year, I will just save a tree.

Them- Okay.  We wish that you could have been open with us about it.

Me- Okay.  I wish that I didn't have issues.  It's nice to have a wish, right?

*By the way.. No, this is not how the conversation went as we have not had the conversation yet.  When it comes up, I will try to get away with, "I was unable to attend at the last minute."  And I WILL pray that they take that answer and say, "Oh, I hope everything is okay, and let us know if you need anything."  At which point, I will smile, nod, and say, "I'm good.  And I saved a tree, so I feel better  about the whole absence and you should too!"

Aug 24, 2012

The blog in which today is an "oops."

I have never had so much go wrong is such a short period of time in my entire life.  I swear, it is only 9:04 AM, Friday morning, and I have a list of things that have gone so cattywhampus in the past two and a half hours, it would make you wonder who I pissed off in the cosmos.... So, here's how it started...

Late.  I am never late.  In fact, early is on time for me.  I rush to be no less than 30 minutes early for everything.  (I never got the "fashionable early" award, but we already know that fashion is not my forte.)  So, I forgot to set my alarm, and we woke up at 6:50 AM.  Oops.  I was supposed to be at school for "Duck for a Buck" at that time.  Oops.  (If you read the blog from last night, that would make sense.)  Luckily, it was a last minute comment that I would go help as there was already someone signed up for the event.  I had prepped the migits about it last night, and they were so excited to go.  Oops.  Then, we struggle through the frantic rush to get into the car since we obviously can't make the bus at that point seeing as it comes at 7:03 AM.  Charlie decides that red is not his favorite color, and he goes through two more outfits before settling in with a pair of khakis, with a belt, and a baseball style jersey.  Nice.  He looks just funky enough to make it obvious that he dressed himself, and between the first outfit with a pull string pair of "swish swish" pants that he couldn't figure out, to the frustrating manipulation of the belt, we finally get him downstairs and he is sans socks.  Oops.  Grabbed two Special K breakfast bars and in the car we go. As we are are on the road, Charlie reminds me, "My medicine!"  Oops.  Yeah, that got forgotten too, along with everything else this morning.  So... My daughter pipes in with, "Great reminder Charlie!"  She was serious.  I was then turn into "Sarcastic Mommy without her coffee who is running late and needs medication for moments like these."  Have you met me?  You would know this is clearly not a cry for help, but a true statement that I have probably had to practice in order to attend some addiction meeting.  "Hi, my name is Erin, and I am a mommy who needs her coffee and medication for moments."  So, I then went on about how useless the reminder was, and how his leg might fall off from not taking the medication for the skin infection, but have no worries, since he has another leg, and he likes to hop around anyway.  (For real, they are going to be all sorts of fooked up before I get to the school.)  I need to filter some of the things that are in my head sometimes.  That might have been on those times.  Oops.  Get to school, and there is a huge line of car riders in MY way of dropping off my kids.  HELLO?  I'm late!  The bell is going to ring in like 4 minutes, and your people should not be driving them everyday.  This is for people like me who don't waste gas and occasionally forget to set an alarm. I swear, in the five years my son has been in school, this was the first time I was almost late.  Not tardy once last year, and only missed two days I think with illness.  So, as they are getting out of the car, I yell "I love you and have a kind heart!" and off they went as the bell was ringing.  So... I had a rough start.  Then, I get home, and the fun didn't end there.

I get a message from a friend who was asking for prayer.  I drank my coffee, and prayed.  I got up to wash my coffee cup that I drank like it was a shot of tequila, and I saw it.  A little wall decoration that seemed to jump out at me for the first time since I bought it at the Dollar Store a few years ago.  I took a picture, and texted it.  Sadly, I then saw the dust that was magnified by the flash in the picture.  My inspiration was there, but not for prayer.  Rather, I became cleaning frenzied, as a clean house is the only type of house I feel comfortable in.  Well, I decide to call and check on my friend and hear what sort of stuff is happening that required prayer.  As we are on the phone, I think, "I will pull off this vacuum job by putting her on mute as I vacuum.  No problem, let me pull this canister off and empty it before I begin."  Before I knew what happened, I had  knocked the canister that was on the top of the stairs, and it made a loud, and seemingly, Ssssslllllooooowwww motion descent to the first floor, opening along the way, and filling the air with dirt, dust and hair.  I was literally tasting it in my nose. Oops.  The vacuum canister was broken, and now, I had a huge mess, a slight panic attack, and not sure how I was going to clean up the mess.  Dust buster.  I was able to get the vacuum back into working order, sorta'.  I cleaned, and then started getting ready for my workout at the YMCA.

A cluster on my floor. 
Obvious- a cluster on my couch.  Not wasting time with a copywrite. 

A cluster on my stairs.  Take the picture.  I don't need a copywrite.  

I get to the Y at exactly class start time.  And wouldn't ya' know it?  I run into a students parent I knew from my class last year in Sunday school.  We chat for about 25 minutes.  I get into class late, see THREE people I know, expecting only to see one.  Not one of them makes eye contact with me. (whew)  I stretch myself out, as the only thing I have learned about all my sports related injuries from the past 7 months is that I am my worst enemy by NOT stretching.  SO, I manage to find a place in this packed class, and then I manage to find my way out within 10 minutes.  Are you kidding me?  This is for fit people.  I, my dear readers, am not what most would consider to be "fit."  I am fit to eat.  I am fit enough to make food.  I am fit enough to get out of the car, and bump into the car next to mine at the YMCA (every freakin' time!), and I am fit (sometimes) as a mother.  Other than that, I am seemingly fit enough to swim, and so, I headed to the pool and found 30  minutes of therapeutic swimming to focus my lack of energy on and then to feel just bad enough that I am not fit enough to exercise.  It's true.

I am close enough to Walmart to stop and see that my "Site to Store" shipment has arrived.  I go and find that the home gymnastics mat that I had ordered for Charlie's birthday present is in, yet, not acceptable for doing anything more than sitting, and even then, you might feel the floor more than the padding.  IT WAS TERRIBLE.  Oops. So, I returned it, and now, I have to get back into search mode and try to find an affordable mat.

Redemption Photograph © Erin Ahrens 2012
That, my friends, IS worth a hug and a copywrite. True story. 
However, I did get a call from the consignment shop and they will take a few items from my box I dropped off, and I will get a check for $16.  Then, I found Hello Kitty gummy snacks, and that redeemed me for my snarky behavior with my migits on the car ride to school.  I had to go pick up the revised IEP since the teacher forget it today, and then drive it to his private speech therapist, however, that all worked out, so I am grateful for it.  I think his teacher is either on the fence on me, or keeping at arms length, but however she feels about me, she is good to Charlie and has been a part of the puzzle that has allowed him to FINALLY receive the greatly needed educational supports/services that he has been denied for years.  So, for this paragraph, I am grateful.  The rest of it can go suck it.

Aug 23, 2012

The blog in which I admit to over posting and being over controlling. Spoiler Alert- nude drawing by artist in residence

So, I have been working really hard on not over posting every minute detail on my Facebook account.  Mostly, I post a lot of pictures for my family, and no, not all of them live here, or can receive picture text.  Therefore, I am stuck posting to FB.  A lot.  Often.  So, while there is a trend lately in only posting political, or  sporadically, that is not my style.  If I do something, I do it.  Like 1,001%.  So, Facebook is never spared of the latest underwear clad son  doing a spontaneous jig, or 74 pictures of a new hairdo I have invented/tried, or a tirade on injustice that I just can't let wait for a blog post.  From crafts to family outings, I have tried to keep it simple.  (Really, I AM trying.)  However, tonight, I broke my own new set of compulsive-less rules.   I posted about all the poor fashion choices that were made in my house by someone other than me tonight.

I told Charlie that the color of the day clothing assignments are ending tomorrow, with directions to "wear you favorite color."  He came back in to show me what he picked out.  A very nice colored, knit,  deep red polo shirt.  And he paired that nice polo with a pair of bright red work out shorts with a racing stripe up the outside of the thigh.  Great.  The first thing I thought of was, "Dang it.  I am going into school early with both kids at my side to help sell the PTA fundraiser as the kids get off the school bus, and besides seeing me, always a stellar example of a frumpy housewife from the country, now they will see Chaz dressed like I really have no ability to dress anyone.  Then, comes Shay.  I walk into her room to see what she has pulled out.  Normally, she is what she calls "stylish."  Sadly, it appears that our "stylish" has left the building, and now, a loud, striped tank top will be paired with a brightly colored, yet patterned pair of Capri pants.  

Shay's ensemble.  Photograph © Erin Ahrens 20120

With confidence like this, guess clothes really DON'T make the man.   This nugget is framed, and "hanging" in Chaz's room.  One day, he will thank me for only keeping the best from his preschool years.  No joke.  It is the only thing I have from preschool for him.  Photograph © Erin Ahrens 2012
Yes, this is his new favorite color.  Which means, he no longer loves pink.  Think baby steps peeps.
Photograph© Erin Ahrens 2012
I have a feeling the PTA will be doing a fundraiser for our family by the end of the semester.  Instead of "Duck for a Buck," they will call it, "Fashion for Frumpy."  Instead of donating a dollar to receive a little plastic rubber ducky, they will donate money to save for a make over.  (I swear, when I worked at the urgent care, I had a coworker, or MANY, suggest that "wouldn't it be fun to have a makeover show come and work on Erin?")  It was often enough that I paid attention and on occasion, would throw them by ironing my scrubs.  I think it worked.  The overly excited fashionistas never came around.  I did cut my ass length hair (yeah, that's now being used as an adjective) to my shoulders right before Shay was born.  Chick was four weeks late, so I had to do something with my time.  So, I donated to Locks of Love.  And no, technically, the OB tried to tell me she was born on her due date, but if your first child is four weeks early, every day past that mark seems "late."

I will dress in a smart little diddy I will refer to as "Mom jeans and a sweater."  Ohhhh, ahhh... get the run way ready folks!  I might accessorize that with a pony tail, and my phone sticking out of the v-neck in my sports bra.  And when I say "might,"  just expect it.  Don't judge.  I have problems.  

The blog in which I dread this Super Saturday.

It is only Thursday, and I am already dreading Super Saturday.  Because, this Super Saturday, is different then the others.  First, I will be unable to spend it with my family.  Second, I will be in class, ALL day.  (I have never been formally diagnosed with it, but I am telling you, with great certainty, that I have ADD.)  Sitting all day in classes has me anxious beyond necessary.  Wow.  I think I understand what Chazman was experiencing this past summer as he repeatedly shared his concerns with me about starting first grade.  He said it would be hard.  And yes, it has been.  And this Super Saturday, will be hard.  But instead of a loving, supportive mom that says, "Eat your breakfast quick!  We have gymnastics stretching and back walkover practice to do so that you can focus this morning at school," I will have a family that will most likely be sleeping in from Friday Family Fun Night as I head out to be in class.

Each year that I volunteer to teach a class at church, the Catholic Church wants me to take classes to learn how to educate and inspire the children through our religious education program.  While I think this is important, sitting me in class after class is really hard.  I am that teacher that understands the need to move and groove in order to learn.  I get the kid in the back that appears to be drawing a comic book, and yet, can recite the lesson back to you, verbatim.  (After last years' Catechist Certification day, I came home with more doodling than Walt Disney himself probably did in a day at the office.)  The child who dreads the turn taking reading?  Oh, I more than get her.  I was so shy as a child, and had a hard time reading out loud, that I somehow found a well placed bathroom urgency about two people before my turn.  Forget that "Popcorn" reading we did.  I would fake child labor by the time I reached fifth grade!  The child who feels out of place?  Well, depending on the age group, and how long they have known the other students in their class, will most likely affect their desire to participate.  I understand that the teachers need to facilitate a feeling of safety, but this coming Saturday, nobody can save me from sitting in the back row and playing on my phone until my eyes cross.

Sadly, the two classes I managed to not be totally miserable in, are not on my schedule this year, and I truly can not tell you that I used much of the information from last year.  Since it was not used last year, this year, it is forgotten.  I am dreading going to this, and am trying to figure out a way to salvage the day with my family that my husband has just texted me his plans for.  He is taking the migits to the Lowes Build and Grow first, then off to get their free lunch with the vouchers they get at Lowes, then they are headed to a free hour of bowling that AMF is doing this Saturday from 10:AM-2:PM.  The kids have never bowled.  That would be hard for me to miss.  Not so sure that I am doing a good enough job at convincing myself to keep this commitment.

Writing © Erin Ahrens 2012

Aug 22, 2012

Better than expected! and update of prayer request

I met my new class of  second grade religious education students and their families today, and it went great!  We have a fun and outgoing class of 17 students!  Wow.  I feel so lucky and humbled that G-d has entrusted me with the faith formation of His children.

That's really all I got, and because I asked for a prayer request, I wanted to update you guys on the progress.  Scott had a test done recently, and while he still has Cancer, it seems that he is again responding to treatment.  I can't give more than that, as honestly... The information is coming from my mother, who got the information from his mother, my Aunt Carol.  And if you have ever met Aunt Carol.. scratch that.  If you have ever talked to Aunt Carol, you would know that relaying information is not her strongest skill.  While she is "special" in her own way, if the sentence doesn't necessarily require a curse word, it's not really a sentence worth speaking.  And, sadly, if the topic is about the battle her son, my cousin, is fighting, she wants nothing more than to check out of the convo.  I don't blame her.  However, she must have paid enough attention to gather this nugget of good news.  And so, I shared it with you.  And I continually ask you to pray for the healing of my cousin and his family.

The blog in which I evengelize.

I am starting my second year of religious education teaching today, and am a little nervous this time around.  Last year, was kindergarten.  Easy.  That is my favorite age group to work with, but there was a dire need in second grade this year, therefore, I told them to put me where ever they needed me.  Hmmm... Questioning that now.  I think my problem both years is that while my co-teachers are great, I like to do things solo.  I feel more comfortable sort of finding my own way, and getting creative as the moment hits me.  However, the co teacher has already emailed, and she is already formulating a classroom routine that has been around a while.  I sort of envisioned a different learning process.  Guess I need to let me creativity flow somewhere else.  So... today class, we will be learning the word "Evangelize" as the Word of the Week, and doing animal charades.  This is on the curriculum for today by the religious education at our church.  I have not made that part up.  However, I will ask that each of you take my definition of evangelize, and go with it.  You can look up the real one.  I don't like it.  Here's what I want the second grade migits to do with that term... Evangelize- go out and live your life like Jesus did.  That will teach those around you about your faith.

Today, I will evangelize by accepting the opportunity to learn how to get along with others and sharing myself with the children of my church family.  I hope I do it well.  I hope they like me.  I hope that I personify love to them, my co teacher, and every parent that faithfully entrusts their migits with me each week.  I love my own migits more than words can properly express, and I faithfully trust, that each of them will be placed with a set of teachers that is picked from Above for the coming year.  My migits-- I love you madly, and while I will miss being in your class this year, I know you will grow deeper in your faith this year with your new class.

Aug 21, 2012

The blog in which I tell you I'm a naughty girl.

While it might appear I am really having my parenting skills put to the test by a really smart little five year old, I think I got her this time.  See, she knows that she is overly blessed to have as much as she does.  She knows that there are plenty of things in the world that she would love to have, and she also knows, we don't have the finances to give into every whim.  However, she has been amazing at really setting her heart on something-- and saving for it.  However, there is no way she can save for one thing, as it is $85, and will not be available come the new year.  It is an American Girl Doll accessory that will be out of production come the new year, and as it is, it is on back order.  So, from the frantic call I placed today, I knew that I had to do it now, or teach her a lesson in appreciation.  Well, I think she appreciates enough, and I don't usually spend this much on a gift, as you will see, all three of her Christmas gifts are already prepared--- I made each one, and all three together cost $45.  So....  I guess the splurge on her birthday isn't horrible, but with shipping and everything, the accessory kit cost $100. YIKES!  My wallet's breathe hitched.

So, the little girl, who I love so much, will get her American Girl Doll gymnastics set of a balance beam and a bar.  However, here's where the "naughty" girl comes in.  Just to make it more fun (for me), I explained to her that the set won't be available come next year, however, I also told her that they sold all the ones that they did make for the year.  I flipped the rear view mirror, and saw her wipe her eyes.  I said, "Are you okay?"  And she replied, "Yes.  It's just that my eyes are watery for some reason."  (her voice cracked too.)  It was pathetic.  (I was loving it.)  She added, "Well, it's okay.  It was really expensive, and the dog isn't as much money.  (The American Girl Service Dog is coming from Grandma. As is the cast and crutches set she also wanted since last year.)  I guess it all works out for a reason."

Okay, that last part killed me.  She is so amazing to me.  I am so looking forward to November 23rd.  The video will be rolling when she opens her gift, and I think I will continue with the prank and make it like a ridiculous gift and then have her open her gift from Charlie, and then... wait for it... PULL OUT THE REAL GIFT!  Yes.. I am a naughty one.  My daughter?  Nah... I taught her a lesson yesterday.  She is good.  By this time next year, I have a feeling she will be the one teaching the lessons. ;o)
Added the link- in case you want to go ahead and order one, or two or three now, as they will be gone by the New Year, if not before!

The blog in which you see Charlie at his best- #Forever in underwear.

Charlie was diagnosed with autism when he was just two years old.  While he struggles academically, communicating, with fine motor skills, and relating appropriately at times to those around him, he DOES have an amazing set of gross motor skills, and I use those to help study and focus.  Charlie does love to dance and be the center of "positive" attention, and performing or entertaining seems to be natural for him.  (Whether he knows how his spontaneous dance makes me laugh is irrelevant, but it makes for joyful snippets in my day.)

Whatever challenges you or your children have, you have to dedicate yourself to learn how to work with it.  You have to get to a point where YOU dictate your life- not where a challenge dictates your life.  

I have just attached a few videos that highlight some of the more interesting moments in my days.  I am grateful for the job I have.  These are what I consider part of my "benefits" package.  

video property of Erin Ahrens 2012 ©
This is not hyperactivity.  We call this "studying."
video property of Erin Ahrens 2012 ©
When he decides to talk, I know it's going to be good.

video property of Erin Ahrens ©
This is a hot mess start to finish. 

Aug 20, 2012

The blog in which I teach her a lesson. (video evidence attached)

Well, this, only a day after I had one of the roughest days in recent history.  We found a rat the size of a small cat had made a nest of snake skin and other assorted nesting material in our grill and decided to have babies in it yesterday.  Then, the rat was in it when Geoff opened it to grill some steak.  The rat then hissed at Geoff, so he closed the grill cover, and the tail got stuck, and that's when things got messy.  My neck has been stiff since 4:ish on Saturday morning, and my daughter decides to test her limits with us and ability to "bend the truth," I was totally exhausted from lack of proper sleep with the neck issue, and dinner, was not happening, due to the wild life that has moved into our grill.  

Therefore, I was not fit to properly exercise this "80's after school movie" type lesson.  I was able to pull it off tonight, and it went EXACTLY as I had planned, accept for the "smell my hands" comment and the nervous giggling I was suppressing.  And to be fair, I have a father who I hurt so badly over the years with my lying and deceit, that he refuses to love me now.  I know that my daughter is aware of this, and I have ALWAYS been honest with her about it.  I feared that she would think I might stop loving her one day if she was not honest.  I will never stop loving.  And she needed to know that.   

The comment Charlie made about "Smell my hands!" when I asked repeatedly if he was telling the truth--- That was because to this day, he sometimes comes out of the bathroom without washing his hands.  (Don't judge.  In his defense, most of the time he doesn't go to the bathroom when he goes in since he forgets once he gets there.)  Anyway, when I ask more than once if he has washed his hands, I know he is telling the truth if I smell it and it smells like soap.  

Shay is very aware that she is intellectually beyond her years, and the thought that she would leave a mess in her room before coming to dinner even seems ridiculous to her.  

And Julie and Sarah-Ann?  Those are her dolls, and she knows those are not going to really move.  

And then she says, "I'm not lying- today."  I wonder if tomorrow is off limits too?  

And have I just fooked her up a bit by this stunt?  Oh, I hope not.  I hope she grows up and tells stories to her own kids and grand kids about how her crazy mom decided to teach her a lesson, and the only thing she got out of it was an extra story at bedtime.  

Enjoy the clip!  It's about 7 minutes long.  Hang in there.  Certainly not Oscar worthy, but I think my acting days are over.  That's okay.  I have many more years of parenting ahead.  

PS  The grill is gone.  Waiting for sales during off season.  (At least, that's the plan.)  

Video property of Erin Ahrens  2012 ©

Aug 19, 2012

The blog in which I talk about losing her innocence

It finally happened.  My sweet and innocent little girl has begun lying.  I am devastated.  I mean, she has dropped a few minor lies over the past year or so, but I can literally count on one hand each of those.  However, today was two, and the first one I caught immediately, but the second one... not so much.  And that made me sad.  I know it is very developmental, but it's like a part of her is gone- innocence.  I wanted her to remain pure forever, and that's the part of raising kids that is hard for me.  I feel like she has changed.   She is getting bossier, less patient, speaking harshly, and I think she even rolled her eyes at me a few times in the last few weeks, and I just laughed it off.  I think she will be Madonna's protege by the end of the month if I don't get a leash on her 'tude.

Obviously, this grown up little girl has
come into her own.  She is confident, funny,
full of grace, humility,
and too smart for this mommy some days.
But I love her like mad!  Photo © Erin Ahrens 2012
While I DO want my children to have a mind of their own, and to follow their heart, I also want them to balance compassion, and love with honesty.  I work really hard to teach my children to appreciate what they have been blessed with, and to see how special and loved they are.  Each child has met orphans, served the hungry, and donated to the poor.  But now, after all I have done to raise social awareness, kindness, love, forgiveness, and acceptance, I somehow missed out on the lying trait.

What do I do to teach the importance of staying in the trust zone?  That is what I will work on this coming week.  Anyone have some great advice for us?  And even a sympathetic nod of "we've all be there before?"
She made this pose on the first day of her
dance class last week.  Sorta' Marilyn-ish?
Photo © Erin Ahrens 2012

The blog in which I complain about the pain in my neck.

I have a pain in my neck.  Literally.  I woke up yesterday at four in the morning.  I scrapped almost the entire day of plans, salvaging it only with a free local movie in the park- The Lorax.  It was an amazing night, and while I learned that I am the most inconsiderate mom in the world (more on this in a moment, I am still busy complaining about my neck pain).  We ALL (eventually) loved the event, and I was so excited to meet a local blogger who I love to follow (shout out to Canton/Woodstock Macaroni Kid-find her on Facebook, and at We got to spend time with friends last night, and that is always a gift to us- to share our experiences with those we love.

A bottle of 30 Skelaxin that had 28 in them.
I am not much for muscle relaxants.  It even had
2 refills on it that had expired!
So, Geoff rarely gets an opportunity to work overtime on the weekends, and yesterday was that day, and he "seized  the moment(s)."  As in, he went to the Y to workout in the morning, then headed to work, not coming home until 6:30 PM.  He grabbed two of the $5 subs from Subway for dinner, and all four of us scarfed them down and headed out on our adventure.  It started with he car ride.  I was unable to drive, and that is my "thing."  I don't let other people drive me, because I have issues.  (Say nothing.)  So, we get to the park, which is about 5-7 minutes from our house, and get parking right up front.  SCORE!  We had never been to Brown Park, and were pleasantly surprised.  It was amazing!  Not too small, not too big.  If it hadn't been a family event with more children than dirt, I would have relaxed enough to sit and let them flit to and fro each apparatus.  However, because of migit mob already there, Geoff and I each chose a child and off we went to try to follow each of our charges.  If you were to map out my steps, it might look something like a drunken pirate as each time my daughter found a piece of equipment she had to try, she would do it once, then run to another piece of equipment  like she had just spotted Elmo handing out kiddie crack (a.k.a. candy),  and then dash to yet another piece just to look at it up close, and then run around to a different entrance of another apparatus.  Quite honestly, the half of a seven year old muscle relaxant I found was doing nothing to alleviate my neck pain, as the other two attempts of the day, Advil in large doses and roll on Capsacin, had failed as well.  I chatted with a few people I knew, and honestly, some I don't know, and that must have been weird for them since my neck is stuck with my face slightly to the left, and I have to position my body so that I am facing a different direction.  (Don't try this at home.  You will inevitably get stuck in this position, and then come and ask to have some of my 7 year old expired drugs.)  

So, finally, movie time.  And this is the point in which I tell you I thought I was being "Super Mom" by heading out of the house for the sake of salvaging our "Super Saturday" that had gone south the moment I woke up at four in the morning.  Geoff had managed to get us seats in the front row!  The movie begins, the four of us adults in a row in our stadium chairs, and the migits with candy and popcorn, at our feet, on a blanket.  The weather- a perfect mid-seventies.  It was magical.  Within moments, my son, almost seven years old, is in my lap- afraid.  1. Sensory overload  2. Much of the movie was that 3-D effect like you are actually in the movie and on a roller coaster type feeling. (We learned our lesson on that with Disney World last year.  Lesson being- HE DOESN'T LIKE IT (and will claw your eyes out of your head if you don't leave the attraction before it begins.)  3. It had some scary moments for him.  (When I say scary, I mean, put this in perspective- About two months ago my son was terrorized by a Care Bear Movie. Enough said.) So,  I have a 45 pound child  in my lap, for the entire movie, and when the movie gets too loud, or "scary," he covers his ears and says, "I want to go," and if I was really lucky, would reach behind my head, grab my pony tail, and pull.  Yes, all this made for a fantastically painful hour and half.  However, the movie was really cute, and had a great message.  It  must be near my monthly friend to visit, as I got a little "fu-clempt" when the Lorax enters for the first time and has a "Seuss-ian" burial for a tree.  And lest we not appreciate the ending, when the "Once-ler" and the Lorax meet again.  (My breathe "hitched.")  

So, what caused the neck pain?  Exercise.  It's the cause to all that is bad with my body right now.  And that my peeps, is true.  If you don't believe me, you will learn of the vicious cycle in the next installment in which I rationalize how exercise has ruined me.  

PS  Real quick- can you do me a favor?  Can you say a prayer for me?  My cousin is sick with Cancer. He has been fighting this for a few years now, and he just turned 27 less than two weeks ago.  From what we have been told, the prognosis is not good.  I don't believe that.  I believe that not only Scott, but the entire family, can and will be healed.  Please just say a little prayer for us.  Thanks!

Aug 16, 2012

The blog in which we talk about community service

While our family refers to community service as just a night of fun out of the house, most of you might not know that there are opportunities to serve, as a family, with children, in your area.  If you live in N. GA, there is a fantastic organization called Forever Fed that we found this past summer.  They have block party style events, and it is so much fun to be a part of.  The work itself is not hard.  (I have yet to do the prep. portion of the night, but show up to serve food, wipe tables, clean serving pans, pour drinks, cut desserts, watch kids in a bounce house, play with chalk, etc.)  Oh wait.  I already do this stuff at home-- no wonder it's second nature to me!  See, I told you it's not hard.

I literally decided to search charitable organizations in our area, and Forever Fed came up.  And when I clicked on the link, the home page had a collage of pictures, and in those pictures, were people I knew.  That was my sign, and we signed up for an event that was minutes from our home that coming weekend.  We went to serve, and left, feeling served.  We were hooked.  We found that the needs were great in our area, and that summer time was a busy season for feeding children that were not provided regular meals, so we assisted with the event that served the bible camp that another organization runs.  My children's G-d parents asked about it, and decided to bring their family to the last event, and they too seemed to have been fed from the event.  While we don't get to see their family as often as we would like, this commitment would provide a way to share our faith, together.  Be the hands and feet of Christ....

The children did everything to help by putting forks on dessert plates, to clean tables, and then made sure to go play with the other children.  Bubbles, bounce house, hula hoops, side walk chalk.... They had a ball!  The teenagers that come to help, are enthusiastic.  It brings hope to me that one day, my children will grow into young adults and have a humble heart prepared to serve, because of the opportunity that Forever Fed afforded our family.

Geoff was on the serving line, and my girlfriend and I helped a couple of teenage boys serve desserts.  (That was tough.  They were boys=they were hungry.)  I had to laugh.  As I pulled out some of the assorted bakery items, there was a small pecan pie.  One of the boys was eyeing it.  They had done a great job, and we cut the pie in fourths, and sent him to sit amongst our friends at the tables, pie in hand.  He was so excited.  It really is the little things.

Geoff had asked if we wanted  to purchase/donate to receive a Forever Fed Shirt.  I said no, and my idea was, I would love to donate financially to this organization, as I believe they manage finances amazingly well. However, I want to feel like I am a part of the whole experience, not just the Forever Fed side.  While this next bit is making me nervous to share.  I will share it, because it just magnifies this issue.

The majority of participants in this specific block party are Hispanic.  Most speak a little English.  Geoff, luckily, is fluent in Spanish.  This setting is comfortable for him.  He saw a Hispanic man standing behind the water cooler.  Geoff asked him, in Spanish, if he wanted some water.  The man responded, "No, I am serving it."  I walked up to the same water station near the end, not knowing what had happened earlier, and was going to use a little water from the cooler to rinse my sticky finger tips.  (My OCD is challenged at this type of event.)  He asked if I wanted water.  I thought it was nice of him to offer, and it made me feel a little uncomfortable to be served.  Wow.  Quickly, I realized that he was here to serve, as I was.  I think he did a better job than I did.  I mentioned the story to Geoff, and he then told me the story of his water incident.  We both went for a water, and each time, he tried to serve us as we were trying to serve him.  Water.  I know there is some lesson in there.  Grin.....

As for the shirts?   Guess I like that I am on "The team," not just the "Forever Fed" side.  I wouldn't mind wearing the shirt for advertising reasons outside of the events.  They are really bright, and I am fearful that it might cause a migraine, or a seizure, therefore, I will blog about it, and pray that you come out and help, and then share the event with others.