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Archives for May 2009

Proms, Princesses and Promises

Well, it is May and that means a few things, summer is almost here, barbecue season is in full swing and it’s Prom season, with excited girls all over the country.

Over the past few days I have seen several pictures of beautiful young girls getting ready to go to their prom; experiencing that ever so big rite of passage, and celebrating the end of high school, the beginning of college and adulthood! So much has changed in high school and so much has stayed the same.

My older daughter graduated from high school three years ago and we went through the “prom” excitement with her, although in our home she went to two proms; her boyfriends’ at the time, who is a charming guy from Tulsa, Oklahoma and hers which was a huge run around until she found “Mr. Wrong” who she took but that is a whole different story. In any event getting ready for both was a huge production, one of which I didn’t see as she was many states away but her boyfriends’ mom took very good care of my sweet daughter, and hers at home which no matter who she went with was a night designed for a “Princess.”

So what is the prom really all about? I myself didn’t go to my prom mostly because my parents actually moved me in the middle of my senior year of high school from basically one world which I was a part of since kindergarten to another not so friendly world where I spent a very lonely 5 months; who wants to make friends with the “new girl” when we were all getting ready to leave for college? Anyhow, I knew the day that my daughter started dressing up like a “princess” at the mere age of two that someday her prom was going to be a special night for her.

So back to the prom and what is it all about? If you ask any 17 or 18 year old girl and they will tell you; it’s about the dress, the hair, the make-up, the dinner, and sometimes the date. It seems though that even if I didn’t’ go to my prom, I am sure that back in 1979 when hair was big and fluffy like “Farah” or short like “Dorothy Hamill” and Studio 54 was the rage with disco, that girls everywhere still cared about the same things, the dress, hair, make-up, and that special date, and being with your friends that you promised to always stay in touch with.

One thing I know is true is that high school today is soooo different then when I went to school, technology has moved things so far ahead of where we were but at the same time things still remain constant; teenagers remain basically the same. The friends, the promises, no matter who you were and who your group of friends was, you thought you would always be friends. Well come on at 17 that’s what you thought, right? High school will always be high school, the “cast of characters” will change but there will always be the “popular kids” the “sporty kids,” the “freaks” and the “geeks,” no matter what the prom is a celebration for them all..

To quote one of our families’ favorite movies, “The Breakfast Club…”

“Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain… and an athlete… and a basket case… a princess… and a criminal… Does that answer your question?… Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.”

Happy Prom to each of you out there and hope it is as magical a night as you had dreamed!

Behind every word, there’s a story. What’s yours?

Every once in a while a story comes my way about a disability or a disease that I believe is one that I would like to help raise awareness of. As I was watching TV yesterday I saw a commercial about diabetes and decided this was one such disease that is all too often about statistics and too seldom about the hearts and minds of the thousands of people it touches. I would like to lend my voice or at least my typing to. I found the below information on diabetes interesting from the OneTouch® website.

Richard R. Rubin, Ph.D., C.D.E., is an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins, and he is the co-author of “Psyching Out Diabetes: A Positive Approach to Your Negative Emotions,” “Sweet Kids,” and “The Johns Hopkins Guide to Diabetes.” He also has written extensively on the effects of diabetes education, psychological problems associated with diabetes and techniques for counseling people with diabetes as well as lived with a sister and son who developed the disease.

Dr. Rubin spent several years researching people with diabetes and he came up with what he calls “A journey toward easier and more effective diabetes management based on mastering five specific skills.”

In his research he explains that each diabetes success story is unique, but when he thinks of all the success stories he has heard over the years, it is clear that there is a specific set of skills that make for easier and more effective diabetes management. He asks, what do people who live well with diabetes have in common?

They tend to be good planners.

They get help when they need it.

They manage stress well.

They avoid diabetes burnout.

They maintain their motivation.

The skills that spell success:

Plan to succeed. Making changes to live healthier takes work—hard work with no vacations. That’s why a critical—and often overlooked—first step toward living well with diabetes is knowing exactly why you are doing all that work. Some reasons might sound good, but aren’t really good enough to keep you motivated, like “my doctor told me I should,” or “I know it would be better for me.” I have found that people stay motivated longer when their reasons are more personal, more specific, and more positive: “I want to be around to see my grandson get his high school diploma,” or “I want to still be working in my garden when I’m 90,” or even “I need to stay healthy to enjoy whatever life has in store for me.”

Planning to succeed also means being realistic; “slow and steady” definitely wins the race when it comes to living well with diabetes, or even preventing it in the first place. One of my research studies found that people at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes who lost just 10 pounds and kept it off cut their risk of developing the disease during the study period (about 3 years) by 58 percent! This powerful “small steps, big rewards” message also applies to people who already have diabetes—lowering your weight, or your blood glucose, blood pressure, or cholesterol levels just a little bit can make a big difference in your health. The American Diabetes Association has a new service called Diabetes PHD that lets you enter personal health information and see how much healthier you could be—and how much longer you could live—with small changes in your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. To try this service, go to www.diabetes.org/diabetesphd/default.jsp.

Get support when you need it. Diabetes is a family disease in many ways. Your diabetes affects the people who love you, and their actions affect how you manage your diabetes. Are you getting enough support? Or are you instead getting too much “support” from some people, who seem to have joined the “diabetes police”? Do you know how to locate help for improving your diabetes management from other sources, like the Internet, magazines, books, or education classes?

Manage stress well. Some people are really good at managing the stress of life with diabetes. They know how to resist tempting desserts without feeling deprived, they manage low blood glucose reactions without much fuss, and they seem to cope well with all the other demands of their disease, large and small.

These people tell me there are two keys to success when it comes to stress management—maintaining your sense of hope, and maintaining your sense of humor. Hope and humor are the closest things to magic in the world. Use the power of hope and humor to lift your spirits and improve your health.

Avoiding “diabetes burnout.” No matter how well you manage the stress of life with diabetes there will be times when you feel down about it. That’s normal, even inevitable, given how demanding diabetes can be.

If your diabetes blues linger, you might be suffering from “diabetes burnout” or even from depression, serious conditions that often require help to resolve. Fortunately, both conditions are treatable. Good diabetes education can often relieve diabetes burnout, and counseling or medication can relieve depression. Effective treatment of these conditions can also improve blood glucose control.

Maintain your motivation. Diabetes lasts a lifetime: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. (Or 366 days on Leap Year, as a young patient pointed out to me.) So your approach to managing diabetes has to last a lifetime as well. But how do you maintain your motivation, day-in and day-out, 365—or 366—days a year, every year for the rest of your life?

So that’s the plan, a journey toward easier and more effective diabetes management based on mastering five specific skills.

I hope this helps! If you want to become more involved, join the Global Diabetes Handprint. OneTouch® the company behind keeping one’s diabetes under control believes that when we all speak together, our voice will be heard.

The inspiration for The Word in Your Hand™ Project was found at TuDiabestes.com® and OneTouch® joined in and created the “Global Diabetes Handprint.” It is thru this that everyone can raise awareness of the disease.

By writing a word on your hand expressing your feelings about diabetes and sharing your story behind it, you’ll become part of the global community that puts a human face on diabetes for the entire world to see.

OneTouch® will donate $5 to one of two diabetes charities for every hand that comes to them. Their goal is to donate $250,000 by June 30th.

They could use a hand! Please send in yours. http://www.diabeteshandprint.com/

It was a moment… but a life altering moment

Your child has “cerebral palsy” with a kick to the gut and a brush of cold reality this is how the therapist told me. No nice, please sit down, pull up a chair, put your baby down and let’s talk… it was a fast cold harsh diagnosis.

It was November and I can remember thinking on the way over to the appointment what I needed to do for our holiday celebration, shopping, cooking, flowers, you have to have flowers, ironing the table cloth. Nowhere in there was there thinking about a life altering diagnosis which would forever change my daughter’s life but also all of ours who care for her.

I remember I just sat there and held my daughter and stared at this woman who so crassly changed my world with the stroke of five words. Cerebral Palsy; What would this mean for her, for us? And as she abruptly got up as fast as the words fell out of her mouth I just sat and wondered…
How am I going to do this?
What about school?
What about friends?
What about ballet with her sister?
What about her prom?
What about college?
What about her wedding and grandchildren?

I sat there and watched one life vanish before my eyes and another unknown one begin. It was as if I had lost one baby and given birth to another in the same moment…
Then the…
Why me?
Why us?
We have always been good people, how could this happen to our family?
Why did god do this to us?

I picked up my daughter and brought her out to the car in her car seat and I remember I just sat there and cried… and cried… as I kept looking at her in my rear view mirror.

When I got home, which was thru the grace of god because I’m not quite sure how I drove and cried with so much on my mind. I picked up my daughter from her car seat and brought her in the house. And as I did this she looked at me with her big beautiful eyes and smile and I knew this wasn’t going to be easy but look at her, she was beautiful and I was blessed with her just the way she was, and I was going to be dammed if I was going to let some stupid diagnosis change the way I was going to raise my daughter. Screw that! I was going to give her the best life I possible could! I was determined to make each day of her life a little easier anyway I could.

My daughter is now 17 years old and not a day has gone by that I don’t wish a magic wand could give my daughter her “legs” or a “voice” but I love her just the way she is, she is my child, my beautiful beautiful child!

Hello, does David Boreanaz come with this award?

I was so excited to receive the “One Lovely Blog Award”, this week, of course I am ever so humble and grateful to my buddies, Paula from http://apartyof6.blogspot.com/ and Miss Little Lady cakes http://www.littleladycakes.com/ who bestowed this upon me. But my only question is, couldn’t it come with David Boreanz? lol

Well, maybe you will be the lucky one and have him show up with yours, so here are the rules:

1) Accept the award; post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

So here we go… this goes out to some of my new and adored blogger friends….

http://atticgirl.blogspot.com/
http://domestic-demigoddess.blogspot.com/
http://www.frombottle2box.com/
http://www.ahappyhippymom.com/
http://bonbonrose9.blogspot.com/
http://dailyinfluences.blogspot.com/
http://myuniqueflowers.blogspot.com/
http://www.itsabeautyfilledlife.com/
http://mamamentor.blogspot.com/
http://kingofnewyorkhacks.blogspot.com/
http://cjengo.blogspot.com/
http://momlinedrama.blogspot.com/
http://mamasmoneysavers.com/
http://www.militarywifemayhem.com/
http://joshgallery.blogspot.com/

A chance to win Inspiration in a Cup

I sat down to write a new post this morning after checking out other people’s blogs and leaving my usual “love” on them and I came across a blog which brought my attention to a coffee company called get the bean dot com which will deliver right to your door. I love a good quality cup of “joe” in the morning and so this peaked my interested and they were having a giveaway which you can find out more at Get the bean, but more so I am all about inspiration and people and how they take a lemon and make lemonade and that is just what this company is about.

It started with Meaghan: (ok this was taken from their website)

Meaghan was a young, healthy vibrant 28 year old attending law school in the winter of 2006. During her second year of classes she began feeling ill. She went to numerous doctors looking for help. Each doctor suggested it was all in Meaghan’s head; maybe she was depressed, mentally ill or over-stressed. Because she was young and had always been healthy the doctors assumed nothing could be seriously wrong. Enduring extreme pain, bleeding and exhaustion Meaghan kept returning to her doctors looking for help. Still no one did anything to address any of her health issues. Meaghan’s symptoms became worse with each passing day. Because no one believed she was ill she continued to attend classes and tried to live a normal life. Eventually the pain became so unbearable she drove herself to the ER.

The doctors at the Emergency Room also suggested Meaghan’s pain was in her head. However, due to the symptoms she complained of they were required to give her a CT scan. The CT scan showed Meaghan’s pain was NOT in her head. She had a large tumor on her cervix. The tumor had grown so large it had crushed her ureters causing her kidneys to rip open. In February 2007 Meaghan was finally diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer, stage 3b. The same doctors that had assured her she was fine were now telling her and her family that she would not survive.

Meaghan decided not to give up but rather to fight. After two weeks of hospitalization and blood transfusions Meaghan was flown to Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston Massachusetts. Upon arrival the doctors were both amazed and horrified. Amazed at this young woman’s spirit and horrified at the pain she was forced to endure. Teams of doctors attended Meaghan in an effort to diminish her pain and save her life. Meaghan underwent chemo, internal and external radiation as well as numerous surgeries. With only a 20% chance of surviving Meaghan and her doctors fought hard against cancer. In July 2007 she won her battle and was cancer free.

Although she won her fight Meaghan continues to struggle against the secondary effects of her treatments. Cancer has changed her life forever. Meaghan returned to law school and is set to graduate in December 2008.

Without the love, care and attention Meaghan received at Dana Farber Cancer Institute she would not have survived. Because of this Meaghan has dedicated herself to raising awareness and supporting Cancer Institutes. To learn more about Meaghan and her story visit her blog at www.cancerlost.blogspot.com

Now wouldn’t you rather get your coffee from this great woman rather then that place on every corner? wink wink! To register to win the free coffee go to get the bean. And drop by here anytime with your cup of “joe” and let me know what your favorite flavor is…

Chicken Soup for the Soul made with Love

It is impossible to remember my grandmother without also remembering her chicken noodle soup! I can remember so many times getting off of the elevator at her apartment and running down the hall with my siblings to see her standing outside in the hall with her arms folded wearing one of her many famous housecoats with a warm pungent familiar smell brewing from her open apartment door.

Granny loved to cook! Her whole life revolved around food, when we were eating one meal she was asking us what we wanted for our next. It always made me laugh! Her days were filled going from Shoprite to Giant to where ever she could get the best “deal” on eggs, or bread. It didn’t matter to her that she just wasted a tank of gas going from one store to the next, she wanted her discount. And god bless her with her double coupons.

In any event her chicken soup was always comforting and knowing that we would be greeted with a nice warm bowl of love from her to us when we visited just felt right. I believe she enjoyed cooking because this is the way she felt she “gave” to us; she nourished our bodies with her love and care. Grandmom passed away four years ago, and not a day goes by that I wished I could run down her hall and be greeted by her smile and her chicken soup for our souls. Happy Mother’s Day grandmom, you will always be loved and truly missed.

Granny Claire’s Chicken Noodle Soup
One cut up Chicken
2 Carrots, scraped
2 Stalks Celery
1 Root Parsley and Tops
1 Medium Tomato
Salt
1 Medium Onion

Pour all ingredients and chicken into large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Lower flame and cook until chicken is soft. About one to two hours. Soup may be frozen for later use if desired.

Soup Kugel
One Pound Medium size noodles
2 Eggs
2 Tbs of margarine
Dash of salt and pepper

Boil Noodles and when they are soft, strain. Pour all ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Pour into a greased 13” x 9” pan and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Cut the kugel and put in the middle of a soup bowl and pour the chicken soup with veggies over top. Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite recipe you remember your grandmom or mom by? I’d love to hear about them!

It all started with a story…

Once upon a time there were two sisters.

One spring day they wanted their Mom to take them to the park and play. When they arrived at the park the older sister jumped out of the car ahead of her Mom and sister. She was so excited.

“Come on Mom, hurry up! I am going to go over to the pumpkin carriage.”

“Ok, be careful and stop there and wait for us,” said the Mom.

At this point the girls Mom was getting a wheelchair out of the car for the younger sister to use. She quickly buckled her younger daughter in her seat and off they went with big smiles on their faces.

When they got to the sidewalk in front of the playground that smile quickly turned to a frown because they were stopped by railroad ties which keep the mulch in, but children who use wheelchairs out.

“What a nuisance!” the Mom said, as she lifted her daughter and her wheelchair over the barrier.

When the young girl and her Mom finally made it across the bumpy mulch, the older daughter was eager to play with them.

“Hey, come on up here. Mom you can be the Queen and we will be the princesses.”

This sounded like fun, both girls anxious to play, only one problem, their Mom couldn’t get the little sister up on the carriage without having to take her out of her wheelchair.

“I’m sorry, but we just can’t get up on the carriage, isn’t there something for all of us to play on.”

At that point all three of them looked around the playground.

“Mom, I don’t see anything we can all do together because we can’t get the wheelchair up on anything!”

With a sigh the Mother said “you are right, ok, you go and play and we will sit here in the shade and watch.”

“I wish there was something we could do together.” The Mom said to the little girl in the wheelchair. As she spoke to her she noticed a tear rolled down the little girls’ cheek.

The older sister jumped off the carriage and ran around and used all of the equipment, the slides, the bars, the swings, and then she stopped and looked back at her Mom and sister who were looking very sad watching her.

“What’s the matter Mom?”

“Well, your sister wants to play like you.”

“You know what Mom, I think we should go home and I will make up a game to play with my sister. She’s special and should be able to play like me.”

So they pushed the wheelchair back over the bumpy mulch, over the barriers and headed back to their car, to go home and play.

This is an actual story, as these two little girls are my daughters, and this was the beginning of the creation of the first fully inclusive playground in our state and one of the first of its kind in the country.

I worked for almost 10 years creating fully inclusive playgrounds in the metro DC area and helped many communities around the country before I closed our nonprofit organization shortly after September 11th. I will continue to write about “building a dream,” and hopefully it will inspire many more playgrounds to come! So hold onto your dreams and reach to make them happen!

Duck, Duck, Goose, I’m it…

Okay so here are the rules of this whole blogger tag game.1) Mention the person who tagged you and be sure to link to them!2) Post your list of 8’s 3) Tag 8 bloggers and don’t forget to tell them! Here Goes! I was tagged by Nicole over the chronicles of Nicole.

8 of my most favorite yummy foods:
1. A good steak, the nice juicy kind
2. Creamed spinach to go with my “juicy steak.”
3. Garlic mashed potatoes to go with my steak and spinach-yum I’m getting hungry just writing this!
4. Barb-b-q chicken salad from California Pizza Kitchen
5. Grilled Chicken salad from Houston’s
6. Spinach artichoke dip
7. A good egg white omelet loaded with veggies and cheese
8. Cherry Garcia ice cream

8 things I’m looking forward to:
1. Seeing my oldest come home from college this weekend
2. The ending of an unfortunate event that has been going on for 2 years in my life
3. Going on a trip with my husband
4. Seeing my youngest smile when she gets off the bus today.
5. Starting my speaking career.
6. Just sitting down and talking about “nothing” with my husband.
7. Ending construction around my home.
8. Peace in my life!

8 ways I kill time:
1. writing my blog, speech, book…
2. Facebook/twitter
3. working with my husband
4. reading
5. gardening
6. cooking which goes hand and hand with the next…
7. entertaining
8. hanging with my family

8 shows I watch:
1. American Idol-love Kris Allen!
2. Bones-Love Love Love David Boreanaz since he was he was “Angel”…
3. Chelsea Lately
4. Will and Grace
5. Friends
6. The Cougar-come on it’s entertaining a 40 something year old and 20 year olds! Wow!
7. All My Children-gotta love Pine Valley!
8. The Tutors on Showtime-if only King Henry was actually that “hot!”

8 things to do before I die:
1. Go to Italy
2. Go to Paris
3. Go to Africa
4. Get at least 2 books published
5. Secure my younger daughters future
6. See my grandchildren raised and happy people!
7. See my husband be his old self again!
8. Make sure our current business is a success and can hand it down to the next generation.

8 things I did yesterday:
1. Caught up on paying bills-uhh
2. Caught up on email.
3. Made a new “to do” list
4. Gardened
5. Watched American Idol-yeahh Kris is still there!
6. Bought a new book to read: “love the one you’re with” by Emily Giffin
7. Returned a shower holder thingy to Pottery Barn
8. Bought my little lady shorts at the gap

Here are the 7 great people I am tagging:
1. Veronica Lee from of mice and ramen
2. Jennifer from it’s a beautiful life.
3. Jen from gotta love mom.
4. Lisa from pink in a house of blue
5. Steph from The Furious Five
6. Maryva from: Only for babies
7. Pink pack rat

10 Reasons why my husband is a wonderful dad


For the past almost 21 years my husband has been a wonderful unsung hero! He is out numbered in our house 3 to 1, and I know the female hormones gets to him sometimes but he just keeps on smiling. He has been a wonderful example of a kind and compassionate human for our daughters and I wanted to sing his praises just for a moment if I could…1. My husband is a wonderful dad because he is devoted to me and our daughters.2. My husband is a wonderful dad because he has taught my children the importance of perseverance.3. My husband is a wonderful dad because he is humorous, even at times when I wish he wouldn’t be.

4. My husband is a wonderful dad because he is affectionate and always has a hug or kiss for our daughters.

5. My husband is a wonderful dad because he is intelligent.

6. My husband is a wonderful dad because is encouraging of whatever we would like to do. He is our number one fan.

7. My husband is a wonderful dad because he is protective of our daughters and will do anything to not let them feel “hurt” if he can help it.

8. My husband is a wonderful dad because he is the hardest-working person I know.

9. My husband is a wonderful dad because he is compassionate and cares about others.

10. My husband is a wonderful dad because he is very generous with his time as well as everything he has.

I am so proud to be married to such a wonderful “unsung hero!” So, honey here’s to you!

I’d like to introduce you to my new friend “The Design Girl”


Happy Saturday everyone, I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to my new friend Danielle at The Design Girl. I met Danielle through my search for a highly stylized blog designer.

After our initial contact and putting my name on her wait list which was only about 2 weeks. We wrote back and forth about the type of style I would like my blog to be to create my own fresh look. She uses digital kits to create the blogs and there are literally hundreds to look through. Being from a design background myself, I am sure I was a tad pickier than most of her clients, and she was very sweet to accommodate all of my requests. I think she did a beautiful job, don’t you?

Right now she is having a special sale for reaching 70,000 hits on her site. If you place your deposit on or before 05/03/09, which I know is tomorrow but I’m letting you know NOW, she will give you $20 off the deposit price for the basic & standard blog packages.

To see this very talented young lady’s blog check her out and let her know Shelley “introduced” you to her.