Sunday, April 29, 2007

Good News on the Home Front!

Okay, it's not a big deal for most families, but for those who know us well, you will truly understand just how fabulous this is for us.

We signed the family up for a 5K walk in 2 weeks. Okay, it's really no big deal for me, hubby, and youngest son, but our oldest (aspie) detests anything that involves physical activity. But, we told him that he had no choice. He's not really happy with us right now.

Well, today we went out while the birding contingent was at their competition and took the dogs for their first walk on their leashes. Then we brought them back and walked about 1.5 miles together. Okay it was slow. And halting. And SLOW! But, he did it.

He struggles so hard with balance and coordination. He has that typical Aspie shuffle in his walk which makes it all very inefficient to do much of anything physical. I have read several articles which have said that this will improve as he does more, so I am hopeful. If we can get him to walk with us, it will give us more family time and more options to do somethings with the boys to get them out of the house a bit more often. Right now, youngest son will go out with hubby and do things, but oldest son tethers himself to either our house or Granny and Grandpa's house.

So, it may not be a huge thing for other folks, but I am thrilled that he might be able to do this 5K with us. I just have to force him to walk with me every day between now and then--no small feat in and of itsself.

Birding Rocks!

Well, one tired adult and two totally tuckered-out younguns returned to my house after the 24 hour birding extravaganza. But, you'd never see happier faces as they recounted the 51 species that they had seen and heard. The winning team saw 101, so next year, the quest is really on--complete with a camping start at the Georgia coast (according to my competitive hubby). The boys are already talking about what they will do next year.

This is a really wonderful event. The boys got beautiful t-shirts and a great book that outlines all endangered species in Georgia and where to find them, etc. They didn't win any raffle prizes, but had dinner with the Executive Director of Audubon Atlanta (okay, that one probably meant more to hubby than to kids). Hubby and son are also going to be interviewed for a special podcast about the event. Pretty cool!

This is one instance where I can say that my tax dollars are truly well spent. The more kids who enjoy the out of doors, the more effective our conservation efforts will be.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Georgia Youth Birding Competition

It's a good day. Hubby, youngest son and a friend are heading out to be a part of the Georgia Youth Birding Competition. It's a 24 hour event where kids of different age ranges compete to identify the most species of birds within the confines of the state.

The kids are so excited on their first big-time birding event. Upon return to home base (for videos and snacks) I am informed that they met another birding team up from LaGrange. Imagine that, someone else is actually birding! Wow!

They just darted inside from going out to try and hear the call of the whiporwill and a Chuck Will's Widow (they did). They are going out even later still to check on our resident owls.

They saw a blue heron catch and swallow whole a fish that appeared to be two times the diameter of his throat. It doesn't get much cooler than that.

Of course, when you don't have to compete with video games, tv shows, and other mindless drivel, you can actually enjoy the wonders of God's creation. It's a kind of moving meditation just talking with a friend, listening, planning, watching.

Birding with kids. It's worth doing.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Walking and the Big Bash

Well, my friend called me at 7:30 am and we arranged to walk around her neighborhood this morning. We hooked up and walked for 4.5 miles. That's a record so far for me and it actually felt pretty good. It's not all flat, but not loads of hills, either.

Now, we are about to get ready to go to the Big Bash Spring Fundraiser at our school. The boys are really looking forward to it and it usually is a lot of fun. So, it's a good thing.

Tomorrow, my hubby takes our youngest son and a friend to be part of the annual Georgia Youth Birding Competition. We'll see how that one goes. They are all really excited and hubby is thrilled to have a reason to pull kids outside and away from tv, games, etc. It's a good thing all around. I just with older son would show an interest.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I don't know if there is a full moon that is just hanging over my school, but I have just (barely) survived the most emotionally wrenching week in my teaching career. I don't know what has happened. I don't know if I am becoming a burned-out, old teacher or if the children really are acting like rabid animals escaped from a zoo. Whew! I am not quite sure how I am going to get through the remaining weeks.

I am excited to go to the kickoff for the 3-Day in Atlanta on May 5th. It will be tight time-wise as I have got to be up late the night before with chaperoning our senior prom. Then I have to get back in time to help set up and help with the picture taking for our junior prom. I will be pretty exhausted when I get through that weekend. I just have to remember that I will have to do my laundry during the week that week--because it just won't be done otherwise!

Monday, April 23, 2007


Welcome to our new 3-Day Supporters team mates! Kristin McWilliams, Clarissa Peterson, and Teresa Ferguson! I'm so glad you've joined our team!

Back on the Wagon!

Okay, after a horrible weekend of binge eating, I am starting over with the diet and nutrition stuff. I can't seem to fix the problem, so I will just start over. So, I am writing down every bite I take and I woke up early to get on the elliptical before school (Yuck).

I am so NOT a morning person. It is really hard to get up and do that first thing. But, it's also hard to figure out how to work in a walk every afternoon with kids in tow. This way, at least I will know that I am getting a workout in no matter what happens. If I can't walk, I can always hop back on the elliptical and then work on longer walks on the weekend.

At least that is the plan! We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Will it happen again?

It's downright surreal to look back at the massacre that happened at Virginia Tech just two days ago. It's even more surreal to think about how this could have happened anywhere.

Apparently, some people saw the signs that the gunman was about to snap. Some tried to help. Others laughed about it--like a sick joke was okay. It backfired on them (literally).

The former head of the English dept. was concerned enough to pull Cho out of classes and work with him one on one. She even recommended that he receive some counseling. But, there was nothing in place to make certain if he received the counseling. She went to the police and to the University trying to get someone to listen. But, until Cho did something significant or made a tangible "threat" they would do nothing. It's a little late now, isn't it?

Students who were in classes with Cho were reportedly prone to joking about him and how he was "going to do something" one day. I appreciate dark humor as much as the next gal, but does it seem funny now? Was it worth a cheap laugh at the expense of dead students? I think not.

Cho lived in the dorms. His very presence there was likely putting people at risk in a limited way before this incident occurred. Of course, he put them at serious risk as he rampaged around campus shooting at people. Couldn't counseling be a requirement for an obviously unstable student to be able to live in the dorms???

What about the police? There are several reports that they had spoken to Cho in previous weeks about stalking women. Hmmm. They had already been contacted by the English Dept. about him. Couldn't that have been the "something tangible" that they needed in order to get him help?

Sadly, everyone there was a victim of sorts: the innocent dead, the survivors, the gunman, the families who are left behind to wonder and grieve. Who knows what would have happened if there had been a successful bid to force Cho into getting some help. Would any of us be thinking of Virginia Tech now?

Six months from now, will it matter that we cared? Or will we sit back and become complacent again and wait for the next deadly event?

Support the Hokies. Pray for them. Pray for their families. Pray for guidance that this carnage can be stopped BEFORE it happens next time.

$1005! and counting

Wow! Major thanks to Teresa Brown for sending her contribution home with my hubby last night. I am officially over the $1000 mark! It feels so wonderful to know that I may actually be able to pull off this fundraising thing.

We've had standardized testing this week in our elementary and middle school classes and the stress of it all has kicked my kid's butts! I suspect they will be the walking dead on Thursday afternoon. But, at least it will be over.

John went to group therapy yesterday to help learn appropriate behaviors for social situations. He is really blossoming with this. He just adores the girl that he meets with and is excited that his therapist is considering adding a couple of boys to the mix as well.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Are we safe anywhere?

Only time will tell if the two incidents that happened today at Virginia Tech were spawned by the same gunman. If so, then the families of 32 innocent people deserve an explanation about how all this could happen. Much less how an entire campus can be terrorized by a gunman that law enforcement thought "might have fled the area." Scary.

May God be with these families in their time of grief.

Okay, this is for real...

Well, my team has decided (or been coerced by our captain) to start our 24 week training program a little ahead of schedule--like today. Ugh! So, sinuses screaming (!) I set off on my first official 3 mile walk. But, I did complete it and will complete my 20 miles for this week.

I heard on the news about the weather at the Boston Marathon. Yikes! I hope we don't have weather like that on our walk!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Non-productive weekend

Well, I survived helping out with the school's silent auction last night. It was loads of fun and everyone was in good spirits, which was wonderful. We have a good group of families and staff!

Today, I am still coughing and hacking, so I have taken it easy. Eddie is painting in the garage to prepare his new studio. We did go out and look at where the wild rhododendrons/azaleas are that are blooming with the most delightful, pale pink. We're going to clear out around them to give them a bit more light and also to be able to place a bench near them so we can use them as a photo backdrop, too!

It is possible to drop thousands of dollars on landscaping to use your yard as an outdoor studio, but I am constantly amazed at how nature can provide everything needed, if you just look and find it. In our case, we do need to work on our landscape, but it will take very little to have a beautifully framed garden bench with lovely pink blossoms arching overhead. Can't wait to have a chance to start on that!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Stupid Juice and other things

Well, I am afraid that the bronchitis is back. I have a horrid cough which sounds like the barking of a dog in a tin can. Nice. Once I start, I can't seem to stop on my own. It makes me want to dance around the house singing, "I feel pretty...."

So, I am taking the hydrocodone cough syrup again and that makes me just too much fun! I have to take it once I am at school because I can't drive for awhile after I take it. The students have dubbed it "stupid juice" for obvious reasons. At least they are deriving a sick source of pleasure from it.

The processing of checks mailed in for the 3-Day Walk has finally caught up so my donation page finally shows the correct amount $945! Almost half way there. Now, if I can quit coughing long enough to work out.

Had to get younger son's asthma medication adjusted yesterday. He had a bad episode at school. He woke up feeling loads better today. It's amazing what modern medicine can actually do!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Hi ho, hi ho...

It's back to school we go. Ugh! It seems like every student I know is suffering from Spring Fever. Speaking as a teacher, I can assure you that it is not fun.

Of course, I get my subtle revenge! My 9th and 10th grade classes came back from a week of relaxation to a crash course in term papers. 90% of these kids have never written one at all. They were not impressed. Hehehe. You'd be simply amazed at how well students can behave when they are scared out of their wits.

I have given this group 5 weeks to get this accomplished, so we can really take baby steps.
For all of their worries, this is not that big of a deal if they will just do what I ask by the deadlines. Of course, I am still grading the last set of term papers. Yuck!

It's cold again here today, so I am working out inside. I am coughing from allergies already and I am absolutely NOT risking bronchitis again this year, so the elliptical it is. Yahoo!

Sunday, April 8, 2007


The official start date of the 24-week training program for the Atlanta, 2007 3-Day Walk is the last full week in April. So, I am getting really paranoid about that challenge. So, I have been trying to ramp up my workouts a bit to help with building endurance (at least that is what I am hoping to do).

Since the pollen is giving me fits and causing my youngest son to have asthma attacks, I have been limiting my workouts to the elliptical. I have gone for 45 minutes for the last 2 days and I feel like that is a definite accomplishment.

The best part of the elliptical is that I can stand under the ceiling fan at odd, evening hours after the kids have gone to bed. I have to make sure that I don't work out too late in the evening or I won't sleep well. But, it is convenient to be able to work out at night on the days when I am running like a maniac and can't stop to walk.

With the 24 week plan, I will have to walk a certain number of miles per week, regardless of pollen, rain, whatever. So, that can be a little different. It's hard to walk with the boys in tow. Its a situation my mother laughingly calls, "hit the ball and drag Fred!" Ethan does fairly well up to the around the 3 mile walk (although I end up policing him as much as concentrating on my own training), but John is good for only about a mile or so and he will complain with every step if I let him. I feel so awful to take them along because I have to be the "heavy" the whole time. It makes the whole workout an stressful ordeal.

Maybe I will walk at Mom's house this week. I can take the kids with me for part of it and then they can play at Mom's house while I walk like a sane person. As the walks get longer, it will get tougher to deal with the kids. I can't expect them to walk with me for 6 miles! Ha!

Well, I feel somewhat accomplished, but I haven't gotten on the scale as I was getting seriously bummed with that. It's easier to continue working out if I am not focusing on weight.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Happy Easter!

From my family to yours, Happy Easter. May your family rejoice in the knowledge of the sacrifice that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ has made on our behalf.

Friday, April 6, 2007


A big thank you to my friend Beverly, who posted a copy of an email that I wrote to her Sonlight message board. I hope that the extra exposure will help my blog, shop, and fundraising efforts for the 3-day walk for breast cancer to grow, grow, grow!

I need all of the help that I can get! So if you're reading this blog because you learned about it from a message board, welcome and thanks for checking us out!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Oprah's Autism Show

I don't know if very many people saw it, but Oprah did a show on Autism today. From my perspective, it was purely depressing. The information was certainly accurate and in line with what I have learned as the parent of a child with Asperger Syndrome. But, the show, in an effort to encourage compassion toward families who struggle with Autism daily, seemed to focus on the frustrations and obstacles that these families face. Trust me, I already know many of them, albeit in a less severe form.

I guess it was just a not-so-subtle reminder that the challenges that my family faces are not likely to go away. Ever. This attitude is likely born of selfishness on my part, because I have learned to wear blinders in my daily life so that I don't see the discrimination that can often take place. When someone says or does something cruel to your child, it hurts the parents in a very real way. When that child struggles with a disability and is truly doing the very best that they can, this cruelty is unbearable. When one mother on the show suggested that strangers should offer help to families who are experiencing a meltdown in public, I nearly screamed at the t.v. set! That is not the time! Leave them alone and let them handle life, which is difficult enough to handle without feeling like the entire world is watching and judging them. Okay, when I read that last part, I realize that I am dealing with a little bitterness on the subject :-) I guess one too many well-intentioned folks at Wal-Mart have offerred me "timely" advice on my child rearing abilities. I have long since learned to appear rather unapproachable on the subject.

I truly admire that Oprah is educating the public about this health crisis. The more people know, the better. It's just hard for me to be part of that audience.

Recycle cell phones, inkjet cartridges, etc.

Hi, all:
I just set up a funding factory account to recycle used cell phones, inkjet and laserjet cartridges, old PDAs, etc. This keeps them out of the landfills, plus they will send me a check for these items made out directly to the Breast Cancer 3-Day! Every little bit helps. Looking around my home, I have a couple of inkjet cartridges, a broken PDA, and an old cell phone already.

Please check your space. I will be glad to pick up your items or send you a pre-paid mailer if you are not local. I appreciate your help! I can usually get around $5 or more for a single cell phone.

Thanks bunches!

Also, if you would like to sign up to support your own cause, you can put my referral code in at so that I will get credit (and $$$) for referring you. My code is: 103285.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

$945 and still coming...

Wow! Major thanks to Dana and Mark Lambrick of Tennessee for their generous contribution to my walk. Dana is my cousin and we are both related to a great aunt who died from this horrid disease.

It seems like only a few days ago that I was afraid that I couldn't raise $500 in the first sixty days since I signed up for the walk. Now, it looks like I could even hit $1,000 if I am really blessed! I think I have until April 8th! So, even with the delay in getting checks processed, I am feeling pretty fabulous about this! I may have a butt the size of a barn door, but the money for breast cancer research is rolling in!

Monday, April 2, 2007


Guess who did something totally STUPID??? You guessed it, your's truly.
In my quest for a smaller dress to wear to the school's prom, I decided that my tummy was a weak point in the shrinking process. So, I decided to start working my abs. HA!

I did the normal things a person would do for their abs (crunches, the bicycle, 6 inch leg lifts) and it didn't feel like it did many years ago (pre-children), so I assumed that I was not isolating the muscles effectively.

So, I kept going. I tried new exercises that I found on the internet. I went to bed discouraged and disgusted with myself. I woke up experiencing a new level of pain! Oops!

It is now 24 hours later and I am just now able to comfortably walk upright :-)
I will do a more reasonable amount of ab work today (I hope).

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Spring Break is here Woo Hoo!

Thank goodness for spring break. It actually started for our school on Friday (we are a Mon-Thurs school), but I have just recovered enough to actually begin to enjoy it! Whew!

Between the saga of Yogi the hamster and the usual end of the year High School stuff, it's been a rough week.

Yogi did actually return on Thursday. Of course, there is still NO way he got out of his home and resealed it before going off to play. So, we don't know if someone just returned him loose to the classroom when they realized what trouble they had caused. Or, perhaps, they took Yogi out and played with him and then just didn't put him back in his home. Either way, I am glad that he has been returned safely. There were definitely tears of joy in that classroom!

On the High School front, I am still fretting whether or not some of our students will actually graduate as planned this year. I probably shouldn't care nearly so much, but I have begged, pleaded, threatened, etc. until I am blue in the face. I guess only time will tell. It's sad how lazy our society has become. It's doubly sad because the kids in question come from good families who are backing the school 100%! We'll see what happens.

$740 and counting!

Wow! Thanks to Bill and Frances LaTouche of Virginia, I have reached the $740 mark in my fundraising efforts. Bill sent a really nice note and let me know that Frances had recently battled breast cancer. I will walk in honor of both her and Carolyn Pruett.

I am constantly amazed at how many people have been touched by this horrid disease.

I've been ramping up the training a bit, even though I can't go outside because of the pollen barrage. I am doing more elliptical work and adding some ab work as well. Now, if I could further curtail the eating, I would be doing well. It's supposed to rain this afternoon, so I could be outside walking soon!

I'd like to lose another dress size before I have to chaperone the Jr. and Sr. proms at the beginning of May. We'll see if I can pull it off.