Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Public School System Failed Me: The Back Story

 I find that having a journal during times of emotional crisis beneficial. When you're in the middle of a fire all you can see around you, is more fire and smoke. You can't always tell how deep it is until you've passed through and take a look back.

I hope that someday I will be able to take a look back and say to myself, "It wasn't that bad." or, "Wow! Look at all we've accomplished." but I'm sure there will be some, "I wish I had known this sooner" and "Well that was harder than it looked."

Every story has a beginning and that seems as good as any place to start this tale.

When my son,  TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) was about three a friend of mine that was a speech pathologist told me that she thought we should do an assessment on him. He, as his nickname indicates, did not have much to say and she was concerned and wanted to help me get on the right path to success. With her assessments I was able to enroll my son in school on an IEP for language intervention and some sensory issues about halfway though the school year. 

 TheBoy was born in summer so I knew going into the school system he would likely be held back early on to give him time to mature a bit, so it was not a shock when the school recommended that he repeat Kindergarten. In fact, I was grateful for this.  In 2015, after school let out for summer, my husband and I relocated our family. We settled in a neighborhood with a top-rated elementary school, transferred his IEP over and started anew with First Grade. 

TheBoy worked with a wonderful SPED teacher throughout his years at this school from 1-5th grade. However, as the years progressed and TheBoy learned the rate at which he learned was much slower than his peers and the further behind he became.

I remember sitting in one IEP meeting where I asked, "Could TheBoy be dyslexic?" The teachers and principal were all quick to assure me they did not think this was my child's specific problem. He was just too emotional and sometimes lazy. He was smart but just didn't apply himself or wasn't trying hard enough. And I believed them. I put my full trust and faith in these teachers, they were the experts. So we pushed on, trying to get my son, who was reading on a second grade reading level up.

Then, the pandemic hit and things began to change.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

The 2020 Reading Challenge

Last night on Facebook I asked my group of friends for a book suggestion. My Criteria included:

  • 1. Only recommend a book if you have actually read the whole thing and liked it.
  • 2. Only recommend a book if it has a good ending (I prefer a happily ever after but will settle for something that doesn't end like the Titanic).
  • 3. Nothing with political overtones, undertones or any tones of politics.
  • 4. Nothing that Oprah has ever recommended, she only recommends sappy stuff.
I was blown away by the responses I received. Several of the suggested books I had read before but a lot of them I had not and many I had never even heard of. I've been out of the library scene too long I guess. What I ended up with was a list of 45 books ranging from YA Fiction-Historical Fiction- Mysteries-Non Fiction. If I read one book per 8 days this shouldn't be a problem. And since I typically read faster than that (especially if I can listen to them at work) I should be able to sprinkle in my own selections here and there. 

Let the fun begin!

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

I am a child of God

Galatians 3:26-4:7
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew no Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. 
Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

According to the Roman custom of the time children that were adopted were treated as equal to any natural born children. They each received an equal inheritance. This is unlike the Jewish custom in which the eldest received a double portion. Paul was using the Roman custom of equal heirs to make his point. Jesus made it possible for our adoption and thus we become equal heirs of God. It is through our faith in Jesus that solidifies our adoption. In Christ there is not one person or group that is greater, not one nationality, no one social or economic standing, nor one sex that differentiates us from one another. We are equal heirs.

Romans 8:12-17
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors- not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 

I am not a musician, nor do I consider myself knowledgeable in the realm of music. I do however consider music very power and actively use it in my time of worship. I often awaken in the morning with a song playing in my mind, the lyrics a prayer offered up by my spirit within. Recently the lyrics of No Longer A Slave produced by Bethel Music has filtered through my mind.  Over and over again in this song we cry out that we are no longer slaves to fear but a child of God. This is so powerful and so important. We gentiles, though created by God were not heirs of God and his Kingdom until Jesus. Now everyone, every single one, can claim to be joint heirs, treated equally, if they just believe. It doesn't matter where we come from. It doesn't matter how much money we have. It doesn't matter if we're men or women. It doesn't matter if we have one leg or two. It doesn't matter. We are all joint heirs, adopted but equal.  And because we are treated equally God is just as likely to rescue me as He would anyone else. He thinks that much of little ol' me. I don't have to fear what tomorrow will bring. I don't have to fear the unknown because if I need him, I can cry out "Abba, Father" because I am a child of God.

No Longer A Slave to Fear
You unravel me, with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
From my mothers womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into a family
Your blood flows through my veins
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I will stand and sing
I am the child of God
You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
You drowned my fears in perfect love
You rescued me
And I will stand and sing
I am the child of God (yes I am)
I am a Child of God
I am a Child of God (yes I am)
I am a Child of God (full of faith yes)
I am a Child of God
I am a Child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
Songwriters: Jonathan David Helser / Brian Joel Case / Mark Johnson
No Longer Slaves lyrics © Bethel Music Publishing

Friday, June 01, 2018

Conversations With My Children

"Ma, what's your second favorite animal?" TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) asked as I diligently prepared our dinner.

"Gosh Son, I don't think I've ever thought about what my second favorite animal is. That's a good question."

"Well, your favorite animal is the cat."

"I do like kitty cats."

"So I think your second favorite is a dragonfly."

"I do like dragonflies," I glanced down at my dragonfly tattoo.

"Or I guess it could be owls. You got a lot of owls."

I nodded in thought, I do have a lot owls.

"And pigs."

Well, he's not wrong.

Walking into the kitchen, "I have no idea why I went back to my bedroom," I told Adult Peanut sitting at the kitchen counter.

"To get your phone?"

"No, that's in my purse."

"Your keys?"

"No, that's in my purse."

"Your wallet?"

"No, that's in my purse."

"Your dignity?"

"No," I smirked at her. "That's in my purse," and then I left for work. I still have no clue why I walked back to my bedroom. I guess we'll never know.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Progress is Progress No Matter How Small

Progress: 14.8 lbs in 7 weeks

Week 1- 6.2 lbs
Week 2- 2.2 lbs
Week 3- 0.8 lbs
Week 4- 1.2 lbs
Week 5- 0.4 lbs
Week 6- 1.6 lbs
Week 7- 2.4 lbs

As of Monday I was .7 lbs away from my second goal. I'm going to make it. And I will celebrate with cake and ice cream. Keto, of course, but I will celebrate the victories as they come.

I am so glad I found the Keto diet. What is keto? Keto is a high fat, low carb way of life where one transforms from a sugar burner to a fat burner. Though I use the word "diet" to describe it, it really has become a way of life. I don't miss the carbs. Well, mostly. I do miss a nice warm yeast rolls, but those occasions are few and far between and really, there's no reason why I couldn't have one occasionally. 

I don't adhere to a strict keto diet, but tend to follow the advice of Leanne Vogel who helps people, especially women find the keto balance that right for our individual selves. If you're thinking of going keto, I highly recommend checking out her website and listening to her podcast. 

Being on the keto diet for nearly two months I have noticed an increase in my energy and cognitive abilities, which has been extremely helpful as Peanut gears up to graduate from high school.  More on that in the next post. 

Friday, May 04, 2018

Why Am I Not Losing Weight?

I began this Keto journey on March 19 and dropped six pounds in the first week. That was, of course, all water weight and the fact that I was avoiding all major carbs and sugar. The best part of this was I got below 190 lbs, something I had been struggling to do for many months (without changing my diet or anything- HA!).

Since then I my weight loss has slowed way down and I have felt a little bit discouraged. Though I see the numbers slowly going down on the scale in my mind I'm not losing weight so I wanted to write it out so I can see the numbers

Week 1- 6.2 lbs
Week 2- 2.2 lbs
Week 3- 0.8 lbs
Week 4- 1.2 lbs
Week 5- 0.4 lbs
Week 6- 1.6 lbs

Total to Date- 12.4 lbs

When I look at this list I see two things that are encouraging to me.
First, every week there is a deficit, even when it's only half a pound I am consistently going down. Second, twelve and half pounds is a big deal. At least it is to me.

I have 3 lbs to my next goal. I want to accomplish this by May 12th. I can do it. I discovered yesterday that an electrolyte additive that I was adding to my water to help replenish my electrolytes contains maltodextrin- which is known to cause a rise in blood sugar which was probably knocking me out of keto. So, back to plain water for me. Obviously, this way of eating (WOE) agrees with me since I'm losing weight, but I'm going to experiment to see if dropping the electrolyte powder will help boost my losing power.

I'll report back soon. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Keto Chocolate Ice Cream

Guys, I am obsessed. I pieced together some recipes to fit the ingredients I had on hand and created my new favorite dessert and I plan on eating this all summer long. The flavor reminds me rich brownies so you know it's good.

Here's my recipe, tweak it however you need. This made 4 servings.

1 1/2 C whipping cream
1 1/2 C unsweetened almond milk (flavored optional but you have a better flavor if it is)
1/4 C Organic Cacao Powder
1/4 C Swerve
1/8 t Xanthan Gum Powder
1 t Vanilla extract
2 T MCT oil (optional)

I purchased this Ice Cream Maker from Amazon for a very reasonable price. You have to do a little planning ahead when you want ice cream because you have to freeze the double insulated bowl for a minimum of 17 hours. I've taken to keeping mine in the freezer now so I can eliminate that step.

In a sauce pan (I used my cast iron skillet the first time and it worked like a charm and you get all those added health benefits- do what works best for you) heat the whipping cream, cacao powder, Xanthan, and Swerve until well combined and boiling. Mixture will begin thickening. Pour mixture into a heat safe bowl. Place bowl in an ice bath to begin cooling process. Place in refrigerator for about an hour (if this mixture is still warm the ice cream will be runny). Once cooled off setup the ice cream maker.

Turn the machine on. I didn't do this the first time and it wasn't pretty. Just trust me, turn the machine on before you pour anything in.

Pour in chocolatey mixture and almond milk and let the machine do its thing for the next half hour.

Serve immediately or store in air-tight container in freezer.

The last time I made this I had one serving left over, Mr. B opted for something else. The next day when I went to eat it the ice cream was frozen solid. I popped it into the microwave for 30 seconds to help the thawing process and it was AMAZING!

Friday, April 20, 2018

One Month Down

I have not been on the Keto Diet for one month and I wanted to jot down my thoughts on the process so far.

Weight Loss: In the first 3 weeks I dropped 10 pounds! This was supper encouraging because see progress at the onset of any diet helped me to continue on this path to create new habits to make life-long changes. During this time I have given up some of my favorite foods and have adapted others.

Root Beer and other sodas- My coworkers and I often go out to eat at lunch. While I used to order water about half the time I have consistently ordered water every time we've gone out. I thought this would be hard, especially at Mexican restaurants but it really hasn't been an issue. I did try Zevia Ginger Root Beer but hated the taste as it was nothing like my A&W. That's ok, one less temptation to drink my calories.

Ice Cream- I love ice cream but even before my diet I could go weeks without any. I created a Keto Chocolate Ice Cream by taking elements of other recipes to match what I had on hand. It was delicious. It made enough for my family of 4 to have a little and everyone thought it was good. I'm not sure how well it keeps. Maybe next time I'll be able to find out.

Other recipes that I have adapted include Salmon Patties (made with Almond flour now), fajitas (no tortillas), salad (no ranch). There have been a few recipes that I've tried and thrown out. There have been a few that we've eaten and loved. It's a process and we're getting on just fine.

Water Intake: As I mentioned before drinking water wasn't a hardship, but drinking enough water has been. Because in the initial stages the body is breaking down fat and expelling stored water it's easy to lose electrolytes. I have been using Propel water beverage mix because it contains electrolytes and necessary vitamins and minerals. Plus, the grape flavor (my favorite) tricks my mind into thinking I'm having Kool-Aid or something. While I am able to get between 50-65 oz of water I have noticed the skin on my hands and arms (and probably elsewhere too) have been overly dry requiring additional applications of lotion throughout the day. I think I need to try to increase my water consumption to at least 80-95 oz.

More updates to come.

Friday, April 13, 2018

A New "Diet" Journey

I have dieted off and on my whole adult life. For every 10 pounds I would lose I would gain 20. Though I didn't have a scale when Nickel and I married I weighed in the neighborhood of 150  and nearly three years after moving to Tulsa I was in the neighborhood of 195.

Weight is just a number and one shouldn't be obsessed with it. True, but I find that this number is also a good way of gauging how the direction my life is going. After battling the winter blues I decided I needed a change. A co-worker mentioned that she was thinking of going on either the Paleo or Keto diet. I did a modified Paleo diet a few years ago and actually really enjoyed it, except for not being able to eat cheese. I saw that cheese was acceptable on Keto so I suggest we go with the Keto as I wanted to do it. What I didn't know about keto could have filled an entire library but with a little research and meal planning I set off to the store with my list.

So we started this journey on March 19, 2018. My meals consisted mostly of eggs, meat and vegetables. I cut out bread. I cut out sodas (goodbye root beer). I cut out sugar.

But, not entirely. Cold turkey leads to cranky Leslee and the keto flu. I maintained drinking a cup of coffee most days, though I did experiment with different ways of having it prepared. In the end I decided that if I MUST have coffee I would order either a short or tall caramel machiatto, preferably sugar free, which still isn't keto but was the best I could do. I had a tiny root beer float a couple of nights when the sweet tooth attacked. Despite all these trips off the wagon I managed to lose six pounds my first week! What? It was totally water weight but it was so encouraging to see the scale going in the direction I wanted it to go and I finally got back into the 180's which was a personal goal.

Week 2 I began to understand keto better. I started to see this not as a diet but as a way I could actually live the rest of my life. Maybe.

Week 3 has had a few challenges. The weight isn't just falling off me like during the first week. It has slowed down to 2-3 pounds a week, which is actually still really good. One thing I would love to avoid is excess skin from dropping weight too fast, if you know what I mean.

I hope to be able to check in soon with more progress and updates.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Out with the Old

One area in which Peanut and I have struggled with for oh... almost 18 years has been organization and being tidy. Once upon a time I was a crazy messy person, just ask my mother. My idea of a clean room was shoving everything I owned either under my bed or into my closet and shutting the door. Sometimes I did both. Okay, I did both quite a lot. I even went through the phase where I would put EVERYTHING on top of my bed and work to put things where they went. I will admit that a time or two I MAY have pushed everything back on the floor so that I could sleep. Hey, my sleep is very important to me.

Peanut, is much like her mother in this regard, but before I'm ready she will be out on her own trying to keep her own family from destroying her home. I only have a finite amount of time to really drive home those "when your space is clutter-free your mind is more apt to be as well" lessons. I'm sure there are health benefits to not growing science experiments in your room as well.

Side note, I once left mushrooms in my room to rot for weeks. Not from a pizza or anything, I didn't dare eat them in my youth. No, these were your found in the woods, may or may not be magical but don't try this at home kind of mushrooms. Rotting mushrooms smell most foul. Just trust me on this. My mother was furious. I haven't done that in at least 30 years though.

So after eating pizza and watching a couple of Christmas movies with Peanut I asked her if we could work on her room for an hour. Just an hour. To say she wasn't thrilled with the prospect of cleaning her room, much less with her mother, would be the understatement of the twenty first century, but agreed. We decided we would start with her dresser which was full to bursting.

This lovely 3-drawer solid wood dresser was a steal that I found at a local furniture resale shop for only $75 not long after moving to T-Town. Did I mention it's solid wood? Yeah, heavy stuff. No partical boards here. This baby was built to last. We worked for an hour deciding if she wanted to keep each item, throw it away or donate it. By the end of the hour we have a well organized dresser with room for clothes from the overflowing laundry basket- you know, whenever they get washed.

I asked her to go get a broom and dust pan, oh and since she had to go through the kitchen, why didn't take all these cups that either need to be washed or emptied and thrown away. With only an eye-roll she did as I requested. we now have a 3'x3' space with not only a dresser with drawers that close but beautiful hardwood floors too. Progress.

Tomorrow she might even clean off the top of the dresser. Now if I can just get her to keep it this way... wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Peanut and Adulting

I started this blog 12 years ago when Peanut was just a wee little kindergartner. Life with her has not always been easy but it has been an adventure. We have both matured over the years. The older she gets the better we get along. From her early years I hoped that when she was an adult that we could have the type of friendship that I enjoy with my own mother. The years have been kind and we do have an easy rapport.

*insert the sappy orchestra music*
My little Peanut now has a job, is in the process of applying to colleges and dreaming of her future as- *abrupt end to music*

Being an adult and doing adult things is not quite what my Peanut imagined in her youth. She has a job but her hours are in consistent while her bills pretty much stay the same. She's still in school so really she's just practicing being an adult before she really has to be. She has a car, graciously given to her by her parents upon obtaining her driver's license. However she is responsible for the gas and her car insurance (which is on her parent's policy therefore is much lower than if she were on her own), and she has to pay for her cell phone- not the bill, her parents pay for her line she is only responsible for the payment of the phone itself.  A lot more of her check than she would like is spent on said bills, but she still manages to have enough to be able to buy coffee and Chick-fil-A from time to time.

The other day she asked me for a suggestion on what she could take to a Christmas party she's attending in her Drama Department. Knowing that these types of gatherings is all about the junk food I suggested a chips and cheese dip made with just Velveeta and Rotel. Simple but tasty. Last night she called me from the grocery store and asked what she needed.

"Um, chips, Velveeta and Rotel." I replied.

But she couldn't find the ingredients. So I had to try to give her directions to where she needed to look for said items even though I wasn't there and couldn't tell what she was looking at. She finally found the items on her list. I packed everything she would need in my Crockpot (including the can opener because Lord knows she wouldn't have thought of that) and told her how to make said dip. Seriously, it's hard to mess up when you only have two ingredients. 

I can say for certain that it's good that she's practicing this adulting thing while still in high school and living at home. I can't imagine her going off to college in another city without some basic survival skills.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Truly Inspired

I don't always feel God's presence in my life. Listen, I don't doubt for one moment that He's not there, it's simply just me not paying attention. Then there are days like today when it's like "There! There's God working in my life right there. In plain sight."

Let me back up to the beginning of this story. As a LuLaRoe consultant I have a Facebook group and through this group I have met some of the most amazing women and I am thankful to call many of them friends after our day in and day out interaction.

Recently, during a sale one girl purchased a shirt and immediately asked me in a private message if I would send it to her friend who is also part of my group. I, of course, jumped at the chance. I love being a part of a conspiracy to make someone's day a little brighter. So on Monday morning the package was shipped to its new home.

Today, I received a sweet message telling me the shirt "feels like love" and she thanked me. I of course admitted I only sent the package, but was truly happy that she loves her new shirt.

A few hours later I received a message from the first friend thanking me for whatever I had written in the note. The thank you she received from her friend went something like this,

 "I really was thinking earlier today...is anyone thinking about me right now? Just felt a little lonely and lost in my frustrations. And this appeared! And you said what you said! So perfectly timed and just what I honestly needed!"

So what did I say? I honestly don't remember what words I used but they were along the lines of that someone was thinking about her, she is loved and to never forget that. 

I wrote the words, I meant the words, but those words were not my own. I believe with every fiber of my being that God knew that woman needed a friend. She needed to know she is not alone in this life. God laid it upon my friend's heart to send her a gift. God spoke the words she needed to hear in my ear. 

Is this how the writers of the Bible felt? Did they ever know the impact those words had on others? I doubt they had any concept that their words would be translated in more languages that were known to them. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

The First of the Lasts

I'm not ready for a year of lasts.

I have 30 minutes to type this blog entry and convey all of the emotions I am feeling. That is all the time I have allowed myself today (from 7:30-10:30) then I have to pick myself up, take a deep breath and go about my regularly scheduled tasks for the day.

Why the three-hour pity party? Well, today was the beginning of the end. Today started with the last First Day of School picture I will take of my little Peanut.Today she began her senior year of high school.

I began in this blog in 2005 when my Peanut was 5 years old. She was sassy. She was strong-willed. She was determined. Basically, she was a handful. From birth to about eight years we had many disagreements. So very many. I couldn't wait for her to grow up.

Her first day of Pre-K was a good day. After attending a pre-school class at the church I worked at I took her to her first day of public school Pre-K. She was tiny but she was fierce. I didn't cry. I was ready for her to take on the world and show them what she had and she did just that. She boldly walked into school and set about making her mark.

The years passed. She grew in knowledge and understanding. Our relationship became less antagonistic and slowly we became friends. Don't get me wrong, we still have moments where she and I clash in opinion and wills, but thankfully, these events are growing fewer and further in between.

Then, today Peanut began her senior year of high school. Today was the last time I will take her First Day of School picture and it makes me sad. This year will be full of last times. I know that this is an exciting time. So much of life happens after you leave the halls of 8:30-3:30. After high school she will have the opportunity to see new things, experience life she never realized existed. I'm truly excited for these things, but at the same time I want to hold on these moments because I still see that cute little 4 year old in pigtails and I want to hold her and never let her go.

I'm not crying. There's allergies in my eyes. Also, that was a total lie, I'm totally crying. I am 100% positive this will not the last time I cry. It's just the beginning.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A Little "Me" Time and Other Lies I Tell Myself

Nickel and I both work outside the home and the children are often left to their own devices. And by devices I mean iPhone or tablets. Often upon arriving at home of the evening I spend anywhere from 15-45 minutes listening to Peanut or TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) tell me all about the day. Sometimes Peanut is at work by the time I get home.o

After dinner tonight, I went to my bedroom to soak up some quiet time. Within a couple of minutes here came Peanut flopping on the bed beside me and started talking. Twenty minutes on probably only four breaths later TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) wondered into my room waving a weapon he had crafted using colorful straws and a lot of tape. It reminded me of something that might appear in a Dr. Seuss book to be honest. I thought for sure he was going to poke his sister with it but he was a good boy and refrained himself. We discussed the quantity of straws used to make this giant gun/stick/thingymabob and tape. "Hey! If you leave tape just laying on the floor I'm going to use it!" he yelled in his defense. Well, he did make a good point there.

The rest of the night passed in the regular ebb and flow of a middle income family of four living quietly in the heart of the second largest city in the state. Before going to bed Peanut attempted to retrieve her phone charger next to the chair we lovingly call her nest when all of a sudden she cries out, "Ow! I didn't see that pillow until it was poking me in the eye." We laughed for a good five minutes over the irony of that statement.

I dearly love my family. I love that we can laugh together and at each other. I hope we always stay this way.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

One Week To Live

I haven't had nearly enough coffee this morning but here is my random musing for the day. Did you know that the average lifespan of a gnat is 7 days. That's it, one week to be born, go through the awkward stage, graduate high school, find a honey and die.

That's gotta be some pick-up line though, "Hey baby, I only 72 hours to live, want to hook up?"

What do you think the gnat that lives to 10 days says to their grandchildren? "When I was your age, last week, I flew around a banana for two hours. People were clapping and cheering all around me. Oh, those were the days."

Seriously, I need to go find some coffee. Have a lovely day.

Friday, July 28, 2017

12th Anniversary

On July 30, 2005 I published the very first entry on this blog. For several years I faithfully chronicled my thoughts, happenings and life in general. Around 2008 Facebook appeared on the scene and I was able to get more reactions in less time. As years past this blog received less and less of my attention, but still I kept for one reason or another. I love looking back at the stories I used to tell about Peanut, my daughter who is about to start her senior year in high school if you can believe it! These memories would have been forgotten had I not written them down.

I cannot say the same about TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much), but my memories of him are on Facebook, not as easily accessible. I should find a way to retrieve them. Memories are important. You never know when the deep desire to look back will overtake you. 

So on this, the eve (or close enough) of my anniversary, I renew my commitment to the blog. In a sort. There will be no promises to write my thoughts down often. I wish I could say that I will write every morning between 8 and 9 am, but that's silly for I do not know what tomorrow will bring. However, I renew my commitment to not delete this blog. As long as blogger exists, I will maintain this blog and from time to time I will write down my musings. 

An update on life-

Nickel is still my one and only. He and I recently celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. While in some aspects it feels as though only a few moments have passed in other aspects it feels as though we've spent three lifetimes together. One thing I know for sure, my love for him is deeper than it has ever been. Our marriage is a true partnership. We share responsibilities and I never feel like I'm going through life alone. My hope is that my children will someday find that person who makes them feel the same.

Peanut, as I mentioned is a senior in high school. She is both looking forward to it and dreading it. More than anything she despises hearing the "so, where are you going to go to college and what will you major in" question that EVERYONE feels compelled to ask. She knows it's a normal question for people her age but she's feeling a bit overwhelmed. Nickel and I try not to bombard her with our thoughts on subject, but she knows we would prefer she go to the college that costs the least. 

TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) is going into third grade and he never stops talking. He still is difficult to understand at times, but through Speech Therapy has improved leaps and bounds. He recently celebrated his ninth birthday. When I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday he said, "go to a museum." So, along with his favorite cousin GrahamCracker and my SIL we went to the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. The boys had a blast. They got to get inside airplanes, launch a space shuttle, fly a hot air balloon, and so much more.

Ecclesiastes 3: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016


This morning I told my children I was leaving for that place I have to go to every day.

TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) said, "The donut store?"

Um, I wish. Poor kid he really wants a donut.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Recovery Day Six

These daily updates are coming to a close as it is looking very good for a departure from the hospital sometimes tomorrow. The surgeon went ahead and skipped the clear diet and let him have real food for which he was very appreciative. 

He visited the playroom a couple of times today. Grandma brought by this monkey that he insists is a bear because it has a bear face- which I can totally see. Then this evening my friend Krystan brought George a very special gift- his own Superman cape and we got to see him smile!! 

I am exhausted but so very thankful to see my boy on the mend. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Until Death Do They Part

Pardon the seriously poor quality of this picture. The point is not the picture but that are people across the street from the hospital. These people started lining up on the sidewalk across the street from the hospital about 30 minutes ago so I went to the nurse's station to investigate. Apparently there is a gentleman upstairs in ICU who received some bad news and he and his girlfriend decided to get married. Today! All these people couldn't go to the wedding so in support they're here outside the window. I assume from the way they were bent over various devices someone was posting a live feed. I hope they're able to find happiness for as many days as they're given together.

*This blog entry was created on 7/28/17 based on Facebook memories. It has been located here to help me remember the truly important events in life. The gentleman, I later learned, was 18 years old. He had beat cancer 6 times but it came back for a 7th and that was more than his body could handle. He died 9/23/16, less than two months after marrying his high school sweet heart. Life is fleeting, life is precious. Take advantage of today because tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Recovery Day 3

Checking out the medal flower garden on our morning walk
Recovery Day 3: What a difference a day makes. Thanks to a lot of answered prayers and advances in modern medicine TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) is starting to feel more like himself. Today they removed the IV from his hand (he didn't need it now thanks to the picc line) and the drainage tube. There is talk that we will probably lose the tube hanging out his nose this weekend and reintroduce food. We might even get a sponge bath tomorrow as his bedhead is getting out of control!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Voices From the Backseat

No, I'm not going crazy. Well, no more so than normal. Tonight TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) and I picked up cousin Graham Cracker and headed to the local splash pad. These two are the best of friends and have been since they were knee high to grasshopper. Look at these faces from about seven years ago.
New Wheels
Some things they don't share.

Playing with Lane's kitchen

Look at these innocent faces!

 On the way to the Splash Pad TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) told Graham Cracker about how we went to play at a nearby lake the day before. "Oh man! You got to go to the lake?" Graham Cracker exclaimed. "All I did yesterday is sit. I don't know what else I did. I'm really good at forgetting."

We all have to be good at something kiddo.

The boys of course had a blast. One woman there with her twin granddaughters asked if mine were twins too. Twin cousins perhaps, though their features are very different. At almost eight they're still about the same height, same size, same coloring, even similar hair color.
After shutting down the splash pad we got back in the car to head back to G's house.  Along the way the boys were discussing their favorite subjects in school which are P.E. and Art, of course. They're the easiest according to both boys. Neither of them are as fond of Music as the other "easy" classes. "But if they had more harmonica in Music, I'd like it more," G announced. "One day, I picked up a harmonica, put it to my lips and blew. And what do you know, I can play that harmonica good. I just know how to do stuff like that, you know?"

Then the subject moved on to TheBoy's 10 hologram dogs. What I love about these boys is how easy they get along. They don't argue and say the other can't be right about whatever he just said, they just accept that their friend would never tell them anything false. They don't try to out do each other with the I-Can-Top-That stories. TheBoy just starts talking about hologram dogs and G asks him how many are in the car now, because obviously that is a possibility, right?

Pure. Easy-Going. Innocent. Those three words describe these boys and I hope with all my heart they never lose those qualities. I pray they will always be the best of friends and depend on and watch out for each other.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We're Not Doing Community Service...well not THAT kind of community service

One of the really cool things about my new job in the Big City is how much my employer encourages giving back to the community. Annually, millions of dollars are pour back into the community for education, healthcare, food distribution programs, and road repairs. Along with those things at any given time employees can participate in raising money for charities, attending blood drives, and clean up adopted highways and parks.

Yesterday our whole team went to my hometown where we cleaned out flowerbeds, planted flowers, mulched, and other tasks at one of the local museums. After lunch we headed downtown where we set out as teams to pull the largest weeds, spray all the other weeds coming up in cracks near store fronts, along the sidewalk, and near seating areas. We swept up trash- mostly cigarette butts. My team for this part of the adventure consisted of two of my closest work friends. Along the way one store owner came out of her shop to ask where we were from to thank us for what we were doing. We spent a few moments visiting with her then proceeded with our task. After we completed our hot task we met up with other members of our team. Their experience wasn't quite the same as ours, as they cleaned near a law office a gentleman came to the door, and quietly locked it! Guess he thought we were doing that other community service. HA!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Goodbye School Year, Hello Summer

What a difference a year makes! Twelve months ago we were in the process of saying goodbye to our life on the Plains as we anticipated our move to Big City. Peanut and TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) were preparing to leave the only place they had ever called home. Early in June I shipped the children off to The Land of Dial-up where they spent a couple of weeks with my parents and attended church camp. On our sixteenth anniversary, Nickel and I packed up the last of our belonging and headed East. We had friends and family to help us move, thank goodness.

When school time came around, I knew the kids would adapt, with time. TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) had some major anxiety. I don't blame him he would go to a building he didn't know the layout, sit in a class with total strangers, get on a bus driven by a stranger with other strangers to learn a sport (Karate) of which he knew nothing! Poor kid, it was overwhelming. For months when I asked him about his day he would say "boring" because he didn't know how else to describe his loneliness. Slowly he made friends soon it was Ricardo this, Jack that, Evie, Seven, and many other names. Finally, this boy had friends. His teacher, who was very concerned about his beginning test scores started to notice the change in him as well, and the blasted test scores came up.

Peanut was very excited to move. She wanted the chance to reinvent herself and make new friends. Things didn't happen quite as she anticipated. Classes were much more difficult in Big City than the Plains. Then drama happened. The class I mean. She had a nice camera and without planning it, she became the unofficial drama department photographer. She made a few friends then added a few more. She got her driver's permit. She started a job. She started exploring her independence.

This year has been full of change, but these kiddos have triumphed, and I couldn't be more proud.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Begin As You Mean To Go On

“Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you.”― Charles Haddon Spurgeon, All of Grace

I don't know where I first heard this saying, but it is stuck in my mind and plays on repeat almost daily. Begin as you mean to go on. 

Peanut is now at the ripe old age of sixteen. She has her driver's permit. She has a job, a checking account, and a debit card. Begin as you mean to go on.

I'm a pretty mean mom. I've instructed Peanut that she will put the first half of her paycheck into savings. Doing this will teach her to pay herself first and create a habit of saving money. I've also told her she needs to have 5k in her savings before she can move out. WHAT?! You may say, is that even feasible? Well, at the rate she's making money she can easily put $100 into her savings account each paycheck, biweekly. That would be about $2600 a year. She has two more years left in school so yeah, I think 5k is possible. As anyone who has ever moved, you know how expensive it can be. There are furnishings to buy, deposits to pay, and groceries to buy and rent to pay for the first time. Hopefully, when that day comes she'll already be in the habit of setting aside part of each check and will manage bills. Begin as you mean to go on.

With the other half of her paycheck, she has to pay her bills. Using 25% of her total paycheck, up to $200 a month she pays me back for the bills I pay on her behalf. She recently upgraded her phone, and though I pay for the line, she has to make the monthly installment. Her car, which is my old car, isn't quite paid for yet, so she helps to make that payment. I say she pays up to $200 a month but she doesn't earn that much money, that's just what her phone and car cost her parents each month. If by some crazy turn of events, she earns more than $800 a month she would get to keep that extra money. Perhaps this is incentive to work more? Begin as you mean to go on.

The final quarter of her paycheck is hers. All hers and she may do with it whatever teenagers do with money. Buy crap. Get her hair colored. Buy her mom coffee. Her little splurges. She's learning that that money goes fast. Begin as you mean to go on.

My parents didn't teach me about money, saving, or budgeting. I'm not blaming them for my money mistakes. I think it just didn't occur to them. As far as I know they didn't have a budget, and we were so poor I doubt they had much in the way of savings for many years. I did see my mom balance the checkbook, and she gave me the first lesson in reconciliation, but it ended there. For Peanut, though, I see these financial lessons as training wheels for life. I know there will come a time when she forgets to write a transaction down, and it will start a little domino effect. It has happened to us all. And of course, we're always here to help her pick up the pieces. Begin as you mean to go on.

And just to show you how mean I am, I've put a hold on this book at our local library and am going to insist she read a chapter a day this summer and then we'll discuss what she learns. Oh, the torture! 

While I'm not sure everything in this book will be applicable, it will introduce her to a whole new world of money. She will learn what a 401(k) is, perhaps ways to avoid the credit card debt so many young people find themselves in, and how to set and achieve financial goals.  Begin as you mean to go on.

And if all goes well, we'll do this again in 8 years when TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) is in a similar situation. Begin as you mean to go on.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Crab Legs Are No Longer On The Menu

*Note: this blog was actually published on 7/28/17 in an effort to regain some of my memories.

Move to Tulsa, they said.
It's great in Tulsa, they said.
You'll have fun in Tulsa, they said.
There are lots new and tasty foods in Tulsa, they said.

What they didn't say is that TheBoyWhoTalks(much) is allergic to shellfish. In my defense, this has never happened before. A night in the hospital for observation and all will be well.

My poor baby.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Mom Files--Dealing With Static

I wok with a handful of 20-something year olds at the library. They are full of fresh new ideas, know the lastest lingo, and understand social trends. However, when it comes to practical life skills, they're still learning. A few weeks go one of the girls was having an issue with static in her hair. The question was asked in a room full of women what she could do to control it. As if on cue, three of us said "dryer sheet" in unison. The two 20-somethings stood with mouths agape at how quickly the response came. They decided that because the three women who answered were all moms that we must have "Mom Files" downloaded into our brains when we give birth. I prefer to think that we're just cool, sexy aunts who are here to help guide our little nieces into the world. Hey! It's my imagination.

So, for those of you who might have some static issues, I'll give you the Aunt Leslee's guide to dealing with static.

First, what to do when you're already 10 minutes late for work and your just won't lay down and taking another shower is completely out of the question--yes, it's happened to me.

1. Grab a dryer sheet on your way out the door. It helps control static in your laundry, why not your hair? Just run it over your hair, clothes, coat, hats, whatever is near your hair. It may not solve your problem 100% but it should at least get you through the day. As a bonus your hair will smell spring fresh.

2. Another cheap trick is to use lotion. It never fails that I get fly-aways when I'm out and about and seriously, who carries dryer sheets with them? Well, I don't generally. But something I do have my purse is lotion. I don't have a preferred brand, generally whatever someone gave me for my birthday or Christmas. Put a small amount your hands and rub it in like normal, your hands get a fresh dose of moisture that they crave during the winter months. But as you finish up, rub your hands over the top of your hair, or wherever the static is strongest. This will not only give your hair a little bit moisture but will also hopefully weigh the fly-aways down for the remainder of the day. The trick is not grease up your hair. You don't want to look like you went swimming in lotion, this is why I recommend rubbing into your hands first. Another bonus is if it's a good smelling lotion you'll get compliments on the nice fragrance all day. Win-Win.

On a side note, I've also been known to use coconut oil instead of lotion and it helps as well. Again, the trick is not overdo it. Greasy hair is not attractive.

So now that I've told you about my secrets for controlling static how do we simply nip so it won't come back.  Well, it's not that hard really, but it will take a little bit of effort and you have to do ALL of the following steps.

Step one: Wash your hair.
Yep, washing your hair will get rid of static, don't forget to use conditioner.

Step two: Wash your hairbrush.
Give all of your brushes and combs a bath whenever static pops up. The static in your hair will transfer to the hair in your brushes and the brushes themselves so give them a little soak. I fill the bathroom sink up with warm water and a bit of shampoo. Throw the brushes in to soak for a few minutes. Then remove all the hair from the brushes. Rinse them off and you're good to go again.

Step three: Wash your clothes, coats, hats, scarves, etc
As with the brushes, static will transfer to anything it comes in contact with. This includes your coats, scarves, shirts, and hats. Check the washing instructions for every article of clothing you wore while experiencing static and wash accordingly. If you fail to wash them the next time you put them back on the static will transfer right back to your hair and you're having another bad hair day. Those are NO FUN!

Now, I know I don't know everything so if you have a trick to calming or avoiding static let me know in the comments.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Ghost Story

"A long time ago there was a ghost that made the rain and thunder. It also liked to eat people."

by TheBoyWhoDoesNotTalk(much)

He just might grow up to write mysteries for his Mama.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Who's the Boss?

Nickel and I were doing our best imitations of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck's "Rabbit season/ duck season" argument when TheBoyWhoDoesNotTalk(much) interrupted us.

"Hey! If you two want to fight, go to my room!"

I guess we were told.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

So, what is microfiche?

I don't consider myself old, sure I used computers with 5 inch floppy discs (briefly-more so the 3 1/2" discs), phones with cords, cassette tapes and AOL Dial-UP, but today a lovely young coworker was perusing some binders that I inherited with my office and ask me, "What is microfiche? Is it something Microsoft use to make?" I asked if she remembered microfiche or microfilm from elementary school to which another lovely young coworker replied, "We're not that old."
I started weeping then proceeded to Google "microfiche" for her to see what she missed out by being born so recently.
Rub it in ladies, just rub it in.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summertime Learning and Fun

The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) as you may have gathered has a few speech delays. I didn't start to worry about them until he was 3 and even now I'm not overly concerned.  He talks when he has something to say.  He started working with a Speech Pathologist, who happens to be a very dear friend of mine, at the age of 3. After several months of progress she asked if I had considered putting him into the school system. At age 3. I had never heard of such a thing. There was testing to be done but we soon discovered that he did in fact qualify for school services at the age of 3. The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) enjoys school and it has helped tremendously. However, as we all know, summertime is when even the brightest children can have some regression.

To combat this Peanut has accepted the challenge of helping The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) during the summer months. I have come up with some "lesson plans". I use the quotes because nothing is really set in stone.  I have divided the summer up into units that have a specific theme.  For the first two weeks the theme centered around camping because the second week we spent at a cabin in the woods down by the lake.  Peanut and I read stories to him like "Curious George goes Camping" by Margaret Ray, "Just Me and My Dad" by Mercer Mayer, and "Fred and Ted Go Camping" by Peter Eastman.  There were crafts that could be related to camping like painting with marshmallows, making an owl out of feathers I found on clearance at Walmart.  Pinterest led me to some great activities such as colorful pages with rows of fish.  The fish were in a certain pattern and the fish at the end were in black and white and could either be colored but we used the colorful Goldfish Crackers and this lesson was fun, delicious, AND helped with math skills.

The second unit was about dinosaurs.  This is not The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much)'s favorite subject.  He thinks dinosaurs are mean and scary and I had hopes that during this unit he would come away more brave.  Dinosaurs are still not his favorite, and that's ok.  He was able to work on his fine motor skills with a giant coloring book I found at the Dollar Tree. It only had 30 or so pages, but that was plenty for our two week lessons.  Each day I also prepared three lines for him to read and then rewrite in a writing tablet I purchased at Walmart. His Kindergarten teacher was kind enough to send home a copy of the sight words he worked on (and will continue to work on next year when we do another round of Kindergarten).  With these sight words and a few extra here and there I've come up with a few sentences.  During the Camping Unit his sentences looked something like, "I like to fish", "We like to camp",  or "I see a red fish". Fish and Camp were not a sight words but they fit the unit. I only add one or two non-sight words to his writing pages.  For the Dinosaur Unit I threw in the word "dinosaur". My goal here is that the more he writes these words the better chance he'll have at remember them.  I've noticed the words I used more frequently were the words he was able to read during a little quiz I gave him yesterday.

As a reward, Nickel and I took him to a local museum where they currently have a dinosaur display. Peanut was sound asleep when we left so we gave her the afternoon off from all of us.
Pictured here with daddy, The Boy Who Doesn't Talk (much) was a little nervous at the sheer size of the beasts that actually moved (albeit robotically) and roared.
This little gadget allowed you to put a "real" dinosaur egg in to be scanned and you could learn what sort of dinosaur is inside. There were four eggs and of course The Boy had to do them all.  We stayed in this area just long enough to see them but quickly moved on to see the rest of the museum and to play.  Outside, across the street there is a castle that with admission to the museum could play at as well. The Boy led Nickel and I to the top of one tower and around in circles.  I should have taken a picture of the castle as it is quite impressive.  At the back of the castle we found some xylophones and the The Boy wrestled with an alligator!

We concluded our Dinosaur Unit with a trip to Cherry Berry where we cooled down a bit.  Up next is the most anticipated Space Unit, which happens to be high on The Boy's interest list.  We're considering taking a trip to the Science Museum in OKC in a couple of weeks.

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." Benjamin Franklin