Saturday, March 26, 2011

Remember the Whales

So, what's a mama to do when they leave?

I mean besides walk around the house sighing every two seconds?

This mama can complete most of her graduate school homework in one day, that's what.

This morning I read my assigned chapter in The Book of Nurturing and wrote a one page summary in which I will have to present orally (gulp!) in class next week.

My assigned chapter was, "The Nature of Communication" and discussed "The Law of the Whales". Now, if that chapter doesn't make you cry, well, I don't know what will. Sheesh! It discusses how whales live within pods and use these beautiful songs filled with honesty and earnestness and power in order to communicate with one another. How they do not ever interrupt one another but rather listen and respond only when the first whale is finished. If one whale does sing at the same time, it seems to take the form of harmony and of agreement and encouragement.

And this: It discusses how mother whales sing the gentlest, most tender, and touching humpback song to help guide and encourage their baby calves as they nudge and lift them to the surface where it can draw it's first breath. It is a song described as being one filled with love and pride and confidence.

See what I mean? Tears!

So after I read that and gathered my composure, I contemplated what I was going to do for the next part of my project which was to create an artifact to accompany this law using any medium of choice. Now, I am a former elementary school teacher and am now studying Early Childhood Special Education so of course my artistic skills include using crayons and glue.

Well, I bought a pencil, eraser and some paper and tried my best. I came up with this: I drew a picture of a mama whale helping guide her baby up to the surface for it's first breath using her gentle and encouraging song.

And, well. That just made me all teary-eyed all over again because I felt like it was such a good reminder for me. That communication should be not a lecture but a song - a song of mutual respect, encouragement and trust.

Kinda cool.

Friday, March 25, 2011

When They Leave

On those Fridays when they leave, I do not do well.

During the week there are times when I wish for quietness, for a clean crumb-free floor, for the chance to sit on the couch and watch my shows on t.v. I do not wish for these things often, but yet, when times get tough, I do. Briefly.

But I know that the Friday will come soon and when it does I will beg for the chaos, for the crumbs, for the Max and Ruby show that I've seen a million times before. Because even though I think I want the quiet peaceful home, I really don't. I don't want it at all. I want my kids. I want them here with me.

It is hard. Yes, I know that this is happening because of life choices that I made, but still. It is so very hard that at times I do not know how to make it all o.k. I don't know how to and I will never know how to because it's not o.k. My kids are not with me and I do not know what they are doing.

I miss them and it hurts very badly.

But I am trying.

In many ways, I am trying.

I am trying to forgive.

I am trying to juggle being a good single mama and being a productive working woman. I am trying to provide a good life for them; the best life for them because they deserve nothing less. But I am nowhere near perfect and sometimes, probably a lot of the time, I mess up. I say the wrong things. I make bad decisions. I make mistakes.

What can I do?

What I can do is just exactly what I tell my kids - "Always try your best because really, that's all you can do. Can't do better than your best...".

Aaaaand when my best stinks, I try harder the next day.

But, oh...oh how I can not get used to these Fridays when they leave...

Hurry up Sunday.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Caught Off-Guard

That is just exactly how I felt this afternoon - completely and utterly caught off- guard.

I called a Daycare Center just a bit ago to see if I may be able to find out some more information on their facility, as I will be going back to work (hopefully!) soon. I was primarily interested in seeing if they had spots available for the summer months for Cassidy and Dylan. The Director of the center called me back and we began chatting for a little while. The Center sounded great and the woman was quite friendly and enthusiastic.

I mentioned that my son happened to have Down syndrome.

I just threw it out there, truly not thinking that it would make one bit of difference. Naive? Yes, I now see that as so.

But. I do not see Dylan in that way; in the way that she must see him upon hearing his label, for after I told her that he has Down syndrome, there was silence.

I asked if there was a problem and she then said that she didn't think that "it would be a good fit for him".

I was... What was I?
Ashamed to be so naive. So naive to think that my kid may not be able to attend a regular ol' Daycare Center just like any other kid.

Not a good fit? Why? Because he is different? And he's not even really different, that's the thing!

"Why isn't he a good fit?", I asked.

She asked me if he is potty trained. "No, not yet", I said. Are all of the other 2.5 year olds, though, I wondered?

She asked me if he is walking. Oh. Walking. Walking. She hit a pretty vulnerable spot with that one, I will say that. I replied quietly, "No.".

"But", I said. "You never know...". And continued on a little too excitedly, grasping. "See. He wouldn't be starting this daycare until the summer, actually, so he just may be!! He just may be!!!".

More silence.


I was, and still am, feeling caught off-guard. Reeling. I am trying to understand how this could be. How, in this day and age, that my son, simply because he has Down syndrome, can be unwelcome into a Daycare Center. Why? Please help me understand why he is not allowed there. He could teach the other kids SO much! He could teach the teachers and the Director SO much! He could share SO much of what he knows about life and learning and love.

It's a shame.

And unfortunately I am now aware that I will have many more of these situations ahead. But I will learn. I WILL learn how to be a better advocate. Dylan deserves nothing less.

Nothing less.

But guess what? It is their loss because Dylan is a cool kid. He is a smart kid with SO much to offer.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Short and Sweet

Every night before I go to sleep, I try to remember to write at least one sentence in my journal. I think back on the day and write something that stands out as being especially good. Sometimes it's not really anything especially good, but rather just a nice memory from a piece of another day shared with my kids.

Today I have three especially good things.

1. Seeing Dylan upright. It's a pretty rare sight so when it happens, oh it makes me so very happy...

2. Crispy Peanut Butter Treats with Chocolate Chips. Are you kidding me with these things!? They're from The Kind Diet, though, so are actually somewhat healthy!

3. And this...especially this.

I have said it before and I will say it again, they are so blessed to have one another. Their relationship, while not always perfect, is really something quite amazing.

Sunday, March 6, 2011



Can you hear that? It's the dripping of icicles. The melting of snow! Spring is coming, I can feel it!!

And just in time, too. We've been running out of things to play with inside...

This week I have been spending more time in my sweet little kitchen following recipe after recipe. Have I mentioned how much I am enjoying learning how to cook? How I've gone this far in my life without so much a clue as to how to cook some brown rice (or fine, boil water), I do not understand. I feel like I have not been a good example for my kids and I am so thankful that I have decided to make this much needed change.

All of the meals that I have been cooking have come straight from a recipe that I have either found online or have read in one of my two cookbooks. I am nowhere near the "winging it" stage, but...I'm OK with that. Hey, I'm not even ashamed to admit that I just watched an online video all about how to steam vegetables (well, maybe just a little ashamed :)...

Here are a few of the things I have made this week. Remember - these are all healthy, vegan dishes. It IS possible to eat tasty food that is also quite good for you, too!

Quinoa Vegetable Peanut Stir Fry

Quick Vegan Quesadillas

Tomato Basil Pasta (from my new favorite cooking blog: Oh She Glows)

Oh. I've also fallen madly in love this week:

It's a Green Monster and it's amazing!


So, my graduate class begins in one week. I have not been in school for, well...(ahem)...quite some time now and I'm nervous. I admit that recently I've spent far too much time trying to figure out whether I am suppose to bring a notebook and pen (and my Trapper Keeper?:) to class or a laptop?

Ahh well.

Happy Almost-Spring!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Personal Growth

A new month already? How is that even possible? Well...onward we go!


So, this year, I have embarked on my own Happiness Project and as a part of this, will be coming up with a different resolution for each month. Each of these resolutions will consist of a handful of measurable goals that I will strive to achieve every day.

This month I have decided to focus on personal growth. (Typing "personal growth" just totally cracked me up because it reminds me of my very favorite movie, When Harry Met Sally... "Sally. Someone is staring at you in Personal Growth"... ; )


In January my resolution was to focus on "vitality" and in February it was to "enjoy parenthood". Both resolutions were mostly successful and really got me moving in a positive direction. I want to keep going. And so I will..

This month as I focus on growth, I will be improving on the following resolutions:

1. continue learning how to cook healthy, natural meals (cook at least 2 new recipes a week)
2. project: master's degree; take a graduate level class (Early Childhood/General Special Education)
3. play around with my camera more (get those pics in the camera card developed and start again; don't be afraid of it :)
4. incorporate at least 2 new workouts into my weekly routine

I am so excited to begin this new month with these resolutions in the front of my mind!

~ are some of the recipes that I have been experimenting with. Now, keep in mind that I am very new to this whole cooking thing, so for me, this is actually a pretty impressive accomplishment!

I'm honestly thrilled to continue learning how to cook healthy meals! In fact, as a special birthday present to myself, I bought a new cookbook yesterday!

So, let's see...

Barley Casserole (recipe from The Kind Diet)

Kale (recipe from Whole Foods)

Mr. Dyl being cute and practicing standing

Simple smoothie (our blueberries were going bad, so I needed to use them asap!:)

Just a salad

Pinto Bean Stew (recipe from The Kind Diet)

I have been reading a good deal about health and nutrition lately. There is so much information out there that I honestly had no idea about. There are actually ways to reverse cancer through diet?! YES! Oh, I have been so fascinated with it and am personally feeling amazing as I begin following a plant based diet...

As I mentioned in my last post, please go and read, "The China Study". It truly can be life saving if you are open to it.

Well...right now, I am going to go make THIS to see if it really does, in fact, change my life... : )