Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tell me Thursday

When I posted my wordless Wednesday photo (on Monday!) I fully expected that I would be feeling just fine by now.

I am not so this will be brief. I was hospitalized on Saturday for excruciating pain and found I had large stones in both kidneys. A surgery on Sunday put stents in both kidneys.

I follow up with urologist next week to hopefully laser these things out of me since they are too big to pass on their own but my kidneys are in bad shape and need a round of antibiotics before any more stress.

Until then I'm just getting by in a pain pill haze. It sucks. I've never been so sick for so long before.

And typing this wore me out.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tell Me Thursday - Amazing!

This picture is probably the most difficult to discern of all my "Wordless Wednesday" posts.  What you're looking at is a photo collage and a stack of golden trophies.

On Saturday, very dear friends of our family came over to help celebrate Nate's birthday.  They came a little early, and gathered everyone in the living room so they could present something to Nate.  Their sweet, oldest child made a little speech and handed Nate this photo collage, the trophies, a card with a note and a check for an amazing amount of money.

They know how important the National Stuttering Association is to Nate, and how important attending the annual conference this summer is to both of us.  My dear friend has brainstormed with me a little about fundraising ideas, and I was putting any further efforts on the back burner until the kids were out of school.

What I didn't know is that my friend was planning something and kept it a secret from me. This wonderful family arranged a car wash asking for donations to help Nate and I attend the conference.  It was a complete surprise to us!  My friend made the effort to get information from the NSA about stuttering, contacted people to let them know about the car wash, made posters explaining their efforts, arranged for a location and then her entire family gave up their Saturday to wash cars and raise money.

Just for us!!

The photo collage shared pictures of their efforts with us. The golden trophies were signed by all the wonderful people who had their cars washed and donated money.

To say that we were blown away is an understatement.  We are privileged to be blessed with such wonderful friends and we can't wait for the conference in July.

I met this sweet woman 4 years ago when she swept into my house carrying food and groceries after Lydia was born.  She can always make me laugh, astound me with  her generosity, and humble me with her positive outlook.  She is a fantastic mom. Our children count each other as best friends and her oldest is always quick with a smile and a kind word.  Her husband is a hard-working, friendly, kind man who we are lucky to count among our friends as well.

This is a very public THANK YOU to this sweet family.  We appreciate all of your efforts and are glad we can call you friends.  Nate and I are looking forward to the conference in July, and are so thankful that we have the money we need to make the trip!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

National Donut Day is June 3 (Giveaway!)

Did you know that the Salvation Army helped popularize donuts in the U.S. by serving them during WW1? 

June 3 is Donut Day!   Entenmann's is helping celebrate by donating $1 for each Facebook "like" to the Salvation Army.  Every "like" until June 3rd will count towards their donation (up to $10,000)!  You can also enter their sweepstakes for a chance to win one of 10 iPads in celebration of Donut Day!  So, follow the link and "like" Entemann's right now!

While it's not an iPad, I do have a $5 Entenmann's gift certificate for one of my readers!  All you need to do is FOLLOW THIS LINK and fill out the form with the required information!
  • Name of Giveaway: Donut Day
  • Mandatory Question: What is your favorite donut?
The giveaway ends May 31, 2011.  Winning comment will be chosen via and I'll contact the winner via email. Good Luck!

Wordless Wednesday - Amazing!

I know the picture is upside - down!  I'm posting from my phone and can't flip it.  Come back tomorrow for the story!  It's a great one!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, May 16, 2011

Review: FyrFlyz Toys

Little League season ended for us last week (well, except for playoffs) and the boys' coach invited the team to a local pizza place to celebrate their season.

The boys all tried hard, and learned more about the game.  We didn't have a very successful season, but I think they all had fun -- and that's an important part of sports play.

Thanks to Mom Select, I was able to give all the kids & their siblings a toy that is new to the market!  I think that FyrFlyz will be a hit!

The toy is fairly simple -- 2 LED lights in the middle of 2 strings with finger holds.  Simple sometimes is best -- as these toys light up and kids can twist and spin them to make fun, colorful patterns.  These are the best outdoors at night -- they are better than sparklers since you don't have to worry about burned fingers!  (you only have to worry about tangled strings -- but even when they get tangled, it's not difficult to straighten them out.)

The kids had a great time and declared them a very cool toy!  I handed out the toys while the kids were all seated, and they were up and playing as soon as the FyrFlyz were out of the packaging.  Thankfully, we were in a room by ourselves as the kids got pretty animated and loud. 

FyrFlyz will retail for less than $10 and will be available nationwide in September.  If you are in NYC or Phoenix, you may be able to find them sooner.

We captured a video of the toys in action --

*Disclosure: I received FyrFlyz toys from FyrFlyz and Mom Select to share with the team & to facilitate this review.  No additional compensation was provided.  All opinions are my own.*

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Nate!

Nate's First Birthday
My sweet, second child turned 9 today!  He was as unexpected as my first, but at least this time I knew about my pregnancy at the very beginning.  We were moving into this house in October, and my sister came from out of state to help.  I was so tired that I kept falling asleep on the couch in between runs from the old house to the new house.

She mentioned "Maybe you're pregnant" and I blew it off as unlikely.  A couple days after she left, I had to tell her that she was right!! 

Colin wasn't a year old yet, and when Nathaniel was born a month early, that made them 18 months, less a day, apart.  Unlike his siblings, I wasn't sure of his name until he was born -- but now that he has been with us all these years, I know I chose the right name for him.  His name means "Gift of God" and this spirited and dedicated child is definitely another gift from God in our lives.

Nate is a young man that is conscientious, generous, kind and loving.  He is always quick to help others and doesn't shirk from hard work.  He has a sensitive spirit, although he likes to put on a face that he doesn't. He likes to work with his hands.  He loves the outdoors and heat. He is intelligent, and when he puts his mind to it, does very well on spelling tests.

He loves to play sports and looks forward to the start of the different seasons.  He is finishing up Little League this week and can't wait for club soccer this fall. He always tries his best and gives each sport his all!

He loves his family very much.  He and Lydia are so close that they often fight with each other, but you can see the love anyway. He and his brother are still extremely close, and I hope the three of them retain that closeness throughout their lives.

He chooses friends who are kind as well.  He is well-liked by his classmates, and teachers.

This year was his first in the school system, and he adjusted beautifully. His grades put him at the top of his class, and his great attitude made him a favorite of his teachers. He is still working hard at speech therapy and learning tools to lessen his stuttering.

He has blossomed into an advocate for the stuttering population by sharing his presentation videos, as well as always being willing to educate others about stuttering. He never lets him hold him back.

He is friendly and outgoing and while his stutter sometimes slows down conversations he never backs away from talking with others.

He's my child that I would choose to visit museums with, because he is thoughtful and interested when visiting them.  He likes to have the space, time and peace to fully appreciate the things around him.

I'm lucky that he still hugs me goodbye in the morning, and hugs me goodnight.  He won't kiss me out in public, but if I catch him in the moment sometimes he will still hold my hand.

Today I wish my "little one" a very Happy Birthday!  He celebrated with his friends yesterday, but today it's about family.  He requested lasagna for his birthday dinner and I was happy to make it for him!  It's been wonderful watching him grow through the years and I'm eager to see what he does next.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Review: Princess Zhu Zhu Pets

 Lydia's birthday was April 29 -- which coincided this year with a royal wedding in Great Britain! Thanks to Mom Select and Cepia, we had the chance to play with the latest Zhu Zhu Pets -- which include a princess & a prince as well as a Princess Castle, a Princess Ballroom and a Princess Carriage!

The pets are pink and purple and are adorable!  The castle and other pieces are pink & white and very detailed.  The carriage got the most play in our house, but the dance floor was a close second.

The pink pet is Magical Zhu Zhu Princess Snowcup and the purple one is Prince Dashington.  Pink and purple happen to be Lydia's favorite colors -- so they were quick friends.  We also got a few costumes, which fit any of the Zhu Zhu pets.  They were adorable and included a princess dress.

Lydia had a friend over a few days after her birthday and they had a great time playing with the pieces.  It was her friend's first exposure to Zhu Zhu Pets and she was delighted with the noisy hamsters!

My son, Colin, did the work of setting up the castle and other pieces.  He also quickly realized that any of the Zhu Zhu pets could play in this set, and added a few for extra characters. Colin and Lydia took some time to make a video review of the set and shared their thoughts --

Zhu Zhu Pets are made by Cepia, Inc. and are available at major retailers, including  My kids have enjoyed playing with the pets since we were first introduced to them -- and we are always on the lookout for new characters and playsets.  This set definitely appeals more to the girls -- but Colin didn't mind playing with Lydia!

*Disclosure: I received pets and playsets from Mom Select and Cepia to help facilitate this review.  No additional compensation was provided.  All video belongs to me.*

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tell Me Thursday -- Stuttering

This is a poster for the National Stuttering Conference put on by the National Stuttering Association.   This is the first year we've been involved with the organization, and we have had a great time meeting with the local support group.

Nate & I are planning to go to this conference in Texas this summer.  He is excited about spending time with others who stutter, and I'm looking forward to meeting other parents.  It seems that there will be a ton to do, and we can't wait for July.

The rest of our family will stay home, so it will be a trip for just me & Nate.  I've taken a few weekends away with Lydia, but never with either boy.

We're working on a couple fundraising ideas to help us get there.  We have our plane tickets and hotel taken care of -- thanks to an extra project I picked up and a generous sponsor.  Thankfully, we are just looking for traveling money at this point, and I think that we should be able to do a few things to raise the extra money for that.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

National Stuttering Awareness Week - Spoken Words

For National Stuttering Awareness Week, Nate wanted to make a video. For while I can write all the words I want -- the true picture of someone who stutters must include their spoken word.

Here's Nate talking about his stutter, giving advice to people who meet those who stutter, his take on the school year, his great 3rd grade teacher and our summer plans.

Monday, May 09, 2011

National Stuttering Awareness Week - The King's Speech

Nate came home from school today to a box from The Weinstein Company.  They were the production company for the movie, The King's Speech, and they sent Nate a movie poster that was signed by David Seidler!

They included a note thanking him for being such a big fan.  He was so excited to receive this surprise in the mail -- and how appropriate that it arrived during National Stuttering Awareness Week.

David Seidler is the screenwriter of The King's Speech, and we will be able to listen to him speak this summer!  Nate and I are attending the National Stuttering Association's Annual Stuttering Conference in Texas and he is the keynote speaker.  We are excited and can't wait to go.

I just asked Nate why he thought The King's Speech was a good movie and he said "Because it shows perseverance for people who stutter."  A great thing to remember every day!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

National Stuttering Awareness Week -- May 9 - 14, 2011

This week begins National Stuttering Awareness Week.  If you've read my blog, you know that my son, Nate, stutters.  It does not define him, but it is obviously a part of him.  It's a characteristic that he cannot hide, unless he chooses not to speak -- and he has never chosen not to speak!

Around 1% of the population stutters, which is about three million people in the US.  That seems like a big number, until you realize that there are over 300 million people in the US.

Nate and our family are becoming advocates for the stuttering population.  The videos I've made and posted of Nate speaking have become learning tools for people all over the country.  I have received emails from professors, speech & language students, parents of stutterers and those who stutter sharing their stories and thanking Nate for sharing the information.  His presentation video about stuttering has been shared with countless students who stutter, as well as being used in presentations made by professors and SLP's.

I have been extremely fortunate as a blogger to work with a number of companies that have allowed us to review new products. All of my children enjoy making video reviews, and Nate is no exception.  He has never shied away from the chance to talk on camera, even though he stutters.  He has had the opportunity to connect with many others through these videos and I am very proud of him.

We have never treated his stutter like something bad -- it has always just been a part of him.  We have encouraged him to use the tools he learns to help control his stutter, but we know that he will probably always stutter.  That is just fine!

If you know someone who stutters, the best advice I can offer is to be patient and let them finish their sentences.  It's not that they can't remember the words they want to use, it's that the words they want to use are stuck and have a hard time being articulated. 

I'll be sharing more this week about stuttering and Nate, so stop back by!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

It's Been Colin's Week . . .

Colin has had a pretty full week.  He decided to run for student council late last week, so this week we created his poster and he wrote a speech.  The speech was videotaped and will be shown before the kids vote next week.

Thursday afternoon he performed in his school's orchestra concert where he had a small solo during Old McDonald.  He wasn't able to perform in the evening concert because we attended the school district awards ceremony so he could receive recognition for his short story that won first place.  He also received a copy of the book that includes all the winners' poems and stories so he can say that he is officially a published author.  The books will be placed in all district libraries this week.

Saturday found us having Little League pictures taken, rushing off to the last Spring Strings Project class so we could return again that evening for the Strings Project Concert.  This semester, he has taken group viola classes each Saturday at ASU with some very talented music education students.  The concert was made up of all the Strings Project classes, and they put on a great show of music.

This school year has been pretty amazing, and I'm relieved to be wrapping down for summer.  Somehow, though, I imagine our summer will be pretty busy as well!

Take To My Bed

I have always liked the phrase "took to her bed."  I know that it usually is used describing someone who is depressed, or ill, but I love the chance to take to my bed!

I have always loved to nap, and my sweet husband always makes it possible when he can (I admit that I'm kinda cranky when I'm tired.)

When I had babies, my bed was my favorite place to nurse, so it was often a haven for me.  It was easy to nurse a hungry baby, and then nap with the baby once they were full.  As we've added babies, our bed is a comfortable place to snuggle with the kids and read books or watch TV.

We've shared a family bed since we've been parents, and while all the kids have their own beds, when they're small they spend a good portion of time in ours.

It's one of my favorite places in the house.  Most evenings find the 3 kids and myself in bed while I read bedtime stories (we're currently reading The Horse and His Boy ) before they head off to their own beds.

We had always had a queen sized bed, until we were expecting Lydia and we finally bumped up to a kind size mattress.  Bo insisted for years that a king size bed wouldn't fit in our bedroom -- but it fits just fine!  We did do some online research before choosing our new mattress, and have slept soundly on it ever since!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Busy, Wonderful Weekend

Our weekend was busy, but wonderful.  Saturday morning found Bo headed to a golf tournament for work and the kids and I headed to ASU to take Colin to his Strings Project class.  It's an amazing opportunity to work with graduate music students from ASU and improve his playing.  There is only one lesson left before their concert, so he attended an earlier class than usual so he wouldn't miss out on the class.

He had to go to the earlier class because our local stuttering group was having an end-of-year picnic.  It worked out great that the picnic was at a park near ASU!  We had a great time visiting and playing.  I'm so grateful for this group, and am excited about being able to attend more meetings next year.

Around 12:35, Bo showed up to pick up Colin to take him to Little League.  We had agreed that Nate could stay at the picnic, but we knew that if 9 players didn't show up the team may have to forfeit the game.  Since there are only 11 players on the team, if both my boys didn't show up, it would mean that everyone else would have to be there (and I don't think that has happened yet!)

It worked out great that Bo was able to get him there just in time for the game.  Colin was the 9th player, which meant the team was able to play.  AND the team won!!  This was only their 2nd win for the season, so it was an awesome victory for the boys.  Nate, Lydia & I made it at the end of the game so we could see them bring home the win!

We grabbed something to eat, and then Colin headed off to a birthday party.  By the time he was home again, it was 9PM and everyone was ready for bed!

On Sunday, my sister came over to spend the day with the kids so Bo & I could head off to Tucson and visit the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum.  Last time we went with the kids, we noticed they had a nice restaurant on the grounds, and made plans to come back without the kids to enjoy lunch.  The day was perfect, sunny and not too hot.  We walked around for a while and checked out the black bear and the mountain lions, then walked towards the restaurant.  Where we found out that it was closed for the day due to a special event!

That's okay - we had a simple lunch instead, walked around some more and headed home.  It was great to spend the day with my honey and enjoy each other's company without parenting duties getting in the way.

We had the kids & my sister join us at Pei Wei for dinner and then everyone home again to get ready for a new week.

And I helped my sister with a small VBA project which was fun and a bit challenging as well. 

How was your weekend??

Review: DaGeDar

Recently, we received a box of new toys that are being released in the Phoenix market this month!  DaGeDar are from Cepia, Inc. (the same company that makes Zhu Zhu Pets) and are expected to be a new summer sensation!

My boys were excited before we even opened the box.  LOL!  Once the box was open, they were interested in the balls and the track, but I told them we had to wait until a few friends came over before they could play.  I wanted to see how easy it was to play with no prior knowledge.

Finally, this weekend, 2 of their best buddies came over and they ripped open the packaging and got to playing.  From the laughter that came from the living room, I would say they were a hit.  It's a simple premise -- the balls (which are all uniquely decorated) roll and race through a track.

My boys took them into the bathroom and had them rolling around in the tub and the sink as well as on the track that is built for them.

I asked them to talk about these new toys -- and this is what they said:

You can find the toys at select Phoenix area Wal-Mart and Toys R Us stores. The price ranges from $4.99 to $19.99 and are appropriate for ages 5+.  I'm sure they'll be available nationwide in a  few months.

Just don't ask me how to pronounce the name -- because I don't know!

*Disclosure: I received a package of toys to share with my boys and their friends from Mommy Parties and Cepia, Inc.  No further compensation was provided.  All thoughts and opinions are our own.*
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