A Domestic Dream and a Clogged Disposal

I learned a lesson yesterday in regards to my garbage disposal… DO NOT put angel hair pasta in it!!!

Yesterday was a half day and so I went to pick up my girl and I had a plan.  I thought we could do a little shop around Target, get some food for dinner and still have time to do homework, clean house and get to youth group!

Oh Kirsten you silly, silly domestic dreamer!

The shopping part of the plan we managed no problem!  When we got to the house to complete the rest of my plan I was feeling pretty confident, we had plenty of time, and I even took a little time to give myself a high-five.

Meg got stuck into her history homework and I started cleaning so I could get things prepped for dinner.  As I got closer to the kitchen a smell hit my nose… Blah! What in the world? Was it the garbage? Nope! The garbage had been taken out that morning.  Where in the world is it coming from?  Not the trash, disposal is empty… It had to be something in the refrigerator!

I opened the door to the fridge only to quickly scrunch up my nose as the smell got a little stronger. Yup! The culprit is in here somewhere!  I started fumbling through the left overs to see which plastic container  had past its prime.  There were three… don’t judge!

I headed over to the garbage disposal to get rid of the soft stuff… that’s my rational for things that can go down the disposal.  Is it soft?  Is it small-ish? Will it jam it?  Well, I was about to be opened up to whole new world of garbage disposal etiquette the hard way.

I started with a small container of something that looked like beef stew, although I don’t remember making any, it went down in a shot, no issues there.  Next I started separating a Ziploc bag sized amount of angel hair pasta and started feeding it into the disposal.  It sounded great at first, the sound of food grinding (insert vocal imitation here) and then a it made a sound I hadn’t heard before like the whirring without the grinding and the water started to fill the sink, a lovely soupy broth that looked abd smelled like a mixture of the two containers I’d tried to empty.

What the…?

I turned the disposal off and put my hand in to feel for anything that might have gotten stuck.  Not a fan of putting my hand in the disposal as it always makes me think of horror movies, but I digress… Nothing! I grabbed the plunger and began working on the sink. For an hour and a half I plunged, emptied and refilled the sink. Did I mention to empty it I had to use a cup, a ladle and then toss it out in the back yard? Not fun and it wasn’t budging!

Finally, I turned to facebook to ask for help!  Two of my friends made me giggle when they suggested I call a SCUBA Gerbil or move house.  Another friend suggested a wire coat hanger, which lead to the ear worm “No more wire hangers!”  Thanks Mommy Dearest!  My husband’s friend suggested I call Erich!  Pfft… I can solve this!  My friend Krystal suggested baking soda and vinegar…  Let me just say on a normal clog I bet this idea is amazing.  However, when I tried it on my clog the pressure was so great I could barely keep the plug in and it was spewing out a volcanic science experiment all over the sink. Another hour passed and I was done.  You win garbage disposal!  I couldn’t get the thing to shift.

I moved on to making dinner and cleaning what I could without the use of my sink, all while grumbling and moaning to myself.  I finished prepping dinner and answered some questions about glacier tills and the Seven Year’s Wars and finally my husband walked through the door.  I explained what I did with many hand gestures and then watched him try the same techniques again to no avail.  Finally he took the pipes apart and… well… that Ziploc bag full of pasta might have been a bit more than I initially thought as it had clogged a good portion of the drain pipe.  Hubby tried to give me a little lecture, but I was so over the whole thing I wasn’t about to hear it.

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Later that evening I googled what not to put down your garbage disposal and to my surprise there was quite a lengthy list and I violate a good 90% of it.  I mean why can’t you put coffee grounds or egg shells down your disposal? I’ve been doing it for ages.  This list is so long it’s almost not worth having a garbage disposal! Anyway, I guess the moral of this story is, unless you’re married to a plumber, be careful what you put down your garbage disposal. Till next time…

Letting Go Is So Hard

This past Saturday we decided we were going to head out to our favorite corn maze, Sweet Fields Farms.  The weather was beautiful, a welcome change from the life sucking heat and humidity we’re used to. We were getting ready to walk out the door when our friends called to let us know the wait to get in was two hours! I’m not gonna lie, I  was a little disappointed, but we were happy they were doing so well.

Not to be discouraged, we heard about another little farm not to far from Sweet fields and we decided to give it a try. When we arrived at the Farm there were quite a few cars, but it didn’t look to crowded.  The layout of the farm was really nice albeit a little smaller.  We found a spot at some picnic tables nestled beneath a few large oak trees and it wasn’t long before Meg asked if she could go into the corn maze with her friends.

  

My stomach dropped as I tried to come up with excuses as to why she should wait, but  I could see in her eyes she really wanted to go!  Her body language was screaming please let me be independent and after laying down a few rules and making sure she and her friends had their phones I agreed to let her go.  She squealed with excitement and disappeared into the maze leaving me to ponder my worst fears…

What if she has a seizure?  What if someone tries to take her?  Stop! She’ll be fine! You need to let her do this!  My hubby had gone to get food and was unaware of the huge step I’d just taken. So I sent him a quick text message to let him know I’d given our daughter a taste of freedom. To which he replied “Okay!”

I’m sure our friends were talking to me at this point, but I couldn’t tell you a word they said. I could feel my anxiety starting to kick in and the helicopter mom in me wanted to jump up and run into the maze after her.  All the what ifs had kidnapped my concentration and were attacking my rational thought process.

About this time my hubby arrived with the food and I nervously devoured a really good fish taco.  It’s funny how time works in situations like this, the minutes seem to drag on for hours.  I looked at Erich and he knew my mind was ready to explode.

Then it happened… I saw her! I saw this big, radiantly independent smile on her face and all my crazy thoughts and fears were replaced with a sweet, warm and fuzzy feeling. It was validation! I’d made the right choice! She was walking in my direction, full of joy, scanning the area trying to remember what table we were sitting at.  I jumped up, smiled and waved like a lunatic. She saw me and ran over, all excited, to tell me all about her corn maze adventure and I absorbed every word.

After that I relaxed a little and asked Meg if she wanted to take a few pictures with me and head over to the petting zoo.  It made me happy when she belted out her usual “Sure!”

The petting zoo was small and the animals were charming.  We were able to pet goats, pot bellied pigs, rabbits, fluffy looking chickens and a super friendly llama.  I basked in her delight and we wandered out to some of the other photo op and game areas the farm had set up.  Meg held her own at tug-a-war and posed with a skeleton.  We even went back into the maze.  All in all it was a great day!

You hear people say don’t blink they grow up so fast and now I know exactly what they mean. When she was little I couldn’t wait for her to do and try new things, now I just want her to slow down and time to stop. I’ll leave you with this song till next time…

I’ve Missed You

What a lovely facebook post I was tagged in yesterday by the lovely Tara Cain over at Sticky Fingers.  It really brought me back to the time when blogging was fun, less competitive and we were just moms with with kids looking for ways to connect with each other, to laugh and cry about all the wonderful and sometimes painful things happening in our day to day lives. Don’t get me wrong I’m not knocking the bloggers who have monetized their blogs, more power to you, I just miss the simplicity of it all.

Nickie from Typecast struck a chord when she said it can still be that, you just have to not care about everything else and just blog.  Thank you Nickie!

So… this morning I got up, grabbed my grumpy mug, my generic kuerig… It’s a HamiltonBeach, but it has Hamilton in the title, that has to count for something, right?  I digress… Where was I? Oh yes! My Natural bliss pumpkin pie creamer, and I decided I was going to say I MISSED YOU!

I don’t know if you missed me, but I really miss the late night writing and waking up to find all the lovely comments of support, making friendships, many of which I still have on facebook.  I find myself smiling and my heart swelling when I see how much our kids have grown and how lovely they all are.  I miss the laughs, the humor and most of all I miss the relief of knowing there were and are moms out there who were just like me!

So what have we been up to these last few years?  Well, I went back to work and I’m currently employed in a high school.  I’m not a teacher, but don’t tell the officer who pulled me over yesterday because he thought I was and decided not to give me a ticket for that reason… I’ll save that story for tomorrow! My husband is still an insurance adjuster, but recently changed companies. Meg is growing up far to quickly and is, as always, my hero!  Daisy our fabulous dog is getting older and likes to hide in the bathroom when storms come, peeking her head out from behind the shower curtain like the nosey neighbor does from behind the blinds.  Finally, we have a new addition to the family… Dave The Diva, our chubby little hamster, who likes to keep me up at night with his squeaky wheel!  I might have to do a blog post about the things you don’t think about when you’re sucked into buying that adorable, fluffy, little rodent!

I know I’ve said it before, reference my last few posts, but I think I’m back! Yep! I think I’m going to give the blogging thingy a go again!  I’m not going to self host or worry about stats and  I might drive Nickie crazy with my poor grammar, but if you’re interested in watching how I slide through life one banana peel at a time (did you like that little nod to my tag line? Yes I’m that corny!) I would love to follow you and if you would like me to follow you put your link in the comments and till next time…

Disclaimer: I was not paid for nor asked to endorse the products in the crappy picture above… you’re welcome Disney, HamiltonBeach, and Natural Bliss!

PS. Thanks Tara for the look back and the reminder of why I loved blogging. *kisses*

PPS. Wow… my blog needs a little dusting!  I may have to give it a face lift!

2016 Lets Do This

In 2016 I’m dusting off the keyboard, grabbing a coffee, and giving the old blog another go.  Lots of things have happened to our family since I last put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard (depending on how you look at it). We were lucky enough to experience the National Epilepsy Walk in D.C. twice and on the second trip we were able to raise a little over $2000 to support the Epilepsy Foundation.

Our first trip to D.C. was filled with so much emotion.  I Think I  was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people and often felt as though my attention span was minute due to complete sensory overload.  One of  the  highlights was being able to finally meet some of the friends we’d made through Talk About It.   There were moments of joy as we hugged and shared our excitement, as well as moments of sadness remembering our friends lost to epilepsy.

As we took everything in and headed over to the start line we spotted Rick Harrison from Pawn Stars, Coach Jerry Kill of the Minnesota Gophers, and Philip Gattone the current president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation, all of whom are champions of the cause due to their own personal journeys with epilepsy.

I don’t know what I expected, but seeing the sea of purple shirts and knowing each one was fighting the same battle as our little girl brought tears to my eyes.  Words can’t explain how I felt as I explained to Meg all of those purple shirts were people with epilepsy just like her.  Her expression was surprise and her response was disbelief… “REALLY?”

Our walk was also made special because my best friend and her daughter, who is Meg’s best friend, was able to come and walk with us.  As they kicked off the national walk, a band began to play, people were smiling and holding up signs for their loved ones.  Memories and friendships were being made as people snapped photos and marched together as one.

As we followed the motion of the crowd we would break away with small groups and visit different monuments.  It was our first time in Washington D.C. so we wanted to take it all in, so many landmarks and so much history.

We didn’t realize how big the National Mall was and really should’ve worn something other than Converse sneakers. Even though our feet and legs hurt we were able to cross the finish line.

We loved our trip so much we made it back the following year and even designed our own team Meghan t-shirts.  The 2015 walk fell on the same day as the blossom festival so we were able to see all the trees in full bloom.

We’d like to give a huge shout out to all of the people who put the walk together year after year, Ken Lowenburg, Philip Gattone, Greg Grunberg, Jerry Kill, Rick Harrison, all of the hard working volunteers and families that help raise money and make it an enjoyable and memorable experience.

So, 2016… Well, if you are willing, you can join me as I recap where and what we’ve been up to and see what the future holds for our family as we continue to slide through life one  banana peel at a time.

Back to School with Special Needs

back to school

If you’re child has learning delays school didn’t necessarily stop at the beginning of summer for you.  Maybe your child has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and while you made plans to have a fun summer you also made plans to work towards your child’s IEP goals?  For example, our daughter went to ESY (extended school year) to help her retain and work on emerging skills in math and reading.  In addition, we joined summer reading programs and visited her school reflex math website almost daily.

Going back to school can be a stressful time for parents as we try to get everything our kids need; the school supply list, the back pack, the lunch box, the drink bottle, the new shoes, and uniforms can all put a dent in the wallet and then there’s getting your kid(s) back on a decent sleeping schedule and finding out when the school will have Open House.  It’s enough to drive you to drink!  Well, if you have any money left over to spend on it, but I digress!

When a parent of a child with special needs prepares for the new school year there’s a little bit extra to plan for and that’s what I wanted to focus on.  Our daughter lives with epilepsy which is a disorder that affects 65 million people worldwide, 45,000 of which are children, under the age of 15, living right here in the United States.  Epilepsy is a diagnosis usually given to someone who has 2 or more unprovoked seizures and a seizure, in its simplest term, is an abnormal electrical discharge in the brain.

The first thing we prepare for our daughter’s return to school is an “Emergency Information Sheet” and we make 10 – 12 copies so every person who comes in contact with our daughter has one.  On this sheet I include her name, a recent picture, medications, allergies, first aid, emergency contacts and a brief description of a typical seizure for her.  Basically I put everything I would want the school or a paramedic to know, to take care of my daughter, if for some reason they couldn’t reach me.   This is a quick reference so I would try to make it no longer than two pages.  Parenting Special Needs Magazine also offers a “Get To Know My Child” form you can find if you click the following link  –> 19_about_me_forms.

Emergency Information Sample (PDF)

Emergency Information Sample (Word)

If your child has rescue medications, like our daughter has for her seizures, call a meeting with school administration and the school nurse to find out what forms you and your child’s doctor will need to complete in order for the school to be able to administer that medication.   Also, find out where your child’s medications will be stored and who will be trained to administer them.  Some schools allow for medications to be stored in the classroom as long as they’re locked away. Another important question to ask is who administers your child’s rescue medications in the event the school nurse is off or on a school trip and are they trained. Our daughter’s rescue medication is rectal which might be uncomfortable for someone who hasn’t used it before.

I was really upset to hear about a school my friend’s son attends, not far from my daughters,  giving her a hard time about having two children accompany her child around the school, even going so far as to tell her she was stifling her child’s independence.  Quite frankly, I was disgusted!  A seizure is no joke and can happen at any time, even to a child who hasn’t been diagnosed!  Our school witnessed my daughter suffer a 15 minute seizure in the classroom and knew immediately the importance of safety and getting help! I have to give our school credit as they made the two child rule a classroom policy so as not to make my child feel different or singled out and the kids were none the wiser, epilepsy wasn’t even mentioned.

This leads me to a question we’re often asked…

How to discuss epilepsy with peers?  We’ve always been very open about our daughter’s epilepsy, we feel the more people know the safer our daughter is!  I found a book when our daughter was entering kindergarten called “Taking Seizure Disorders To School” and instantly fell in love with it!  It explains epilepsy in a very kids friendly way and even helped me discuss epilepsy with her cousins.  It’s not to long and it asks things at the end like “are seizures contagious?” We usually send it in to the teacher and ask her to read it to the kids so they know what is happening and what to do if our daughter has a seizure.

taking seizures to school

Another thing we like to do is call an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting at the beginning of the year to discuss and/or amend our daughter’s goals for the upcoming year.  It also gives us a chance to meet any new team members (if there have been staff changes) and communicate what we expect from her teachers.

We strive to make our daughter’s learning experience as normal as possible, while making sure all things are in place to keep her safe.  It is so important to stay involved and keep open lines of communication with your school.  Get to know your state as well as local laws when it comes to your child’s education and safety.  If there’s something you don’t know research it or ask another parent!  Knowledge is power and knowing your child’s rights is very important!

ben frank

5 Tips For Summer Safety

summer safety

  • Stock up on sunscreen and bug spray – Unfortunately, along with the warm summer months comes sunburns and those pesky little bloodsuckers.  We live in Florida, so we usually use sunscreens that are at least a factor 50.  As for Mosquito spray, if we plan on being out early morning or late afternoon we keep a bottle of Off Skintastic handy.
  • Water Safety –  This is a big one for us as our daughter is epileptic  and water can pose a big danger.  It doesn’t mean she can’t swim, but we do have to be smart about it!  Our Meggers is never in the pool without one of us and always wears a life jacket with a groin strap if we go boating out on a lake or in the ocean.  Did you know it take only a few unattended moments and a couple of tablespoons of water for a child to drown?  Sadly, drowning happens all to often in our state and in most cases  it could’ve been prevented! NEVER leave your children unattended around water, even if they’re strong swimmers, as accidents CAN and DO happen.  Make sure your children have the proper water safety devices they need and have them take a swim and/or water safety class to help them understand why water safety and rules are important in keeping them safe.
  • Stay Hydrated –  Our bodies are made up of 70% water and if you are planning on being out in the hot sun you need to make sure you drink plenty of water.  Make sure you drink at least 8 or more glasses of water and keep a few sports drinks around as they replenish electrolytes and contain carbohydrates that can prevent sugar levels from dropping.
  • Weather Updates –  If you live in Florida you know summer storms can pop up at a moments notice.  Check the weather before you head out for the day, if there’s a forecast of afternoon thunderstorms you might want to make your plans for earlier in the day and then maybe do a movie or indoor activity in the afternoon.  We signed up for weather alerts from our local news station that are emailed to our cell phones.  Another option, download a weather app to your smart phone to keep track of impending weather while you’re out and about.
  • Medications – As I mentioned our Meggers is epileptic and we have meds we need to keep with us at all times.  I’m still looking for a convenient med carrier to take to theme parks, but in the mean time I’m lucky because I’m able to carry the majority of Meg’s meds in my purse.  However, some meds have to stay cooler and I find a small soft lunch tote works great for this purpose.  I will often wrap an ice block in paper towels and put it in a Ziploc baggie to keep the tote cool.  We always like to make sure we have at least two or three days worth of meds with us, that way if we have an unexpected overnight stay we’re prepared.