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reSLience… a.k.a. resilience

it's what lies within that really matters

Category Archives: kids

You just never know when you’ll hear something that will change your perspective.  Mornings are quite the sprint for lack of a better metaphor before coffee kicks in.  Rachel was up lots in the night coughing and Dave and I did the…. “Who should call off” debate.  Rachel proved us both wrong and our tough little gal with a little of cough syrup said “I’m going – I’m not missing school today!”  Yeah, she IS my daughter 😉

So we launched into hyperdrive with 30 minutes to go.  Lunch – clothes – SOCKs from the overflowing bin of socks waiting to be matched.  Backpack – sweatshirt – taming those curly locks.  We all piled into the car, said blessings and were off.

As my sweet babies boarded the bus (yes even my 11 year old is my baby), I stood with the other bus stop parents.  We watched 2 kids – older – probably 4th graders at least – pile out of a suburban with extra bags.  They were having trouble carrying all their stuff – an extra backpack between the 2 of them and some milk containers they kept dropping.  Please keep in mind we have a good 25+ kids at our bus stop – so boarding is a relatively slow process, much to the chagrin of the waiting morning commuters.

I turned to the other parents and we all lamented the poor kids juggling too much stuff and feeling the typical Monday blues a little more than usual with the loss of the Arizona Cardinals when one dad said… that is the little girl who’s mom had breast cancer.  Her mom died yesterday.   Yesterday.  Wow.  Our house was sad about the Cardinals losing.  How trite.  That little girl had spent the night with neighbors probably because her dad was with her mom or grieving or whatever happens when a spouse dies.  Her mom died.  She spent the day with neighbors.  No matter how long the battle of cancer – no matter how much she would have been prepared for the loss, the loss would leave a hole… always.

I watched the 2 kids get on the bus.  My own Monday morning chaos brought to a hault.  It shouldn’t be so hard to be a kid.  Once again I’m reminded no matter how hard we think our own journey is, there most likely is always someone else who needs us to be strong and offer support because their journey may be even harder.

No doubt that mom is in a better place today.  Cancer is a monster.  My hope is that her little girl will have lots of love – from people she knows and even from people she doesn’t.  Life is hard.  It just shouldn’t be that hard to be a kid.  Blessings on her.  Blessings on all of us on this Monday morning.


I just love the idea these little people were so excited 🙂 I know 3 of my 4 were yelling O-BAMA up and down the streets on Tuesday afternoon – so loud I had to ask them to come in! I was afraid to think they might cause a street riot. My 5 year old daughter thinks “republican” is a bad word and I had to explain to her that it was just a word for someone with different political philosophies.

Then, on Wednesday morning, before school, I had to give the 3 a pep talk about being good winners. “How would you feel if Obama had lost?” I said. Think about that when you are talking with people who you know supported McCain. And, I reminded them of the honorable speech Senator McCain gave on Tuesday evening. I told them it can be very hard to be gracious when you accept defeat and I think McCain was incredibly honorable.


Thank you!

Thank you!


Many thanks to random searches and finding “Within this Strange & Quickened Dust” blog, early this morning. I would encourage you to think of your list. I decided to copy her and make this my Fall 2008 edition since there are so many things I consider favorite I’ll reserve rights to do it again in the next season.

  1. Cooler evenings and mornings…  Fall in Phoenix is finally here when it dips into the 70’s and 80’s overnight.
  2. 101 Halloween Costume ideas from 5 year old Simon that started as soon as last Halloween was over.   Throughout the year Simon has tried on costumes from the box he uncovered in the garage.  As new characters would pass through his imagination, they were added to the list.  I’m excited to see what he actually will decide to be his final costume… as I write this he wants to be King Kong and take over a city.  I could have sworn last night it was Spiderman.
  3. Fall Break… the 1st Quarter success marker that reminds us we can make it through the rest of the school year chaos with a little rest.  Nothing big planned.  Just being is the biggest item on the week ahead’s agenda.
  4. My father-in-law’s 83rd birthday and my sister’s 37th birthday.  They share the same day.  They never celebrate together but I’m excited to have my sister and her family coming to visit in a couple weeks… no doubt cake will be involved.  And 83… holy cow!  I hope I am still walking every day, living in my own house, actively involved in the community, and in charge of my own life still at that age.  Incredible and amazing man 🙂
  5. Halloween Parties and decorating for Fall on Second Life may sound silly to those who don’t know SL but SL is all about holidays.  Some of my favorite inventory items have been stored away for a year patiently waiting.  I know by the end of October I will be ready to run away screaming from the overload of costume parties but for now, I’m filled with anticipation of all the fun.
  6. SPANKSGIVING! 2nd annual is yet to be planned but with fall in the air on SL… it is just a matter of time.  We have so many things to be spankful for 🙂 stay tuned.  My NYC partner in crime will no doubt be full of great ideas on how to celebrate this one of a kind holiday.
  7. Lower electric bills because we don’t need AIR CONDITIONING as much!  With the reprive in 100 degree temperatures, our house can finally start to cool off on its own.  We will most certainly find other things to spend those saved pennies on but it is nice to see the amount due lessen… for just a few months.
  8. Sleeping under blankets!  I love snuggling up for a nap under a soft, fleecy blanket.  I love sleeping at night under my comforter and even a blanket.  This time of year finally lets me enjoy a night of sleep (good night of sleep? not with peewees in the bed) under cozy covers.
  9. A big PBS event we will be hosting at the end of this month complete with 4 characters, picture taking, and booths and booths of fun activities for families.   The first event like this that I will have been involved with coordinating and bringing to fruition.  10/25 is dday for that – so don’t expect me to form complete coherant sentences that evening 🙂
  10. A new office downtown with a shorter commute! We move in less than 2 weeks to a beautiful brand new, state-of-the-art facility in the heart of downtown.  I am so excited… I often think Weezie had nothing on us as I sing “Movin On Up” to myself.  We’ll be bidding farewell to the old hospital turned offices with roof rats and scary bugs.  We’ll be bidding farewell to free parking too.  But… I suppose that is all part of the cost we pay moving up.

I can’t wait to see what forms the items on your lists.  It really is the big and the small that make up who we are and remind us what is important in life.  I’m glad I can think of both big and small for my 10.  Truth be told, I could probably think of 20. Thank goodness I can do a list for winter!  Thank you fellow blogger for thinking this up!

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I’m embarking on a new RL challenge that has been serendipitous. I always love that – when you get the exact tool you need – unexpectedly. The new challenge is joining a Children’s Challenge Speakers Bureau for the United Way here in Arizona. It is something I will volunteer for – but something that can be done in conjunction with the other things I do for my job. Yes… one more plate to spin, one more ball to juggle, but… I felt like I have been blessed with the ability to speak to groups – and I have been more than blessed with healthy happy kids and I needed to speak out on behalf of those kids who struggle with just getting their basic needs met.

So… this speakers thing required 2 days of training. I met an amazing woman through the course of the training that I hope I will continue to build new professional bridges with. We both agreed there was a lot of potential. Her mantra was embedded heavily in the 3 days.

Affection ~ Inclusion ~ Control

She shared this with us because it is how she builds rapport with her audiences when she speaks.  She shared then numerous examples with us of how it can apply to day to day life – it could solve problems with 3 and 5 year olds, and it could solve problems with whole countries.  A very simple strategy – and one that I will try my best to practice.


  1. Show Affection.  Tell people you care about them.  Smile.  Make eye contact.  Use body language that shows affection (not lovey-dovey – but accepting).
  2. Remember Inclusion.  Allow everyone to be involved.  Allow everyone to offer their thoughts.  Solicit opinions.  Listen to those opinions.  Include all in the necessary dialogue.
  3. Share Control.  Remember that in compromise control can be shared.  You can still achieve your goal, while acknowledging the needs and concerns of others, and allowing them to have control as well.

To make it a little more concrete I’ll share my example from an interaction with my 5 year old son.  Mornings at our house are a little crazy.  It is a race.  It is an adrenaline producing experience.  It definitely makes just the rush from caffeine seem mild 🙂  to say the least.  Anyway – Dave always does a great job in setting out the clothes for the kids so that by the time they get up – it is a no brainer – grab your clothes and put them on… move on to the next task.  

So… one morning this week after hearing this strategy… I had an incident cross my path immediately to practice.  Simon decided he preferred to wear some older shorts/overalls that were his favorite as a 3 and 4 year old.  Yes, they are cute. They were my favorite too.  They were designed to be baggy.  They were in the pile of clothes to donate to Goodwill.  In a squeeze, yes, unfortunately, they still “kinda” fit Simon 🙂  Simon decided THOSE were what he was going to wear. He needs help undoing the buckles to use the restroom – so I knew they really weren’t an option.

Simon was very upset about not being able to wear these overalls to school.  He was in tears and very angry.  I held him and talked quietly about how much I loved those overalls too.  We both agreed they were our favorite.  (hint: affection)

Then, Simon and I talked about some alternatives.  I agreed to not put them in the Goodwill pile and we brainstormed some times when he could wear them (at home, on the weekend,  even to sleep in if he wanted! LOL).  (hint: inclusion)

He agreed to wear his other shorts and decided he would put the overalls on as soon as he got home.  He was still sad but agreeable – and far from the headstrong temper tantrum mental state he had been in when we began  (hint: control).

NOW… mind you… this all took place in probably less than 5 minutes.  This was in no way a Dr. Phil show length activity.  Less than 5 minutes and we both felt good about the outcome.

Maybe we need to pass those 3 little words on in big and small ways to those around us, and to unexpected strangers that cross our path and may need a dose of that as well?


the little guy I love so much

the little guy I love so much

By the way – once you take notice of this strategy – you will see it everywhere – non-examples abound – and you will see opportunities to put it to work yourself if you are brave enough to try 🙂

An important note to include I almost forgot…  One of the things this facilitator shared is that in the absence of this strategy – in the absence of affection – inclusion – control, passive- agreessive and downright defiance will always prevail.  

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The kids screaming, phone ringing
Dog barking at the mailman bringing
That stack of bills – overdue
Good morning baby, how are you?
Got a half hour, quick shower
Take a drink of milk but the milk’s gone sour
My funny face makes you laugh
Twist the top on and I put it back
There goes the washing machine
Baby, don’t kick it.
I promise I’ll fix it
Long about a million other things

Well, it’s ok. It’s so nice
It’s just another day in paradise
Well, there’s no place that
I’d rather be
Well, it’s two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
And I ask the Lord every night
For just another day in paradise

Friday, you’re late
Guess we’ll never make our dinner date
At the restaurant you start to cry
Baby, we’ll just improvise
Well, plan B looks like
Dominoes’ pizza in the candle light
Then we’ll tippy toe to our room
Make a little love that’s overdue
But somebody had a bad dream
Mama and daddy
Can me and my teddy
Come in to sleep in between?

Yeah it’s ok. It’s so nice.
It’s just another day in paradise.
Well, there’s no place that
I’d rather be
Well, it’s two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
And I ask the Lord every night
For just another day in paradise

Well, it’s ok. It’s so nice.
It’s just another day in paradise.
Well, there’s no place that
I’d rather be
Two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
And I ask the Lord every night
For just another day in paradise

For just another day in paradise
Well, it’s the kids screaming. The phone ringing
Just another day
Well, it’s Friday. You’re late
Oh yeah, it’s just another day in paradise

~Phil Vassar, Just Another Day In Paradise

If everyone can make it out the door, combed hair, nice clothes (picture day today for 3 of 4) and make the bus on time… and Dave make 1st hour… life is good, right? My youngest 3 waved happily as they climbed on the bus. My oldest said don’t worry mom, today will be a good Monday and shooed me away from the busstop. The ENT told me it must just be my blonde hair making me dizzy. So…We are off and running! Cheers to the first day of Fall and imagined cooler temperatures in Phoenix. Cheers to cancelled meetings and more time to get work done. It is ANOTHER DAY in paradise 🙂 Half-full baby!

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Something We Should Investigate

Something We Should Investigate

Sometimes I just relish mornings where I can get to work and breathe deeply… having survived the chaos at home to make it to the serenity of my desk chair and actually finish complete thoughts. Then… I jump from one thing to the next – so excited about being kid free for the moment, crisis free for the moment, not a meeting scheduled in sight until the afternoon, and colleagues preoccupied other things – that I actually have TIME to blog and read my junk email that I enjoy. NOOOO get your minds out of the gutter – not THAT kind of junk email.. heehee.

This is awareness week for ADHD. Totally a catch all phrase and diagnosis in today’s times most definitely! However, having been someone who walked in a special educator’s shoes for 10 years and having been married to a special educator for 13 going on 14… and having my oldest who is 12 actually be diagnosed with learning disabilities – dysgraphia and dyslexia, as well as ADD (I don’t think he has the H in there too) I felt totally remiss to find this in my email today! Wow!!

Sure lots of things can be dietary and environmental. BUT – they can also be directly related to brain function and development and genetics. Zach, our 12 year old, had breath holding problems as a little guy. His breath holding wasn’t purposeful by any stretch. He would get upset and cry and then just not be able to catch his breath. He would turn blue. We would freak out with panic and worry. My mother in law actually taught us to blow softly in his face and it would snap him into taking a breath. Thank goodness for mothers’ in law with strategies that work!! It would work! However, one time, while he was at daycare, we were not so lucky. Zach, my sweet little man of 15 months, actually caused himself to pass out and then went into convulsions. The babysitter immediately called 911 and by the time everyone was there to rescue him – he was awake and breathing and fine. He probably was only not breathing for a few seconds – much less than a minute. However, it was horrifying for all of us – and we took him immediately to our pediatrician and were launched into a series of tests – MRIs, EEGs (is that the right initials?), etc for him to make sure he didn’t have a seizure disorder.

All was fine. Zach was healthy. He wasn’t found to have epilepsy or anything else wrong. Thank God! Our baby boy would be ok.

Fast forward to kindergarten and my mom and I were working with Zach on reading… easy kinds of things that involve “word stems”… you know where you look at -ig and add w to make wig, and p to make pig, and tw – to make twig. No matter how many of those we tried – the rhyming and everything, nothing ever clicked. We tried sounding things out and showing him how we were problem solving it and nothing clicked. This was over a period of weeks. In my special education teacher heart, I knew something was wrong. Dave and I pushed together for a diagnosis in 1st grade – and were told even that is uncommon and too early -BUT thankfully the school psychologist was young and new in his field and…. even did research on the breath holding. It CAN and DOES become connected with learning disabilities and ADD because of the oxygen deprivation to the brain.

Ok… I realize this is a super long post… and I had in no way meant to ellaborate this much…BUT my main message was meant to be this… DON’T believe everything the media says about ADHD/ADD. Take the time to learn more for yourself. Follow your gut instincts about your kids. Advocate for them. Zach today is a super successful reader – and working on grades that are almost all A’s and B’s. He has to work his BUTT off – and he does have to stay after for tutoring. He does need us to redirect him alot to stay focused – even on chores and stuff. BUT! Computer gaming? Learning games and videos on things he is interested in? Laser focus. Its now just his mom and dad we need to worry about staying focused and getting things done 🙂

I hope you take some time to explore this site, My ADHD. Com – and ADD Warehouse. Amazingly good books, and online resources – and even an online conference this weekend… hmmmmm 🙂 Cheers to knowledge and good doctors, and teamwork and family as well as all the love and support it takes to get through things like this.

an ADHD roadmap... cool tool

an ADHD roadmap... cool tool

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Its been a while since I dug up a Blog thing. I figured I was long overdue. With Joonie having retired her blog, I figured I should carry on the torch of self-reflection through Blog quizzes. This also is a way for me to double dog dare Joonie to blog again (heehee)

Ok.. these results are so me…. in my never-ending quest to find that secret suitcase of cash I am most certain is out there waiting for me.

Your Money Personality is Daredevil

You spend money like it’s Monopoly money. Who cares if you run out?
Whenever you buy something, you don’t stop to think if you can afford it.

Yes, you are generous with your money, but you are also very reckless.
Better to give small presents now than rely on friends and family for a handout later.

You tell yourself that you’ll spend today and save tomorrow… but you never end up saving.
It’s time to start living beneath your means. Or else you are headed for a financial disaster.

Maybe I should just pretend this is how I am with my Lindens? Having 4 kids and a scary sized mortgage and car payments makes me run away screaming…. Eeeeeeeekkkkk. Please someone quick remind me money isn’t everything.