Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary

For the past 36 hours, my mind - like many others - has been taken over with recurring thoughts of the horrific events that happened at an elementary school in Connecticut.  I allowed my daughter to sleep in the bed with me last night (which almost never happens) because I couldn't bear to let her be alone in her room.  She slept fine.  I did not.  I couldn't sleep knowing that 20 sets of parents wouldn't have their small children to tuck in at night.  I have cried and sobbed at the drop of a hat - just when the topic comes to mind.  A few minutes ago, I read through the names of the victims.  20 children - all ages 6 or 7 - were violently murdered, and I can't stop thinking about it. Surprisingly, I haven't read as much of the news as I normally would - primarily because I don't want to read about the shooter.  I want to honor the tiny victims and the heroes of this story with my thoughts and prayers, and I want to encourage others to do the same. 

I can't imagine the terror that filled the last few moments of their lives.  No one, especially children, deserves that.  It's a gruesome thought, but I can't shake it.  These young children - maybe not reading yet - must have been terrified.  I can't imagine the panic must have ripped through the adults who were trying to protect those children.  I want to truly honor them for their efforts, and I want to thank those were were luckily able to hide their students from the gunman.  

I think of the hundreds of school staff I've worked with.  Hundreds of teachers, school counselors, psychologists, admins, janitors, principals, assistant principals, special education teachers, and social workers.  I can't imagine for a second losing one of them to a violent crime, yet I know that in the same circumstance NOT ONE of them would hesitate to protect their students, but I pray they never have to.   If I haven't thanked them lately for what they do, I will take the time to publicly thank all of them now. 

Today I went out shopping with my own three year old daughter, and as I carefully selected gifts, I couldn't help but think that the parents of these precious babies had almost certainly picked out a few gifts for their own children.  These are now gifts they won't be able to give their children, and that should never happen.  I couldn't help but think of the siblings of these victims and how they will forever be affected.  Would you, as a 9 year old whose sister was just violently murdered, want to open your Christmas gifts?  I think the safe answer we can all assume is "no." I can't help but think that these children will never learn to read, will never play soccer, attend ballet... It almost feels wrong to just move on with Christmas and our lives as if this never happened. 

I reminded myself time and time again today to be a "good parent."  While I was tempted to ignore excessive whining and tantrums and behavior that I wouldn't normally tolerate just because I want to pull her to me and coddle her, I continually reminded myself that being a good parent involves discipline (maybe not some of the yelling I caught myself doing, but discipline in general...)  I was reminded of the parents who will never have the opportunity to teach their children right from wrong or who will never have a chance to teach them emergency preparedness.  I can't even say the thought breaks my heart because that just doesn't begin to cover it.  Who are we as a society that we need to teach six and seven year olds what to do in the event of a shooting???  People often ask "what happened to childhood?" and well - the events of yesterday seem to hold some of that answer.  Unfortunately and sadly...

The words that we tend to use to describe this situation are meaningless.  There are no words strong enough to describe the horrifying and disgusting circumstances.  There are no words strong enough to describe the emotion that we feel, and there are no words that we can fathom that might describe what the families are going through.  I'm sickened by images of teachers in Israel with automatic weapons hanging over their shoulders - to suggest that's how our children would be safer in school.  I don't want to think that when I drop my child off at the first day of kindergarten, the lady on bus duty will have a rifle slung over her shoulder.  I don't want this to become the norm in my child's life.  May it become a necessary evil?  Absolutely.  But God I hope we can come up with another solution. 

I don't know the answers.  I know as soon as I type the words "gun control" many people will go into an uproar.  I don't know that gun control is the answer, but I don't know that it's not.  I'm open to anything that might work - quite frankly. I do feel like school security should be taken to heightened measures because of all the places in the world, our children should be safe at school.  I feel like public school systems should INVEST in mental health professionals, trained security, and other staff who might be able to prevent some of these things from happening.  However, many school systems do not hire those in these mental health fields because they are "unnecessary."  Should we put up walls around all school grounds?  Should every entrance and exit be guarded with armed guards?  It's possible, but who will fund that?  Where will the money come from? Let's take a look at where the majority of money is spent in our society.  It's certainly not on education. 

I know that mental health services and treatment need to be more readily available.  Some people know that adequate and helpful mental health treatment is almost impossible to find, impossible to afford, and impossible to keep.  Budget cuts are happening all over the place.  Of course, some will blame Obama, but I'm not going to play the political game.  I'll just say that it's a matter of where society, as a whole, places priorities.  Shootings happen daily.  Violence happens daily. Whether it's a crazed 20 year old shooting up an elementary school, some disgruntled employee shooting himself in a federal building, road rage, gang-related, murder... it happens.  Most - if not all of these people - are/were likely in need of SERIOUS mental health attention that wasn't readily available when needed.  Other times the behavior goes unrecognized because  it's "blown off" as weird, accepted because it's the "norm of the streets."  How many people do we know in our own lives who would benefit from some real treatment, but that person just doesn't "qualify" or won't get help because of the social stigma attached.  I know plenty. 

I don't have much of a point to writing this down - other than getting some thoughts off my chest and encouraging everyone to honor the victims.  At my house, we'll be placing 20 trinkets on display in our yard in honor of each of the twenty children who won't get to open their Christmas gifts (yes, I'm going to go ahead and assume that they would have all celebrated Christmas though I realize they may have been from varying religions).  I'll also ask anyone who takes the time to read this to ADVOCATE for mental health funding in your area!!  If you have to call your representatives to find out what is/is not being done, please do it.  When you see people who might need help, refer them somewhere!!  You never know who might benefit from a service, who might just need someone to talk to, and whose lives you'll be saving in the long run. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

..the things we do..

If you've ever met me - or heard of me - or read anything I've written - or talked to someone who knows me... (Okay, you get the point), then you probably know that I have an over-the-top, intense, raging, nauseating, painful, somewhat ridiculous fear of bugs. Yes bugs.

Yes. I grew up in Louisiana. I'm aware that the biggest bugs you've ever seen in your life live in Louisiana.

Bugs have a thing about my face - like the Junebug (those flying hissing really mean beetles) that stuck to my eye or the killer wasp that stung my lip. In college, I may have asked a male neighbor (a perfect stranger) to come into my house and kill a bug I saw.

Yeah - I don't do bugs.

Seeing a roach literally causes tears and heart palpitations..panicked phone calls to friends...jumping on furniture...

Okay - so you get the drift.

It seems that my three year old has also inherited my intense fear of bugs. Several months ago, we were standing outside on the porch and I asked her to stand still because she was standing next to a spider web. Then - it happened. My child was suddenly shaking, paralyzed with fear, and screaming like I'd never heard before. It was heartbreaking. :(

So, I've taken it upon myself to try and protect her from as many bugs as possible. Thankfully, I've been pretty lucky and the world's largest (and smallest) bugs have left us alone.

A couple of weeks ago, we were playing at the park. This particular park is surrounded by trees. We played, noticed a few butterflies, and we noticed a few caterpillars. The caterpillars were the big fat squishy green kind. No - I don't know what they're called. As far as I'm concerned, they are bugs. As we're sitting on a bench collecting our things, my child starts spinning around in circles (think Exorcist) and screaming the "sheer panic" scream. Turns out - a big fat green caterpillar had fallen out of a tree and luckily landed directly on her shoulder. Great. That left ME to handle Fatty. Yeah - I had to TOUCH the caterpillar to get it off her shoulder. The thought literally makes me cringe.

Yesterday, I was picking up laundry from the floor, and the biggest spider I've ever seen was lurking under a washcloth. Literally - my head starts tingling even as I write that. Normally I would scream and run as far away as possible, but ... *sigh* if I did that, Abby would freak out. So... I had to deal with the spider on my own. :( It was one of those "no matter how many times you spray it, it refused to die" kind of spiders. It ran away dragging about four of its legs behind it (again - the tingly head).

 When the incident was over, I realized this is one of the things I will hold over her head when she's a bratty ungrateful teen.

And.. she really won't get it, but I'll know I dealt with my fear to keep from having to hear her heartbreaking scream of terror.

...the things we do...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Great Cupcake Experiment

What's this *blog* thing that I have? :) Long story short = the past few months have been nuts. But - lately I have noticed that I have alot of free time on my hands AND am an "Idea Thief." I've been baking and creating stuff from Pinterest like a madwoman to occupy my time, so I figured I may as well start sharing it all...again. "The Great Cupcake Experiment" is my latest project. I'm trying one (or maybe two or three) new cupcake recipes per week - in addition to my other hundreds of cooking/baking/crafting projects. Last week I made cotton candy cupcakes using a recipe adapted from Bakingdom.com. I should have called them "sugar rush cupcakes" because one had Abigail running laps around the house. Holy Moly! I have some ideas for upcoming posts, so... hopefully I can remember to blog them (with photos) ... :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

AAaahhh....refreshing

What a difference a number makes! Out with 2011 and in with 2012. THANK YOU LORD IN HEAVEN! :) Even though I woke up sick on January 1 (no - not hungover surprisingly), I woke up with a whole new attitude and perspective.

2011 was a horrendous, terrible, stupid year full of hurdles that I barely managed (but am proud to say that I did with my head up) to jump over.

I forsee lots of changes, improvements, and exciting things on the horizon for me, and I can't wait to share them with all my friends! Plus, I missed regularly blogging, so I'm back on the wagon - at least halfway. :)

Hooty Hoo!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Turkey Day Menu

I told Robin yesterday that we were planning to attempt a "turkey blanky" cheesecloth cooking method this year. We saw Michael Simon do it on an episode of The Chew. Has anyone else watched this show? What a great group of hosts! So, I told her that our menu is somewhat non-traditional, and I thought it would be interesting to see what others are having. Here's what's on our menu (this is what we are making; other people are bringing other things):

Turkey Blanky Turkey with Jack Daniels Teriyaki Glaze
A spinach/walnut/feta/cranberry salad with raspberry vinegarette
Rosemary garlic potatoes
Balsamic glazed carrots and peas
Morro (which M says is a Dominican dish also called "arroz con gandules" that's rice and green pigeon peas)
Caramel apple cheesecake bars (thanks Pinterest)
Pumpkin cake with apple cream cheese frosting

We are also making an appetizer tray, M's mom is making empanadas (Louisiana people think "meat pies with latin flair"), and pumpkin fluff dip.

What ends up on your table?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Update

So, I have been MIA lately (big time), and I'm really missing my weekly blogs for Mommy's Project 52!

Having said that, the past month (and couple of weeks) have been CRAZY (even crazier than usual). Miguel has had some mysterious illness going on for a month that has caused FOUR trips to the ER, four visits to an ENT, a visit to a GP, a variety of blood tests, Bells Palsy (paralysis on one side of the face), a CT scan... and a 40 pound weight loss (mostly from either not being able to swallow food or not being able to hold it down). Seriously.

If any of my doctor/nurse friends would like to offer free advice, we'd be all over it. :)

Plus - both computers have died. *SIGH*

So, hopefully I'm back in the game soon! Please keep us in your thoughts!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mommy's Project 52:11 Rewarding

With everything going on lately, I have had very little time, energy, or money for rewarding myself. Boy, my feet sure would appreciate a pedicure!

Over the past couple of days/weeks, I've been noticing that Abigail sure is one polite two-year old! She says "please, thank you, and you're welcome!" with very little or no reminders. She says hello to almost everyone we pass on the street, and she is the first one to help if someone drops something or needs something. She remembers to say "excuse me" when she wants to pass or when she burps (though she still giggles if she farts), and she is the first one to say "BLESS YOU!" if she hears your sneeze. :)

It's very rewarding to know that I've been raising such a polite little person. I'm one proud momma.