Recent/Significant Posts:

We often refer friends to our post(s) on our experiences with Ben's Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, as of yet these are:
--- Our introduction to this disease and basic timeline February 2012 through July 26, 2013.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Esther's 1st Four Months

***Update - I decided to do a "trial membership" on smilebox, so this shouldn't have ads anymore and be viewable full screen and such... ****

Just for fun, I'm experimenting with a couple of "digital scrapbooking" programs... Here's one I made on smilebox.

The "album" will open in a new window. It is not a slideshow --- you have to "turn the pages" via the tiny little arrow button(s) under the pages....

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Esther's 1st Four Months
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

Note: smilebox is free --- hence the ad banners when you view the albums... But I guess that is fair, after all! (Also, I do have the option to actually "buy" the design for a few bucks or get a paid membership on smilebox, and either way the ads would disappear and the album would be printable and such.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Legoland" at the Mitchell Park Conservatory (Domes)

One of the coolest places in Milwaukee is the Mitchell Park Conservatory, which consists of three huge greenhouse domes full of gardens. One is all tropical, one is arid/desert, and the third has different themed gardens throughout the year. Every year after the holiday display is packed away, they do a model train setup in the Show dome, but each year is a different theme. Last year it was "Lilliput" (from Gulliver's Travels), this year was "Legoland."

Monday mornings are free to county residents, so we try to go every year... This year the Boschi's came with us, too, Jana and Dennis, and Melinda with Evie and Lizzie. It was really fun (although I think they could have done a lot more with the Legos!).

Click to play this Smilebox photobook: Botanical Domes
Create your own photobook - Powered by Smilebox

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Re-Reading "The Gift of Fear"

Well, I suppose this is my first non-family post, but it's about family safety --- something increasingly on my mind as my kids are rapidly approaching "school age"....

A tiny bit of background: Our R.S. book club read "The Shack" a couple months ago. I didn't get to go to the discussion, but did read the book. The core tragedy in the main character's life is the abduction of his little girl. The book is about him supposedly meeting with God and learning to have faith/forgive, etc. (I didn't really like the book, to be honest; the author's version of spirituality has little in common with my beliefs and feelings, especially since he is very anti-church/organized religion.)

Reading that, however, reminded me of a couple books I read quite a few years ago: "The Gift of Fear" and "Protecting the Gift", both by Gavin de Becker. The tagline for the first of these books is:

"True fear is often a signal that can save your life. Are you listening?"

Basically, the author makes the case that your intuition is a lot more reliable than you think; if you feel uneasy around someone, chances are that your subconcious is picking up on very real clues to a potential danger. His books both go through a lot of ways to assess risk (deciding if threatening behavior is likely to escalate, etc), but he explains that all this information is just to give your subconcious more to work with so that you are more likely to notice a threat, and, most important, so that you don't brush off your own fears. If you are informed and confident in your own intuition/fear, you don't need to worry or be constantly afraid.... (He makes it clear that the "fear" he is talking about is your "gut reaction", not just worrying about stuff in general.)

Anyway, the first book, "The Gift of Fear", is about risk assesment and such in general and as applied to stranger-on-stranger attacks, domestic violence, workplace violence, and stalkers (of celebrities or exes).

The second book, "Protecting the Gift", is specifically targeted on keeping your kids and teens safe and on teaching them to keep themselves safe. (For example, teaching children to ask a woman for help, rather than just "look for a policeman" since kids can't tell a real cop from a predator with a toy badge...)

Both books are interesting and very thought-provoking, to say the least! I am actually ordering the second one - it has really good info for parents, including sample questions to ask about your kids school(s), potential babysitters, and so on.

Now, this guy is a genuine expert and all - he has lots and lots of experience and data to back up him up when he tells us to listen to our instincts.... However, as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I personally believe that in addition to our "subconcious mind", we are warned/protected by spiritual means as well. A lot of the concepts he talks about in relation to acting on intution, such as it is more important to be safe than to be polite, could/can really apply to listening to the Holy Ghost, too! Perhaps that is why his ideas seem to me to have particular merit....

Well, I could go on an get really philosophical about all this, but I shall spare you all! I do, however, recommend these books - particularly the one directed at parents!

(BTW, I am seriously thinking of recommending the second book to our Relief Society book club - anyone have thoughts on this?)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Daddy is Oooollllddd!

Matt's Birthday was this week... I won't say how old he is, but his parents sent him this giant cookie...

He had to travel for work this week, so we celebrated last Saturday. (Many thanks to Jen's Aunt Jana for last-minute babysitting!)

The kids "helped" me make a cake on Friday, and I hid it in the oven (off, of course!) and crossed my fingers Matt wouldn't be seized with some sudden urge to broil something... Saturday we surprised him with the cake and a couple of presents... The kids gave him a "nerf" dart gun, I gave him a really neat book he wanted. The kids were lots of help -trying out the gun for him and helping blow out the candles....

Esther, of course, was the biggest party animal... well, maybe just the cutest...