05 November 2009

parting is such sweet sorrow

after some consideration, I am "shutting down" this blog. it's been ages since I actually updated and with my hectic life, sitting down to blog is just another thing on my way too long "to do" list. friends and family can keep in touch via facebook.

20 July 2009

Joubert Syndrome Conference

Tilly in the outfit we won at the conference silent auction
The embroidery is from the Joubert Syndrome logo:
"The Faith to believe, the Hope to dream, and the Love to see it through"

Sorry it has been so long since my last update... just got back from my first Joubert Syndrome Foundation conference in Cincinnati and wow! I have never been so inspired and comforted. It was amazing to be in a room full of people that truly know what you are going through! I have never felt such unconditional love and acceptance. Both Tilly and I made some amazing new friends who will be with us for the rest of our lives. I am physically and emotionally wiped out but I promise I will post more including great info I learned and some photos! Until then, take care!

01 July 2009

Hello darlin', it's been a long time...

I am sorry for the long leave of absence...my life has taken some very unexpected twists and turns in the last month/six weeks. I took some time to work through things and I believe I am back on track. I know that I am speaking a bit in code; however, I don't want to say too much as things on the 'net are always "out there" and can sometimes come back to haunt you. Suffice to say that I am mending a broken heart and though the finality of the relationship ending was a bit surreal, I am truly finding the rainbow after the thunderstorm....

One of the biggest things I have decided is to eliminate all the negativity from my life. I am making better choices as to whom I spend my time with and I am so much happier. I am also choosing to ignore attempts to drag me down. The past is truly the past and I am moving forward. No reason to get stuck on the hamster wheel of analyzing, worrying and wondering. Everything happens for a reason. I know that there is a plan for me that though I may not understand, is being revealed. Oh and karma is alive and well, too! :)

The beauty of my situation is that I have really bonded with some amazingly strong women who I am so very lucky to call friends now. These are women who are not only smart, funny, and such positive human beings but whom are also incredible mothers with like values. (J: I can't believe you actually used the term "stepford mothers"!!!)

It's a new beginning...for Fiona, for Tilly, and for myself... we are embracing the change - new experiences, new friendships, new environments. What a beautiful time it truly is!

20 May 2009

some much needed R&R...

Things have been very stressful lately.... been working on getting Matilda qualified for social security benefits so that the secondary insurance can kick in and relieve some of the medical bills piling up along with setting up a million other appointments and therapy sessions. Loads of other things going on that I am not quite ready to fully discuss... Needless to say that when my Mother proposed a beach getaway with the girls, I was excited. Fortunately, she is being generous and footing the bill as it just isn't feasible any other way. So, I am off to regroup, rejuvenate and hopefully come back better than ever... hold down the fort while I am gone, friends. :)

14 May 2009

what an honour!

A little while back I was asked to become the "green spokesperson" of sorts for my home state, Tennessee. I had joined a great site, The Green Parent, and Jenn Savedge, its founder, asked me to put together some resources for being in Tennessee. I just found out that my information was published to the site. Check it out here. Please spend some time taking a look around the fabulous blog and consider joining the fantastic network of green parents!

13 May 2009

busy bee...

Sorry I have been away from your blogs for so long...I am going to take some "me time" and get caught up soon.

I have had a very excuse though. Over the last week or so, I have been functioning in "Mama Bear" mode. We have been waiting for our lackluster neurologist to notify us of Matilda's MRI and vision test results. After relentless pushing, we received an "official" diagnosis for her - Joubert Syndrome - which is more accurate than her Dandy Walker Syndrome working diagnosis. While it seems odd to say, I am so thrilled and relieved to have a name to put with what we have been going through as a family. Now we are able to fully take advantage of the wonderful support systems and information available to the families of Joubert Syndrome children.

I am currently working on a new blog "Matilda Matters" dedicated just to our journey thus far. It will also share her day to day activities. I thought it appropriate to create a separate blog because the nature of it will be so different from this blog. I hope you will visit this other blog, too.

Until then, take care and have a fabulous week!

04 May 2009

An Eco-Friendly 4th! :)

During my hiatus from blogging, Fiona turned 4! For her birthday, we splurged and went on a family holiday to Disney World with some of our closest friends, The Katzmans (more to come soon). Though we had a blast celebrating, Fiona still really wanted to have a gathering at the park with her friends.

We decided to keep it low key and simple. Fiona's past birthday parties have taken place at a local park and at Ijams Nature Center. This year, she wanted to go to a park we had been frequenting more and more lately, Anchor Park. When asked what "theme" she wanted, she chose one of her favourite things - kitty cats.

As we began planning for the party, we knew we wanted to make it earth friendly. We started with the invitations... rather than purchase the invites, we made them from art supplies that Fiona already had. The invitations became a project for the whole family complete with assembly line precision. While I would really love to get to "present-free parties" (children these days simply have too much!), I didn't think Fiona was quite old enough to understand the concept. So instead, we talked to her about doing a project that would help someone else. After much discussion, we came up with the idea of collecting cat food for the homeless kitties at our local Humane Society. We added to the bottom of the invitation "please bring a bag of Purina brand cat or kitten food to be donated to the Humane Society".

After we distributed the party invites, we began on the "nuts and bolts" of the party. Paper plates, napkins, decorations, etc. create most of the waste at any party. So instead of items that would clutter up the landfill, we worked hard at finding earth-friendly alternatives.

For plates, I found a great option...VerTerra's biodegradable palm-leaf plates! The plates were a great conversation piece and looked beautiful on the tables!

VerTerra's plates:

* can be used in the microwave, oven and refrigerator
* made from 100% renewable plant matter - fallen palm leaves (not even harvested!)
* no chemicals, dyes, or waxes
* completely biodegradable and compostable - they will biodegrade in 20 - 60 days
* are made by a fair labour company that treats its workers with respect

For cups, I purchased Preserve's recycled tumblers... The tumblers are made with 100% recycled plastic, study and reusuable, BPA-free, and able to be recycled wherever #5 plastics are accepted.

For napkins, I bought Seventh Generations's recycled napkins and stamped them with kitty cat faces. We didn't need cutlery as our menu consisted of all finger foods.

The park has pretty strict guidelines about no banners, signs, etc. but we managed to delicately hang up a simple homemade banner. The banner was inspired by Lucie's blog.

The park itself always provides enough entertainment - kids just love being outdoors - but we planned a few activities. First, we decided to give each guest their own birdhouse to decorate and take home. (My friend recently decorated a birdhouse with her daughter and she told me that after they hung it up, they found 11 little eggs in the house!) We thought that the bird - cat relationship tied in loosely with the theme. Next, we created a "pin the tail on the cat" board for each guest to see who could come closest. Both activities were well received as seen in the pictures below. I couldn't believe how dilligent all the guests were with decorating their birdhouses.

The birthday girl

Friend, Olivia, creating a masterpiece

A house any bird would be proud to inhabit

Mid-game - before the victor had been declared

Refreshments consisted of typical kiddie fare - organic fruit & vegetables, cheese & crackers, juice, and pizza. Instead of a store bought cake, Fiona asked me to make her cupcakes again this year. I tinkered with the idea of a kitty cat face, but decided to do a simple paw print made with Cadbury chocolate buttons (from England - one of Fi's favourites) and chocolate chips.

one batch of cupcakes

For goody bags, I ordered reusuable linen drawstring bags I found online. Each guest received a Yummy Earth organic lollipop, a couple of Endangered Species chocolates, a cute little Buzzy Seeds sensitive plant that I found in the $1.00 bin at Target (again, a stretch with the cat theme but a kind of "cat nip") and a reusuable cat-themed cloth napkin, made by Fiona's "Gigi" (my Mom).

the goody bags were a huge hit!

After the festivities were over, the children continued to play together - enjoying the beauty of the day and the park's beautiful environment. The party ended on a high note with a train racing by blowing its whistle.

skipping stones at the lake was a favourite, unplanned, activity!

here are just a few of the guests who loved being close to the water

It was another fabulous birthday celebration for our Fiona. From the beautiful weather, to the outpouring of support for our cat food collection, and sweet compliments on the party being both original and environmentally-friendly - a good time was had by all! I will soon post pictures of Fiona delivering the donations to the Humane Society. Until then, I hope you will consider incorporating earth-friendly ideas and products into your next gathering.

If you would like to learn more about green parties, please visit the links below.

Eco Child's Play blog

Not Quite Crunchy Parent goodie bag ideas

Kiwi Magazine Birthday Party Ideas