Thursday, May 30, 2013

Theme Thursday: Self Portrait

I wasn't sure if I was going to have anything current for this week when I saw the theme.  The house is a mess and I was hesitant to attempt a self portrait.  I contemplated using my iPhone to snap a picture but I'm so awful at using that camera that I decided against it.  So I dug out my cool remoteso I could snap a picture of my "I just went for a long walk out in the way-too-hot heat" self.   Katie decided to get in the picture, too.  I have to say I think the picture turned out pretty good considering I took it by tossing the camera on my purse and sticking my Magnificat under the lens to prop it up a smidge. I fully expected the camera to fall.

Visit Clan Donaldson for more Theme Thursday self-portraits.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shaklee 180 Review

A few months ago I was asked if I'd be interested in doing a review of a Shaklee weight management program.  I'm not really into the scene for a couple of reasons.  First, I watched my mom struggle with different diets for most of my childhood and have an overall negative outlook when it comes to weight management programs.  Second, I don't have any weight issues that would send me in pursuit of help for dropping weight.  My husband, however, is a different story.  For the past two years he's been trying to lose weight.  He's had some success with other weight management and exercise programs, but seems to hit a point where he hits a wall and his success is halted.  It's frustrating for him and it's frustrating to watch.  So I asked my husband if he'd like to give Shaklee 180 a try and give me his thoughts on the program.  He was up for it.  The Shaklee 180 program is supposed to help you maintain muscle while losing fat.

Starting back in April,  Bryan began drinking the Shaklee smoothies and eating their meal in a bar and snack bars.  The kit also included an energizing tea and metabolic supplement.  He found that he was getting headaches when he took the metabolic supplement, so he had to discontinue using them.  He didn't care for the tea (hot or cold) at all so he didn't use that either.

The Shaklee 180 kit includes a "Plan for Success" to help you take your shape in a whole new direction.  The meal plan is based on a 1200 calorie diet, but you can use the Shaklee 180 app to create a personalized nutrition plan.  The app is similar to the My Fitness Pal app that my husband has been using for about a year and a half.  It helps you keep track of the calories you've consumed and I think that helps him feel like he needs to stay accountable for what he's consuming.

So back to the plan for success.  The program makes this really simple.  It has each meal, plus snacks laid out for you in an easy to understand format.  A breakfast with Shaklee 180 is a serving of fresh fruit, an energizing smoothie and 1 metabolic boost supplement.  To spice things up a bit you can add your fruit to the smoothie.  The mobile app offers some fruit smoothie recipes to get those creative juices flowing.  Lunch is either a meal-in-a-Bar or a smoothie with a metabolic boost supplement.  Of course, the program is flexible enough that if you want to swap out dinner for lunch and have a meal-in-a-bar or smoothie for dinner you can do that with this program and be perfectly fine.  When it comes to snacks you can choose from the energizing tea or a snack bar along with 1-2 servings of guilt-free foods.  The plan for success insert even offers some suggestions of guilt free foods that make great snacks like raw carrots or broccoli and pickles or cucumbers.  Dinner consists of a healthy meal and a metabolic boost.  The guide offers you a breakdown of what a healthy meal looks like.

With any weight management plan that involves using specific program food, the first thing you're probably wondering about is the food, right?  No one wants to start out a weight loss program and find out that the food is horrible and leaves you feeling hungry all of the time.  That's just a recipe for disaster.  So I asked Bryan to be perfectly honest about the food and tell me what he thought about it.

Bryan is definitely a fan of the energizing smoothie. He enjoys the taste of them and describes them as  thick, filling and lasting the entire morning.  Other shakes he has used in the past didn't have as much substance to them and left him feeling hungry within two hours.  He says the Shaklee shakes are like a meal by comparison.  Bryan chose the chocolate shakes for the kit and he thought they tasted pretty good.  He said a lot of other chocolate protein shakes are chocolate colored but they don't really taste like they have chocolate flavoring.  With the shaklee shake he said if it didn't have the gritty powder consistency to it, you might actually think you're drinking a chocolate milk shake.  He said the shakes mix up well.  Initially he was mixing the shakes with just a spoon and it wasn't mixing up as well and as quickly as he would have liked so we got a little single-serve blenderand he gets perfect shakes within seconds.  The energizing shakes come in four different flavors: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and cafe latte.  Bryan can't speak to the other three flavors, but the chocolate variety gets his recommendation.

The Meal-in-a-bar comes in two varieties blueberry & almond crisp and peanut butter & chocolate chip.  Bryan decided to continue along his chocolate theme and chose the chocolate peanut butter variety.  He thought the bar was quite sizeable.  He describes it as being like a very heavily compacted krispy treat that has a deep peanut buttery flavor with chocolate chips.  He says it was filling and very convenient for on the go eating.  It's great for a quick eat while lunching.

Snack bar is essentially a mini version of the meal in a bar.  The snack bars are available in the following varieties: chocolate chocolate,  lemon & cranberry, and crunchy peanut butter--there's even a option to get the snack bars as a variety pack.  Bryan tried the chocolate chocolate flavored snack bars.  He found them to be a satisfying snack  that banishes the munchies.  The chocolate chocolate variety has a nice rich cocoa flavor so it's great if you're a chocoholic.

Between the smoothies, and the meal and snack bars Bryan was very satisfied with the meal-plan.  He felt like he had enough to eat for the most part, but he does think he could have benefitted from the energy that he would have gotten from the metabolic boost supplement.  He was disappointed that that part of the program didn't work out for him.

So I bet you want to know what kind of results he had while using Shaklee 180, right?  Well he didn't do too badly.  He lost seven pounds in the five weeks that he used this program.  Five weeks for a 30 day program?  I know, the math doesn't add up there, does it?  Bryan had a week long business trip the second week he was using the program so he had to take a week off from it.  So we're not looking at perfect use results when we look at Bryan's experience.  I suspect he might have lost more weight if he had been able to use the program for 30 consecutive days.   I know he's happy with the overall results.  In his first week of use he dropped three pounds and after that he lost about pound a week.  Now he did combine the meal plan with moderate exercise to optimize his results.   About four days a week he would walk or bike and then two days a week he would do a little bit of running around on the soccer field as he coached our daughters' teams.

So I asked Bryan if he would recommend this weight management program to others.  Given his experience with the metabolic boost and his general dislike of the tea he said he'd really only recommend the meal and snack bars and the smoothies.   He says the smoothies were the best part of the meal plan.  If, like him,  you don't like tea, he doesn't see the point in going for a kit that includes the teas.  Also, since he had issues with the metabolic boost he points out that perhaps the program isn't for everyone, but I think that can be said about almost every other weight management program out there.  I suppose it's just a matter of finding what works for you and gets you the results you're looking for.

From what I can tell, the Shaklee 180 Turnaround program isn't just about eating a few specific foods to lose weight, a big part of it seems to be about learning to eat healthy and get fit.  It's not just a matter of eating a few specific foods and expecting the weight to melt away.  So if you're considering this program, or really any weight management program, it's pretty important to make sure you have some support.  It's helpful to have someone cheering you on and offering encouragement along the way.  There's an awesome team of people who are dedicated to cheering you on and helping you reach your goals with the Shaklee 180 program on FaceBook.  They certainly offer plenty of inspiration and lots of helpful tips for healthy living.

You can learn more about the Shaklee 180 weight management program by visiting this site.  Becky will be happy to answer any questions you may have for her about the program.

I was provided with a Shaklee 180 Turnaround kit by Becky, an independent Shaklee distributor, in exchange for my honest review of the program.  Visit Becky's Shaklee page for more information on this program and many other Shaklee products.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Quick Takes Volume 70

Remember the foot problem I had over a year ago?  Well, I stupidly plopped down on my foot with my leg bent under me about two weeks ago.  A few days later I started having problems with my hip and my foot.  I came to the conclusion that my hip, which has been bothering me since I was pregnant with Katie was the culprit.  So now I'm seeing a chiropractor for my hip.  I was convinced last time around that my hip had nothing to do with my foot pain but now I think otherwise.  Within a day or two of my hip hurting me my foot and different areas of my leg were having issues.  My hip joint feels like I have a huge rubber band around it.  

The kids have a nice long weekend for Memorial Day.  Madeline is off today and Monday and Ellie is off today, Monday and Tuesday.  My parents came up this morning and took the girls back to their place for the night.  They've been wanting to take Madeline and Ellie for the night for a few months but our schedule has been so jam packed that there was never a good time.  Oh and my mom brought me some flowers from her garden.  Aren't they pretty?  
Did you see that Pope Francis wants us to be annoying?  Man, I've got that in the bag!  Ask my brothers, ask my parents, ask Bryan.  Of course, being an annoying Catholic could take a bit more skill, and I'm not talking about being the person who says the prayers three words ahead of everyone else at Mass...someone in my parish already has that job.  If you're not sure how to be an annoying Catholic in a good way, take a peek at this awesome article that tells you how to become annoying in eight easy steps.
Bryan sent me this picture because it amused him.  I took a look at it and told him that I think most kids wouldn't get what this says.  I just asked Madeline if she knew what this was and she had no clue.  Her best guess what it's a guy who's name begins with an E.  Guess this is one for us old folks.
They're shaking things up at our parish again.  One of our favorite priests has just been reassigned to a nearby parish.  I'm disappointed.  I've got a bit of a priest phobia and he was the only priest I've ever felt completely at ease around.  We're going to miss him.

A few days ago I was trying to take care of some VBS stuff on my laptop while Katie played.  She was being really quiet which any mom knows is not a good thing when you're talking about little ones.  So I called her and she comes over to me munching on a tortilla shell.  Where'd she get it?  Oh, it was in the trash.  Awesome, right?  I gave her a new one that wasn't in the trash so I could put the one she was eating back in the trash.  She was still eating it when we got to the parish office a few minutes later.  Let me just tell you they thought the story of my George Costanza wannabe was hilarious.  My deacon friend told me it would have made a great picture for Catholic Charities.   I'm glad they were all amused.  So yesterday I caught her up on the kitchen table scavenging for food again.  This time she was picking sesame seeds off the table from the previous nights dinner.  Sigh.
My sister-in-law sent us some new ultrasound pictures of our niece or nephew who's due this Christmas.  Bryan decided to draw a stick figure on the baby.  When he first drew the picture the baby was backwards, but I didn't realize that he did it.  I thought my sister-in-law had texted us another picture so I was marveling over how cute it was that her doctor's office draws a stick figure over the baby.  Bryan thought it was hilarious that I didn't realize that he did it.  So he flipped the stick figure and colored it blue since it wasn't easy to see in black.  Isn't my little stick figure niece or nephew adorable?  And he or she already knows that Auntie Karen is going to go nuts buying cute clothes.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Theme Thursday: Bodies

Forgive me for saying this but I found this week's theme to be a bit odd.  My first thought when I saw this theme was "Dead bodies?"  Nice, I know.  That's just where my mind went.  But I don't have any bodies hidden in a basement or storage locker so you'll just have to deal with pictures of live bodies this week.  Besides, you don't really want pictures of corpses, do you?  I hope not.

So I thought about what kinds of pictures I could post.  Temper tantrum bodies, grumpy I didn't do it bodies, getting into trouble bodies, bodies sitting around doing nothing, and active bodies.  So I decided  to go with active bodies.  Might as well since they're a bit more fun to capture.

Visit Clan Donaldson for more Theme Thursday pictures.

Book Review: Francis Man of Prayer

When I was presented with a chance to review Mario Escobar's Francis: Man of Prayer
 I was pretty excited.  The more I learn about Pope Francis the more I like him and I was very eager to learn more about him by reading a biography about him.  Now I have to say I was a bit surprised to see that a Christian publisher had published a book about the Holy Father.  Of course, after having read through the book I realize now that alarm bells probably should have gone off in my head after my initial surprise at a Christian publisher doing a biography on a Pope.  But I thought the best of the publisher and agreed to review this book.

The book started off great.  It gave a nice background on Pope Francis before he became Pope.  I was able to see past what I perceived as quaint descriptions of Catholic practices.  I know that Protestants don't fully get Catholicism so I wasn't bothered by some of their descriptions that missed the mark.  But then I delved further into the book and the more I read the more I became convinced that this book was pure anti-Catholic garbage.

The author didn't just make slights at Pope Francis, he had plenty of inaccurate and off base things to say about Blessed John Paul II and our Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.  And there was plenty of inaccuracies regarding the Catholic Church in general.  If you're a rabid anti-Catholic then you'll likely enjoy this book.  If, however, you're a Catholic I'd suggest you steer clear of this book and pick up a book published by a Catholic publisher.  Our Sunday Visitor has recently published a biography of Pope Francis which I'm certain would be a much more accurate account of our new Holy Father.

I was provided with a free review copy of this book by Book Sneeze in exchange for my brutally honest review.

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life...

I sat down this morning and realized it was Thursday which meant it was time for a new {P,H,F,R} post especially since I spent way too much time working on last week's {P,H,F,R} post and it never made it past me editing photos.  I wrote it in my head and pretty much stopped there.  Sigh.  So not wanting to use old pictures, you know, old pictures that you haven't seen, sat down and lamented to myself that I didn't take any pictures this week and I guess I had nothing interesting for this post.  Then I remembered that I might have taken one or two pictures.  More like 150 and suddenly I remembered we did actually do some stuff this week.  Sometimes life just moves so fast that I forget where I've been.

Ellie took this picture of Katie on Pentecost Sunday.  I was on top of things and was remembering to take pictures for a What I Wore Sunday post that never got written.
Ellie took this picture, too.  Do you like my new "super-awesome white pants"?  My old ones are too big on me so I had to get a new pair.  They're not as super-awesome as my old ones but they'll do.  I got them for under $20 at Old Navy which had me pretty excited.

My neighbor will probably not be happy if she finds out I put this picture on my blog.  She's been babysitting for us since we moved her nearly six years ago.  Often she will come across the street and just play with the girls when they're out front.  On Monday, Bryan and I took Katie for a walk and on our way back we saw her outside shooting baskets while she had no idea we were watching her.  Once we started cheering for her she realized the odd neighbors were staring at her came over to play with Katie and the older girls.  Madeline wanted to know if she could hula hoop and somehow she ended up being challenged to do three at once.
Katie discovered that she likes to play with water.

It's been pretty warm here these past few days so Madeline decided that it would be fun to ask Nicole to squirt her with this water gun thing that we have.  
Chances are she probably came to regret helping Madeline out since Bryan decided to join in on the fun.  Of course, this isn't the first time Nicole has found herself in a water battle with the neighbors.  Compared to the years where she's been doused with buckets full of water or shot with the hose (we have other neighbors who like to play with water, too) or even tossed in the pool this was nothing.

Spring basketball games started this week for Ellie.  This is Ellie's first time playing full court basketball.  I think she was a bit surprised that she has to run as much as she does.  She's getting used to playing.  I think the court where she plays is scenic, but the sun is an absolute killer at the time when she plays.  We're roasting on the sidelines and getting blinded by the sun.  But she's enjoying herself so it's all good.  

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: St. Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer

For a number of years I've been drawn to St. Monica.  Her example of persistent prayer for the conversion of her husband and her son is one that I find inspiring.  Let's face it, it's frustrating to pray for something continually and come to grips with the reality that God's timeline does not always match up with yours.  St. Monica gets that and because of that I look to her as an example of patience in persistent prayer.

As I read through Mike Aquilina and Mark W. Sullivan's St. Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer I found myself coming to a better understanding of St. Monica and how to apply her example to my own circumstances.  Drawing on accounts of St. Monica from the writings of her son, St. Augustine we learn that her persistence in prayer wasn't just a matter of patience and a determined spirit.  Readers will find that her example goes much deeper than that.  It's acceptance of God's will, trust in God, and a whole host of other virtues that transformed St. Monica as she relentlessly prayed for her wayward son's conversion.

If you are unfamiliar with St. Augustine, you will find that you come to know him better through this book.  If you are familiar with this great saint, then you will likely recognize many of the excerpts from his writings about his sainted mother.

Interwoven with the story of St. Monica are plenty of anecdotal stories about the mother and grandmother of the authors of this book.  I really enjoyed the stories about Nan and how they related to St. Monica.  It showed a modern day look at the application of the same strengths and virtues exhibited by St. Monica by the matriarch of the authors' family.

If you find yourself in the situation of praying for the conversion of a spouse or a wayward child, you'll likely find encouragement in the pages of this book and a powerful intercessor who knows well what it's like to be on the praying end of such an intention.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on St. Monica and the Persistent Power of Prayer. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Quick Takes Volume 69

I had to laugh at myself after waking up at 7:35 and freaking out that it was so late.  For about a minute I thought that it was Friday and the following thoughts ran through my head:  1. Madeline must have missed her bus. 2. Ellie's bus was just five minutes away and she likely wasn't ready for school. 3. There was no way I was making it to Mass this morning.  I was in a panic and was a bit annoyed.  Then I looked over at Bryan soundly sleeping and wondered if I had my days mixed up.  I thought back over the previous day and realized that today must be Saturday.  Phew!  This is the first time in many weeks that I have slept past 7:30.  Funny how a time that used to seem ungodly early to me now seems late.

I don't think Ellie made the travel soccer team she tried out for a few weeks ago.  I was hoping she'd make the team but we didn't get a call from the coach yet and it appears that most if not all of the travel teams have already notified the kids if they made the team.  Madeline's teammates knew their statuses on Tuesday.   
Just as we were getting a bit of a reprieve from soccer practices and settling into a less hectic schedule Ellie's basketball game schedule was released.  She has two weeknight games a week!  We weren't expecting that.  We assumed she'd have a practice and a game like soccer.  So it looks like it will another month before things clam down.  Of course, at that point school will be done for the summer months.
Earlier this week I talked to the mom of Ellie's best friend from pre-school and kindergarten.  She was telling me that their house had sold and they were moving to a development a few minutes from our house.  This meant that Ellie and her friend would be going to the same school in September.  I let Ellie know and she was super excited.  Then the next morning when I left Mass I looked at my phone and saw a text from the mom telling me the offer on their house fell through.  Ugh!  Buying and selling a home is such an emotional roller coaster.  If you can, say a prayer that this family will get another offer on their home so they can move to the new neighborhood.  
I aggravated the problem I had with my foot/leg/hip last year when I stupidly tucked my leg under me and plopped down on the couch.  I'm trying to figure out if I need to see a doctor about it or not.  I made an appointment with a doctor but I'm wondering if I really need the appointment.

A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted new casual every day dishes for my birthday.  My Corelle disheshave been taking a beating lately.  Either my dishwasher is chipping them or the child who hastily loads and unloads the dishwasher is to blame.  Of course, it's possible that it's just the result of the dishes being used for nearly fifteen years.  I brought them when I was dating Bryan and he got his own apartment.  After going back and forth about the dishes and Bryan telling me that the dishes I was looking atlooked like dishes, I decided that I didn't want to just get rid of the dishes that I still liked and had used for so many year, but I did need to expand what we had.  After checking out the possibilities, I decided to expand our casual stonewarewhich Bryan really likes. I suppose I should mention that we have three sets of dishes (fine china, casual stoneware, and every day dishes).  I got the new dishes yesterday and discovered this morning that one of the plates was incredibly warped and a mug had another problem so now I'm working on getting that issue resolved.  It's always something!  Now that I have enough stoneware for twelve, I'm excited that we have enough of it to use for Christmas dinners on the years where I don't feel like having to hand wash the china which I refuse to put in the dishwasher after a few of my dishes came out looking awful many years ago.
I had been seriously procrastinating on the paperwork aspect of VBS.  Namely adding all of the names of the campers into the spreadsheet that I use to keep track of all the necessary information.  On Friday I spent a good part of the day transferring information from last year's VBS for repeat campers over to this year's spreadsheet.  I was about to add the rest of the kids that were new tonight when Bryan offered to type for me as I read off the information.  It was a HUGE help.  So now I have all of the registration info in the spreadsheet.  It's such a relief having all of that done.  Now I just have to focus on a few more VBS related things and I'll feel like everything is right on track.  Did I mention that Bryan is awesome?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Review: The Locket's Secret

About a month or so ago a teen novel showed up a my house that was quickly snapped up by my middle school daughter.  After looking over the back cover of the book she wanted to know if she could take the book to school and read it. The book was K. Kelley Heyne's The Locket's Secret.

After having the book in her possession for a couple of days, my daughter was telling me how much she was enjoying the story.  She especially liked how the main character retreated from reality into her made up fairy tale story.  I noticed that she was glued to the book over the course of several days, so I always take that as an indication that the book is pretty good.

Once I was able to borrow the book back from my daughter to take a peek inside I found out why she liked the book so much.  After reading the first couple of chapters I had a hard time putting this book down.  It's not very often that I read novels, let alone teen novels, so I was surprised that I got hooked on the book.  The story is about Carrie, a Catholic homeschooled eight grader who is going through a difficult time in her life.  Her family has moved out of state and away from all of her friends.  She's going through a difficult loss in the family and is trying to reconcile all of the emotions she's dealing with.  It's a story that will resonate with teen and tween girls.

Moms, like myself, who like to read through what their children are reading should grab a box of tissues when they reach for this book.  I'd cry, recover and read a few more chapters and find myself crying again.  I wasn't prepared for that when I sat down with this book.

Overall, I think this book is great.  It's perfect for tweens and teens.  I appreciate that the book is age appropriate for young ladies and isn't like a lot of the shamefully inappropriate novels that are geared to teen girls.  I hope we will be seeing more wonderful teen novels from Mrs. Heyne in the future.

I was provided with a review copy of The Locket's Secret by the publisher, Pauline Books, in exchange for my honest review.  You can take a peek inside this book here.  Visit Pauline Media for more information on this title.

Theme Thursday: Animals

Well look at that, Mr. Furkins is getting a post all about him since this week's theme for Theme Thursday is animals.
Oscar isn't always original.  Sometimes he steals costume ideas from the people and then gets yelled at for copying.
He's notorious for photobombing.  I'm convinced he knows what he's doing.
He thinks he's sophisticated, but when you can't fancy yourself as such when you chase your own tail and gnaw on your hind quarters.
He'll happily wear anything that he perceives to be people clothes.
Oh, and he likes to play on the slide.  He races up the ladder and then slides and prances down the slide.
Oh and in case you're wondering why Oscar has two names, there's a perfectly logical reason.  He thinks he's dignified, but if you look at him you can tell he's anything but.  Of course, I humored him and decided that this goofy dog needed a nick name that reflected his distorted self perception.  Since he has furry skin I decided to call him Mr. Furkins.  I think the name suits him.

Visit Clan Donaldson for more Theme Thursday pictures.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Quick Takes Volume 68

Our week started off with a bang, or maybe a bump.  I had asked Bryan to put a car seat that was part of a travel systemI recently reviewed up in the attic.  So while I was taking care of laundry down in the basement he decided to go upstairs with the ladder and put the car seat in the attic.  We're not sure what happened, but somehow the cars eat slipped and hit him right on the top of his head.  I wanted to take him to an ER or urgent care clinic to get checked out but he refused.  I did get him to agree to me waking him every two hours during the night like I had to do with Ellie several weeks ago.  He ended up with a lump on his head.  On Wednesday night he finally admitted that he probably should have gone to a doctor.  He went and saw a doctor yesterday and was diagnosed as having a moderate concussion.
VBS registration is done.  I'm so excited that we were able to market it well enough to have the program at full enrollment more than six weeks before the registration deadline.  The registrations I received in the mail yesterday put us over 100. This gives me plenty of time to make name tags and class rosters.

Tomorrow is Madeline's last regular season soccer game.  Next weekend is Ellie's last game.  After that we just have two tournaments in June.  I'm looking forward to having unscheduled weekends for a few months.  I've been wanting to take the kids to the zoo and get some boardwalk pizza for over a month now.  It's possible that we'll be able to do that either this Sunday or next Saturday.
Bryan came home from the doctor's office with a living will to fill out.  Of course, he has no interest/intent of doing so.  He told me he wasn't dying and not to worry about it.  After reading through it I felt sick to my stomach.  I'm not sure what I would select for myself after looking at the advance medical directive.  
I'm going to be 35 tomorrow.  I feel like I'm on the threshold of old.  Am I really that old now?  My parents and my brother are coming up for lunch tomorrow.  It's my Dad's birthday tomorrow, too.  It's going to be a busy day.  After lunch we have Madeline's soccer game and then we have to rush to get her to the 5:30 Mass since she has to altar serve.  I'm looking forward to a relaxing Mother's Day where we can do anything we want.
I talked to Ellie's speech therapy teacher yesterday about my concerns that the public school will fail to provide her with speech therapy like they did last year.  She's assured me that they won't be able to ignore her services plan.  Apparently the public school will have 30 days to turn the services plan into an IEP.  I feel better about the switch back to the public school for next year.  My biggest worry was that the school would ignore my requests to have her evaluated by their speech therapy department.
We opened the pool this past Sunday.  It's way too cold to swim in it, but it's open and almost clean.  I feel so much better about letting Katie run around in the yard now that the mesh fence is around the pool area.  She kept running over to the pool when the cover was on it.  Now we can spend more time in the yard and I don't have to worry that she's going to try and run on the cover.
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