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Monday, March 31, 2008

The Egg Tradition

Things are back to normal this week. Well, as close to normal as things can be in our house.

But we're all home and that's always nice.

Liz had a fabulous time with my mom in Goshen and got to see her great Grandma and Grandpa as well as my dad, her Papaw. Apparently, Liz completed multiple Easter egg hunts daily at my mom's house.

One wasn't enough for her.

Once she got the hang of it, she enjoyed setting up the egg hunts herself. She would hide them and then scurry around the yard and find them. She clearly inherits the family gene.

For years, on my side of the family we had Easter egg hunts until my cousins and I were well into our late-teens. OK. We were in our early 20s - maybe even middle 20s.

All right. I admit it - the hunts just ended 3 or 4 years ago - shortly before the little ones were born. But Easter egg hunts have always been a big deal in my family.

It's not enough to simply show up and run around looking for eggs. You need to prepare for the hunt. You must make sure you're wearing the right type of shoes, comfortable pants and certainly you don't want any restrictive clothing that will prohibit you from leaping off decks to grab eggs.

Also, few of you (except my cousins who read this blog) have a grandma who's clever enough to drill holes into the plastic eggs and tie wire to them. If anyone thinks I'm joking about this, I know there are readers who can confirm this.

Yes, Grandma Shidler decided the egg hunts needed to be more challenging. So, she actually had Grandpa drill tiny holds into the plastic eggs and then tied wires to them. Then, she took the wire pieces and wrapped them around the hiding places - such as branches, etc...

As you can imagine, these hunts were lengthy and quite intricate. You were trying to find the eggs while untwisting that wire as fast as possible. It certainly lasted a lot longer than those little egg hunts you see at local parks.

I also must admit that I was traditionally the family loser. Yes, last place had my name written all over it, and I was pretty proud of those 3 eggs....every year. Sometimes, I even got four. Well, maybe that was just one year.

Until that one year, when Grandma Shidler urged me to get a move on it. I took her advice.

That was the year of my "infamous deer leap off the deck," as I plunged off the deck diving for the eggs, and somehow managed to land gracefully (for the first time in my life) grabbing every egg in sight.

Ok. Not every egg. I'm still pretty sure I came in the lower percentile that year, but I would say if we looked back at the family stats, I made a remarkable improvement.

Based on Liz's ongoing excitement for egg hunts, I think she's carrying on that egg tradition.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter and travel

The last few weeks we've had more traveling adventures. Brian and his brother were in Florida to watch The Detroit Tigers in Spring Training. They spent most of their days watching baseball and visiting every Salvation Army store they could find.

Meanwhile, that same weekend I took Liz to Fort Wayne, Ind. for her first stay at a hotel. We stayed downtown Fort Wayne, which is on the far Northeast portion of Indiana. Brian and I actually met in Fort Wayne where we both worked for competing newspapers. I hadn't been there in years, and it was great fun to see all of our old stomping grounds.

This weekend, we went to Goshen on Sunday to have Easter with my family. Liz is actually in Goshen Ind., my hometown in Northern Indiana, and will be there until Thursday. Liz and my mom are having a blast and we did a few Easter egg hunts on Sunday. Apparently Liz liked them so much, that she and my mom have completed several hunts again today (Monday).

Meanwhile, As I write I'm in Midtown Manhattan and will be here until Thursday morning covering a conference. So far, it's been a great week to be in New York. The weather is fantastic and I had the chance to go to a few fabulous local New York restaurants today. Hope to head to a neighborhood tomorrow for dinner. One of my co-worker's and I are also planning to see a Broadway show later this week as well.

The Easter pictures will come later....I promise!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Maple Syrup Days

A week ago, we headed to the local park for the annual Maple Syrup festival. Don't worry - I'll be sure to snap the "all important" shots of Liz eating the maple syrup with her pancakes one morning. This event has become an annual tradition and it always marks the start of spring.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

What's said behind your back

Last week, was a pretty hard week for us in terms of the comments people made to us directly and behind our backs. I had to deal with acquaintances who said some fairly rude and insensitive comments about little people.

In both cases, they were quite embarrassed and ashamed when approached. One of the guy's who knows about Liz and said something as a joke, apologized dozens of times, after I called him out.

But these comments put a damper on the week and reminded us that there are so many people who think it's all right to joke about little people. In both cases, these individuals aren't jerks and are quite sensitive to people of differences, but our society seems to accept humor about short statured individuals and it's quite frustrating.

So, rather than focusing on those specific incidences, I'll highlight how our week ended - which was fairly positive.

I took Liz to the doctor late Friday afternoon because Brian was worried she might have strep throat. My "gut" Mommy instinct told me it was merely a cold, but better safe than sorry.

Dr. K confirmed my suspicion and said it is just a cold. But while at the doctors office, one of the nurses we've grown to know quite well began asking me about Liz and a number of issues about her growing up.

She started talking about how bright Liz is, which makes any parent glow.

Then, she shared this story: "One time when you brought Liz in when she was about 2. You guys had just left, and Dr. K. said 'You know that girl's going to be the valedictorian of her class. She'll just need to stand on a step stool to reach the podium.'"

It was a simple comment and one that we didn't hear about until now, and it was the perfect timing.

So, who said all comments spoken behind your back are bad? If only they were all like that!

A little star

I just wanted to post that my friends at "How Life is Measured" were featured today in the Flint Journal.

If you go here, you can read the story about Owen and his parents. His mom Cat and I have e-mailed periodically and she's posted on this site as well as her mother, Owen's proud grandma, Jennifer. They actually live quite close to Brian's family in Michigan and I hope we'll be able to meet up one time when we're visiting.

Owen just turned a year-old in February and is doing quite well, other than the common childhood illnesses. But if you read the article, you'll see his journey to this world, was quite stressful and that's putting it mildly. His parents were told he had a lethal form of dysplasia and he would die within hours of his birth. They had a priest on hand for the birth.

Fortunately, Owen was born kicking and screaming and the family just celebrated his 1st birthday and he's as active as Liz was at that age!

I think it's great to have articles like this about little people, because it helps the general public better understand what our families face.

Also, People Magazine ran an article about the Graf family who had a boy Will who was born with achondroplasia and then the family adopted Max from Korea, who also has achondroplasia. I didn't find a link to the article on the web site, but if I do (or someone else does), I'll post.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Causing a Disturbance

Well, I had to know that we couldn't get through Liz's first year of preschool without a note from school to take home. Frankly, I'm amazed we made it this long.

Sure, the teachers often have passed on verbal comments to me particularly when the fall semester began. But after several warnings - - don't drink from the water table, no standing on the regular tables and don't pick the nose and eat it - there was instant improvement.

And, I didn't even post about parent teacher conferences, because it was so positive.

But on Wednesday when I picked her up, I saw the following note: Lately during nap, Liz has been causing a disturbance by getting of her cot and rolling on the ground and talking to her friends. Please let her know this behavior is inappropriate during nap time. Also, she has been taking off her shoes and socks during this time. We don't allow the children to sleep without socks or shoes, just in case of an emergency and we need to leave the building. Please just discuss this with Liz at home.

So, for those of you who know me, it should come as little surprise that my chatty behavior has worn off on Liz. Those of you who know Brian will be thinking the same thing, since he's quite talkative as well.

Those of you lucky enough to know both of us, are probably downright stunned that she didn't get a note like this on her first day of class.

In all fairness, I will point out that she isn't always at preschool during nap time. In the fall, she was there just for the afternoon session and arrived after nap-time. In this spring session, she's usually in class during nap time.

No worries. We took our "homework assignment" seriously and have talked about "proper nap behavior" in length. We'll see how that goes.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Our Little Lady

I've come to understand that Liz's perception on life as a little person will be very different than mine.

For instance, even though I'm fairly social, I enjoy my anonymity. I like going to Starbucks or another coffee house and reading my newspaper without anyone noticing me. I don't have people giving me unusual looks or coming up to me and asking me questions about myself, except on the days when in haste iced tea is dripping down my chin. But that's only once in awhile.

Liz won't get the same treatment as she gets older simply because of her height.

Luckily, Liz is much more extroverted than I was at her age. Sure, she gets shy among new people, but overall, she loves talking to people. She's not attached to my leg, the way I was attached to my mom's leg at this age.

Since there are so few people who are 4-feet-tall, she's considered unique simply by her height and will be easily recognized at places like the grocery store, the park or the local coffee shop. In some cases, people will give her an extra glance or perhaps make a comment.

In other cases, the clerks and employees at these locations will remember her more then they'd remember their average-height customers that they might see just as often.

While I had originally feared that this might be a negative experience for Liz, I saw this weekend, how it can be quite positive.

We were at the local grocery paying for our items when the person checking out our groceries mentioned how she watched Liz and I when we first came to the store.

"She's going to be a Little lady," she said. "Whenever I see her, she always makes me smile."

Obviously, she'd noticed us several times.

So, while we may worry about those negative comments, there are so many more people that are smiling at you....when you don't even know about it.

And, that's kind of cool.