A Modern Day Fairy Tale: August 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Miscellany Monday: Playing Catch Up!!

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, there has been a ton going on here lately! So let's start with the most exciting news:

My husband is HOME!!! Finally! A year is much too long! I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not, but our homecoming had a theme: WWII!!! Of course with my love of vintage, this was right up my alley so I loved it. Unfortunately only a few of us wives actually joined in the fun, but that's ok! Anyway, my husband gave us a little surprise. As we were waiting patiently (yeah, right!) for the buses to arrive, Shaun looked behind us and said, "It's DADDY!" The buses had still not arrived, so certain he'd just seen another Marine in uniform, my mother in law corrected him. We then turned around to realize, it WAS daddy!! He'd gotten a ride and had snuck up on us!!! What a surprise!! It was a fabulous day (night, morning...it was midnight!) and I could not be happier to have him home with us once again!!!

As you all know, my son recently celebrated his 4th birthday. His actual birthday was August 4th, but we decided we'd rather wait to celebrate until daddy was home to enjoy it with us. Part of me still thinks I was crazy planning a party so soon after the homecoming (since we were not home much the whole week before), but I was happy with how it turned out. It was the windiest day of the year I think...hanging decorations proved to be a challenge, but we did the best we could and Shaun was THRILLED with all the Thomas decor. We didn't have much turnout, but one of Shaun's great buddies from school came and he didn't seem to mind that there weren't more people. We had 4 dozen Thomas cupcakes, a 'train pond', sucker pull, pin the 1 on Thomas and lots of goodies for the kids...not to mention a bubble machine that seemed to be a hit!! Shaun was thrilled with all his new Thomas goodies too!!

I also recently celebrated my 24th birthday, on August 23rd! We didn't do much special, having my family together was enough for me! My husband did buy me a new pearl and diamond necklace though...and a new coupon binder (that zips, with a strap)...not sure which I was more excited about!! (I have been asked a lot recently about couponing also, so stay tuned for a post on that:))

Speaking of deals, I haven't done Mailbox Monday in several weeks, but my mailbox has continued to be full of fun surprises..coupons, pink zebra striped tape, samples, etc...but the best has to be the Savoy Scentsy warmer I won from this wonderful blog! Thanks again so much!!

Some other little bits: my husband bought a motorcycle, he's very excited...I'm a worry-er, but I love him so I'm happy if he's happy! Shaun started school, it seems so quiet having him gone again!! I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not but Shaun had been having some stomach issues lately and had had to have some allergy testing done earlier this month- everything came back normal!!! (Though we still believe he may be lactose intolerant!) Mostly, things have just been busy busy busy! Hopefully things will be returning to 'normal' soon and I'll be able to update more!!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Review: Sweet Sanctuary by Sheila Walsh & Cindy Martinusen Coloma

First off, I want to apologize for disappearing! Between my husband coming home, his mom visiting, my son's birthday party and so on...it's been a busy several weeks! I will write more on that later, but for now I need to get caught up on a few book reviews! So here we go...

From the Publisher:

Wren has tried to shelter her only son from the tumult of the world. Now she's about to find sanctuary . . . in the last place she ever expected.

In tiny Cottage Cover, on the coast of Maine, Wren Evans is raising her gifted son, Charlie. A single mom, she's fought hard to give Charlie a stable, secure home life. When a prestigious music academy in Boston expresses interest in Charlie's talent, Wren is willing to move them again to make his dreams come true.

But Wren doesn't know that Charlie has been praying for her. And the answer to her son's prayers will change both of their lives. As Wren plans their move to Boston, life in Maine begins to fall apart. Her job is threatened with budget cuts, and Wren's grandmother, Ruth, arrives unannounced, with an outlandish request.

Ruth wants the family gathered together one last time, at the summer home where, years before, an accident shattered Wren's peaceful childhood. In the tumult, Wren finds a friend in a handsome, kind-hearted local, Paul Callahan.

When the family gathers in Cottage Cover, old wounds will be healed, new love will blossom, and the innocent prayers of a child will be answered in a most unexpected way.

My Thoughts:

In this story, we meet Wren, a single mother trying to give her son the best life possible. In the beginning, Wren and Charlie seem to live a very predictable life. This all changes when her grandmother shows up at her doorstep unannounced with plans of throwing herself a 90th birthday party and requests the presence of all of her grandchildren. After a family tragedy many years before, the siblings had had a strained relationship, to say the least. Between this, a growing relationship with the successful Paul Callahan and the reappearance of her ex, it makes for a very interesting read! Beyond all of that, it is a great story about learning to put your trust in God and that He is with us at all times through everything. In the end, it also became a great story about forgiveness and moving on from the past.
Overall, I think this was a great story. I do believe I would have enjoyed it more had I not had to take a 2 week break in the middle of it, though that has nothing to do with the writing or the book itself! The characters were interesting and believable and the story of past events were revealed just enough throughout to keep me intrigued! I look forward to reading more by the authors.

*I received a copy of this book from Book Sneeze free in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own.

You can purchase this book here!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Change Up: Spread The Word

Yes, it's another post about the R-Word. Are you tired of them yet? Honestly, I'm a bit tired of writing them myself, yet it seems every time I turn around there's yet another story of the word being misused. I wasn't going to say much on this one- what's there to say after the last few- but even a few days after reading this one still bugs me. For those who don't yet know what I'm talking about, I'm referring to the quote in the new movie 'The Change Up', where Ryan Reynold's character, referring to his friend's twins says, “Why aren’t they talking – what are they retarded? And this one, he looks Downsy.'”

First of all, I have to start off by saying I have not seen the movie and I had no intention of seeing it. I'm not a fan of other movies by the same people (The Hangover) and I don't enjoy this kind of humor. So I'm obviously not the target audience for this film. However, I don't necessarily think that makes any difference in my opinion of this line. Some have questioned if the line was intended to make the character out to be a bad guy of sorts, again I've not seen it so I can't say the context in which it was said, but based on comments from others who have seen it, it seemed to be for no other reason than a cheap laugh. And even if it was the intended purpose to make us dislike the character there are other ways to do this- DOWNSY? Really? This crosses a line. It is insulting, degrading and bullying. It is picking on a group of people who get picked on enough already and in some cases are not able to defend themselves. Picking on the defenseless- doesn't get much lower than that...and for what? A few laughs? If you have to sink to such a level, you must not really be so funny to begin with. As I stated, I'm not the target audience for this movie, but I am certain there are parents out there who have children with Down Syndrome or various other special needs who may have otherwise enjoyed it. Can you imagine going into a theater to see a movie, only to have your child insulted on the big screen? God forbid there is someone in the audience who finds this funny and you have to listen to their laughter at your child's expense.

Obviously the 'joke' if you want to call it that, directly insults individuals with Down Syndrome, but let's look at it from a bigger statement, one that for myself hits even closer to home. The statement starts with questioning why these children are not talking. If you've followed my blog long, you know that my Shaun started talking early and somewhere along the line he lost most of his language and much of what was left wasn't functional. He has come amazingly far, but his speech and communication is still very far behind his peers. Many children on the Autism spectrum may never speak, or speak very little or very late. And Autism is not the only cause for speech delays. To imply that there is something inferior about a child who speaks later or does not speak at all is, once again, just plain mean.

Interestingly enough, I read an interview this morning with the director where he stated that he too believed the quote was crossing a line, but because test audiences did not complain it was left in. Why, if you believed that it was going too far, would you not stand up for these individuals? When an insult is made against the homosexual community, the uproar is enormous- celebrities, public figures, etc will stand up in defense. If it's a comment that is deemed as racist, once again it's everywhere! These groups are more than capable of defending themselves. So why is it when the joke is aimed at someone who may not be capable of that, we don't hear the uproar nearly as much? Why aren't celebrities and those with public platforms standing up for children with Down Syndrome, Autism and ALL special needs?

I am just a mom with a blog. I don't have millions of followers, or some huge platform to get the word out. But what I do have is passion for spreading the word and raising awareness in hopes that one day people can look past the differences and 'disabilities' and accept people for the wonderful, amazing people they are on the inside. If this post reaches just one person and that one person takes a pledge to end the word, then I am happy!!

For more on this movie, and Spread The Word To End The Word click here!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mailbox Monday-August 8!!

This week was a fabulous mailbox (and UPS) week! So excited to share with all of you!

  • Mott's for Tot's Juicebox and coupons from Vocalpoint! My son absolutely loved this freebie!!
  • Shout Wipe and Go Sample
  • Scentsy Lucky in Love Travel Tin (another FB win)
  • Coupon for FREE Aussie Product
  • Woman's Day Magazine
  • Scentsy Cupcake Warmer- By far my favorite freebie of the week!!! Remember the $40 shopping spree giveaway I posted about awhile ago? Well, I didn't win the $40 BUT the second prize for most creative comment was for a $20 shopping spree, and that I did win! She was awesome enough to let me get the cupcake warmer even though it was a bit over $20!! So awesome!! (On another note, if you love this warmer, it's on sale this month for $22.50- most things are 10% off- but after this month it's going up to $30, and several other warmers are going up, and full and mid size systems are going away too, so it's a good time to buy- contact your consultant and get ordering!)

  • Coupons (FB Win)
  • Honey Nut Cheerios Sample
  • Downy Unstoppables Sample- I love these things...not sure I like the cost at all though!!
The linkup for Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Thankfully Thrifty this week:)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Scripture and a Snapshot- John 9:1-3

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."- John 9:1-3

I found this verse a few weeks ago and I absolutely love it. I think when you have a special needs child, it's easy to ask yourself, "Why me? What did I do to deserve this? What did I do to cause this? What did my child do to deserve this?" I think it's a natural reaction. For me personally, I never asked why this happened to me, but I did go through moments where I wondered, "Would this have happened had I not allowed him to have his vaccines? Why didn't I see the signs earlier?" and so on. After the newness and shock of the diagnosis wore off I realized that for Shaun I don't believe it was the vaccines, as there were signs there before. But most importantly, I realized that if this was God's plan for my boy, then it would have happened regardless and everything happens in His time, not ours. I have had several people tell me I have such a positive outlook on Shaun's autism and I think it is because of this realization that I am able to handle it. That is not to say that I don't have moments where I get down about the struggles Shaun faces- I do, often. I would also never have wished for my child to have Autism but it is the hand we have been dealt and all I can do is love my child unconditionally and do everything I can for him. Autism is part of who he is and who he is is absolutely amazing. I have said many times, and I will say it once again, I know that God has amazing plans for my Shaun and I cannot wait to see what those plans are!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday, Shaun!!

My baby will be 4 years old tomorrow (today, the 4th by the time most of you read this)...where did the time go!?

Just a few hours old!! How tiny and sweet!

First birthday pictures! Still no hair!!!

At his second birthday party!!

Third birthday pictures!! How very Shaun! This was right before daddy left too, while home on his pre-deployment leave...it truly does not seem like it has already been a year!!!

About a week ago!! My almost 4 year old!

These 4 years have been some of the most wonderful, and at times even the most difficult of my life. But I wouldn't trade this boy for anything in the world. I feel so incredibly blessed that God chose me to be the mommy to such an amazing child. He is my everything. Happy 4th Birthday, Little Man! Mommy loves you more than you'll ever know!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mailbox Monday- August 1!!!

So glad it's finally August! This is a big month for us, but that's another topic for another post! For now, it's mailbox Monday- time to share what came in my mailbox free this week!!!

  • More Scentsy Goodies: A room spray, travel tin and Just Breathe bar. (I swear Shaun and I have been sleeping better the last couple nights when we had this going...might be a coincidence, but I like it!!) These are all FB games/giveaway prizes. I've been very lucky lately, so I suppose I need to stop saying I never win anything! (Just wait until you see what the UPS man should be delivering today!!)
  • Crest Prohealth Toothpaste, Mouthwash and Floss samples. Plus Coupons!!
  • Colgate Kids Toothpaste Sample
  • Secret Deodorant Sample (I don't remember signing up for this one either, hmmm...)
  • FREE Pantene Product Coupon
  • Commissary Shopper coupon booklet
I also forgot to put in my Martha Stewart Living magazine and a Chicken of the Sea coupon (25 cents off- from their birthday club), and after this was taken I also got 2 free herbal essence coupons (I was only supposed to get one, so I'm not sure how I got 2, but I won't complain!!) A fantastic week, but I have a feeling this week will be even better! :)

Frugal Friend