Sep 2, 2014

Fun trip

Well we are starting back to school fun tomorrow, but for today I took the little girls out shopping.  Princess Magpie had some tooth fairy money that was burning a hole in her pocket and so we had to go out and let her spend it. 

Here are the girls waiting to go, Princess Magpie insisted that she had to carry her money in her purse, just like mommy. 

While we waited, she pointed to Princess Belle's window.

After we got back, there was a princess pirate sword fight with some of the goodies that was bought. 

Then we did her hair with her new hair ties, so that she could be a beautiful princess.

Sep 1, 2014


We are so lucky to live somewhere that has an annual festival for free right in our backyard!!  This weekend, we had a lot of fun playing games, eating free bbq, free lobster, and enjoying music and dancing.  The kids had a blast!

Book Review: Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista

Pub. Date: May 1, 2013
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions LLC
ISBN: 9781938231261
Pages: 380
B & N:

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to review Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista.

In case you were as curious as I was, the term, "extraordinary rendition" refers the practice of transporting prisoners to countries for interrogation and imprisonment countries where there are no safeguards against torture and abusive treatment. The purpose of extraordinary rendition is to gather intelligence information from suspects.  The government which initially captured the suspect might then be able to maintain a position against torture while stating that anything that happens to a prisoner while in foreign custody on foreign soil is not in the control of whichever government sent that prisoner, and so its hands are “officially” clean. Extraordinary rendition thus permits the torture and other practices of detained suspects, despite the fact that torture is illegal according to international law, under any circumstances. 

Extraordinary Rendition is also the title of the latest legal/political thriller by former defense attorney and current novelist Paul Batista.

Extraordinary Rendition tells the story of Byron Carlos Johnson, son of a former Ambassador, graduate of all of the ‘proper’ schools and for a number of years a wealthy, successful corporate lawyer.  He is contacted by the Civil Liberties Union to defend a suspected terrorist. Hussein, the suspect, is a mild, intelligent Syrian who has lived and worked as an accountant for a corporation in the U. S. for several years. On a business trip to Germany, he was accused of money laundering, arrested and spirited away to several foreign countries before being brought back to the U. S. for trial. He was repeatedly beaten, ‘water boarded’, suffered constant indignities and was held without any contact from the outside world. When Byron Carlos Johnson agreed to defend Ali Hussein, he had no idea what the ramifications of that decision would be. He didn't realize he would be walking into dangerous and unfamiliar territory full of intrigue, lies, betrayal, and murder.  Moreover Johnson's law firm was not exactly enamored with the idea of one of their top lawyers representing someone suspected of being a terrorist.  His whole life is turned upside down with that one simple decision.

Overall, I found this novel to be an exciting and well written story.  This story was quite frightening in its account of the abuses of the war on terror.  If you love novels that bring you deep into the psychology and complex motivations of judges, prosecutors, witnesses and perpetrators, in a beat- by- beat courtroom thriller, then Paul Batista's second thriller is a must read.  I was actually up until all hours of the night finishing this book because I quite simply couldn't put this book down!  There are so many twists and turns in the tale and the one at the end left me thinking! I'm still wondering about it now!

Aug 31, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

Gratitude Sunday
Sunday's heart felt tradition. A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.

Here are some things I am grateful for this week:

1. Two days of fun with a big cardboard box

2. This beautiful young girl that I am proud to call my daughter.  

3. Living in a community where there is an annual celebration right in my backyard.

4. New friends for my kids to play with.

5. Young girls who are such good little helpers.  

6. Learning the things that make my beautiful autistic son happy (balls, music, chocolate milk and blankets)

Aug 30, 2014

Saturday Photohunt: Joy and Youth

The Saturday PhotoHunts for this week are:  Joy and Youth.  My first thought about these two themes is that they should be easy to combine as there is nothing so joyful and full of youth as a happy child. 

Aug 29, 2014

Wow . . . so easy

I was out shopping with Prince Charming and the kids yesterday, getting things for homeschool and for our new place when I started to chat with Prince Charming about the movie, Temple Grandin, that I mentioned here yesterday. I talked about her squeeze machine and how it soothed her and comforted her when she was upset (she has autism) and I said, that I wished I could find Little Prince's version of a squeeze machine.  Something that could sooth him and comfort him when he feels like he needs it. 

Well fast forward a few hours of shopping and Little Prince is in the shopping cart as I pick up a few towels and put them in my cart.  He turns around in the cart and he sees blankets like the ones he has at home.  He plucks one up, puts it in his lap and cuddles it.  And in minutes, he is asleep. 

I started to think about Little Prince and his blankets.  It struck me then that his blankets are his squeeze machine.  When he is upset, he balls a blanket up in his lap, rocks, cuddles it and it makes him feel better.  Actually, if he can, he will have a blanket in his lap, most of the time.  When we were out and he was tired and overwhelmed, one quick cuddle with a blanket relaxed him to the point that he fell asleep.

Between the movie and that realization, I decided from now on when I am out with Little Prince, I will add something else to my Little Prince bag (which currently contains bottles of chocolate milk, diapers, and changes of clothes) from now on it will also contain a small blanket to sooth him when he needs it. 

I want to give him what he needs, to make him feel safe and secure and content, and how easy is it to poke a little blanket in my bag to take with me?  He can't talk to me, but if I pay attention, it is so easy to give him what he needs. 

This Moment: Mommy's Little Rockstar

A beautiful and fun Friday ritual. Inspired by SouleMama.

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. – Amanda Soule

Aug 28, 2014

No Limit

I watched the movie, Temple Grandin yesterday.  It was the story of Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who went on to become one of the top scientists in the humane livestock handling industry.  A few things struck me about Temple, she didn't talk until she was 4 (Little Prince is 2 1/2) and life wasn't always easy for her, and people were sometimes mean, but there were always kind people along the way too and she had a determination not to let the mean ones stop her from accomplishing her goals.  There were no limits to what she could do.  She was incredible.

I would love to pass that determination on to my kids.

Princess Belle sat down and watched most of the movie with me and it sparked conversation.  We discussed similarities and differences between them.  I talked to Princess Belle about how in Temple's life as in Princess Belle's there are mean people.  But that as long as Princess Belle has a few good people on her side, it will be okay.  And we talked about how there are no limits to the great things she can accomplish.  How we believe in her.

It opened my eyes to the great future ahead Little Prince.  We just have to meet him where he is and then I am confident he will show us all the wonderful things he can do.  And, I can't wait until he can talk and I can know some of the things going on in his head.

Aug 26, 2014


I am tired and this may not make a lot of sense, but I have been thinking about some things. 

I have read  few blog posts lately that have me thinking about me and my kids and the way I am with them.  I know that I am doing my best, that I love my kids and that they love me and that we are happy.  But I was thinking about how important it is to truly listen to my kids.  How important it is to really hear what they have to say and to give them permission to feel what they feel.  Let them know that in this busy, crazy, world, there is at least one place that they are heard and listened to.

So if my child is scared, or overwhelmed, don't brush it off, hurry them along, or something similar, listen to them, hear why they are feeling the things they are feeling and help them through it. 

If my austistic child needs to look at all the birthday cards before we leave the store, take a few minutes, let her see them, give her that.  She doesn't want to be annoying, this is important to her. 

If a ride is too loud, or overwhelming, or crowded for my child, give her permission to say no, and we will do something else instead. 

And if my non-verbal boy tries to hold onto my neck, shaking and crying because the escalator is scary, take the elevator.  If he lets me know in his own way, he is scared, pay attention, comfort, take the time.  If he is in the kitchen having a snack after I get home from shopping and he starts to cry when I leave the room, then either take him with me, or sit down with him.  The thing is, he is such an easy going boy, and so quiet that it would be easy to view him like a little doll that you take around with you.  But he is a little person, growing and learning and seeing this world.  He needs to know that whatever way he finds to communicate with me, I am listening.  I hear it and I am trying.