Don’t let schooling interfere with your education. -Mark Twain


I love the zoo!


I have to admit I took my son to the zoo a lot when he was the kid.  I enjoyed watching the animals, as much if not more, than he did.  So this weekend my family had the chance to take our nephew to the Como Park Zoo in Saint Paul,  Minnesota. I’ve been to Como many times before.  This time I was hoping to see butterflies and the primate babies. It did not disappoint!


Above in beautiful Orange is the Julia Longwing (Dryas julia) found in North and South America.

I loved all the flowers in the Butterfly tent.  It was so beautiful.  How can you not be happy when you see butterflies?


My favorite butterfly, the beautiful Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides) from South America.  Of course this sneaky little one would never let me catch it with its wings fully extended.


Here’s Como’s newest member of the Gorilla Group.  Last time I saw this little one, she was being carried around by mom.  Now she’s up and climbing all over!


After indulging in some cool treats like ICEES, we went on a few of the rides at ComoTown.

Then on the way out, I went through the butterfly tent one more time.  Who wouldn’t love these delicate and colorful creatures?


My final photo is of the cute little baby orangutan who never fails to endear herself to the visitors. Can you blame them?


What is your favorite animal?




Every man dies, but not every man truly lives. -William Wallace

Coming Clean: Part 3. Mental


I have struggled with how to write this entry.  This is not easy for me to talk about.  It’s not easy to discuss.  It’s scary.  It’s taboo.  It will make people look down upon me or question me.  It can effect my life in so many negative ways I wasn’t sure what to say.  I wasn’t sure if I should say anything.    It’s embarrassing, and a source of anger for me.  It can negatively impact things, events and people in my life.  People will not want to be around me as a result. What to do?

Part of the reason for me writing this blog is to get things out.  To clear out my “soul” if you will.  I don’t know if anyone will read this or not.

So I guess I am here to say I have mental illness.  It runs in my family.  It is not some moral weakness.  It is not for some lack of a backbone.  Quite the opposite.  I am one of the strongest, toughest people I know.  I suffer from panic disorder with a mild depression.  In my case it is which came first, the chicken or the egg?  In this case the panic or a mild depression.  In many cases these two diseases coexist.  This is a serious illness.  It interferes with your ability to live a normal life.  It’s not just nerves.  Oh, how I do wish it was just that!

Panic is feeling terror without a cause.  Not seeing it mentally, but feeling it physically.  Imagine yourself being carjacked.  That absolute terror you have at just that moment when you realize what is happening is what a panic attack is like.  The only difference is a panic attack can happen waiting in line at the bank, watching a movie, driving your car, anywhere when you are doing anything.  Your panic button is wired wrong.  Your not actually afraid of anything.  You feel terror and all the symptoms that come with it.

Your heart races and may skip a beat.  You sweat, feel chills, feel like you are about to throw up, your throat tightens, stomach pains, dizziness, and so much more.  Many people think they are going crazy, having a heart attack, or are about to be physically ill.

I remember when it started for me.  It was Easter week, my freshman year of high school.  I started to feel like I had the flu.  It snowballed from there.  I ended up missing the entire second half of my freshman year of high school.  It was awful.  My symptoms came and went.  New ones were added.  A lot of people thought I was making it up.  I wasn’t.  People thought I didn’t want to go to school.  Quite the opposite.  I missed my friends and I was falling behind.  I was scared I would be held back. I wanted to go.

I went to so many doctors.  I went to the hospital every week where they filled vials full of my blood.  I was tested for everything from Lupus to AIDS.  All tests came back negative.  I went to numerous specialists.  I was even sent to a childhood disease specialist.  I was the oldest patient.  Everyone else was a toddler.  They didn’t even have gowns to fit me for the physical exam. I had to hold two tiny sized child ones over my privates.  I was in tears a lot.  I hated myself.

My family was supportive in the beginning. When they thought I had an “actual illness” instead of a mental illness.  They thought I was weak, being dramatic, lying, lazy and so much more.  My illness was a inconvenience for them. I was such a disappointment.  I needed to be punished and ridiculed.  They treated me miserably.  In some ways they still do.

The irony of it is this disease runs in my family.  It’s genetic.  You would think that they would understand.  They didn’t and they still don’t.  I have stopped sharing things about it with them.  I lost over three years of my life to this disease. The panic and anxiety were so bad I couldn’t even leave the house.   Everyone kept saying to me “just toughen up” or what do you have to be “upset” about.  This is a disease, just like cancer or diabetes.  You don’t say to a diabetic “Suck it up and get off insulin!” do you?

To be continued…







I thought this quote was appropriate given the current climate in the world.

Prejudices are rarely overcome by argument; not being founded in reason they cannot be destroyed by logic.-Tryon Edwards


Quote of the week



Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried till 75-Ben Franklin

Adoption: Selling yourself for a baby.



There is a common misconception that there is a roomful of babies waiting for you to choose them.  Not true. There are no babies waiting.  Babies are hard to come by.  In order to find a child, you have to sell yourself.

There were several couples who opted out of this portion of the seminar we attended.  They already had a child lined up.  The baby of a coworkers child, their niece’s best friend’s baby etc. The rest of us would have to find our own.  It’s not easy.

There is a shortage of healthy infants.  They are few and far between.  I know I sound like a broken record when I keep saying this. However, there is such common misconceptions about adoption that I feel it needs to be said.  I’m sure there are more than a few who say “Why does she keep mentioning healthy babies and special needs babies?”  I do because on every article on the internet I see in the comments people who complain about Americans going overseas to adopt when there are “lots of kids” here to adopt.

This is true. There are lots of children in “the system.”  However, the majority of them have needs that many families cannot handle or afford.  This certainly doesn’t mean that they do not deserve to be adopted.  However, there are many misconceptions about adopting children who need special care.  If this is something you feel your family can handle, that is wonderful.  I know my family cannot handle this emotionally or financially. This doesn’t make us good or bad, just realistic.

To find a child our agency has a waiting parents book.  They send this book out to satellite offices in the state for birth mothers to look through.  You have to prepare a few pages of you and your family.  It’s an advertisement of sorts to get the birth mother interested in picking you.  You can even hire a graphic designer to make it for you.  We did.  You cannot look to see what others did in their pages though.  In the book there are over 80 couples, sometimes over 100. Each month maybe 3 or 4 couples are added for the ones that are no longer in the book.  Couples either drop out or find a child.  Turnover is so low.

So in addition to hiring and paying for a graphic designer (a few hundred dollars), building a website, building a Facebook page, getting a 1-800 phone line, we also had to photocopy all our color pages for the multiple satellite offices.  That was also several hundred dollars.  In all it cost us over 5,000 dollars.  This is the basic amount of effort you need.

We were strongly encouraged to do other things to sell yourself and find a birth mother.  These things included: making cards with photos of our family and our info and leaving them in gas station bathrooms, painting our car, leaving flyers on cars, getting a billboard, taking out ads, making you tube videos etc.  Both my husband and I are private people.  We just looked at each other in horror.  You want us to leave our photos at gas stations where any random person can get them?  Flyers on cars?  It just made us cringe.

Yes, we desperately want a child.  Desperately.  But we just can’t imagine throwing ourselves to the wolves like that.  We know there is a lot of fraud with adoption.  We also know there are a lot of unsavory people out there. To put ourselves in position of harm or to be taken so easily advantage of is scary for us.  In the end we decided not to go so radical.  Some people do go that route.  Some people do have success in that route, some don’t.

In all selling yourself is never easy.  You constantly question what to put in there.  Should I have written this?  Should I have posted that?  Should our photos be better?  We had to pay for special photo shoots to improve our family photos.  That cost us thousands too. Sometimes you see a new family get a child right away. Your first thought is “what you did wrong?”  What didn’t I put in my profile, what photo am I missing.  You never know and no one can tell you.

When I stated this adoption journey, I never even entertained the concept of selling myself.  It is however, a fact that you must prepare yourself for.

May Goals 2016



Been a little lax on goal setting. I’ve had them, but I  haven’t published them. I was about 50/50 on completion.  I need to buckle down.  So here is what I’ve got planned for May:

  1. Catch up on all my correspondence.
  2.  Read 1 book
  3. Do my Rosetta Stone software.
  4. Blog 3 or more times.
  5. Work on Scrapbook
  6. Work on journal recopy.
  7. Work on Family History/Genealogy
  8. Finish bead work
  9. Plant Garden
  10. Continue to clean and organize basement.

In addition to that, my son has had several diagnosis with ADHD-inattentive, Sensory disorder, and some anxiety.  So I am dealing with over 4 doctors/therapists right now.  Plus fighting/working with the school to get him services.  I have also started working with an education advocate to make sure I’m getting everything my son needs to help him learn. It’s such a frustrating process and we have a long road ahead of us.  Thankfully my son is highly intelligent and does okay socially. My son has issues, but I would hate to have to go through this if he was more severe. Trying to get help is such a frustration.

I am also continuing to work on my basement.  It’s almost done.  We have 1 home improvement project coming up. Then there is my health to deal with.  I am also working out.  This in addition to my normal work to do.  Busy, busy!





Never allow waiting to become a habit.  Live your dreams and take risks.  Life is happening now.-unknown


Honey Apple Muffins



2 Cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/3 cup of melted butter

1/4 cup honey

1 apple diced



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line muffin tin.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

3. In separate bowl, combine egg, milk, honey and butter.

4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until combined, fold in apples.

5. Fill each paper liner 3/4 full.

6. Bake 18-20 minutes until golden and toothpick comes out clean.


My picky eater son really liked these.  They have a light  sweet taste.  I would definitely make this again.  Even my husband liked them.  Recipe taken from Pinterest.



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