sleep number and menopause?!

I had the pleasure of spending time with some funny, wonderful ladies last week.  We enjoyed our time by the water as our kiddo’s enjoyed their time in the water or collecting pretty lake rocks.  Our topic; menopause and sleeping.   I can’t help but laugh as I type, so I’ll apologize for type-o’s now!

I’m the senior of this group.  At fifty-five thirty-five, no fifty-five.  Daina is fresh out of the forty bracket and Tanya is permitted to have her forty plus years of life.  Daina and I have more in common when it comes to the circle of life.  No, I mean the cycle of life.         We both know what hot flashes can and will create in the middle of the night.  Hot flashes create monsters.   Pillow becomes a sponge for the base of your neck and hairline.  Where you’re up changing nightshirts and mumbling because the night sweats woke you from a wonderful slumber.   I always feel sorry for bears who hibernate and are dragged out of their cozy dens by researchers trying to poke and probe them for their weight.   I would so become grizzly-like if someone woke me up just for my weight!   Daina not only experiences night sweats, she also gets leg cramps.  So basically….it’s as if Daina is running in her sleep.   Sweating and leg cramps.   Wonderful.   One thing we all agreed on was our ability to fall asleep like clock work.  Lights out.  Sleep.

I rarely get night sweats but apparently I’ve become “child-like” in my sleeping pattern.  Football Superstar has been poking me – like the grizzly bear and the researcher – to move over.  Move over?   I’m on my side of the bed!     This can’t be possible because I sleep like a baby.  I rarely flip over from side to side.  I am the hibernating bear.                   My husband tells me that I have been “flipping” from side to side.  And I’m sleeping on an angle.    I laughed because he must have surveyed my sleep pattern as he was reading at 1pm.     So  now I’m sleeping with one leg hanging out over the bed while the other is fully wrapped in the sheet.   I pull the entire sheet over to my side in such a coordinated way – he can’t figure out how I’m able to get a tightly tucked in flat sheet out from under this once football player who hasn’t lost much of his strength – well maybe a little.               As my adorable husband tells me this – I’m almost spitting my hazelnut coffee out into the morning air.  No way!    I have this Cirque Soleil image in my mind.   Tokyo-Girls-Collection-11AW-15-Cirque-du-Soleil-004

My gal pals begin to laugh to the point of hick-ups.  They’re trying to imagine – yet not imagine this.  There’s nothing but laughter.   I seriously have no idea that I’m sleeping in such a way.  I have no memory of my talent.   I give my friends a follow up on the sleeping conversation with my hubby.    A Sleep Number Bed!   There is no doubt in my mind – my husband did his research.   He consumer reported.  He researched local companies that supply these SNB’s, and he probably already went to the store to check them out just so he could come back to me and “sell” me on the idea.    He’s a professional.    Again, I have this vision.   What if…..what if I’m still Cirque Soleiling while I sleep on the Sleep Number Bed?!     Sleep-Number-Bed

Is it possible for my (one) leg to still have its freedom?

There’s quite a few questions I have for the Sleep Number Bed salesman before I agree to this not-so-new idea of my husbands.    I know he had this planned out for some time now.  Football Superstar is just so sweet and kind hearted he didn’t want to hurt my feelings by pointing out that I’ve become a monster in the middle of the night.  I prefer a Cirque Soleil performer thank you very much.

 

Regardless of what menopause has contributed to my cycle of life…..one thing I can count on and that is my ability to fall asleep.  Stay asleep (unless a monsterous night sweat surfaces) and share some of the funniest stories with my gals who know what it takes to be a great menopausal performer!

 

Until next time….

sleeping

 

 

 

Advertisements

London’s Calling

It’s been almost a year since I’ve met Vonnie.   Vonnie and I met while walking our pups on the connecting trails that intersect the suburban communities in which we live.   If you’ve ever tried to talk while walking two hyper-happy five month old puppies you don’t get much talking done.  More pulling sticks from their mouths or commanding “leave it!”.

Vonnie invited me to have a “proper chat” at one of our local coffee cafes.   The following week we met while sitting outside next to a pretty decorative fire pit.   Four hours later it was time to pick up our kiddo’s from school.

Jumping ahead.    Vonnie and I still enjoy our “proper chats” but we save money by meeting at one of our homes.   This week was at her home.   Vonnie’s urban townhouse is decorated in warm soft colors with a splash of London. If you haven’t figured it out – Vonnie is a Londonite.   That goes for Vonnie’s hospitality as well.   Every visit I’m stuffing my face with “naughty’s”.  Being naughty by eating deliciously fattening non-organic foods.   Bangers&Mash, without the bangers for me.  I take them home in a doggy bag for Football Superstar.   Crusty bread with tangy cheeses, jellies and clotted cream.   Forget the high tea at noon, this is Vonnie’s childhood tea with a backhoe full of sugar and cream.  Put the pinkie down!    My favorite is Vonnie’s homemade pear jelly (a friend who lives in DC makes for her) smeared on water crackers with a slice of Stilton or cave-aged Cheddar cheese.

Vonnie could make me a simple slice of toast and the toppings are always “naughty”.

Our conversations are just as warm and cozy as her hospitality.   With an occasional “rant”.  She’s in the process of putting her Flat on the market back home in England.  Her emotional connection to the 1930’s, 900 square foot home with a flower garden full of herbs (pronounced with the H, like his name Herb) and English lavender made me fall in love with a building I’ve never seen in person.   This tiny Flat was Vonnie’s home all her single life.   After she finished school and entered Travel Academy Flight school, she purchased her very own home and filled it with love, friends, dinners and eventually her future husband and a few years later – their surprise baby boy.    I could smell the fresh scent of her flower beds, the aroma of wine and cheese seeping from her tiny kitchen.  I could hear the laughter from her friends and family as they sat around an antique table.

The photos of this 900 square foot Flat made me fall in love with living in tight quarters.  Could it be possible?    Well, we’re not purchasing Vonnie’s Flat and moving to London tomorrow.  I know this for sure because I called my hubby the realtor right after leaving Vonnie’s home.   He asked me what beverage Vonnie served during my visit.   Haha.

Learning from Vonnie is an experience I appreciate.  We, here in the US, certainly have many avenues with many options.   Health insurance complaints, I’m going to put on the shelf for now.  I shouldn’t be complaining.   Schooling.   We have some of the best private and public schools in the DC Metro area.    One reason she and her husband moved to the states.  Their son needed specialized health services.   After two years in the United Kingdom waiting – they received services within two months here in the US.

Vonnie misses her family.  And of course her friends that filled the tiny Flat she called calls home.     For now, the home is being rented by a wonderful woman from Johannesburg, who just happens to love this cozy, 1930’s living space.

Sometimes when we uproot what we have had for so long – can be a positive change.  No doubt for us, moving our family was a good change.   Vonnie recognizes this too.   We live in an area of new urban development.  Suburban single homes surround man made lakes along high rise apartments and condo’s.  Arlington is busy with new tech companies and now Nestle headquarters  is moving in.     Dog friendly restaurants and connecting trails from Northern Virginia to Washington DC are consistently full of bikers, runners and dog walkers.   Crew teams can be seen practicing over the hill on the Potomac. Museums and history.  There’s so much more for Vonnie and her family to experience.  Before they move to Boston.

Massachusetts.

images.jpg

I’ll see Vonnie in two weeks.  Boston….Massachusetts.

soup for the soul

soup

I believe I read there are two hundred and fifty Chicken Soup for the Soul books.   No, I haven’t read all 250….

Soup has always been good for the soul.  My mother was the Queen of Soups.  A serious title she was given.   Her ability to create such flavor with vegetables, noodles, oysters or the occasional clump of tofu would make me incredibly happy.    I can smell her corn chowder now.

If I had a sore throat – soup.   If my father was craving oysters – stew.  And I could always count on my mother making a large pot of her vegetable noodle soup at least once a month for me.  I would drive over to my parents home after work to pick up my two gigantic Tupperware containers to take back to my city apartment to enjoy during those rough winter months.   It was good for the soul.

This weekend our annual K&K family Christmas dinner took place.   Wild Wild West Wendy stirred up three different types of soup.   Corn Chowder with cheese, Chicken Noodle and Pasta Fagioli.   There is no doubt Wild Wild West Wendy was singing in her kitchen to Irish Christmas music as she baked chicken, grated cheeses, and seasoned broth.   Each soup was full of flavor and love.    Homemade bread and a spinach quiche made the perfect companion to this comfort meal we were served.    It was good for the soul.

Another dear friend is a Queen in the kitchen with her soups.  LeeAnn.   And I’m going to drive up north to find comfort in her soup.   As a matter of fact…..LeeAnn is a Queen in the kitchen for baking too!    yes, my friend…that was a hint.

Soup for your soul.

If you want to find yummy old fashioned recipes,check out Sheryl at A Hundred Years Ago.

https://ahundredyearsago.com

a wise young lady once said…

blog-pic

I have kept silent during the long and brutal campaign.   I didn’t want to speak to anyone about it.    My blog post June 6th -rant touched on Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton.   I am so happy it is finally over.  The election.  Though I voted, my candidate was removed by the American people long ago.

Wednesday morning my husband quietly announced who our American leader will be come January 2017.    Fluttered thoughts were cluttering my brain.   I remember crinkling my nose up in doubt.  Really?   The “you’re fired” dude is now our nations leader?    Will be our nations leader.     Okay now what.     I’m neither party.   It wasn’t my vote.   But sadly it wasn’t my vote that mattered.     Okay now what.

Jump ahead to Wednesday afternoon.

I was walking home with Murphy when my neighbors college daughter was parking her car in their driveway.   She works for a local dog walking company, so of course greeting my Murphy is always a must.    I adore this young lady.   She’s always full of high spirits and positive energy spills from every word – no matter what kind of day she’s having.

She’s wise beyond her years.   Does that make any sense?

I will refer to her as “Starbrite”.    Starbrite is twenty one years old.   Her dark eyes and skin are like a dolls.    And she stands maybe 5’1″.  Starbrite was born too late because she is the smallest and cutest little Hippy I’ve ever seen.   Her wide pants and loose fitting angel shirts make her appear even smaller.   Her voice is pixie like with a touch of California beach girl.   Starbrite and I have had in depth conversations at the pool regarding race and growing up with a single mother in DC.   After her father left them, her mother did everything under the sunny sky to make sure Starbrite would have the best education and life no matter what sacrifices mom would need to make.   (these were her words to me)

Starbrite asked me “how are you feeling on this post election afternoon?”.   I answered “numb”…. “not sure….but good and you?”      She laughed and said these exact words:

“Mr. Trump is not my choice for our leader.   He represented hate, but was he really?  His backers were loud and some obnoxious but who am I to judge them?   Hill, (as she referred to Ms. Clinton) is too bossy for me.   She is a “know it all”….and doesn’t represent women like myself.   I disliked both candidates actually, but hey, they are humans and we can’t control what any of political party does- right?   I wake up in the morning and the sun is out.  And if it’s not out…it will be out the next day!      I wake up and I’m happy to have a job, be in college, have my mom who loves me even though she tells me what to do [insert laughter] and have my adorable Yorkie whom I love with all my heart.   I have my friends and family.   And I have you as a neighbor/mom #2.   [insert my tears]   I feel fortunate.  My friends who have been crying over this election are wasting their precious time trying to “fix” something we have no control over to begin with.   Protesting is ridiculous.   Hate with more hate.”

And then Starbrite smiles.   And says ” I talk too much!”

No sweetie….keep talking.   What a wise young lady.  One who just made my day…week….year.

Is there a seat in congress for Starbrite?

You’re a good man….Charlie Brown

I’ll admit, my inner child will begin to surface this time of year.   Beginning with Charlie Brown.  His disappointments always make my heart pound with disappointment for him.  And not to mention he gets nothing but rocks as the gang heads out to Trick-or-Treat throughout their monopoly like houses- suburban neighborhood.  I’ve often thought about writing to Mr. Shulz asking for one more ribbon winning moment for young Mr. Brown, sort of like his shinning spotlight in “Merry Christmas…Charlie Brown!” .

A question surfaced during the “moms who blog” mini group about life lessons and which cartoon character gives us those “ah-ha moments”  or “pick yourself up and dust off – move on moments”.       I have bins packed with books from my teaching years.  And from my own children’s collection that I can’t part with – yet.   But the one true character is Arthur who comes to mind.  That adorable aardvark who proved that anyone can get through some of the most difficult situations.  Especially his baby sister Francine.  My kids loved watching Arthur.  As did I.   But I never gave Charlie Brown the credit he deserves.

Charlie Brown is resilient.  Charlie has a flood of struggles… and if you think about it….most of the struggles come from the friendships he keeps.  I certainly find no problem at laughing at my own struggles and failures, but it’s very hard to watch a young bald kid who has a heart the size of Manhattan get knocked down because he’s a “block head”.   Bring in Linus.   The pint size-honor roll – blanket carrying elementary kid has been Charlie’s main life line for years.   I can only imagine these two guys in college.   The dialogue never changes.   But where does Charlie Brown give us the most valuable lesson?    Is it when he’s bullied by others?  He doesn’t bully another kid or make Snoopy go without food and water?    Snoopy has quite a life and yet  he even snubs the hand that feeds him!    Is it that Charlie Brown has a way of allowing others to take out their frustrations on this bald softy because they find their own fears from failures and mistakes cramping their style.     So lets just beat down good ol’ Chuck!    [hug,hug]

Yet, Chuck keeps on going.   His upside down smile goes to a crooked wiggly grin.  Then we finally see that smile we all know and love.

As most of us moms agreed during our own childhood, watching the Peanuts gang was not only exciting – we also shared moments as young girls tearing up over Charlie Brown.   One quote from Charlie comes to mind –  “I think I’m afraid to be happy because whenever I get too happy something bad always happens”.    Break. My. Heart!     But he always ended up having confidence!      Charlie Brown gave us love.  (thanks Mr. Shulz)   Charlie Brown gave us laughter and the desire to belt out “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go” on those road trips during Thanksgiving week.  He gave us entertainment for many generations and to that I say you’re a good man Charlie Brown!

As we drank our coffee taking in the warm October sun, our topic flowed from bullying in schools, drug addiction in our suburban homes and throughout the DC metro area to teenage sex…..Charlie Brown came directly in my mind.   How did one kid find such strength and determination?    Because today there are those Charlie’s out there who are not able to grab enough determination or find their inner strength to stand up for themselves or to walk away.    Those Charlies struggle to just find the courage to seek out a counselor or adult they  are able to trust for outreach.    Praying those Charlie’s find it to fight their inner fears and anxiety.   And reach out.

If my kids were part of the Peanuts gang, I can honestly say I had no bossy Lucy’s or Peppermint Patty’s.   I may have had a touch of Sally. Possibly Freida.   And if Football Superstar wouldn’t have been the male hygiene enforcer….Pig Pen.

blog-pid

We moms agreed that the friendship between Charlie Brown and his beloved beagle Snoopy was priceless.  Charlie was so patient with Snoopy.      Snoopy and Woodstock met giving us nothing but teamwork.   Who grabbed the firewood for the campsite?   Woodstock.    Who puffed the sheet for the sail on the sailboat?  Woodstock.   Like I said….teamwork.

The Great Pumpkin will glow once again this season on our televisions.   Apple Cheeks and I will bake pumpkin bread and enjoy slice after slice with hot chocolate.    And I will answer her questions after the show ends.     “Why are Charlie Browns friends so mean to him? ”   “If I were Charlie Brown’s friend….I would talk to the gang and tell them they are not being very nice to him! ”

Good grief, after all these years….you’re still my friend Chuck!

The Company You Keep~ The People You Meet

“A man is known by the company he keeps”    ~Anonymous

 

I feel out of touch with my readers and fellow bloggers.   My plan to post once each month for summertime updates pretty much melted away with this summer heat index.  However, I enjoyed your blog post!

Our summer was filled with road trips, beach outings and a lot of swimming.  Catching up with friends and family was the best.   But I must say the company I have kept these past several months has given me an opportunity to meet some great people.

I had an infection in my leg.  And thanks to [me] not listening to my husband and getting to the good doctor when I should have seen the good doctor – the infection worsened and the not-so-good doctor I visited insisted I don’t emerge my leg in any body of water.    Backing up….we were to head to Kent Island for the week.   Are you kidding me?!    No sun, no swim, no sweet red wine, no running, no beach volleyball [not that I was planning on doing], nothing sweat related.   I rarely [triple that] see a doctor, so these instructions sounded as if I were to be locked in a room and only  be given granola to eat for a year.

Moving ahead.   Football Superstar and I decided it would be a good idea to back up our trip.  No worries.   Apple met with friends at the pool.  I sat in the shade.   But it was my early morning and late evening walks with my company that gave me an opportunity to find some of the nicest people you’ve ever want to meet.

It’s pretty cool how one trail can lead you to many others.   Murphy typically is the topic of interest when we are out and about.   Sure, she’s cute with her adult coat coming in – her Golden smile – and the ability to lure a runner off his/her stride as she rolls over for a belly rub.   Conversations begin.    Though the conversations may begin with a belly rub, a compliment or just a wave and a smile….many of these people we have met are now our friends.    Summer bar-b-ques, road trips, pool gatherings, birthdays and puppy play-dates have become a big part of the season.    I look forward to having authentic Indian tea with Lucky’s human mom, chatting with  Kodi’s human mom and getting not only our human kids together ….. but our families.    Dogs included.

I don’t believe things happen just by coincidence.   The company that I keep – well… you know the rest.

 

Summer isn’t over yet!   Not by my calendar anyway!

 

 

 

 

putting the “itch” under control

Not that kind of itch!

I’ve got the itch to get crankin’ on some projects.  When spring is around the corner, it makes me want to get out my paint brush and white wash something.  Or upcycle a piece of unwanted and misunderstood junk.

And the fact I’m addicted to HGTV Fixer Upper!   And the fact that LeeAnn and her fiancé are planning their countryside golf course dream home!   And the fact that awesome Golden groomer Lisa is almost ready to move in to her modern farmhouse dream home!    Looking at their floor plans, and décor and flooring and kitchen sinks, and windows and…..      I can’t really blame them for my itch – can I?  Oh, yes I can!!

As I sit here typing…I can see faint yellow buds on the Forsythia bushes.  There are birds chirping by our bare Japanese Cherry tree – probably as confused by the weather as I am.

But as our darling Murphy naps…I found myself making a list of new tools I would like for my birthday.  Which isn’t until May…but why not start now?!    I’m sure when I announce this to my husband he will bite his upper lip [he does this when I bring home the unwanted]  and ask me “is it really nessesary?”

And I’ll reassure him that I’ll try not to open a vintage furniture business in the garage….and that I’ll promise to not get paint on his nice shiny black car.

I better be careful….I may end up finding my husband purchasing another farmhouse [fixer upper] and finding myself running another vintage business….where I’ll be spooked by owl hoots and fox cries and bear eating out of the bird feeders.   No, not bears…I’m afraid of birds so I don’t do bird feeders.

Maybe I won’t share with hubby my plans.  Because you just never know with a realtor – what’s itching!

 

 

 

 

 

Falling for Autumn

Halloween has come to an end.   I must admit, though we do not do “scary”, this Halloween was by far the best for Apple and her friends.   Some of the houses that the kids passed by were decorated beyond what I could have ever imagined.  I’ve seen some pretty awesome Christmas decorations, [not Griswald awesome] that make me stay and gaze at the twinkling lights and brightly decorated windows as if it were my first experience.    But, these Halloween decorations were designed for competition no doubt!   There were waltzing skeletons, fog following us down a path towards the next home and even live characters acting out Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price from those old black and white movies of yesterday.   My Elf, and her friends the Golden Dragon, Alice in Wonderland, Anakin Skywalker and his pal the giant marshmallow man from Ghost Busters were so busy having fun….they failed to realize that Darth Vader himself made an appearance with Princess Leia and Luke on his tail.   I’m not sure who was enjoying this night more…. the adults or the kiddo’s!   Even the neighborhood dogs were dressed in  Boo Night attire.    On this night, with temperatures feeling more like Autumn than late summer, I’ve come to realize I was falling for this new season.   The air circulated with scents of falling leaves, pumpkin and cinnamon.   time to break out those candles!

1031151800

My very merry Elf!

1031151825b

Elf, Alice & Golden Dragon

1031151853

Who ya’ gonna call?

1031151836

Dracula Dad…unfortunately as I went to snap a close up pic – their 80 pound black lab photo bombed him!

1031151856~2

This was dazzling – wish I would have taken a video – instead I was watching and eating a Hershey bar.

1031151830~2

Merry Christmas….oops, Happy Boo Day!

1031151958~2

Creepy Chef

***

Falling for Autumn I did.   I’m ready to make batches of  hot apple cider and grog, and pour into mason jars, and send to my friends.  My aprons are ready for baking.  My home will begin to smell of nutmeg and clove.

Tomorrow I plan to take a road trip with Apple to West Virginia.  [school in service days]  We will stop by the whimsy shops and road side stands.   And yes, if I see a little something special for someone special I will purchase it for Christmas.  [stop shaking your head – I know – I know]  Allow me to enjoy this new love affair I’m having with Autumn.

Happy Autumn to you all!

thM5NIZXWU

Down on the Farm

1017151646

I have officially accepted invited autumn into my life.  The cooler crisp air that we are experiencing here in NoVA, has gradually  removed the love of summer from my mind.   [except for this week – it’s in the high 70’s]

This past weekend, my sweet friend Wendy [Wild Wild West Wendy]  and two of her children traveled with Apple and I to Temple Hall Farms.   I can honestly say, this was the best corn maze and down – on – the – farm fun I have had in years!   And maybe it’s because I haven’t been to a corn maze in a few years … but this farm was awesome.   Except for the roaming peacocks.

Apple and her friend Yoshie were having a blast.  There were tractor rides, apple barrel hay rides through corn fields, games, food and everyone’s all time favorite – hot apple cider with a dash of mulling spice!   Apple and Yoshie participated in a “chase the pigs” race.  Actually the kiddo’s were on the inside of the fence wall as the piglet’s were running around on the opposite side of the fence.  Nevertheless, these two young city slickers had a great time chasing encouraging the little oinkers to run.   At the end of the race, they received a souvenir pink piglet key chain.   The kids did, not the pigs.

1017151247~2

Apple & Yoshie

1017151255

This was hysterical watching them sit down on this humungous Adirondack chair!

1017151323a

I just love these people!!

1017151409~2

Miss C, Wendy’s oldest is a darlin’.

1017151406~2

Warmth.

1017151508a

Birds eye view of the corn maze.

1017151340

Not sure which vine Apple is growing on – but my girl has grown!

1017151341

**

1017151547~2

How cute is this?!

1017151547b~2~2

Yoshie driving the daisies…..

1017151518a~2

***

1017151313

***

1017151642~2

I wanted this little guy…seriously some cuteness overload!

1017151642a~2

Wait….I’ll take them both!   [except that chicken]

1017151519

My up close and personal moment with some Temple Hall Farm corn.

** What fun we had at the farm ~ and to end our weekend, the kids carved their Jack-O-Lanterns.

Autumn, I’m beginning to love you.

10181511591018151213

1018151213a1018152009

Something Remarkable Happens

Pets have a way of bringing joy to our hearts and homes.  They show us unconditional loyalty and love.  Pets are entertaining as well as healing.  Pets may protect us or work with us.   They ask very little of us – when we ask so much from them.  The increase of using animals for therapy, especially dogs, cats and horses has grown tremendously in schools, hospitals, nursing homes and prisons.   Our Sammy, with his perpetual wagging tail was therapeutic to those who encountered him.     [always]

**  Enter John T. .   John T.’s diagnosis is a disorder of central nervous system, adjustment disorder with mixed emotional features. With that comes fine motor developmental delay, developmental coordination disorder and mixed expressive/receptive language disorder.   This beautiful boy had an encounter with our Sammy this past year.   [see blog post “Ryzin’s Perfect Light”]  **

John T. never owned a pet until now.   His mother sent me a message a month ago inquiring about our cat.  Sarah and her husband were talking about getting a pet for their family.  After sending information to Sarah on local shelters and cat rescues, they located Margo.   Margo is a Maine Coon cat.  At four months old, Margo came into John T.’s life.  And I think it is safe to say, his life has changed in such a wonderful – amazing – colorful – therapeutic way!     John T., has OT’s and PT’s.  Teachers and support staff.   He has two amazing parents.  And now, John T., has Margo!   While Apple and I visited with John T.,  his beautiful mommy Sarah, and Margo….I was able to witness a little boy with a voice.   His giggle alone made me melt.  John T.’s excitement and joy with this ball of fur and her own wide-eyed interaction was absolutely beautiful to watch.   There is no doubt in my mind, Margo was created for John T. .   I don’t want to bring science or research into my writing.  But over the years of watching my own Golden Retriever become a “pillow of comfort” for those who struggled with reading – begin to read slowly and clearly for the first time – well, that just supported my own opinion and belief.

I don’t know what is taking place in John T.  to overcome the barriers of verbalizing, making [his own] complete sentences or expressing emotion when he is interacting with Margo.   I don’t know what is taking place in Margo – that she brings out the ability for John T., to express his emotions or to verbalize his joy.   But I do know that when you watch this little boy gently and lovingly embrace his cat, his very own Margo….nothing else matters at that moment.

3013~2

3011~2

Sarah recently informed me that John T., and Margo have become inseparable.  Margo follows John T. around the house, waits for him to get home from school, and as you can see from the photo above – naps with her little human.   I look forward to watching their bond grow.   Thank you Sarah for giving me this opportunity!    And thank you for allowing me to write about your son and his cat.   Or should I say, Margo and her little human.    [hugs]

**

Sprout Riding Center is a therapeutic and educational riding stable in Northern Virginia.  I had the opportunity to visit Sprout Center, while working with students in a Community Based Instructional (CBI) program.  Two students who were about to “age out” of the program, were in the process of entering a work volunteer training program at Sprout Center.  Both students were never around animals.  And now, they were going to learn about horses!    While learning how to water the horses, muck their stalls and at times gather their feed buckets – these students found their voices, their smiles and their confidence.   The final week came for me to complete evaluations on both students.  Anxiety was limited.  The struggle of any social interaction was clearly placed aside.  Smiles and eye contact given.  With the help of two ponies – two young adults with disabilities that held them back from society – became two determined members of the community.

**

Apple and I had the opportunity to meet Capt. Luis Montalvan and his service dog Tuesday.     This all started when my husband gave me this book …  Until Tuesday.   A week and a box of tissues later – I knew I wanted to contact Luis and find a way to help others with PTSD.   [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder]   Luis was kind enough to correspond with me via e-mail.  Two years later, I got to shake Luis Mantalvan’s hand and hug Tuesday.

WP_20140911_21_56_47_Pro 1

th

**  Now as my family waits for our newest addition to arrive this winter – I will begin my own course work for animal assisted therapy.  My vision for our newest member of the clan will work by my side to hopefully ease the pain of  post surgery, comfort a patient and bring a little extra sunshine to those we visit at our local Veterans Hospitals and schools.

John T., it was you sweetie who inspired me to do so.

Special thanks to John T.’s family, and Margo.

Capt. Luis Montalvan and Tuesday.

Sprout Riding Center – Aldie VA

And, my Sammy.