Monday, July 23, 2007

No Sun Today

The clouds are blanketing the sky today. I think that is a good thing. My heart is blanketed too...just sad. One of my friends from college passed away this weekend. Tommy was 32 and died of a massive heart attack. Man, that just doesn't seem right. He was one of the first people I met my freshman year, and we were in all sorts of organizations together & also many classes as we had the same major. Below is the email I received...I don't personally know the person that wrote it, but they captured Tommy's essence very well--so I won't try to duplicate it in my own words.
It Is Silent In the Jungle---AGAIN!!

My fellow Gorillas, the Jungle is again silent this Sunday!! We have lost another close and wonderful Gorilla. Tragedy struck again yesterday afternoon as Tommy Riggs, Associate Athletic Director, was suddenly stricken with a massive heart attack and died while visiting family in the KC area. At this time details regarding memorial services for Tommy have not been announced and as soon as they are I will post a new email as I am sure many of those reading this message will wish to attend.Tommy was only 32 years of age-----------much, much too young to be taken from us!! But we all know "he giveth, and he taketh away". He has some unknown intent for Tommy and one thing is sure---whatever the assignment is, IT WILL BE HANDLED PROFESSIONALLY AND IN A TIMELY MANNER. That is how Tommy Riggs worked and lived his life.

A bit more about Tommy---shared with you from a short news story in the Morning Sun earlier this a.m.Tommy served as Chamber of Commerce President at the ripe age of 17 in his hometown of Chetopa, Kansas. That gives an indication of the leadership skills he developed early. He graduated from Pitt State in 1998 with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing. During his tenure as a student he served one year as student body President, thus using more leadership skills. In1998 he was named PSU's Outstanding Senior Man, a huge accolade. Tommy was very instrumental in bringing the Kansas Shrine Bowl to Pittsburg in 2002 and again in 2006. He also played key roles in the expansion and construction of skyboxes at CSS.

Tommy worked 9 years for the PSU athletics dept, the last four as Associate Athletics Dir for Marketing and Promotions. He was involved in anything and everything to promote PSU athletics locally and nationally. But he also promoted PSU in general, not just in athletics. He was ALWAYS THERE.From a personal standpoint, I first met Tommy when son Scott enrolled at Pitt in 1995 and I began a wonderful re-association with my alma mater.Then, when I serve my two year term as President of the KC Gorilla Club, Ilearned first-hand what a wonderful and great person Tommy was/is!! Never did I call down to Pitt with a question for Tommy that I did not get a reply to my needs. He got it done!!! Whatever it was!!!

I can tell you that Tommy Riggs spent countless hours and days and nights even the past few years coordinating and managing the great events at Arrowhead Stadium. Many aspects of those venues would not have taken place without his direct involvement and work.His latest effort, just announced a few weeks ago, is the broadcast of the2007 season-opener on CSTV as well as the Fox Southwest TV networks. He wanted that badly!! And he GOT IT!!----he wanted and got it for the Gorilla fans, not selfishly for his own glory. That was not how Tommy Riggs worked!! On one other personal note, every time I would meet Tommy, he would smile that great smile, stick out his hand for a solid Gorilla handshake, and then would say "How's Scott?' That personally is what sticks in my mind about Tommy. Might seem a small thing but it is BIG to me!!

Tommy Riggs, you will be missed, you ARE missed---by family and friends and by some who do not even know you but whose lives you have touched in many ways through your tireless efforts on behalf of our alma mater. St.Peter's "team" now has a new member and we will all be together someday for another game or two. Until then we know you will be watching!!!To Tommy's family I send condolences and our sincere thoughts of deepest sympathy at this tough time. I would only say "Remember the good times,they help to heal the sorrows."God Bless Tommy Riggs!!!

Once a Gorilla, Always a Gorilla!!Go Gorillas!!


For those who say big men should not cry, I beg to differ with you on this heavy-hearted Sunday. Big men DO cry!!

So enters a new stage in my life, and I'm sure many other of my friends' lives...that of mourning the passing of a friend. My prayer is for peace & comfort today.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Boy Stories

Today's outing was a marvy trip to Crown Center. We took in a play at the Coterie Children's Theatre then had a picnic at the food court and headed for the annual running through the fountains...a KC tradition that I hope will be a fond memory for my munchkins!

Here are two snapshots of the adventure of being mom to a little boy:

#1. Eat lunch at food court. Change boy into trunks in food court w/towel wrapped around him. Done. Turn attention to Elena. Turn back around to watch boy. He's gone. Another little kid says "he's up there" and points to the escalator. Sure enough. Boy rode all the way to the top by himself and was trying to scooch himself back on to ride down the "up" side. I sprint up the steps two at time -- pull something somewhere -- and grab him just as a custodian helps pull him off and away from danger. Jeeeeez.

#2 Ma'am--is that your little boy?? I look up to see Kai w/his pants around his ankles, happily peeing in the grass next to 100 other children merrily running in the fountains! All the parents around are as any good mom, I yank out my camera and take a shot while running towards him to help pull up his trunks. "I go-ed Mommy!"

Ya just never know what's going to happen next, do ya?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Put Your Pants On!

I've said that phrase WAY too many times over the last couple week. Oh---not to Eric---Kai is potty training! He's actually pretty well done potty training & we are super glad--can you say no diapers to buy?! Now we just need to find a trick to get him to put his own pants back on when he's done. Not so bad when we're inside...but one evening while playing outside, I gave him permission to do the all-time favorite boy thing of peeing outside in the yard. He now will drop his drawers at the first inclining when out then stand there hollering for me to help cause he can't run to me with his pants around his ankles!

So moms of other boys say we're lucky since Kai isn't yet 2 1/2 and pretty much fully trained. I think it all depends on the kid for the most part...but as with many parenting issues (i.e. wearing hats, taking naps, keeping rooms clean etc.), a bit of actual, hands-on training goes very far. A friend gave me the book "Toilet Training In Less Than A Day" when Elena was little. Though it didn't work exactly in one day as the title implies, it sure does teach the routine of getting to the potty quickly, pulling the pants down, dumping the little pot in the commode, flushing and putting the pot back! They are also supposed to learn to pull their pants back up, but as I mentioned before, that part we somehow missed. But no asking them 20 times a day if they have to "go" or setting the timer and taking them every 20 minutes for 6 months...I think they call that "Mommy training". They learn to know when to get there quick!

We waited to start until he was staying dry during naps and mostly at night. Did the book...he wasn't interested but learned the steps. Waited a few REAL tired of changing gross poop...and just tried again by totally stopping diapers and putting him in cloth training pants (pull-ups only for outings and bed). That was the 18th of June. Today's the 15th of July. Last week while visiting at my sister's he stopped using the training potty and is on the big dude. We're going to purchase real "big boy" pants today! Pshew! Yay! Good Luck if it's in your future!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


A few of my posts start out about one thing in my head, then morph into something with a bit wider scope. Today I went garage saling (I know, SHOCKER, to those of you who know me)...and I thought I'd blog about my fab finds. Being that saling (that's my own term, thank you) is one of my more frivolous passions in life, it made me reflect on what the other passions are that define the essential "me". Hmmm...I think I maybe have been reading too many philosopher's blogs.

So...sort of off the top of my head, here are my top few passions in life:

1. Pursuing excellence as a wife and mother. This involves lots of development of relationships with others in order to obtain experienced and trustworthy well as lot of reading...lots of God's good grace...oh, yes, and trial and error! Hopefully as time goes by, more trials will result in fewer errors!
2. Contributing to furthering God's kingdom through serving the community of the local church. Building relationships, deepening my pursuit of Godliness and hopefully becoming more the woman Christ wants me to be.
3. Homemaking...the ongoing process of making my physical home a refuge and comfortable environment for my family and visitors. Unfortunately, this DOES involve cleaning...I'm working on yet another system to make that process as easy as possible (there's a post floating around in my brain about that).
4. Ah, YES, GARAGE SALING! This spring-fall pursuit of the "find" is really a relaxing retreat from the hustle and bustle of "normal" shopping that must be done in order to accomplish #3 above and sometimes even #1. If I could somehow manipulate it to serve #2 I'd be ecstatic!

There are probably more things I could add to this list, or perhaps SHOULD add to this list...but being that this isn't a course exam or will do for now.

Okay, so now onto my good finds of the day:

#1 A Nordic Ware mini bundt pan for 50 cents! Retails around $30. I've wanted one of these for a while. The molds on mine are all the classic fluted bundt shape.

#2 A VTech Kid's Laptop for Kai. Elena plays her "Barbie computer" laptop constantly and Kai also loves it (he doesn't care yet about the boy/girl distinctions like playing with something all shades of pink and a dancing princess on the front). This will likely be a Christmas or BD gift for him. Oh, $1, btw.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Safe & Secure

Did you know car seats expire? I think I'd heard about them only having a lifespan of 6 years or so...but, as in most things, figured it was a marketing ploy to get me to buy the "new & improved" version of what I already owned.

Enter a quest to find a seat for Kai so his back wouldn't hurt 5 minutes into every ride. I found a message board on a car seat website called and with it, a wealth of info all about car seat safety, including these links to info about expired seats:
That's the crash test footage of a 10 year old Britax seat...harnessed ripped right through the back, ejecting the dummy.

My car seats were 11 years old--I got them from friends, so I knew their history--NEVER buy a used seat from someone you don't know personally! So time to go shopping....after tons of great advice from the Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST) on the carseatdata forum and LOTS of time doing research here's what we ended up with:

This is Kai's Cosco Scenera. I also learned that having your toddler sit rear-facing for as long as possible adds loads to the safety factor...and this seat can be rear-facing until kiddo is 35 pounds! Kai thinks it's rather novel and I think the recline it gives is helping w/his back complaints. He has 5 more pounds or 3 more inches to grow before he has to face forward.

Here is Elena's posh new ride. It's a Cosco Alpha Elite Apex covered with a fab suede-like fabric and ever-so cushy. This seat allows use of the 5-point harness until 65 pounds! It can also function as a booster seat with the regular seat belt. When she is 5 or 6 and ready for a booster, we will just purchase a regular dedicated high-back booster and move Kai into this seat with the harness.

I'm so thankful for the advice I received while's really overwhelming with all the choices available...and I didn't want to skimp on safety even while keeping to a moderate budget. I was truly amazed by all the safety are a few things to keep in mind:
  1. Keep your kids rear-facing until the MAX weight limit of the seat
  2. Keep your kids in a 5-point harness as long as possible...usually until they outgrow the weight limit of the harness. Only switch to the seat belt if they can sit with it correctly the ENTIRE ride (i.e. no strap behind the shoulder etc.).
  3. Infant seats typically have a lifespan of just 6 years, convertible seats 6-8 years depending on brand. Look on the bottom of the seat for your expiration date or call the manufacturer.
  4. The right car seat for you is the one that fits your car, your child and your budget!
If you'd like detailed info on these or other car seat topics, visit this link on CPST Tiffany Brown's website, Sacred Journeys: Selecting & Using Safety Seats

Keep those kiddos safe!