Monday, March 24, 2008

a bolter's parent's dream come true

Something happened this weekend that was so great, so exciting, so unfathomable not too long ago, that I had to share...

You see, for most of his life, Calvin's been a "bolter." When he was younger he pegged the needle on the ADHD sliding scale, and staying in one place was not something he could do. When you couple that with an irresistible urge to follow any given impulse with complete gusto and reckless abandon, you get a bolter.

We've chased Calving through shopping malls, grocery stores, parks, doctors offices, Target (on too many occasions), and even a parking lot (only once – but that's because we're paranoid about it!) Over the last couple of years Calvin has gained better control over his body, and he's become more of a wanderer than a bolter, but we are still very aware of our surroundings at all time.

Yesterday Calvin & I went to Home Depot to buy a few things. He drove the cart for me (80% independently), helped me pay for our stuff, and drove the cart out to our car. We opened the back of the van to load our bags, when Calvin casually took a few steps away. There weren't any cars around, so I gave him some leeway, although I was ready to sprint after him. He walked down the driver's side of the van, around the front, and opened the passenger door. He climbed in, sat down, and closed the door behind him! Then he looked back over his other shoulder to see me, and gave me a huge, proud-of-himself, smile. It was awesome – a highlight I'll keep in my "best of" memories for a long time...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Government acknowledges link between vaccination and autism

Last week, in the first of 3 cases to go to trial, federal health officials concluded that childhood vaccines contributed to symptoms of autism in a 9-year old Georgia girl (as reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.)

The details from the court case are not yet completely available, but the result is. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that the family of Hannah Poling, of Athens, GA, is entitled to compensation from a federal vaccine injury fund. The amount of compensation is still being determined.

Obviously, this is going to add fuel to the vaccination debate fire. It's going to get even hotter when we look at the week's events in total. Let's take a look at how the week unfolded.

1. Senator, and Republican front-runner for the presidential nomination, John McCain was quoted as saying "there's strong evidence" that thimerosal is responsible for the increased number of diagnoses. This brings up a wave of federal spin following Senator McCain's comments.

2. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Immunization Safety Review Committee all stated that no scientific evidence points to a link between the two.

3. The associate director of the American Council on Science and Health expressed disappointment that McCain seemed to be poorly briefed on the issue. "I would hope that, as president, he would have advisers who would get it right. I attribute this to a misstep rather than policy."

4. The program director of the Arizona Partnership for Immunization says "...It doesn't surprise me that someone would not completely understand what the science is indicating." The group advises parents to discuss any vaccination concerns with their pediatricians (and we already know what the American Academy of Pediatrics says. – emphasis mine.)

5. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluded that a family is entitled to compensation due to a vaccine's contribution to a girl's autism diagnoses.

Hmmmm. I wonder what Senator McCain really knew...

I'll stand by my article from last month – there are more questions than answers on this topic, and anyone who accepts the vaccination schedule as 100% safe across the board, dismissing any and all correlation between vaccines and autism, is probably earning a living from an organization who espouses that view.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Non-Toxic Weed Killer

Ah, Springtime. It is absolutely beautiful out right now – warm enough to bask in the sun during the day, but it still cools off nicely at night. It's the perfect time to get outside and... Pull Some Weeds!

I don't know about you, but our yard's a mess right now. All the nice rain we had this winter set up perfect conditions for weeds to grow like crazy – especially in the desert-landscaping sections! I started to pull weeds, using my hands &/or a hoe, but they overwhelmed me after awhile, so I reached for the spray.

I hate spraying RoundUp or other herbicides, since Calvin is so sensitive to chemicals. Not to mention Jonas is still only 3 (for a few more weeks, anyway) and plays back there every day – he's awfully young to be exposed to harmful chemicals.

Last week, on the advice of a friend, I sprayed a section of weeds with White Vinegar. Plain ole, store-brand, $2.99 per gallon, white vinegar. And it worked great! Maybe not quite as fast as RoundUp, but a week later you couldn't tell the difference; the weeds are dead. This week I'll spray vinegar on the rest of the weeds.

I haven't tried using vinegar on weeds growing in the grass, as I'm afraid it will kill the grass, too. Maybe I'll dilute it and try it on a small area..? I've used Weed B Gone (another herbicide) the last couple of years. It works great, but I'd much rather have a natural, non-toxic remedy. If anyone out there has any ideas, please share.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Kris' Camp fundraiser a success!

Saturday night's Wine & Cheese Event capped off one of the craziest weeks we've had in a long time, and the results were worth the effort! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and the event went off without a hitch. (well, except a slight technical glitch.. darn Macs.) I saw a lot of great things during the night, but there were a few things I was most happy with:

Success. We ended up just short of our goal, but our goal was set high. This event raised a record amount for Kris' Camp – yea! And that was without a handful of notable people friendly to our cause, who couldn't attend for one reason or another.

Next year. After moving to a new venue last year, and then implementing some new behind-the-scenes changes for this year, we've set the stage to do even better next year. I'm confident we're going to beat this year's numbers by a long shot next year.

Raffle Winner. Watching the drawing for the winner of the Plasma HDTV raffle was the highlight of the event. The winner is a special needs teacher and reading specialist, who works at Kris' Camp during her summer "vacation". She is one of the most energetic and engaging people you'll ever meet, and our kids love her without exception. I think the whole room was rooting for her to win (as a second choice anyway, if they didn't win!), and was genuinely happy to see her accept the prize.

Here's a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who participated &/or attended. We really appreciate your support!

Here's a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to everyone involved in putting this together – you all did a great job and made this a great event!

We'll see you at Kris' Camp this summer, and then we'll do it all again next year! ;-)