Why? my blog title "Better2me"

As a woman, mother, and wife my first instinct is to take care of those around me. I nurture those I love in many ways through out the day, but sometimes find myself neglecting me. Recently I realized that I need to nurture myself as well. So this blog is about ME!!!!! What fills my heart; my simple life of kids, husband, animals, home, and creativity. For being better2me leads me to be better to those I love.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Flying Bug

I always say there are two types of people; those that love to fly and those that don't. Being married to a pilot I am ashamed to say that I am one of the later. Early on in our relationship, our first date was a flight to a nearby airport, I enjoyed the novelty of flying. As the years progressed I appreciated the convenience flying offered; being able to fly an hour to Mammoth instead of drive five. However, the older I get the less I enjoy flying, especially in small airplanes. Last year while flying to Mammoth the turbulence had me hitting my head on the cabin top and my son, Keaton's loud admonishment that it looked like the wings were going to fall off, had me literally shaking in my boots.

So I feel sad for my husband whose whole life revolves around flying on a daily basis, as a captain for a major airline, as a chief pilot for a large charter company, and as a check airman for the FAA, that he does not have a mate who shares his love of flying. I think he had hoped that our oldest son, Kellan, would be the one to share his passion. And although he does enjoy the art of flying it is not in his blood as something he must do.

When Keaton was born I think Kev has given up hope of a mini me. But we soon realized that Keaton has the flying bug in every cell of his being. Even as a baby Keaton loved to fly, where some parents would swear driving their child around in a car lulled their baby to sleep, Kev and I would state that for Keaton a bumpy airplane ride was what did the trick. Even today Keaton can sleep in an airplane during the worst turbulence and fear is not something he associates with flying. Recently Keaton has shown himself to be reading to learn the concepts of flying and who better than his daddy to do so.

Everyday that Kevin is home Keaton is putting the bug into his ear; when can we go flying, we have an hour lets just go up, forget the movies-swimming-party-fun activity- lets go flying. Being the kind of dad he is, Kev usually acquiesces. I don't know who has more fun Keaton or Dad!!!!

Recently I asked Kev to take some pictures of their afternoon adventure and they tell the story best:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Berkly and bumble bees

A few days ago I came home after a couple hours out to find the wood floors dry, nothing was chewed and the loaves of bread that I had left rising on the counter where still there. I knew something was wrong, but my attention was drawn to my youngest son and his friends whose bus arrived at that moment. After I got them a snack and watched them run down to the pool to cool themselves in the midday heat, I realized immediately what was wrong. There was no 90lb dog trying to beat them to the water. No wet mouth grabbing them by the swim trunks to pull them to safety.......I went looking for Berkly, our one year old chocolate lab, and found her under the umbrella tree. As I walked up to her I thought she was sleeping, but as I got closer I realized she was awake just unwilling to put out the effort to move. As I got closer she got up and lost her lunch at my feet. I realize her head and face were swollen to twice their normal size and she looked more like a sharpei with all their wrinkles, then a Labrador Retriever.

Rushing her to the vet, I had just been there that morning with my other dog, I wondered what had happened, had our garbage disposal pup eaten something that was her undoing. When I arrived, the vet was worried that, like two other dogs this week, perhaps she had gotten bitten by a rattler. Medicine was administered, five shots in all, and the conclusion was reached that Berkly had discovered and eaten a bumble bee.........

o.k. she is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but we do love her anyway :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This is the letter I emailed to Keaton's teacher. I want to personalize him so that she can connect with him and hopefully see beyond the facade that he presents:

We are so happy that Keaton is in your class this year. He has come home excited about school and has a new story to tell every day. He enjoys your humor, was thrilled when you gave him a job to do and is so impressed that you may have more animals then we do. :)

I know you have received Keaton’s 504 and that you are well prepared to deal with his learning issues, but I am a neurotic mom and was hoping I could share my thoughts with you. For me understanding how Keaton works has allowed me to better help him in his learning, if this information is not pertinent to you, it won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t use it :)

Keaton’s was diagnosed inutero with Hydrocephalus, (excess water on the brain), the pressure compressed the Corpus Callosum, the main bridge between the two hemispheres of the brain. A neuro explained the CC to me as a highway; most people have six lanes, however Keaton may only have three congested lanes. That is why it takes Keaton longer to process information. Also, because this bridge controls interpretation of visual material , Keaton has trouble learning visually. Comprehension is also an issue because it entails the two sides of the brain working together.

However, a smaller bridge lower in the brain, that has not been damaged, controls oral learning and that is why Keaton is a great learner when info is presented orally. This is also why Keaton is a long winded talker (trust me I know:)). Where most people “think” through a problem, Keaton “talks” through a problem. He will do best where he can hear and see you clearly and when he can be checked orally for information being presented. A bonus would be to sit him near another student who does well academically, who he can discuss the information with.

This year Keaton’s dad and I have some goals for that I would like to share:

1 For him to realize that learning can be fun.
2. For him to learn to slow down and really analyze what is being asked.
Keaton has a tendency to speed through his work so that he can keep up with his peers, this along with his visual issues make him answer questions based on incorrect information.
3. For Keaton to remain learning at the level he is currently.
We have seen a great change in him in the last couple of years since this was diagnosed. He has risen from the low basic on testing to the last two years of being high proficient. I am not a great test advocate, but this shows me he is learning what he needs to and is not falling between the cracks. Many kids with his issues struggle more as they get into higher levels of thinking, but by learning in the style that is best for him he can continue to excel.
4. To work on his comprehension.
Keaton will always struggle with comprehension, but I would like him to learn how to dissect a story into steps which will allow him better understanding about the whole picture. At back to school night you stated you had twenty comprehension “strategies”, if you send those home we can work with him on them here as well as in school.
5. To help Keaton succeed on the honor roll.
The last goal seems frivolous, and to me is unimportant, but to Keaton it is a rating of his success. Last year Keaton made honor roll twice for the first time and his self esteem rose amazingly. This year he has made a decision to try even harder for it, so can you please let me know if you see any areas where Keaton may have trouble, (I will also be looking when things come home), so that we can re-teach before the testing occurs, because tests are where Keaton seems to break down the most.

Lastly, I know your plate is very full this year, so please let me help in any way possible. I can lead small groups, correct papers, run copies, and I have no problem taking things home to do.

Again, thank you for listening and thank you for making Keaton feel special. He is a great kid and we feel lucky he is in your class this year.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Is it spring cleaning already

So it is not spring, but still summer. The boys are back in school and I am motivated by the many blogs I see to create and nest. I realize I have been a shopper in the past running to buy each thing I need and adding to the cart when I got there. Now I want to enjoy my home and create a place there that is not full of things, but that is nurturing and inspiring. For me, part of that entails cleaning and organizing so that I do not have that hanging over my head when I am creating.

So today I tackled my freezer in the garage and my kitchen cabinets. We have started buying our beef in quantity by purchasing a grass fed cow that is then divided to our needs. We are running low on freezer stuff and I thought it would be a good idea to do it now while I have the time and not when are trying to unload everything brought down from Bishop (my hubby flies up and picks it up).

I also came up with the idea of writing down everything in the freezer (the outdoor freezer is for meat and long term items only, while the inside small one is for things I can and a few convenience foods we use). This makes it so easy to see what is inside and then cross it off as I use it. Here is the list I came up with today;

Freezer Contents


1 lb ground beef

1 lb stew meat

½ tri-tip

1 filet

3 london broil

2 T-bones

1 small rack ribs

1 pkg short ribs

1 pkg beef jerky beef

2 lbs ground sirloin


1 pork loin

Garlic sausage

6 pkgs Jim’s bacon

Plastic bag of Jim’s dried beef


2lb elk roast


2 whole chickens

1 bag chicken tenders

6 chicken thighs


1 ½ lbs salmon

1 lb mahi mahi

6 trout caught by Keaton

1 lb sole

.1/2 lb tuna steak

½ lb shark

It is such a good feeling to be organized :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Is it school already?

There are those that cannot wait until summer is over and their routines are back to normal, their children are out of their hair, and they can do their errands and chores in peace. I am not one of those.

I love the freedom that summer offers; the ability to plan on the spur of the moment a day at the beach or to look forward to a few days away in the middle of the week. I especially love watching my sons do whatever, whenever they want. Each of their individual personalities coming out in the way their summer is spent.
One son sleeps in late and stays up to the wee morning hours. His waking time is spent troubleshooting how to make his go-ped faster, analyzing his golf swing through physics, rock climbing with friends or hanging out with his girlfriend. My eleven year old wakes up early and goes 110 miles an hour all day long; swimming with his friends, riding his bike or playing soccer, he falls into a deep sleep early in the evening utterly exhausted. Summer life is carefree, full of wonder and joy.

However, summer is now over and school has started and the quick thrill of new teachers and classes is quickly replaced by the memory of an old routine that reasserts itself. Every one must now have a bedtime in order to wake up for school. Homework must be completed and each child comes with their own issues; my eldest whose homework is done quickly and easily, is apt to toy on his computer or visit through text with his girlfriend. while my youngest would, if left alone, put it off until he frantically remembered right before bed, so I am constantly on duty arguing with both to take the time to learn and not to just "finish" it. Sometimes feel like a cowboy trying to keep steers enclosed without a fence. The school year also brings with it many other routines; four nights of soccer practice, several games a week, chores that must be done in a much smaller time frame, learning center for my little one twice a week, working in class, etc., basically a schedule whereas before there was none.

But what is the worst for me about the boys starting school is that my worries I have worried all summer about making the right choices as to teachers for them is either confirmed or held in question. I have finally realized, thanks to professional help lol, that I am a perfectionist when it comes to my children. I want them to receive what they need so they can accomplish their hearts desire and I want them to have people in their lives that support and encourage them. A teacher is with them for six hours a day and can either enrich their lives or impede it.

When my eldest, Kellan, was in elementary school I would worry worry worry about who to request, we were allowed two requests and would get one of them. When he received his teacher I would worry that it was the right one. The end of the school year would prove whether is was or not. However, he always seemed to do well because even though his personality, sarcastic to some humorous to others, might have him stand out, his intellect would allow him to succeed no matter the obstacles.

Keaton, my youngest, however, is very different. Although as intelligent as his brother he has a learning disability that makes him learn differently then other children. He does not visually process information, but is an amazing oral learner. A choice of teacher is even more critical. For example his second grade teacher, before we knew he learned differently, was a very creative teacher who placed him in the rear of the class. She did not have a structured environment and he struggled to understand what she was teaching as things came to him out of order and context. Yet, his fourth grade teacher was strict and unbending, allowing for all academics in an ordered manner. Her style of teaching allowed him to excel academically, but left him feeling like school was a painful experience.

This year I struggled to find him a happy medium; should I choose the strict, yet burnt out teacher, or the less structured teacher who had many unknowns. In fact I went back and forth handing in my letter with the first and then requesting it being rescinded and changing it to the later. I received my first request and immediately began to worry that it was the right choice? She is young, with enough experience, but is she structured enough, hard enough, capable to understand my child's method of learning without labeling him as less teachable. His only comment with two days of school under his belt is that she is boring, although today he stated that he thinks she likes him as she let him take something to the office..........positive? I hope so.

about me

Alta Loma, California, United States
I am a wife of 28 years to Kevin, a pilot, a mother of 22 year old Kellan and 15 year old Keaton. I am caretaker to a zoo of animals including dogs, cats, chickens, fish, birds, turtles, etc. I am a gardener, a cook, a writer, a painter, a teacher, and I am truly blessed to be able to live life the way I wish too.