The Children Have Spoken: An Eye Opening Story

The Children Have Spoken is written by Rachel Stafford of I came across her website thanks to a facebook friend sharing Rachel’s current post. I have to admit, it was a huge slap in the face. It wasn’t necessarily information … Continue reading

Please hold the bread, and almost all processed food – {Iowa City Gluten Free Mom}

After 12 years dealing with stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting almost every night, I decided to go gluten-free. I first noticed pains in high school, and as I started to get a little older the nausea and constant vomiting started happening, … Continue reading

Please don’t censor me!

SOPA and PIPA, two acronyms that have been given tons of attention this week are currently leaving the future of the internet up in the air. In case you have been living under a rock, or don’t frequent the internet very often, SOPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA is the Protect IP Act, they are essentially the same thing, just one bill is in the house and the other is in the senate. Congress and Hollywood are trying to “protect” copyright laws by taking down websites they deem questionable. I do not think this is right or fair!
But Tara, you are a writer and a photographer, don’t you worry about your work being taken?
Of course I do, just like any other person that has creative abilities, and I hope that if my work is shared, I get full credit. But, I don’t feel that the bills how they are currently written are fair to Americans. The way they are written leave too much open for interpretation, they are nondescript, and I am sure will cause more harm than good, and that is why most Americans are protesting these bills right now.
You may be thinking, ok, this is all great information, but how does this affect me? Quick answer to that, do you like Facebook? Well, it would be gone, taken down due to people sharing photos, quotes, clips, and so on that are not theirs. Do you like YouTube, Twitter, Ebay, blogs, forums?? All the same thing, they risk being taken down do to copyright issues. Here is the kicker, there doesn’t need to be an actual infringement on copyright, there only has to be an allegation for the site to be shut down.

To read more about these bills visit my friends at CNET.
To sign the petition visit Google’s take action page.

This is very important, don’t let the government censor you!

It’s beginning to look a lot like, um, well… Winter is finally here in Iowa!

We have been extremely spoiled by our extended fall season, temperatures in the 40s and 50s for a majority of November and December, but all good things must come to an end. Winter has finally arrived, and it is COLD out there. I HATE the cold and snow. Many people ask me why not move some place warmer, well, because Iowa is my home. I was born here, raised here, and this is where my husband and my family are.

Yesterday morning my hatred of winter grew, my normally 20 minute commute took me almost an hour due to snowy roads. I can’t believe they can’t get them cleared better. I also can’t believe the amount of people who think they are invincible in this weather. Just because you have four wheel drive, doesn’t mean you need to drive 60 MPH on snow and ice. 4 wheel drive will not save you, the roads are still slick.
I have heard time and time again, you chose to buy a house out of town, don’t complain about the commute, well I am complaining, because there is no reason the city and county workers can’t clear the roads better. This is nothing new and happens year after year. Normally this time of year, there excuse is budget related. We can’t clear the roads because we used all our money and resources in November and December, well what is there excuse THIS YEAR. You aren’t telling me they are out of money and resource, unless they weren’t given any budget this year. It has snowed 3 times total this winter season, that is nothing in normal Iowa winter terms.

When driving home yesterday, I counted 12 cars in the ditch between Iowa City and West Liberty. That just should not be happening. I am guessing some was driver error, over correcting, under correcting, going too fast, etc, and most of it was due to road conditions.

Even after all of this, I will stay in Iowa, I will not move closer to Iowa City, and I will continue to be a careful driver. Most of all I will continue to complain about the lack of snow and ice removal until the city and or county changes things.

AFOs to the rescue!

On Tuesday we had our third appointment at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital in Iowa City since finding out about Caedan’s Duchenne’s in October. We are so fortunate to have the hospital so close by! We have a 6 person staff that sees us each time we visit consisting of the main MD doctor, the MD nurse, the dietician, MDA representative, physical therapist and our social worker. During this visit, we had a few more stops. Caedan had a base line EKG and Echocardiogram done, both turned out great. Then we went to lunch and returned to the hospital for Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFOs). It made for a very long day, but Caedan was a trooper as always.
I have put together a storyboard from our trip down to the orthotics department. The first picture is from the Echo, the rest are at the ortho. I thought he would be scared since they had to make casts of his feet and legs but he was sooooo brave. He asked a lot of questions, and daddy sat by his side.

The purpose of the AFOs is to keep Caedan’s muscles stretched so he has the ability to use them longer. I am guessing this is the first of many trips to orthotics, but lets hope I am wrong.

I’ve got 100 resolutions, but I’ve got no solutions.

Ok so that may not be totally true, I do not have 100 resolutions, and I do have some solutions for my resolutions. The title for today’s wanderings comes from one of my favorite songs from The Lawrence Arms, 100 Resolutions.
I just want to start off with a little factoid I heard on the radio, 75% of the population that make resolutions drop them by Jan 10. I have to say, I really didn’t pin mine down until then. Yes, I have more than one, and I am calling them goals instead of resolutions. I feel that it may be easier to achieve and maintain a goal rather than a resolution.
My first goal is to do just this. I have wanted to write freely for some time, but timing in my life just wasn’t right. I would start a blog for this business venture that I was doing, and that business venture I was trying, but never really had a blog about nothing, and that is what I wanted. A full blog about my life, my goals, my dreams, what I like, what I don’t like, my family, and me. I plan to write daily, but as I continue to state, I digress, so may only be ever other, to every third day. I do not want to go below 3 times a week, which is totally achievable.
Goal number 2 is to eat healthy and to lose weight as a result. I have had a long standing issue with my stomach. I have had this and that test resulting in no concrete evidence of anything serious, so they told me I have IBS, which is the doctors standard diagnosis when they do not know what is going on with the insides. The problem is I have also been told that they think I am slightly lactose intolerant and have a gluten problem. I have had two gluten blood tests and both were negative, but were also told that they get false negatives with those tests all the time. They suggested an elimination diet for the gluten, but I have never followed through. Which is silly, a gluten allergy can really destroy your intestines and stomach. The dairy, I can usually tell how much I can have, and when I have had too much. So I am proposing an elimination of dairy and wheat (gluten). So far, I have only had one full day gluten free, I usually cave to dairy; again, I know how much my body can take. The problem I am finding, gluten is in EVERYTHING. McDonald’s French Fries have wheat in them, WTH?? They are potatoes; they shouldn’t have wheat, but do because of a flavoring they add. All of you will be hearing more about my dietary challenges as I will need something to write about every day.
Third goal is to open a photo studio, and make my living from photography. Currently my photo business is a part time job, and I would love to make it full time. I have some ideas and plans on this that I want to implement, but not sure if the timing is quite right. I will be writing more on my photo biz and studio venture as well as my participation in a monthly photo project on my photo blog, and will most likely press photo blog posts over here.
Fourth goal, is to keep up with my family, and everything that entails. My son may be starting a clinical trial this spring for his DMD, we will be taking a family trip to Disney later this winter, and I want to be there for every good and bad moment my family has for me.
Ok, so not too many goals to concur. I think the hardest for me is going to be my gluten free challenge. I will keep everyone posted on my ventures!!
I will conclude my rambling with another snippet from the above mentioned song:
This year I’ll try not to think too much.
This year I’ll try to only listen to myself.
This year I’ll try to stand up for myself.
This year I’ll live like I’ve never lived before,
This is my year for sure!

Beautiful and Bald Barbie

As a mom with a child with a progressive illness, I very much understand the importance of comforting  sick children, and taking their mind off of the illness as much as possible. I first started seeing talks about a bald Barbie on facebook the first week of January. I have been a long time cancer advocate, it used to be my platform when competiting in the Miss America Organization. Little girls need this as a coping tool and to see that they are normal little girls too.
I have started to follow the facebook page Beautiful and Bald Barbie
and am amazed at the amount of press this campagin is getting in just the last few hours. I love seeing that the Huffington Post has done a story, USA today, ABC News and the Boston Globle have all done stories on this campagin. I love that there is so much support out there for such a wonderful cause.
I really hope Mattel responds to all this press positively, and mass produces a stylish bald Barbie for young ladies everywhere.
We need to let our children know that sickness doesn’t need to be depressing, and I think that this Barbie would help those who are going through a illness that causes hair loss!

Photo courtesy of Beautiful and Bald Barbie

Much love,
The Wandering Mom!

Open your big beautiful eyes and enjoy the simple things in life!

As adults this is something that most of us forget to do…enjoy the simple things. It seems like it would be an easy, simple thing to do, but really as you get older and life starts to compound, this phrase gets thrown out the window. I got thinking about this when driving into town this morning. I have a 20 minute drive through the country to get into town so I often use this time to reflect on things that are happening in my life. As of late I have tons of things to think about, my son, my husband, money, TTC, my business, do I have enough time for everything…blah blah blah. I have been known to laugh, to cry, to sing, to scream, and to just mindlessly drive.
Today it was a bitterly cold day, Mr. Frost was in the air. The sun was out, and as a photog I really think I see things differently than most… have a keen eye for beauty. This morning was beautiful! I couldn’t help but notice the pinkish purple horizon, and how the sun was interacting with the clouds causing the wonderful morning colors. As I drove on, I kept my eyes open for other baubles that struck my fancy. There was one thing I really never noticed before today. It reveled itself as if it were playing a game of hide and seek with me. In the ditch, there seemed to be a glow, a glistening if you will. I couldn’t quite make it out and in an instant, I had passed the spot in question. I couldn’t keep my mind off of it, what had I seen that was so… sparkly? One thing you must know about me…I LOVE SPARKLE, the more glitter, glisten, and shine the better. I kept driving and there it was again now on the other side of the road. What the heck, OH DUH!, it is just frost on the land, catching the rays of sun. For a split second I felt like an idiot, did it really take me this long to figure out what I was seeing? Yep, it did. But once I realized what it was, the ditches sparkled all the way to town. A simply beautiful way to start the day. This morning I enjoyed the simple science of reflection. What have you enjoyed lately?