Thursday, January 29, 2009

Launch in 3,2,1 -- it's live!

For nearly a year now, my team has been building a new website experience for our users. We launched today and it is amazing! Great job team, especially Nancy. I am so proud to share this work of love (and hate at times). And, kudos to SPARK - our branding agency - for their talent and vision -- and patience! Please check it out. And take a couple minutes to watch our "brand anthem" on the homepage. This video supports our current campaign, Choose Teal (the color of Bayfront Health System). And it ROCKS!


(click the logo for the website)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Under The Sea

Over the weekend we took a trip to the Florida Aquarium. I was pleasantly surprised that Lily enjoyed it as much as she did. The tanks are at eye-level, so she could see the fish swimming around. She even got close to a penguin (who knew some penguins live in Africa?) and watched a silly otter flip around and play. The best part was the outdoor play can climb all over the play equipment while adults belly-up to the bar! Genius! Here is a picture of us "under the sea".

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Could She Be The Cutest Baby Ever?

We think so! But what about Kelly and Regis?
Thanks to a tip from Mimi, we entered Lily in the show's Check Spelling
Beautiful Baby Contest. They will post the top 10 in early March.
Then, the public gets to vote. I checked out the competition, and
granted there are some cutie pies out there.....
but I still think Lily is the cutest of them all!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Know No Limits

I found this post on another blog and found it incredibly inspirational: read if you feel up to it.

7 Questions adult with disabilities Meet Kara Udziela, a 39-year-old mother of two who runs her own successful public relations agency, Vibrance PR. Kara has cerebral palsy. She talks just fine, she's super-smart and she's funny. I hope you find her as inspirational as I did.

How old were you when you were diagnosed with cerebral palsy?
Around one years old. I failed to walk and dragged the right side of my body when crawling. I have spastic cerebral palsy, which affects my entire right side. I walk with a pronounced limp and have a very stiff right arm that is pretty much useless except as an anchor for grasping things the left one's holding.

What prognosis were your parents given?
They were not given much of a prognosis, just a series of doctors and hospitals trying to do various surgeries and therapies to improve my walking. One doctor mistakenly cut the wrong tendon in my right calf when I was five, leaving me with no calf muscles and a withered leg. Several operations were done to compensate for that.

Growing up, which therapy was most helpful to you, and why?I had it all except for speech. What I think should be given to all disabled kids—especially when they hit 1st and 2nd grade and when they are teens—are self-esteem classes, psychological counseling if possible, and exposure and interviews with grown-ups who have similar problems to them. I did not have this, and spent a lot of my twenties not dating—I assumed because of my CP. When I was 28, my final single girlfriend was getting married and I broke down in front of her. She suggested a counselor she knew. I went and said, "I am disabled, but haven't let that define me. I have a good job, an M.A., a house, and friends, but I would like to be married, but A, I think I secretly think I am not worthy of love despite all my parents have tried to do, and B, if I can never be married, can you at least help me to be happy without that?" This counselor was the perfect fit for me. Within months I was reacting differently when people asked me why I was limping or tried to help me with things. Within a year I was dating, a lot—and believe me, even without cerebral palsy, I would not be classified as anything other than mildly pretty. So that had to come from my attitude.

So how'd you meet your husband?
We were both at an Oregon hippie/yuppie retreat at a hot springs. We had to walk a ways through trees and such to get to the springs and all my friends blew me off. I could never have done it alone. I turned to Chris—he was a friend of a friend—and said, "I don't know you, but I can't get there by myself. Will you walk with me and hold my hand?" He did, and he half-carried me over boulders and rocks and held my hand tight at rough patches and we talked the whole way there and back. Three months later, I fell down stairs and hurt myself. I thought he would leave. My mom said, "This is his test." He didn't leave. He picked me up and pushed my wheelchair and nursed me. And when it happened again six months later, he said that he loved my soul and my spirit and that he was going to marry me. We have been married for seven years.

What's been the biggest challenge for you?
I still to this day have problems with the stares people give you, and I hate watching myself on video, but that is only because in my head I look and act and walk and move the exact same way as you do. Got any favorite websites? Thoughts beome things, choose the good ones. Hokey spiritual The Secret kind of stuff, but the daily e-mails pump me up.

What's the most important advice you'd give to a parent of a special-needs child?
First, be vigilant of your child's health and care—trust no one completely. Always check doctors' credentials and history and get at least three opinions on surgeries or treatments suggested for your child even if it is a doctor you have known a long time. Second, do not discourage your kids AT ALL. Just because you don't think he can be a veterinarian based on his physicality doesn't mean he can't find a way. And, last, a positive attitude really is a priceless tool.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Press on!

So proud am I of this panini sandwich, that I took a picture of it and I am posting it on this blog! I really thought paninis were ridiculous....why go the extra step to smoosh a sandwich. What was so wrong with plain old grilled cheese?

Now I know!

For Christmas, Buck got a hand-held panini press and spices. For kicks I gave it a try! And, I'll tell you why grilled cheese is out the window, because this sandwich ROCKS!

Get some yummy bread, a nice slice of your favorite cheese, a fresh tomato, olive oil and a combo of spices and then press it. Yummo as Rachael Rae would say!

Lily ate it up! I dunked mine in some tomato soup, Heaven.

I will no longer secretly snicker at the panini loyal. Press on!


Photo: Love the words. Love the fonts.

The date has been set. I start graphic design classes on Feb. 4th. Yheeeeeee!

I am so giddy and stoked that I am really going to learn the "magic" of creating beautiful images! I am a happy, happy stone!

I am so grateful to my employer for supporting this and paying for it:) And, I am doing plenty of self study in preparation or this. I have found a couple blogs that I could just eat up! One is all about typography - letters. Yep, just letters. And, I think it is amazing. I added it to my blog list below if you have any interest.

Never too late to teach an old dog new tricks! Me and my new Mac are ready for the adventure.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A few moments that made me very happy this weekend!
- Homemade soup with yummy artisan bread
- Papa lounging on the couch with his girls, up too late
-Lily in pig tails and silky PJ's
-Sleeping in, waking to a cool breeze through the windows
-Finally figuring out how to SKYPE!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


 I want to do something with my blog background or banner, but I can't decide. So, for a little something new, I changed the background to GREEN. I know, crazy! I don't think I want to change the background often - maybe once a year. I like the idea of the site feeling familiar when you stop by. So I am going to give this some thought. In the meantime, enjoy a little green! (I just so happened to have this adorable photo of Lily wearing - you got it - GREEN!)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Head O' Hair

This is the reason my mornings are full of sunshine! I can't help but smile when I am greeted with all these curls! Blanket and monkey come downstairs in the mornings now. This is all new. Lily had preferred they stay in the crib, but now they join her for breakfast!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Daddy's Little Girl

Cliche, I know. But how can you not think that when you see these photos!
We spent Sunday evening at Fort De Soto. Lily hated the sand and would not budge an inch when we first arrived. She stood perfectly still for a couple of minutes until Papa went back to rescue her. After playing in the sand for a while, and burying my leg six feet under, she felt comfortable with the grainy, soft sand. And so.....she went for a walk with her Papa.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ready for the Weekend

My stomach is finally out of knots.
Three days bite-free at school.
That is good enough for me.
Party On!
Let the weekend begin.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Negotiations are over. So is being a mom to an infant

PHOTOS: Lily calling for backup!
Negotiations have ceased at the happy stone house, considering Lily is rounding the corner and heading straight for toddlerdom. I have been told by many mothers that this 17-month milestone comes with great joy and great challenges. I am ecstatic about her growing vocabulary, the frequency of hugs, kisses and snuggles, and growing self esteem as she learns more and more and more. However, with that growing vocabulary comes "no" and "stop it" and "mine". Along with the hugs and kisses comes shoving and hitting. And self esteem turns to boundary-testing as she closes in on and crosses almost every line in the sand. Just to see what happens.

My heart is so torn between pride and dread! And last night was tough. The afternoon started with a bite report from school. I was bumbed, disappointed and down right mad at Lily. How could she do this? From school we headed home where she chose to break several rules -- don't throw your cup, don't hit your dad, don't drink the bathwater. All met with stern consequences.

This is where the negotiation part comes in. We have been giving her three warnings. Now we are down to one - and then "time out". She hates it. Cries for momma and papa the whole time. Tears me apart. Or like in the bathtub, her toys were taken away because she continued to drink the bathwater. Toys gone. Baby crying. Mom aching inside.

The hardest part of discipline is watching your children make bad choices and then having to dole out the consequence. Don't get me wrong, I am not a softie when it comes to discipline. I believe it is absolutely necessary to teach children right from wrong, and hold them accountable. But I had no idea it would be this hard.

I was wide awake until 3 a.m. feeling like a ball of nerves. I just wanted to go in her room, scoop her up and rock us both to sleep. Part of my reaction is no doubt a mourning for her as a baby. I miss baby Lily so much.

Just when I had that figured out, here comes the next phase. I guess I have to get my arms around this, know my role and do the best I can. Match discipline with love and praise. Stay consistent. Be firm and respectful. And, remind myself that I am doing a good job.

I wish this part of motherhood was negotiable!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ringing In A New Year

We rung in the new year with good pizza, good friends, champagne chilling in an ice-tea pitcher, and bedtime at 10 p.m.! Crazy, I know!

On new years day we played with our friends "south of the bridge". While it took a little while for the girls to warm up to each other - and a few bite marks in the process -- we all had a wonderful day and enjoyed traditional fare: ham, black-eyed peas, greens and more champagne (maybe we should have slipped the girls a sip or two!).

The Stones wish everyone a blissful new year, full of simple pleasures (and lots of champagne)!

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