Monday, December 13, 2010

Slow Down, December!

Good Lord... I can't believe it's less than two weeks til Christmas! I don't have plan! Ack!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Manicure Meltdown

We almost missed the bus this morning due to a manicure meltdown. Phoebe & Samara had done one another's nails yesterday, and as one might expect with child-applied polish, they needed some touch up work, which we did not have time for this morning! With the promise of an afternoon manicure, we got her settled down and off to school, not crying. And now, she's fallen asleep during her afternoon manicure! Maybe it'll get to set before she wakes up! But this Daddy-mani is bound to last longer than the Samara-mani did. :)


My little princess is growing up soooo fast! She's still so cute and adorable, getting sillier and smarter by the day, and becoming her own lovely little person. ♥


Trying to get back to my 'pics w/all posts' habit, makes for such a better looking blog. Here's one of my favorites from this weekend. I have the most beautiful children!! ♥

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas Mission!

I have this Christmas project that's been brewing in the back of my mind for months. It's one gift I can give to everyone on my list, and I can update and give it year after year - a family calendar! I will still buy presents for all kiddos and other special recipients, but I think a family calendar, pre-populated with birthdays/etc, would make a darn fine gift for the many others whom I love. I've only today just started tinkering, and already I'm hoping it'll become a beloved family tradition. I'll be soliciting photos, and maybe little yearly re-cap blurbs, and hm... what else? :) I love this kinda stuff!

The Fuller Thanksgiving

We spent most of yesterday at Papa & Grandma Lynn's for the traditional not-on-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving. Every time we go, JR & I both leave feeling like we should really do that more often. JR tends to forget that he is enjoying the relationship that he has with his Dad since becoming a Dad himself, so he still resists going, but always enjoys it. And for me it's Granny, I always feel like I should should visit more with her and let her spend some more time w/my kids. She's a frail old lady, who knows how many more holidays we have with her. She says goodbye at each as if it were the last, but I always leave thinking I'll see her again at the next Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter. I know I'll be wrong at some point, probably in the not too far distant future. She's 84, or that's what she said yesterday anyway, I'll have to check my records on that one. She still mourns the loss of her husband and daughter. I speculated aloud about her life w/Jason, and JR said he treats her well, but I bet he doesn't. He's an ignorant loud-mouthed nincompoop. I wonder who cooks? Who cleans?

A blog Mom shared recently has planted a seed in me: if you want more or less of something, anything, in your life, measure it. Now this is a concept my process-improvement-brain can get right on board with! My sense of looming change has not settled with my relocation, which probably means I have more work to do. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Full Developmental/Preschool Evaluation

I met with  FCPS Early Childhood Special Education Preschool Program's Local Screening Committee on Tuesday 11/16 and, as expected, Christopher was recommended for an initial evaluation to determine if he has a disability and requires special education. He is scheduled for three assessments, all on Friday 07 January 2011: 1) "Sociocultural" which is developmental history, family background, adaptive behavior, medical status, and educational history; 2) "Audiological" which is a complete assessment of hearing; and 3) the "Developmental"/Preschool looks at the areas of adaptive, cognitive, physical, communication, and social/emotional.

At this early stage, the process is more about determining his eligibility for county services. I'm sure later the process will shift to focus on identifying those services from which he will derive the most benefit, but in the meantime, I am wondering if we should start him in speech therapy right away through our medical coverage. I can't imagine how that would not be a good thing, but will probably check w/his designated social worker to a) make sure it won't impact his eligibility for county services, and b) to see if I can start services now with the same providers who the county might use anyway, so his therapy would continue uninterrupted.

I have a lot to learn about advocating for my "special needs" child, even if it is just in the short term. I sincerely hope that our Little Mister Christopher is in fact experiencing a temporary delay, and that therapy and treatment will get him fully up to speed quickly. While I am ready/willing/able to advocate for him, however much and for however long it takes, I do hope that his special needs will not need advocating throughout his entire schooling.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Been tinkering with Shutterfly & Swingvine trying to get my photos uploaded, and have been reminded why I opted for Picasa in the first place. So, I set myself up another Google/Picasa account, and will not be using those other sites. Should all be seamless to you: my links to the left should work.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Stability < _____ < Lottery

Dear Dianne, I know that stability is at the very tip top of your list when it comes to employment criteria. And I know that Plan B is all set for if/when you when the lottery. I'm asking you to think somewhere in between those parameters. Let's say, hypothetically, you won, not the lottery, but an annuity equivalent to your current income and benefits, so the "stability" part of the equation is solved, then what would you do with your days? What would be more satisfying that just stability, but not as fabulous as winning the lottery?

For the Record: I HATE the DC Commute!

I knew that returning to NoVA to work in DC would mean a significant change to my commute. I knew it would be more expensive and more time consuming. But dammit I can't take it! I spend $301.90/mo for my VRE/Metro ticket, which is actually cheaper than it would be for gas into and out of DC plus parking in DC, but it's still a lot of money. But what pains me even more is the time! I had a 20min commute in Hampton, and now I have a 1½hr commute - that's 3hrs/day - on top of an 8hr work day! So if I bust my ass and take no breaks, I still have to spend ELEVEN hours apart from my home and family - it blows!

I tried to warn Ken when I started that the commute to DC was most unappealing, and asked if I might be able to work from home (or our Fairfax office) a couple days a week, but was denied, because "presence" is such a key part of our support. Well "presence" is a key part of a happy home-life too, and I ain't gettin' enough!

Plus, when Ken hired me, he said he was BUSY and needed help, so that he would not be working so many late hours. But as it turns out, Ken still works those late hours, and I am, to some degree, expected to "make myself useful" in SEA05Z where we have funding, but where the clients are not routinely using our support. I struggled for too long to "make myself useful" at SUPSHIP Newport News, with limited success, and am not keen on having to solicit/generate my own work.

So, if things continue along this path, which I think they will, I am already mentally preparing myself to give this job one year, then I'm going to move on. I don't have a plan yet, and won't make the same mistake this time of announcing my intentions to my boss and clients before I do have another plan, but a plan is indeed brewing.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Christopher's Language Delay

We are on the road to having Little Mister Christopher's language issues identified so we can get that boy talking! Our "case" goes before Fairfax County Early Childhood Special Education Preschool Program's Local Screening Committee on Tuesday 16 November. We are expecting he will be referred into the system for services.

My work friend, Michele, knew of a mutual contact whose child also exhibited developmental delays at about age three, so she put Dave & I in touch by email, we may meet for a bit on Tuesday if our work schedules permit. His son, also a Christopher, was diagnosed with Severe Apraxia, which of course I immediately Googled, and while I am not jumping to conclusions, many of the Apraxia indicators do seem to fit w/our Christopher's typical behavior. The Family Start Guide at was a decent intro.

I told JR yesterday that his new job starts soon: he's about to become a full-time speech therapist. Whatever Christopher's particular language development diagnosis is, I feel certain he will be registered for at least speech therapy, and my initial research indicates that most parents have success with therapy at least three times per week. And of course the success of therapy depends on the willingness/ability of children and parents to practice at home. I hope therapy with a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) includes teaching the parents, I'm thinking language therapy would be most effective done ALL THE TIME, we've got to turn language use into fun 24/7 language therapy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Return of "My Little Contribution . . ."

I often waffle between wanting to share my blog and wanting to keep it private, so I think I've finally come to a "system" of sorts: facebook for the world, My Little Contribution for those who are more interested, and a new totally private blog for my 'Dear Diary' type stuff. So, I moved my most private posts to the other blog, and I'm opening this one back up, no invite required, so that My Little Contribution can be what I intended: my little contribution to the internets. :) I don't like that there are now months with no entries, but oh well, I needed those months to myself.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Help w/Camp? & Relo Update

Phoebe & JR drove each other (and me) crazy last summer with not enough to do, so I determined early that Phoebe would attend summer camp this year. I found a great program, run by the Marching Elites Association, and she is having the best summer of her little life! They have major field trips every Wednesday, they've spent Wednesdays thus far at Buckroe Beach, Chippoke State Park, Ocean Breeze Water Park, and Busch Gardens! Tuesdays and Thursdays are filled with lots of other fun activities and smaller local field trips, bowling, skating, laser tag, a talent show, museum trips and cookouts, and they swim all day every Friday at Fort Eustis. She is loving it!

But... it broke me. I put summer camp higher on the budget priority list than it rightfully deserves, and now I've got a couple other debts getting ready to bite me in the ass for it. I know none of you are loaded down with cash funds, but if you are interested and able, I could sure use some help making sure Phoebe's summer stays super fun! The camp itself is $65/wk (including a USDA breakfast, lunch, and snack), and the field trips are extra. I've paid the camp fees through 7/30, but still owe $20 for the 7/21 field trip to Go Karts Plus, and $26 for the 7/28 field trip to Water Country USA. I would also like to keep her in camp until the very end (8/13), incurring an additional $130 in camp fees, plus $29 for the 8/04 field trip to Kings Dominion. Unfortunately, there is already one field trip she may not attend - the grand finale field trip on 8/11 - a 6am to 2am charter bus to Six Flags New Jersey - too far for this Mom. Then she'll have just three weeks hanging out at home before school starts back up on 9/07. Not that Phoebe cares who pays for camp, but if I do receive any assistance, I will of course let Phoebe know of the generosity.

M&J, I haven't kept y'all as up to date recently as I set out to... back in late May, I expressed to my clients interest in returning to Northern Virginia, about the same time as they got frustrated w/my inability to get+stay fully engaged. This has probably been professionally the most awkward period of my life. I have always struggled with my morning schedule, but in previous environments I was always able to otherwise easily and clearly demonstrate my value. But this place is too union, too waterfront, too technical, too blue collar for me. They will be much happier with the guy they've hired to replace me, a retiring waterfront production controller.

As for me, I start a new job on 8/02, still with Dell, for the boss I had previously - Ken Carrick, supporting an old client in a new position, it is sure to be a smooth and most comfortable transition. Mostly, I look forward to being back in town w/Aunt Banana! But professionally, it's nice to know I'm still an asset.

Our home is for sale, with little chance it will sell in time to support our relocation. It's also for rent, with special incentives advertised for a quick renter. We have found suitable Rottweiler-friendly housing in Alexandria, but there's NO WAY we can carry two housing payments, so I can't apply for those I've found until we have a renter (or buyer) for ours. Don't suppose you, Jim, would be interested in buying it as an investment/rental property? Just kidding. Unless you'd consider it. (Are y'all familiar w/Chris Tucker (from the Rush Hour movies)? One of our most FAVORITE Chris Tucker lines JR & I use on each other all the time comes from him in Money Talks, he asks this rich dude for a million dollars, then says just kidding, unless you're gonna give it to me, nah just kidding, unless you're not. My investment property offer/request is meant as a joke in the same vain.) It's looking like I will spend weekdays w/NB and weekends in Hampton until we have our housing resolved. I hate the idea of spending nights away from my kids, but this is the bed I've made for myself, so I will lay in it with little complaint.

Ok, I'm off to be productive. I'm also doing a little blog test. If I've set things up the way I think I have, then this email should also show up as a blog post. We'll see. Happy Friday! Love you!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Resume Wordle

Stephanie~Fuller, Stephanie~Fuller, 571.335.6790, 571.335.6790,,, NAVSEA05Z~Marine~Engineering, Active~Clearance, B.A.~Government~and~Politics, George~Mason~University, Lean~Six~Sigma~Green~Belt, Dell~Services~Dec~2001~to~Present, VIRGINIA~Class~Submarines, Continuous~Process~Improvement, Value~Stream~Analysis, Stakeholder~Facilitation, Contractual~Exceptions~and~Clarifications, Defense~Acquistion~University~Specification~Management~Course, Advanced~Resource~Technologies~Inc.~Nov~2000~to~Dec~2001, OSD~Dual~Use~Science~and~Technology, GRC~International~an~ATT~Company~May~1999~to~Nov~2000, Army~Reliability~Maintainability~and~Supportability, Army~Commercial~Off~the~Shelf~Savings~Initiative, USCG~Deepwater~Project~Management~Plan, WAGB20~USCGC~HEALY, Naval~Sea~Systems~Command, SHERIKON~Inc.~Dec~1990~to~May~1999, Team~Submarine~Excellence~Award

Friday, June 25, 2010

Just Stuff I Would Buy If I Had Money - Not Really a Wish List

In the Order in Which They Occur to Me | A Really Good Pet Hair Vacuum | A Good Electric Can Opener | Roller Skates | Bicycles | Furniture | Linens | Clothes | Housekeeping | Daycare | A Garage | Manicures & Pedicures | Better Pet Care | Summer Camps | Music Lessons | Household Store | Emergency Preparedness | More & Better Portraits |

Obnoxious Oodles of Quit Working Money | Home Car & Lifestyle Upgrades All Around | A Year on The World | Philantrophy | Self Enrichment | Fun Stuff |

Stuff That's Caught My Fancy | This Forrest Cube Ring |

Friday, May 21, 2010

L4-5 Spondylolisthesis

So, I've been experienceing low back pain since Christopher was about six months old. I always figured it was just the extra thirty pounds I carry, plus the extra 25 or 45 I also routinely heft about. My chiro called it "lumbar disfunction" but his treatments didn't help much, so I quit going. On bad days I would take Tylenol or Motrin, but mostly I just lived with it, blaming myself, and hoping I wasn't being a nag about my back.

Well, JR setup an orthopaedic eval for me, so we went in together when he went in for his post-op check-up. JR is healing nicely, no longer needs the neck brace or any pain meds, got his stiches out, and is reporting total and complete relief. I, however, have a bone spur in my L4-5, probably arthritic. So now I get to take arthritis meds, and they're going to do some physical therapy to stop any spur-induced slippage toward what might have become a real slipped disc.

I'm glad I went in. I'm glad it's not just that I'm fat and lazy. I'm glad the pain in my low back will diminish with once/daily pills and six weeks of specific exercise.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Goodbye Comfort Zone

I came home very anxious about sharing some very uncomfortable information with JR. I was worried mostly about the info itself, but almost as much about helping JR deal with it. To my absolute delight, he responded with only LOVE and SUPPORT - thank GOD, because if he'd put out even an OUNCE of bad vibe I might have lost it! He listened well, responded appropriately, gave me a hug, and started working on a plan - can't ask for better.

So... Short Version: I have been unable to get + remain sufficiently engaged at work since CDR Brougham left, for a variety of both personal and professional reasons. It was a slowly deteriorating situation, nothing sudden. About six weeks ago I was asked to basically get more fully engaged again or risk my contract not being renewed, which is not a very effective means of me getting more engaged, so of course it didn't work.

I am editing this in fits and spurts as time allows, so I'll leave this paragraph so you'll know it's a work in progress until I'm done.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Move Back to Northern Virginia

So, I mentioned to Tommy today that JR & I are starting to consider returning to NoVA. Tommy is mostly my COR, but also my friend, whom I trust to both keep my plans private while it's prudent to do so, and to help me develop and present those plans in a most favorable manner. My current contract expires at the end of October. Now I need to figure out how, when, and exactly where. Job first, hopefully still Dell. This summer if possible? Or next. And probably either Fairfax or Loudon County, still needs further research.

Let me start w/the pipe dream: I'll take a modest pay cut to facilitate the job search, and to leverage a signing bonus or relocation reimbursement. I will find a RENTAL and be glad to be rid of the maintenance associated with home/yard ownership. It'll be a non-breed-discriminating, pet-friendly, garden style, ground level condo, with great amenities.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Poor Phoebe :(

Aw, poor Phoebe threw up in the shower, a lot, but then brushed her teeth and washed her face, but then complained of weakness, couldn't even hold her own towel, then she asked if her arm and leg pain had anything to do w/the throw-up, and then FELL ASLEEP when I started w/my answer! And I mean whole-body-twitch, gently snoring, asleep! Fresh from the shower. Wtf.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I Want a Sabbatical

I wonder why sabbaticals are most common in academia, where they already typically get summers off? I want a sabbatical! Wikipedia says academic sabbaticals typically run at seven-year intervals of full-time employment, with the most common arrangement for a half-year at full pay, or a full year at half pay. I WANT THAT!! I'm a big fan of "it never hurts to ask" so maybe when I'm ready to make my next career move, if it's still w/Dell, I'll ask for a sabbatical to coincide w/the transition. Or maybe I'll follow Phoebe's suggestion and get into academia so I can at least get summers off w/her!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My GTI's Been Puked In :(

Poor little Christopher projectile vomited in the back seat today, ALL over himself, ALL over his car seat, and even INTO the nifty air vents for the back - which are mounted on the rear end of the center console! OMG yuck. Christopher is so lucky to have someone who will immediately pull the car over, clean him up, rush him home, bathe him thoroughly, and give him something to settle his tummy. I am so lucky to have JR who, like Serve Pro, will clean it up the carseat and car "like it never even happened"! The poor dude had two teeth extracted at 1100, and was cleaning stinky puke from my car at 1500, before I could even get his pain Rx filled! What a day.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My GTI :)

I'm off to an 0930 appt @VW to get my new{ish} GTI all checked out!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

VIRGINIA Class Submarine Wordle

VIRGINIA~Class~Submarines VIRGINIA~Class~Submarines USS~VIRGINIA~(SSN~774) USS~TEXAS~SSN~775 USS~HAWAII~SSN~776 USS~NORTH~CAROLINA~SSN~777 USS~NEW~HAMPSHIRE~SSN~778 USS~NEW~MEXICO~SSN~779 USS~MISSOURI~SSN~780 USS~CALIFORNIA~SSN~781 USS~MISSISSIPPI~SSN~782 USS~MINNESSOTA~SSN~783 USS~NORTH~DAKOTA~SSN~784 USS~JOHN~WARNER~SSN~785 Electric~Boat~Groton~CT Northrop~Grumman~NewportNews~VA Washington~Navy~Yard NAVSEA~PMS450 SUPSHIP~Groton SUPSHIP~NewportNews Battlespace~Dominance Deadly~Quiet Advanced~Seal~Delivery~System Naval~Reactors Towed~Arrays 7700~Ton~Displacement 377~Feet~Length 34~Foot~Beam Tomahawk~Land~Attack~Missiles Mark~48~Advanced~Capability~Torpedoes Advanced~Mobile~Mines Unmanned~Underwater~Vehicles Special~Forces~Lockout~Trunk External~Stowage~Lockers Multifunction~Masts Mission~Reconfigurable~Mast Twelve~Vertical~Launching~System~Tubes

Text for Family Wordle

I just discovered this word cloud generator at and I love it! I have a couple projects in mind, so these posts will simply capture the text I have in mind for my wordles. :)

Phoebe~Alexis~Fuller Christopher~James~Fuller Stephanie~Marie~Fuller James~Roy~Fuller Andre~Maurice~Brewer~Junior Dianne~Clair~Fuller Andre~Maurice~Brewer Shirley~Sidney~Hamill~Ensler James~Haring~Ensler Freda~Hamill Fred~Hamill Ellen~Hatch Jason~Hatch Jessica~Lee~Sterling~Hatch Hugh~Hamill Thelma~Hamill~Dalmas John~Dalmas Jennifer~Dalmas~Reychev Evgeni~Raychev Jonah~Raychev Roger~Lee~Fuller Minh~Thu~Fuller Lynne~Fuller Da~Lac~Pham Tony~Fuller Kiersten~Fuller Gage~Fuller Linda~Duke John~Duke Porsha~Duke Tylor~Duff Hylton~Duke Alice~Marie~Chafin~Fuller Luther~Alonzo~Fuller

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010