Monday, April 30, 2007

I need to get over this.....

Katie was in the front passenger seat. The right side was what took the impact with the cement culvert. Her seat was partially ejected but the crumpled frame pinned the bottom portion. I have no explanation how the four kids survived with only minor injuries except that God was with them.

Katie goes back to the ortho tomorrow, has an MRI on Thursday and is probably looking at some knee surgery ahead. Her attitude is wonderful. The boy with the facial injury has 4 breaks in his cheekbone and his orbit of his eye is destroyed. The surgery is scheduled for this Wednesday, I believe, to place pins in the cheekbone and re-build the socket. He has some nerve damage that hopefully will only be temporary. The good news is his vision is not affected.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

My Feelings

Over the past, very difficult week, I have used this blog to record the events andmy feelings. It has been more of a venting process than anything else. Last Saturday, I was in denial at first. Then I was terrified, numb, surreal. As the days passed I got angry. I wanted so badly to be angry at someone, anyone, because anger is easier to deal with than the complete fear/terror and pain I was feeling. I never felt angry at the driver. I am not sure why, but I am more sorry for her and my heart breaks for her. Who would have thought that a small mistake could have such a huge consequence? I surely never could have imagined it. I wasn't mad at the older boy, either. I also feel sorry for him. Right now the two of them are both beating themselves up emotionally over this. More than anything I want them to heal emotionally the way Katie is healing physically.

I did find myself blaming her parents. It's funny, now I lok back and I don't really know why. They are awesome people. I was talking to the mother of the boys today and their father is really angry and I thought, How stupid is that? Umm, Wendy, look in the mirror. That was you just a few days ago. Oh yeah...duh! Chris tried to tell me that anger was the wrong thing to be focused on. Anger is not productive, especially mis-placed anger. I have talked much more to her parents and they do honestly feel terrible about this. I forgot that they were also just as terrified about their daughter. They were suffering just as much as I was. How could I be so stupid??? This experience is going to bring us all closer together. i have already learned so much about my daughter and her strength and spirit. She has awesome faith and is teaching this old dog some new things.

So whatever I said earlier in the week, take it for what it was. Momentary stages of grief. Passing feelings. My frailties as a human showing through. Today I am stronger, and I am no longer angry. I am thankful. Thankful for the lesson my daughter learned, a lesson that I could never teach her, but God saw fit to dispense. Now these kids are going to go forth and share their story, hopefully saving other lives and sharing the word of the Lord. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


The healing, both physically and emotionally are beginning for all of us. Katie is sore, but a lot of the pain is subsiding. Now she just has two major complaints, her lower back and her right knee. They couldn't fit her in for her MRI yesterday so hopefully today. She went to school for 3 hours yesterday. She refused to use the wheelchair. She would rather be in pain than look dorky. I guess that's a good sign. She definitely overdid it though, and is back in bed today. She was in so much pain she didn't get much sleep last night. So much for being cool! I talked to the girl's parents last night and they appear to feel no guilt or culpability in this situation. They just keep saying 'accidents happen'. I told Chris yesterday that now I am angry and having trouble dealing with it. I am angry at her parents, at the Grandmother who handed over the keys, and at myself for not protecting Katie more. I had this false sense of security. I asked all the questions I thought I should have. I trusted the other adults to make the right decisions. I never imagined that two 'little' girls could end up roaring around in a muscle car at night. I was worried they would be riding around on the father's golf cart annoying the neighbors. That was my biggest worry. Boy was I way off base.

The parents of the two brothers have pretty much shut down communication with everyone. I can't blame them. Our house has been like one giant open-house the last couple of days. There are flowers, balloons, cupcakes, cards, etc everywhere. Whatever I went through, they suffered it double. I want to call their Mom and just share and vent and tell her how much we have been thinking of them, but I think I will give it a few days. They are entitled to just cacoon for a while and begin to heal. Their one son was supposed to have reconstructive surgery on his face yesterday. I haven't heard how it went, but I hope it all turned out OK.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This is so SICK!

This is what Katie's neck looked like today. She came screaming down stairs wondering what was coming out of it. She claimed it was oatmeal and it sure looked like it. We think it's the dead skin coming off along with the medicine. This has got to be the sickest thing I have ever seen.

Updates continued

The girl got going way too fast (estimates by the neighbors said at least 60 mph in a 25mph zone) The boys in the back start screaming to slow down, she comes to a curve, jams on the breaks, slides sideways, hits the ditch and the car begins to roll. As it rolled, it hit a cement culvert on Katie's door, which popped the car into the air and it landed on it's side in a driveway. The girl got out and ran screaming for help. Katie crawled out through a small hole in the crushed windshield, the car caught on fire and neighbors got the two boys out.

Katie's mistakes: going with them without asking me for permission and not stopping the other girl from driving

The major mistakes though, were letting a young child drive all over, telling her how good she was and giving her a false sense of security about it. Then, handing the keys to a very powerful sports car to 4 kids was pure insanity.

Now the insurance company is calling daily wanting to come meet us and hash out a settlement. I told them I don't even want to talk to them until I know my daughter is going to be OK with no long term problems. She is my first priority. Numero uno. I know they want us to hurry and sign off before someone thinks up a lawsuit or something. I just want my daughter to be OK. Physically, emotionally, everything.

Updates on Katie

Katie has a few more tests to determine the full extent of her injuries, but righ now we know she has a dislocated hip (which is back in place) 3 broken ribs, banged up knee, skin ripped off her neck by the seatbelt, and many bruises. She is going to have an MRI tomorrow for her lower back. They suspect there might be a disc injury. All in all, she is in very good spirits. We have had several good conversations about the poor decisions that led up to this. Here is how it happened.

Katie was going to spend the night at her friends house so she could go to church with them and play in a church volleyball tournament. I talked to the parents and the Grandmother to be sure of the plans. The parents were going out to dinner and the Grandma would stay with the kids. The girls were going to lay out by the pool and drive around on the golf cart, then watch a movie. They were tired becasue they had dance practice for 5 hours that day already. Later that evening, two neighbor boys came over to hang out. They decided they wanted to go to get Slushies, so they check with the parents to see if they could borrow the brand new mustang to go there. They say OK, Grandma hands off the keys and they drive off with the 17 year old boy behind the wheel. On the way back, the other girl begs and begs to drive in the neighborhood. Her parents have been letting her drive all over for the past 18 months (seriously, as young as 13 she was driving). Eventually the boy says yes. The boys and girls switch, Katie climbs into the front passenger seat, snaps on her seatbelt and they crank the radio up all the way.

to be continued

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Nightmare

I am not even sure where or how to begin this post. My skills at parenting were put to the ultimate test last night. Yesterday afternoon/early evening I dropped Katie off at a friend's house. I asked her what adults would be home, what they were going to do, all the normal questions. I was worried about those silly girls riding around on the golf cart playing their music too loud and annoying the neighbors. Katie was spending the night so she could go to church with them in the morning and then play in a volleyball tournament together.

At 10:40 pm the phone rang and Chris answered it. He told me there had been an accident and the woman on the phone told me where it was. It was right around the corner from the other girl's house. I left Chris at home, thinking they must have wrecked the golf cart or something. I quickly put on clothes and headed out the door. It wasn't until I was halfway there that what the woman said on the phone finally registered. She said to look for the house with the car upside down in the driveway. I was trying to get my mind around that when I realized I had driven past the turn. I turned around and headed towards the scene. As I rounded a corner, I saw the entire road blocked off by police cars, fire trucks, ambulances and a helicopter. I pulled my van off the road, jumped out and started running. I could hear screaming and then I realized it was coming from me. There were spotlights on a car, which was on it's side in a driveway. As I ran, someone grabbed me and stopped me. They told me that my daughter and a boy were being prepared to be life-flighted downtown. All I could think about was how much she needed me and I had to see her. I started running again. A policeman stopped me, but I kept pushing forward. Two more police men also grabbed me and it took all three of them to stop me. They told me I couldn't get closer until the chopper lifted off. They actually threatened to put me in cuffs if I didn't stop. My legs gave way and I dropped to the ground, sobbing. It seemed to take forever, but they brought out two stretchers and began loading them onto the chopper. A policeman cam to tell me that they had stabilized katie so she was going to go by ambulance to the regional trauma center and they had decided to airlift the other boy instead. Once the chopper took off, they led me over to the ambulance. I saw them load Katie. She was awake and crying. I wiped away a tear, told her I was there and then they pulled me away and shut the doors.

I called Chris to come drive me to the hospital. I couldn't even think of getting there myself. I don't remember the ride. All I could see was that surreal scene with the lights, the helicopter, the car on it's side. We got to the hospital and I found Katie. They were afraid to move her so they brought in a portable x-ray machine. Once they got those films back, they took her to CT scan and then more x-rays. The police came and took statements. The doctor went in and out, nurses scurried around. People kept hugging me and asking if I was OK. The other girl was quickly released but her family stayed to make sure Katie was OK. Early this morning I was able to bring her home. She may have a cracked pelvis or possibly a dislocated hip that went back into place. We follow up tomorrow with the orthoped. She is scraped, bruised, incredibly sore and miraculously alive. Her seatbelt saved her life. The major impact was on the passenger door, right where she was sitting. The door is what hit the concrete culvert as the car rolled.

We found out where they had taken the car and tried to get some pictures. I took this over the wall where they stored the car. You can't tell how bad the right side is caved in or how half the roof is torn off. Tomorrow I intend to call the storage yard and get access to the car. I need to see for myself.

This is the mark the seatbelt left on her neck, even though the airbags deployed. She has a matching abrasion/bruise across her hips. My precious baby girl crawled her way out of the car but she doesn't remember how. The car burst into flames as bystanders pulled the last boy out and then was quickly doused.

How did this happen? More on that tomorrow. For now I need to focus on calming down and caring for her. I dread trying to sleep tonight. Everytime I close my eyes I see that scene.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Mommyhood, the end

So when Levi came along, I figured I was pretty wise by now. I had seen both sides of the coin. What I didn't realize is that I still had so much to learn. Levi is also easy. He's a happy, easy-going little guy. But, he does the strangest things. I can remember one time when he was repeatedly running head-first into the large kitchen trash can, bouncing off and falling hard onto the floor. This would cause him to giggle uncontrollably then get up and do it again. I was worried he was showing early signs of autism, but nanny just told me boys do things like that. Every toy becomes a bat to hit things with. We had to take away his t-ball set, toy tool set, light saber, everything because he uses them to hit everything with. Bang, bang, bang, all day long. He falls down, splat, and jumps up and yells 'I'm OK' and keeps running. Nothing stops him. And he doesn't eat. He's not picky, he will eat a wide variety of things, but in very very small quantities.

So what does the future hold for me? I know enough now to be able to predict that it will surprise me, but I am so looking forward to parenting more children. Each one teaches me so much. Each one is their very own person to love and enjoy, nurture and raise. The one thing I have truly learned is to relax and enjoy it. The big moments, the little moments, the hard moments. It all is so very special.

So my basic philosophy on parenting is 1) Relax and enjoy it. 2) Laugh. Learn to laugh at yourself and with your kids. Laughter can heal everything. 3) Be spontaneous at times. 4) Learn to let some things go while you just spend time with the kids. In 15 years you will not reflect back on how clean the bathrooms were, but you will remember the days at the park trying to fly a kite.

Mommyhood cont.

Then came Ashley. Ashley, born with a digestive problem that caused intestinal bleeding when she was just days old. Who caught RSV and ended up in the hospital for a week when she was barely 6 weeks old. Who screamed, never slept, was continually sick for two years, and who didn't talk until she was 2 years old. Ashley challenged everything. Potty-training was a big NO. Eating, sleeping, even staying buckled in her car seat were constant battles. Redirection did not work, removing privileges did not work, time out, time in, holding, spanking (yes, I tried it, I was desperate!), ignoring behavior, nothing worked. She bit, hit, scratched and head-butted me when she didn't get her way. I suddenly realized that it had never been my superior parenting skills at all. I had just been LUCKY! Now don't get me wrong, Ashley is a joy. She has turned into an absolutely lovely young lady. But those early years? She chewed me up and spit me out.

Trying hard

I keep trying to post and Blogger eats it. Argh! I have so many wonderful and witty things to say (OK, just the plain ol boring stuff) and I can't get it to post!

Let's try breaking up the posts into smaller bits.

Part 1, Mommyhood My Way

Before I had kids, I thought that my kids would never be the ones on the floor screaming in the grocery store. No way. I would never allow that! Then I had Katie, and although she was a very easy child, I learned that a tired, hungry or over-stimulated toddler will break down at the precise moment that is the most embarrassing for you.

Katie was easy. She didn't fight bedtime, she ate what I gave her (although not a lot of it) and she was never sick. She was completely potty-trained at 2 yrs old with very little fuss. She talked early, was ahead in every way and was such fun. I felt completely confident in my parenting skills. I was totally comfortable with my mommy skills.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pictures, part 2

Little Mister Smartypants, wearing nanny's glasses and leading a lecture series for the toddler crew. I have been really busy packing lately. I was moving boxes to the garage when I realized what I had packed in this one!
Did you know tha tthe Easter Bunny puts candy inside the eggs? How cool is that?
Levi with his girlfriends, Helen and Charlotte (hiding behind Helen) Who'd have thought that a couple of expesive racing thouroughbreds would love a boy so much?

I have to break it up or it makes blogger constipated. Sorry!


They got the house painted. Bright sunny yellow. Yumm!!!!!Here is the stone for the house. It looks richer in person. The pics don't do it justice.
And here are the neighbors who live in our backyard. Landscaping is going to be a challenge....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My computer has a Shrek infection....

I got up early today and downloaded photos from my camera. Then I copied them onto my Zip drive (antiquated, yes, but handy) and brought it to work to upload pictures on here. I plugged it in and waited for all the whirring and buzzing to stop, and then tried to access it. That's when my whole computer freaked out. Yesterday, I was trying to upload data and it began blinking and then a pop-up of Shrek appeared. It has been acting very odd over the past week or two. Could it possibly be that laying off most of our highly-skilled IT department might not have been such a great idea? The poor guys that are left are being worked to death. I'll post the pix from home later.

Levi was watching TV this weekend and saw someone do something wrong on the show. He said, "That guy is cheating. He is a failure." Hmmm, my brainwashing of him is coming along well! He is over his cold in record time. He has a little bit of a stuffy nose still, but that is about it. This time it didn't settle in his chest. Whew! He is so prone to pneumonia that I get paranoid everytime he gets a simple cold.

If I didn't have enough to keep me busy right now, I have picked up a new responsibility. I am now the Treasurer for the drill teams parent organization. See what happens when you don't go to the meetings? Today I have to swing by the school and pick up the books. Then I have to create new accounts for all the girls for next year and get the accounts updated with the charges for uniforms and the checks they have already written. I figure this is what I can do between the hours of 2am - 4 am when I can't sleep. A little accounting and excel work should make me drowsy!

Monday, April 16, 2007

I am so old

As we move into the last of the building-a-new-house, selling-the-old-one frenzy it has made me realize something. I am old. I feel old. My body acts old. Geez, I still feel like a kid on the inside. This is just so unfair! After a weekend of heavy-duty house scrubbing and yard work, I fell onto the couch and thought I was never going to get up. I used to be able to do this much stuff and still want to go out to dinner afterwards.
Here is how my Sunday went. Up at 6:30 with Levi. Chris decides to go to Church without us, since Levi is sick. He leaves, I drink coffee, shower and get dressed. Cook breakfast, clean up the kitchen, make a list for the store. Vacuum the downstairs, mop all the hardwoods and kitchen floor. Pack up extra toys from the sunroom, sweep and mop sunroom. Clean out fridge, empty trash cans, dust downstairs. Make beds. Now Chris is home so we start on the outside. He mows while I pull weeds. I start the burn pile and watch it while I pull weeds out of the flagstone patio and empty the new bags of mulch into the beds. Chris is done mowing so I water the flowers in the front yard and sweep off the driveway and walk. Pull weeds out of the playset area and add mulch. Run in and out of the house alternately putting in DVD's, filling juice cups or fixing snacks. Throw the ball 100+ times for the dogs. Pick up outside, come in, clean up the snack messes, thaw something for dinner, cut Levi's fingernails while we sit on the front step listening for the ice cream truck. Wash baseboards in the litchen, touch up some paint spots, fix dinner, clean up (with Chris's help) give Levi a bath and put on jammies, hear the ice cream truck and run outside. Give Levi medicine, tuck him into bed, fall asleep on the couch. There's more, I am sure, but the first thing to go as you age is your memory!

I love this picture of PBJ. She looked like she was falling asleep in the set of pictures I got, but in this one it looks like she is cracking up. She still has the most impossibly tiny nose and perfect little cupie-doll mouth. I would like to think that the headband is making her ears turn out at the tops, but I know they just do that on their own! The pictures came about a day after I had gotten a medical update. She is totally healthy! One thing I had to look twice at though, is they had her weight listed at 9 pounds. It caught me by surprise! Then I realized it had to be a mistake. She weighed almost 9 pounds at 1 month of age and all her pictures show her getting chubbier and bigger. I know she is a tiny little peanut, but not that small.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Fraudulent Activities

Well, many many people out in the adoption world are wondering what possibly could have casues the police and Attorney General's office to raid the adoption agency and seize their records? Hmm, how about matching someone to a child that is not legally available for adoption, taking a very large sum of their money, charging them for foster care and medical care, and never providing any information about the status of the case (which causes someone to have to hire a second set of attorney's to do what the agency was paid to do) Fifteen months later the child is still not legally available. Could that possibly be considered fraudulent?
How about this. Matching someone to a set of twins that they knew had already been matched to another family, taking the people's large sum of money, and then lying to the people that the birth mom took the kids back? Never refunding any money? Never getting them a child? Suing the parents for defamation of character when they told their story to others?
OK, how about one more. You list a child who is not legally available for adoption, lie to the interested family about the status of the child and who the facilitator is, then match the child, take the family's money and never give them any information about their case. Lie to the family that the child is in foster care, charge them foster fees, but the child has been in an orphanage all along. Only after hiring additional help do they find out the child is not legally available. Two years later the family is still fighting to adopt this child.
Could this be what is considered fraudulent? There is more, oh so much more. Things are about to get very, very ugly. Quick, I need to put on my life jacket and hang on tight!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Is this a good thing???

Today I received information that our first agency, the ones we have for Ahren (the boy who is not legally adoptable) was served with criminal warrants yesterday and all of their business records, computers etc were seized. The state police and Attorney General of Michigan served the warrants and are investigating criminal charges against them for fraud and other things. At first I freaked out. What would this do to our adoption? I contacted our special lawyers and a bunch of other adoption professionals and every single one said not to worry. The agency was only their to send info back and forth (which they never did) and support us through the process (which they suck at) The good news is that hopefully this will put them out of business and no one else will ever suffer the pain we have and their other clients have. I have many many stories of really bad adoption cases that have cropped up over the past year with them. I have purposely never written their name in this blog because they sued another woman for telling her story and naming them. I guess their evil ways finally caught up to them.


Well, Chris made his point with the builder but they didn't budge. He is really NOT happy with them, but they know it and are doing a lot of 'trying to be extra helpful' kinds of things. In addition, there is a problem getting the cabinets so we will just sit until the beginning of next month with NOTHING happening. Sigh.....

Levi is sick. Totally booger nose. I just hate it when any of my kids are sick. He fell asleep yesterday at 6 pm, and slept until 6:30 this morning, but it was a fitful sleep. I did manage to get some juice and medicine into him around 9pm. Poor baby.

Blogger has been acting up for me, so I will cut this short and try and post more later.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chris vs The Builder, Round Three cont.

Back to the issue of the bill. It was for $8,000.00 for the pad and dirt work under our foundation. No where is it listed that we would be charged separately for that. We had always assumed that was built into the price of the house. I mean, you wouldn’t buy a car and expect to pay extra for the tires! In fact, in the contract it only states that there could be 'additional costs associated with severely sloped property'. Ours was flat as a pancake with no trees to even remove. In all the months we have been working with this builder, and in all the months since they broke ground, not once has this been mentioned to us. Chris left them a voice mail message explaining our displeasure at this surprise cost. The builder wrote back a lengthy explanation and then told Chris that the builder had actually saved us money by deciding to use the clay from the site. Chris wrote a very polite but strongly worded reply. They are having a meeting about it later today. This is a meeting I am not attending. You see, I sort of lost it over this garbage. I was ranting and raving and saying we don’t need that stinkin house and we will sue them and they will never be able to sell it to anyone else. We will tie them up in litigation forever!!! Chris is afraid I might blow up at them. He is meeting them by himself. I told him to call me if he needs backup. Hee!

Chris vs The Builder, Round Three

When you are building a house, especially a custom house, you run into a lot of things where you end up paying extra money. We knew this, having been around the block a few times. We budgeted for this. We knew what things were important to us and what would be 'nice' but not necessary. Our budget is not small, but it also was not a stretch for us. It is what we decided on and we were sticking to it. Then, last week, we got a bill from the builder. It was the kind of bill that they e-mail late on a Friday night to our work computers. The kind of bill where the first thing I did was to call Chris and make sure he had taken his blood pressure medicine that day.
Now, before I tell you more about the bill, let me lay a little background. My husband owns a company that does site work. Things like earth work, underground utilities and paving. He has been in this business for some 20 years or so, and is pretty knowledgable about such things. Before we broke ground on our house, he offered some suggestions to the builder that were intended to save them some money. One thing he told them was that the clay in the ground under our property was of an excellent grade and they could dig it up and use it for the pad of the house. They ended up doing that and it probably saved them several thousand dollars, plus we got a higher grade of clay than what they could buy.

to be continued...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A catching up post

The house is officially on the market. We still have things to do, but for the most part it is show-ready (staged and all!) Here are some photos (for htose of you who have actually been to my house.....can you beleive it???) Warning: subliminal messages placed throughout this post to make you want to BUY this house (Hee!)Above is Levi's old nursery. It was going to be Ahren's nursery too, but we all know how that is going. Notice the baby-girl clothes hanging up. sigh....
This is levi's room now. Sunny yellow walls and beachy paintings. He has plenty of room to play, too.
Levi's bed in his room. Notice the brand new carpet. It is wonderful!
Our big brick box. This is one thing I never liked. There is no way to make it look anything but like a big brick box.
Ashley's room, painted per her instructions. She is my girly-girl. There was a lovely white net that hung down around her bed but during her last sleepover, the net became history. Who said girls can not be destructive????

The master bedreoom, with new bedding and curtains. The extra-large lazy boy was my present to Chris one Christmas. I made sure it was big enough for him and a little someone to be able to take a nap together.
The sunroom/playroom. This room gets the most use of the whole house, and it pretty darn indestructable!

The dining room. Staged to look like a model home. I had a grouping of shelves on the wall that had lots of family photos and little special momentos, but of course we had to de-personalize it.
The kitchen. That is my sexy-new refrigerator, but it is going with us!
Now here are more photos of Ahren and the long awaited photos of Peri Brynn. On Thursday, at 12:16 pm the agency for PBJ called. I got so excited and began making travel plans in my head. They told me.......

that we had been kicked out for the dumbest of all reasons. In the original interview we did for our homestudy 2 years ago we talk about adopting a boy. Then in the updated version, it states we now want to adopt a boy and a girl. Well, becasue it says 'boy', they kicked it out. I have already contacted our social worker to write the addendum, then it will be apostilled, authenticated and translated and be re-submitted. That adds about 10 weeks to the process before we can hope to get out. Needless to say, I am devastated. This Easter weekend is a time to regroup, gather up my strength and be ready to get back into the fray.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bring on the Buyers!

OK, first I have to admit that staging designers ROCK! I am sorry for all of my disparaging comments/thoughts on the subject. I am design impaired and I figured the staging person would come in and take one look, turn her nose up and then spend hours trying to turn my house into a showplace. Instead she was an awesome woman who pointed out ways to re-arrange what I had and where to maybe add a couple of inexpensive things for decoration. I spent Friday afternoon and all weekend doing everything I could that she had mentioned. The carpet didn't get put in until yesterday because of rain, but it's done now too. I plan on taking pictures to show everyone my wonderful new/old house! We just need to sign the contract with the realtor and get that sign in the yard and then bring on the buyers!

New Pix of Ahren

Blogger is acting up for me

Trying to post....