Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Teaching Levi

First, no news. I can't print the words I want to say, so POOP will have to do.

One day while we were in Disney World, we were riding the bus back from a park and a father and son climbed on board. The boy looked to be about 8-9 years old, stocky and pink cheeked, a little carbon copy of his father. The bus was crowded so they had to stand. As the bus pulled away from the curb, the boy began making loud grunting sounds and tried to get to the door. The dad patiently held him back and spoke quietly to him. This went on for several minutes, most of the people on the bus looking away and trying to be considerate of the father's plight., slightly embarrassed by the boy's actions.
Levi, being a typical 4 year old, stared at the boy. Finally he turned to me, and in his ever loud and chirpy voice, said, 'Mommy, why is that boy doing that?' I looked at him and began to explain that I thought the boy might be autistic, and that sometimes certain situations were too much for him. I asked Levi if he remembered how sensitive his ears were to loud noises, and he said yes. I told him that was what it was like for this boy with everything. Sounds, the motion of the bus, all the people. Right now he is just overwhelmed and probably scared inside. Levi nodded in understanding and then smiled at the boy.
When I was done explaining to Levi, I looked up to see 6 or 7 faces looking at me, smiling and nodding. At the next stop, when some people got off the bus, we invited the dad and son to sit by us. The boy was much calmer sitting and the dad began to apologize and explain that indeed his son was autistic, and although he had done very well all day, he had hit his limit and they just needed to get back to the hotel. I told the dad I thought he did a wonderful job calming his son and how wonderful it was to see them being able to enjoy Disney World.
Maybe, just maybe, I planted the seed in Levi's mind that although people can be different in many different ways, they are exactly as God has planned. God does not make mistakes.

Monday, April 28, 2008

They are trying to drive me insane..

Sorry I have been rather quiet lately. There have been so many things going on that I barely have time to breathe, let alone type a coherant thought.  Let's see, where shall I begin....

1) The trip to meet Katie's agent in Los Angeles is coming together. I had been waiting for her father to pick a date because he had volunteered to take her. I waited, and waited and waited and he threw out many dates but nothing ever got set so I decided to just plan it myself. I contacted the agent and we picked a date. it turns out that the guy who 'discovered' her is giving a concert in LA on the 16 of May. So we fly out and get to see him perform, then spend the next day with the agent, some casting people etc etc. Then on Sunday we spend the day with my sister (Hey Dana!!!) and her family at Knot's Berry Farms. The rest of the visit is still in the works for planning. 
  I called her father (my ex) to tell him the plans. He still wants to go so he was going to make is own reservations. The next day I talked to him and he had reserved the flight, hotel etc. He was flying into a DIFFERENT airport, staying at a DIFFERENT hotel, and flying in on a DIFFERENT day.  I about pooped a brick. He hadn't heard a thing I said! I again told him our plans and he went back to planning. Yesterday he called to say he was booking the flight and hotel. He is still flying in at a different time (but same day now), to a different airport, but at least he is staying at the same hotel. Bless his heart, he does try, but he sure tries my patience!

2) My parents recently had their 50th wedding anniversary. We had been planning a family get-together in June but somehow the whole thing fell apart. We will still make a trip up there sometime soon, and we will still celebrate. I figure if they have been married for 50 years, they can celebrate for as long as they want!

3) I can't get one tiny stinking bit of information on PBJ's case. Every time I hear anything it is the same thing. We are trying to meet with the attorney and get an update. That has been going on for weeks now. I have e-mailed the attorney myself, in spanish and english, with no reply. I have begged, pleaded, threatened, and about gone postal, but still nothing. They think that if I flew to Guat and tried to meet with him it would help. OK, YOU can't get a meeting with him, how do you think I am going to accomplish this? Am I that intimidating? That powerful? (Well, I do admit I can be a bit a deranged Mama Bear kind of way!

4) The final and most outrageous blow, the one causing me to lose sleep, feel sick to my stomach, and fear for my own sanity? Friday I got a call from our former agency for Ahren. You know, the ones who were arrested, charged with all sorts of things, made a plea deal and agreed to not work in adoptions? They were very sincere sounding and told me that our facilitator had accidentally sent them an update for us, and it said (I do not joke here) Your son is OUT of PGN, case approved and the resolution to be picked up Monday. Be prepared to wire final payment. 
  I listened, thanked them for the info, then hung up. I called Chris. I called my good friend Paula. I debated on what this meant. How could this be? Of course, the agency also wanted something in return. A statement form me that we w ere going to get our child and did not want any restitution. (The restitution hearing is this Wednesday) Can you see why I might be cautious?
  I sent e-mails, I made phone calls, I obsessively checked e-mail all weekend, trying to get confirmation of what they said. It was late on Friday when they called and I couldn't get in contact with anyone. Over the weekend no one in Guat works. Then today, when I thought I might hear something, every attorney and PGN employee was in all-day long meetings to hash out the new system. That means 3 days of agony. Three days of wondering, hoping, praying, dis-believing. If this is not true, it may just be the straw that breaks this camels back. 

 Reasons it could be true: We went into PGN on march 27th. Supposedly PGN was working on April 1-8 last week. 
PGN is under intense pressure to release files. They are signing out everything they can, or lose their jobs. 
   We are due a break. Seriously. We are sooo due!

Reasons it is NOT true: It is too convenient that right before the hearing it happens, unexpectedly, and makes it that we would not be due restitution. 
Nothing ever goes our way. We take the hardest road possible, every time.
We have not heard form any 'official' source that this is true.
Why would the facilitator e-mail the old agency and not me, when they have been dealing with me for many months now. Especially when the facilitator desperately needs the money from our final payment?

So, as you see, my plate is full and over-flowing. I can barely manage the day-to-day details right now. I promise that as soon as I have any real info, I will post it immediately. Until then,  I will be a basket case so don't expect me to be anything close to normal. It takes everything I have to just put one foot in front of the other.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Have a cup of java

I got a call yesterday morning from Katie. During school hours. That is not good. Not good at all. This time it wasn't too bad though. No Big Chunky, no fear for her life panic, no begging to move to Alaska. Instead, she was walking to class and a girl behind her managed to spill a cup of hot coffee all over Katie.  My first thought was, 'What the heck was a kid doing with a hot cup of coffee between classes and where did she get it?' (Yeah, I'm a concerned parent like that. My first thought wasn't if Katie had been burned, but how a high school kid gets a cup of coffee during the school day....) Anyway, the principal told her she could go home to shower and change and then come back to school. Apparently her hair and the front of her shirt were soaked with coffee. OK, second thought I have is how does someone accidentally spill a cup of coffee while walking behind Katie and have it go over her 5'8" body soaking her hair and down her front? Katie maintains the girl did it on purpose, the girl claims it was an accident. Classic she said/she said scenario. The principal couldn't do anything except let Katie get cleaned up. My last thought while listening to the story was 'What did Katie and her wayward mouth do to contribute to this situation?' (Oh, I am no dummy. I know this child!) So, in the end, Katie got to miss some school and all is well. The coffee wasn't so hot it burned her and she only smelled like java for a little while. 

I still wonder how a high school kid got coffee in the middle of the day? Surely the school doesn't have a coffee bar??? The day the school puts in a Starbucks is the day I begin homeschooling!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Last night was a toughie. Levi is prone to night terrors when he is overly tired. Yesterday was a big big day. The weather was gorgeous and he played outside all day. Grayson (Nanny's grandson) was there to play with him too, so they both went non-stop all day. I couldn't get him to eat any dinner. I served one of his favorites, meatloaf and cheesy potatoes, but he just pushed it around on the plate. He drank some milk and that was his entire dinner. You can lead a kid to dinner but you can't make them eat. Then it was into the tub to de-stinkify the boy. Into jammies, a drink and into bed. He fell asleep pretty quickly. But several hours later he began screaming, kicking, thrashing and clawing. He wasn't awake, and you couldn't wake him up. (We tired out of desperation) It felt like it went on for hours. Just when he would calm down a bit, he would wind back up. Eventually I carried him around the house and that started to calm him down. He woke up enough to go to the bathroom, get another drink and begin to relax. It still took holding him for a while longer until his breathing slowed down and his muscles relaxed. Finally, I put him in bed with us and collapsed beside him. He drifted off immediately, but I lay there with my brain racing. Today I feel like I am a walking zombie.
We have our flight info and hotel reservation info for Hollywood. This is getting exciting/scary. This is a real Hollywood agent, one you see on the red carpet with celebs. Someone who routinely brunches with the rich and famous. She has probably seen Brittany Spears without hair and Lindsay Lohan drunk. (Oh wait, the whole world has seen that!) We want to see some of the sights in LA while we are there. (Hopefully NOT the Brittany or Lindsay type) Honestly, I would be more comfortable in the electric chair than in Hollywood!
Last night, while Levi was in the tub, I told him to do something and he answered, 'Yes, I mean Ma'am.' Well, at least they are teaching him manners at school.
Ashley is playing basketball in a private league. The coach is blind (seriously) He relies on the assistant coach to tell him what is happening. Well at last weeks game, the assistant coach was gone, and the coach was on his own. The other team started out fine but then got progressively more and more physical with our team. The refs weren't calling it, and the other coach certainly wasn't going to say anything. Ashley got elbowed in the face, tackled form behind and shoved all over. She isn't used to playing that way, and neither is the rest of their team. They ended up just getting out of the way and the other team won. Some of the parents tried to say something, but no one wanted to hurt our coaches feelings. He is a super nice guy. Ashley's dad talked to the assistant coach the next day and told him what happened. They now have a plan that whenever the assistant has to be out, Ashley's dad will fill in. He won't let the kids get beat up by the other team and he knows the rules. He is a good and fair man and will be able to step up and protect the girls. These are junior high school age kids, learning basketball and supposed to be having fun while getting the basics. Instead I think they felt like they had taken up boxing last week.
In other news, the deer are about to have fawns. There is one poor extremely pregnant doe that slowly waddles into our yard every evening and eats the corn. She looks absolutely miserable. She must be having twins (are triplets possible?) I feel for her evertime I see her. I figure she is due any day now. You only get that truly miserable right before you deliver. I can't wait to get fawn photos!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just another Wed.

I e-mailed the attorney on PBJ's case today to try and urge him to move a little bit. Apparently he has not submitted the letter verifying the translator they used for the birth mom. All he has to do is write the letter, identifying the translator, explaining the situation, and then add it to the file and re-submit it to PGN. This was supposed to have happened 2 weeks ago. If he doesn't get this done I have every intention of finding him when I go to Guatemala and opening my Texas size can of whoop a$$ on him. We have paid him VERY WELL to work this case and he won't get the final large chunk until it is done. You would think that would be enough incentive to finish it! But noooo, nothing ever goes according to the normal schedule for us. I should be used to it by now!

I got to see the proofs for the pix taken at Levi's school recently. They are really cute, except he has this kind of pained smile on his face. I asked him why he smiled like that and he said it was the only smile he could think of. Silly boy.

Now, as for Katie and her driving lessons, she is getting so much more relaxed and it shows in her driving. I do have to correct her now and then, but I can just tell she isn't as tense anymore. She does seem to have an issue with remembering to turn the car off and take the keys out though. She has done it 4 times now! I think when she begins driving by herself I will get a cord with a clip and have her clip the keys to her shirt. Then if she tries to get out without them it will stop her. Hey, at least she doesn't leave it in drive and get out! (I would laugh myself silly, once I got the car stopped, if she actually did that!)

We head out to LA on May 15th to meet the agent and talk over the contract. Then we will spend time with my wonderful sister and her family, flying home late Sunday or Monday. I want to minimize the amount os school she misses and yet I am not too worried. She is getting great grades and a day or two won't break her.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Back in a rut

Levi is all better, no one else has gotten sick and we are settling back into the normal chaos of our lives. We only took Levi with us on this trip because the girls didn't want to miss school. Next month they will be going with me to LA to meet the agent and we will hit DisneyLand and see my sister and her family while we are there. The girls have been to DisneyWorld several times already, so they aren't upset. They wouldn't have wanted to stay with us and ride kiddie rides and I am not comfortable with letting them loose in the parks by themselves. (Mean Mom!)

I got new sheet/comforter sets for the boy's room (Ahren and Levi will share) I got a fantastic deal on 2 twin sets plus curtains. They have the Jeep logo on them and are a deep rusty-red and tan. They look awesome. I hate to spend too much on a little kid's room because they end up destroying them (vomit, pee, repeated washing, etc) or they get bigger and think they are too baby-ish. So for about $100 I re-decorated the whole room. Not bad! I do love a good deal!!!

While we were in DisneyWorld, out hotel toilet was one of those 'power-assist' low water flush untis. The kind that go BA-WHOOSH when they flush. Levi was bit scared of it and invariably left it unflushed. But Chris, well, Chris had a bit too much fun with the thing. Every time he went to flush it, he would yell 'Fire One' and then hit the handle. I am sure the neighbors could hear him. This caused Levi to giggle uncontrollably and me to roll my eyes (and maybe giggle a little, only I won't admit it in public!)

Swimming lessons begin soon for Levi. We want to put in a pool soon (by next spring) but I want to have him a little safer around water. He already thinks he can swim, or so he tells me. He doesn't realize that the suit he wore last year has floats built into it. He did in fact jump in and swim all over the place by himself, but with the aid of those floats. Now he needs to learn to swim for real. The lessons are 4 nights a week. Each session is 2 weeks long. We will sign him up and go for as many sessions as he wants/needs. Once the little ones come home they will get lessons too. Even though the pool will be safety fenced, I want all of them educated about pool safety and what to do if they fall in. You can never be too safe (or too paranoid!)

Has anyone else been watching Season 4 of Top Chef? I love that show but this season is annoyiong the heck out of me. All the swearing, crotch grabbing, chair throwing and theatrics is really detracting from the real point of the show. Food, flavor, combinations, technique. Instead, it has been all about personalities and drama. I usually get great dish ideas from watching, but all I have learned on this season is how to make bad food and throw a fit. (Hey, I already KNEW both of those!) If you are watching Top Chef this season, what do you think????

Monday, April 21, 2008

One year ago today

One year ago tonight the unthinkable happened. My 14 year old daughter was spending the night at a friend's house. I made sure that although the girl's parents would be out, that the Grandmother was staying there. Katie was planning on an evening of hanging by the pool, playing video games and being a typical young teen.

Two older boys they know very well from Bible study came over to hang out. These were freind-boys, not boyfriends of either girl. Just a couple of brothers they liked to hang out with. The kids wanted to get drinks from S0nic and the girls parents gave the OK over the phone to let the oldest boy drive. They took the brand new Mustang and headed to the fast food spot. Then they decided to swing by our new house which was in the girls' neighborhood but still under construction. The other girl convinced the older boy to let her drive the 3-4 blocks to her house from there. She had driven many times, but never such a powerful car. In a matter of seconds she got going way too fast, the boys screamed at her to slow down, they hit a curve and she lost control. The car slid into the ditch, rolled, hit a cement culvert on the passenger side door, flew into the air and landed on the driver's side. As people ran to pull kids out of the wreck, the car burst into flames.

Thank God for the quick responses of the neighbors. People dialed 911, people ran for fire extinguishers and people carried kids to safety. We got the call around 11pm from a woman who was at the scene. She said there had been an accident, told me where to come and said to look for the 'cart' upside down in the driveway. I wasn't horribly upset because I thought they had tipped over the golf cart. When I rounded the road to the site, this is like what I saw and heard. Life Flight. The second thing I saw was the Mustang, lit up by police lights, mangled and on it's side.

I can't remember parking my van, although later I found my keys in my pocket. I remember running, hearing the whump-whump-whump of the helicopter blades. A Deputy intercepted me and held me back, not allowing me close to the scene. I explained my daughter was in the accident. He said they were preparing to load her on the helicopter and I would have to wait. I remember listening to him, heard him threaten to handcuff me if I didn't stop, and I remember just putting my head down and using my legs to drive him backwards. It took 2 more guys to stop me.

After what seemed like 15 years, they led me over to the area as they brought the gurneys out. First was the other girl, who was hysterical and sayign she was so sorry. At that point I had no idea she was driving, nor did it make any difference. I comforted her and told her it would be OK. Then Katie came out, bloody, tubes all over, in a neck brace, etc etc. At that point they decided to put Katie in the ambulance and put one of the boys, who possibly had a head injury, into the helicopter.

The rest of the night is a blur. We followed the ambulance to the hospital. There were x-rays, drug/alcohol tests (none in any of the kids) CT scans, bandages, etc etc. We were able to take her home the next day, to follow up with an orthopedist. All of the kids were incredibly lucky.

This is the seat Katie was in. The seat came un-bolted from the frame and was partially ejected out the window. When the car hit the culvert, it just happened to hit in such a way that the frame of the car crumpled and trapped the base of her seat inside the car. You can see the crumpled frame in red/black along the bottom of the seat in both of these photos. The police at the scene told us that they can't believe she didn't die. They had never seen such damage without a fatality.

God was with my baby that night. God is with us every day, but especially that night.

And I am teaching the child to drive. There isn't enough Valium in the world to make it OK, but I am doing it!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pix as promised

The end of a long day.
We let him play a game in the carnival area at Animal Kingdom. he had 4 balls and he won prizes with the first two. The, lucky us, we got to tote them around the rest of the day!
Riding the teacups and screaming faster Faster!
Hangin' with Pluto.
Waiting patiently in a line. He was awesome at waiting!
Being gobbled up in The Sea at Epcot.
Stylin' in the 3D glasses.
Meeting a dino friend.
Drumming with the African Drummers at Epcot. 

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thoughts on the Disney experience

We are back home and settled in to do a mountain of laundry and such. Although we had a wonderful time, it is good to be home. I think we got home just in time, too, because Levi spiked a high temp last night and threw up in our bed. Welcome home!

The weather was absolutely perfect the whole time we were there. We couldn't have asked for anything better. One day was actually chilly but no rain. I hauled 3 dollar-store rain ponchos around all week for nothing, but if I didn't have them it would have poured every day. That's just the way our luck runs!

So here are a few things we learned on this trip. 

1) Number one priority is good, comfy shoes. We splurged on new tennis shoes before we went and they were exactly what we needed. I can't believe the number of people I saw in heels, etc. 

2) If you want to be able to ride the popular rides with minimal wait times, get the Fastpass. It allows you to reserve a window of time to ride and skip the long lines. Use the pass wisely, though, because once you use it you have to wait to use it again for a period of time. We would use the Fastpass, then spend the interim time riding the rides with short lines. 

3) Find out if the week you plan to go happens to be the yearly high school senior party week. Do NOT go that week unless you want to put up with 25,000 high-schoolers. We lucked out (we didn't know about this) and the teens were just arriving as we were leaving. One day of overlap with them was enough. At 3am some of them jumped in the hotel pool and threw a bunch of food into it, resulting in some kids getting sent home. 

4) Find out if the week you choose coincides with spring break on the east coast, or anyone's spring break for that matter. The parks are busier then. We thought spring break was over, but it wasn't too bad, just busier than we expected.

5) Pack snacks if you have small kids. Heck, pack snacks even if you don't have small kids. The food is expensive and was very hard to find. Plus the lines for food were often longer than the lines for rides. By the end of the week we were all sick of fast-food too. I wanted vegetables!! 

6) The sun is very intense even if it isn't hot out. Use sunscreen, wear hats, etc etc etc. We saw so many people who were fried and in misery. The worst, though, was a baby we saw who was beet red. Poor baby! His whole head was burned since he didn't have much hair. Even as fair as Levi is, we managed to keep him from getting burned. 

7) If you are a dark-skinned, plus-sized woman, do NOT wear super-tight, very thin white pants and bright yellow thong underwear. Trust me on this one. Don't do it. 

And now, some messages to the people we shared the parks with:

People, listen to the announcements, follow the rules, don't be stupid. There are reasons they tell you not to stick your head out of the car while it is moving. Then again, maybe this is selection of the fittest at work. Maybe the dummies who don't listen deserve to be knocked in the noggin a few times. 

People, if you are pushing a stroller thru the crowd and you very nearly run down a small child, say sorry. If you are pushing a stroller thru the crowd while racing against your spouse who is also pushing a stroller, and you very nearly run down a small child, be prepared for the small child's parents to attempt to show you exactly where that ^%#@$^& stroller belongs. (We didn't really show them, but we did think it!!) 

People, watch where you are walking. Do not stare at something off in the distance as you plow thru the masses of people. There is no way that is going to end nicely. Especially if someone who is racing strollers comes tearing thru. You are going to end up a$$ over tea kettle. 

I promise more photos tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Where Dreams Come True

We made it to Disney World and are having a blast. At night we are so tired we all tumble into bed and no one even moves for 10 hours. Levi has been a trooper. We haven't gotten a stroller, he has walked every bit of it. He has also enjoyed every single ride he is big enough to go on! He isn't scared of anything. In fact, he was very upset he couldn't ride Space Mountain!

Here he is giving his opinion of Daddy straightening his ears.

Riding the Magic Carpet
Eating a pretzel that is bigger than his head. Riding the tea cups.
I'll post more when I can. Until then, Meeska Mouska Mooskateers!

Friday, April 11, 2008


The agency is telling us that PBJ's case was released by the judge and resubmitted to PGN. Now PGN wants a document that has to do with the interpretor who spoke to the birthmother, verifying that what is in the records is true and the interpretor was qualified to do the interpretting. They are preparing that and should have it submitted with the file soon. Ahren's case has finally been submitted to PGN at the end of March. I am expecting a KO soon for old documents, but I have new ones ready to go. PGN has been stalling all cases right now. I suppose, since there are no new cases being started, if they finish all the old cases they will be out of a job. Not much incentive there to complete anything, huh?

I haven't booked my visit trip yet. I want to see what happens in the next week or two. Maybe, just maybe, I will finally get to go on a pick-up trip......but I'm not holding my breath!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

She freaks me out

Have you ever had to work with someone who seems, well, unhinged? You know, the kind where under their yearbook photo was 'Voted Most Likely to Go Postal'? The kind of person who skulks around, pops up in the strangest places, spends way too much time in the bathroom and constantly mumbles to themselves? I have my eye on her. If I disappear from the internets, you know who to look for.......

When I was pregnant with Levi, Chris would always talk to my tummy. He would say, 'I love you baby. I love you. Pick up your socks. ' Every time, pick up your socks. His theory was that if it takes you telling a child a thousand times to do something before it sinks in, he was going to get a head start. So fast forward almost 5 years and let's see how that is working out. Yesterday, when I got home from work I found one shoe in the middle of the back yard, a sock on the patio, a shirt on the kitchen floor and shorts in the middle of the living room. (Oh, and I found Levi in his tighty whities and nothing else) Chris's theory? Not so successful.

So why was Levi sans clothes yesterday? Apparently he was playing in the sandbox and decided to see how it felt to fill his pants with sand. So he did. And it didn't feel very good. (Go figure) And that precipitated a strip-down to get the itchy sand off of him. I walked in just in time to keep him in his underwear long enough to get to the bathroom and start the tub filling. Boys. Bananas on the treadmill, sand in their pants. I just don't get how their little minds work.

I now understand the family that lived down the street from us when I was little. They had 6 boys, all about a year apart in age. We lived in a little neighborhood of identical houses in neat little rows with quiet winding streets. Every house was the same except for color. It was all very 'cloned' in a suburban way. Every house except theirs. One window was broken out and covered with plastic (the victim of an errant baseball). A few shingles were missing where the boys had gone sledding off the roof one winter. The tree in the front yard was dead, as was all the grass that had been worn away by games of kickball. The garage door hung crookedly after they rammed their go cart into it repeatedly. But the thing I remember the most was how the mother would come after those boys, screaming like a banshee, and waving a piece of hot wheels track (remember the plastic bendable pieces of track you could snap together?) She would get a hold of one boy and drag him home, beating him with the track the whole way. The rest of the boys would slink off and hide for a good long while, knowing that once she found them they were in for the same fate. I wasn't allowed to play with those boys. Ever. But I wanted to! I especially wanted to know what they did that made their mother act that way......

I have a little more respect for that woman now.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Shake it off

Thanks for all the kind comments. They were so sweet and supportive that you all made me cry! It's funny, what she said really didn't make me mad as much as it made me terribly sad. Sad because people really think like that. Sad because she isn't the only child that is thought of in that way. And sad because I want her here with me so that I can protect her from all the stupid people in the world. Sigh. I have decided to visit again. I just have to get my hands on those two little ones and spend some time with them. See for myself how they are doing.

Yesterday, Levi did a very, very bad thing. Oh yes, this was a 10 on the naughty scale. He had a banana to eat, and instead, he took it into our bedroom, got on the treadmill, turned it on and proceeded to squish the banana on the tread-belt thingy. The banana went into the base and smushed all the way around the track. How he knew how to work the treadmill I don't know. It has a special magnet that you have to position over a specific place to enable it to turn on. He is not even allowed in the room when I use it for fear he will get his fingers in it and rip them off. Anyone want to bet he grows up to be an engineer of some sort? Nanny was not amused and made him sit in time out while she cleaned it up (which must have taken quite some time)

Of course this ranks right up there with the time Ashley poured shampoo into the dryer. Or the time Ashley broke 18 eggs all over the inside of the refrigerator. Or the time Katie fed Ashley wet grout on a spoon. Or the time.... well, you get the idea. I have earned all of the grey hairs on my head, every one of them! Actually, I have been pretty lucky. These were the only major messes I can remember. Then again, maybe my memory has gone along with the grey hair....

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I was speechless....

Yesterday, I was had a conversation with a woman who does humanitarian work in Africa. It was very interesting. She was explaining the differences in some of the African countries like Rwanda, Ethiopia, etc. and how they are getting adoption programs started to help the orphaned children. Then she dropped a bomb on me. She said we should give up on PBJ because 'no one wants a brain damaged child. They are too much trouble.'

I have no words to explain what went through my head and through my heart. It stabbed deep into my soul. I have known for a long time that PBJ is viewed as a throw-away. She was viewed like that in her own country because she is a female and Mayan. Add to that the unknown of how the brain injury will affect her life and even 'humanitarians' view her as nothing more than human waste.

I look at her sweet little face and I see life, hope, a future. I see my daughter.

What do you see?

By the way, that was no friend of mine. It was the first time I had ever talked to her. Someone else gave her my number to chat about saving kids. Ironic, huh?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Weekend photos

It is finally consistently warm enough to let Steve loose into the pond. Levi was all excited to let him go and we made a little ceremony out of it. He dove right into the water and started chasing minnows (Steve, not Levi!). We saw him surface a few times and Levi waved good bye. He is such a little food beggar that when we visit we will take him some dried shrimp and I'm sure we will see him often.

Levi wanted to run in the sprinkler for a while. He has a lot of fun and the yard got a good drink. If you look closely you will see that around his neck is the faintest of tan lines. 

We saw this crane at the pond, probably trying to catch some frogs. We have quite a few frogs already.
Chris has begun treating the pond to get the clay to settle. It's slowly getting better, even though it still looks like a giant mud puddle in this picture.
I bought this big turtle at a flea market down the road from us. I have been eyeing it for a long time. He had a couple of little buddies that I may end up going back for. 
Our sweet neighbor spread bluebonnet seed all around our pond last fall and we have lots popping up all over. It's really awesome to see.
I played with my camera some. I am still figuring out the millions of settings and functions it has. These photos of flowers are untouched. 

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Our weekend project

I like to do little special project with Levi on the weekends. Last weekend we made this step stool. On the top it says 'Reaching for the stars....Begins with one small step.'   Isn't it cute? 

Friday, April 04, 2008

Poor Little Beggar Boy

I still don't think Levi is 100%, but it hasn't slowed him down too much. He was pretty tired last night and after I tucked him in bed I realized he had something in his hand. I asked to see it and realized he was clutching a fistfull of change. I have no idea where he got it, but I didn't think it was a good idea to let him sleep with it, so I took it out of his hand an placed it onto the night stand. He had a complete meltdown, crying giant crocodile tears, quivering lip, the whole nine-yards. I finally calmed him down enough to ask him what was wrong, and in between sobs he croaked, 'That was all the money I had to buy a toy'. Like he was some poor little beggar child whose life savings I had just taken away. He was seriously pathetic and I had to stifle a laugh cuz he was so darn cute. I re-assured him that the money would stay right there for him. He stopped crying and 10 seconds later was sound asleep. Poor little beggar child. Maybe I should get him his own pencil cup and a cardboard sign....

I ordered some shorts and tank tops for him the other day. I got a pretty good deal. Three pairs of shorts and three shirts for $10.92. They came in the mail yesterday and when I told him the package was for him he practically shot across the room to get to it. He tore it open and then had to try them on and model them for us. I know the days where he is thrilled to get clothes in the mail will be ending soon, but it sure is nice while it lasts. It is also very nice to be able to clothe him for so little. All too soon he will be demanding Abercrombie or whatever the store-du-jour is then. Someone please tell me boys are not as hard to buy clothes for as girls are.

The search for a vehicle for Katie is on. The criteria are that it has to be safe, reliable, not carry too many other people, get good gas mileage and be safe. Yeah, I said safe twice. After her accident last year, I cannot stress how important safety is. Price comes into play too. We don't believe in just handing things to our kids leading them to a false sense of entitlement. We want our kids to appreciate what they have in life and know that you have to work hard to do well. How do you balance the desire to give her some independence (and frankly, free me up from a lot of chauffering around) and not lead her to feeling like she deserves a car to just be handed to her? I told her last night that in an effort to get her some transportation and yet take good care of the environment we were going to buy her a Donkey to ride to school. I was only half joking. Whatever we end up doing, she will need to contribute to the costs, she will have to sign a contract that she understands appropriate car usage and the consequences of failing to follow the rules. (ie: speeding ticket = 1 month no car) We also plan on customizing the paint on her vehicle to make it easily identifiable so that all the other people we know in the community will recognize her and be able to tell us if she is driving irresponsibly. (It take a village!) I keep telling her I am going to put signs on her car that say, 'How is my driving? Call my Mom 555-2349'. Oh, and Chris has already scoped out a GPS system where we can see instantly where she is, and you can download driving info, like top speed, etc. None of this is intended to 'catch' her doing something wrong. She will know it's there. It is just insurance that she will make the best decisions since she knows we are watching. Just call me psycho mom. Maybe I can parlay this into a turn on the Dr. Phil Show! Psycho Mom tracks teenage daughter's every move. Or maybe that is more of a Jerry Springer show? I better go practce throwing chairs.....
Wait, the search is over. Ellie found the perfect car! Safe (bounces rightoff of other cars) doesn't carry many people and is easily identifiable!!! It fits her personality perfectly, too!!!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Some evening

It has been really hot around these parts lately. Upper 80's most days. Ugh! Yesterday when I got home I did the usual chores. Picked strawberries, watered them, watered other plants, put moth balls around the watermelon plants because something has nibbled them a little, picked up the mail, put out corn for the deer, blah blah blah. (Isn't my life horribly exciting!) All the time I was doing these things, Levi, Grayson (almost 4 yr) and Mina were tearing around the backyard squealing and having a blast. (Updated to add that Mina is the little girl we share our Nanny with. She is 2 1/2 and Grayson is nanny's grandson who comes to play)I got in the house finally and Levi came in, bright pink and overheated, so Katie set him on the counter and got him a glass of ice water. The next thing I know he is spewing like a little Mount Vesuvius and it's all over him, the counter, the cabinets and the floor. I grabbed a towel and wet it down and started wiping him down with it to get the stuff off and to cool him down more. Poor thing, he had eaten about a bushel of red grapes for snack and he was now covered in pukey grape skins. (Gee, thanks for the visual!) Mina was trying to see what was going on and all worried about Levi, Grayson looked like he was about to cry cuz his buddy was sick, the puppy was tearing around like her tail was on fire and the phone started ringing. Katie ran a bath and I got the poor kid out of his clothes and into the tub. Then I left her to watch him and I went back to clean up. (Have I ever mentioned how wonderful it is to have her around at times like this? She is a god-send!!!) After I got it cleaned up, I went back and washed Levi and got him all wrapped in a big fuffy towel and then Mina and Grayson had to give him hugs and make sure he was OK.

After they left and I got his jammies on him, he wanted to lay in our bed and watch TV. He seemed pretty lethargic but no fever. Later I made him some toast and tea and he ate and drank a little. Then he conked out. This morning he was 100% normal and raring to go. We'll have to keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn't overheat again. I know he loves being outside but he will need enforced water breaks and cooling down periods.

So how was your evening? Hah!

I was reading some posts the other day by other working Moms and how to juggle it all. Here is something I found amazing. Most of them said they eat out or get take out at least 2 times a week. What an idiot I am! I slave away cooking and planning meals and I don't have to? Seriously, I must be brain dead or something. Of course, until just recently there wasn't anything anywhere near us. When I first moved out here there was one gas station and nothing else. Plus, I really enjoy cooking. My favorite show is Top Chef (loving the new season) and on the weekends I love to get creative and make up new recipes. To me cooking is fun and enjoyable. Now cleaning? Yeah, not my fave. Too bad Chris wouldn't let me put the floor drain in the living room and add a big flush handle.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Rotten Teenager!!!

I am sure you have all heard of the No Tolerance policy for drugs in schools. This does not include just illegal drugs, but everything from aspirin to rolaids. If a child needs anything during the school day, the parents must bring it to the nurses office, sign a form, allowing distribution, and then the nurse can give it to your child. I have heard of kids getting into trouble for popping a mint into their mouths because it looked like a pill. It is incredible strict and there is no room for common sense.

So 2 weeks ago Katie had her tonsils out. She has a little pain left, mostly just irritation, and she gets headaches in the afternoons. Late last week she mentioned that she took some Tylenol in class and it went away. I told her NO WAY. You can't do that! Never, ever, do that. Don't even have it in your purse. You know what can happen!

Yesterday, on my way home form work, Katie called. She was on her way to cheer at the baseball game. She started out the conversation with, Mom, I need to tell you something, but don't get mad.' She then proceeded to tell me that she had taken tylenol in class for her headache and the teacher had written her up. She got sent to the principals office and he told her that at a minimum she would be suspended for 3 days and that she might get sent to finish out the year at the alternative school. They would have me come in tomorrow and meet with the principal and the school officers to decide her fate. I freaked. I started yelling. 'You knew better. I told you this owuld happen. You are just going to have to suffer the consequences. There is nothing I can do. You knew better.'

While I was ranting I could hear her trying to get my attention. Finally I stopped to take a breath and she yelled April Fools! Whuh? April Fools Mom, it's a joke.

I am going to get that child.......

But I am so proud. You have learned well, Grasshopper!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fools is for amateurs....

I am sure you would expect that April Fool's day is one of my favorite holidays, but you're wrong. You see, it's the ONLY day of the year I don't usually pull pranks, just because they are expected. Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy all the other pranks going on today. So far my favorite is the person who posted an escaped animal warning for the neighborhood near a zoo. It stated that a Loof Lirpa had escaped and was very dangerous and everyone should take cover if they see it. The local police got in on the act and claimed that they were 'on the case' and felt they would successfully have the animal taken care of by tomorrow. (Note: Loof Lirpa is April Fool backwards) Nope, today is just a boring day in my book. Then again, I may or may not have stolen the balls out of the computer mice in the office...

There is a food thief striking here at work. It started small. First we noticed that candy was disappearing when we weren't here. Then someone ate an orange a co-worker left on his desk overnight, leaving the peel in his garbage can. Now lunches are going missing out of the communal fridge. Someone ate half of my friend's pizza he brought for lunch. (But only half, like he would then eat the rest. Yuck!) This same thing happened to me a long time ago at my first real job. The company was way out in the country and there was nothing close by to get lunch from. You either brought your lunch, drove a long way to eat an expensive meal or went hungry. I was a very young, very cash-strapped employee. I had student loans to pay back, was trying to furnish an apartment, pay for a car and get my feet under me. The fact that someone would consistently eat my lunch at least once a week meant I went hungry. Mine wasn't the only lunch to disappear, but it seemed like I got hit most often. Maybe it was because I was bringing things like left-over pizza and not the rice & chicken feet one chinese fellow routinely brought. I finally got so fed up I decided it was time to take a stand. I went to the store and bought a frozen pizza and extra cheese. I added dish soap, cayenne pepper, baking soda and salt, layered cheese on top and baked it. (Note: adding dish soap to a pizza results in the most beautiful bubbles forming in the cheese that browned so nicely!) I didn't want to hurt the person or even make them ill, just give them a very nasty surprise when they bit into their stolen lunch. I figured one bite would do it. I brought it in the next day in my usual lunch bag and placed it into the communal refrigerator. I could hardy wait for lunchtime to check on it. Sure enough the two slices of pizza I had brought were gone. Amazingly, no other lunches disappeared after that. I never found out who was doing it, but I wish I could have seen their face when they took that bite.

Katie is full of BIG plans. Before she heads out to LA she 'needs' to go shopping, she 'needs' to get tan, she 'needs' to lose weight (not going to happen missy) etc etc etc. I think her excitement is natural but there is no way I will allow her to try and lose weight. She just had her tonsils out and I'm sure she lost some weight while she couldn't eat. Luckily, she is pretty grounded so we talked about how she can still eat but try and be a little healthier about it. Eat fruit and not french fries. Eat chicken not burgers. You know, just a healthy lifestyle. Goofy kid. She has always been a healthy eater. She doesn't like sweets very much, prefers salads, and is very active. When she was little she would choose carrots over candy any day. Still does. Maybe that's why she is so tall and thin! Her father is going to go with her to LA. He is super excited about that. I'm glad he can share this experience with her. He misses so much!