Thursday, January 29, 2009

Doctor, Doctor

In the past month we have had to rush Levi to the ER 3 times. The first time was due to severe abdominal pain. They couldn't find the cause and he began to feel better after a number of hours so they sent us home. Then he had an asthma attack that sent us off to the ER again. Then this week, he again began to have severe abdominal pain, which led to vomiting and a low-grade fever. I called his pediatrician and they said to head straight to the ER. We were there 7 hours and they could not figure it out. They ruled out appendicitis and a blockage, but no idea what it was. (Urban Blonde, I know what you are thinking!)

So today we had a lengthy visit with his pediatrician. He has lost 10% of his body weight in the past month. There are quite a few things it could be so the plan is to begin testing and ruling in or out each possibility. They sent us for blood and urine and then we will be heading for other tests tomorrow. The poor lab tech looked at all the tests ordered and then told us that was a lot of blood for such a little guy. She said she would do her best but we might have to come back the next day to get it all. She had me hold him on my lap and she explained what she was going to do. He was tense but held very still. She got a good stick on the first try and managed to get it all. Yeah Lab Lady! Levi whimpered slightly but didn't cry. When she was done he informed both of us that he did not like that. Poor sweet boy! She thought he did such a great job that she gave him 6 stickers. 

Yesterday I took Ahren for his 3 year checkup. (Soon we won't have the same insurance so I needed to get everything taken care of right away) They weighed and measured him, and then measured him again. He has grown over 2 inches since October! He hasn't gained any weight, though. He went from the 50th percentile for height to the 80th, and from the 80th for weight down to the 50th. She was absolutely amazed at his speech, too. He is still behind a bit in gross motor skills and she also is referring us to a pediatric neurologist for some muscle weakness issues. The kicker was when she looked in his ears and he had a double ear infection. I didn't have a clue! No fever, no crankiness, no pulling on his ears, nothing. What the heck? We both got a laugh out of that! We are also going to take him to see a pediatric ophthalmologist. She saw something 'off' in his right eye and she wants us to get it checked out. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Family Project

We have a big family project we have been working on. Our goal is to re-do the boy's room to fit the two of them. Requirements: Durable, strong, storage, indestructible. Chris designed a platform bed for a queen sized waterbed and set to work. He built it out of heavy lumber and then we all set to work priming and painting the frame.

Once the paint was dry, the assembly process began. Of course, this involved all of the Y chromosomes in the house. Power tools- woof woof! 
We used the other areas of the room for toy bins and tried to get everything organized.
Shoes went into a shoe caddy over the closet door.
And the base of the bed held storage bins for toys, toys, toys and um...whatever!

More to come!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Karmic Balance

I have a rather unusual sense of right and wrong, yin and yang, good and evil. A good friend and I often joke about losing our feathers from our Angel's wings with every snarky, snide comment we make. Heck, some days I don't have a single pin feather left! But I do believe that there is some sort of balance in the universe. Good balances bad, positive balances negative, that there is some sort of equality to the energy around us. 

As an example: Ahren's adoption was long, painful and probably the most horrific experience in my life. Then, once the end was in sight, things began to flow faster and faster. The problems began to disappear, and what we were left with was the most wonderful, funny, happy, loving little guy! It feels as though he has been here forever. He is absolutely the perfect fit for the hole in my heart. See? Balance! 

The loss of my job was devastating. For about 1 day. Then suddenly, on Friday, as I sat knitting while my boys happily played at my feet, jumping up to give me hugs and kisses every few minutes, I felt it. The balance of energy. Peace! I didn't get much of a maternity leave because that company expected me to use my vacation time for it, but they also restricted how much I could accrue at any given time. Even when I was home, I was working on the computer because I knew my team was so short handed they needed me. Not to mention that my boss, who volunteered to take on some of my duties while I was out, performed them for exactly 1 week before dropping them onto my team to take care of. (Shoot, most of what he did I ended up having to fix later on anyway.) My team urged me not to help them. They knew that my son was more important, but I care very deeply for these people. I could not leave them to suffer, not if I could help in some way. 

I love what I do. I love the challenges, the genetic puzzles, the interactions with so many different people, but over the past two years the stress level has steadily risen and my enjoyment had dropped. Most days were good, but the under-current of fear was eating away at all of us. I didn't realize how much it was affecting me until afterwards. Hindsight, yep, 20:20. 

The one thing I have regrets about is painful to talk about. Before my last boss, I had another. A woman who was, well, pretty psycho. I learned to work with her, but tried every way I could think of to get away from her. With the very first round of layoffs I got my wish and was placed under my last boss. Everyone thought of him as an egotistical, arrogant jerk, but I understood his humor. I saw past the facade. I actually LIKED this guy! We had our moments. One day he stormed into my office screaming at me, asking if I was trying to make him look stupid, and I responded that he really didn't need my help in that area. (OK, now you can stop wondering why I am unemployed!) It stopped him in his tracks and then he started talking instead of screaming. I made him laugh. I cared about his life. I worried and prayed for his daughter and wife, and for him. I cared. And that is what hurts. 

When I first started working for him, he told me one day that I better not upset one of his other, long-employed people, because if it came down to choosing I would lose. For two years I did everything I could to earn that status from him. I guess I never did. In the end, he chose his long-standing employees over me and my team.  

And now is where karmic balance comes into play. I am happy. I am free. My life is getting better and better. He is left with no one to make him laugh, to knit hand-made goodies for his babies, to cook home-made candies for the holidays, to actually care. I think he wanted it that way. And that is sad.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fate smacks me upside the head UPDATED

I am now officially un-employed. Funny, driving in this morning they announced that the Texas Employment Commission has a $450 million dollar shortfall for un-employment benefits. Not exactly the best time to be job hunting, either. 

I wasn't upset that I got let go. I was terribly upset that I got let go and they are giving my job to others. People who have never done the work I do. The whole idea was they would be cutting jobs, and if your job wasn't needed then neither were you. So then why are 2 other people being given my responsibilities? Getting let go is enough of a blow to a person's ego without having to add this insult. There is not one person left who knows the necessary functions of what they lost. This should be very interesting. I will enjoy sitting back and watching. Karmic Boomerang carries an awful punch. 

In the meantime, I am so excited to have time with my family, to finally go get library cards for everyone, to visit family, to do projects around the house, to look for a new career. No more Mad Scientist. Now I am just Mad. hah! 

Life is good. 

Home e-mail is  (Yeah, I know, I'm not waiting anymore!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Never dull

I found this picture on my memory stick in the camera. Sometimes this child blows me away with how beautiful she is and how grown up. 

Levi, the Lil Chef. He helped mix up the cookie dough and put them on the pans all by himself. 

Today we made another trip to the ER. Levi had a bad asthma attack and we needed the big drugs. Two breathing treatments and a huge dose of steroids and he is doing better. We will be giving him breathing treatments around the clock for the next 6 days along with daily doses of oral steroids. Never dull around here!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Get a job son

Ahren has been here 5 months. It's about time he started pulling his weight, especially if Mama is soon to be un-employed. Like most boys, we decided he needed to start mowing lawns. We got him the necessary equipment and sent him off to drum up business.

Bye Mom, I'll bring home the money!!!

Concentrating hard on the job at hand.

Making sure he is in a straight line. Quality is very important.
Mowing is hard work!

Disclaimer: No children were harmed in the filming of this farce.

Ahren is LOVING his birthday gift from Mommy and Daddy!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

In which we make lemonade

Again, apologies all around for briefly falling off the face of the earth.  Birthdays times two, an ER visit, three boogery noses, vomit and lots of stress-induced knitting have filled the past week. (Note: I am trying to stress knit instead of stress eat. I'll let you know if it works) 

Update: No progress on PBJ. The foster mom was allowed to visit, and then when she arrived they made an excuse why she couldn't see PBJ but let her leave clothes, toys and diapers. She is scheduled for another visit soon, so we will see. We have talked to the head of PGN and the head of the CNA and they are willing to help, BUT, the case has to pass thru the court first to get back to them.

The company I work for is having serious financial issues and announced a third round of layoffs last week. They tried to make it 'transparent' but it ended up just being torture. They told some people right away, and the rest of us are just waiting. They didn't mean to make such a mess, but nevertheless, it is. I am not so worried about me, as I have a back-up plan, a back-up to the back-up and even a tertiary plan. I am worried about some of my co-workers. Ones who are the sole bread-winners in their families, ones who are expecting new babies any day, and those that have very few options available to them.  Now is really not the time to be job hunting or looking to be able to sell a house and re-locate. 

And now, for something much more fun, I give you the latest on the boys (all 3 of them). Just now, Chris walked through the kitchen with mail in his hand, out the back door onto the patio and began flapping his arms. Levi, Ahren and I watched in wonder (Me, thinking that my sweet hubby had finally had the psychotic break that children drive you to) Turns out he saw squirrels eating from the birdfeeder......or so he says.

Ahren is talking up a storm. We can understand him 99% of the time. Every once in a while it is a challenge. This morning he kept telling me he was bigger. I kept agreeing(He has grown about 2 inches since August) but that didn't satisfy him. He finally came over and showed me. He wasn't bigger, he was BOOGER, and boy was he. Green snot all over his face with hair stuck to it. Lovely. I won't make that mistake again!!!

The other day I was sitting on the couch with Levi when he calmly looked and me and said, 'There are a lot of ways to get pregnant." I hope I managed to at least look calm when I asked him, "Oh really. Like what?" Here is what he said..............

"From a toilet seat"
"In the bathtub"

I said OK. (Mind churning, wondering what stupid after-school special he managed to see) So I asked him where he learned these things and he said House (the medical TV show) Oooohkay. And I left it at that. Hopefully he won't be giving any procreation lectures to his classmates any time soon. But if he does, at least I won't be getting any angry phone calls from irate mommies. 

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ahren turns 3

Last Wednesday was Ahren's 3rd birthday, but the first one we could celebrate with him. Since he has come home he has celebrated halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas (over multiple days) and now his birthday. We felt that all of this might be a bit overwhelming (he didn't seem to think so) so we planned on a very low-key birthday celebration. The day of his birthday I picked up a cake and some balloons and headed home to celebrate with the other kids. We sang, blew out the candles and opened some small gifts. We ate cake and ice cream and had a good time. 

Here is Ahren showing us his tongue for some reason. I think he wanted us to see the ice cream? Shoot, I don't know really why he stuck his tongue out but I got it on film!

Enjoying cake and ice cream while playing with the cake topper - Superman. I wanted to get a Spiderman cake (his favorite) but all of the icing was dark blue and red and have you seen how that stuff stains? I opted for a less-staining superhero and he was happy.

Opening presents. After Christmas he has this skill down pat. 

He surprised me and knew how to blow out the candles! My boy is a genius!!! 
Right about the time the other little ones Mommies were picking them up, Levi began saying his stomach hurt. he was sort of laying around listlessly and Nanny thought he was upset that Ahren got all the attention. I know him better than that and he would never mind Ahren getting attention. Sure enough he began vomiting soon after and then started screaming in pain. When I asked him where it hurt, he pointed to just below and to the right of his belly button. He also began to spike a fever. Oh no, classic appendicitis symptoms. So for Ahren's birthday we spent the night in the ER. Luckily it didn't turn out to be so bad and we got to go home. It might have been his appendix acting up or gastroenteritis, but he got better. 

We rescheduled the rest of Ahren's birthday for the weekend. I will post about that later.

Here is a sweater I knit for baby Holly. It took me about 2 days to knit and uses 4 different yarns. It was really easy to knit and is from Lion Brand. 

Friday, January 09, 2009

Warning: Super Heroes Live here

See, they are everywhere.  They have vehicles of great power to get around. 

They patrol the grounds looking for evil characters. They tell me that the Bad Guys are loose and the Super Heroes are coming to get them. The Bad Guys should be very afraid!!!!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Mama Bear goes swimming

Ever since Ahren came home we have had him in swimming lessons. We started out with a Mommy and Me class where I was in the water with him all the time. He cried a little bit the first day but after that he laughed and enjoyed himself. By the end of the last session, he was in the pool with his teacher and I could sit out and just watch. Over the holiday break he kept asking to go swimming, too. The place we go to is an indoor, heated swim instruction business that caters to kids and katie works there now as an instructor. 

On Monday we started the new session. Both boys moved up a level and now Levi has Katie as his instructor. He listened to her and did really well. Ahren, on the other hand, got a new instructor. Miss Mimi is in her 60's, has a deep gravelly voice, and is very strict/brusk/abrasive. I walked Ahren up to the entrance of the pool and introduced him to her, but before i could get another word out of my mouth, she reached down, grabbed him by the arm and headed for the pool. My happy boy suddenly disappeared and he sat down and dug his heels in and began to scream. I was trying to call to her but she turned and ordered me to the waiting area. She couldn't hear me by this time because Ahren was screaming so loudly. I went to the girl working the front desk, who had seen what was happening and tried to explain. She was trying to tell me not to worry that all kids that age will cry at first. I lost it. My face got bright red and I said, "You do not understand. We adopted him 4 months ago. He did not speak english. We are still working on attachment issues and what she just did was terribly damaging." She knew I was really upset. She went into the pool area and talked to the instructor. I sat where Ahren could see me and each time he looked at me I waved and smiled and tried to look happy. When he wasn't looking I sat fuming and trying not to cry. 

He cried for about 10 minutes, then got quiet and by the end of the 30 minutes was happily playing in the water. When class was over I was waiting. For her. And I let her have it. I told her she needed to take a minute to talk to the parents of the kids so she could get a little information. She kept trying to tell me that he was just acting like a normal toddler, but I set her straight. She may not have believed me, but she definitely got the message that I was NOT happy. On our way out the owner stopped me and we talked. He wasn't there when we started class and he felt bad because he knows Ahren's story and was very apologetic. Later Miss Mimi went to katie and apologized. We will see what next week is like, but if she scares him again, she is outta there. Mama Bear will be all over her!

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Whew. We made it through the holidays in one piece. I have most of the decorations safely put away, the presents have all found spots to reside in, and almost all of the goodies have been eaten. We have managed to celebrate one January birthday and have one more to go. (Ahren turns 3 on Wednesday) Did you know that Ahren and Ashley share their birthday? They do! We didn't know that when we got his referral info, they had the birth date wrong. We found out after we accepted it and took it as a sign from God that we had found our son. 

Tokyo and Bob are getting daily workouts. I set them to clean this morning and realized after a while that Tokyo was missing. I ran around the house calling his name but he didn't answer. Roomba's are stubborn like that. I saw our bedroom door was open and followed the freshly vacuumed trail thru our room, thru the bathroom and into our closet where he was merrily attempting to suck up a shoe. Silly robot! Bob, on the other hand, tends to be more serious, except for the times when his butt falls off and he leaves it behind, running amok and shooting dirt behind him. I believe he may be a bit passive-aggressive, but I need to get to know him better. 

Ashley has gone back to her dad's house and I am missing the holy heck out of her. It never gets any easier, even though I know she is doing great and her dad is a wonderful father. I just wish she was HERE to annoy me on a daily basis as any good teenager should. She left me a little present though. Her bedroom is totally disgusting! I guess she can annoy me even when she isn't here! LOL! Hey Ash, I love you!!!

Our sweet, adorable yorkie puppy is now all grown up. She is six pounds of constant energy and is great with the kids. She has a deep, dark secret, though. She got kicked out of PetSmart! I took her to have her groomed (she has gone before and I routinely bathe her at home too) She got a new groomer and the poor girl was totally intimidated by my little Cujo. The dog freaked out when the girl tried to trim her bangs and jumped back, hitting the scissors and slicing her head open (the dog, not the girl) They took her to the vet and she got it all cleaned up. When I went to pick her up, they explained what had happened, didn't charge me for the half finished hair cut, and told me not to bring her back. As I was walking out with her the manager apologized and then laughed because he was expecting some big vicious dog, not a wiggly fur ball the size of a football. 

Today a friend and I are taking our 4 boys to the mall to do Build a Bear Workshop! This will be Ahren's first experience with BABW, and the other 2 boys first time too. I guarantee a good time will be had by all. Then we plan on eating, playing in the play place and hopefully making a trip to Stride Right to find shoes for Ahren. He has really big feet for his age and they are also extremely wide (think Fred Flintstone!) We have been putting the softest tennis shoes on him (or no shoes) as he has been building up the muscles in his feet and legs. Now he needs a really well-fit pair of shoes. I am hoping with all my might that the poor economy means the mall will be empty!

I know, I know, no excitement around here. Dull, boring, everyday life. I love it!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Princess Ashley Turns 14

We don't do big birthday parties for our kids every year. Most of the time it's a small family celebration or they get to have a couple of friends spend the night. I know, we are probably going to pay for that in therapy bills someday but I'm willing to risk it!

This was Ashley's year for a big party. Throwing a party for her is always difficult. Since she lives with her father 4 hours away and her birthday falls the first week of January, we either have to celebrate during the Christmas break or not at all. So the festivities were set for last Saturday night. 

Take 1 birthday girl, 7 friends, 3 siblings, a stretch limo and be prepared for FUN! 

The limo picked us up from our house and we headed out to dinner at a local mexican restaurant. Ahren rode there with us, ate dinner and then headed home with Daddy. I have pics from the restaurant but somehow I managed to get a huge beer sign in the background of each one. Ugh! Nothing says happy Birthday like a Budweiser! 

Ashley wanted Levi to sit with her in the limo and he was happy to oblige.

Ahren in the limo. I think the amount of noise coming from the girls made him a little anxious!
Ashley opened her gifts in the limo. Cash, candies and a gorgeous blanket that was softer than anything I have ever felt. 
Her friends seemed to be having a good time. 
The requisite MySpace photo-ops.
Why do they always make faces???? 
The proud Mom, enjoying myself and trying not to think about how grown up my sweet baby girl is!!
They figured out how to take pictures using the mirror in the ceiling of the limo.
After dinner we cruised around for a while, soaking up the attention, then we headed for a local chocolate shop. I had booked a 2 hour party after the shop closed. We learned all about chocolate, indulged in a wickedly delicious chocolate fountain, and got to make our own candies. 
Smiles on everyones faces!
Here they are decorating chocolate bars (which they got to keep)

Ashley got her own large chocolate bar. She wanted the chocolate high heeled shoe we made, but she got the bar. Oh well, it still tasted great!
I had to include this shot. That is my Ashley. I can hear the voice in her head, 'Mooooooooommmmmmm!'
After dropping off everyone at their homes we headed back to our house, tired and happy. 

Oh Yuck!!!

Our kids all got electric toothbrushes in their stockings this year. (Santa is a stickler for dental health!) Yesterday Levi came up to me and said, "Feel my butt". I know, I shouldn't have done it, but I reached down and grabbed and then jumped because it was BUZZING! He turned around and showed me he had a toothbrush in his pants (inside his underwear, no less) I told him that was disgusting.

He replied, "It's OK Mom, it's not mine".