Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hey! Where did my weekend go?

Have you ever had one of those weekends? Where you are dog-tired by Sunday evening but have nothing to show for it? Welcome to my world. I am good at telling all y'all (that's Texan for you guys) when I have a sudden burst of energy and tear 'em up, but honestly, not every weekend is a blaze of progress. 

Let's see, this weekend I watered the garden and picked a few tomatoes. I played with the boys a lot. I set up their new quick-set pool and turned the hose on. (Yeah, go me!) I fed people, washed clothes, ummmm...... Shoot. I have no idea how the rest of the time went! I remember quite a bit of Wii-ing, both the game and in the pool. Lots of laughter. Some very tired boys and Mom falling into bed early. 

And there you have it. Guilty as charged. I played away the weekend. Sweet!

Saturday, May 30, 2009


As Angie noted, Ahren is definitely a little Chunky Monkey. It's not that he is fat, he is just BIG. His hands are big, his feet are big, his shoulders are big. He has a big appetite and a big personality. He also has a big mouth!

This is one ornery little booger. I initially worried about how his transition to english would go. That worry didn't last long. He now speaks at above a 3 year old level and has mastered the art of the insult, the joke and the trick statement. He is a comedian. A total one-man laugh fest. 

The other day as he was sitting at the table eating.
A: Mommy, this is my favorite mac-n-cheese and watermelon.
Me: That's nice honey.
He was eating french toast and pineapple. 

A: Mommy, I pooped on the floor.
Me: Ugh. Oh Ahren. 
I go in the bathroom and there is a nice little poopoo in the potty. Nothing on the floor.

A: Mommy, my booty hurts.
Me: Why honey? let me see.
His underwear is on backwards and pulled up under his armpits. Ouch!

A: You are a Tootie , Tootie, Tootie Butt (to another child)
Me: Ahren! 
A: Tootie!

A: Mina, you're a boy (said with a smirk)
Mina is really a girly girl, a wannabe Princess in the worst way
This is guaranteed to elicit tears, wailing and much dramatic response
All the while Ahren has the 'Who Me?" innocent face on a la Alfred E. Neuman

A: Daddy, I pee on the couch?
D: No 
A: I pee on the floor?
D: No
A: I pee on the dog?
D: No Ahren, you pee in the potty
A: Oh.   I pee on you?????

I am usually caught between a smile and exasperation with this boy! Isn't he glorious!!!

Oh, and when he gets in trouble he looks up at me with those huge deep dark eyes and impossibly long lashes, and he says:

'I wuv you Mommy'

And Paula, I need chocolate in the WORST way!!!! e-mail me and we can check flights and lodging. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Good Clean Fun

What to do? It's the end of a long week, the weather is hot and muggy and the munchkins were restless. Nanny is at the doctors so it was just me. In an attempt at entertaining a 5 yr old, 2 three year olds and a two year old, I filled up the empty sandbox with water, got them into play clothes and let them loose. I then found a bunch of all-plastic toys, some paint brushes and a bottle of baby wash. They spent an HOUR washing toys and each other. Now they all smell like lavender baby soap and are happy little campers. 

Afterwards I filled them full of lunch, put the littlest camper down for her nap and now the other three are playing 'restaurant' in the living room with a bunch of plastic ware and silverware. It's a good thing it's all pretend food because I have been served enough potatoes, ice cream and salad to feed an army!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Back to normal

Levi is pretty much back to normal. He has been a little quieter than usual (that was a nice surprise) but otherwise just fine. Thanks for all your well-wishes. It all happened so fast that I really didn't have much time to be scared, but I keep thinking about how he looked when they carried him out of the school and OMG!!! How do parents who face truly devastating things with their kids do it? My hats off to all of you. 

We are enjoying a quiet weekend here. It's rainy so no yard work. I am still busy painting. The small bathroom off the mudroom is now a lovely sunny yellow and the dining/sunroom are changing to a light cream color. It's all looking so much lighter and brighter. I started on the living room yesterday but I ran out of paint and didn't get around to picking up more today.

I am making vegetarian enchiladas for dinner and then we are having old fashioned root beer floats for dessert. Yum! Right now Chris and the boys are playing with the wooden marble maze construction set. You know, where you build it and the marble rolls down the little incline parts, dropping into the next section, etc. Old fashioned fun. 

I spent the afternoon with some special people. My girlfriend Melissa found out a couple of days ago that they will be bringing home their first child on Tuesday. They have been wanting to be parents for so long and just about every thing that could go wrong did. These parents have been waiting for years and their dream is finally coming true. I can't think of anyone who is more deserving or who will be better parents. Sometimes, when you have waited this long and wanted it so badly it is hard to accept it is finally happening. I know my friends are full of fear and apprehension and nothing I can say will make it less scary. Only time (and a screaming infant at 3 am) will make it seem real to them. My other friend Kristine and I took Melissa shopping. We spent time talking and walking every aisle of the mega baby store. We debated cloth versus disposable, Dr. Brown's versus Avent, pacifiers versus thumbs, Boudreaux's versus Balmex. You know, all the really important stuff. But mostly we just rejoiced with her. Reveled in the fact that on Tuesday, she will be a Mommy, and there will be one extremely lucky little peanut in their lives. Isn't adoption just the best thing ever!!!!!!! (And Melissa, when you read this, don't cry! You either Jason!!!! LOL!)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Levi's Field Day at School

 Yesterday was Field Day/Water Day at Levi's school. It is a tradition to have a day of outdoor activities to celebrate the end of the school year, but seeing as how we live one notch above the equator and it is already hotter than hades here, the school opted for a day of water fun. Water slides, water games, hot dogs and treats. 

  Now, if you haven't noticed, my son is pigmentally challenged. I was worried he would get sunburned. I made sure and coated him up with SPF 50 water-proof epoxy-based sunscreen. Two coats in fact, from the crown of his head to this toes. Then I put him in long board shorts and a rash-guard shirt. He was set! 

  I thought I had it all covered. Water bottle in his bag - check. Sunscreen - check. Change of clothes - check.  Towel - check. Helmet - uhhh, what?? 

  An hour after I dropped him off the phone started ringing. I missed it the first time (darn potty break) but 2 minutes later when it rang I got it. It was the school. Levi had fallen and knocked the wind out of himself and seemed to be having some trouble breathing. We have been fighting his asthma for the last 10 days and even though he had his meds that morning i figured he must be having a flare up. I grabbed his inhaler and headed to the school.

  Luckily, the school is less than 5 minutes from our house. I was going to mow the lawn so I hadn't showered and was wearing 'yard' clothes (as in, no one but the weeds would be seeing me) no makeup, hair barely brushed, etc. I figured at the worst I would be bringing him home for a nebulizer treatment and some quiet time. 

  As I pulled up, two teachers came running out of the front door, followed by a woman carrying Levi. He was limp, pale, struggling to breathe and blue around the lips. He didn't respond to me at all when I grabbed him. We threw him into the car and one of the teachers jumped in with me and I drove for the walk-in clinic 3 blocks away. We pulled up, I grabbed levi and she parked my van. I ran in t he front door yelling HELP and the doctor came running. he pulled us into a room, they slapped oxygen on Levi, began taking vital signs and yelled to them to call 911. 

  The ambulance was there in no time, and soon they had him in a cervical collar, strapped to a board on loading him into the back. I rode right beside him (I took a picture with my cell phone but can't seem to figure out how to get it to the computer) He had his eyes open but no one was home. He couldn't answer any questions, he was just grunting with the effort to breathe in and out. I called Chris and he headed for the hospital, actually arriving only seconds after we did (I hate to even think how fast he must have driven). The doctor saw him within moments of us arriving, ordered a CT scan, x-rays, etc  etc. They cleared him to come off the board and collar within a short time. 

  About 2 hours after arriving at the school, Levi began to answer questions. First just yes or no, and then bit by bit more words and info. Here is what we found out.

  The class had been on the water slide and they had started jumping off the top. They were told to stop and then were leaving the water area. Levi somehow stayed behind, out of sight. He remembers being at the top of the slide and jumping, then landing hard on his back. Then nothing. They found him wandering on the playground looking dazed. When they talked to him he wasn't able to answer them so they took him to the office, changed him to dry clothes and started calling me. Things went downhill very fast. Between the first and second calls, only 5 minutes apart, he began having the breathing trouble. Then in the 5 minutes it took me to get there he turned blue, went limp and became un-responsive. I pulled up just as they were about to call 911, and the rest is history.

  So what happened? When he jumped off the slide, he missed the slide and landed hard on his back, causing his brain to slosh inside his skull with great force and give him a concussion. Then he apparently swallowed/inhaled water causing his lungs to seize up and his oxygen levels to drop. By the time we were at the clinic his body temp was 96 degrees and he was in shock.

  Once he started acting more alert, we got them to let us go home and I rested in bed with him the rest of the day. Today, he was a quieter version of his normal self. Amazing. The whole thing. Absolutely amazing. And scary. 

  Next year they are banning the water slide. Maybe a nice, small sprinkler......


Thursday, May 21, 2009

She may be blonde....

but this girl is no dummy! 
We have a statewide mandatory testing system called TAKS. It is a HUGE deal in Texas. They prepare all year for it, it takes an entire day of testing
for each area of study and the scores are extremely important to the school ratings and student placement. So guess who aced her this year? Yes siree Miss Kaytee. She got commended scores in math, english and social studies and only missed one question on the history portion, tying for the top score in the whole school. 
Also, last week, they had the awards ceremony for the visual arts department and Kaytee and her team won 5 1st place awards and several 2nd and 3rd place awards for a music video they made. I will try and link to it so you all can see it. It was really good. I was extremely proud until my goofball daughter got up to make an acceptance speech and thanked me for teaching her how to lie in a ditch (she had to do that in the video). Um, yeah, thanks. I wonder what the other parents and faculty thought....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Moving on, looking for God's hand

I haven't really finished the story of PBJ for you, mostly because I still don't know the ending of it or really how I feel about it. For the whole story of our attempt at adopting her you can refer back to the posts I did in December titled Peri Brynn, Peri Brynn continued and Peri Brynn Part 3. The current status is that we do not have a case, the birth mother was deemed incompetent by the courts, PBJ is in an orphanage in limbo, and we can't do anything about it. There are a lot of things that went wrong from the very beginning.  We are accepting it and moving on, or at least making the effort to move on. How do you do that knowing she is out there and needs us so much? I don't know. 

For now I am focusing on seeing the work of God in the little things around me. Spring in the south has sprung and I am embracing it!

Blooming flowers full of color
Working on my butterfly/hummingbird garden
Tomatoes growing big and round
Blooms on the squash
Salvia, a plant that attracts butterflies
This is my redneck method of keeping the birds from feasting on my garden. So far it is working really well!
Plump peppers
The shiny new growth on a magnolia tree
Large rodent (I mean dog) sunbathing on the patio
Little helping hands
I love how the blooms and leaves are reaching for the sky
Cucumbers (or as the boys call them, pickle plants)
The corn is as high as an elephants eye (well, a really small elephant)

I am feeding my children and my broken heart with the bounty of the earth. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Oh my goodness!

I promised you some stories of patients helped through vision therapy and then I went and ignored all of you (that would be 'all y'all in Texan) I have a good reason, really I do. But first, I will give you the stories.

Some of the patients we see are just the average, run-of-the-mill type kids with a lazy eye or crossed eyes. They often present with low self-esteem, are quiet and withdrawn, and have been having trouble in school. At first it is difficult to draw them out of their shells. We tell them that nothing they do in our office is wrong, they will not be graded, this is not a test. They can feel free to tell us what they think and feel and that they should speak up and tell us if anything is hurting or bothering them. This can be very hard for them, at first.....and then they begin to blossom. Their smiles brighten when they see us. They tell us about the wonderful test grades they got in school, the book they read, the new friend they made. As their vision improves, they find themselves. It is amazing!

The real stories, though, that blow me away, are the kids with other issues. Children with Autism, Aspergers, Tourettes, ADD, ADHD, and many more diagnoses. As is the case with many things, when there is one problem with the way the brain works, there are many problems.  Since vision is mostly neuro (brain) it is not surprising that vision problems are an issue. Would you believe me when I tell you that I have seen a child with autism go from not being able to make eye contact, to looking in my eyes and talking to me (in a meaningful way) and actually spontaneously HUGGING me? A child that could not coordinate hands and feet well enough to play even basic childhood games to hitting a ball into the outfield in a baseball game? A child who never smiled, never spoke above a whisper and who seemed painfully shy, actually BOUNCE into the office to show me her new purse? Or how about the child who couldn't read without a blinding headache getting hooked on a fiction series that is 2 grade levels above their age and tearing through the first two books in record time? Let me tell you about the child diagnosed ADD who when we were halfway through the course of therapy went off meds and never needed them again and was no longer ADD? Or the child who had never passed one of the achievement tests in school who passed ALL of them for the first time?

I was a doubter. Seriously. How could these exercises really do anything? And yet, I knew enough to know how connected all of our systems are and how important vision is to everything. The patients I have seen have convinced me. You cannot fake that. It is real. And it is AMAZING! 

Did you know that most professional baseball players include a stipulation for Vision Therapy in their contracts? The therapy gives them an edge in seeing a ball coming at them at 90+ miles per hour. Or seeing a pop fly falling towards them. In fact, many sports are now adding Vision Therapy to their training. like hockey, football and basketball. Even eyes that function just fine can gain an advantage with this type of therapy. It seems like the sky is the limit in this area!

So what have I been doing that has me away from all of you? I have been painting our house. The inside. The builder grade flat paint is just NOT holding up. I am SICK of it. So in my usual manic-wild-hair fashion I have been re-painting everything. Let me tell  you, I am sore. Painfully sore. I am bruised and scraped and my muscles are feeling like hamburger. But it's starting to look better. Brighter, shinier, and new again. I just wish I could say the same for me. Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.......

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My new job

  I got called in to work yesterday afternoon, and as I was getting ready to leave I told the boys bye and that I was headed into work. Levi looks at me all puzzled and says, "But I thought you got fired?" I laughed all the way there. He really loves it that I am home so much more now, and so do I!!!

A lot of people have been asking what I am doing at my new job so I thought I would explain it. I am a Vision Therapist. I work with people (mostly children) to retrain their eyes, muscles and brains to function together. Even a person with 20/20 vision can have issues with how their eye muscles and brain work together to interpret visual data. 

A bit of background: every minute our brains take in millions of bits of data and process it. Over two-thirds of that data is visual. When a baby is born, the eyes, muscles and brain do not have all the connections to process data. Over the first months and years of life, we develop the ability to process the data. If there is anything that goes wrong during that process, the connections can be faulty. Examples would be illness during that period of development, premature birth, muscle weakness in the eyes (lazy eye or crossed eyes) etc. Our brains are amazingly adept at compensating, so a child that has an issue may develop amazing language skills, but their motor development may be lacking. Or they may be an amazing athlete, but struggle in school. These types of vision problems are often picked up in school as either reading/math problems or attention problems. (Think about it, if the words on the board or page tend to wiggle and go double, would you want to keep paying attention or would your mind drift off???) 

Our doctors have specialized testing that allows them to pick up issues with how the eyes, muscles and brain are working together (even in infants). If they see a problem, they will schedule more intensive testing (which is part of what I am learning) We test extensively for how a person processes data and where there might be a issue. The earlier a problem is caught and addressed the easier it can be fixed. Children's brains and muscles are much more responsive to re-training than adults. Plus, if we can correct the issues before they are too dependent on their compensation mechanisms, they won't have developed bad habits that they will have to overcome.

The therapies consist of re-training the visual system, and depend on the specific issue each patient faces. A child with a lazy eye will get exercises to build up the weak muscles and then re-train the eyes to work together. A patient who cannot focus their eyes at close distances will be put through exercises to gradually increase the ability to converge (bring the eyes together to focus). We have some really cool equipment to work with and some very basic things too. 

We focus on a whole body approach, working in OT (occupational therapy) and PT (physical therapy) concepts. The eyes are part of the entire system, and to get everything working well you have to work it all together. We have balance beams, balance boards, trampolines, balls, etc. We have a lot of fun while accomplishing great things. 

Tomorrow I will share some of our success stories. Be prepared to be amazed. I know I am!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I'm not going to tell you about my Mother's day because you probably wouldn't believe me anyway, and if you did, you would hate me and be incredibly jealous. Just let it be known that this Momma has a huge grin on her face and is very, very happy.

The other day the Mommy over at The Accidental Mommy  posted about all those things she just KNEW she would do and be when/if she ever became a mother. She made me laugh out loud and also think back to a few of the things I just 'knew'. 

Before I had kids, I always knew that my kids would never go out of the house dressed in anything but decent, cute, matching, stylish clothes. When I first had Katie, even on a tight budget, this was no problem. She quite happily wore whatever I stuffed her pliable little body into and looked adorable in anything. Later, she began to voice her own choices in clothes so I solved the problem by always hanging complete outfits, with matching accessories, on hangers and letting her choose an outfit. That worked well for a long time. Then along came Ashley. Ashley, of the strong, opinionated, mouthy fashion-sensed toddler-hood and I began to crack. Did it really hurt if she wore the pink tennis shoes with the blue dress? it was just easier to give in on that and save the battles for the really important things. 

The boys have been pretty easy. Of course, there are much fewer choices in boys clothes than girls, so it simplifies things a lot. But still, I had my standards. I prefer khakis and polo shirts, button-downs and creased pants, the preppy look all the way.

here is what I love to se the boys dressed in: Their sweet easter outfits, and Levi even has on a tie! it is nerdy-mommy heaven, I tell you.

For everyday wear, here is a set of coordinating outfits. Navy blue and Khaki, you can never go wrong. Even their socks match. Aren't they handsome?
Yeah, well, those two photos happen to represent 2 days out of the past 2 months. And those happened with many threats, bribes and whining (on my part and theirs!) Here is what they normally look like. This is Levi, channeling his inner ninja/walk the line/emo side. Now, remember, it has been 90 degrees most days and yet he still insists on long pants and cowboy boots. 
That is, when I actually get him into clothes. most days if he is at home he is only half dressed. (This is better than it used to be, since at least he is HALF dressed instead of nekkid!)
I sent him to school one morning in a pair of distressed jeans and a cute shirt, and here is how he came home. Apparently the lure of that small hole in his knee was too much and he had to explore it. He reports that it made a wonderful rrrrrripping sound. Yeah. I'm sure.
This type of outfit is seen almost daily around here. it has been sighted at the grocery store, the library and the pet store. 
We seem to end up with a lot of plain ol' play clothes. I guess it is a lucky day when they actually don't clash. Note that he even has on red/white/blue socks, which coordinate nicely. 

Nowadays, if my children actually represent who I am as a mother, and reflect on me as a person, I would have to say I am mostly a SLOB. A fun loving, sometimes coordinated, still adorable, slob. But my kids are happy, they are clean, well fed, mannerly and bright. They may not be the fashionistas I envisioned, but I wouldn't change a thing. 

Hey Paula Z, Happy First Mother's Day with THREE daughters!!!! I love Y'all!!!!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

An Open Letter

Dear House Gremlins,

  Why do you revel in your attempts to drive me crazy? Don't you realize I am already there? Seriously, there is no challenge here. Go pester someone else!
  Was it really necessary to put my new bird feeder on top of the cabinet in the bathroom? Or to put the new pack of gum I had just purchased on top of the refrigerator? Both places that I have absolutely no ability to see without the aid of a tall chair or ladder, by the way. Did you feel it necessary to hide the only notarized copies of our updated homestudy inside a folder of school info, inside of a drawer, under a pile of other junk? I bet you laughed your little gremlin heads off when I had to pay to get new copies and have them over-nighted to get them in time. 
  And why exactly is all the carpet in the living room damp? (Maybe I don't want to know the answer to that!) But again, I bet you laughed when you saw me drop to my knees to sniff the wet carpet, fully expecting the smell of pee. (It wasn't, whew!) And gremlins, was that potato chips you ate in my bed, under the covers, and then re-made the bed so I wouldn't suspect a thing before I shoved my tired and sore body (after a day of mowing and painting) into the scratchy, crunchy mess. 
  It was pure genius of you to slip the back door open just mere moments before the kids popped the latch on the dog's kennel, releasing our 6-pound Cujo to run off through the woods to chase the deer. For the umpteenth time. This week. 
  What did you think was the fun in stacking the stuff in the cabinet in such a way that when I opened the door the 4-month old expensive blender came crashing out and smashed to smithereens on the tile floor? What do you have against smoothies? (I now have 2 working blender bases and NO glass container) 
  Why is the left shoe from 3 pairs of my shoes missing? Why was there an apple core behind the couch? Where are all my socks and why did I end up with a pair of my husbands the other day (which I pulled on in a half-asleep state and then realized the heel was halfway up the back of my leg)? How come every time I grab a bath towel I get the one nasty scratchy, sand-paper off your skin, non-absorbent piece of garbage towel (which I am too cheap to throw away)? Why did I find the flouride rinse I bought the boys in the top of a kitchen cabinet when it was obvious it should go in the bathroom? 
  The other day you were extra clever, though. I was preparing for a little project and had just dug through kitchen cabinets to find the items I needed. I went to change my clothes and by the time I got back to the kitchen, they were all gone. Poof! My memory may be a tad flighty, but come on, 2 minutes and you think I would forget? I curse you, Gremlins!  
  Leave me alone! Go pick on someone else. Find a family who seems perfect and mess with them. Leave me and my chaos in peace! I mean it. I am prepared to get ugly.....

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Getting my Mama Mojo on!

Ever since I lost my job at the end of January I have been pretty lazy. Suddenly there wasn't the need to run errands on my lunch hour, plan meals ahead, multi-task like a lunatic with my tailon fire.  I have enjoyed just bopping through the days with no plan and no pressure, but it has started to wear on me. I just don't feel like ME!

Now that I have a job and work late a couple of nights a week (OK, late to me is I have to work until 6pm. I know, pathetic, but it puts a crimp into the evening routine) I would get home, scramble to find something for dinner, get it cooked and on the table and then clean up, do baths, etc etc. I finally decided it was time to get organized. I planned some meals, each with the thought that it would provide for at least 2 meals in various forms. Tuesday I cut up a pork butt (hee, I said butt!) and threw it in the crockpot with barbeque sauce. When I strolled in the door I threw some garlic rolls in the oven and whipped up a fruit salad. Wednesday i prepared a meatloaf before work, and Nanny threw it in the oven for me at 5:30. I pulled a container of real mashed taters out of the freezer (when I make them I make a ton and freeze the extras in dinner-size portions) When I rolled in the door, I took the cover off of the meatloaf, went and watered the garden (I was hoping to get some tomatoes for a fresh salad) and then heated up the potatoes and dinner was served. (Ahren ate 2 man-sized servings of potatoes!) Tonight we will have the leftover BBQ pork, cooked down and made into pork sandwiches. 

This week I have also mowed the majority of the lawn (4 hours on a riding mower and my back is killing me), painted a bathroom, been to the library, doctors office, grocery store, bank, school, paid the bills and shaved my legs! I am working the Mommy Mojo hard. 

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

For Sandra!

Hola mi uno familia! Yo quiero, mucho mucho!

Muy epsecial, Darian.

We talked to Ahren's foster family the other day. They are wonderful people and we miss them very much. This post is for them so they can see how much he has grown, how happy he is and how much we love them.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

In the car

Driving home form levi's school today.

Me: Levi, would you like your friend B to come over Thursday to play?

Levi: Is it OK if he is sick?

Me: Oh, wasn't he at school today?

Levi: he was there.

Me: Does he have a cold?

Levi: No.

Me: Is he sick?

Levi: no.

Me: Well why did you want to know if it was OK if he was sick?

Levi: Just in case he gets sick and we could treat him a little bit. 

I am still confused, but I am getting used to it.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Carnival or 3-Ring Circus?

Yesterday was the carnival at Levi's school. I slept 10 hours straight last night. I'm still tired.

Here is why:

Sometimes I amaze myself at my stupidity. Take for example this recent behavior on my part. Levi's little private school was planning their spring carnival. They sent home sheets to have parents sign up for things. I am thinking, well hey, I can spare some time on that day and help at a booth or game. I can help with set up or clean up. Whatever. So I signed up and sent the form back. 

Next thing I know I am on the committee! I could have said No, but again I thought, I have free time and I can help, so I spent the next month at meetings. I took the lead on the silent auction and raffle. In the beginning, we had 7 baskets for the auction. You know, the themed baskets that each class puts together. There was a Family Fun Night basket, a cooking basket, a Pamper Mom basket etc etc. Parents donated items for each basket, and then we got additional donations from the community. Things were moving along well. Each week I inventoried the baskets and then made lists of what items would be needed to fill in the holes. Whenever someone donated money we would use some to purchase the items needed.  I would run and buy the items and deliver them. 

We had one super-mom who used to be in charge of fundraising for a company and put her many talents to work. As the weeks passed, she came in with items for more baskets and for the raffle. The 7 baskets turned into 10, then 12, then 15 and it kept on growing. The head of the committee came up with an idea to have each class decorate a flower pot with the class theme. We had beautiful pots with hand-print zebras, thumb-print ducks, etc. That added 7 more items for the auction. The raffle went from 2 free pizzas to over 200 items! 

I spent hours and hours placing raffle items in individual labeled envelopes, making lists of who donated what and keeping all the contact info for sending thank you notes and giving credit where credit was due. I made sheets with the contents of each basket listed. I made auction bid sheets for every one of the 31 auction items. I made sure each and every item was accounted for and acknowledged properly.

In addition, I made a game booth (Lollipop pull). With Chris's help, I built it, painted it, hauled it to the school, supplied 400 suckers, a table to set it on and prizes. I hauled my own extension cords, chairs, tables, hot dog steamers, and misc to the school. I ran and got all of the supplies for the Funky Hairdo booth (41 cans of colored hair spray, etc) I worked all day Thursday and Friday getting things set up. In order to get all of this done, I got up at 3 am on Friday and 3:30 am yesterday.  I rounded up 4 teenagers to sit at game booths for 4 hours on a Saturday for free (That in itself is a miracle!) to help free up parents to enjoy the carnival. 

Yesterday morning I get to the school early to begin setting up. It's hot and horribly muggy and soon I am a disgusting sweaty mess. A couple of the teachers had volunteered to wrap the baskets but I found that they had not finished them all  so I had to do it. I set up tables, cleaned them off, arranged all the auction items, posted the rules, finished the baskets, hauled the big items (bicycles, etc) there, etc etc. I set up the tables for the raffle, hung signs, set up the tables for the DJ, hauled chairs and tables to the other building for games, etc etc. The only thing I had yet to do was write in the opening bid for the auction items. I was waiting on input from the school owner. 

This is where the train left the tracks. I am tired, hot, sweaty, thirsty and stressed. The owners' mother and one of the teachers take it upon themselves to re-arrange the auction and decide on the opening bids. I tried to tell them I had it under control but they just took over. I walked away and did something else for a few minutes. Then I heard them discussing the rules. Apparently, the rules did not meet with their approval so they decided to tear them up. Yep, pull down the signs and TEAR THEM UP. 

The next few minutes are a blur. I saw red haze, I told them to do whatever the Bleep they wanted to because although I had spent WEEKS killing myself over this, they apparently knew better and I was DONE. The could do whatever they wanted, more power to them. 

Later, as I sat at the raffle booth, trying to ignore the auction, I noticed that it wasn't going so well over there. The two women who took over were no where to be seen, small children were writing in outrageous bids, people crossed out other people's names, and one bid sheet had mysteriously ended up underneath another basket where no one else could bid on it. I swallowed my pride, went over and fixed things, changed some of the 'too high' opening bids to something more reasonable (you don't have an opening bid of $100....) told the kids they were not allowed to bid they had to have their parents do it, and organization was restored. 

In the end the carnival was a great success. Next year, when they send out the form to sign up? I will burn it. (Someone please remind me of this post in case I forget!!!)

Oh, and I am embarrassed I lost my temper. No matter what, I shouldn't have blown up. No matter what.