Saturday, August 29, 2009

Updates, no whining involved...

We had a very tough decision regarding Levi and school this year. He has not done well in large groups and loud classrooms in the past. By not well I mean he chewed off all his fingernails, wet the bed, cried and had nightmares. And that was only half days, every other day. He lasted 2 weeks and I pulled him out. Then we found the wonderful small school he has attended for two years (and Ahren now goes to). No crying, no anxiety, he loved it! I had him signed up for Kindergarten there, but we decided to push him out of his comfort zone. Since all of the Kindergarten kids were in the same situation, it made sense to make the move now. Here is how he looked the first day of school. This is the best pic I got of him. It breaks my heart. 
Daddy took him the first day and that worked well. Mommy would have cried and then Levi would have cried and well, it would have been very bad. Daddy walked him to his class, he said good-bye and all was well. The next day he was better, and each day after that was even better. He has a boy in his class that was in his class last year so they stick together. 
Here is Kaytee on the first day trying to look like Levi and get him to laugh. Oh so sad....Not!
And here is Ahren and Holly ready for their first day of pre-school. Pack-packs loaded, slung on their backs, and smiles on their faces. The little ones did great!!!!
Levi learning to ride a bike in the living room.   Oh My Goodness......
Holly with her ornery face on. She may be the youngest of the four kids Nanny watches, but she has the spirit of a giant. 
Kaytee in her cheer uniform. Varsity cheer, dating the quarterback, all American!!!
Look at Ahren's head. He got mad because I told him No for something insignificant (meaning I cannot remember what it was) and banged his head on the floor until he made a big ol' rug burn. Nice. Right before school starts. i wonder what the teachers think.....
Levi and I spent one morning working on our laptops in the dining room. Side-by-side, clicking away. Good work was done here!
Brothers, sporting special hair-do's for a party, and loving each other. See the light spot on Ahren's head? That's where the scab fell off. Lovely.
You are going to hate me for this, but I got over 5 pounds of these shrimp fresh off the boat for $30 when we were at the beach house. They were so fresh some were still alive. Look how huge they are! YUMMO!

Reality Bites

UPDATE: Shortly after I wrote the post below Ahren announced he had to go potty and headed in that direction. I soon followed to provide assistance, if needed. (Is my child the only one in the world whose arms do not appear to be long enough to wipe his own bottom? This kid goes through contortions and never seems to hit the spot....) Anyway, I walked in the bathroom door to a little boy with a 'deer in the headlights' look and pee everywhere. Again. Apparently he managed to get his pants down, but not enough to Free Willy, if you know what I mean. He managed to pee all over  himself, his clothes, and the bathroom. I didn't yell at him, just plucked him off the pot and into the tub, cleaned him up, then the bathroom and the clothes. Now, in my head? I said every word not allowed on public television and a few more I invented myself.

  I have been meaning to do a really cute post comparing Ahren a year ago and now. I have wanted to upload pictures from the first day of school and tell you how it went. I have been meaning to update on many things around here that are funny and charming and cute.

 But the reality is that the past two weeks have NOT been much fun. Two weeks ago we started in on the rounds of the fever illness. For one week straight we had one or both boys in a bed with us to keep an eye on fevers and give night time doses of meds. You've all been there and it's no fun but it is what we do for our kids. Add in a weekend at the beach house with one sick kid and you know I started this week off tired. 

  Then there were 2 Open Houses, four first days of school, one very scared Kindergarten-er and issues with buses, car rider lines and schedules. It's been a hectic week. On top of that, the boys are trying to adjust to the new school routines but they are NOT sleeping. This has been a week of nightly musical beds. I swear I have slept in every bed in the house except for the dog's (maybe I would get some sleep there?). I do not do well with out sleep. I can go a few days, maybe a week, but TWO weeks is pushing me over the edge. 

Here it is Saturday, once again, and the house is trashed. There are bicycle tire marks all over the tile. There are juice stains all over the living room carpet that I shampooed just 2 weeks ago. There are ants coming in under the front porch. I need to go grocery shopping, do laundry, scrub nasty bathrooms and deposit a check at the bank. Chris is off running errands and then has to mow so I am on my own for the whole day with the two boys. 

People, this is not going to be pretty. I predict at some point I am going to totally lose my cool and blow.  I HATE that! 

The Circus is in town. I wonder if they might need a middle-aged overweight cranky woman?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


  Our weekend at the beach celebrating Ahren's 1 year anniversary of homecoming was a mixed bag. First, I forgot the camera. Sigh. Then, Ahren spiked a fever that morning changing the plans. Originally we were going to go play in the afternoon with some dear friends and then take off for the beach, but infecting your friends is a no no. So we decided to head out early. We loaded the van, loaded Ahren with tylenol and hit the road. Luckily he fell asleep and got a good nap out of the trip. Unfortunately, when I went to get him out of his carseat I discovered he was blazing hot. His fever was pushing the 104 mark. 

I got him a dose of Motrin and sat him in a tepid tub to bring the fever down. Then I had him drink some cold water. Within about thirty minutes it was down to 101. Poor baby felt really awful all weekend and didn't eat at all. He said his throat hurt and his tummy hurt. I slept with him both nights (lord have mercy!) just to keep a close eye on his temp. 

Even so, we still had a lot of fun. While the meds were working and his fever down he felt better and we went to the beach, rode jet skis and fished. We discovered that Ahren is a total daredevil and kept shouting Faster, Faster on the jet skis. Chris took him and they did go fast. really fast. Chris said they hit 50 mph and Ahren was still yelling Faster! 

He also did better being away from home. We talked about it all week long, about it being us as a family at our other house,  how after the weekend we would come back to our yellow house, and how no m atter where we are we are still together. It seemed to help. He only cried and asked to go home at bedtime. That's another reason I slept with him (again, Oh My Lord!). Sleeping with Ahren is like sleeping with a wild animal. I think I woke up about 30 times the first night. He moaned and groaned and kicked and rolled around, partly because he didn't feel good and partly just because. I slept with him in a twin bed the first night and let Chris and Levi have the king sized bed. The second night I slept with both boys in the big bed and Chris got the twin. Needless to say, the parental units got very little sleep this weekend. 

Levi. Oh that boy. He is a hoot. He decided last week he was ready to ride his bicycle without training wheels. He actually took them off himself. And then he proceeded to bring it into the house and ride around the living room! (Just so you don't think I am insane, I was at work when this happened) He must be the first kid in history to learn to ride a two-wheeler in the living room, and he taught himself. In one day. He rode it so much he had blisters on his hands. We took it down to the beach house with us and he rode all over the place and never fell once. The night I slept with him his little legs would randomly pump pedals all night long. He was riding in his sleep. Silly boy!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Glasses for Guats

Thanks everyone for the great responses. My goal is to collect 1000 pairs! The doctor wants to focus on children and women. he told me the story of a 50 year old woman whose eyesight was failing and she could no longer do the needlework that she earned her living with. He fitted her with glasses and she could see to stitch again!!! She cried, he cried, they all rejoiced because she had her livelihood back. 

Come on folks, spread the word. Glasses for Guats!!!

And now, for something completely different (said in my best Monty Python voice)

Last night was Kindergarten meet the teacher night. Levi fussed and worried all day. he wore himself out worrying. In the end, we all went, including Katie. I think that was the key. She said she went there and would show him around and introduce him to all her old teachers, and she did! He was so happy. I was so happy! In fact, it turns out his teacher is a friend of mine and she is happy too!!!

Now I am going Off-line for a few days. Tomorrow is Ahren's 1-year Homecoming Anniversary and we are heading to the beach house for a three-day weekend to celebrate. I will give full details and pix next week.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Your Help Needed

  Last week one of our doctors went to Guatemala and spent several days running an eye clinic and handing out free glasses. He has been taking donations of peoples old glasses but he quickly learned that the need far out-stripped the number of glasses he had donated to him. So I am asking all of you, if you have old glasses sitting around, please consider donating them to us for his next trip. Old, ugly, bent, scratched, whatever. Dime store cheaters, kids glasses, anything. We will fix them up and make them useable. 

Please send them to :
Child and Family Eye Care
6875 FM 1488 Ste. 300
Magnolia, TX 77354

Has anyone ever read or heard about Esther Maria, the kind elderly woman who lives in a house by the *dump and feeds over 90 children and mothers every day? Dr. Moffatt examined her and gave her her very first pair of glasses. She cried and hugged him, and then looked around marveling at all she could now see. 

*The city dump is an area where the poorest of the poor live, scratching out their survival by digging through the trash each day. Children, from the time they can walk, help the family survive this way, eating what they find. As you can imagine, the mortality rate is very high, the literacy rate very low, and the chances for escaping this life zero. 

Come on my friends, dig out those old glasses and send em on!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Levi has it now

He woke up this morning with a fever, sore throat and a bad case of pathetic-ness. Right now he is curled up on the couch, long sleeve shirt, sweat pants and wrapped in a big blanket. He's not much of a whiner so my fingers are crossed he will be less whiny than the others. 

In Vision Therapy News: 
The other day, while I was reading the blog '5 minutes for special needs' ( I read one mother's post about how vision therapy and vision correction had meant the world of difference to her daughter's success. I am here to say 'Oh Yeah! We are seeing so many kids for evaluations right now. I guess as school is getting ready to start parents are thinking about how to best help their kids have the best educational experience they can. We are seeing a wide range of issues. Kids with lazy eyes and strabismus. Kids with one very dominant eye and the other so weak the brain essentially has just turned it off. Kids who are diagnosed as ADHD whose true issue is a vision problem. (Think about it, if you can't focus on the words on the page, how much attention would you give it?) We have kids who had a brain injury and we need to re-train the eyes, body and brain to work in unison. We have a lot of kids who were preemies who need help to build their vision systems correctly.  And kids on the autism spectrum. Oh those sweet little angels. It makes me cry happy tears as I watch them go from withdrawn and unable to make eye contact to smiling and hugging us, telling us stories and making great eye contact. 

I wish more people knew about Vision Therapy. It goes hand-in-hand with a lot of OT therapies. We are now working closely with an OT group nearby. We see the same patients and coordinate the therapies to get the kids the best of both. It really accelerates their progress. 

I am LOVING my new job!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Something got into me

For some un-explainable reason I got the urge to do some heavy-duty cleaning this weekend. The kind of old-fashioned spring cleaning I used to watch my mother do every spring. I'm not sure if I am late for last spring or early for next spring, but I kicked some dirt-booty this weekend. I scrubbed woodwork, baseboards, door panels, floors, tubs, toilets, and showers. I scrubbed and conditioned the leather furniture. I cleaned off my desk and dusted light fixtures. I steam cleaned the kitchen floor after mopping it twice. I cleaned out refrigerators, took out trash and did laundry. I scrubbed and polished the granite counter tops. I washed windows. (Maybe shouldn't have since a poor bird flew smack into one and knocked himself senseless) I even cleaned out my van and got it washed and vacuumed. 

And yet, my house still looks like a disaster. Why, you might ask, since I seemingly cleaned every inch? Well, that would be because Disaster Boy and his sidekick Booger Butt did their very best to destroy everything I did. Things like dumping a box of cereal on the living room floor and then DANCING on it. So the house might be clean, but it looks like a tornado struck it. Next time I plan on using copious amounts of duct tape to remedy that problem....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

We've been hit by the Whine Flu!

That's right, the newest flu epidemic sweeping the neighborhood. It all started with Holly. One minute she was her perky little self, and the next her cheeks were pink, her eyes red rimmed and she looked absolutely pathetic. A quick assessment told us she had a fever. Two days of fever, non-descript tummy complaints and lots and lots of whining. 

Then today Ahren woke up, saying his tummy hurt and proceeded to make my ears bleed with the non-stop whining. He hasn't really had a fever, but you can tell something is definitely off. He isn't eating and that is very unusual. I finally made him take a nap. He fell asleep 2 minutes after he laid down and slept 90 minutes. The whining is much better now, but still evident. 

So beware everyone. The latest epidemic is the Whine Flu, which makes you want to smack some little H1N1s (hineys). I am still waiting to hear what the CDC has to say about this one......

Friday, August 14, 2009

I run a tight ship!

It takes a lot to keep this family on the right track. I have to run a really tight ship. There are lots of rules but they insure we are all well cared for.

I believe in a very wholesome, mostly fresh food diet.
Even though it has been horribly hot, outdoor toys must stay outdoors.
There is no food or drink allowed beyond the kitchen/dining area. Certainly never on the carpet because that could lead to stains. 
We believe in only peaceful learning toys for our children.
The kids can only play with one toy at a time and that has to be put away before they can get another one.
The little ones are not allowed to play video games, and certainly never until they actually keel over and pee their pants. 
Our kids do not help themselves to food when we are otherwise occupied, leaving big messes behind.

 And I most certainly would never, ever let anyone know that we are anything less than perfect around here, because my reputation is the most important thing to me. Ahem.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


Have you ever been in a situation that is so hilariously BAD that you can't so anything but laugh? Picture this. Ahren is working hard on becoming a big boy. He recently learned how to stand up to pee in the potty. After a few aiming issues were ironed out, he was doing just fine. Now Ahren is still prone to falling down for absolutely no reason. The kid just keels over, bangs into things, and bounces off of walls. Just now he announced he had to potty so in we went. He got his pants down and started to pee.

And then it happened. He fell over. Still peeing. Urine arced out across the toilet, up the wall, back across his own body and kept going. He must have really had to pee because he managed to get EVERYTHING in there wet as he struggled to stand back up. All the while....still peeing. 

And now I get to go clean that bathroom for the second time this weekend. The laugh was worth it, though!


  This week flew by so fast! I am working more and more hours so my extra time is limited. Plus getting 4 kids ready for school. New shoes, new clothes, new supplies, nap mats, lunch boxes, socks and underwear, shot records, doctor signatures, and on and on and on. The paperwork makes me feel like I am trying to qualify for a mortgage not send kids to school. And since when do doctors charge to sign the physical forms? That is just wrong, especially since we paid for the physicals. 

  The girls got home from vacation with their Dad on Friday. Ashley is heading back to Dallas later this coming week so that gave me one week to get things done for her. I got her an eye appt on Wednesday, but couldn't get her into the dentist. We shopped and got her a lot of cute clothes for school. She got her tetanus shot booster last year so she is up to date on shots. I feel like I am missing something.....??? Well, whatever I miss her dad will cover. 

  We are still struggling to keep weight on Levi. He just isn't a good eater. I bought him a smoothie the other day thinking that might be a good way to sneak some extra calories and protein into him. He didn't like it. Sigh. He is six years old and can wear a 24 month size in swim trunks and they fit him. He is growing taller so that is good, but if he gets sick (which he will since he starts public school in a couple of weeks) he just won't have any reserves to fight with. That's how he ended up hospitalized for a week when he got a stomach bug.

  Ahren is none worse for the wear of this past weekends chaos. He has a little bit of a booger-y nose and has been a little whiny, but doing well. His latest thing is that he growls at anyone if they displease him. Tell him No, and he snarls and growls at you. That is going to stop! I will not tolerate him acting like that, so he gets immediate time out when he does it. So far it hasn't stopped him, but he is a stubborn kid so it will take a little while to sink in. 

  No word on PBJ. That is just like all things Guatemalan-adoption related. It doesn't make it any easier, but at least it doesn't surprise us anymore. 

Monday, August 03, 2009

Bad Mom, Bad Mom, whatcha gonna do...

  I have to be honest. There was a down side to our beach weekend. A down side I failed to see coming but should have from a mile away. I was so excited and so sure we were all going to have such a great time that I failed to think about one small boy who has been through way too many changes in his short life.


I failed him big time. I am so sorry and so guilty. He is normally so easy and so adjusted that I never thought about how the weekend might affect him.I had signs. On the trip down there he kept asking about going 'home'. I just kept telling him we were going to our weekend home. When we got there he kept asking to hold me, but I was so busy hauling boxes up the stairs I couldn't hold him. He followed me around, wrapped around my legs most of the day. He drove me nuts with questions. He mis-behaved and acted out all day long and still I didn't get it. There were a lot of people around, lots of chaos and people he didn't know. He wouldn't eat. He cried. He screamed and hit and did so many things he shouldn't do that were dangerous....and I just got annoyed with him. 

And then, when everything quieted down, I suddenly got it. Oh my goodness, what was I thinking? Poor baby was scared to death! He wanted to go HOME. And I didn't get it. I didn't even comfort him. I was just too busy. 

I am the worst Mommy ever. I suck. Big time. I hate myself.

That night I crawled into his itty bitty twin bed with him and snuggled him all night long. I reassured him I loved him and would keep him safe, even as he slept. I slept very little. Oh my sweet little boy. Mommy is here!!! 

On Sunday morning, he woke up and was himself again. The chaos was gone, all the people, the business, it was just us. He calmed down and began to be even-keeled. He slept on the way home and now on Monday, he is himself completely again. 

Sweet, ornery, active and funny. I need to think about the situations for him. That is my job. I might have failed this time, but believe me, next time will be way different.

I promise!!!!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Life is a beach!

This is the main dining area of the house. It will seat 8 people. The buffet behind it holds all of the drinking supplies apparently. (We got it furnished)

Ahren enjoys some corn on the cob. This boy can really get into his food. 

This boat belongs to one of the other owners, and after seeing him trying to maneuver it in and out of the dock (VERY tight) we think we will NOT be using it. Too scary!
Levi trying out the brand new Jet Skis while still on the trailer. He did ride them later but I didn't get pix.

This canal is full of bait stealers! They would attack our bait, get us all excited, and then we would reel in an empty hook. It still kept the menfolk captivated.
When Ahren drifted too far from our dock, Levi tossed out a fishing line (no hook, just a big weight) and reeled in the biggest catch of the day.
Ahren enjoying some marshmallows. Have I mentioned this boy can eat?
One thing we did NOT do is comb hair. Or wear many clothes. Or makeup. You can thank me that I haven't posted pix of me.....
This is our Island transportation. We rode it to the store on Sat. night to get ice cream and root beer for root beer floats. YUM!
We did a lot of this. The water is cool!
And lots of smiling.

We decided to take a walk on the beach before we left, just to say goodbye ot the beach (Levi's words).
And I was dumb enough to think a walk on the beach did not include getting wet. Luckily I had more clean clothes to bring them home in. 
And here is how they looked on the ride home.