Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Forever in our hearts

April 14, 1996

April 29, 2008

We lost one of our best friends tonight.

Carson was sent home sick this afternoon and when we arrived home, we knew Sneakers wasn't doing well. We took her to the vet and they believe she had an internal mass that had started to bleed out. There wasn't much they could do for her at that point. She feel asleep for the last time with Carson and I by her side. Carson was very brave, but this was the hardest thing he's ever had to deal with in his life.

The kids have never known life without Sneaks and they are taking the loss quite hard.

Sleep well, sweet puppy dog. Thank you for sharing 12 wonderful years with our family.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

It was bound to happen...

Yes, that's a LIVE snake.

In my son's hands.

Found in my yard (and released back into the yard!)

I'm not sure which of the above statements freaks me out the most. (Gotta love his friend in the backgound, he wasn't getting too close either!)

BS (Before Snake), Elise and I had a girl's day out. I let her decide what we were going to do and let her set the pace for the day. No hurrying her to do the things I felt like I had to do. The main purpose of the trip was to give her a pre-birthday trip to Libby Lu. This place is so over the top for me, but she loves it. :)

While the girls were out, the boys went to a big equipment show. They got to climb all over these types of machines and ride up in a crane.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Elise's annual IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting was today.
I hate this process.
I hate that she's labeled as an IEP kid.
I hate having to discuss the goals and her progress (or lack thereof at times).
I hate the feeling that these other people are in a position of telling me what's best for my child.

My heart aches for my daughter who has these extra struggles.

How's that for a positive start to the meeting?

Seriously, I do like the folks that we work with in our school district and I do think they have Elise's best interests at heart. But the process is so convoluted and intimidating!

This is the folder holding her IEP paperwork. Looks like a mini-adoption file, doesn't it?!?

It's hard to read the sentence in photo above, but it just pulls at my heart:

"Elise can be difficult to understand at any time, but especially in the context of a noisy and busy classroom."

That sentence alone brought tears to my eyes and put me in momma bear mode ready to fight for my cub!

The upshot of the meeting...she's making progress. We knew that and everyone around the table agreed so that was positive. She's also well liked by teachers and her peers.

The bummer...the Speech therapist with whom she's been working for 3 years is moving to a new school in the district and, therefore, Elise will work with another therapist next year. I wasn't expecting that news (in fact, I walked into the meeting feeling relieved that AT LEAST she'd be working with Susan for another year!). We just love Susan, her therapist. She's very highly regarded in the district and really advocates strongly for Elise. Her new therapist also has an outstanding reputation but any change is difficult for Elise and causes some regression.

I was very proud of her at one point in particular (don't get me worng...I'm very proud of her progress over the year overall...she's been working so hard and that hard work is paying off!). The therapist pointed out the strong self-esteem Elise has developed. She doesn't see her speech differences as being a negative, just a fact. Similar to the fact that she has black hair. She just doesn't talk as well as other kids. Period. We've never seen the speech issues affect her self esteem at home and I was so proud of her for not letting it affect her self esteem at school. She's such a quiet kiddo at school that self-esteem and the ability to advocate for herself do worry me. Knowing how susecptible girls are to self-esteem issues, this honestly has been one of my big concerns.

So, on to 1st grade, a new teacher, a new classroom of kiddos and a new speech therapist. For a kid who doesn't handle change well, I know she will meet the challenges head on.

Way to go, Elise!

We are so proud of you!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


(No, this is not my car...I drive a much sexier dull-gray minivan!)

After picking up the kids from school this afternoon, we had to run a few errands in town.

Somehow, this turned into a vicious game of "SLUG BUG, NO PUNCH BACK!" between Carson and myself. (Based on the number of bruises on my arm, I'd say he won.)

Elise was fortunate enough to be out of slugging range so she was safe. She did serve as judge when there was a question about fairness.

Hopefully no one has called the cops on the mom driving through town slugging her kid. I'm sure we looked like lunatics! :)

Aside from the bruises, we had a blast searching for bugs. Who knew there were so many VW Bugs in our town! (I'm not sure I could ever drive one knowing so many people were getting slugged as I drove by.)

And, boy, Carson sure can slug hard these days!

I know someone out there can clarify the rules of the game for my son...you can NOT "save" up punches from bugs seen previously in the day, right?!?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This and That

A little of this....a little of that from the past few days. Still crazy busy here (but who isn't this time of year!?)

Every now and then the kids get to ride the bus home. I always think they look so cute walking together down our driveway (yes, we have a looooong driveway).

Elise just loves her Panda backpack. It looks so huge on her tiny body but she insists on using it. We bought it to put aside for next year whens she's a little bigger. She has Junior backpack that is better sized for her, but she just L.O.V.E.S this one.

Basement is finally done and we're taking the opportunity to clean through some of the kids toys before we put things back in order. Most of this pile is made up of Little People. Sadly, my kids no longer play with Little People so they are heading up to our younger nephew.

Planter boxes we're going to try this year for our veggie garden. We put the garden outside of the fence (between the fence and the woods) and the deer, bunnies and squirrels ate most of it. We'll see how this works!

Swing fun!!!!

Popsicle weather is back!!!

This is where we usually find Carson...exploring the creek bed or the woods.

He and our neighbor head off to see what they can find in the woods. They can literally spend hours back there. It's about 6 acres of woods bordered by houses on all sides so it's a really safe place for them to explore.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Our tulips are up! I just love tulips and finally got around to planting some at this house last fall. Elise has been fascinated watching them open up.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rough Day

I walked into the kitchen this evening and noticed Elise sitting at the table resting her head in her arms.

Our conversation:

Me: Elise, what's up?

Elise: (sigh) I had a really busy day!

Me: What did you have going on? (thinking...CRAP...did I forget ANOTHER field trip?!?)

Elise: Well, I had to do my craft... (hand gesture)

Me: Really, what else?

Elise: Then I had to do my snack!

Me: Oh dear!

Elise: AND I had to watch TWO movies!

Me: Was your teacher there? (thinking...what the heck...2 movies?!?)

Elise: Yeah (body language clearly indicating that was the dumbest question ever)

Me: Well, did you get your rest time in today?

Elise: NOOOO. That's why it was a rough day!

Guess my girlie needs her rest time during the course of a busy day! (Like mother, like daughter!)

(Yeah, I should have dragged my tired butt over to get the camera, but it was a rough day for me, too. No rest time here either...you'll have to just use your imagination!)

Rockin' and Rollin'

At 4:30 this morning, the bed started shaking, the doors startled rattling and items started moving around.

We experienced our very first earthquake (those of you with minds in the gutter thought this was headed elsewhere, admit it!)

What an odd experience! I had a good friend in college who grew up in San Francisco and talked about what it was like to be in an earthquake. Never did I think we'd experience one in Southern Illinois!

Severe weather is forecast for later today...maybe we'll be back to normal with a few tornados...we do know how to deal with those! :)

Note to self...check on earthquake rider with the insurance company at the same time I up the limit for the sump pump rider!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Learning Fair

Elise's school does a Learning Fair every spring. Carson participated all 3 years that he was at that school and this was Elise's first year. Each child gets to research a particular topic and present their findings in a "poster session." Elise was very excited to participate this year and selected Pandas as her theme. She did a great job in selecting what to write (I helped type out the words), choosing pictures of pandas and creating the artwork on her display board.

She was so excited that someone else did a project on China and another schoolmate did a project on South Korea...they had just adopted a little girl from South Korea last week!

We ran into another adoptive family (Vietnam)that we know, so we inducted this new family with the South Korean little girl into "THE CLUB". I was reminded how thankful I am that our current community has lots of families that "look" like us. In the community we lived when we first brought Elise home, she was THE diversity in the whole area. We stood out like a sore thumb there, but no one bats an eye at us here.

Here are some pictures of her project and Elise posing with her stuffed panda (well, one of many).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Beautiful evening

Things are crazy busy around here until mid-May. At least the weather finally resembles spring.

The kids and I ended up with an unexpected free night (thanks to some poor planning on my part and we'll make up for this free night later in the week once I put the things I thought were tonight on the correct evening AND add the things I rescheduled that were supposed to be tonight but I was smart (HA!) enough to realize the conflicts...get the picture?!?...I really am an organized person but not feeling that way lately!)

We headed over to our favorite nature center. Carson loves to explore and Elise skipped along the entire path (her nickname at school these days is Skippy!).

We found a nesting goose who wasn't too happy with us being that close (we weren't as close as it looks in the picture.)

And Elise made sure we were all well aware of the goose poop...she'd just merrily skip around it yelling "POOP!"

It truly was a beautiful evening and renewed our faith that spring will really arrive...one of these days!!! :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dress Up fun

What else does one do on a dreary cold day? Play with the container of dress up clothes that a good friend recently passed on to us!

Elise found...gasp...a cheerleading outfit from...bigger GASP....LIBBY LU! (Like the "pose"?!?)

To that, she added a pair of black fairy wings...

And a sequened lime green jump suit....

And, of course, some cool shades and pink hat complete the outfit.

Carson was even bored enough to play along and found a few fashionable items to suit his tastes!

April or January?!?

After beautiful weather last weekend, we were reminded that it can all change quickly. It's been another wet, wet week here.

I have always loved springtime in this area. It typically starts early to mid March and lasts forever. I feel so cheated this year :(
Some new plants arrived this week and they are still sitting in the dining room.

The daylillies I separated last week still sit in pots waiting for their new home to be prepared.

The chairs that need the final few coats of weather protection sit waiting for warmer weather.

One of the fruit trees in the back yard has burst out her blooms after the rain and warm weather.

The tulips are holding tight to their coats. I hope they don't accidently bloom during this cold spell.

Molly found the perfect perch to at least visually enjoy the outdoors while being warm and cozy inside the warm house!

C0me back warm weather. We miss you!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My sexy life...

Can I share with you my morning so far (it's 8:30 AM)?

  • Woke up late and just couldn't get my mojo going.

  • Remembered that my house is being cleaned today, that helped with the mojo...can't wait to get home to a clean house! :)

  • Discovered that my new suit needed to be steamed to be presentable. I have a big gig today and needed to dress up a bit. Decided this new suit would give me an extra kick today rather than wearing the same old thing. (heck, who doesn't like a new outfit!)

  • Burned my hand with the dang Joy Mangano My Little Steamer.

  • Get the pants on and discover they are a tad too long (doesn't usually happen!). No worries, I'll hem them before I leave (remember...I've woken up late and had to steam the suit so I have NO CLUE when I was planning on hemming them, but I was thinkin' positive!)

  • Cajole the boy child to actually eat a breakfast...while glued to a video game, but at least he ate...Lucky Charms have some nutritional value, right? He followed that with half a bag of snap peas. Oh, to have a stomach and food tastes like a boy!

  • Discover that I've been a bit remiss in my lunch making duties and Elise needs a lunch today. By this time, I should be walkin' out the door. Instead, I'm taking her lunch order. Thankfully she doesn't want anything that requires too much work. Now that I think about it, I really hope I put in the freezer disk to keep the chicken, cheese and yogurt still edible by noon. Dang it.

  • Cup of tea kicks in and I've got to pee. There's already paper in the toilet (which bugs me) so I decide to waste the water to flush down that piece of paper before I do my business.

  • TOILET OVERFLOWS!!! What?!? It was a piece of toilet paper!!!

  • I scream (probably adding a few cuss words, don't remember clearly) to the kids to grab some towels. By the time I turn off the water to the tank, it's already cascading down the sides of the toilet and all over the floor. Keep in mind, I'm now cleaning up TOILET water while dressed in my too long new suit that needs hemmed before I should be seen in public wearing it AND I'm running late.

  • I call my husband because surely he can fix it 30 miles away over the phone, right? Again, I believe I used a few not so nice words. He doesn't understand a thing I'm saying (probably a good thing for our marriage) so Carson takes the phone and interprets the situation (leaving out the words he'd get in trouble for saying).

  • Fortunately, I don't see any dirty water on me, so I decide to still wear the too long new suit and hope to heaven I don't stink (it was just paper, after all!!!) because that would be a really bad thing for this big gig I have today (where I'm trying to convince teachers that our graduate programs will rock their world!)

  • I leave a big old note for the house cleaner so she doesn't experience Niagara Falls herself, but that means I'm going to have to clean that bathroom myself tonight (big bummer...I hate cleaning bathrooms!)

  • Carson now wants to ride the bus, which is fine because it's one less stop I have to make and he can hang out over at our neighbor's until it comes (which we've done before so don't call DFS on me!).

  • Cool...now Elise throws a fit that she wants to ride a bus. Come on, I'm not leaving my 9 year old to watch my 5 year old and while I'll dump my 9 year old off at my neighbor's (we frequently have her 9 year old at our house) I won't be such a bad neighbor to drop of 2 kids! Too bad, so sad....she has to ride with me. Try to convince her that she gets special "Mommy time", which she isn't buying one bit.

  • Get Elise in car with all the school/work gear. Drop her off at school.

  • Remember, my pants are still too stinkin' long and I look half cooked in this outfit. I did remember to grab a needle and (matching!) thread to hem them at work.

  • Get to work, thinking I can just paperclip up the pants and hem them at my desk. Have you ever tried to hem pants while you are wearing them? Yeah, doesn't work so well! :)

  • So, I end up sitting half naked at my desk hemming my pants. (with the door LOCKED, thank you!)

  • But my phone kept ringing. I just couldn't answer it while wearing no pants!!! Just couldn't do it!

  • While I can sew, my hem job looks like a hack job. Hopefully no one feels the need to look down while talking to me today! :) And, I did manage it to make it from home to Elise's school to work without tripping and breaking my neck! That counts for something!

So, after that morning, I'm really curious to see how the rest of my day turns out!

Some mornings, I look forward to getting to my office for some peace and quiet after a hectic morning...this is one of those mornings (now that I'm actually fully dressed, that is!)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Big News

Betcha thought the news had to do with adding to our family....NOPE! (Elise wouldn't mind but no more babies happenin' here!)

But Baby Isaiah is going to be a big brother (and Elise has another chance of getting a girl cousin closer to her age)!

Keep in mind that my brother is 10 years younger than me (but has just as much grey hair) so we get to enjoy the babies without actually having them ourselves these days. :)

So, Eric calls me the other night. To be fair, they are in the middle of a stressful house move and I'd asked him a few weeks ago (just joking!) if Merry was pregnant trying to point out that it could be worse....they could be going through the stress and physical exhaustion of a move while being pregnant. (He felt bad about lying to me!)

Then today, my sister and I are e-mailing back and forth. I ask her if she talked with Eric last night. Her response "No, what's up?" What the heck?!? I'm KNOWN as being the worst secret keeper in the family. Why did he tell me but not make ALL OF THE FAMILY CALLS? I had to stop e-mailing her and I couldn't call her all day! I finally called Eric on my way home to tell him he had tonight to tell her because I couldn't keep it a secret any longer!

CONGRATULATIONS! By the way, Elise has already put in the REPEATED request for a girl cousin (good thing Isaiah is pretty darn cute otherwise she'd still be ticked at you for not giving her a girl cousin last time).
Frankly, she's tired of being in a "boy trap."

Exciting news....

...but I can't share it just yet!!!

Because of one phone call.

It's just killing me!!!

(I'm not one for keeping secrets well so those involved should know better than to do this to me!)

Stay tuned....

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lots of weekend pictures

On Saturday, my dad came over for a bike ride. We're having beautiful weather after all the rainy weather lately so Elise and I jumped at the chance to get outside!

We have lots of bike trails in our town and we tried a new one. We didn't realize we were mostly going at a slight downhill for most of the trail...until we finally turned around. Phew...it was quite a workout going at a slight uphill with Elise's tag-along. (counting towards my 500 minutes of cario this week, though!)

On Sunday, the kids and I headed over to local park. It was finally time to let Spot go back to the wild.

Waiting for Spot to leave the shore and head into the lake. Those are not happy faces, by the way.

He finally heads into the water and swims away and the kids say their final good byes.

We then start walking around the lake and Carson finds this enormous red ear slider. This made his day! (Not to worry, this was as close as I let him get to it.)

Carson discovered that big boys can't play on these toys without a bit of "boy" discomfort...especially when you try to rock really fast!

Elise loves these rocking toys and couldn't imagine why her brother was having such a hard time! (We'll save that discussion for another day!)

Headng down the slide.

Great kids enjoying great weather!

Elise was telling me the other day that one little girl at school invited her to join the "climbing club." When I asked what you had to do to be a part of a climbing club, she told me that you have to climb. :) I'm a nervous wreck when she climbs these structures for fear that she will fall, but she has a ball (and goes higher just to bug me, I think.) While it makes me nervous, as a kid who is on an IEP for gross motor delays, I love seeing her manipulate something that takes such balance and muscle control!

Hope everyone else had some nice weather to enjoy!