Friday, February 27, 2009

S-s-s-surgery?!?

That was so NOT the word I wanted to hear about my knee. I just about hyperventilated in the office thinking about it.

For those of you who kinda-sorta know me in any way, you know that I HATE anything having to do with needles. The thought just makes my skin crawl (I can feel my body reacting just typing that!) How I managed to go through 4 years of infertility treatments and hundreds of needle pricks is so beyond me. But I was never, ever, ever able to give myself a shot….I’d rather seek out a stranger on the street to shoot hormones into my butt rather than do that myself…the school nurse saw my butt more during that time than any other human should, poor thing!.

The doctor yesterday also felt the need to point out that I have “a lot of arthritis” in my knees. Thanks, Doc…want to point out the grey hair and wrinkles while we’re at it?!?

The worst part about the surgery is that I can’t drive for a week. Are you kidding me?!? My part time job is a taxi driver hauling my kids this way and that. That’s the beauty of my situation…my work, home and the kids’ schools are all within a 4 mile radius. My husband works in another state and his schedule doesn’t sync at all with the kids’ schedules. (The doctor did say his wife had the same surgery done and it was “hell on me” doing all that driving for her!)

Aarrggghhh…I’m not happy….and, darn it, my knee still hurts… I'm going to start telling people I hurt it while sky-diving, at least that sounds better than saying I just stood up and felt a tearing!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Amazing...

...how getting the District Supt involved changes the response!

I've mentioned that this has been a tough year for Carson is many different ways, all of which center around school. It's mostly been me dealing with the issues because my time at work is a more flexible than Perry's and I work 2 miles from Carson's school. So, when there is a problem, the school only sees/hears from me. And I think they've gotten to the point of just dismissing my concerns.

A little about the school...Carson's teacher is new to the district and appears to be all of about 12 years old. The principal is a new principal and is all of 13. The assistant principal is younger yet at about 11. OK, so I'm showing my age, but seriously, they do appear to be quite young to my well seasoned eyes.

And I'm learning that, ahem, maturity brings about a different perspective and allows one to have a more developed set of skills to deal with problems.

That "maturity" (in terms of age) is lacking in the current leadership of this school.

Now, in my defense, I will note that we've NEVER had problems with the schools in this district. Never! We've always had the highest quality, most caring, professional, fun loving teachers and administrators. So, that's what I've come to expect. I've always had the highest level of respect for the teachers and administers that have touched my childrens' lives so far.

Fast forward to today...my head is bloodied from beating it against a brick wall so often this year...Perry got TICKED OFF about Carson's arm and the fact that he wasn't allowed to go to the nurse. Now, those of you that know Perry know that it takes A LOT for him to get ticked. Even more for him to act on his anger. But today, he sent a strongly worded letter to the Superintendent informing him of the situation (while mentioning that he is a health teacher and athletic trainer and that we are not interested in legal action...we live in what has been called a "judicial cesspool" for the number of class action cases filed here....only ensuring this doesn't happen to another child in the district).

And the Superintendent immediately responded that he would look into it.

Now comes the very interesting part....the tone of messages we've received from Carson's teacher has completely changed since the Supt. started "looking into it". Much more conciliatory and willing to step up to the plate to help Carson.

Sadly, it shouldn't have had to come to this. I'm sure I still have the reputation of being a unsatisfiable complaining parent with this principal and teacher. But, I need be assured that my children are in a constructive learning environment where the teacher is responding to their needs, be those needs emotional (not feeling like the teacher dislikes them), educational or physical.

Sigh...It's been an emotionally long few days. Hopefully Carson's arm will heal quickly and we can put this behind us. Because, as a, ahem, mature parent, I don't have the brain cells to hold a grudge. Hopefully, the young whippersnappers in the school can move on as well. :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

One cast = a very tired boy

Carson has taken to watching Star Wars videos on the computer. After a rather loud and long one, during which I'd asked him several times to turn down the volume, I walked upstairs and found this scene...



And from the front....


Sound asleep...


I finally managed to wake him up.

And yes, that's a cast on his arm. Remember my ranting about my child not being allowed to go to the nurse's office when he got hurt on the playground? Yup, it was THIS child and this is the ensuing injury from that fall on the playground. He stretched the ligaments and caused a seperation of 2 wrist bones (did you know there are 8 bones in your tiny wrist?!?). The cast stays on for 3 weeks and if the bones don't get "squeezed" back together, they will have to do surgery.

And the big bummer is that he did almost the exact same thing last year on his other arm and wore a cast for 6 weeks.

At least this year it's not his writing hand.

Hopefully his teacher will send him (or any child) to the nurse in the future when asked (because it is NOT the job of the teacher to assess a medical condition...yes, I'm still upset by that!)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Elise's Outfits

Elise has always had an interest in her clothes and lets us know if we pick out an outfit that doesn't quite suit her taste.


She also ALWAYS wears a dress/skirt to church (even though the rest of us go in jeans).


This morning, we woke up a little too late to attend our normal early service so we ended up with some extra time to kill before the later service. Elise took advantage of that extra time by going through her closet.

This was the first outfit she picked out. Head to toe black. The skirt is about 3 sizes too long and drags on the floor like an Elvira-wannabe. I have a problem sending my 6 year old to church in black goth garb so I suggested she look for something less black.

This is the 2nd outfit she picked out. And in true fashionista style, she said to me as I was putting on her sweater, "just button only the top button, Mom." (Yes, there was a bit of exasperation in there implying that this fashion concept would be waaaayyyy over my head!)
If she weren't so darn cute about it, she'd really scare me! :)

Tacos

A lesson in eating tacos...


With 4 people to please, it's next to impossible to find meals that everyone loves. And my children let me know when a meal is less than love-worthy. So, last night, I made salsa chicken and served it with soft tacos.


Elise let me know that she thought the chicken part was "yucky" and she wanted none of it. But, she wanted the cheese and tacos. It turned out, she made her own version of tacos.


First, she ripped up the taco shell into a "cute" size and sprinkled the shredded cheese on her "cute" taco.

She would then fold it up just so...


Until it was the perfect "cuteness" to eat.

Yummy!!!

Note from Mom...please ignore the messy kitchen counter right behind her and the fact that she built her taco on the kitchen table instead of on a plate.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ponderings

Warning...this post will be all over the place!

I'm back home from my work trip to Florida. It was a really professionally energizing trip and I'm thankful, given the economy, we had the opportunity to go. And, everyone at home survived.

I did learn that bringing home a bag of white sand (triple bagged to prevent it from spilling in your suitcase) from Clearwater Beach will ensure your luggage gets searched. I didn't realize until I got home that I looked like I was trying to smuggle a tidy package of an ILLEGIAL substance.

I also learned it is possible to do some damage to your body simply by standing. Somehow, I hurt my knee, by standing up out of a chair (no alcohol was involved!), on the first day there. It's been bugging me ever since and I can't get into the doctor until next week. Grrr.

The kids had a great time with their grandparents on Valentine's Day. My mom makes beautiful cards and Elise always looks forward to making her own creative card at Grandma's. She's been working non-stop on a birthday card for her Aunt Kristin (her birthday is April 30!). She spends every free minute working on the card! It'll either be quite elaborate by Kristin's birthday....or just plain lost!

I'm so ready for this school year to be over. I'm having so many issues with one of my child's teacher. I'm sure I've become a pain in the arse parent to the teacher and the principal (who simply gets defensive of the teacher rather than looking for ways to solve the problems). The lastest was that my child fell during recess yesterday, sprained a wrist and wasn't allowed to go see the school nurse. This same child who broke a wrist last school year and spent weeks in a cast. I have a hard time stepping aside from my professional role (which involves working with future and experienced teachers in both undergraduate and graduate programs) and just wearing the parent hat. In the school district in which we live, our kids have had nothing but EXCEPTIONAL teachers so far. So, it is very discouraging to have a lackluster teacher. I'm not sure my child is actually LEARNING anything this year and I worry about the future damage of this school year. Double grrrr....

Finally, I loved Florida weather! It was a bit breezy when we were down there, but it sure beats the 30 degree weather at home!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm FINALLY packed and ready to head out in the morning. And, I have everything ready for the my family to survive my absence. :) I'm sure they'll do just fine without me.
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I helped out with Carson's Valentine's Day party this year and it was really fun. The mom who donated the goodie bags decided that whoopie cushions would be a good item to include. Now, imagine a class of 22 4th graders with whoopie cushions.
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Hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Unfocused

This post is going to be a bit like my daughter's vision...unfocused....

  • Elise's glasses broke when a ball hit her in the face during PE last week. It's been a bit of a nightmare getting them fixed. We have the type of vision insurance that allows for lenses to replaced once between new sets, but we've already replaced them once. (For those of you who don't have kids in glasses, you'd be AMAZED at how often they break, scratch, etc!) And she's eligible for a new FREE pair of glasses (frames and lenses) in May. So, to replace these right now is out of pocket. Which is frustrating knowing that in 3 months, we'll be back in picking out a new pair...for NO COST. Grrrr.... The old tape holding them together in the middle wouldn't look bad for a few months, right?!? (just kidding, I won't do that to her!)

  • I'm heading out of town in a few days for a work trip. Why is that men can simply pack a bag and go and not even think about all the details a Mom has to consider? I'm already wiped out planning all the family details for while I'm gone. I'm sure my family will do just fine, but no one thinks of the small details like mom...like ensuring the kids are at the right place and have a lunch and...and...and...

  • All this prep work would really stink if I were going somewhere lame, but I'm going to Clearwater Beach, Florida. Yeah, I know, I can't complain too much. All this work to get my family ready will be rewarded by several days of white sand and sunshine (and a little bit of work!)

  • Our weather is going up and down and up and down. Near 70's one day and back down to the 40's the next. When we start to get a taste of spring, I start getting MAJOR spring fever and CAN.NOT.WAIT for spring to arrive.

  • I didn't even realize when we were making plans for this trip that I'll be out of town for Valentine's Day. Big bummer. (But...thinking of the bright side...sand and sunshine...) Instead, my kids will get a sleepover at their grandparents and will have lots of fun. It'll be a special Valentine's Day for them. (And my kids even have a few surprises for their grandparents....shhhh....)

  • In my alternating of class parties this year, I'm going in to help with Carson's Valentine's Day party this week. Carson went back and forth on wanting me there (LOL!). I think the only reason he finally agreed to me going was to prevent me from going to Elise's party. His class watches "the video" this year (you remember the one...they boys watch one version while the girls watch a different version). I'm a litle saddened to realize we're entering a whole phase. My little boy is growing up way too quickly.

  • We wrapped up our Chinese New Year celebration by celebrating with Elise's Girl Scout Troop earlier this week. Her leaders devoted an entire meeting to celebrating CNY. The girls had a great time and were really interested in what we shared with them. We did some games (moving marshmallows with chopsticks), made paper latterns and ate mooncakes (sugar cookies). Elise was so proud to share Chinese New Year with so many friends this year and I'm so proud of the way her friends completely embraced it! Now, it's time to pack it all up for another year...and preferably before I leave town!

  • My blogger buddy Becky is doing another trip to China this summer. I would so love to join her, but the timing is really bad for me. I'm praying about it and, even if I'm not able to go, I'm so looking forward to her trip. I loved reading the travel blog last year.

  • See, I'm all over the place right now. I've also been so bad about leaving comments on my fave blogs lately. I read them on bloglines and then forget to comment.

  • Sand....Sun....Beach... (OK, my mind IS focused, just not on the day at hand!)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pinewood Derby

Today was Carson's annual Pinewood Derby with Cub Scouts. This is his 4th year racing and he takes it pretty seriously (I'm not sure who takes it more seriously...Carson or his dad!)


Carson had to tweak his weights before he could sign in his car. It has to be so many grams and they try to get it as close to the weight limit as possible without going over. Carson's car finally can .5 grams under the limit.


Here are the cars in Carson's group. Don't ya love the bubble wrap they are resting on?!? They even had a bubble-wrap lined box that they used to carry the cars from one of the race track to the other. Pretty precious cargo, I guess. Carson's car is the 3rd one on the left.


Each car races on each track once, so they go through several rounds to ensure they've cycled all the cars properly. Here's the starting gate.

And here are some of Carson's friends anxiously waiting at the finish line. Carson's car finished 4th year and does not move on to the district races. He didn't seem too disappointed and had a great time with his friends.

video
And for the diehard derby fans out there (grandma, omi and opi!), here is a video showing one race with Carson's car.
Now will begin the job of plotting out the car design for next year.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Izzy!


Let me introduce Izzy. Izzy is currently vacationing at our house since his home is for sale and apparently some home buyers don't care for a dog greeting you when you arrive to view a house. So, until my sister's family moves into their new home or they get a contract on their current home, Izzy is having a extended vacation with us.
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Izzy showed up on our doorsteps in the days after bringing Elise home. (Do you see a pattern here of dogs showing up on our doorsteps....that's how Trixie joined our family this summer.) Carson fell immediately in love with this sweet dog who apparently had no home and so wanted to keep her.
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I was OVERWHELMED with 2 children, including my adorable new baby girl who I was convinced would never ever sleep through a night without horrible screaming nightmares. And, we already had 2 dogs. I thought adding another dog to my plate would completely hurl me over the edge of sanity.
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But, I did agree that he was a very sweet dog and deserved a loving home.
Luckily, my sister and her then-hubs were considering adding a dog to their family. We got Izzy all ready to join a family (fixed, sorry dude, and updated shots) and delivered him to my sister's family where he had a wonderful and lazy life.
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Izzy had come to visit our home off and on ever since. He's always welcome and typically comes to visit when my sister's family goes on vacation.
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Our doggies love having another buddy around. Carson has a special bond with Izzy since he was the one who originally found him.
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For the next weeks, we'll be a 3-dog family and will love every minute of it!

Monday, February 2, 2009

CNY in Elise's classrom


I went into Elise's classroom today to talk about Chinese New Year. I always enjoy talking with the kids' classes about CNY and China. Her 1st grade class today had some great questions! And Elise was so proud. She wore the dress I had made for her in China. It looked so huge when they made it (when she was only a year old!). It's the only Chinese dress that still fits. We'll have to hit Chinatown the next time we venture to Chicago to pick up a few bigger sizes.
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And I would have gone to Carson's class as I've done in past years...but his teacher never responded to my offer (made twice). I'm going to send in the red envelopes with him tomorrow and hope he gets to share a little with the class. There is so much going on with his teacher that I won't go into here, but let me sum it up by saying I'm sooooo ready for the end of the school year. (Elise's teacher, on the other hand, comes pretty close to walking on water in my eyes!)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chinese New Year

This first picture has NOTHING whatsoever to do with Chinese New Year, but instead it shows what my daughter has been doing in all her free time since our snow arrived. (Sadly, as I type this, the snow has all melted.) She would go out and work on shoveling a path for the dogs. This was serious business for her. You can't see her face because she headed out on Saturday before I'd tackled her hair.


We hosted our annual Chinese New Year party yesterday. It is so fun seeing the families each year. This year, we had 2 new families. One new family just submitted their paperwork to China in September. It was fun to chat with them and remember back to the early days of our own adoptions. I hope there is a speed up in the processing or they may have a very long wait ahead of them. The other new family was the Chinese family of Elise's friend. Mary, the mom, is interested in giving the girls Chinese lessons together! WooHoo! Her daughter has no interest but Elise does. She is thinking that if she does lessons together, her daughter might have more interest.


We do the party as a pot luck and everyone brings a dish. That works out GREAT. I do always make a few stir fry dishes. I just love the colors of the veggies as they cook up!

I just had to take this picture. This is Trixie's normal spot anytime I'm working in the kitchen. It's a good thing I'm tall as I end up stretching over her everytime I need something in the cabinets above her or need to use the sink. I think her ploy is to help clean up anything that might fall to the ground.


Elise decided to wear this outfit. I'm not sure how Chinese it is, but we did buy it from a Chinese kiosk at the mall. She loves it, so we went with it.

Elise helped me prepare for the party by "decorating" the house. I found these dolls in our new china hutch. There were stuffed pandas all over the house as well (along with a few Disney princesses!).

I swore I'd take more pictures this year, but ended up enjoying our company. This is the only picture I took. We had these 3 crazy girls, along with 7 boys (and 14 adults). The boys started to outnumber the girls last year. Of the kids, 4 kids were adopted from China and 3 from VietNam. The boys were wild! Several of the littler kids really look up to the bigger kids and had a blast hanging out with the bigger boys for the evening.

In the end, we all ate far too much to eat (but wonderfully delicious food), a little bit to drink (I've discovered Chinese beer gives me one major headache that I'm still nursing!) and so much fun discussion. The kids ate their fill of fortune cookies and Chinese lucky candy and stayed up way past their bedtimes. I see many of these folks throughout the year but I always look forward to getting all together for this celebration. I love the chance for my kids to see families that look like ours.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Chinese New Year Celebration.