Sunday, November 27, 2011


I had a delightful post started on the many reasons I have to be thankful, but that was before mom was quarantined to her bedroom with strep throat. I am feeling good enough to be bored but bad enough that I can’t get up and do a bunch of stuff. I was completely dumbfounded when the nurse came into the exam room with a positive test. Really? I haven’t had strep throat in at least 29 years. Adults get strep? I am grateful I was able to enjoy Thanksgiving Day with my in laws before getting sick. However, I had to miss my moms Thanksgiving yesterday, and that was a major downer. Tom took the kids over, and they enjoyed the day while I went to the doctor and slept.

NutterB*tters, kisses, and chocolate chips, adhered with chocolate frosting. I thought my acorns were an adorable addition to Thanksgiving.

My inlaws house, concentrating on go fish.

I didn't go to the doctor until Saturday, so on Friday, I was attempting a more psychological approach to my healing, thinking "I am NOT getting sick." 

Tom planned on going car shopping. Something we both dread. I think I might rather have a crown put on at the dentist. No matter what, you feel like your getting ripped off. And it doesn't help that I am a former auto loan collector. I know about dealerships, and what I know isn't the positive side.

We test drove a few cars. Of course the dealer didn't know the price tag on the car we wanted was $2k less online. They had to honor it, but I still wasn't happy. After all, we are tightwads. And the dealer grew weary but put up a good fight. I wasn't able to get him below the clean trade in value. I said "you will learn, I am impossible" as he chimed in with a canned response saying "no, no, that's great! Your on your toes." I'm sure he was thinking something which included cursing.

And as for Eli? He's glad he can stop telling the Nissan it's going to the scrap yard. I typically pat the dash as the transmission lurches, saying "good girl" while Eli simultaneously tells the car "your going to the scrap yard!" And as for Sidney? She isn't happy with the color. She wanted it to be pink and purple two tone. She was careful to tell me "both colors mommy." 

Eli chilling out at Grandpa Steve & Grandma Sheryl's before the big Thanksgiving feast.

Tom and I could have bought a car a long time ago, but frankly, we didn't see the practical value. My car ran, and it wasn't until this fall it actually had huge issues. I don't like to waste resources. That, and neither of us could see anything we really liked. It's kind of an issue of principal. It's not hurting anything, we aren't wasting money, and we do not try to keep up with the Jones. I refuse to spend my life in pursuit of material possessions. Sorry, but a person will never find happiness. That being said, I was applauding as I drove it. Well, not while driving, but you get my point.

Wish I had something else more exciting to report, but this laptop and reruns on Netflix are really all I have seen the past couple of days. OK, I’m off to shop any remaining deals online for Christmas. I need to feel productive, even if it’s from the comforts of my bed with a sore throat.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fill Their Stockings and Half the Sky

Take a look at the fund raiser of another favorite blog. She has beautiful photograhs and best of all her little one is also a Chenzhou girl. Makes my heart sing to see the work she is doing to benefit Half the Sky. Sidney was part of the Half the Sky program in China, and it made all the difference in her ability to bond . Half the Sky trains and staffs orphanages with additional people, giving kids additional one on one time. A $5 enters a chance to win.

Fill Their Stockings

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Good Stuff

Look what I made in preschool today! Thank goodness my "Aunt Jill Ridenour" is my teacher and comes up with all this adorable stuff I bring home! Behind the bag is a HUGE smile. I love it!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Quotable Quotes

So, after I mulled over Sidney’s antics in preschool, I posted the following on FaceBook: “how does a mom teach independence without being a pint sized punk? A friend of mine from our travel group shared her experience with a strong willed child. She said a wise older mom in our church once told me, “God has given her the personality she will need to do what He wants her to with her life. You never know, He may send her someplace she will have to look danger in the face to say his name.” She continued by saying “hang in there and continue to point that adorable firecracker in the right direction. Someday she will be a gorgeous display of His glory!” 

Thank you Lisa. It’s so awesome to be supported by other adoptive moms that truly “get it.”

Friday, November 18, 2011

Catching Up

It seems like each time I turn around, I hear a pint sized hack coming from Sidney. She’s got the crud. Our PA checked everything out on Tuesday and said it’s a virus. Great, that means no antibiotics, but on the downside, she has to wait until it passes. As my mom said almost each and every time I was sick as a kid, 7-10 days for a cold. 

Finding good cold medicine is a feat. Allow me to step on my soapbox for a brief moment. Isn’t it the FDA that banned all the really good stuff? I believe so. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like to give medication needlessly, but it sucks to see your child miserable while simultaneously hearing the nurse say, “it’s actually good she’s coughing. It will get all that stuff up.” I can’t believe I didn’t think of my tried and true method of cold relief, prior to calling the nurse. Vics rubbed into the feet. After Tom’s mom shoved it inside his nose, as a kid, I can’t imagine a dab on the feet will hurt. However, it does explain many things about Tom. 

Sidney's constant sweet tooth. No Sidney, you may not eat the items needed for the bizarre.
Speaking of Tom, where is Tom? Tom is working, nonstop. He finally paused last night after his regular job and came home in the evening. Anymore, than 2 nights of extra work is tough for the kids. Everyone is out of sync. He is typically not gone this much, but we know this is the time of year we have to make the proverbial hay. It’s what I have come to refer to as my season of singleness. In a couple of weeks, the phone will quiet down again, and we will have our evenings as a family.  

While Tom works a gazillion hours, I’m hurrying around getting ready for Eli’s fall school bizarre and baking for Sunday morning coffee hour in church. Our proceeds are going to a person serving on one of the Mercy Ships from our congregation. This particular organization does wonderful work, providing a mobile hospital to serve people with untreated medical conditions. In our culture we live blissfully unaware of what happens if, cysts and tumors are not removed immediately, or cleft palate surgery is not available until 40 years of age. And I admit, I knew the percentage of people without access to medical care in Africa is great, however I was still surprised by the following statistic: 50% of people in Africa have no access to doctors or hospitals.  Knowing she is serving as a surgical nurse, to help this underserved population, makes it easier to whip out several dozens cookies. 

So the only other person in our family I haven’t reported on is Eli. His class went to the ballet yesterday to see the Nutcracker. When I asked if he enjoyed it and might like to go again (thinking this type of experience is beneficial for several reasons), he said “maybe.” This was only after reporting there were no men in tights. Much to his relief it was only women and children. Sorry, I am raising an all American boy.

Always proud of her creations from school.

OK, I’m off to resume my role as strict mom. Sidney was on the sad pad twice in school today. This is the second time since school started in August that we’ve had a rough day. When she gets in this frame of mind, she’s not listening to anyone. She was doing VERY well prior to this incident. It seems taking away cartoons is the best way to get our point across. This is still our punishment of choice with Eli. Believe me, it’s also punishment for mom, but she’s got to learn, she can’t bully herself into getting her way.

OK, I’m really done now

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Request

Sidney spent 14 ½ of her first 16 months in the Chenzhou Children’s Welfare Institute, in Chenzhou Hunan. I have been fortunate enough to get in contact with missions groups traveling to the orphanage, and later, I was able to look over the photos. I am so grateful for the internet! In group shots, I obviously look at the cute little ones posing, but my eyes always go to the back of the group. This is typically where I see a child of 11 or 12, standing in back. Typically, the slightest bit of a smile and the haunted eyes reveal a life so far removed from what a child should experience, even in a good orphanage like Chenzhou. 

There’s a boy “Will” in the orphanage. He is paperwork ready, and there are many people advocating on his behalf. Someone offered pictures for me to post here, but I don’t know if I have permission, and I don’t want to get anyone in trouble. If you think of it, send up a prayer this boy finally comes home. He has a couple of health conditions. As a sn’s parent, I know how much love and quality medical care can change a child’s life. I would love to open my laptop and see Will in his family. His best friend June, also from Chenzhou, was recently adopted. The one piece of information I have heard is that Will is ready to find his forever family like his best friend June.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day Tribute by Guest Blogger Eli

Eli wrote this essay for Veterans Day. He will read it at a special service tomorrow. Mom is so proud of all he wrote, I decided to give him a guest spot on the blog. 

The Definition of a Veteran:

A veteran is person who served in the Armed Forces. But, they are so much more than that. A veteran is someone who risked their life for our country because they loved the United States. They went to battle because they wanted to defend our country. They were so courageous. They are great people of courage and are models of character. They are American heroes. They made sacrifices for our country. They deserve great honor and respect for what they have done for us. They are leaders for American citizens.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Diva Visits the Dentist

Sidney and mommy have survived dental work. After taking happy medicine Monday night before bed,  and the following morning, we were off to fix two cavities. Our dentist was kind enough to prescribe a light sedation.  We decided it’s in her best interest to maintain a level of comfort in medical situations. Up to this point, we haven’t experienced fear, and we don’t want to start. A loopy and relaxed Sidney sat in her car seat, on the way, saying “it looks funny” to nothing and no one in particular. 

Guess what I found and decided to add to my dress up clothes? My brothers old outfit.
Obviously, a parent is discouraged from going back into the treatment area. Thankfully, Sidney recognized the hygienist from her cleaning. In this particular situation, we felt it best to be on the receiving end as the good guy. As an added benefit, all the treatment banks are open. I could hear everything going on from my seat.

I was absentmindedly looking at Kim K’s ended wedding photos when the dentist came out. Wow? He never does that. He let me know she was numb. No screaming? No hysteria? No craziness? I began to relax, knowing my girl was once again a complete trooper. Five seconds later I heard crying. It was the noisy drill. It’s an odd sensation. I kept thinking, if her mouth is open, they can get in, and get the work done quickly. Knowing Dr. John is very gentle, I gripped my magazine, and willed myself not to cry. I felt terrible. During hand reconstructions, she’s always asleep when the IV goes in. 

Let’s say she wasn’t happy with mom afterward, nor did she think the two stickers and plastic ring were large enough tokens for getting two fillings. But, the great thing about kids is their resiliency. By dinnertime, she was recounting the story, and proudly showing off her fillings. As we talked, I asked her if the shot hurt. When she didn’t immediately respond, I decided to change my approach. “Did you get a shot from Dr. John?” Sidney’s face grew a bit puzzled. “I didn’t get shots Mommy.” Awesome! The dentist was able to numb her gums with “special water” and was so gentle, she didn’t know the needle went into her mouth. It’s easier to explain putting up with the noise of the drill than the pain of getting another shot. Our dentist let us know the other side looks like it will eventually need treatment.

And tonight, she back belting out tunes into microphone demanding an audience while standing in front of the TV. Off to get something done.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Post Halloween

I wish I had more time to blog, but spare minutes are scarce in our house. Tom continues his crazy schedule while I chase two kids from preschool, elementary school, and activities all day long. Three days a week I am at the school four times. I feel like the interior of my car is my home. I am happy just to sit for a few minutes of uninterrupted quiet time while Sidney naps. 

Monday was trick or treating. And for Grandma JeanJean, we will include a photo of the Jedi or Anakin Skywalker and our kitty. Sidney was adamant she wanted to use the costumes already in her closet. Who was her tightwad mother to question her motives? Morning preschool she was a butterfly. During downtown trick or treating, later that evening, she morphed into a cat. 

Allow me a moment to brag about living in our small area, or as I like to call it, Anytown USA. In Tom’s old community, we actually trick-or-treat door to door. People turn on their porch lights waiting for kids. And we know everyone, so we know the stuff is ok. If we didn’t make a conscience choice to visit only a couple of streets, we could canvass the entire town. It, literally, has not changed since Tom was a kid.  

More updates after Tuesday, and the big dentist appointment. I have been hovering over Sidney and all the sugar, asking her to brush more often during the day.  Frankly, I am dreading the appointment. Yes, this is the same mother that feels very confident prior to surgeries, but this is also the mother that knows how it feels to get a needle to the mouth in the dental chair. I am elated our dentist listened to my advice and gave her a mild medication to keep her relaxed. Our objective is to keep her from getting fearful. After all, Tom had a horrible experience in kindergarten, and he still hates the dentist. I'm glad he can force himself into the chair. Maybe, he needs some of the same medication before his next visit? Then he might actually get Novocain when it’s offered by the dentist.

OK, off to see what my father-in-law is unloading into my garage and offer school pictures. That usually makes the daughter-in-law halo shine brightly.