Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cause For Pause

I was at a friend's house last night chatting with her about K.Z.'s upcoming two hour doctor appointment when she asked me why it would be so long. Then I said the magic words, "Binocular Vision".

"Who is he going to see?" she inquired, and grimaced when I told her the doctor's name.

"We have been through that vision therapy program with him", was her reply and we got into a lengthy discussion about just how many people we knew that had their kids recommended for the same tests and process. Her insurance did not cover it and she spent $3000 in total and her daughter was none the better for it (she and K.Z. have the same reading issues). She did acknowledge that there had been a lot of people she knew that it was successful for, but the cookie cutter approach did not make sense to her.

So that gave me enough reason to slow way down with this process and wait for a few more months. With a new curriculum and a new set or specks, maybe that will be all K.Z. will need. Maybe not, but at least that will give me the time to get a second opinion.

Today I had my little man read two chapters to me of a book he has for school and he basically flew right through it. Maybe I just need to give him time to grow into his abilities.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daddy Date Day

Due to the fact we have 4 children under our roof, it is sometimes hard to give everyone everything they need all at the same time. We committed long ago that we would have dates with our kids and take them out individually as often as we could to form special memories and foster the bonds that we have with them. Mr. Clean got a double dose today...

Our church hosted a Daddy / Daughter Day at a local climbing club. Xena just made the age cut off and was thrilled to go with Daddy and climb...

Our dear friend Stuart was along with his daughter as well so Xena did not have to hold Mr. Clean's line, luckily for Mr. Clean.

Thursday I got an e-mail from our case worker offering free tickets to any foster parent who wanted them for a "Monster Truck Show" being held at our local indoor arena. We jumped at the opportunity to throw in another date...

What would make a boy smile this big? A monster truck of course...

The day was long but fun for everyone involved, but provided such amazing memories and great one on one Dad time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just A Little Added Stress

K.Z. had his annual eye doctor appointment today which I remembered about and scheduled two days ago. Not enough time to secure a sitter for four children so we all marched off together (at nap time nonetheless) for K.Z.'s 14:00 hours appointment.

Everyone did well initially until Iggy decided he was tired of the stroller. I held him in the tiny exam room we were stuffed into while trying to keep him quiet enough that K.Z. could actually hear what the doctor was saying. An hour and a half later we wound up needed an updated pair of specs for the boy and a mini conference with Mom.

The doctor believes that K.Z. has
Binocular Vision Disorder, which to me sounded like a cool superhero super power, until he said "disorder".

Apparently symptoms can be headaches, blurred vision, double vision, sleepiness and if reading, trouble remembering what was read, the need to re-read the same line of words, frequent loss of place, general inability to concentrate and short attention span. This describes K.Z. to a tee. We have been banging our heads against a brick wall trying to figure out why while he enjoys reading one day, the next he, "can't do it". We all have been frustrated (and some of us in tears).

So now he has to go and be tested for over two hours to see if the diagnosis is correct and the "best" part is that two of the crucial tests in the series are not covered by insurance. To the tune of about $300.00. Now I would sell my house and live in a van down by the river for my children's health if I had to, but this also includes a probability of 9 months in therapy twice a week. It may require a co-pay each visit. I was a bit nauseous when I left.

Next steps: Find someone to watch the three other kidlets during this two hour test in two weeks. Pray for the strength and funds to get through the entire process if necessary. Praise God for revealing the reason for K.Z.'s struggles. Throw Up. Cry.

Simple Curiosity

I am posting this here only because I am curious to know if this will actually happen. Again, this is in no way a political blog, so we will call today's post a homeschool political experiment.

Here is the theory (not mine, I cannot properly credit this particular writing although I have heard the rumblings elsewhere). Let's wait and see the results...

"On or about October 5th, Biden will excuse himself from the ticket, citing health problems, and he will be replaced by Hillary Clinton.

This is intentionally timed to occur after the VP debate on 10/2.

I have already seen a few short preparatory blurbs about this - the "health problem" cited in those articles is an aneurysm. Probably many of you have heard the same rumblings. However, at this point, with this inside info from the DNC, it looks like this Obama strategy will be a go.

From that date of October 5th, there will be 5 short weeks of campaigning left. The obvious intent would be "Shock and Awe"….to explode Democrat enthusiasm and create a 5 week momentum to election day while the Republicans are unprepared, shocked and paralyzed, without time to even catch our breath while we waste precious time debating if the Dem's can even legally manipulate it to begin with. We already know that the Democrats would have full enthusiastic cooperation from the media to help create 5 weeks of hysteria, smoke and mirrors. Then suddenly we wake up on November 5th and read that our two worst nightmares are in place to desecrate the United States of America for the next 4+ years. The stage is set for this folks.

Some Republicans are suggesting that a good strategy is to get out in front of this Obama maneuver, spell it out in detail, and thereby expose it for the grand manipulation that it is.

Either way, our first strategy is simply to be prepared for ANYTHING during these next two months. I mean, literally anything; any kind of media stunt or extreme manipulations. We already know they have the cash to tie up a near monopoly of the available advertisement space and time during the last few weeks. Most importantly be prepared not to be too surprised or paralyzed into ineffective scrambling for the appropriate responses."

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Unthinkable? Not so much...

I have gone and done it and I fear that all the denim jumper wearing homeschoolers of the planet will come over and smack me, but I am quite content with what I have done.

We entered the world of cyber school. The free, tax payer funded type. Gasp now, get it over with and then read on. I will tell you why...

I love, love, love the idea of a classical education and having been trying to do that for almost four years now. First I used Sonlight and got the boxed curriculum with the teacher's guides and really liked them. I would have liked them more if they had been on a disc and "clickable" (like Homeschool Tracker, but with all of Sonlight's curriculum pre-loaded). I would have stuck with it more if each year was not progressively more and more expensive. I love that curriculum, but I hated the steep price.

Then I put together my own. I got all the best of each subject and formed them into one school day. I loved it. I still love it and am quite hesitant to not use my own curriculum, but I am a gal that needs some sort of accountability and can slip into a lazy zone, with an attitude of, "they're doing fine! We will get to that book/project/lesson tomorrow".

On the flip side I am also a gal that likes all my ducks in a row. Check off the list and make sure that tomorrow's list is ready! It's a lot easier when someone else is double checking your list. That is kind of where I am right now. I had to put my, "Why We Homeschool" criteria in a real order and see what was most important to me.

I usually tell people that we homeschool to give our children a Christ based, classical education, and that is all true. But I hesitate to give the number one answer. Frankly, I have no desire for my kids to emulate the traits I see in LOTS of brick and mortar school children. They probably would not appreciate that, since most people curious as to why we homeschool have young ones in school.

But mainly, I want them to have the best possible education possible, and in this day and age I do not see that happening in a class room of thirty that one poor teacher has to teach with no authority to do much of anything (regarding discipline, etc.) with students that know it. Each kid is different and a cookie cutter education tends to leave some far behind. So for those two and various other reasons, we homeschool. Yet K.Z. is not the student I know that he can be. I think we both need more structure.

When I was a kid learning came very easy for me. I was taught something, I mastered it quickly, got bored repeating it and got excited when we moved on. I erroneously assumed that would be the case for each of my kids as well. When we started homeschooling and K.Z. hadn't mastered reading while potty training I changed my approach. Obviously I was doing something wrong. Then Xena started school and is an exact replica of me as a child, learning wise. Two kids, two different styles. Hmmm, what a concept. Who'd a thunk it?

So I am delving into a new educational world and excited to see what may happen with a bit more structure and accountability. I had a lot of misconceptions when I started journeying down this path that were soon squashed by some research. Hopefully this will prove fruitful.

There are the well meaning people that tell me that K.Z. is still young and that what he has fallen behind on he will catch up fast, as boys learn slower than girls in a lot of cases. I believe that, I know it is true, but I am not willing to risk him missing something fundamental just to prove that theory. So I am handing over a small portion of the reins and letting a professional come in and help me derive the best curriculum plan for him.

Pray for me. This does not come easy for me.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


"Guess who is winning the Miami - New England game?", Mr. Clean, a life long Miami fan, asked Zach excitedly.

"The Redskins?" K.Z. replied.

I think we need to explain this football thing a little better. At least the boy has been brainwashed enough by Momma to know the ultimate answer.

Hail to the Redskins, even if they aren't the third team in the Dolphins - Patriots game.


You are amazing and I adore you Mr. Clean.
Have a wonderful birthday, no matter how hectic!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If only...

On the way to soccer practice tonight, K.Z. proclaimed, "Mom, if Adam hadn't sinned there wouldn't be any mushrooms."

Not totally befuddled, as K.Z. will sometimes show up completely out of left field in a conversation, I probed deeper, "What makes you say that?"

"Well, Dad said that it is because Adam sinned that we have weeds and a mushroom is like a weed, so it's Adam's fault", he replied.

I had to smile a bit at that logic since I abhor mushrooms. Amen Brother. Amen.

Oh Happy Day...

I just heard from Iggy's foster care case worker that the case has officially been assigned to an adoption case worker. This is only the beginning of a very long road and nothing is guaranteed until this boy legally has our last name, but it sure is heading in the right direction!

I guess I better start scrubbing, I have a new case worker to dazzle!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Big Decision To Make

Mr. Clean and I decided when we started this whole foster journey that our limit would be two children, as we have our own three. Our 8 month old foster son Iggy has been firmly planted in our world since he was 3 days old. There is no doubt whatsoever that we want to keep him forever and we hope to adopt him. That leaves one open spot in the car.

A few weeks ago I received a call from our case worker about a little boy (just turned 3) who was currently in a great foster home but he more than likely would be heading to adoption. His current foster parents are not an adoptive resource and he needs to be placed in a foster home that he would never have to leave. The situation tugged on my heart strings, especially after having "John and Jay" with us temporarily. And this is only one boy.

We went for a play date to meet this little guy today and he is a sweetie. He is attached to the other foster child in the home and sees him as his brother as well as his foster family. Any move on him will be difficult.

Pray for this little guy regardless if we decide to bring him to live with us or not. And pray for us as we make this decision.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Please Forgive Me

This is in NO way a political blog and quite frankly, I usually try and keep my head firmly in the sand around election time, lest I go insane with the barrage of political ads, cartoons, talking heads, etc. This I could not pass up.

Tomorrow I promise to put my head back in the sand. Probably...

Friday, September 12, 2008

This Is A Hoot

I guess Obama's writers work for The Washington Post. Or maybe they just steal from it...

Obama's statement on 9/9/08:

"Watch out, George Bush, except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics – we're really going to shake things up in Washington!' That's not change ... you know, you can put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig."

Washington Post cartoon from 4 days earlier...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Quite Appropriate For Today

I snagged this from my friend Jamie. When will we start listening to the ones who are actually defending us? I do not know who this soldier is (Marine, sailor, airman?), but I wish I could thank him in person. It is short, so watch it until the end...

We Remember You...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Doing The Happy Dance

I made sure to pull the curtains first and then happily danced around the office (which technically is our formal living room, but I love saying I have an "office") in celebration the other night. I now have another RSS feeder, thanks to Mr. Clean getting annoyed at my constant whining about the failure of the old one and the evils of Firefox (which I actually love).

So "phhhhh" on you Firefox (just kidding, I love you Firefox, it's all for show), I went with a Google reader instead (and then I used a Firefox add-on to track it; see I still love you Firefox...). So there!

Blog away bloggers, I missed you and now I will once again be able to happily stalk track you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A True Amurikan Girl

This morning, C'sa came to me and asked, "How do you say 'hello' in Spanish?"

"Hola", I replied.

A minute later she was back, face all bright and shiny, "Hola!" she exclaimed.

"Hola! ¿QuĂ© tal?", I replied.

She blinked, completely blank and replied in true American fashion, "Si!"

"Wow, What Great Tan!"

These words were uttered this summer about Iggy, quite in jest, as his melanin is a bit more pronounced than ours. I was in no way offended as the person was simply admiring his beautiful coppery caramel skin tone, but it got me thinking.

If it is in the Lord's plan for us to adopt Iggy we will probably be faced with this topic again. We have already faced several curious questions about where he is "from" (I would love to reply and say, "a uterus", but I have not gotten up the nerve. Yet.), what his nationality is, and what race he is.

They are all valid questions and nothing by which to be annoyed. Frankly, none of us in this little clan have the same skin tone. Xena looks like she stepped off a Viking ship, C'sa has a lighter, but similar copper shade of my father's skin, K.Z. is one big freckle, Mr. Clean is the captain of Xena's viking ship, with ruddy, sea tanned skin, while I am a crazy cross of an Indian father and a blonde mother, leaving me with dark hair and pale skin. We are all different.

But we are all the same as well. If we do adopt him (and we see it this way now anyway), we will be a family. First and foremost. All creations of the Lord and all a part of the Mr. Clean clan. We do not focus on a daily basis that our skin is a different hue or that Mr. Clean's Danish, German and Canadian genes are vastly different from my own Cherokee, Scot and English ones. Nor that Iggy's Latino genes are different from my own. I will be (am) Iggy's mother and that is all that will matter.

Don't get me wrong. I am not so naive to think that his genetics and heritage will not be important to him later. We all go through a period of wondering where we are from, what our ancestors did and who they were. I myself am thoroughly intrigued my own genealogy and we will do our best to help foster any interests he may have in that. We will not however, allow it to be his "idol". Culturally, my Iggy will be an American. After all, he was born in Pennsylvania. Home of the first Capitol City and where our country was officially "born". How more American can you get? Beside perhaps, eating apple pie while watching baseball?

I am proud of my heritage, but I decided long ago not to wear it as a badge of honor. Besides, carrying bag pipes and a peace pipe, all while wearing a buck skin kilt would be tough while doing the dishes and changing diapers. It's the same for Mr. Clean. Imagine our kids in the same scenario, except they'd have to wave St. Andrew's Cross, Union Jack, the Maple Leaf, Schwarz-Rot-Gold, Dannebrog and Old Glory, while balancing the Seal of the Cherokee Nation. It' s a heavy load to bear. Pride is one thing, obsession another. So we wrap it all up in a nice neat package and hang it on a peg hook. Underneath the Cross.

The fact of the matter is that while we are now a global society, we all still have allegences. To our God, to our countries and to our families. That comes long before our skin tones. I am just thrilled to be a part of such a diverse family. An American family.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Resistance Is Futile

If you do not find this absolutely ridiculous, no matter what side of the argument you are on, please come on over and let me school ya. Teachers being intimidated by a 15 year old's questions? Hmmm. Shouldn't students be able to ask questions?

If evolution is absolute, then why dear teacher can you not slam dunk these questions? Yep, we are sending our 15 year old evil children into the schools to ask you hard questions, but then again, we're right. Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Could Just Cry

I am moderately technologically literate. I can figure things out on my computer and online if I pot around for a while. So I was REALLY proud of myself for getting all my favorite blogs on a RSS feed with a nice little counter that kept track of them and a simple button to click on to see all of them. Something happened...

I do not know what exactly, but my little link is gone and I can no longer have instant access to all the blogs I like to check in on. I am blaming all on Firefox, for it cannot be MY fault. So if I am quiet on comments lately, please forgive me. I guess I have to rebuild it.... ugh.

Friday, September 5, 2008

"Mini Me" Has Completed Her Transformation

Yesterday we went to take Xena's cast off and all was right with the world. I even got great shots of her at the doctor's office, but alas, I cannot share them with you since I forgot the bleeping media card was NOT in the camera. I assure you however, the photos were most excellent.

On the way out we got to walk through an enclosed bridge from the doctor's office to the parking garage where I spotted a spider hanging out on the wall. Deciding that since we were on neutral territory (not outside in the spider's environment nor in my house), I would not stomp poor Charlotte or run screaming in terror. I decided to act like an adult (one who can tolerate spiders).

I called the children over to check out the spider and K.Z. was the first there and got about an inch from her (him? it?). I was waiting for the arachnid to pounce on his glasses. I mean after all, the boy got close! Xena, more cautious, came to look but kept a good distance. I turned to attend to Iggy and the stroller when I heard Xena exclaim, "Cccc'sssaaaa!"

I turned in time to see my precious 4 year old carbon copy, grind her foot into the ground. She apparently kicked the poor spider off the wall and proceeded to obliterated it with her shoe.

"Why did you kill the spider C'sa", I asked stiffling a laugh.

"Because I did not like it", was her simple reply.

A woman passing by applauded her. Watch out world. She has kid size 10 1/2 Sketchers and she knows how to use them. I was so proud.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Must Keep Muttering....

"The Lord's timing is perfect, the Lord's timing is perfect..."

I know this is true, but I want it NOW!! Iggy's case is "this close" to being transferred to the adoption unit (where the process to terminate parental rights will begin), except that someone had the nerve to go on vacation, halting the process until next week at the earliest when she returns.


Just knowing that it is so close yet not quite there yet is killing me.

It's Not Really Monday...

In my brain it is Monday. Probably because Mr. Clean took an extra vacation day off yesterday and stayed home. Now my week is all discombobulated. So I am still pretending it is Monday. In my brain it is just easier that way...

Last week our friend Derrick suffered the death of his very young wife and we are still reeling from it. Derrick and Amy had only been married just over a year and a half and were in their early 20's. So far there is no explanation of her death. She was not feeling well and went to lay down. Derrick found her unconscious later and she never woke up. She died soon after. Needless to day, Derrick is devastated.

Derrick served for a while as the worship leader at our church before obtaining a full time ministry position in New Hampshire and relocating with his new bride. Amy had grown up in PA and her family are members of our congregation. Her death has deeply affected two families, two churches and their many friends.

Since we were in New York I missed Sunday's services after Amy's death but I was told that our Pastor scrapped his planned sermon and addressed death in the body of believers. I have not had a chance to download the sermon, but I will try and listen today. I have heard it was excellent.

What impressed me the most was the fact that our pastor and his wife got in their car and headed to New Hampshire for the services on Monday and Tuesday. Out of all the funerals I have been to, I have rarely seen a former pastor make more than a brief appearance at the wake, and that was if he was a local pastor. Not to clap too loudly, as I think our pastor did the right thing, but no one would have blinked had he simply sent his regards from afar.

This is one of the passages that he preached on this past Sunday. It certainly gives you something to chew on...

The righteous perish,
and no one ponders it in his heart;
devout men are taken away,
and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
to be spared from evil.

Those who walk uprightly
enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death.

Isaiah 57:1-2

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Just Gotta Say...

I decided a while ago not to get real political on this blog. Many of my family member disagree with my politics (I am the Alex P. Keaton of my family), and we will not be voting for the same candidate. I am not terribly thrilled with either candidate, but you can bet your booty I will NOT vote for the one who supports abortion.

So I just have to put this out there. I cannot wait for November 5th. If I see one more Facebook tirade from family members and old school mates who went liberal, against the GOP, I will scream. And it is a safe bet that wherever you are, you just might be able to hear me!

Notice I have blogged this instead of putting it on Facebook where more people will see it, because I am a tad wimpy. But it's coming. Probably sooner than later.