Friday, May 30, 2008

An Iggy Update

This week Iggy made yet another appearance in court (sort of, he slept in the play room while his guardian ad litem sat in on his behalf), but this time he was there with all 6 siblings.

Side note: For those of you who do not know Iggy's story, he is our foster son, one of seven children whom are all in care with 5 different families. We brought him home from the hospital at 3 days old and have adored him ever since. With respect for his privacy, I will not divulge all the reasons he is in care, but he is a happy and very healthy baby.

So back to court... Iggy has been placed with us for another 6 month term until his case is reviewed again in November (he is back in court this soon, as they wanted to align his case with that of his siblings). There is a possibility that he will be able to transfer to the adoption unit at that time if his biological mother does not get things together. Although Iggy is only just under 5 months old, his family has a lengthy history with our county's Children and Youth and some of his other siblings may be heading toward adoption soon. So now, we wait. And enjoy this sweet baby boy.

This Is Why I Was Created...





Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cool Or Just Creepy?

A million years ago when K.Z. was a tiny guy I heard all about the planning and subsequent opening of "The Holy Land Experience" in Orlando. At the time I thought it was a genius idea and I was itchin' to go. But my baby was still a toddler when they opened and I did not need to race right down at the time. The thought has popped in my mind a couple times through the years as my family has grown and my children have aged.

Recently I caught site of a picture on their website of an actor there portraying Jesus, with the caption, "Look into the eyes of the One who changed the course of history". I was a bit offended. It's a great theatrical picture, as the actor is posed with a young visitor gazing compassionately upon her face, but "Look into the eyes of the One who changed history"? As far as I have been taught, those eyes left the earth and ascended into the clouds thousands of years ago. I cannot wait to look into those eyes when they return, but I know for a fact that those eyes are not currently in a theme park in Orlando.

So what is the harm? I have taken my kids to Disney World, Hershey Park and Busch Gardens where they are bombarded with actors dressed up as various characters. They know that the big Hershey bar is not a real Hershey bar and that Buzz and Woody simply cannot be real. After all, they are 7 feet tall at Disney and in "real" life they are dolls. But there is still that glimmer in their eye at the prospect of meeting Cinderella or Ariel and the wonder of, "is that the real one?".

I am not quite ready to be that mom that reveals that Cinderella is just some chick that commutes from Kissimmee or that Ariel is just an unknown actress from New York residing in Florida for a season to work at the park. They will know it soon enough as their own common sense takes over.

But the pretend Jesus? That is a different can of worms. I don't mind seeing someone play Paul or Joseph and Mary or perhaps Ruth. They were all real people, but mortals. Yet the King of the Universe in human form is sacred. It's a little unnerving for me to see Him portrayed at a theme park mingling with the guests as if he were Christ the King.

I still love the idea of "The Holy Land Experience", and would like to go. Maybe I am wrong as to how He is portrayed and represented. Has anyone been there? Do you have any thoughts on the matter? Is this really cool or just creepy?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Get Out The Wet Noodle...

...Cause this one will make you want to slap somebody with it...

— Melissa Barton said she is considering legal action after her son's kindergarten teacher led his classmates to vote him out of class.

After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn't like about Barton's 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morningside Elementary teacher said they were going to take a vote, Barton said.

By a 14 to 2 margin, the class voted him out of the class.

Barton said her son is in the process of being diagnosed with Aspberger's, a type of high-functioning autism. Alex began the testing process in February for an official diagnosis under the suggestion of Morningside Principal Marsha Cully.

Alex has had disciplinary issues because of his disabilities, Barton said. The school and district has met with Barton and her son to create an individual education plan, she said. His teacher, Wendy Portillo, has attended these meetings, she said.

Barton said after the vote, Alex's teacher asked him how he felt.

"He said, 'I feel sad,'" she said.

Alex left the classroom and spent the rest of the day in the nurse's office, she said.

Barton said when she came to pick up her son at the school on Wednesday, he was leaving the nurse's office.

"He was shaken up," she said. Barton said the nurse told her to talk with the child's teacher, who told her what happened.

Alex hasn't been back to school since then, and Barton said he won't be returning. He starts screaming when she brings him with her to drop off his sibling at school.

Thursday night, his mother heard him saying "I'm not special."

Barton said Alex is reliving the incident.

They said he was "disgusting" and "annoying," Barton said.

"He was incredibly upset," Barton said. "The only friend he has ever made in his life was forced to do this."

The child's mother filed a complaint with the school resource officer, who investigated the matter, said Port St. Lucie spokeswoman Michelle Steele said. But the state attorney's office concluded the matter did not meet the criteria for emotional child abuse, so no criminal charges will be filed, Steele said. Port St. Lucie Police is no longer investigating, but is documenting the complaint, she said.

Steele said the teacher confirmed the incident did occur.

St. Lucie School's spokeswoman Janice Karst said the district is investigating the incident, but could not make any further comment.

Vern Melvin, Department of Children and Families circuit administrator, confirmed the agency is investigating an allegation of abuse at Morningside, but said he could not elaborate.

By Colleen Wixon
Originally published 01:50 p.m., May 23, 2008
Updated 04:30 p.m., May 23, 2008

Don't Spit Out Your Drink, I Almost Did...

I adore my husband. One of the reasons for my life long devotion is that he is transparent. While he has discernment, he is unashamed of what he believes and thinks.

Apparently Mr. Clean received an e-mail today from The Wilderness Society. I have no clue who they are and have no interest to peruse their website to find out. Nor did I see the original e-mail, but it must have been a doozer to cause this response from my normally reserved husband. I laughed so hard at the end and almost wanted to applaud. But maybe you just have to know and love Mr. Clean to read the dripping sarcasm in his "voice"...

"I received an e-mail from your organization today, talking about stopping the Bush administration from taking land in Utah and drilling for oil, and it really has me angry. In this day and age where the price of gas is getting way out of hand we need to be doing what is necessary to help alleviate this situation.

I love this country. I love the mountains and the outdoors in general. I would prefer to be in the mountains than in a city any day. However, I think that we can drill for oil and still have a beautiful country. Why should we be held hostage by middle eastern countries for our oil when there is a good chance that we have much of it here at home? Is oil in the US the answer to our needs for gas in our cars in America? No, I don't think so; I believe that the auto mfg. have to work quickly for a solution that removes gasoline from the equation. But in the meantime, what do you expect the general public to do? We have to buy gas and we need more oil to tide us over until the technology is in place to remove it from the car equation.

I blame your organization and others like yours for the high price of gas. We can't drill in this country because of all of your nonsense. So don't ever send me another e-mail unless you are going to tell me that you have had a change of heart and want drilling to proceed. Otherwise don't waste my time.

Drive your little Prius to and from Utah all you want. I prefer bigger vehicles. Mainly due to the size of my family (4 kids and 2 adults, and hopefully growing). But I am guessing that you would think I am doing another bad thing by having too many kids and increasing my carbon foot print (another crock). I suppose you would like me to get rid of the kids as well?

So just go away and don't waste my time or the American Public's time, unless you have a better solution; which right now you don't."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Thank You

My family has a long history of service to our country and I am proud of each and every one of them. I have the discharge papers from my 4th generation great-grandfather after his service in the Civil War. My father's teenage, unsmiling face stares out at me from a picture frame while in his dress greens. My kids like to try on my step-father's 40 year old uniform to see when it will fit them. Several of my uncles risked their lives in Viet Nam, my grandfathers fought in Korea and WWII and my cousins have been in Iraq.

Because of these men my children are still in the greatest country on the planet with unimaginable freedoms. It is now our responsibility to teach our children what that means. Let's make sure they appreciate all that has been done for them by countless soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

On A Lighter Note

Sitting in the airport waiting just about forever for our plane to Orlando to board, my mom and I decided to get a bite to eat.

We found a nice restaurant to sit in and kill some time due to our delayed flight. The conversation got around to our cell phones and the fact that my mom's is slowly dying.

I mentioned that I always forget to turn my cell phone off before flights, but half the time I have it on vibrate anyway.

"Oh, my vibrator broke", was my mom's casual reply, referring to her phone.

I almost spit out my drink as I was giggling so hard at my mom's faux pas and the sight of man at the next table turning quite red. My guess is that he had no interest in our conversation until that very second and was probably very glad his back was to us.

My mom turned a little pink as well.

Another Spring, Another Grandmother Gone

My grandmother died this morning at 10:22. As odd as it sounds, I am very relieved for her. She was suffering and I am happy that she does not have to be in pain anymore.

Thank you ALL for your prayers and support. Without the support of great friends I would not have been able to say my good-byes this week while leaving my kids behind without worry. It was such a blessing to be able to see her while she was still alive.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Worn Down, But Home

I got home this morning at about 01:30 from Orlando and needless to say I am running on fumes. Tuesday morning we had a 09:20 flight to Orlando with a stop in Charlotte. At about 15:00 we finally boarded a plane for the first time that day. We had been re-routed through another city as our flight had mechanical problems and eventually wound up being canceled. We finally landed in Orlando at 23:30. A mere 10 hours after we were expected.

Since we landed so late we went straight to the hotel and crashed, seeing my grandmother for the first time the next day. I held my tears in check when we walked in as I was expecting a very different scene. She recognized me immediately and smiled her best "stroke enabled" smile. For about two hours that first day she tried in earnest to talk to me and listened to what I had to say. I tried to only ask her yes and no questions as it was easier for her to nod and shake her head, but she tried very hard to speak and I understood a bit.

She is dying and in a lot of pain, but I was expecting her to be completely out of it. I never expected to see emotion in her face and excitement when I talked about a special jewelry box she had sent me that was dear to her heart. I never expected that she would know me and be happy I was there. I never expected she would try and talk to me, even if her words were jumbled. It was hard to take.

After she mumbled, "Oh Lord" a couple times I asked her if she wanted to pray. We were alone in the room and I felt very led to pray with her. After I was done she said, "pray again". I asked her to repeat herself in case I had heard incorrectly, and she verbalized the same thing. She complained of her head hurting and responded positively when I asked her if she would like water (she only gets it on a swab) and bit down ferociously on the water laden sponge. She would doze off and frantically open her eyes to make sure we were all still there. Mentally she was still there, for the most part.

The medical issue is that she had a hemorrhaging stroke that affected a large portion of her brain. Once it starts to heal it will expand and she will be brain dead as it presses on the brain stem. Her stroke is fatal and death is imminent. It is just so hard to know that she is still "in there" somewhat.

We went back on Thursday before our flight and it was a different day altogether. She was given high doses of morphine to help her through the pain and she was the grandmother I had expected to see the day before; asleep and non-responsive. My guess is that the day I had with her on Wednesday will never be repeated. But I was very blessed to have it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Leaving On A Jet Plane

This morning my mother and I decided that we needed to head to Orlando to see my Grandmother Ruth while she was still alive. I will be flying down first thing in the morning. I am glad we made that decision, as this was the update today on her Care Page from my aunts...

"Mom's condition has worsened, she's not aware of anything around her and we don't think she can see today. She does not acknowledge us or follow any commands. She has started having difficulty in swallowing and will soon be unable to. So, the next heartbreaking decision had to be made. We met with two of her doctors again, and we are all in agreement that it's the appropriate time to discontinue her care and feeding tube in order to honor her wishes. The doctors feel that Mom would have no more than a week.

We met with a social worker to discuss inpatient hospice care, we toured and chose a facility close to us. Mom will be moved tomorrow."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A "Grandma Ruth" Update

Thank you so much for all of you who have called, commented and prayed. Saturday morning she was a little responsive so they tried to see how she would do breathing on her own and removed the tube. She is sustaining breathing on her own so they are now on a "wait and see". This is the latest update from my aunts on Ruth's hospital Care Page...

"Mom (Ruth) was not as alert today as she was yesterday. She's sleeping more and only occasionally opens her eyes, and was unable to speak today. Although I do think she knew all of us some of the time...

At 7:00 am this morning she was moved to a step-down ICU unit and then this evening around 5:00 pm, she was moved to another ORMC hospital - Lucerne, which is a couple of blocks from ORMC. She is on a progressive critical care unit. We got her settled in the new hospital and met her nurse, then came home to take a little break. We'll go back later."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

So Much For "Most Likely To Suceed"

A public school in Mississippi has become the center of a national controversy after a teacher reportedly forced her 6th grade class to vote who among their classmates were the most likely to get pregnant, contract HIV, go to jail, or die by the age of 19.

Curtis Lyons, whose daughter was voted “most likely to get pregnant,” said he was outraged at what the teacher claimed was a “statistics” assignment. The teacher reportedly ranked the students’ names on a blackboard for the whole class to see.

"She was humiliated," Lyons told WAPT news. "She's an honor student."

"I don't think she should be teaching kids. Those questions were out of place and inappropriate. I want to know what was the lesson in that?" he added.

Although Lyons and other parents have demanded that the teacher be dismissed, school officials at Chastain Middle School have been vague about what type of action they would take to reprimand the teacher, adding only that the incident was being “investigated.”

"We are presently investigating the matter at Chastain. However, we are not able to release details in this matter so as to not violate the rights of confidentiality of personnel and students,” said school official Lucy Hansford.

"Jackson Public Schools expects all teachers to extend the basic courtesy of appropriate decorum to all students and to use good professional judgment in the selection of instructional activities," she added.

Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family Action, however, said that the recent incident was yet another example of families being victimized and forced exposure to objectionable and sexually explicit content by schools.

“We are seeing more and more incidences like this of public schools trying to usurp territory that only belongs to parents – and using it in incredibly destructive ways,” Cushman said in statement.

By Aaron Leichman

Christian Post Reporter
Fri, May. 16 2008 05:32 PM ET

Friday, May 16, 2008

All My Grandmas

I am a product of a divorced home. For all the reasons you may think, it stunk as a child, but there was a hidden blessing. All my Grandmas.

There was my maternal grandmother, Anna Marie, who I had from the second I was born and loved to the moon and back. She was my friend, traveling companion and a solid Christian whose guidance lead me to the Lord. She died last April after a year fighting a nasty, fatal cancer.

My paternal grandmother Mary was always the one to make you laugh, sometimes out of sheer frustration, but usually because she was just good natured and silly. She was tall, built like a tank and very strong in her day. After 9 kids you almost have to be. Two Aprils ago she died.

My stepmother's mother was one I was always in awe of and a little intimidated by. She was a hard working gentle woman, but was not one to ooze out emotion. When I was little, all I wanted from my grandmothers was for them to be soft, squishy and huggable. She was not, but she was a good woman who loved the Lord and is now with Him.

My stepfather's mother Grace is my sweetie. I got her when I was a mere 5 years old and clung to her like glue. I saw her a lot as she lived just a couple miles away and we had a tight relationship. She is my chic metropolitan grandmother and when I was a kid she would take exotic cruises and go to banquets in beautiful gowns. Even now, many miles apart we still chat on the phone, e-mail and check in with one another.

Then there is Ruth. I also got Ruth the day I was born, but she is no blood relation. She is my mother's stepmother and has been "Grandma Ruth" to me for 34 years. She was a soft and squishy grandmother. Firm, but huggable and she made it obvious that she loved all of her grandchildren, even those of us who were not hers biologically. If there was any division in her feelings, it was hidden from us kids.

Ruth was a boisterous and outspoken woman and very independent. Tonight she is very dependent as she lays in a hospital bed in Orlando, comatose. She went to visit my aunt in Florida and suffered a stroke and then a heart attack. She is not expected to recover. So here we are, yet another spring, and yet another grandmother finishing her life's journey.

My aunts (her two biological daughters) made the excruciating decision after much prayer and consultation to remove her breathing tubes and take her off of the respirator tomorrow morning. More than likely they will also have to say their good-byes.

Pray for my aunts as they have to go through this painful process and please pray for us as we deal with finances, childcare for four children and all of the other logistics that will make it possible for me to jump on a plane and say my own good-byes, as that may happen in the next few days.

My Husband Is An Evil, Evil, Evil Man

Mr. Clean is usually up and gone by 06:00, heading off to work. This is not a job requirement, Mr. Clean is just sick in the head and would rather "catch the early worm" than "burn the midnight oil". Whatever; I just lovingly know that he is warped and snuggle deeper into the covers after he leaves, and then I get up at a normal hour.

Since going back to Curves it has been easier to try and go in the morning if possible, but since they do not open until 06:30, it gets hard to do with Mr. Clean's schedule. I asked him to relent a couple of mornings and sacrifice the early worm for the sake of his bride. He has a few times, and waited for me to get home about 07:15 ish to then hurry out the door and make up for the lost morning. After all, by 07:30 its about time for lunch.

Last night he told me to go ahead and go if I wanted to and so I dragged my lazy carcass out of bed (did I ever mention that I am a "burn the midnight oil" kind of gal?) at 06:00 and made my way bleary eyed out the door where my friend was waiting to pick me up. Night owls are not legally allowed to drive themselves anywhere at 06:15.

Hurrying home I decided I needed to lay back on my cozy bed and read for a while before conquering my day and getting Baby Iggy up (he, like normal people, sleeps in until 08:00). I kissed Mr. Clean goodbye, saw that he had already taken care of feeding the offspring and went up to lay down. Feeling guilty for leaving the older ones on their own with PBS as their babysitter I went back downstairs as soon as I fed Iggy. Mr. Clean was still there. Mind you, it is now 08:15. He was still where I had left him, sitting at the kitchen table diligently working playing a word game on his laptop.

With my eyes as big as saucers, convinced he had been abducted by aliens and this was only his empty mindless shell gracing my kitchen table, I asked him why in the world he was still at home. His reply? "I have a meeting at 09:30 at __________ (a local college campus)."

Hang on just a minute. What was that? I sleepily made my way out the door sans make up and jewelry at 06:15 to race back in time so that he would not be pacing in the driveway and he did not have to leave until 09:15?!?!? I pointed all this out to him. The fact I could have slept longer. The fact that I was worried about getting back for his schedule. The fact that I could have slept longer. He grinned sheepishly. And then have the nerve to kiss me. And hug me.

The man is pure evil.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Newest American "Idol"

All the world has gone "green" lately and it is driving me up the wall. Before you grab your chest in horror thinking me to be some sort of evil scientist with plans to blow up the planet, let me explain.

I am all for the earth. Without it I would starve, dehydrate, not be able to breath and would be floating aimlessly through space. Not my idea of fun. So I really do appreciate all that the earth has to offer and am quite willing to do my part to help keep it as healthy as I can. But it is not my cheif concern.

Back in the ancient times (circa 1967) there were people known as "hippies". They are all stock brokers or retiring accountants today, but back then they had a real love of all things natural and tended to like to hug trees, or so the legend goes. They were known by mainstream Americans as "freaks".

Head into the 80's and the hippies started to conform (except for the few who still lived in vans down by the river) and all bought skinny ties. They still loved green things, but now all that green fit into their wallets. And they loved it. And drove big, diesel powered SUVs.

Zoom ahead to today. The hippies now have grandchildren and guilt and hybrid Toyotas. Their grandchildren are bringing home stories from school about how we are killing the earth and must rally around her to save her. Anyone still using regular light bulbs must be arrested and if you are caught with a non-Nalgene plastic water bottle you may be shot on sight. The times are tumultuous at best.

Those few hippies that lived in their vans in the 80's now live in completely green houses and are willing to give tours and lectures on "going green" for a little compensation.
The rest of us are hiding under our woolen blankets in our lead painted houses, in fear that PETA just might find out we have leather shoes and still love beef. It has gotten out of control.

Like I mentioned before, I do love the earth.
ONLY because it is a gift from my Creator and no other reason. Although I have embraced a tree or two in my life, the glory did not go to the tree, it went to God. When the crops come in (in someone else's yard since I have not planted in the past two seasons) I do not thank the earth, I thank God. While I am flicking my light switches on and off a million times a day, I thank God for the knowledge bestowed on Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison on how to harness electricity, I do not begrudge the fact that I am not on solar power.

We do have a responsibility to care for His creation. I would run on solar power if it was feasible. I would do a lot of things differently if I could, and I do what I can. But I do NOT worry. The Bible tells us that this earth is doomed. Not because of plastic bottles in land fills, but because of sin. And that is my chief concern.

As long as we are worshiping the earth and trying to live as green as possible we are not keeping our eyes, hearts and minds firmly on Christ. He is the only salvation. He is the only shot at spending an eternity in a sinless world. With no Nalgene bottles.
So get off of the "green" bandwagon. Be responsible, care for your corner of the world, but as it says in Colossians 3:23, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men". Be "greener" as long as your focus is on Him, not America's newest "idol".

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Mother's Day "Gift"?

This weekend was one for the record books. I had a great time at the CHAP convention and stocked up on next year's curriculum. My mother was in town for the week and stayed home with the kids so that I could go to the convention early Friday. She stayed to help Mr. Clean and spend Mother's Day with us.

I came home Saturday evening to a clean house, a hot meal and this...

And since I figured he better get used to a "profile shot" if he is going to sport this haircut, I took a picture from another angle...

I can only describe this haircut as 80's chic at best. Mr. Clean was the "artist" and I am sure he was not thinking about the AWANA closing ceremony in two weeks nor K.Z.'s very first piano recital in a mere three weeks, where our beloved first born will look as if a pet ferret was snoozing on his head (no... we do not actually have a pet ferret). Had he thought of these things I am sure K.Z. would have not gotten this haircut. At least I hope not.

So I am praying that his hair grows out in time to at the very least resemble a freshly shaven parolee and not a resident at Folsom Prison. Time will tell....

In the interest of fairness in blogging, I also present Xena, lovingly displaying her new math book that she is itching to start. She is my good child. She would never let Daddy near her with a pair of scissors, much less clippers...

Sunday, May 11, 2008


About a year ago I had a really, really bad day. Mr. Clean came home and wanted me to listen to "something". This was it. I burst into tears (in a good way) once it got to the end and you will know why. Ever since, I have been a huge fan of these guys. Enjoy...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wednesday Already?

Well Xena did it. She officially graduated from Kindergarten. It only took 6 years to get to this point...

All silliness aside, I really was proud to see her get her little diploma from our Homeschool Learning Group today and she just beamed when she hit the stage to accept it from her beloved teacher.

I guess I can no longer poke fun at the thought of Kindergarten "graduation", but I still reserve the right to roll my eyes at 6th grade "graduation".


Just a note to my friends in the blogger world. I faithfully read your blogs everyday via my RSS feed, but lately I just have not been commenting. For that I apologize. I know I love getting comments and I love leaving them, but for some reason I just have been reading and not writing. Just know I am thinking of you and absorbing every word, I just have been quiet lately.

Once my motormouth revs back up, it will spill over onto the keyboard and I will once again put in my two cents. Invited or not, LOL!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Just In Case You Missed Reading About My Exciting Life...

I decided I had better come home from the ladies retreat yesterday. But since the 7 or 8 people that actually read this blog are mostly homeschooling mothers (less my father-in-law who is my favorite loyal fan; I cannot believe I have not bored him to tears by now), I knew you would understand if I did not post anything straight away.

The weekend was great. There was lots of singing, praying, eating, talking and of course, crying. Why is it when I am with a group of sisters I cry the "ugly, scrunched up face, nose running, bloodshot eyes" cry and not the demure "pat of the eye with my hankie as a perfectly formed tear quietly slips out" cry? Because these women make you get raw. The topic was "Identity In Christ" and it made me think. A lot.

I realize that I have a lot of identities and they all have been coming before the one that pegs me as a follower of the One Most High. I should be wrapped in that identity like a cashmere sweater, except for me lately it has been tucked into the back pocket of my jeans. And thrown in the washer. And dryer. And comes out quite crinkly and faded. It's time to change things quite a bit.

We sang this hymn several times this weekend; it has always been one of my favorites. The girls and I downloaded quite a few versions from itunes today and sang it over and over. It was cute to watch C'sa try and keep up. She tried her hardest even though she preferred to sing the theme song from Enchanted instead (which we also did several times).

Friday, May 2, 2008

And I'm Off!

I am heading out this weekend for a women's retreat about a half an hour from home and I leave in...

2 hours, 16 minutes and 29 seconds. But who's counting?

Have a great weekend, I am starting my happy dance now!