Friday, March 31, 2006

Salt with your fish, ma'am?

We had company today. It's been a looooooong Spring Break. First, husbunny was sick, then oldest, then me, then youngest. So we missed an entire week of school before Spring Break. No visitors, no Tae Kwan Do, no swimming lessons. And no babysitting. So we were really looking forward to some outside diversion. 3 of the 4 of us were getting really sick of each other.

I cooked up a tasty lunch. In my book, unless you're a Caesar salad, then you better have at least 8 ingredients and none of them better be iceburg lettuce. It was warm enough to fire up the barbeque, so I grilled up 2 pork tenderloins to perfection - just done, not dry. Steamed up some crisp yet tender green beans, and served them up with butter and my favorite garlic salt - Simply Organic's blend with sea salt, thick garlic sprinkles and dried parsley flakes. Makes vegetables a delight. I baked some potatoe wedges sprinkled with olive oil and herbs and a generous sprinkling of freshly smashed rosemary twigs.

The kids (3 boys/1 girl, all 5 or under) did pretty well. There was the usual half an hour of frantic scratch and sniff behavior of the guests - testing every toy in the place. They gave the play structure a good workout. The BunSter was admired and fed almonds and treats. Things went a bit South when, as usual, Youngest started to get teased about something. He's got social issues and speech delays, so he's easily baited by his peer group. We're working on his reactions, but it's difficult - he is only 4. And his brother also participates or instigates some of the teasing. I tend to keep guest children busy and distracted, but today I was taking advantage of having help to cook up a storm. I also baked some banana bread, and cleaned out my refrigerator. Hey - you gotta do things while you can, and when you have the notion.

Lunch was served, and it was well received. I cannot believe that 2 women and 4 kids managed to polish off 1 and 1/2 pork loins, a mess of beans, half of a salad and most of the potatoes. The children were allowed to use condiments on their own. I set out different sauces, herb shakers, etc.

Bear with me; part of this story is that the entire cul de sac is gone for Spring Break. We are watching 2 houses, and have custody of one betta fish. Thank God the people with dogs have house sitters, or those poor critters would be standing with their rear legs crossed and miserable by the time I let them out to tinkle. But AquaMarine, the Betta, was reckoned to be an easy addition to our household. He has been doing great Fish Olympics every night during our evening meal. It has been fun, actually. The boys are crazy about this fish. His human, a 9 yo girl, was very worried about handing him over. I assured her we were reliable pet sitters. Plus, I reminded her I trusted her with the BunSter a year ago. We got a long list of Aqua's schedule. And a supply of food.

Except that today, Aqua was served lunch by Youngest and his 3 yo buddy. Tater crumbs, a bit of salad. Complete with garlic salt shaken in his bowl, considerate little hosts that they were. I did not find out until I was feeding him his before-bed treat of bloodworms, and noticed a bit of lettuce. I asked Oldest "Hey; that looks like lettuce!" and he said "Oh yes; they fed him a little lunch. Oh, and they salted the potatoes for him."

With that, I squealed and grabbed the fish bowl off the lazy susan. "How much?!!" "Oh, it was a good shake, Mommy!"

I start flailing around the kitchen, and realize that Aqua has really been putting on quite the athletic show this evening. Well yeah; we're pickling the poor fellow! I realize I need non chlorinated water and run over to the neighbors' house. Forget the alarm remote, run back home. Run back with remote, tear into the house. Grab the water, run back. Now I have to somehow drain that little fish bowl, with huge glass beads that will certainly pulverize ol' Aqua if I try to pour him out. I figure out how to accomplish the water change out, and get him back into his nice clean bowl and fresh water. He eats the fresh food I offer, so I reckon he's not at death's door - yet anyway.

I have been checking that fish every hour. I bet if I wake up tonight, a downstairs trot to check out the fish will be the only way I ever get back to sleep. Please do not let this fish die! We'll never live it down, and the neighbors think we're weird enough as it is.

But, can you do THIS?

Notice the toes, they are scrunched downward, accordian-like.

These are prehensile toes. The ape, she doesn't swing far from the tree.

And yes, I have feet Dr. Morton would love. I have Morton's Toes, have had surgery to repair Morton's Neuromas, and I'm sure Morton would love my plantar faciitis woes as well.

What about YOU? Let's see those toes!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Show and Tell Thursday:


Kim at has been having a really difficult week. I wish she could get these for real. Chocolate cures many woes. This is a dark chocolate with orange that I have been saving for a special occasion.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Guess which lamp cost the most!

Living Room Lamp

Master Bedroom Lamp

Boys' bedroom lamps

Dining Room Lamp

And below, Family Room Lamp.

Now, you tell me; which one cost $150? (There's one for $90, but all others were below $45, and 2 were below $25!!) Gotta Love Hobby Lobby!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Princess and the Pea

I must spend 5 minutes or more every night building a perfect nest to snooze in.

It drives my husband nuts. We have a ridiculous amount of sheet sets, blankets, comforters, mattress pads and pillows. Still, I search for the perfect combination every time I change the sheets. He has given up trying to help me change our bed but still insists on voicing opinions; "It's too early to switch to cotton blankets! Keep the wool one on!". But neither is chosen - I go for the summer-weight down duvet instead. He sighs and leaves the room. It's Going To Be A Long Night.

Then there is the Search For the Two Perfect Pillows 'O The Night. Only the children's pillows are safe from being snatched out from under their heads. I spend a few minutes flopping around, trying both sides. Then I start snooting around for the Chosen Knee Pillow for the night. It has to be thin, with the right case. (Flannel is too hot.) Some nights, I want a pillow for my back. Another search ensues.

Then there's the foot issue: How can you sleep on your back with your toes held prisoner by the covers?! I wish someone would invent a cover holder that provided that perfect amount of space for one's toes to rest unencumbered by the tucked sheets. If I pull the covers free from tucking under the mattress, I get tangled up like a shroud during the night, causing me to flail and practically hyperventilate. (I suspect it's my control-issue thing, but let's not go there this early in the morning.)

Does anybody have the perfect bedding, perfect mattress, perfect pillow?! Am I just nuts?

And CRAP! The down duvet wasn't the right choice - he was right. Back to the wool blanket, which I had put into the dry-cleaning pile. I noticed that youngest's bed looks like a rat's nest again this morning, too. He has inherited the neurotic-bedding gene by osmosis! ACK!

And Dinner for All!

This is my much-loved bunny. Not caged, he uses a litter box. (forgive his patchy look; he's shedding) When I brought him his dinner, he ran around the room like the devil was at his heels, and ended up leaping into the air and just about landing in his meal. He snatched the nuts off the plate in the blink of an eye - and clicked his teeth in rapture when he was done.

This is the Bunster's dinner. Romaine lettuce, carrots, apple and pecans. When dh saw me plating Bun's dinner, he said "That's a better dinner than I had last night!"

The Man of my Dreams made not one but TWO macaroni and cheeses tonight; a tri-color bow-tie pasta w/regular semolina pasta and also a whole-grain (maybe quinoa and spelt) elbow macaroni. Both with a homemade roux-based cheese sauce, and onions and herbs. Yummy!

And I fixed his favorite vegetable, brussel sprouts. I baked them with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper. They were so tasty.

The Bun wolfed down his dinner, as did everyone except for youngest. We took pity on him and offered him yoghurt instead.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend - it was windy here, but warm.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Youngest wants me to tell the www "I MADE THAT!"

Youngest spied his photo below, and exclaimed "Dat's ME, R___! With LEGOS! I MADE DAT! It's a TRAIN!" For those of you with speech delayed children (and why is it boys, 90% of the time?!) have hope. The words are in there. Once they start filing out, it won't be long 'til they are tumbling out. Eventually, it's a downpour.

Then you wonder why you ever prayed for that child to talk.

Friday, March 24, 2006

FIDDLESTICKS! I pee'd on it!

( Youngest, at the front of the line when dexterity was handed out, but Talking? Not so much.)

The lovely sentence in the caption, complete with allowable expression of disgust, brought to you by Youngest -- as he thundered out of the master W.C., clad only in his slipper socks and pj top, carrying his wet pj bottoms at arms' length. He added "YUCK!" for emphasis, as he slid his eyes my way on his way out the door, heading towards his room to get fresh pj's.

You cannot know how this entire sentence made tears of joy spring to my eyes. For over 2 years, we did figure 8's around a diagnosis of autism for him, never allowing the label to attach, always hopeful that speech and emotion would permanently take residence in him. Therapists have worked him over like bread dough, lovingly kneading words out of his reluctant lips.

We worked with 'the system', and qualified for 4 visits a week; then 3, then 2, then 1 (which seemed to pan out to more like 1 or 2 visits a month) as the services dwindled due to overloads on the system. When he was 3, he qualified to attend a half-day District Preschool in the School District 4 mornings a week, 2-1/2 hours a day, which had 6 special needs' children and 6 typically-developing peers. Trouble is, the services were then diluted to one hour of group speech therapy and occupational therapy once a week! While attendance at school was great for him socially and he did get the benefits of group ST and OT, (and visits from a psychologist, physical therapist and social worker every so often), he really didn't make any progress. The system is so overloaded that progress is painfully slow. Right before he was 3, we found private therapists to work with our son. About 4 months ago, his progress took off like a rocket! I wish we would've known to get him much more help, much sooner. That's what it takes; hours of therapies a week, starting when you first suspect delays.

Luckily, we are fortunate that we could work the costs of his therapies into our budget; most families cannot. They get what help is available through the system, and it is pitifully little. I have since found out from other friends who have worked with the system much longer than we have that you have to be the squealing, screaming, screeching wheel to get your child front and center for available services.

We have a phenomenal group working with Youngest right now; his preschool teacher is known as the best in the District, her team is made up of top-drawer professionals in their respective fields and the paraprofessionals are outstanding. But what has done the trick to pull the words out of this reluctant rabbit's hat are extensive, intensive one-on-one therapy sessions, with the best professionals we could find. I wish all my dear friends with Special Kids would be so fortunate.

We're not out of the woods yet; but I think I heard a full sentence, WITH EMOTION, in this beautiful, wonderful, amazing sentence:

"FIDDLESTICKS! I pee'd on it!"

Windows to the World, and some feet

Kitchen window; views are why we bought this house!

Foyer window

Littlest's Roasty Toasty Tootsies, with babies

Family Room Windows

Living Room Windows

As requested by Blackbird. These are a day late, and my first attempt at photos on the Blog.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The 3 best words on the planet


Okay, I know it's really 4 words, and you probably thought it was going to be "I Love You". But when they are uttered by your little ones after a few days of being ill, you know you can probably skip that trip to the pediatrician. Saving yourself a considerable amount of money and a chunk of time. Not to mention the exposure to God Knows What that you won't be exposing 2 compromised kids and yourself to, not to mention the stress of getting Everyone out the door.

Oldest was the most sick; he seems to get the worst of the respiratory trials and tribulations. Youngest hadn't exhibited too many symptoms, except for quite literally falling over on his face in a dead sleep in the middle of watching tv. The 3 of us were in the master bedroom, enjoying a rip-roaring fire, snuggling under the cosy blankets and watching AFV or some other (and rare) child-appropriate network tv. Oldest yelped "Mom, he just fell over!" and I looked over, and there youngest was; bent in half and face down on the duvet. I eased his legs out from the covers and let him snooze away.

I used to call our sons Biggest and Littlest. Not so anymore. Biggest is now the liittlest, which is a major hide-chapper. Youngest also has a very large head, which creates an older look. I have had people argue with me about which child is older -- in front of them! It used to make oldest sob in despair, which is heartbreaking. Then my father solved a bit of the problem; he told oldest "You will always be older, no matter the size of either of you. You will ALWAYS be older." which made oldest beam in pride. He reminds us of that very fact all the time. Which chaps his brother's hide...

Our sons, who are almost 11 months apart, were adopted as infants. We are a bi-racial family. I forget we are 'different'; these are my children, and I don't see them as different in any way. Before I became more immune to the endless silly remarks some people seem to need to make, I would bristle and retort back as the mood struck me (fatigue, hormones etc playing a part). Two funny incidents come to mind: Oldest is elegantly shaped, compact and lithe. Youngest is built like a Samoan, and weighed 22 pounds at 7 months! They are both beautiful boys, in very different ways. Right after we had adopted youngest, I had both boys in Costco, changing diapers in the ladies room. Changing 2 kids is always an adventure, and you can't waste any time with niceties. You just get through it. An elderly, stocky woman was washing her hands as we began to make use of the diapering center. I got oldest taken care of and hooked back into the double stroller, and had popped youngest on the table and gotten his bottom half exposed to take care of him. The woman made a few comments about how beautiful the boys were (Thank you!) and how cute it was that they were dressed alike (again, Thank You!) Then she clapped a hand over her heart, and spouted out this gem: "You did such a great thing saving these children from Certain Starvation!!" I burst out laughing and exclaimed, while pinching youngest's enormous thighs "Yep, he sure looks like he's at death's door, doesn't he!" and I could not quit laughing!

Then a couple of months later, there we were at the $300 club again (Costco). The four of us were in the checkout, but husband was wandering around, looking at cameras and stuff as the lines were huge. The boys were parked in the double cart, behaving pretty well for 19 and 9 month old babies. A woman kept asking nosy questions: "Are they twins?" (No. They are almost 11 months apart) Are they YOUR kids? (Yes) Then, the corker: "Where did you get them?" With that, I snarled "Look, I had an affair with an Asian Man! I would appreciate it if you would QUIT REMINDING MY HUSBAND!" She gasped and fled. I was mentally high-fiving myself until I looked around at the folks in the line. They were looking at me with eyes the size of dinner plates. Almost on cue, my husband came back to stand by us. There was a group sympathy look for him, with glares for me. I had to contort my face to keep from roaring with laughter.

Now that the boys hear everything that goes on (and more), I always keep the answers casting a positive slant on adoption. The days of snappy retorts are long gone, tempting as it is. Please remember this, in your journeys through this life; families who are obviously different deserve respect and privacy. It's painful for the children to have constant questioning about their private lives. If you are seriously considering adoption, it's okay to ask a few general questions or to provide your email or phone numbers. But just being nosey? Nah.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Just say NO when an esthetician offers to wax your "Moostash"

Just take my word for it. Decline the offer.

My sister Joan and I thought we were in for a day of lovely relaxation when we went to a local day spa not too far from her house (and being the erstwhile pilot that she is, the fact that she had a gift certificate from that very spa had some effect on the choice of this place, I'm sure). We got there and were quickly whisked away to our respective rooms; Joan for a nice, relaxing massage, me for a lower leg wax. I got settled on my back in the very nice, dimly lit room and suddenly hear "close eyes please". Okay, I close eyes. Suddenly, I felt a gentle touch on my eyebrows (which are caterpillar-like and the bane of my existence, requiring much trimming and plucking) and a voice says "Would you like me to wax your brows? They could look very nice." Ah, sure, nice is a good thing. Then the voice pauses and says "And the Moostash - you want to lose this?" My eyes pop open and I ask "My MOOSTASH?!" and she says "Yes." What can I say. Yes, let's 'lose the moostash'. I think "How much can it hurt?"

BWAAAAA HA HA! It hurt like a sonuvabitch! She applied wax, placed 4 little teeny pieces of cloth on one side of my lip, and then YEOUCH, YIKES, SHIT & GODDAM that hurt! My eyes started to stream tears and my nose started a fierce itching, an almost insatiable itching. Then I started sneezing. For the other side of my lip (which I seriously considered saying "Oh, never mind; just the one side was bugging me!"), with every SCRITCH of the teeny tiny cloth, I let loose a tremendous, door-rattling WHA-CHOO! The eyebrows were a piece of cake by comparison, and not a sneeze was heard.

Then came the leg waxing. Not too bad, except for the missed strays. Those were mercilessly plucked from the tenderest portions of my legs imaginable, the inner calf. My eyes started streaming again. I felt like a first-class wuss.

My hat is off to any person who can stand to have their nether regions waxed. I'll keep my bush as nature intended, thank you.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

It's true. I'm leavin' on a Jet Plane. Without my husband, dear man that he is, or the boys. For four glorious days. I'm going to Las Vegas and don't care if it's raining or snowing there. THREE mornings to sleep past 6:30; FOUR days to shower without 2 sets of eyeballs pressed against the shower door, begging me to "Make an "R", Mommy!"; 4 days to have a daily constitutional (or 2) without somebody handing me toilet paper with a concerned look (thankfully, it's the boys, not the husband!); and the best thing: cooking and consuming SPICY HOT THAI FOOD! Yahoo! Crossing a Street without yelping "Watch for moving cars! Listen for cars!" although I may shout at my sister out of habit as we're jaywalking on the Strip.

So far, we have some diversions lined up: A leg wax and massage apiece and some down time at a day spa; reservations for lunch at some devine new place she has discovered; brunch for a good friend on Monday to celebrate his new US citizenship; and some visits to ethnic grocery stores to buy ingredients for all the scrumptious meals we will be preparing. AHHHHHH! I always travel with cookbooks and printouts of recipes (this time, I have tucked DAISY COOKS into my suitcase -- of course I am already packing!) and printed out Martha's recipe for Barefoot Contessa's potato salad from Martha's blog The Random Muse At least when I visit my sisters I don't feel compelled to pack my Henckel knives. I swear, some people's knives! How can they cook without the proper tools?! Pots and pans that seem to be made from sardine tins so they scorch everything, ovens that are 50 degrees or more off temp, ACK!

But this isn't a post about packing and leaving, it's a post about printing out Two Boys' Schedule for my husband to live by in my absence. Four days and three nights. So far, it's 2 pages! And that's excluding cleaning and laundry, as why waste the paper? Or my time to type it.

Two Boys' Schedules
Thurs 3/9
8:00 R needs to be at school. He is Line Leader this week, and needs to take snack and a show and tell item. I have printed out his what/when/who/how and why answers. Take his Hanbok and 1st birthday photos, already in the Show & Tell bag, along with the Answer sheet. Snack is goldfish.
8:35 P needs to be at school. The usual routine of walking him to classroom.
10:30 Pick up R from school. Do NOT be late. He will have backpack and 2 other bags for show and tell and snack. I pray the Hanbok doesn't get misplaced. Lay it on Guest bed until I get home to put it away.
11:30 Leave house to pick up P. Drive up to front of school; do NOT get out of car. They will bring P to the car and hand you the sign out.
Noon: Lunch
1:30 Andrea's hour of speech therapy for R has been cancelled.
2:30 Have boys put on Rash Guard swimming trunks and put R's swim diaper on him, too.
2:45 Boys' swimmig lesson at the club. Lesson is from 2:55 - 3:25 w/Gretchen. You need to stop by front desk at the club and pick up a voucher for the swimming lesson, which you then hand to Gretchen. She turns this in to get paid. Take P's Tae Kwan Do uniform to change into immediately after swimming lesson! Don't forget his underwear. Take R's complete outfit.
Take portable DVD player, too. R will need it for diversion at P's TKO lesson. I plug the DVD player into the plug by the refrigerator and set the DVD player up on their shoe storage shelves. I bring a chair over and sit there with R on the floor.
3:40-4:20 Tae Kwan Do lesson for P. You have to quickly dress the boys immediately after swimming (I actually do this right at the pool, as R goes ballastic if he doesn't get to shower if you go into the dressing rooms) and hustle to the Tae Kwan Do lesson. P will be 5 minutes late to Tae Kwan Do, and will have to do 10 pushups because of it.
5:30 Dinner. Water with the meal.
7:30 Wind down.
8:00 Reading and Rocking
8:30 Bed time
8:35 Daddy's time for a beer

Friday 3/10
8:00 R School
Remember the snack bag and show and tell bag, as well as his backpack. His show and tell is Gordon and the 2 new express coaches. There is an answer sheet already prepared. Snack is grapes, oranges and apples. The bag is in the refrigerator already. Ryan takes the bus home today!
8:35 P School
10:45ish R arrives home on the bus.
You can watch for it coming down the long hill and then turning. Meet the bus at the driveway. Driver is Eddie, Aide is Janet. R will need a wind down time before going to get P.
11:30 Leave to go get P from school. Do not get out of the car; they will bring P to the car and hand you the sign out sheet.
12:00 Lunch
1:30 Take P & R swimming and review lessons.
The therapy pool will be empty at this time. The boys would enjoy a nice long shower afterwards. Remember sippy cups for ride home.
3:00 Naps! By Friday the boys are whupped and will nap Friday afternoon. In fact, they may fall asleep on the drive home from the club.
5:30 Dinner
7:30 Wind down time
8:00 Reading and rocking
8:30 Bedtime

Saturday/Sunday Nothing planned that I know of. You've had offers from Tina, my parents and Donna to come help with the boys. Rehearse numbers 1-10 in Korean with P (red book on kitchen countertop), and work on his routine if he can remember it. He needs practice!

Monday 3/13
NO SCHOOL for P and R
3:35 P needs to be at Tae Kwan Do I would take the portable DVD player for Ryan and plug it in by the shoe storage and refrigerator for R to watch. Otherwise, he will pester you for half an hour to leave.
7:30 Get the boys in their pjs.
8:00 Leave for the airport. I land around 8:30, but will advise you before I leave Las Vegas.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Almost a tearless day. Almost ...

It's been five years and 3 months since we've had a day without some kind of crying fit. Five LOOOOOOOONG years. Today, I thought we had entered a new realm of perfection - No crying was heard. That is, until 6:26 when I was helping eldest remove his Tae Kwan Do uniform (outfit? Get-up?) and actually whipped his feet out from under him. I thought he was holding on to the hutch! Imagine both our surprise when he thudded on his slim little butt and gasped. It took at least 10 seconds for him to start crying, and then - HOLY COW! What a racket! I caught myself jiggling him at one point - For crissakes; that didn't work when they were little, either! I finally trotted him into the kitchen and found the homeopathic arnica and "Mr. Chilly", our always-ready ice cold gel pack. I got some arnica down him and he finally calmed down enough to warble "Th-Th-This is G-G-Going to Take M-M-M-More than M-Mister Ch-Ch-Chilly! MOMMY!" and the wah-wah-wahing started all over again. Tears were actually springing out of his eyes. Gees, I felt so bad. Our little one was trying to comfort his brother. He even brought him some ice water to sip on, and his older brother's favorite lovey.

Tomorrow is an in-service day at school. So there will be plenty of opportunities for crying. And the boys might find a reason to cry, too. I may proclaim the old standby "Hell, it's 5 pm somewhere!" and slip a little Bailey's into my first morning cup of coffee. Nah, probably not. I'm sure we'll get together with other desparate parents at a park and it just wouldn't do to have booze breath at 9:30 a.m. Unless you bring enough for everyone.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Oscar pool!

Share your opinions!!!